I’ve finished my presentation for tomorrow’s day conference at GRTS. I’m looking forward to a great day of lively discussion. I’ll tidy up my paper afterwards and post it here, but here’s just a teaser from a section on the conversion of Paul’s political vision:
Saul realized that God had begun his resurrection agenda with the crucified Jesus—the crucified Jesus. We’re so used to this that we have difficulty realizing how shockingly scandalous it is. In the midst of a Jewish culture craving revenge, fantasizing about violent retaliation against their oppressors, God accomplishes salvation through Jesus’ death on the most potent political symbol of imperial domination and shameful political defeat. Jesus dies on a cross along with political agitators, violent criminals, and others that Rome simply wants to be rid of. Far from being cursed by the God of Israel, this Jesus has been vindicated, shown to be in the right, revealed to be God’s chief agent of salvation, resurrected, exalted, and installed as Cosmic Lord, ruler of all things in the heavens and on the earth. God does not accomplish his saving purposes through power, domination, or coercion, but through self-giving love, servant-hood, and giving himself fully for the life of the world and the flourishing of his enemies. That is, God saves only by his grace, and not based on works of righteousness.