Justification by faith at the end of the age: another example from Galatians

Separation from Pagan Greeks I argued last time that Paul's doctrine of justification by faith rather than works of Law—regardless of what we think of the New Perspective on Paul—performed an essential social function: to separate communities that would inherit authority in the next age from communities that would inherit destruction at the coming of … Continue reading Justification by faith at the end of the age: another example from Galatians

Justification by faith: a seaworthy eschatological vessel

As is the case in many of his letters, Paul uses his opening words to the Galatian churches to summarize his message. But for a letter so devoted to the topic of justification by faith, Paul's introductory note rings a surprisingly apocalyptic tenor. More surprising still, neither faith nor justification is mentioned. Grace to you … Continue reading Justification by faith: a seaworthy eschatological vessel

Which nations are the nations?

Christ's possession, judgement, and reign over the nations (τὰ ἔθνη) constituted a central eschatological hope among the early Christians. They believed God was acting to bring about the obedience of the nations. Across the empire pagan Greeks were "turning from idols to serve the living and true God and await his son from heaven" (1 … Continue reading Which nations are the nations?

Romans: theology or history?

The three-horizons Most traditional theologically-focused interpretive constructs identify only one eschatological horizon in the New Testament: the end of history. According to these schema, almost all eschatological data are to be situated at the end of time. Andrew Perriman's narrative-historical method of interpretation, on the other hand, identifies three temporally-distinct eschatological horizons upon which the … Continue reading Romans: theology or history?

A (Brief) Case Against Purgatorial Universalism

A growing number of theologians argue that Hell should be understood as a place of cleansing rather than as a place of damnation or annihilation. They insist that God's judgement and wrath are the mechanisms of universal reconciliation—the instruments of God's love. This view should be rejected for a few primary reasons. Purification or Destruction? … Continue reading A (Brief) Case Against Purgatorial Universalism

Eschatological Gentiles

Paula Fredriksen's impressive recent book, The Pagans' Apostle, prioritizes apocalyptic as the interpretive frame through which to read the letters of Paul. Her Paul is not the innovative theologian of justification by faith as says the Old Perspective. Nor is he the ethnic iconoclast, the prophet breaking down the barriers between Jew and Gentile, as say many … Continue reading Eschatological Gentiles