Notes on The Deliverance of God: Part 7, Attacking the Citadel!

Part 3 of The Deliverance of God moves us into the text of Romans. The focus of Part 3 is the reading of Romans 1-4. Campbell calls Romans 1-4 the Textual "Citadel" of Justification Theory. That is, the heart and soul of Justification Theory rests upon a particular reading of Romans 1.16-4.25. This stretch of text is where Justification Theory advocates believe Paul, in his most systematic theological treatment, lays the foundation of Justification Theory. Consequently, interpretations of outlying texts (e.g., Galatians) tend to be driven by the reading of Romans 1-4.

In short, Justification Theory stands or falls on the reading of Romans 1-4.

In Part 3 of The Deliverance of God Campbell gives us, first off, the reading of Romans 1-4 that is believed to support Justification Theory in the theology of Paul. After giving us this "conventional" reading, Campbell uses the rest of Part 3 to show us the exegetical problems of that reading. At the end of Part 3 it seems clear that Justification Theory isn't the best reading of Romans 1-4. Something is amiss in this reading of Paul. Way too many loose ends and internal contradictions.

Let me start where Campbell starts, with his overview of the "conventional" reading of Romans 1-4, the reading that is taken to support Justification Theory.

Campbell begins with what he calls the general structure of Romans 1-4, the conventional take on the various facets of Paul's argument in these chapters. This general structure has three parts:

  1. 1.18-3.20: The Statement of the Problem
  2. 1.16-17, 3:21-31: The Solution to the Problem (stated in thesis form)
  3. 4.1-25: A Biblical Example that Supports/Illustrates/Authorizes the Solution
Let's go through each part of Paul's argument.

1.18-3.20: The Statement of the Problem
Tersely, the problem of humankind is summarized in 3.23:
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
But to get to that conclusion Paul has to get both Jew and Gentile under the condemnation of God. To make this happen the conventional reading suggests that 1.18-3.20 is devoted to showing how the Gentile and Jew, each in turn, stand condemned before God. Paul starts with the Gentiles in 1.18-2.8 and then turns to the Jews in 2.9-3.9. By the time Paul is done both Jew and Gentile stand under God's wrath.

Importantly, Paul's indictments differ for both the Jew and the Gentile. Because, obviously, the Gentiles were unfamiliar with God's Law. If so, how could they stand condemned? According to the conventional reading Paul makes an appeal to natural theology, a moral law accessible to all human persons. This is nicely summarized in 1.20:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
When Paul turns to indict the Jews he leaves natural theology behind and focuses on Torah obedience. The Jews are guilty because they failed to keep the Law. 3.20 concludes:
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Having shown that both Jew and Gentile are guilty Paul concludes in 3.9b:
Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
1.16-17, 3:21-31: The Solution to the Problem
Having shown that both Jews and Gentiles stand condemned under natural or Torah Law what solution does Paul offer? According to the conventional reading the "solution" is given, in abstracted form, in 1.16-17 and 3.22:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
The gospel, then, is this: Having fallen short of perfect obedience and standing condemned before God the Jew and the Gentile can embrace "a righteousness that is by faith." That is, according to the conventional reading, 1.16-17 and 3.22 summarize the core claim of Justification Theory: Salvation is attained through "faith" in Jesus.

4.1-25: A Biblical Example that Supports/Illustrates/Authorizes the Solution
According to the conventional reading Paul then goes on to "authorize" and illustrate the gospel by citing the key human player in salvation history: Father Abraham. The argument is that Paul uses Abraham to make the claim that righteousness comes through faith. This is summarized in 4.1-3:
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
The crux of the argument is that Abraham's "faith" was "credited" to him as "righteousness." In this Abraham becomes the primordial and paradigmatic example of all those who become "righteous by faith." As Paul concludes in 4.16:
He is the father of us all.

So this is the reading of Romans 1-4 that functions as the "Citadel" of Justification Theory. And Citadel is a good word. Because it looks like a pretty solid, obvious reading. And it is. No doubt this is why the reading has become so dominant and popular. But if you've read all the posts up to this point you know that there are a lot of problems with this reading. For example, don't you find it odd in 1.18-3.20 that God condemns humanity with two different rulebooks? Why give the Torah if natural law was enough to condemn humanity? Doesn't this make the entire "nation of Israel experiment" in salvation history somewhat irrelevant? Seriously, there is something deeply incoherent about this argument. Of course, Paul could have been making a bad argument. But we should also entertain the possibility that Justification Theory is importing these incoherences into Paul.

In the remainder of Part 3 Campbell goes back over Romans 1.16-4.25 with a fine toothed comb looking to see if Justification Theory really is giving a consistent and coherent reading of this text. More specifically, Campbell looks for two different kinds of problems. Both types of problems are a kind of mismatch between the Theory and the Text:
1) Textual Underdeterminations:
Textual underdeterminations occur when the Theory says more than the Text. Justification Theory is based on some pretty critical assertions. We'd like to see those assertions baldly stated by Paul. Oddly, many of these critical propositions just aren't in the text. They have to be read into the text.

