Sunday, 20 December 2015
Unity and Diversity in Christ: Interpreting Paul in Context: Collected Essays,
Willian S. Campbell, Cascade Books, 2013, page 73-74
After raising the question of a contradiction between the traditional view of Paul and the "New Perspective" view, Cambell goes on:
The answer we give to these question is crucial if we are not to be left with two very divergent images of the apostle and his mission.
Essentially, we now have that: while scholarship remains open and divided between the two options, much of the church - perhaps in slight idolatry of the reformers - clings to the older view and the lines are becoming more firmly drawn. However, let's hear William Campbell out:
Is it reallt likely that Paul would recognise the rights of Jewish Christians in certain situations to continue to abide by the law? Would he not have advocatedthat they forsake the synagogue?
Certainly that was the position of the eraly church fathers who constantly urged Jewish believers to do exactly that. Strangely, they also found themselves fighting the same battle with their Gentile Christians who, history records, were very drawn to the synagogue and wanted to participate in the Jewish world and ritual.
Did Paul recognise continuing distnctions between Jews and gentiles even in Christ, so that ethnic differences remain a consideration in some contexts? Did he stress a certain priority for the Jew in the purpose of God and did he really hold that God had not cast off Israel, but would still save "all Israel" in some miraculousway in the future?
Important questions to consider in these days!