Thursday, December 20, 2007
This should lead us to an application today of perhaps the need to "reshape", "rethink" and/or even "re-theologize" our understanding of some of the key components of "the faith". I would suggest two aspects immediately taken from Paul's shift. One is the understanding of the Kingdom of God. Without being able to go into greater detail here, there needs to be a realization that its not off in some distant future, but has already intervened in time and history and began its rule & reign in the first coming of Jesus. Although, not fully culminated into what it will be, there needs to be a vital change in that we see it as already here. Think for a moment of the Gospels... How often did the phrase "kingdom of God/Heaven is at hand" occur. Also, remember the parables; specifically the one of Jesus speaking of the kingdom like a mustard seed, how it was the smallest of all their known seeds yet it grew to be one of biggest plants etc. The same needs to be thought of in terms of the kingdom, much wasn't expected in Jesus of Nazareth's life, death, etc. but look what grew out of it.
Secondly, i believe another major shift in todays theology should be our notion of inclusion vs. exclusion. Again, for Paul, he saw this effected in his gospel. An ecumenical shift needed to take place. This polarization of "Jews/non-Jews had to be reconciled if Abraham's seed was to bless all the nations, etc. His understanding of the gentile inclusion was vital in his thinking. So too, we would do well to reshape our understanding of ecumenism. For Paul (as should with us) there was a great amount of allowance for diversity in the church. No matter what your background: cultural, ethnical or religous, all were unified in Jesus the Christ. An amazing thought, that religous Jews could now participate at the table with pagan Gentiles. Today, there needs to be an "ecumenical reform" within the church, according to Paul's gospel...
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
- Galatians is "a singularly impassioned attempt, to get some early gentile believers to stay true to his gospel as they have first received it, when he was among them" ~Gordon Fee
- "Galatians is the most pungent and forthright of Paul's expositions of his own understanding of the Christian gospel" ~James Dunn
- "That the epistle breathes an indignant spirit is obvious to everyone even on the first perusal... since Paul then saw the whole Galatian people in a state of excitement, a flame kindled against their church, and the edifices shakened and tottering to its fall, filled with the mixed feelings of just anger and despondence... he writes the epistle" ~John Chrysostom
- "The epistle to the Galatians is my epistle; I have betrothed myself to it; it is my Katie (my wife)" ~Martin Luther
- "Paul's letter to the Galatians is one of the most fiercest and polemical writings in the Bible. It begins with a denunciation of those to whom it was written and of unnamed trouble makers (1:6-9), it dismisses another group of Christians as "false brothers", makes snide remarks about the leaders of the Jerusalem Church, (2:6) and accuses Peter of hypocrisy adn deceit (2:13-14). After two somewhat more restrained chapters, the tone of urgent pleading and denunciation is resumed (5:2-4, 7-10), including a rather crude and blackly humorous aside (5:12). And the final paragraph cannot resist a parting swipe at those behind the problems and challenges which the letter seeks to address (6:12-13)." ~James Dunn
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
In his book entitled "Christ and Time" Oscar Cullman uses the analogy of World War II to help understand the events of the Eschaton. With D-day being the decisive day/battle of the war and V-day simply the culmination of what has already been done at Normandy. He writes:
"The hope of the final victory is so much more vivid because of the unshakeably firm conviction that the battle that decides the victory has already taken place."
Another quote by William Manson also helps our understanding:
"When we turn to the New Testament, we pass from the climate of prediction to that of fulfillment. The things which God had foreshadowed by the lips of His holy prophets He has now, in part at least, brought to accomplishment...The supreme sign of the Eschaton is the Resurrection of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. The Resurrection of Jesus is not simply a sign which God has granted in favour of His son, but is the inauguration, the entrance into history, of the times of the End."
Also, he writes "Christians, therefore have entered through the Christ into the new age...What had been predicted in Holy Scripture as to happen to Israel or to man in the Eschaton has happened to and in Jesus. The foundation-stone of the New Creation has come into position."
Saturday, December 01, 2007
This series (New Testament Theology, NTT published by Cambridge, Series Editor James D.G. Dunn) has been a successful endeavor of bringing out the various aspects of the theological threads that are found in the particular writings of the New Testament. It has (by its own admission) sought & remedied the gap that is often found in conventional or traditional style commentaries i.e. to bring to light, the author’s (often too marginalized) dense theological inferences that seem more often than not, to get brushed over or even in some cases sad to say, not even mentioned. Theology should always complete the circle in “biblical exegesis”. Whether throughout the interpretive task highlighting the overtones, or adding as a synthesis the correlative understanding. Either way, the importance cannot be overstated living in an age of post enlightened criticisms.
Bauckham, in this book demonstrates the art of handling the apocalypse as a mass treatise of theological density. He weaves together rather masterfully the distinguished nuances of the book, to name a few:
The structure and composition
The emphasis of a theocentric perception
A high view of christology
A pneumatic prophecy