Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Suffering Son of Man

In Mark 8:31, Jesus astonishes his disciples by telling them that he as the Son of Man (Messiah) must suffer and die yet rise three days later.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. - Mark 8:31

This concept of linking the Son of Man (Daniel 7) with suffering and death (Isaiah 53) was astonishing unique. Rikki Watts writes:

"On the other hand, although the suffering element of Isa. 53 was widely ascribed, sometimes vicariously to Moses (Mekilta, b. Sotah) and possibly to an eschatological figure (Testament of Benjamin), this did not extend to either Daniel's son of man or the Messiah, who evoked instead glory and vindication. Jesus' predicating his messianic Son of Man identity with Isa. 53's suffering was apparently utterly unexpected, as was the consequent notion that Israel's peace would come through his bearing, even to death, the Deuteronomic wounds and sickness of idolatrous Israel's exilic judgment." [1]

So let us take this weekend to marvel at our Lord and Savior, who took upon the curse of Israel and thus the world's.

[1] pg 182 from Commentary on the NT Use of the OT edited by Carson and Beale

Friday, March 14, 2008

Witherington on The New Perspective on Paul

Ben Witherington has posted on his blog an article, entitled "The New Perspective on Paul and the Law" from his forthcoming book on NT Theology and Ethics, called The Indelible Image. I found his article pretty informative on his view of justification and the final judgment by which he sees moral apostasy as having a negative affect on someone's final salvation. Witherington writes:

"This is why the stringent warnings we noted about those Christians who could be excluded from the Dominion of God at the end for persisting in a certain course of disobedience such that they could be characterized as adulterers, thieves and the like, must be taken absolutely seriously. Final salvation, while it cannot be said to be caused by works of any Law in Paul’s thinking, can indeed be negatively affected in the end by persisting in sin such that a moral apostasy (or some other sort of apostasy) is committed, according to several key Pauline texts. All of this helps us to understand the ethical seriousness of Paul’s moral remarks and why he so often offers up such strong imperatives to his converts."

But I was perplexed in reading Witherington's understanding of Sander's, Dunn's, and Wright's view of the New Paul Perspective (NPP), especially as it relates to Judaism. Witherington seems to think that the proponents of NPP don't believe that Judaism required people to be obedient for salvation, but they just had to be in God's covenant in order to saved. He writes:

" In short, there are severe problems with the analysis of Paul in the New Perspective, whether we are thinking of the analysis of Sanders, Dunn, or even Wright. Paul believed that works and obedience in Judaism indeed affected righteousness, life, and salvation, the question is whether he carried such a belief forward into his Christian faith. If the old caricature of Judaism as a graceless and legalistic religion is certainly false, the New Perspective does not seem to have adequately represented the way Paul contrasts what is true in Christ and what he believed was true under the Mosaic Law."

I don't think this is correct. I believe NPP proponents have tried to maintain the balance of grace and obedience in their notion of "covenantal nomism". Dunn states:

"It is important to note...that Sanders did not characterize Judaism solely as a "covenantal" religion. The key phrase he chose was the double emphasis, "covenantal nomism". And Sanders made clear that the second emphasis was not to be neglected. The Torah/law was given to Israel to be obeyed, an integral part of the covenant relationship, and that obedience was necessary if Israel's covenant status was to be maintained. Even if obedience did not earn God's grace as such, was not a means to "get into" the covenant, obedience was necessary to maintain one's position in the covenant, to "stay in" the covenant. So defined, Deuteronomy can be seen as the most fundamental statement of Israel's "covenantal nomism". Given the traditional emphasis on Judaism's "nomism" it hardly surprising that Sanders should have placed greater emphasis on the "covenantal" element in the twin emphasis. But in his central summary statements he clearly recognized that both emphases were integral to Judaism's self understanding" [1]

HT (Denny Burk)

[1] Quote taken from Don Garlington's article "The New Perspective on Paul: An Appraisal Two Decades on". This is a must read article if you want a nuanced understanding of the NPP.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Doug Moo: Fresh Thoughts on Justifcation in Paul and James

A couple weeks ago, Doug Moo gave a lecture at Denver Seminary on justification entitled "Fresh Thoughts on Justification in Paul and James" by which he tries to deal with the tension between justification by faith and final judgment according to works.

I found it interesting to hear Moo's changing view of justification, having an "already and not yet" aspect by which the "not yet" includes a direct judgment based on our faith. This moves Moo away from the traditional reformed-view (i.e. John Piper) by which our works or faith are only evidences that we are truly in Christ rather then having any direct connection in God's judgment. On the other hand, Moo's changing view moves him closer to people like Mark Seifrid or Simon Gathercole, who see a direct relationship to human subjectivity (faith or good works) and God's judgment with the differences being that Moo doesn't believe that we are evaluated based on our works but only through our faith.

I also found it interesting to hear a seasoned Pauline scholar say that he is still refining his thoughts justification.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Rockets Play Day 2008 Part 2

Mission: "Getting High Fives"

1. Me and Landry - Mission Accomplished

2. Me and Novak - Mission Failed

3. Ben and Landry - Mission Accomplished

4. Ben and Tmac - Mission Accomplished

Ben and I are so COOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Rockets Play Day 2008 Part 1

Rocket's Play Day 2008 consisted of:

1) Me on the Rocket's court

2)Ben shooting some 3s

3) nachos

4) Me and Shane

5) Getting Landry's autograph