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

Balance is what Tom calls for in the discussion of Paul's already and not yet comments on rulers and authorities, and I quite agree. And the not yet seems clearly enough in play in 2 Thess. 2.1-5 when we hear about the man of lawlessness who will be revealed, who usurps divine roles, making himself out to be a god. Here, it would indeed appear that the target may be the Emperor cult. Having said that, it is well to bear in mind that the description here seems indebted to the story about … [Read more...]

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

Tom points to 1 Cor. 2.6-8 to make his point on p. 1285. Here he is probably right that human rulers are meant, especially since the crucifixion by them is mentioned in vs.6. What is said of them however is that they are not in on the eschatological secret that Christ is the Lord of glory, otherwise they would not have crucified him. Now this implies that with more knowledge they would not have done what they did. In other words, they are not portrayed as being like the malevolent powers and … [Read more...]

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, with that of Rome however much under … [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 allows a nine year to handle such a weapon, and this was … [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 placing of Paul within his world in … [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 rather than one single action in the … [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 to good effect as far as rejecting the two covenant approach of … [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. But as the text says this condition of the hardening of the spiritual arteries … [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 not bring more and more Jews back … [Read more...]