Friday, July 21, 2006

McKnight on Seven Theological Convictions of Paul

Paul’s theology is not systematics; instead, he is grasped best when at least the following seven Pauline principles are kept on the table as we proceed through his letters. First, the gospel is the grace of God in revealing Jesus and Messiah and Lord for everyone who believes; second, everyone stands behind one fo the twin heads of humanity, Adam and Christ; third, Jesus Christ is the centre stage, and it is participation in him that transfers a person from the Adam line to the Christ line; fourth, the church is the body of Christ on earth; fifth, (salvation-)history does not begin with Moses but with Abraham and the promise God gave to him, and finds its crucial turning point in Jesus Christ – but will run its course until the consummation in the glorious Lordship of Christ over all; sixth, Christian behaviour is determined by the Holy Spirit, not the Torah; seventh, Paul is an apostle and not a philosopher or systematic theologian. These principles spring into action when Paul meets his various threats (circumcision, wisdom, gifts, works of Torah, ethnocentrism, flesh, rival leaders, and eschatological fights about the Parousia or the general resurrection).
Scot McKnight, Jesus and His Death: Historiography, The Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2005), 374.


exegetical fallacy said...


Great post! I think McKnight has really nailed it for the most part. I'm not quite sure how helpful the last one is, however. I know it's really trendy in Pauline studies (esp the last 20 or so years) to wave the 'Paul-is-not-a-systematic-theologian' banner, but I think this needs to be qualified. I would say, rather, that Paul's letters that we have (surely a very small sampling of everything he wrote) do not reflect a Grudem-like systematic theology. But that does not mean the Paul of history did not have systematic thoughts on God, Christ, sin, salvation, the world, etc.

DimBulb said...

Salvation istory begins with Abraham? Sorry, I foind a problem with this. It does not seem to do justice to the promise made to Adam and Eve after the fall or to the Adam/Christ parallel. I've deleted my previous blog but do not know how to correct the e blogger link to my new one. I'm only 13 so most people probably will not be interested in my new blog anyway but even so, here it is:

Isn't the promise made to our first parents the begining of salvation history?