Doug Moo on Romans in Logos Mobile Ed

Doug Moo on Romans in Logos Mobile Ed September 6, 2014

I’ve had the benefit of being able to check out Doug Moo‘s course on Romans in Logos Mobile Ed. I have to say that its a very good module which will meet a variety of needs.

In sum, its quite a neat set up with over 90 short 5-8 minute videos divided into six units including:

1. Introduction to Romans
2. The Universal Reign of Sin
3. Justification by Faith
4. The Hope of Salvation
5. God’s faithfulness to Israel
6. Christian Conduct

Several of the videos are not by Moo, but by an instructional designer who shows you how to use the Logos suite, resources, and tools to study Romans. Far being inane fillers, they are actually quite helpful if you are new to using Logos.

The module contains a mixture of a topical and exegetical approaches to Romans. Much of the earlier parts of Romans are covered by canvassing certain themes, whilst the latter sections are generally covered passage by passage.

Doug Moo has written six commentaries on Romans – yes, that’s right, you heard me, six – in the WEC (1991),  entry on Romans in NBC (1994), NICNT (1996), NIVAC (2000) plus companion BBL (2008), EBS (2002), and ZIBBS (2007). You can see the complete list here. A second edition of the EBC volume just came out and I believe that a second edition of the NICNT is scheduled too. Rather than than read all six commentaries or even just his magisterial NICNT commentary, in this Logos module you literally get Moo talking at you and giving you a distillation of his mature thought on the matter.

Also, you not only get videos to watch, but also the complete text of the talk that you can read along with or else refer back to later without having to find a spot in the video.

There were several highlights for me from the module such as Moo on “The Timing of Justification,” where he explains how his thought on this has changed by writing his Galatians commentary. Moo says:

For myself, in the issue of the time of justification, I’ve gone through that kind of moment, as it were. When I wrote my commentary on Romans, I was pretty convinced that justification was entirely a matter of something that happens at conversion. I based this view on texts particularly in Rom 5. Here Paul begins the chapter by looking sort of back at being justified by faith since we have been justified, then moves on to talk about other things. Later on in the chapter, in verse 9, again, he says, “Since we have now been justified, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath?” And so here we seem to have a kind of a neat, simple scheme. We come to Christ, we are joined to Him, we are justified—finally and definitively. And because of that act of God in justifying us, we can be absolutely certain that on the day of God’s judgment, we will be saved. “Justified in the present, saved in the future,” to use the language Paul is using here.

Some years ago, I started work on a commentary on Galatians. Now, as I wrote the commentary on Romans, of course I had an eye on what Paul said elsewhere. I wasn’t just looking at Romans in isolation, but I hadn’t really dealt with the argument of Galatians as fully as I needed to to write the commentary. I came to Gal 5:4–6, where Paul is sort of talking about one of his central concerns in his letter to the Galatians. In verse 5, as the NIV reads, we have, “By faith, we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.” That last phrase, “the righteousness for which we hope,” again represents one of these notoriously challenging genitives. But in the context, it seems to me that the NIV pretty much has it correct here, and it follows most of the interpreters on Galatians as well; that is, here Paul talks about righteousness as something which is future for the believer. We are hoping for righteousness. By faith and the work of the Spirit we are confident that that hope will not fail us, that we will achieve ultimate righteousness in the last day.

As I begin looking then at Galatians in this light, I begin seeing places where Paul uses justify and righteousness language in this way in other places. In other words, in Galatians “justification” is something not only present, but also in some sense future as well. This is no new or novel idea. Well, the Reformers and the Reformation tradition, in general, focus on what I might call, again, “definitive justification”—that moment of conversion. There have been a number of theologians in the tradition over the centuries who have talked about a final aspect of justification as well. Certainly, a final aspect of justification fits a broad and central NT theological theme, often called (rather inelegantly) that “already-not yet tension.” God in Christ has entered into our situation, but He has not yet completed His work. So there is the experience that the believers have of already being put in relationship with Christ by faith, but not yet being definitively saved. Christ has come, and yet He is coming again.

It seems to me that justification is a doctrine that must be explained in this “already- not yet tension.” Clearly, the initial aspect of justification is very important and basic, and I don’t want to take away from that—that by faith alone, in our union with Christ, we are justified at that moment. And yet, there is also an ultimate aspect that Paul talks about in Galatians and that perhaps James also is talking about in chapter 2, where he introduces this idea. This also, it seems to me, is a matter of faith alone, but here our works become involved in some sense. This is where there is a lot of debate currently among people who think there is a future aspect of justification. How do human works, how does our obedience figure into that ultimate declaration that God is going to make about us on the last day? How do works get involved in ultimate justification? We’ll talk about that in a moment.

Particularly helpful in terms of summarizing the main issues and giving useful approaches was Moo’s sessions on “The Righteousness of God,” “The Condemnation of Homosexuality,” “The works of the law,” “The Title God for Christ,” and “The Gospel in everyday Life” among others.

A few things I’d do a bit different like, “Evaluating the New Perspective” and “Romans 9 and Election.” But on the whole, Moo is a reliable guide, and by far he remains one of the preeminent evangelical Pauline scholars. Let’s face it, Moo has done more time on Romans than all the Governors of Illinois combined have done in prison … which is quite a lot!

There are other great Logos Mobile Ed units I should mention too by Joel Willitts, Michael Goheen, Lynn Cohick, and Craig Evans plus a whole heap more. This is good if you want to do seminary like education without actually going to seminary and getting a B.Th or M.Div. Also, if you are a pastor in a church with a padawan or a group of leaders you’re training up, but don’t want to send them off to seminary for three years, then something like Logos Mobile Ed is something you can use to trains folks in Bible and Theology in location and on site.

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