2) Textual Overdeterminations:
Textual overdeterminations occur when the Text says more than the Theory in a kind of "too much information" situation. This could be just noise in the text, but problems emerge when this additional information contradicts or undermines the conventional reading.
With these two kinds of problems in hand Campbell goes through Romans 1.16-4.25 looking for these Text/Theory mismatches. By the end of Part 3 he reviews 35 examples of textual under- and overdeterminations.

To give you a flavor of this work let me describe selected textual under- and overdeterminations for each of the main sections of Paul's argument. I've used two criteria for making these selections. First, not having finished the book I've guessed which over- and underdeterminations seem most "damning" and, thus, might be critical to Campbell's alternative reading of Romans 1-4. Second, some of these were selected because they are easier to describe to non-professionals (i.e., I understood them).

1.18-3.20: The Statement of the Problem
Textual Underdeterminations:
In condemning Jew and Gentile Paul never explicitly states the "perfectionistic criterion." This is odd because this facet of Justification Theory--God demands 100% moral perfection--carries such a heavy load in the theory. The perfectionistic criterion is the gasoline that makes the whole machinery work. Thus, it is peculiar that Paul never makes the claim outright.

Another underdetermination occurs in 2.1. After condemning the Gentiles in 1.18-32 Paul turns to argue with a person in 2.1:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
In the conventional reading this "you" is taken to be a rhetorical device referring to Judaism as Paul switches from his indictment of Gentiles to his indictment of the Jews. However, Paul never explicitly equates the "harsh judge" of 2.1 with Judaism. This is an important underdetermination as there is considerable exegetical evidence to suggest that Paul isn't, in fact, referring to all of Judaism. Paul has a particular person (or persons) in mind.

Textual Overdeterminations:
There is wide agreement that Romans 1.18-32--Paul's attack on the Gentiles--is borrowing heavily from the Wisdom of Solomon. The Wisdom of Solomon is a Deuterocanonical book, a book considered canonical by the Catholics but not by Protestants. The Wisdom of Solomon is considered to be one of many Jewish "propaganda" books that rant about Gentile immorality. On one level the parallels between Romans 1 and Jewish moral propaganda isn't a big deal. But the question is raised: Why would Paul grab some Jewish moral propaganda in condemning the Gentiles and then turn right around and knock that argument down? That is, Paul quotes the Jewish indictment approvingly in Romans 1, but then turns harshly upon the judge making the indictment, suggesting that, what?, the indictment was in error? Overblown? That the judge is simply a hypocrite? In short, Paul seem to be shifting gears between Romans 1 and 2 in an odd way.

A different overdetermination centers on the turn in 2.1, when Paul turns away from the Gentiles to attack the "harsh judge." Who, exactly, is this judge? The conventional reading says that the "judge" is all of Judaism. But if this is so a Jewish reader can easily sidestep Paul's condemnation. Why? Because a kind, humble Jewish person could easily say, "I don't judge anybody." Surely this is a possibility. Jews and Gentiles mixed frequently in the days of Paul. Do we have to imagine that every Jew harshly judged their neighbors? That no Jew ever said, "You know, I'm no better than Joe, my Gentile co-worker."? This problem grows more acute when we look at how Paul characterizes the Jews in 2.21-22:
You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Surely there were Jews who could say to Paul, "I don't steal. I have been a faithful spouse. I don't rob temples." In short, if we equate the harsh judge of 2.1 and the sins of this judge with Judaism Paul is making a really bad argument. It's too crude and harsh. Recall, Paul is trying, according to the conventional reading, to bring the Jews under indictment. But Paul's argument is so full of hyperbole that no reasonable Jew would feel that Paul was speaking to them. Paul, basically, is a really lousy preacher.

But if we assume that Paul actually had a clue and was a pretty good preacher then we must conclude that Paul isn't aiming at Judaism in 2.1. But if Paul isn't railing against the Jews--generically speaking--in 2.1 who is this harsh judgmental Jew he is arguing with?

Finally, just when you think the Gentiles are these evil people, Paul, suddenly, revisits them in 2.26-29:
If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
Hold on a second! Who are these Gentiles who "keep the law's requirements" and get "praise from God"? I thought getting praise from God for keeping the law was impossible?
1.16-17, 3:21-31: The Solution to the Problem
Textual Underdeterminations:
In a prior post I noted the problems with the phrase pistis Christou. Should it be read as "faith in Christ" or "faith of Christ"? In a related way, the text never explicitly claims that faith is the action a person exercises to secure salvation. No doubt faith is associated with righteousness and salvation in the text, but the connection between faith and righteousness is vague. Nowhere does the text say "faith is what you must do to be saved."

