Are You Having Email Problems?

I’ve received a handful of emails and comments letting me know that sometimes OIJ’s daily emails aren’t going out. Evidently something broke a couple of weeks ago. It would help us track down the problem to know the kinds of email being lost and the date you stopped receiving.

And so … if you’re not getting your emails, I’d appreciate you letting me either in the comments below or by emailing me at jfguin(at)comcast(dot)net. Be sure to mention when they stopped and whether these are daily emails or a confirmation email for a new subscriber or a comment notification email (or whatever other kind of email OIJ may throw off).

Thanks for your help.

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Rick Richardson on the Renewal of Evangelism

In a recent guest post at Ed Stetzer’s blog, Rick Richardson points out barriers to evangelism faced by today’s conservative (evangelical) churches but also some signs of improvement and hope for more effective and vigorous evangelism in the near future.

You should read the entire article at Christianity Today, but here are the bullet points:

#1. Our old paradigms and methods of evangelism feel outmoded, intrusive, and inauthentic for too many people.

#2. Many people and ministries have decided we need to stop sharing the gospel and only show it.

#3. There is a downward trending life-cycle of many Evangelical denominations.

#4. We think no one wants to hear what we have to say.

However, Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 64 (by sending his Son as a sin offering)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 8:3-4

This key passage presents some translation difficulties we have to sort through first.

(Rom. 8:3-4 NET)  3 For God achieved what the law [Torah] could not do because it was weakened through the flesh [our propensity to sin]. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin [as a sin offering], he condemned sin in the flesh [of Jesus],  4 so that the righteous requirement of the law [that is, God’s righteous verdict] may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Wright corrects the translation of “and concerning sin” in v. 3 — Continue reading

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Reversing the Millennial Drop Out Problem

In one of the best articles that I’ve read in a very long time, Sam Eaton explains how churches need to change to keep and attract Millennials. And here’s the interesting thing: I’m a Baby Boomer, age 62, the father of four Millennials, and what he wants to see in his church, I want to see in mine.

The Millennial generation is essentially those people born between 1982 and 1994, and so, young people ages 23 to 35 or so.

This is the generation widely criticized for having been raised to have inflated self-esteem and to never have seriously competed. They all got participation awards. Then again, we Baby Boomers are the ones who refused to tell our third grader that he’s got no future as a high school, college, or pro basketball player despite all the trophies he racked up for participation in games where no score was kept. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 63 (There is no condemnation)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 8:1

At last, we arrive at Romans 8, a truly revolutionary chapter.

(Rom. 8:1 NET) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

No verse in the Bible has changed my Christian perspective more than this one. Until I read this verse, I believed that there might be saved Christians and damned Christians — as is commonly taught in the Churches of Christ. But “no condemnation” is pretty plain language. For those in King Jesus, there is “no condemnation.” None. Zero. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Chapter 7 Retranslated

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

A Re-translation

In most of the previous posts, I’ve offered a revised or annotated translation of the text. I thought it would be interesting — and perhaps even helpful — to accumulate these into a single text.

Unlike the earlier translations, I’ll not show the changes in brackets except where I’m not just translating but also explaining outside the text.

And I hasten to add that this is my own translation, based on my understanding of Wright but not at all the same as his own translation The Kingdom New Testament (which can be bought at Amazon).

Romans chapter 7, modified from the NET Bible translation

1 Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the Torah), that the Torah is the master over a person as long as he lives?  2 For a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage.  3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress.  4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the Torah through the body of Christ by joining in his death through baptism, so that you could be joined to another, that is, Jesus, the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.

5 For when we were in the flesh, that is, our sinful nature, the sinful desires, aroused by the Torah, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for Death, the loss of the hope of immortality.  6 But now we have been released from the Torah, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve as a bond-servant or slave in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code, the Torah.

7 What shall we say then? Is the Torah Sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through the Torah. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if the Torah had not said, “Do not covet.”  8 But Sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires. For apart from the Torah, Sin is dead.

[Verses 9 -11 likely have a double meaning, one speaking to Jews and one speaking to Gentiles. I offer two translations making both sets of parallel points]

9 And mankind, in the form of Adam and Eve, was once alive apart from God’s command not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but with the coming of the commandment Sin became alive  10 and mankind lost hope of immortality. So mankind found that the very commandment that was intended to bring immortal life brought Death, that is, the loss of hope of immortality!  11 For Sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived mankind, in the form of Adam and Eve, and through it mankind lost immortality.

9 And Israel was once alive apart from the Torah, but with the coming of the Torah commandments Sin became alive 10 and Israel was Exiled and so lost hope of immortality. So Israel found that the very commandment that was intended to bring immortal life brought Death, that is, the loss of hope of immortality!  11 For Sin, seizing the opportunity through the Torah, deceived Israel and through it Israel lost immortality.

12 So then, the Torah is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good.  13 Did that which is good, then, become Death to mankind/Israel? Absolutely not! But Sin, so that it would be shown to be Sin, produced Death in mankind/Israel through what is good, so that through the commandment Sin would become utterly sinful.

14 For we know that the Torah is spiritual – but mankind/Israel is unspiritual, sold into slavery to Sin.  15 For mankind/Israel don’t understand what they are doing. For they do not do what they want – instead, they do what they hate.  16 But if they do what they don’t want, they agree that the Torah is good.  17 But now it is no longer mankind/Israel doing it, but Sin that lives in them.

18 For we know that nothing good lives in us, that is, in our flesh, that is, our sinful natures. For we want to do the good, but we cannot do it.  19 For we do not do the good we want, but we do the very evil we do not want!  20 Now if we do what we do not want, it is no longer us doing it but Sin that lives in us.

21 So, we find the law that when we want to do good, evil is present with us.  22 For we delight in the law of God in our inner being.  23 But we see a different law in our body parts waging war against the law of our minds and making us captive to the law of Sin that is in our members.  24 Wretched men that we are! Who will rescue us from this body of Death?  25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, we serve the law of God with our minds, but with my flesh we serve the law of Sin.

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 62 (Wretched man that I am)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 7:14-17

(Rom. 7:14-17 NET) 14 For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin.  15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want– instead, I do what I hate.  16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good.  17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 

Wright explains,

When we read this passage in the light of our other investigations into the early Christian understandings of the “end of exile” and the “forgiveness of sins,” we get a clue as to what Paul is saying. Israel’s long “enslavement,” the “continuing exile” of Daniel 9 and many other texts, was not just a long, dreary process of waiting. It was the time in which the strange power called “Sin,” the dark force unleashed by human idolatry, was doing its worst precisely in the people of God. Continue reading

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