Friday, December 09, 2005
(another) Westerholm quote:
(pp. 257-258) Cut to the quickest of the quick, then, the issue that divides the "Lutheran" Paul from his contemporary critics is whether "justification by faith, not by works of the law" means "sinners find God's approval by grace, through faith, not by anything they do," or whether its thrust is that "Gentiles are included in the people of God by faith without the bother of becoming Jews." In the one case justification is directly connected to the Pauline gospel summed up in the words "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3) and "Be reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20). It promises deliverance from sin. In the other case the good news of justification is found in the best-of-both-worlds scenario that it paints for Gentiles: "You people want to become Jews, but you are afraid of the knife. Have I got an offer for you!" It promises deliverance from a good deal of hassle. For readers whose attention has (understandably) lapsed but who want to know what is essential,...the former is the position of the "Lutheran" Paul and the latter isn't.
Posted by John Zahl at 11:29 PM