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So just in time for Christmas, I regale you with some of the latest Maker’s Mark ads from those denizens of bourbon down in Bardstown. The one above seems remarkably apt for this province. But there is more…. for example…. And if you’re into literary allusions to a famous writer who was also a famous cleric in Dublin, about whom we wrote earlier this year on this blog…… consider this one….. And just in time for Christmas, I’m putting on… Read more

Ben. It seems very ironic indeed that while various of the members of the NPP spend a lot of energies trying to suggest that by works of the law, Paul’s focus is primarily if not exclusively on ‘the ceremonies’ i.e. circumcision, Sabbath keeping etc. whereas the Reformers say no, the phrase works of the Law is not a criticism of ethnocentric ceremonies, it is a critique of the whole Law which cannot justify. It seems as though these folks are… Read more

Ben. Probably the majority of those who have written a commentary on Romans in the last 30-40 years have concluded that Rom. 7.7-25 is not about Paul’s autobiography, nor about the state of the Christian life (even Moo). It is a Christian view of a non-Christian situation. This of course is the direct opposite of Luther’s take on Romans 7, and in the last 50 years, only Cranfield has really strongly agreed with him. What is your take on this… Read more

Ben. It would appear that you see the NPP’s positive contribution to our Pauline discourse chiefly to be in emphasizing that an anti-Semitic reading of Paul will not do. At the same time, you are right to point out not only that Judaism was not a religion that lacked a theology of grace, nor was it fundamentally legalistic in character. But you also think the NPP is wrong if and when it says ‘works of the law’ refer to the… Read more

Ben. It seems rather ironic to me with all of the emphasis, especially in Luther and Calvin on being ‘in Christ’ that little time seems to be taken to deal with the fact that what this phrase often means is not union of the individual with Christ himself, but rather ‘being in the body of Christ’. For instance, in 1 Cor 12 we hear that by one Spirit we are all baptized into the one body of Christ, and all… Read more

Ben. Trying to pin down Luther’s view of Christ’s alien righteousness is more than a little difficult. Sometimes he seems to be talking as if the believer has as his Siamese twin, Christ. They are joined together at the hip, but all the righteousness is in the twin, and none of it is in the believer who still is stuck with being in bondage to sin. On the other hand, when Luther does talk about ‘Christ in us, the hope… Read more

Ben. Union with Christ seems to be a huge theological concept for all three Reformers, one that sometimes seems to threaten to swallow up other aspects of Christology, and theology in general not to mention the theology of the sacraments. Since medieval theology also had such a concept of union with God in various ways, why is this such a big emphasis for the Reformers? Stephen. Their intention was never to oppose tradition just because it is tradition but to… Read more

Ben. Because of the medieval Catholic theology of ‘merit’ an awful lot of energy is expended by these Reformers on refuting the idea that our good works earn merit, or that anything we could do could fall into the credit category in so far as it could contribute to our salvation or justification. The problem with this is that the NT says nothing about merit, and it says quite a lot about rewards for good works (e.g. 1 Cor. 3)…. Read more

Ben. Your critique of Wright and Campbell especially, in regard to their misunderstanding of the Reformers seems right on target. In some respects, they have mistaken later Calvinism and Lutheranism for Calvin and Luther. What would you see as their gravest errors either in their evaluation of the Reformers, or their evaluation of Paul? Stephen. I think that because the NPP was reacting against the so-called “Lutheran” interpretation of Paul it is the figure of Luther that looms larger in… Read more

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