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. Continue reading

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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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Americans Feeling Better About Every Religion Except Evangelicalism

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Fascinating article in Christianity Today about American attitudes toward various religions. The chart on the left tells the tale very well. Everyone — even atheists — are more highly regarded in 2017 than in 2014 — except for evangelicals.

A more detailed article is available at the Pew Research Center’s webpage.

It’s actually worse than the chart shows.

The ratings fall when responses from fellow evangelicals, who made up more than 1 in 4 of respondents, are removed: Just under a third of non-evangelicals (32%) have warm feelings towards the group.

Part of the reason for evangelicals’ middling ratings is lack of exposure. The proportion of Americans who say they know an evangelical dropped by 9 percentage points from 2014 to 2017, down to 61 percent today. (A 2013 study hinted at the lack of exposure: 1 in 5 non-evangelicals in North America said they did not personally know an evangelical.) Meanwhile, knowing an evangelical increases their rating by 12 degrees on Pew’s feeling thermometer.

Though a majority of Americans still know at least one evangelical, the group experienced the most significant decline in familiarity. Among non-evangelicals, millennials (45%) and African Americans (33%) were least likely to know someone who identifies as evangelical.

Now, it’s a complex problem in part because “evangelical” is a poorly defined and understood term. In fact, in my experience, it’s most commonly used by the press to identify white Christians who support Republican candidates. Black Christians with nearly identical views generally decline to be described as “evangelical.” Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 61 (the Law is holy)

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 7:9-11

(Rom. 7:9-11 NET)  9 And I was once alive apart from the law [Torah], but with the coming of the commandment [Sin] became alive  10 and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life [immortality] brought death [loss of any hope of immortality]!  11 For [Sin], seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died [lost hope of immortality].

Who is “I”? Most commentators debate whether “I” refers to a non-Christian in need of the Spirit or to someone already saved but struggling against Sin. Certainly, most if not all Christians have experienced the tension between wanting to do right and being unable to do right — both before and after baptism. And the rest of chapter 7 could certainly be read either way.

But Wright believes that “I” refers to Israel or, more generally, mankind.  Continue reading

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