Posted on: June 30th, 2008 The Four Stages of Contemplative Prayer

In his Christian Meditation, James Finley outlines the four stages of contemplative prayer: spiritual reading (or lectio divina), discursive meditation, prayer, and contemplation.

Spiritual reading, itself an act of faith, is a prayerful reading of Scripture or some other spiritual text which inspires us or guides us in our search for God.

This, then, leads to discursive meditation, in which we are prayerfully thinking about the things of God and filling our imagination with images that inspire and guide us in our spiritual journey.

Spiritual reading and discursive meditation awaken our desire for God, which we express in prayer. Here we tell God that we long to be one with him.

In contemplation our heart receives the gift of divine awareness. Finley writes:

In this mystical realization of oneness with God we are liberated from our tendencies to derive our security and identity from anything less than God. In specifically Christian terms, we enter the mind of Christ, who realized oneness with God to be the reality of himself and of everyone and everything around him.”

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Posted on: June 28th, 2008 Coleridge on Plenary Inspiration of Scripture

In light of controversies swirling around Westminster Seminary and Pete Enn’s view of Scripture, I thought I would post this article by Alan Gregory (Professor of Historical Theology at ETSS) on Samuel Coleridge’s theological (note: not historical or critical) critique of the dominant understanding of Scripture in England in his day, that of “plenary inspiration:”

Spirit to Spirit: Coleridge on the Bible

1. Introduction

Coleridge’s Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit is a
“prophetic” work. “Prophetic” in the sense that Coleridge
offers a theological account of contemporary shifts and
tendencies to which others were blind or indifferent.
Almost alone among his contemporaries, Coleridge knew the
German historical and critical work on the Bible. What’s
more he grasped its significance, he saw that it did and it
would have far-reaching implications for understanding
Scripture and its authority. In the year he completed the
Confessions (1825) Coleridge had read Schleiermacher’s
Critical Essay on the Gospel of St. Luke. His attitude was
far from uncritical but he appreciated that the direction
German theology was taking might offer a path beyond the
sterility of “Bibliolatry,” as he terms it.

On the other hand, Coleridge recognized that things were
changing in England, too. More subtly but still
significantly. For several decades, the doctrine of
“plenary inspiration,” the doctrine that Coleridge
describes as dictation by “an Infallible Intelligence,”
would remain largely uncontroversial. It was stoutly
defended by Van Mildert, the Bishop of Durham in 1814 and
the defense largely held until the 1860’s. Under the
surface, however, Coleridge had detected change. Change in
two important respects: firstly, there was, he thought, a
tension between what leading clerics said about Scripture
from the pulpit and the explanations some of them gave when
out of it. Coleridge has pinpointed a problem of
hermeneutic integrity in a particularly modern form. Clergy
have come to participate in what sociologists refer to as
an “expert culture,” an expert culture formed by modern
notions of science and intellectual responsibility. The
hermeneutic problem is, partly, that of all expert cultures
which involves a – sometimes seductive – “knowledge” gap
between the expert and his or her constituency. For the
clergy, that problem is sharpened as their expertise
concerns the Bible, which is the primary source of
narratives, images, symbols, exemplars, codes, and
doctrines in which people find their lives before God.
Here, therefore, the “gap” between “expert” and
constituency, threatens the integrity of the common life
and the practice of faith. The second change Coleridge
recognized was a dangerous instability in a situation in
which people, in order to maintain a particular doctrine of
biblical authority, engage in desperate mental gymnastics
that they would consider insane if applied to any book
other than the Bible.

Coleridge recognized that certain ways of defending
Christian faith had had their day and, what’s more, that
eventually, if they hadn’t already, they would become a
liability. Also – and this is vital – Coleridge argued that
the dominant doctrine of Biblical authority, together with
the assumptions behind it, were theologically unsound. That
they were corrupting of faith. If Coleridge had just
written a critique of “plenary inspiration” from a
historical-critical perspective, this would have long been
out-dated. However, he wrote a theological critique, the
positive proposals of which transcend the survival of any
“doctrine of an Infallible Intelligence.”

