Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Saving Righteousness of God 5

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite theologians. When you read him it is obvious that he loves truth and desires unity within the church. I am currently reading his book The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Wipf and Stock, 2007). Today I will be taking a look at chapter 4.

Incorporated Righteousness

The doctrine of imputation is a touchy subject as is evident from the debates that have taken place over centuries. The debates have arisen again in recent days due to the rise of the 'New Perspective on Paul'.

Bird begins the chapter by providing a short history of the doctrine. It is interesting, as Bird points out, that imputation was not as central to justification to some among the reformers. It is easy to assume that there is one view that all the 'reformers' ascribed to. Nevertheless, many in the reformed camp have seen imputation as the defining mark of justification and protestant theology. Bird even refers to it as the 'boundary marker' to distinguish between Protestants and Catholics. Even more recently proponents of the New Perspective and some Evangelicals have questioned the validity of the imputation of Christ's righteousness. Mark Seifrid, in particular, has pointed out that talking about imputation can sometimes detract from Paul's Christ-centered theology. He says that it is better to talk about our righteousness being found in Christ, crucified and risen.

Bird then goes on to clarify the debate. He refuses to label all those who refuse to use the language of imputation as legalistic since this is an over-simplistic way of looking at the debate; he also refuses to side with those who consider a denial of imputation a denial of the gospel. "To equate the gospel as consisting of the doctrine of imputed righteousness makes about as much sense as saying that the gospel is the pre-tribulation rapture" (p. 69). He reminds us that the language of imputation is not explicitly found in the New Testament but that it is an appropriate way of restating the forensic nature of justification. Bird will now set out to show is that believers are righteous because they are incorporated in Christ.

Bird looks at some of the key texts which are used to demonstrate imputed righteousness. At the end of the day he says that the usual texts never come out and explicitly teach imputation. Rather, believer's are righteous by virtue of their union with Christ in his death and resurrection. The resurrection was Christ's vindication and it is in this that believer's share by faith. The righteousness that they possess is a result of being united to "the Righteous One." Of particular interest in this section was his discussion of the debate between Piper and Garlington on the word Logizomai.

Bird says that it makes much more sense to speak of incorporated righteousness since imputed righteousness can give the idea that righteousness is somehow abstracted from Christ and given to the believer. Incorporated righteousness has to do with union with Christ and cannot be separated from the Savior himself.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Saving Righteousness of God 4

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite theologians. When you read him it is obvious that he loves truth and desires unity within the church. I am currently reading his book The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Wipf and Stock, 2007). Today I will be taking a look at chapter 3.

Raised for Our Justification

In this chapter Bird is examining the relationship between resurrection and justification. He laments the fact that most of the time the resurrection is nothing more than God's approval of the work of the cross. (To me the equivalent of this would be to limit the cross work to God's disapproval of violence. Sure it's there, and it's important, but that by no means exhausts its meaning.)

Bird goes on the highlight some attempts that have been made to link resurrection to justification. He begins with Walter Kunneth. He believes that in the cross God dealt with sin and death and he overcomes them with new life in the resurrection. At the same time he closely links the verdict that arises from the righteousness added to the believer and the righteousness within the believer. Bird says that this actually detracts from his thesis because although justification and sanctification arise from union with Christ one cannot be subsumed under the other. Markus Barth grounds the believer's justification in both the death and resurrection of Jesus. He says that Christ's resurrection was the justification of God, Christ, and the sinner. According to Richard Gaffin the resurrection removes the sentence of death and the verdict of condemnation over believers. The resurrection is the justification of Christ and believers participate in that verdict. Mark Seifrid says that the gospel centers on the resurrection of Christ. "Christ's death and resurrection contain a verdict - condemnation and vindication...The death and resurrection of Christ is God's verdict against the ungodly, and simultaneously his vindication of them" (p. 47-8).

