Thursday 26 November 2015

Michael Gorman on Paul in One Sentence

I’ve been preparing for a session on Paul, and have been rereading Michael Gorman’s introductory overview of Paul’s theology, Reading Paul (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008). His opening chapter has a wonderful one-sentence summary in which he offers what he calls ‘a glimpse of Paul’s grand scheme’, which goes like this:

‘Paul preached, and then explained in various pastoral, community-forming letters, a narrative, apocalyptic, theopolitical gospel (1) in continuity with the story of Israel and (2) in distinction to the imperial gospel of Rome (and analogous powers) that was centered on God’s crucified and exalted Messiah Jesus, whose incarnation, life and death by crucifixion were validated and vindicated by God in his resurrection and exaltation as Lord, which inaugurated the new age or new creation in which all members of this diverse but consistently covenantally dysfunctional human race who respond in self-abandoning and self-committing faith thereby participate in Christ’s death and resurrection and are (1) justified, or restored to right covenantal relationship with God and with others; (2) incorporated into a particular manifestation of Christ the Lord’s body on earth, the church, which is an alternative community to the status-quo human communities committed to and governed by Caesar (and analogous rulers) and by values contrary to the gospel; and (3) infused both individually and corporately by the Spirit of God’s Son so that they may lead “bifocal” lives, focused back on Christ’s first coming and ahead to his second, consisting of Christlike, cruciform (cross-shaped) (1) faith and (2) hope toward God and (3) love toward both neighbors and enemies (a love marked by peaceableness and inclusion), in joyful anticipation of (1) the return of Christ, (2) the resurrection of the dead to eternal life, and (3) the renewal of the entire creation.’

Michael J. Gorman, Reading Paul (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008), 8.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The test today, as it always has been, is fidelity to Christ and regard to the truth of the Apostle Paul's ministry, which, to the Lord's sorrow, so many churches have thought optional.