Theology

The Lost Codex – N.T. Wright Edition

by Dave on February 26, 2011

in General, Theology

I have N.T. Wright’s Paul In Fresh Perspective, audio version, and I have been through it more than 5 times.  Tom Wright is my favorite theologian and he has done so much to expand and explain the Christian faith.

One of the most revolutionary things about Bishop Wright’s discussion of Jesus is how he frames up the gospel.  So here it is, the short gospel per N.T. Wright, I love it.

The good news is that the covenant had been fulfilled and that new creation had begun.  The great apocalypse had occurred revealing Jesus as Israel’s Messiah.  Jesus was, therefore, Lord of the world and Caesar was not.

N.T. Wright, Paul In Fresh Perspective

Dave

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I must say that I enjoyed Scot McKnight’s book, The Blue Parakeet tremendously.  Scot is an incredibly thoughtful and down to earth scholar and author.  It is rare to find someone with whom you agree as much as I agree with Scot.

Scot begins by demonstrating his concept that the Bible is Story and there are different ways that we all have been taught to read the bible.  They are 1) reading to retrieve (like an owner’s manual I suppose), 2) Reading through Tradition (I read John Piper’s book at the same time as this and it strikes me that this is how Piper reads the bible, and 3) Reading with Tradition (where we take the Story of the bible and put it in our times and understand the Story).

The next couple chapters expand on these concepts so that you can have a solid understanding of what the bible is saying.  I don’t believe that I have ever met anyone in the flesh who reads the bible this way.  I have been an active participant in various internet communities and I have studied various scholars works that do it like this, but not someone in the flesh.  I am, however, going to actively promote this type of reading in my community.

Scot further proposes how we can adapt the word to today.  I got quite a kick out of Scot initially saying that we pick and chose what we want to listen to in the bible and he is right, that is exactly what we do.  The reason I get such a kick out of it is because the people who are the most adamant about their belief that they don’t pick and chose are generally the ones who do it the most.  The people tend to say that “the bible says it so I believe it” but they don’t realize that it is just their interpretation they believe, not the bible.

The point of this being that Scot is saying to us that the Blue Parakeets are those passages that seem to be out of place and cause problems with the theology and tradition in our religions.  That certainly is the case with the Baptists who I have been exposed to over the past several years.  They would contend that they follow only the bible and not tradition, but it seems to me that they follow tradition even more closely than the Catholics, its just that they don’t realize that is what they are doing.

Scot provides a multi-chapter discussion of how one can apply this way of thinking to the issue of women in ministry.  Aside from it making an excellent argument for Scot’s method of interpretation, it also is a valuable resource for talking with people about getting rid of restrictivist organizations in the church.

Thanks for a great read Scot.

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Romans Part 2 – About Paul

by Dave on June 21, 2010

in Theology

In the first post of my series looking at the Epistle of Paul to the Romans I discussed a bit about the role of the messiah (the Christ) from a Jewish perspective.  Today, I want to talk about Paul himself since we need to understand some things about Paul before tackling his letter to the Romans.

However, I have now reconsidered my position.  Rather than a lengthy exposition on Paul the person, I have come to realize that I really don’t think that it is appropriate to say too much about him right at the beginning.  I also do not have the patience to go into a history of Paul with you can just look up Paul of Tarsus on Wikipedia and learn enough about him that you would have all you need to go into the future posts.

Having said that, Paul identified himself as an apostle in the first line of his letter to the Romans, but he does not appear in any of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  Instead, Paul makes his debut in the biblical story in the first book after the Gospels, namely the Acts of the Apostles.<!--more-->

We know that Paul was a Pharisee, that is one of the very religious sects of Judaism at the time.  Paul was known to be someone who torture and torment Christians but on one fine day, he had a vision of the resurrected Messiah.  As a result of the vision he became blind, and then suddenly became perhaps the biggest and most influential activist supporting Christianity to this day.  Paul was a rock star.  In one instant God helped him see the light (pun intended) and now he was bought the story hook line and sinker.

Paul traveled the Mediterranean area planting new churches for this Jesus following  community and teaching what he called the gospel (more on that later).  The book of Romans was a letter that he wrote to a community of people in Rome who had already heard the gospel, but Paul had more to tell to them.

I believe the book of Romans contains much of the source material for the division between the reformed churches and non-reformed.  It also has a very interesting side-bar into what some have called natural theology, which is a personal favorite of mine since I believe in simplicity.

Many would think that simplicity has little to do with theology, but I think it could not be more wrong on that account.  If theology (how we know and relate to God) is difficult, then it could not be true.  God is everyone’s God, not the God of the intellectuals.  Not the God of the elite.  Not the God of the educated.  God is the God of,….us.

Whew.  I have been laboring over this post and I am glad I got it out of the way so I can move forward into some of the elements that I find more inerteresting.

God bless you and please give me a comment or two….

Dave

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