Scot McKnight’s Reading Romans Backward, the Dialogue– Part Two

Scot McKnight’s Reading Romans Backward, the Dialogue– Part Two October 15, 2019

BEN: Throughout the book you call Romans an exercise in pastoral theology (presumably as opposed to abstract theologizing on interesting topics). Does this simply mean you see it as addressing specific situations in Rome, where Paul had never visited? Explain what you mean by calling Romans pastoral theology.

SCOT: First, Yes I does mean addressing specifics in Rome, and Yes, he’s not been there. But he knows (so I think) plenty of people there and perhaps most of the significant leaders (I don’t know we can know for sure). Second, more important: Paul’s theology is never context-less and theoretical knowledge built on independent foundations and good for all time in all contexts. Rather, I suspect everything in Romans, and esp chps 1-4 and 9-11, come from his experience in dealing with his critics in his mission churches and these chps put together his accumulated wisdom for what to say to them. I sometimes wonder if 1-4 is not one way of dealing with his fellow Jewish believers who think the Torah is more central for the church than Paul allows, while 9:1-11:12 is another way of responding to the same issues.


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