2. The Doctrine of an Infallible Intelligence

What view of Scripture does Coleridge attack? It might seem
as if Coleridge was setting up a “straw man” in these
lectures: did anyone really hold the views of Scripture he
attacks? Well, as for the C19th, accounts of the Bible very
much in terms of what Coleridge calls the “doctrine of an
infallible intelligence” continued not only to be held but
fiercely defended from Anglican pulpits throughout the
century. In 1861, for instance, the Vicar of St. Mary the
Virgin, Oxford – the University Church – preached a series
of sermons denouncing the, relatively conservative,
advocacy of “higher criticism” found in the liberal volume
of essays, Essays and Reviews. As one commentator put it,
he smote the “seven champions” of heresy “with the jawbone
of an ass.” Here is an extract:

The Bible is none other than “the voice of Him
that sitteth upon the Throne” Every book of it –
every chapter of it – every verse of it – every
syllable of it – (where are we to stop?) every
letter of it – is the direct utterance of the
most High! The Bible is none other than the Word
of God – not some part of it more, some part of
it less, but all alike, the utterance of Him who
sitteth upon the Throne – absolute – faultless –
unerring – supreme.

If mainstream defenses of this view are harder to find
today, it would, nevertheless, be rash to deny that we
still find attitudes to Scripture and practices of reading
it that imply, even where they don’t state, something like
the “doctrine of an infallible intelligence.” This is one
point at which Coleridge is perhaps most useful to us,
alerting us to a relationship to the Bible that is fraught
with the same spiritual and theological dangers even if it
avoids the theory.

How, then, does Coleridge describe the “doctrine of an
infallible intelligence”?

The doctrine in question requires me to believe,
that not only what finds me, but that all that
exists in the sacred volume, and which I am bound
to find therein, was-not alone inspired by, that
is, composed by men under the actuating influence
of the Holy Spirit, but likewise-dictated by an
Infallible Intelligence; – that the writers, each
and all, were divinely informed as well as
inspired. Now here all evasion, all excuse, is
cut off. An Infallible Intelligence extends to
all things, physical no less than spiritual. It
may convey the truth in any one of the three
possible languages,-that of Sense, as objects
appear to the beholder on this earth; or that of
Science, which supposes the beholder placed in
the centre; – or that of Philosophy, which
resolves both into a supersensual reality. But
whichever be chosen-and it is obvious that the
incompatibility exists only between the first and
second, both of them being indifferent and of
equal value to the third – it must be employed

In this view, Scripture is infallible in every respect and
from whatever angle of approach – historical, scientific,
philosophical. “And… whichever of these three languages
(of sense, science, or philosophy) be chosen it must be
translatable into Truth.” That is, it must be fully
consistent with any and every other statement within the
body of Scripture and with any and every other element in
our knowledge of the world. Thus, in the case of the story
of Noah’s Flood, for instance, if we say that it possesses
theological rather than historical truth we are, in effect,
limiting the kind of truth this story may be said to
possess. It is precisely this limitation that, Coleridge
argues, the theory of “divine dictation” does not allow.
Why? Because it involves the claim that everything is
directly the speech of God. The finite, historical media –
the human writers and singers and speakers – contribute
nothing of their own finitude. Their language no longer
bears their passions, their limitations of perspective,
their particularities of their experience, their
historicity, it is entirely transparent to the divine

Coleridge spots an essential shift here. Scripture itself
has become an “object of faith” – an object of faith rather
than a source, awakener, sustainer, restorer, and companion
of faith. In Coleridge’s view, classical convictions of
Biblical authority did not involve fore-grounding beliefs
about the Bible but rather believing with and through the
Scriptures. In the position Coleridge attacks, the Bible
becomes the focus of attention rather than the subsidiary
means of attention – what we see rather than that through
which we see.

This leads to another crucial point. An “objectified”
Scripture is the creation of a falsely objectified faith.
This takes us back to the understanding of our knowledge of
God that William Law also attacked. The Deists voiced an
extreme version of a more generally held conviction that
one might grasp religious truth through the exercise of a
reason that was common to all and, therefore, free from the
disputes and controversies that had so sorely disturbed the
Church. There were, some suggested, religious truths that
were “natural” in that there were rationally convicting,
perspicuous to anyone who wasn’t mad or wicked. Such truths
were graspable, to use Coleridge’s language, “like the
objects of sense, common to all alike.” By the end of the
18th century, though, this view, though it continued to be
held and popular, most famously by William Paley, had come
under severe criticism. Both Hume and Kant had showed that
you couldn’t get away that easily from the knowing subject,
from the perspective, the point of view, the cognitive
structure of the one who is doing the knowing. Hume pointed
out, for instance, that we bring to the argument from
design the characteristics of the Christian account of God
which the argument on its own cannot sustain. More
radically still, Kant argues that our particular way of
knowing – ordering sense experience through the a priori
structuring activity of our minds – bankrupts all claims to
know any reality that is not “sensible.” We cannot escape
the structure of our knowing – we can know only things as
they appear to us, only in terms of our structure of
knowing. We, therefore, are always implicated in what we
know. There is no epistemological escape from the subject,
from ourselves as and in our knowing. Coleridge takes this
critique a stage further and in a different direction.

