The Unity of the Church — NT Wright

NT Wright, in his Paul and the Faithfulness of God, makes a claim many need to hear today, both those who diminish the church for kingdom work and those who do “Pauline theology” exclusively through the lens of soteriology and make the church where the saved land on Sunday mornings. Not so for Wright: the [Read More...]

NT Wright and the Supersessionism Question: What did Paul do?

One of the distinguishing discussions today in Pauline studies is whether or not Paul was a “supersessionist,” and the issue is Paul thought the church “replaced” Israel in such a way that now God no longer worked with Israel but with the church. To get ahold of this one means knowing how the whole Bible [Read More...]

Rome as Empire and Emperor Worship

I have been reading theological books for forty plus years. In that time only one truly great piece of writing stands out as a book deserving reading for the poetry of its prose, and that was Albert Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus, a book with a story so good and a conclusion so wrong. [Read More...]

From New Perspective to Fresh Perspective to … what’s next?

In N.T. Wright’s earlier work on Paul he advocated a pioneering orientation we now call the New Perspective, in part because Wright himself used that expression but even more because J.D.G. Dunn called the whole movement that. Then less than a decade ago Wright wrote a little book on Paul that added to the new [Read More...]

Paul the Pharisee

The apostle Paul emerged into faith in Jesus as the Messiah out of the Pharisaic way of life. What was that like? This is one of the highlight questions Tom Wright asks in his new Paul and the Faithfulness of God, and to answer that question he prepares us with a lengthy and winding discussion [Read More...]

We Will Call it “PFG”

What will we call “PFG”? N.T. Wright’s magisterial, academic 2-volume study of Paul called Paul and the Faithfulness of God, volume 4 in his series called Christian Origins and the Question of God. I’ve got a PDF of Tom’s ground-breaking work and we’ll be discussing it until at least SBL in late November. So join along. [Read More...]

Challenging the New Perspective on Paul

E.P. Sanders, and then following him J.D.G. Dunn and N.T. Wright, challenged the traditional Christian consensus of how to “read” Judaism at the time of Paul (and Jesus) in 1977 with his well-known and must-read Paul and Palestinian Judaism. The consensus was that Judaism was a works-righteousness religion in which Jews, not on the basis of [Read More...]

Our Past Makes Us Who We Are

I was thinking of the apostle Paul and how his past, so far as we can know, prepared him for his life as an apostle.  God used his life in Tarsus to prepare Paul to be the great integrator, though it took an eye-twittering experience of seeing Jesus himself to accept the challenge. Some people [Read More...]

Bring Back Paul!

Various groups have a favorite biblical figure in the back pocket. The Anabaptists of today have Jesus and so do the Protestant mainliners, and then there are the more theological Reformed groups who have Paul in their back pocket. No one seems to care much about Hebrews (I call the author “Hebby” at times), every [Read More...]

Paul the Mystic

Some over do it and some under do it, but the fact is that the apostle Paul — here speaking of himself indirectly — was nothing short of a mystic: 2Cor. 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body [Read More...]