Next Bird shows how justification and resurrection are connected in three Pauline passages. In 1 Corinthians 15:17 Paul says that without the resurrection there would be no forgiveness of sins; in other words, the cross has no atoning significance without the resurrection. In Romans 1-5 the gospel that Paul proclaims has life as its goal; in Jewish thought vindication and life were linked in that vivification was the evidence that one had been justified. Rom 4.25 is an important text for Bird as he sees it as demonstrating that justification is actually caused by the resurrection. In the death of Christ God's wrath is propitiated and in the resurrection God's declaration of vindication is enacted. Lastly, Bird examines 1 Timothy 3.16; quoting N.T. Wright he says, "It is likely that 'he was justified' is an oblique way of referring to the resurrection: Jesus was 'vindicated' by the living God - not least as Messiah - after being condemned and killed" (p.54). The eschatological verdict had taken place in Christ and believer's can participate in that verdict.

Bird briefly looks at the theme of resurrection and the final judgment. Just as our present verdict of justification is based on the resurrection so is the verdict on the final day.

Bird has done the church a great favor in writing this chapter. We would do well to make the connection between justification and resurrection. Resurrection is not merely a proof that the cross was effective but actually causes our justification before God.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Saving Righteousness of God 3

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite theologians. When you read him it is obvious that he loves truth and desires unity within the church. I am currently reading his book The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Wipf and Stock, 2007). Today I will be taking a look at the second half of chapter 2.

The second half of this chapter looks like it's going to be a little bit more complex. I'll give it a shot though. Bird begins by discussing Jewish particularism and righteousness. If you have had any exposure to the work of the New Perspective (especially N.T. Wright) you would know that it is popular to define 'righteousness' as 'covenant membership'. Bird sees the importance of the sociological dimensions of righteousness but think that it cannot be limited to covenant membership.

According to Bird the reformers did recognize the corporate dimension of justification but this was lost later on in Lutheran and Reformed dogmatics. The emphasis became the salvation of the individual. This began to change with the rise of biblical theology as a separate discipline from dogmatics. More people sought to understand Paul in his historical setting. F.C. Baur was one who saw justification in traditional categories yet saw Galatians as Paul refuting the errors of Jewish Christians and Romans as Paul's attempt to deal with Jewish 'particularistic' tendencies. Wrede and Schweitzer agreed with Baur that "justification was formulated in response to the Judaizing crisis but disagreed that 'righteousness' by faith was the center of Paul's theology" (p.20). For W.D. Davis the Torah was Israel's way of remaining separate from the pagan world. For Paul, however, it was not being "in Israel" that mattered but being "in Christ". Christ, instead of Torah, was the center of Paul's life. Munck believed that Paul's focus was on the fact that God had an ordained plan for the gentiles in salvation-history which was to prompt the Jewish people to find eschatological salvation in Christ.

So why does Bird take us on this little journey through biblical scholarship? He is showing us that there was rising concern in biblical studies that Paul wasn't just dealing with the question of how individuals are saved and was dealing with problems of Jewish exclusivity. However, at this point no one ever really made the explicit link that justification was the solution to particularism.

This paved the way for Krister Stendahl to give a more explicit link between 'righteousness' and the inclusion of Gentiles. E.P. Sanders built on this work but emphasizes 'covenant'. The problem he saw with Judaism is that is was not Christianity. It was a matter of eschatology. In come N.T. Wright and James Dunn. They agreed that Judaism was not a legalistic religion but Paul's problem with Judaism is that it was too nationalistic. Justification is about covenant membership apart from the works that marked out the Jewish people. Although Dunn and Wright do not totally exclude the soteriological dimensions of justification some have done so. From Baur on the dividing line seems to be those who root the framework of Paul's thought in apocalypticism and those who root it in salvation-history. Bird offers a view that puts these two together. "The covenantal horizon means that we cannot lose sight of the question of who are God's people and how are they marked out as they await their final vindication. Similarly the apocalyptic horizon demands that the coming act of salvation spells out liberation from sin, death, and evil as well as the rectification of sinners and transgressors. The question that confronts us is: who are the people of God and in what economy shall they be vindicated?" (p. 32). It seems that Bird's aim is to put and end to those who drive a wedge between the soteriological and social dimensions of justification.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Saving RIghteousness of God 2

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite theologians. When you read him it is obvious that he loves truth and desires unity within the church. I am currently reading his book The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Wipf and Stock, 2007). Today I will be taking a look at the first half of chapter 2.