Coleridge, then, faces us with a choice. On the one hand,
we have a doctrine of biblical authority in which that
authority is “objectified.” In other words, the claim is
the bible is verbally inerrant and evidence can be provided
for that, at least negative evidence, that should be
accepted by all right thinking individuals irrespective of
their belief. On the other hand, we might acknowledge that
the authority of the Bible is not the sort of authority
that can be objectively demonstrated. Rather it’s an
authority that asserts itself in the process of our
committed engagement. Not only can you not escape
subjectivity but, as far as religion is concerned, you
shouldn’t want to. Subjectivity is essential to religion,
to faith. Put differently, Coleridge recognizes that
engagement is inescapable. It is the way to truth.

As far as the Bible is concerned, shoring up the doctrine
of divine dictation requires all kinds of odd maneuvers in
order to show that inconsistencies aren’t really
inconsistencies, that errors of fact are not, in fact,
wrong, and that morally offensive passages are entirely
agreeable, after all. The most familiar examples of this
kind of thing involve internal contradictions of fact and
external contradictions with, say archeological and
historical science. The doctrine of “infallible
intelligence” requires us to explain away every tension and
scurry to resolve or attack every claim of “secular”
science that seems to threaten a biblical statement. What
is going on when we do that? You’re trying to secure an
objective certainty. The authority of Scripture depends on
its infallibility being objectively demonstrated or
preserved against erosion, secured, on the one hand,
against the subjectivity of its human authors – here
reduced to passive instruments – and, on the other hand,
against the doubts and questions of its contemporary
readers. This mistaken attempt at security, however,
produces only uncertainty and restless alarm. It also has
to some dark moral consequences, suggested in his anecdote
about the morality of Jael. As a contemporary example,
consider the way in which, even in the late-C20th, the
doctrine of verbal inerrancy has reinforced and justified

What sort of authority does Scripture possess, then? The
kind of authority that comes about through engagement,
recognized in and through a relationship. It establishes
itself Spirit to Spirit, in the experience of recognition,
an experience that changes and grows with time.

[In Scripture] I have met everywhere more or less
copious sources of truth, and power, and
purifying impulses; – that I have found words for
my inmost thoughts, songs for my joy, utterances
for my hidden griefs, and pleadings for my shame
and my feebleness… . In short, whatever finds me,
bears witness for itself that it has proceeded
from a Holy Spirit, even from the same Spirit,
which remaining in itself, yet regenerateth all
other powers, and in all ages entering into holy
souls maketh them friends of God, and prophets.

This kind of authority is not neurotically dependent upon
freedom from any and all error, inconsistency, or lapse.
Scripture is the medium of a relationship in which truth
may be received, known, and lived. What Coleridge has done
is to re-appropriate a patristic and Reformation idea,
namely, that the Bible is “self-authenticating,” it’s
authority “self-demonstrating.” This is, in fact, an ancient
view. Coleridge’s account is distinctively modern, however,
in its psychological and historical thrust: this self-
demonstration takes place over time, as a process of trial.

There are likewise sacred Writings, which, taken
in connection with the institution and perpetuity
of a visible Church, all believers revere as the
most precious boon of God, next to Christianity
itself, and attribute both their communication
and preservation to an especial Providence. In
them you will find all the revealed truths, which
have been set forth and offered to you, clearly
and circumstantially recorded; and, in addition
to these, examples of obedience and disobedience
both in states and individuals, the lives and
actions of men eminent under each dispensation,
their sentiments, maxims, hymns, and prayers,
their affections, emotions, and conflicts;-in all
which you will recognize the influence of the
Holy Spirit, with a conviction increasing with
the growth of your own faith and spiritual

An important question, though, arises. Doesn’t
Coleridge’s strategy leave us with a merely subjective
assertion of the Bible’s authority: an emotionally
based conviction that cannot sustain itself publicly,
in any kind of argument?

