Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Justification by Faith and Racism

I have a guest post over at the Institute on Justification by Faith and Racism.

See my earlier post about some issues on racism and the PCA also raised at the Institute blog.


Saint and Sinner said...

"In Galatians Paul was not confronting the merit theology of medieval Catholicism, rather, he was attacking the view that one had to become a Jew in order to become a Christian when he penned Galatians and Romans."

While that's true, don't you think that a sort of merit theology was present in seed form and that the later merit theology found in Rabbinic writings was the outworking of this?

Get in by the grace of circumcision; stay in by works.

Get in by the grace of baptism; stay in by mass and penance.

jeff miller said...

I think that Paul is appealing to a truth found in pre-Christian Judaism (that truth being that God did not owe Jews a debt because of their good works). It was a truth that would have been agreed to even by Jews who would not embrace loyalty to Jesus as the sufficient entrance and marker for the true remnant people of God. But Paul, based on this widely recognized truth could appeal to it as a proper foundation for the new situation in Jesus which brought the "loyalty to God" as a God pleasing act into even higher relief.

Matt Larsen said...

Prof. Bird:

My name is Matthew Larsen and you and I met at SBL 2009 through our mutual friend, Michael Whitenton. Thanks for your balanced essay on this important topic. Racism is still alive and well in our country and surely contrary to the Gospel.



Anonymous said...

quite touching~~~thx for sharing............................................................

Nazaroo said...

Christians might start with better exegesis of Ezra.

I observed that over at Parchment and Pen, commentors were indicating that Ezra was acting "in God's will" when he forced Babylonian Jews to abandon their wives and children.

"We" as informed possessors of the Gospel should be able to see through Ezra and recognise the racist/tribalist core there that actually made the Jewish 2nd Temple kingdom unfit and doomed from the start.

By excluding the remnants of the Northern Israelite tribes from participating in the rebuilding of Israel, they were *contrary* to God's purpose, which was redemption through grace.

Redemption via "mercy and truth" (Jesus) by nature must include all Israelites in the offer of forgiveness and restoration, not just the "holier than thou" remnant of the Southern kingdom.

Jesus rejected this 'family quarrel' and refused to go with the Northern tribes' plan to revolt against Judaea (cf. John 6:15).

Jesus just as strongly preached against the Southern rejection of the Galileans and Samaritans (Northern Israelites cf. John 4:12).

Jesus' plan of redemption by nature required the "brothers" to accept one another (cf. Prodigal Son).


Greg Carey said...

Well said, Michael.

I do worry about using Ephesians in this way. I acknowledge that the household code doesn't envision race, but it does reinforce relationships of subordination. Have never rested easy with that book.

Thank you for your contribution!

John Smuts said...

I really don't get the NPP most of the time.

I've lived and breathed the Old perspective for the past 40+ years but I've heard countless sermons say exactly this. (Mostly in the UK, but here in Australia too.)

This direct confrontation of racism needs to be done (and just as much here in Australia) but I'm not seeing anything 'new' here at all.