Thursday, March 29, 2007

Discipline and work or Freedom and Joy

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 New Perspectives on Paul (I) Chris Dierkes
Been reading quite a bit on (St.) Paul and his theology of late.[For a brief intro on some of these newer trends in Pauline theology here here and here]. These three links deal with the so-called New Perspective on Paul. The authors most associated with this trend are E.P. Sanders, James Dunn, and NT Wright (the same Wright I wrote about on resurrection here). The Old Perspective is the traditional Lutheran strict duality between the Law on one hand the Gospel on the other. Or Slavery/Freedom, Judaism/Christianity, Works/Faith, etc. The Law is a religion of slavery, works, oppressive hardship, while The Gospel is a religion of Grace, Freedom, and Joy.
These ideas come directly from Luther and set a major backdrop to the Holocaust and German anti-Semitism. Luther's writings are also prophetic, mystical, and use the language of paradox, emotionally charged. The other great Reformer, John Calvin represented a different tradition. For him the main Biblical theme was election and covenant; Calvin had a much stronger sense of the unity of the Old and New Testaments. Luther and later Lutherans more especially at times bordered on Marcionism (the OT god=Evil, NT God=Good). Calvin and the Reformed (not Lutheran) brand of Protestantism also emphasized that after election, life in the Spirit was one of discipline and work (Protestant Ethic, Max Weber, etc.)...posted by CJ Smith @ 7:55 PM

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