Coleridge’s restoration of subjectivity against an
objectification of Scripture is a distinctively post-
Kantian one. He’s critically aware of the dangers of a
failure to recognize the subject both within and without
the text of Scripture, both, that is, the subjectivity of
the authors and that of the readers. Coleridge, of course,
pulls his radical punches in that he reserves – whether for
reasons of strategy or personal conservatism – the category
of direct “dictation.” The burden of his argument, however,
falls on the affirmation of the finite as the inevitable
medium for the knowledge of God. We do not know “things in
themselves” but things in the mode of human knowing.
Coleridge asks:

“How can I comprehend this? How is it to be proved?
To the first question, I should answer:
Christianity is not a Theory, or a Speculation; but
a Life. Not a Philosophy of Life, but a Life and a
living Process. To the second: TRY IT.”

3. The “Coinherence” of Subjective and Objective

It’s important to note, though, that Coleridge is not
saying “it’s true because you believe it,” or “by believing
it, you make it true.” Nor is he intending to “privatize”
Christianity: access only through the doors of an
experience vouchsafed to the few. Rather, the point is the
post-Kantian and Romantic one: subjectivity is the
inescapable medium of objective truth. Coleridge explains
it like this:

I comprise and conclude the sum of my conviction
in this one sentence. Revealed Religion (and I
know of no religion not revealed) is in its
highest contemplation the unity, that is, the
identity or coinherence, of Subjective and
Objective. It is in itself, and irrelatively, at
once inward Life and Truth, and outward Fact and
Luminary. But as all Power manifests itself in
the harmony of correspondent Opposites, each
supposing and supporting the other,- so has
Religion its objective, or historic and
ecclesiastical pole, and its subjective, or
spiritual and individual pole. In the miracles,
and miraculous parts of religion – both in the
first communication of divine truths, and in the
promulgation of the truths thus communicated – we
have the union of the two, that is, the
subjective and supernatural displayed
objectively, outwardly and phenomenally as
subjective and supernatural.

An example may clarify the last – and important – sentence.
The Risen Jesus appeared only to the disciples, only,
therefore, to those who, however broken in spirit, guilty,
disappointed, or bewildered, still stood within a structure
of concern, of interest: “we had hoped that he was the one
to redeem Israel.” Jesus did not appear to Caiphas, Pilate,
or to any passing and indifferent stranger. Does that mean
that the resurrection was “merely subjective,” just “in the
heads” of the disciples. Coleridge’s answer is no. This
risen life is God given: it is not a possibility of which
the world is capable. Only possibilities within the world
can be proved or demonstrated and resurrection simply isn’t
a this-worldly discovery. In Coleridge’s terms, it is
“supernatural.” Here, then, in the resurrection
appearances, it is disclosed objectively, that is, as an
outward truth – as “real.” The theme of doubt that also
appears in the resurrection narratives serves to reinforce
this “outwardness” – the resurrection appearances are
something unexpected, “out of the way,” and therefore
capable of provoking doubt as well as faith. Furthermore,
the mystery of resurrection is offered to the freedom of
trust, it does not overwhelm, coerce. The resurrection,
then, is given as an outward truth, not as created by the
disciples’ mental state. Yet, still, only the disciples
perceive it, it is “available,” as it were, only in and
through that movement of trust which Christ summons and to
which he addresses himself. Why? Because the deepest truth
of things is only available to the engaged, to those who
participate, give themselves in trust and hope. Even, if
that giving is tentative, fearful, and accompanied with
doubt. Thus, in Coleridge’s terms, the resurrection
appearances disclose the objectivity of resurrection as an
outwardness that can only be grasped inwardly: an
objectivity that requires subjectivity. The “identity or
coinherence of Subjective and Objective.”

