Because of the way Paul’s letters have been received over the last two millennia, and because the church at times has used his writings to justify violence, oppression, and exploitation, there are many good people who don’t like him.
Other folks believe Paul’s gospel differs from that of Jesus. Jesus preached discipleship in the kingdom of God, whereas Paul was concerned with individuals cultivating inward piety and a life of private devotion to God.
I’ll have more to say about Daniel’s book next week. For now, I’ll just say that if you’re looking for a fresh, invigorating, gospel vision-enlarging, and hope-generating reading of Paul, this is it.
Or, if you love how N. T. Wright talks about the big picture of Jesus’s and Paul’s gospel and would like to hear it in other, equally compelling terms, this book’s for you.
Check out the book’s blog tour site during the next week. I’ll have more to say about the book down the road. For now, just a taste:
How do we understand Jesus’s story as Paul tells it? We must understand it as the story of the man who, as Israel’s king and therefore representative of all humanity before God, rules the world on God’s behalf . . .
The story Paul tells is one in which the God who made all things maintained an unshaken commitment to his beloved creation. It is not a story of escape from a fallen world on which God has given up. It is a story of God restoring the world and winning a victory over the powers that had supplanted his rule. Paul’s letters should be read as an attempt to help the young Christian communities of the ancient Mediterranean world figure out how to live under the reign of the resurrected Christ, which is to say, guiding them in how to take hold of the future of the redeemed world and bring it to bear on the present. Jesus is raised to restore the rule of God, and the churches are the entry points for this restoration project (pp. 20-21).