Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Believers in Romans 2?

I have joined the team of writers at Credo blog which will also feature Credo, an on-line magazine, beginning in October. Here is my first entry at Credo. "Gentiles in Paul's Argument in Romans 2: Their Praise is not from Man but from God."

That Romans 2 should figure prominently within disagreements among contemporary Christian scholars about how to understand Paul’s reasoning concerning the gospel in relation to the law of Moses is no surprise, for this chapter has always posed exegetical difficulties, especially since the Reformation. Two contrasting interpretations of the passage dominate discussions. The one that dominated until the past twenty years is that Paul, in portions if not the whole of Romans 2, argues against his presumptuous and censorious but rhetorical or imaginary Jewish dialog partner by positing equally imaginary Gentiles whose salvation by keeping the law is only theoretical because sin renders every human helpless and incapable of doing good. The second interpretation, which has gained much greater acceptance in recent years, is that Paul is depicting Christians generally in 2:7 and 10 but particularly Christian Gentiles in 2:12ff and 2:25-29, by their conduct, the obedience of faith, in contrast to others whose evil deeds manifest unbelief. 

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