Immediately after this passage, Coleridge returns to the
character of Scripture: “in the scriptures…and in the
Mind of the believing and regenerate Reader and Meditator,
there is proved the reciprocity, or reciprocation of the
Spirit as Subjective and Objective.” We are, in all this,
and Coleridge points it out, close to an ancient Christian
doctrine: that of the Holy Spirit as inspirer of author and

4. A Novelistic Approach to Scripture

It remains to note one distinctive element of Coleridge’s
proposals for reading Scripture. Scripture is the witness
to God’s truth given through a complex history of flesh and
blood. The Bible was fashioned within and bears innumerable
marks of cultural change; of the formation, adaptation; and
decay of institutions; of intellectual developments; of
violent breaks of historical continuity; of disagreement,
conflict, and ideological rivalry; of renewal and revision.
This is Scripture’s “historicity” and it’s this that the
“doctrine of Infallible Intelligence” obscures. Here is
Coleridge’s example:

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord; curse
ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof – sang
Deborah. Was it that she called to mind any
personal wrongs – rapine or insult – that she or
the house of Lapidoth had received from Jabin or
Sisera? No; she had dwelt under he palm tree in
the depth of the mountain. But she was a mother
in Israel; and with a mother’s heart, and with
the vehemency of a mother’s and a patriot’s love,
she had shot the light of love from her eyes, and
poured the blessings of love from her lips, on
the people that had jeoparded their lives unto
the death against the oppressors; and the
bitterness, awakened and borne aloft by the same
love, she precipitated in curses on the selfish
and coward recreants who came not to the help of
the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the
mighty. As long as I have the image of Deborah
before my eyes, and while I throw myself back
into the age, country, circumstances, of this
Hebrew Bouduca in the not yet tamed chaos of the
spiritual creation; – as long as I contemplate
the impassioned, high-souled, heroic woman in all
the prominence and individuality of her will and
character, – I feel as if I were among the first
ferments of the great affections – the proplastic
waves of the microcosmic chaos, swelling up
against – and yet towards – the outspread wings
of the Dove that lies brooding on the troubled

There is something very interesting about this approach. It
is “novelistic.” We read and understand Deborah like we
would read and understand a character in a novel. It is no
coincidence – despite Coleridge’s own reservations about
novels – that this is the period in which the novel
develops and becomes the dominant literary form – even
poetry becomes “novelized” in the C19th, as does painting.

The Bible is unique, Coleridge tells us, but it’s not
unique because it’s infallible: it’s unique in its power to
“find” us. Coleridge asks us, therefore, to “read its
contents with only the same piety which you freely accord
on other occasions to the writings of men, considered the
best and wisest of their several ages!” This is an
important critical principle. It was to become a slogan
when historical-criticism began to make serious inroads
into the English clergy’s approach to Scripture. The idea
is, for instance, found in Benjamin Jowett’s contribution
to Essays and Reviews, the collection that so upset the
vicar of St. Mary the Virgin. However, there is a problem.
Historical criticism invites a far more reductive approach
to the biblical text than Coleridge would have
countenanced. When biblical interpretation is dominated by
historical-criticism, meaning is identified with the
results of an historian’s reconstruction of the author’s
intentions and the author’s historical context. This is
another form of false and reductive objectification.

Here, Coleridge’s doctrine of “the coinherence of
subjectivity and objectivity,” of the Spirit in authors and
readers points a way beyond reductionism. For him, meaning
is not univocal or static but arises out of the relation
the reader has with the text: the dynamism of the reader
and the reader’s context, on the one hand, with the text on
the other, a dynamism mediated in the Spirit.

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Posted on: June 26th, 2008 CPE & Contemplative Prayer

As a part of my journey of seeking Anglican orders in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, I am participating in the CPE program at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio.

I was hoping, before the summer started, that CPE might be an opportunity for me to develop deeper self-awareness (of my attitudes, values, and assumptions that could “get in the way” of ministry), and this has proven to be the case so far.

What has been a wonderfully gracious surprise, however, is that this process of self-awareness has been linked to my ongoing journey (about three years old now) into the life of contemplative prayer. As Thomas Keating has pointed out, gaining awareness into deeper meditative states of the heart can help to heal wounds to the unconscious self, and meet the deep longing of the Christian mystic: to experience immediacy with God, whose unbounded love alone is sufficient to satisfy the human heart, having as it does eternity set in it.

I was radically encouraged by this quotation from James Finley in Christian Meditation:

The very fact that you sincerely  desire to practice meditation means you are being blessed in a most extraordinary way. You are being led into the waters of meditative awareness, in which hermits, monks, and nuns living in monastaries, and countless devout women and men living in the world have found a deep and abiding experience of oneness with God. In order to join all these kindred spirits, you must courageously step into the stream of meditative experience that they entered, and in which their lives were transformed. You must entrust yourself to God, who is the river’s origin, its steady, strong current, and the ocean of fulfillment to which it leads.

