Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The New Perspective

Was Paul preaching about salvation by works vs. grace or about something else entirely?

I'm not sure what I think about the new perspective on Paul and I'm not even sure I understand all of the implications. Is there legitimate support for the view that Paul is talking about Jews boasting in their own election and not as trying to earn salvation by merit? I think some of the arguments proposed seem to be compelling, but I don't know much of the other side. Well, in a way I guess all I know is the other side, the traditional reading of Paul, I just don't know much of the response to the NPP. Of course, I know where there are tons of resources to read about it - and I have read a few - but I wanted some opinions on what you all think of the perspective.


jeremy zach said...

In relation to the New Perspective on Paul, I have heard that Jesus' teachings override Paul's teachings.

Here is my brief summary of Paul:
A. Paul "starts" with the risen Lord, but reflection on Jesus' death and resurrection & the gift of the Spirit to the Gentiles causes him to rethink God's saving activity &the nature of God's people

B. Law is no longer central (to defining God's people) but rather the realities brought about by the new age (Spirit, life, etc.)

C. The broad framework of cosmic re-creation on the one hand; and the particular framework of the fulfillment of promises to Israel on the other provide the context and setting for understanding the life and death of Jesus Christ

D. Paul uses the pattern of Christ's death and resurrection to speak of the realities inwhich Christians participate, partly because Christians "reduplicate" this pattern intheir own lives but also because Christ's death and his resurrection inaugurated thenew age in which Christians now live.

E. This broader framework provides the context for understanding the church - it is not just a collection of those who believed, but the people of the Messiah, of the new creation, of the Spirit, of life; the new people are created and empowered by the Spirit in the eschatological age. This eschatological shift is illustrated by its Christology: fulfillment in Christ (2 Cor 1:18-20), Eschatology: shift in the ages; future hope in Christ; God's ultimate triumph (1 Cor 10:11; Rom 16:25-26), and Mission: "apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom 11:13; Gal 1:16)

F. Hence Christian conduct comes from the power operative in the new age (powers = Spirit and life); the “fruit of the power;” to set the mind on the Spirit is “life and peace”

Also I have found this framework helpful when trying to interpret Paul.
1. Paul is & remains a Jew and virtually all of his thought is structured within the context of Judaism

*He doesn’t through out the past but connects the work of Christ especially the cross and resurrection.

2. The initial fulfillment of Jewish eschatological hopes in Jesus Christ provides the basic and fundamental framework within which to understand Paul's thought

*Things that are hoped for

3. As an apostle, Paul's commitment is, above all, to the Gentile mission

*God has revisited and brought birth to the gentiles and wants them back in Jerusalem to worship, gentiles and Jews. All the world!

Jake C. said...

Dude you are a genius, its taken me a while just to read enough to understand what you are talking about with Paul's theology. looks like you're pretty dead on.