In the second chatper Bird enters into the ring of debates that surround the word 'righteousness'. He helpfully points out that we should speak of the doctrine of 'righteousness' rather than 'justification'.

In discussing the long-standing debate between Protestants and Catholics between imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness he says that both groups fall under criticism. When Catholics point to imputed righteousness as a 'legal fiction' they misunderstand that the ground of justification are very much real, namely, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Protestants on the other hand (and I imagine Bird saying this with a smirk on his face) need to keep in mind that the only time that the New Testament uses the phrase 'faith alone' is in James (the book that Luther didn't think belonged in the NT I might add) where he is discussing that faith without works is dead. He also wonders aloud (or in writ) whether or not it really matters whether we refer to imputed righteousness or imparted righteousness if we are speaking in forensic terms.

As I have said before, I am am no scholar. So at this point I got a little lost in the discussion of whether or not righteousness is relational or the adherence to a norm. After a short discussion that went right over my head Bird concludes that one does not have to choose between these two options. God relates to his people through the covenant and that provides the norm to which one must adhere to (I think that's what he says). Nice!

Bird then discusses whether righteousness is forensic or transformative. When it comes to 'the righteousness of God' he sees it as almost synonymous to his saving power. Thus, he goes for the 'subjective genitive'. He notes that in some places 'righteousness' does not refer to the action of God itself but the basis of that action. For Bird righteousness is the basis for all of God's saving acts, not just justification. When it comes to the word which means "to justify" Bird sees it as forensic. However, this doesn't mean that one can be justified and live an 'un-transformed' life. God gives the justified his Spirit so that they can live consistent lives of righteousness.

Next Bird discusses the concept of 'covenant' and how it relates to righteousness but I think I'm going to go watch TV with my bride. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Saving Righteousness of God 1

Michael Bird has quickly become one of my favorite theologians. When you read him it is obvious that he loves truth and desires unity within the church. I am currently reading his book The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective (Wipf and Stock, 2007). Today I will be taking a brief look at the introduction.


Wrestling with Paul

Bird begins the book by giving an overview of his journey with Paul. His goal in this project is the unity of the church. Bird comes from a reformed background (and he has not abandoned his past) and has thoroughly examined the so-called "new perspective on Paul". His conviction is that the two are not mutually exclusive but actually belong together. Both sides can learn from one another.

One thing that is very exciting about Bird's writings is that he has spent so much time studying the relationship between the resurrection of Jesus and our justification. Many people have seen these as virtually unrelated. Resurrection is just a sign that the cross work of Jesus was effective; the resurrection, for them, has no real saving significance of its own.

Bird has also spent a considerable amount of time mulling over the New Perspective on Paul (just see his extensive bibliography). He appreciates many aspects of the NPP but he doesn't remain uncritical of it. As he says he hasn't caught the "NPP bug" in any considerable way.

Of particular interest to some of the reformed fold will be his discussions on 'imputation'. Bird suggests a different term, namely, 'incorporated righteousness'. It is great to see, also, that he appreciates the 'social' dimensions of justification that proponents of the NPP point out but he shuns the attempt to squeeze all 'justification' language into social categories. For Bird, in other words, justification is both vertical and horizontal (though, predominantly vertical). "Justification is the act whereby God creates a new people, with a new status, in a new covenant, as a foretaste of the new age" (p. 4). Well put.

What Saint Paul Really Said 13

This year as I focus my reading on the Apostle Paul I am seeking to understand better the writings of N.T. Wright. So I am doing a chapter-by-chapter summary of his book, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997). Today we are looking at chapter 10.

Paul, Jesus and Christians Origins

Did Paul invent the Christianity that we know today? This is the question that Wright seeks to answer in this final chapter. He points to the author 'A.N. Wilson' as one who answers in the affirmative. For Wilson, Paul had departed from the Jesus of history and made him into a presence of divine love which had universal appeal. Wilson practically reinvents Paul altogether. He claims that he was a collaborator with Rome and developed his religion from paganism. Paul believed, according to Wilson, that the end of the world was imminent and his job was to get as many people as possible follow this new religion before it happened.