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Posted on: June 17th, 2008 Romans & Exodus

In this teaching on Romans, NT Wright argues that, in chapters 5 – 8, Paul is basically retelling the exodus story, now recapitulated and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Chapter 5 is about redemption (see also 3:24), which is what happened when God went into the slave market called Egypt and rescued Israel to be his first born son.

Then in chapter 6 there is a passing through the water – baptism – into new freedom. Here we find liberation to be God’s people among the nations.

Then, in the exodus story, what happens next? The giving of the law. This is chapter 7, where we are brought to Sinai. The new law of Christ and the Spirit do what the Torah could not do: bring about the obedience of faith.

Then what? A long wilderness wondering to get to the promised land. This Rom 8:12ff, in which God’s people are led to their inheritance (ie, the renewed creation) by the Spirit, as children of God, and not falling back into fear like slaves (8:14,15).

And all of this, just as in the Exodus story, is because of the covenant love of God, a loving covenant which then renews the entire creation.

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Posted on: June 3rd, 2008 Romans & Death

At the end of chapter 4, Paul says that the faith which reckons us as righteous (is this “reckoning as righteous” what Paul means by “justification?” I think Luther would say “yes” but Wright would say “no”) is belief that God raised Jesus from the dead.

“From the dead.” I have never before noticed that Paul is drawing a parallel between the faith which reckoned Abraham righteous was also belief in God’s power over death. Rom 4:19 says that Abraham “unwaveringly” in faith considered his own body which was “as good as dead” as well as “the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” (It is interestingly that Abraham did not “deny death” but rather looked it in the face. God’s power in Abraham’s life did not bypass death but passed through it.)

Trust specifically in God’s victory over death, then, is apparently central to justifying faith.

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Posted on: June 3rd, 2008 Romans & “Righteousness”

It is kind of strange that only now am I noticing this (since I preached on Rom 1:16-17 this last Sunday), but I now see something about the word “righteousness” or in Greek dikaiosune (which Paul uses for the first time in 1:17) which I had not seen before.

NTW makes the point that this word for Paul has two aspects in view: justice (defending the oppressed and addressing injustice in the world) and covenant faithfulness (God following through and actually doing what what he promised to Abraham and his family). It is through the latter, however, that God will do the former, thereby fixing the “Adam problem” and “setting the world to rights.”

What I never noticed, however, is that Paul has precisely these two aspects of God’s righteousness in view in the structure of the first major section of the letter (chapters 1 – 4).

After his introductory material (1:1 – 1:17) Paul turns to elaborate on God’s justice, how he absolutely shows no favoritism: every ethnos — including the Jews — are on equal footing before God. This massive critique includes a scathing hermeneutic of suspicion against the Jewish religious authoritative types specifically in 2:17 – 2:29, a critique which shocks me in its vitriolic intensity. (No wonder followers of Christ are always getting into trouble with “the powers that be!” Where did Paul get this kind of boldness?)

Then, however, in chapter 4, Paul goes on to discuss Abraham and God’s promises to him. The point here (among others) is that God in Christ (and in the church?) has done what he promised to do for and with Abraham and his family. And what did God promise? According to chapter 4, he promised to make Abraham the father of many nations (4:17, note that Paul does not say “the father of a great nation,” which would refer to ethnic Israel) which would then inherit not simply now the promised land but in fact “the world” (4:13).

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Posted on: June 2nd, 2008 Romans & “Salvation”

Yesterday, in my final sermon at Christ the King Presbyterian Church here in Austin, I preached on Rom 1:16-17 (the lectionary’s epistle lesson for the day).

Paul in those passages says that the Gospel is “the power of God for salvation….” All day yesterday and this morning I have been asking, “OK, now, just what does Paul mean by ‘salvation’ again?”

I find NT Wright’s answer to this question, laid out in his Romans commentary, quite compelling. Wright suggests that what Paul has in mind, especially evident in chapters 5 -8, includes:

– “new exodus” (ie, Israel’s liberation from bondage / captivity),

– sonship or adoption,

– inheritance (the land now including the whole world),

– the glory of God which means his presence in the form of the Holy Spirit, and bodily resurrection.

These are weighty matters, and hopefully I can come back to each one of them soon.

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