On Sojourners, Walls, and Illegal Aliens, Part 0 (Introduction)

walls-of-jerusalemWay back in May 2016 I posted a series called “On Sojourners, Walls and Illegal Aliens.” I’m going to repost the 7-part series and then extend it by just a post or two — all running concurrently with the present series on N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began.

I thought the series might spark a thoughtful conversation about Christians and immigration — and obviously I have failed. I mean, if Facebook is any indicator of contemporary evangelical thought, there are two camps. Either you believe the government has a duty to protect its citizens against the dangers of terrorists and other criminals who might enter the country as immigrants (It does. Rom 13 is quite clear.) or you believe that the government should be open to immigrants because of the many sojourners passages in the OT and the many hospitality passages in the NT (Kudos on reading and trying to live those passages. They mean what they say.)

What I don’t read on Facebook is any effort to honor both concepts. I mean, both the left and the right are proof-texting their preferred positions rather than seeking a comprehensive understanding of what the Bible really says. We ignore the inconvenient verses and pound on our enemies (often fellow Christians) with proof texts. It’s hard to avoid the impression that we make up our minds and only then thumb through our concordances looking to “prove” what we’ve already concluded — and this is true of both sides.

My view is that the Scriptures actually have quite a lot to say on the subject, but the texts have to be read in historical context and within the overarching narrative of Scripture. This is a lot more work then proof-texting what you already believe, but it’s far more likely not only to find God’s truth but also to establish an understanding that both sides can agree on. We should at least come closer to finding common ground.

Now, that does not mean that I think I have all the answers. I’m sure that I don’t. But I do think we might be asking the wrong questions.

Posted in Church & Politics, On Sojourners, Walls & Illegal Aliens, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 46 (Introduction to chapter 6; Faith and baptism, Part 1)

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.

Chapter 6, An Introduction

At last, we get to chapter 6, famous in the Churches of Christ because it begins with a discussion of baptism, closely tying baptism to our salvation.

Now, the problem with traditional Church of Christ interpretation of this passage is that we focus exclusively on baptism and ignore how it fits within the flow of Paul’s argument — thereby missing the points that Paul actually intends to make.

Again: you must first exegete the text to understand what Paul meant to say to the church in Rome. Only then can you ask what it means for today’s church. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 45 (A Re-translation, chapter 5)

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Will the Ark of the Covenant Ever Be Found?

I have to confess to being a fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark. And when the movie came out, many articles were published about what happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

The most popular theory was that some priests or Jeremiah the prophet had hidden the Ark in caves in Edom, across the Jordan River from Jerusalem. There are countless caves in the area, most are unexplored, and many are accessible only by rock climbers.

There are various Christian cults in that part of the world that claim to have the Ark — too holy to actually let anyone see, of course. And then I read this article at the Logos website. Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Christian Evidences/Apologetics, Uncategorized | 19 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 44 (A Re-translation, chapter 4)

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, Chapter 4

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). Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 43 (A Re-translation, chapter 3)

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, Chapter 3

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). Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 42 (A Re-translation, chapter 2)

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, Chapter 2

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). Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment