Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 2/2

To read: Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul” Part 1/2 LINK NPP Reading No.1 Was Paul a Covenantal Nomist? An Evaluation of Sanders’s “Covenantal Nomism” by Peter O’Brien Sanders found a common pattern in his treatment of Palestinian Judaism which he labeled “covenantal nomism.” He summarized it as follows: The “pattern” or structure” … Continue reading “Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 2/2″

To read: Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul” Part 1/2 LINK

NPP Reading No.1

Was Paul a Covenantal Nomist?

An Evaluation of Sanders’s “Covenantal Nomism” by Peter O’Brien

Sanders found a common pattern in his treatment of Palestinian Judaism which he labeled “covenantal nomism.” He summarized it as follows:

The “pattern” or structure” of covenantal nomism is this: (1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the  law. The law implies both (3) God’s promise to maintain the election and (4) the requirement to obey. (5) God rewards obedience and punishes transgression. (6) The law provides for means of atonement, and atonement results in (7) maintenance or re-establishment of the covenantal relationship. (8) All those who are maintained in the covenant by obedience, atonement and God’s mercy belong to the group which will be saved. An important interpretation of the first and last points is that election and ultimately salvation are considered to be by God’s mercy rather than human achievement.

Continue reading “Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 2/2″

Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 1/2

It is arguable that the most significant, but controversial development in New Testament studies in the last 30 years is the “New Perspective on Paul (NPP)” that is forcefully promoted by articulate scholars like E.P. Sanders, James Dunn and N.T. Wright.   The NPP represents a paradigm shift from the traditional view on the Apostle … Continue reading “Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 1/2″

It is arguable that the most significant, but controversial development in New Testament studies in the last 30 years is the “New Perspective on Paul (NPP)” that is forcefully promoted by articulate scholars like E.P. Sanders, James Dunn and N.T. Wright.

 

The NPP represents a paradigm shift from the traditional view on the Apostle Paul inherited from Reformers like Luther and Calvin, who understood Paul’s epistles to be polemics against the legalism or work-righteousness oriented religion of Judaism of his times (variously described as 2nd Temple, Palestinian or NT Judaism). E.P. Sanders’ landmark book, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Fortress Press 1977), asserts that in reality Paul was in substantial agreement with Palestinian Judaism on the close relation between grace and work for salvation: “On the point at which many have found the decisive contrast between Paul and Judaism – grace and works – Paul is in agreement with Palestinian Judaism… Salvation is by grace but judgment is according to works’…God saves by grace, but… within the framework established by grace he rewards good deeds and punishes transgression” (p. 543). That is to say, Paul was not disputing with Palestinian Judaism which should more accurately be described as “covenantal nomism” – “the view that one’s place in God’s plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgression” (75). Continue reading “Second Thoughts on the “New Perspective on Paul”. Part 1/2″

The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 2/2

II. Paul’s Teaching on Prophecy in 1 Corinthians New Pdf format embedded on 24 Nov 2017 1. Context While Paul has made many references to the gift of prophecy elsewhere, it was in 1 Cor. 12-14 that he addressed the issue more clearly and exhaustively. The church at Corinth offered Paul the unique opportunity to … Continue reading “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 2/2”

II. Paul’s Teaching on Prophecy in 1 Corinthians pdf

Gift of Prophecy NT 2014

New Pdf format embedded on 24 Nov 2017

1. Context
While Paul has made many references to the gift of prophecy elsewhere, it was in 1 Cor. 12-14 that he addressed the issue more clearly and exhaustively. The church at Corinth offered Paul the unique opportunity to address the gift of prophecy as a practical and pastoral issue. Being located in a cosmopolitan city where permissiveness and sexual liberty was rife, it was only too easy for the decadence of the world to creep into the church. Hence, the church was plague with party strife, theological disputes and immorality. In the one-up-manship atmosphere, it comes as no surprise that the congregation was giving a greater value to the more overt and sensational gifts of the Spirit. This was in fact due to a distorted view of true spirituality. “They imagines that the more the influence of the Divine Spirit deprived a man of his self-consciousness and threw him into an ecstasy, the more powerful was that influence and the more sublime the state to which it raised the man; whereas the more the inspired person retained his self-possession, the less did his inspiration partake of a Divine character.”/50/  It is clear then that despite its great endowment of spiritual gifts, the church was without love and unity. Continue reading “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 2/2”

The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 1/2

Current Concerns About the Gift of Prophecy Today It is a sad fact that much pulpit preaching in Malaysia fails to deliver compelling Bible-based sermons that challenge and comfort believers in times of increasing economic uncertainties and political tension.  In this famine of the living word from God, many Christians flock to meetings to hear … Continue reading “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 1/2”

Current Concerns About the Gift of Prophecy Todaypdf

It is a sad fact that much pulpit preaching in Malaysia fails to deliver compelling Bible-based sermons that challenge and comfort believers in times of increasing economic uncertainties and political tension.  In this famine of the living word from God, many Christians flock to meetings to hear visiting ‘apostles and prophets’ from America and Africa.

The Bible clearly teaches that there is no succession of the office of ‘apostles and prophets’ as the church is “built on the foundation of the ‘apostles and prophets’, Christ himself being the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20), but the Holy Spirit continues to empower apostolic and prophetic ministry to build up the church. The Bible provides clear guidelines on how the gift of prophecy should be exercised. Failure to abide by these guidelines will lead to spiritual deception and abuse of spiritual authority by Christian leaders, resulting in disillusionment and despair among the faithful and expectant followers. It is of utmost importance that Christians be fully informed by these Biblical guidelines so that the church will be well-grounded in its beliefs, and vibrant in its pastoral care and mission outreach. [Added on 19 Aug 2014]

Gift of Prophecy NT 2014

New PDF format added on 24 Nov 2017

Prophecy Disputed

The traditional doctrine of Revelation presents obstacles towards the acceptance of any contemporary exercise of prophecy. As is well known, the standard text books in systematic theology divide God’s Revelation into two categories:/1/

1.    General Revelation, described as “God’s witness of Himself toward all men through creation, history, and the conscience of man. It is set forth in Scripture passages such as Psalm 19; Acts 14:8-18, 17:16-34; Rom 1:18-32, 2:12-16; etc.”
2.    Special Revelation, which is God’s disclosure of Himself (revelation in reality) and the interpretative Word of Scripture (revelation in Word). Quantitatively, this encompasses more than we have in Scripture.”

However, even if it is granted that God has spoken to men in ways beyond what we have in Scripture, many insist that surely the situation has changed since the days of the Apostles. With the Bible inscripturated, God’s final and perfect Revelation is given to men. The last word has been spoken (Rev 22:18). God has Himself closed prophecy.

It can be seen that prophecy which is identified by Pentecostals as God’s word for special occasions is an anomaly that will not fit into the above theological scheme which envisages God’s word as authoritative for all times. It is not surprising then, that theologians like Walter Chantry concludes, “All modern prophecy is spurious! God’s truth has come to us in a fixed and finished objective revelation. We must not accept the new ‘revelation’ of neo-pentecostalism.”/2/ Continue reading “The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament Part 1/2”