Problems with the Portrait

Although some of Wilson's points can be appreciated the bulk of what he says is questionable.

Saul's Background

Wilson believes that since Paul had to seek the authority of the chief priests for his 'persecuting mission in Damascus' that he was a collaborator with Rome. However, Paul was a zealous Shammite Pharisee who had no authority of his own (and had to seek it from the high priests) to act in this way. "The author of Galatians 1 and Philippians 3 would have laughed a long, hollow laugh at the thought of being a collaborator, in the pay of the high priests."

Judaism and Hellenism

Wilson sees Judaism as some sort of 'tribe' religion and Hellenism as the 'universal' religion, the one that everyone knew. So, he claims, Paul took the message of Jesus and transformed it from a Jewish one to a Hellenistic one that would would be 'relevant' to all.

The world, however, does not need a non-Jewish message. The creator God had chosen the Israel as the way of dealing with sin and evil in the world. As Wright says in a later book, this is God's message that is through-Israel-for-the-world.

The way Wright sees it, all attempts to show that Paul derived his message from paganism have revealed themselves to be failures.

Cross and Resurrection

According to Wright, Wilson has failed to grasp the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. These events fulfilled God's ancient purposes for the world; they were not a "matter of mystical speculation."

Wilson's portrait of Paul leaves no room for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. This was not an event to look back on but one to look forward to. For Paul, however, the resurrection of Jesus was the great eschatological event that caused all of God's ancient promises to come true. Paul was living in the first days of God's new world order.

Paul's view of the cross and resurrection were rooted in Judaism. Wilson, on the other hand, starts with Hellenism and causes "the picture to fall apart." Wilson claims that Paul's view of the cross is incomprehensible. However, when it is rooted in the Jewish scriptures, the cross was the moment when God's (representative) Messiah dealt with sin and death. Paul understood these events in a Jewish context.

Wilson tries to hang on to the eschatological dimension of Paul; this, however, makes no sense in Hellenistic mystery religion. For Paul, the cross and resurrection were the events that inaugerated the Age to Come and God would one day complete the work he began.

Jesus and God

Wilson supposes that any attempt to place Jesus and God side by side is dabbling in paganism. But according to Wright, the passages which do place Jesus and God side by side are strong statements of Jewish monotheism with Jesus placed firmly in the middle of it. Ironically, it is went Paul is opposing(not standing with) paganism that he makes these statements.

A Distorting Image

Wilson's portrait of Paul fails on the historical, theological and exegetical level. He not understood that Paul believed that through Christ God what fulfilling his ancient covenant that he had made with Abraham. Wilson does not make much of application either yet he retains the sense that there is something great Paul's writings.

Wright then seeks to answer the question, "what is the relation between Paul, Jesus and the origins of Christianity?"

From Jesus to Paul - and Beyond

The answer to that question relies on what one thinks of Jesus. Neither Jesus or Paul was preaching a timeless message about how people could be saved but believed that they were participating in the fulfillment of God's ancient promises. Jesus and Paul cannot be pitted against each other but must be seen as playing a role within God's drama.

Jesus was the one through whom God would accomplish his purposes to Israel. He announced that God's kingdom was arriving, even though it didn't look like what many had expected. Through his work Israel's God would liberate his people and bring salvation to the world. Through his actions, Jesus embodied YHWH's return to Zion as judge and redeemer. He believed that he would die in obedience to the will of God and that he would be vindicated by being raised from the dead before the final day. All this makes perfect sense within the world of first-century Judaism.

When we look at Paul we cannot look for a mere parallel to Jesus but continuity. Paul believed that he was called to proclaim to the world that Israel's God has brought his saving plan to it's climax in Jesus. He was calling people to give allegiance to the world's true Lord. For Paul and Jesus it was not a matter of 'mere religion' but showing people what it meant to be truly human, to experience life.

