1,600 Pages of Awesome

My morning reading.

Yesterday, I received in the mail the magisterial doorstop of a book: NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I’ve only read the first section, but I already love it. Many fans consider this book Wright’s magnum opus, but it’s actually part of a many-book series that he says he hopes to continue. Nevertheless, this is the book that Wright will be remembered for.

In the preface, he says that he’s really been working on this book his entire life, since his parents gave him a Bible at age five and he read the book of Philemon first. He admits that he didn’t work on this book from ages 5 to 15, but he says he’s been working on it ever since.

Even so, one of his first admissions is that he doesn’t cover everything, he doesn’t interact with every other point of view:

[Read more…]

The Silence of Jesus (on Homosexuality)

I’ve been thinking more about the post I wrote last week about Daniel Kirk‘s new book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity.

Daniel takes a generous but conservative posture toward homosexual behavior in chapter nine of his book, the chapter that I was asked to review. He gets there by doing three things: [Read more…]

False Dichotomies, True Love, and Homosexuality

This post is part of a blog tour for Daniel Kirk‘s new book, Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity.  See all the posts at the blog tour hub.

OK, I’m going to be a little tough on my friend, Daniel Kirk, in this post. Daniel is, admittedly, to my hermeneutical right. He’s a New Testament prof at my alma mater, Fuller Seminary, and I have a great deal of respect for him. But the chapter in his new book on homosexuality, while more generous than many evangelicals, falls short. It does so because it recapitulates the familiar meme, Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.

Mason Slater has already done a fine job of summarizing the chapter as a whole, so I won’t repeat that here. The bottom line for Kirk, as Slater sees it, is this:

But the real thesis of the chapter, the theme that (rightly I think) trumps everything else, is love.

Central to our calling as Christians is love of others, and it is here that much of the church has failed spectacularly in its approach towards the GLBT community.

Jesus sums up the entire law with “Love the Lord your God with all your … and, love your neighbor as yourself” and then when asked who this neighbor might be, Jesus tells a parable which turns all the audience’s expectations upside-down and shows a hated outsider as more faithfully following the way of Jesus than the religious insiders.

There is, in Kirk’s book, the now-familiar self-flagellation that thoughtful evangelicals do when recounting how horribly they’ve treated gays over the past few decades. And that’s right, they have treated gays horribly, and they should repent. We all should.

However, it’s this paragraph in Kirk’s chapter that I think shows how he fails to embrace a truly narrative hermeneutic, and one that would free him to really love the gays who are in the church:

[Read more…]