The Church has frequently ignored that Paul considered the heart to be ametanoetos, incapable of repentance: therefore the Church often zealously requires the individual to repent.But because the heart is ametanoetos, Paul was an evangelist, rather than a preacher of repentance. Hence he was able to bring the individual into relationship with Jesus and thereby implanted in his heart that which is new, which broke apart the old thought constructs and resisted the old pattern of volition
Adolf Schlatter: Romans, The Righteousness of God.
Schlatter talks about the difference between the prophet, and the evangelist. The evangelist is the one who lives with, and serves the community. He does NOT preach at them. That is the job of the prophet, the prophet who has been properly educated in the scriptures, and who is called to bring the things of God to the understanding of the people ONCE they have been evanglised and decided they need to know more.
That is to say, the evangelist brings people in touch with the loving heart of God, through Christ, where the prophet brings revelation and understanding to those who have begun to be made new.
Adolf had this right nearly 100 years ago, and yet nearly all the Church STILL think that they need to stand on the street corner and insult the intelligence of people is the way to convert them. It wasnt the right way in the first century, and it sure isnt now.
Romans is one of the most difficult New Testament books. It has started Reformations and continues to plague us as the artificer of poor readings today. I am always interested in seeing how Romans is presented… and as my readers know, I believe Romans is a rhetorical set piece designed to represent a dialogue between Paul and his imaginary interlocutor, whereby Paul is able to give his message as an explanation rather than a set of points.
First, the introduction includes a reference to Stanley Stowers and his “Rereading Romans.” Yet, nothing is mentioned about the scholarship on rhetorical practices involved in the letter. The author, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, does mention rhetoric, not as a form of discourse so much as a figure of speech. Douglas Campbell is nowhere mentioned, yet his proposals (and mine, although mine is only blogged) are central to the author’s presentation of Romans 1.18-3.31. Kittredge correctly notes that the “clobber passage” at the end of chapter 1 is Jewish agitprop against Gentiles and that Paul’s “you” in 2.1 is directed against them for this. In speaking about homosexuality, she doesn’t shy from the surface level statements but does offer a way around it by tackling “natural theology.”
If I read the passage the same as Kittredge (admittedly, I am close), I still would not buy her argument about Natural Theology; however, I believe she approaches this with unbiasedness and an admission that she understands why. It is, frankly, a pleasant read.
I have found a solid “New Perspective” throughout the chapter on Romans, much to my likely. Also included are connections (because they are there) between Paul’s Romans and the Empire.
Over all, I am impressed with what Kittredge gets right and could quibble over the rest — especially in reading Romans through a particular viewpoint. If anything, the sections may be too large I would like to have seen 1.18-3.31 divided up, as well as Romans 13-14.
I can’t tell you why, yet, but I’ve suddenly become interested in highlighting the High Definition series from Logos. This series builds upon the Discourse series, both by Steve Runge, the scholar in residence at Logos.
Now for the first time, the nuances of discourse grammar are marked in your Logos Bible Software English Standard Version New Testament to expose the subtleties of the Greek text. Without formal Greek or Hebrew training, you can:
Enhance your understanding of the original authorial intent
Restore the subtleties of tone and stress “lost in translation
Learn to distinguish among backgrounded information, major and minor points in the text
Apply the proper emphasis in public reading and teaching of Scripture!
See the link above for a fuller explanation.
This is what it looks like on my iPad:
I’ve split the screen to show Romans 1 in the hi-def NT as well as the glossary volume.
What is different about this, say from other versions attempting to show emphasis? It uses rhetoric as a basis. Notice that on the left of the image is a diagram showing the points of the structure. One of the errors of modern readers is to read Romans as if Paul is monotone. This helps to break that up. Let me show you some more from the inside:
As you know, I have an issue in the way Romans is read because I believe Paul is writing in a certain style, a style detectable if one understands a specific rhetoric as well as acknowledge Paul’s context here. Having the High Definition New Testament is great because it calls us to step back and read it in such a way as to consider we, in fact, did not write it, but someone else — someone else with intentions, purpose, and a specific message — did.
One day, after phd work, I’d like to work on a specific monograph on Romans. This is going to start, and urge me on, in that process. Runge’s work, as much as Campbell and a select few others, is serving to show Paul’s intentional rhetoric and must not be missed if you really want to hear what the Apostle is saying.
Frameworks is a fresh, innovative and groundbreaking survey of the New Testament that combines compelling stories, brilliant images and simple illustrations (maps, charts) to create context (conceptual frameworks) that guide you through the Bible.
Presented in an attractive, less-is-more format with lots of refreshing white space, this book will help you navigate your way through the twists and turns of the New Testament by helping you answer ten questions for each of the 27 New Testament books…
On the IVP facebook, they released a photo of Romans (always the best book to highlight).
There is a lot of discussion (or maybe I just heard some at SBL) about the nature of Romans and Paul’s possible use of rhetoric. For those who engage/use rhetorical criticism of the New Testament, Romans is a rhetorical piece, although there are disagreements as to how much and to what type of rhetoric is used. Stanley Stowers sees it as a protreptic letter aimed at introducing Paul to a new audience. He sees a use of the rhetoric apostrophe as well. I, as I have posted before, agree with Stowers in a broad manner. I believe Paul is using the protreptic style to writer Romans, but so too the rhetorical προσωποποιία (prosopopoeia) to do so. Paul has written Romans is a dramatic fashion where he stands as the pro-Gentile Jew against the anti-Gentile Jew as well as the Jew (parent) who must remind the Gentile (child) of Israel’s place in God’s salvation history.
All of this is done to introduce Paul to a new audience and contains, I believe, every bit of Paul’s theology. However, it must be read the correct way, else we are left with theological positions Paul actually argued against.
I have not yet read Larson’s book, so I am simply going off the picture. I disagree, strongly, that chapters 9-11 are about our rejection of God, but rather are a reminder of God’s continued covenant with Israel. His chapter setting in 1-3 is also trouble, or rather, too broad. I do not think Paul is simply arguing we all need salvation, but rather, Paul argues that salvation is given to all, an argument reaching a zenith in chapter 5. To note, his categorization of chapters 12-16 are okay.
My point is, besides highlighting this book which looks great for small groups, is to suggest Romans needs a better framework. In private discussions with a reader of this blog, I’ve seen one. He has taken some of the work I put forth and went through Romans in such a way as to show a complete dialogue within the entire book. This is only the first step, as once you fully establish how to read Romans, then you will need to decipher what, if anything, this means to current discussions on justification, universalism, and covenants.