There is coherence between Paul and Jesus. "Jesus was bringing Israel's history to its climax; Paul was living in light of that climax." This is what matters. God had acted in Christ to fulfill his saving promises and inaugurate the kingdom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jesus is Lord IS Good News

Jason Hood has an excellent post where he critique's the idea that "Jesus is Lord" is not gospel:

"Michael Horton, for instance, is critical of the idea of featuring a gospel proclamation of, “Jesus is Lord”: “There are many passages in the Bible that teach us that ‘Jesus is Lord’ is not in fact good news.” A statement like this can be found in interviews with Horton on the web; he particularly goes after N. T. Wright. Greg Gilbert of IX Marks Ministries recently published a small, readable book on the definition of the gospel.

“[T]o simply say that ‘Jesus is Lord’ is really not good news at all if we don’t explain how Jesus is not just Lord but also Savior. Lordship implies the right to judge, and we’ve already seen that God intends to judge evil. Therefore, to a sinner in rebellion against God and against his Messiah, the proclamation that Jesus has become Lord is terrible news.” What is the Gospel?, 105.

This is not untrue, but we must be careful not to push Jesus’ lordship to the margins of gospel definition. Gilbert actually risks doing just that when he titles the section just quoted, “Jesus is Lord Is Not the Gospel.” There are two problems, as I see it, with that language.

(1) By saying “Jesus is Lord is not good news” on the basis of Gilbert’s logic that Jesus’s lordship is not universally good news, we run the danger of making our definition of gospel subjective. God’s gospel is always the gospel, whether I find it to be good news or not.

Many of the people who heard the good news preached by Isaiah, the Psalmist and the Israelite women, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, and on through church history, did not find it to be good news, either because they rejected it, or because it was too good to be true, or because they were in crummy moods and stuck on their earthly circumstances. But the good news was of course still good news.

(2) My hope is that these brothers do not mean that we are to limit “gospel” to a description of salvation apart from Jesus’ lordship. But some do. And a phrase like “Jesus is lord is not the gospel” runs the risk of picking and choosing what parts of the gospel you’ll take, and which you’ll leave off.

We cannot really substitute “Jesus is Lord” with “Jesus is Savior,” “Jesus redeems,” or “Jesus saves.” Many passages teach that those who reject his lordship in word and deed will prove to have been saying “Jesus saves” in vain. So even “Jesus saves” is not always good news, in the sense that it is terrible news for those who reject him and his lordship. But the Gospel is still the Good News.

Picking up on Gilbert’s title (which is just one glitch, I think, in an otherwise helpful book): in the sense that “Jesus is Lord is not the Gospel” (because it’s not the whole story), “Jesus saves” is not the gospel, either. But phrasing it that way is unhelpful and misleading!"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The King's Catechism 1

In an effort to 'know the truth' better I have decided that I will try to construct a catechism. I really have no idea how to do this but I figure I'll give it a shot. I will be looking at other catechisms and base mine loosely on those. I am not sure how long it will be as I am really just doing this as a devotional exercise (as long as it is helpful I suppose). Here are the questions and answers for week 1 (If you have any other scriptural references to suggest then feel free to suggest them. Most of mine will be from the writings of Paul as I have been focusing my reading on his letters this year.).

1. Q. What is your only hope of salvation?
A. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom. 1.16-17; 10.9

2. Q. What is this gospel?
A. Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, the one who was promised in the scriptures; he was put to death by the principalities and powers but God raised him and seated him at his right hand as Lord of the world. Thus, God’s new world order has begun. Through his shameful death God has been victorious because now our sins can be forgiven, the very means by which we can be liberated from this present evil age. This Jesus will return again to judge the living and the dead and bring times of refreshing for all those who belong to him.
Rom 1.2-4; 2 Tim 2.8; 1 Cor. 15.1-5; Gal. 1.4; Col. 2.13-15; Acts 2.23, 36; 28.30-31

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Saint Paul Really Said 12

This year as I focus my reading on the Apostle Paul I am seeking to understand better the writings of N.T. Wright. So I am doing a chapter-by-chapter summary of his book, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997). Today we are looking at chapter 9.

