In Chapter Seven, Tom takes on the pushback against narratival analysis of Paul’s letters. He does so not just because he knows that human beings make sense of what happens to them by telling stories, but because Bultmann was wrong. “The main problem with Bultmann’s [demythologizing] proposal, in addition to the muddling of the different senses of ‘myth’ [which does not necessarily refer to a fictional story], is that when he insisted that we should strip the early Christian world… Read more

Wright explores what Schweitzer was perhaps the first to call the mysticism of Paul. He does so in the larger context of early Jewish mysticism which focused on “penetration of the secrets of creation and cosmology on the one hand and gazing on the vision of the God enthroned on his chariot (as in Ezek. 1) on the other” (p. 415). Only now when Paul ‘sees’ God he has the face of Jesus, indeed he sees the glory of God… Read more

RSVP To move from fast to feast, From ashes to riding an ass, From wilderness wandering God’s willingness wondering To follow the way of the cross To find what was utterly lost All this was Lent to us. The cup not passed over By our Passover The vinegar he willingly drank— But through gift divine New covenant wine Came forth from his side as he sank All this was given to us Through breaking of bread They knew their head… Read more

Lest one think, in light of Wright’s strong conviction that Paul is critiquing the Imperial Cult, that Wright is actually an advocate of Paul being seen as something of a subversive or a political revolutionary in general, the following should lay such concerns to rest. He says “Yet I believe in the last analysis Paul did affirm the goodness, the God-givenness, of human structures of authority, even while at the same time undermining, through central aspects of his theology, the… Read more

(Below is the continuation of Dr. Kuruvilla’s case for non-resistance). What about men like David who served in war? The Old Testament is filled with men of faith who engaged in physical combat. David is but one example. Like practices of polygamy or animal sacrifice, physical war pertains to the Old Covenant but not to the New. Jesus often supersedes Old Testament practices in the Sermon on the Mount. A Christocentric, New Covenant perspective demands that Jesus’ followers obey His… Read more

The following is an excellent presentation of the case for non-resistance (not to be confused with certain forms of pacifism) from the pen of Dr. Finny Kuruvilla, a Harvard graduate. We will post the rest of this excerpt from his recent book King Jesus Claims his Church(-available on Amazon– reprinted by his kind permission) in a further post tomorrow. Chapter 17 Peacemaking and nonresistance Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9) The nations… Read more

As it turns out, the real radical Reformation did not take place shortly after Luther (and in reaction to him). No, it happened in the first century when Paul revamped the whole symbol system of early Judaism. When someone reorients and reinterprets things like Temple, Territory, Torah, Prayer, Family, Battle etc. then they are messing with the vital parts of an ancient religion, not merely its thought world, but its praxis. So Wright correctly points out how different prayer looks… Read more

I’ve finally arrived at the Pauline portion of Tom’s opus, and something immediately struck me. I don’t know if you readers are film watchers, but you might enjoy Monuments Men, the story of the desperate attempt to rescue the art stolen by Hitler from the Louvre and elsewhere. There is a great line in the movie that goes something like this— “if you burn a person’s fields, or house, or steal their clothes, that’s one thing. They can recover from… Read more

It is extraordinarily difficult to know how to evaluate a film like ‘Son of God’, offered quick on the heels of last spring’s successful series by Burnett and Downey on ‘the Bible’ (the Reader’s Digest version of a sort). Do we evaluate it against the original stories in the four canonical Gospels? Do we evaluate it against other films about Jesus? Do we assess it on its own merits, but that is difficult to do since it is based on… Read more

This is a wonderful, long, very revealing interview done with one of the great artists of any sort of music or visual art of the last 70 or so years. I was fortunate enough to see her live in concert in about 1972 or 73 just after her Blue album came out, now considered a classic, and the concert was frankly ethereal, angelic, and unforgettable. Enjoy. BW3 Read more

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