Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peter Enns, "Did Paul have a High View of Scripture?"

As always, I tip my hat to Peter Enns.
Yes, of course he did. He was a Jew trained in the traditions of his people. In fact, he had such a high view of scripture, for a while there he was trying to put to death those annoying Christ-followers who undermined it.
That high view of scripture was not abandoned when Paul became a follower of Jesus himself. It was just transformed and utterly refocused.
Paul had a high view of scripture. It’s just doesn’t look like what conservative Evangelicals insist on when they talk about a high view of scripture.
For Paul, his scripture–the story of Israel–come to its conclusion in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the creation of a new people of God made up of Jew and Gentile on equal footing. But that conclusion could only be seen in hindsight. It wasn’t obvious. That’s why Paul had to argue his case, and, as I mentioned in my previous post, Paul had to make some deft moves to bring Israel’s story into the story of Jesus.
What we’ve got here is, for modern Evangelicals, a bit of a paradox: Paul no doubt deeply respected Israel’s story as God’s Word, but that Word now had to be re-read, because of what God did in and through Jesus did not follow the playbook.
A messiah who died and then rose from the dead. Two problems here:
1. The messianic hope of Judaism was basically (it’s a more complicated than this) of a king like the good old days; a military leader who would rid the land of its current squatters, the Romans, so the people of God could get their independence back.
2. This messiah would set an example for God’s people by living according to God’s Law, thus ushering in a new age of peace and communion with God.
Land and Law. These were connected. Israel lost the land to the Babylonians in the 6th century BC because of their failure to be faithful to God’s Law. Hence, to get it back–I mean actually get it back fully, not just be guests of the Romans–faithfulness to the Law was a big deal.
For the rest, click HERE.


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