Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Seventy Seven

It is always a dangerous thing to make categorical statements about either/ors when you are in a situation of already and not. Tom, however, following the lead of his doctor father George Caird, and others says on p. 1281— “Either the history of Rome provides the true story, with Christian faith content to shelter as a permitted religion under its banner. Or the history of Israel climaxing in the crucified and risen Messiah must be seen as the true story,… Read more

America Has Lost its Mind

SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING IS A RANT! If you have been paying any attention to the news of late, you may well be doing more than just scratching your head. There is increasing evidence that America has simply lost its mind. Let’s start with the story about the nine year old who accidentally shot her shooting instructor in Arizona while learning how to use an Uzi, not mind you on single shot, but on repeat. What kind of parent even… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Seventy Six

Tom’s fondness for chiastic structures leads to the final three chapters of the book (minus the final final chapter which is just conclusions) being a revisiting of the issues introduced in the first three chapters of this magnum opus, only now in reverse order. SO the overall plan of the book is: 1) the study of Paul’s world in three parts; 2) the study of Paul’s theology focused on three major themes— monotheism, election, and eschatology; and then 3) the… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy Five

As Tom admits, in discussing the phrase ‘The Redeemer/Deliverer’ (p.1251) in Rom. 11.26-27, Paul does elsewhere use the cognate phrase, ho rheumenos’ very clearly to refer to Christ’s return and delivering his people from wrath in 1 Thess. 1.10. And I would say there is no reason it can’t mean that here in Romans as well. Tom seizes on the Isaianic phrase “whenever I take away there sins” and while he is right that this could refer to multiple actions… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Seventy Four

The discussion in pp. 1245ff. is a good example of how a scholar can be right as rain about what he rejects, but wrong about what he affirms. It will be remembered that Tom’s view of Romans 11 is that “the saving of all Israel may refer here as in 11.14 and surrounding verses to actual concrete ‘turnings’ in which more and more of Paul’s fellow kinfolk will no longer remain in ‘unbelief’ (11.23)” (p. 1245). He quotes Ed Sanders… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy Three

The discussion of God’s hardening of Pharaoh and then of Israel is of course a difficult one. Fortunately for us, we don’t need to deal with the Pharaoh example, but we do need to deal with what Paul says about God hardening Israel due to their unbelief. On p. 1225 Tom helpfully points us to the parallel passage in 2 Cor. 3 where the hardening of the mind is related to the metaphor of a veil over the human heart…. Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy Two

On p. 1215, Tom has an interesting way of contrasting the rhetorical thrust of Galatians as opposed to Romans. He puts it this way: “The difference between the two epistles is this. In Galatians, Paul is warning Gentile believers that they must not try to become physically, ethnically, Jews. To do so would undermine that single family by insisting on an ethnic basis. In Romans he is warning Gentile believers that they must not imagine that God cannot and will… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy One

Giving full marks to Tom, the lengthy discussion on Rom. 11.1-32 which stretches to some 70 plus pages (to p. 1265 in fact) is one of his best in this huge work. And it needed to be, because his position on Rom. 11 is difficult to defend in light of the water that has already gone under the bridge in Rom. 9 and 10. He goes into more detail here than in the treatment of the other relevant passages that… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy

In Tom’s schema (see p. 1181) Rom. 9.6-29 is seen as parallel in the chiasm to 11.1-32, and so he enumerates several themes found in both sections—both focus on the patriarchs and the promises made to them, both focus on the call and mercy of God, neither being dependent on works, both focus on the patience of God but also his hardening of people. And he adds, both use the term Israel in more than one way. This latter point… Read more

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Sixty Nine

On any showing, Romans 10.4 is a crucial verse for understanding Paul’s thought world. The discussion on p. 1172 deserves a close look. Tom takes the verse is a rather narratological way– namely that Christ is the goal, the final destination of Torah, by which he means “This is where the narrative had been heading all along. Through the Messiah the prophecies have come true, the covenant has been re-established, exile is over, God himself has acted to unveil his… Read more

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