Paul's Gospel Then and Now

Wright starts off the chapter by stressing the importance of understanding Paul on his own terms and not projecting our own thoughts, and systems of thought, on to him. He demonstrates what sort of damage this can do by using a couple examples. We should try to see what it is that Paul is actually saying then, "take the exciting risk of trying to think through ways in which what he actually says may have something to say today and tomorrow." Wright applies this to three areas:

1) The Gospel: For Wright the heart of the gospel is that Jesus is Lord of the cosmos. He suggests that when we do this the dichotomy between announcing the gospel and 'social action' disappears. "Unless we are prepared to contradict ourselves with every breath we take, we cannot make the announcement without seeking to bring that lordship toe bear over every aspect of the world."

2) Justification: "The gospel creates, not a bunch of individual Christians, but a community." For Wright this doctrine should promote more unity than it does division. He uses Galatians 2 as his 'proof'. He emphasizes believing in Jesus over being in exact agreement over what justification means. Wright also emphasizes that holiness is the appropriate behavior of the justified and that the unity that this doctrine brings to Jew and Gentile shows the 'powers' that their time is up.

3) The Redefinition of 'God: Wright points out that people have differing views of God. When people say they believe in God it is not obvious which God they mean. Christians ought to bring the good news that there is a loving God who is active within history who is made known through Jesus and his Spirit. Christians cannot take the word 'God' for granted. Also, if God's ultimate covenant plan is the renewal of the cosmos Christians should be working to anticipate that future in the present. "They are signs of hope for a world that groans in travail, waiting for its promised liberation."

Monday, May 3, 2010

What Saint Paul Really Said 11

This year as I focus my reading on the Apostle Paul I am seeking to understand better the writings of N.T. Wright. So I am doing a chapter-by-chapter summary of his book, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997). Today we are looking at chapter 8.

God’s Renewed Humanity

Gentiles: They lived in a way contrary to the way God intended human beings to exist.

Jews: This was Israel’s vocation but they were failing to attain it without the Messiah.

In other words, Paul challenged both Jew and Gentile and articulated a new way to be human to his converts.

The Centre of Renewed Humanity: Worship

The centre of this new humanity was the worship of the one true God revealed in Jesus the Messiah through the Holy Spirit. Paul’s desire was to see idolatry replaced with true worship.

Commenting on Romans 1, Wright says that Paul gives a fairly standard Jewish critique of the Gentiles . They choose to worship creation rather than the one true God and they, therefore, cease to reflect the image of God. However, he then turns to the Jew and points out that they cannot boast in their ‘Jewish-ness’ since they themselves are still in exile and share in the plight of humanity. God, however, is creating a new humanity who worships the one true God in fulfillment of his ancient promises.

The Goal of Renewed Humanity: Resurrection

Again, Wright shows how Paul’s views of resurrection challenged both Paganism and Judaism. Paul saw the future resurrection of believers as a physical reality that offered the reality to which the confused ideas of ‘immortality’ in paganism pointed. On the other end, Jewish belief in the resurrection was bound up with the Jewish hope that they would be vindicated as God’s people and the Gentiles would receive judgment. However, Paul saw sin and death as the real enemies of God that would be destroyed in the end. Moreover, Paul saw that God had already acted in Christ so that, “we are living in the first days after the great act of God within history to defeat sin and death and liberate the whole cosmos.”

The Transformation of Renewed Humanity: Holiness

When Jew and Gentile come to worship God they are transformed in the present. All those who are in Christ become holy through the Spirit (but not perfect). Christians still eagerly wait for what is yet to come. This holiness does not come through following the Torah as Paul once did but it is a matter of dying and rising with Christ. “The death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah are not, for Paul, merely events in the past, however climactic. They are the foundation of his, and the church’s, daily existence.”

The Coherence of Renewed Humanity: Love

Love is not just a fuzzy feeling for Paul. Love happens when God’s new humanity comes together, both Jew and Gentile, and they accept one another as equal members in God’s family. This was always what God intended with his covenant with Abraham. When this happens it shows the ‘principalities and powers’ that their time is up.

The Zeal of Renewed Humanity: Mission

The mission of the church is to announce the kingdom of God to the world. This is a different sort of kingdom to that of Caesar. God’s empire was the reality and Caesar’s was the parody.