Scot McKnight’s Reading Romans Backwards, The Dialogue Part Five

Scot McKnight’s Reading Romans Backwards, The Dialogue Part Five October 18, 2019

BEN: On p. 16 you say “the church was the body of Christ that expanded Israel’s borders to include gentiles in the one true family of God under the one true Lord, King Jesus.” The first part of this suggestion is severely problematic since in Rom. 9-11 Paul clearly distinguishes Israel, by which he means non-Christian Jews, from the body of Christ, which is Jew and Gentile united not in Israel but in the ekklesia of God. Your configuration sounds entirely too much like Wright and too little like Paul. Paul does not see the church as an expansion of the Israel he is talking about in those chapters, indeed, he says those folks have been temporarily broken off from the people of God until the full number of Gentiles come in, and then in like manner when the redeemer returns from Zion he will ‘turn away the impiety of Jacob’ (never a cypher for the church, always for Israel). Besides, Gentiles were already being incorporated into non-Christian Israel for centuries before Paul, both as proselytes and as God-fearers. It didn’t require the coming of Jesus to accomplish that. In the end, God’s people will be Gentile and Israelite united in Christ at the resurrection…. What we do not see here is the completion of Israel by means of the body of Christ. Comments?

SCOT: Well, I stick with Wright here though on this one I’m not sure I learned it from Wright. I wonder if you are equating the branches with the root stock itself, and I see the root stock as Israel, too. So the gentile believers are being grafted into the root stock. There is here two fundamental terms: root stock and branches. Non-believing branches are snipped off; believing branches (gentiles) are grafted in.

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