Another underdetermination in this section is the absence of any discussion of Jesus' atoning or substitutionary sacrifice. This is odd as this is a critical feature of Justification Theory and it is conspicuously absent from its foundational text.

Textual Overdeterminations:
Consider again the critical thesis in 1.16:
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith
How, exactly, can faith "reveal" something? Faith, according to Justification Theory, is an act of affirmation or assent to something that is already revealed. That is, the gospel is revealed to you and then you have faith in it. But 1.16 suggests that faith acts as a form of disclosure, where something previously hidden has now come into view. This "apocalyptic" (revelatory) aspect of faith strongly suggests that when Paul is talking about the relationship between faith and righteousness he's talking about something very different than what Justification Theory is talking about.
4.1-25: A Biblical Example that Supports/Illustrates/Authorizes the Solution
Textual Underdeterminations:
In the conventional reading Abraham is the paradigm of faith. But the texts fails to specify Abraham's life before faith. Presumably, Abraham's pre-faith life is supposed to be correlated with Phase 1 under Justification Theory: Standing condemned before God under the perfectionistic criterion. But Romans 4 doesn't present Abraham's journey to faith in those terms, making us wonder how Abraham makes a good illustration for Justification Theory's model of salvation.

Textual Overdeterminations:
The character of Abraham's faith in Romans 4 looks nothing like faith in Justification Theory. The entire description of Abraham's "faith" in Romans 4 looks a whole lot more like lifelong, persevering covenant "faithfulness." In short, Abraham's "faith" looks a whole lot like "works." It definitely doesn't look like there was one moment in time that functioned in an analogous way to the classic "accept Jesus into your heart" kind of faith that Justification Theory talks about.

In conclusion, although Justification Theory looks like a cogent and formidable reading of Romans 1-4, by the end of Part 3 of The Deliverance of God we are really ready for a better reading of Paul.

The Citadel of Justification Theory has collapsed.

On to Part 4...

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30 thoughts on “Notes on The Deliverance of God: Part 7, Attacking the Citadel!”

  1. I'm still reading, if you need the encouragement. Although I had to go back and re-read Part 1, and have hardly any background in soteriology.

    Also seing it interesting how the threads about the weakness of Justification Theory are blending with the threads of your faith and doubt essays...

  2. I bought my copy, and am 100 pages in. I feel like I am having a discussion with a very patient man who want to leave no issue unturned. You are reallly helping us with your reviews.

  3. pecs:

    Excellent question. I have a developed a personal rule: any explanation for a biblical passage that requires a hermaneutic or some such nonsense to understand cannot possibly be true!

    None of the authors of the bible nor their audience had any seminary education.


  4. Paul, a 'hermeneutic' is simply a word that refers to the particular lens through which you interpret a text. Everyone has one (and sometimes more than one) however you acquired them and whether you are conscious of them or not. You have to. The little markings on paper (or any other medium) have no independent meaning apart from the interpretation of the reader. To the extent that our hermeneutic of a scriptural text differs from that of the church that provided us the text, the less likely we are to understand it as it was intended to be understood. This book seems to me to simply be carefully outlining the problems with a very common, modern hermeneutic.

  5. I echo Don's comment. I just received my copy, and your reviews are both helpful and motivating.

    I agree with the sentiments of pecs and paul, but I also note that we are not writing on a clean slate here. Rightly or wrongly (to reserve judgment) we have been STEEPED in JT. As attractive as it might seem to trash hermeneutics and seminarians, how many contemporary Christians could really "get at" a fresh/original/unfiltered understanding of scripture?

    No, I'm afraid it's work. And it seems to me that both Richard and Douglas (to be presumptuous) are sensitive and extremely helpful in what they've written.

    It occurs to me that Jesus has to do a lot of deconstructing of contemporary theology in the process of proclaiming simple but seemingly-confounding truth.


  6. "It occurs to me that Jesus HAD to do." I'm sorry.

    And the counter to pecs formulation, "One has to wonder why God would make the centerpiece of the Christian faith so obfuscated" is "why have WE (by creating and endorsing JT) obfuscated a centerpiece of Paul's theology."


  7. Scott:

    I understand what a hermaneutic is. And I wasn't necessarily referring to this book, although I am enjoying the reviews by Prof. Beck.

    My point is that so many pieces of Christian theology can't be understood minus a complicated or contradictory explanation. The trinity, virgin birth, salvation, relationship between the old and new testaments come to mind, and I could go on and on.

  8. OK. That's not the way I had read your prior comment, but I probably read it with a poor hermeneutic. ;)

    With that said, I'm not sure why you would expect a God who is uncreated, who is 'apart' (holy), who made all that is (including us), who is a self-sufficient communion of love, to be simple of uncomplicated. Such a God would certainly transcend the compass of our minds and our ability to form language -- so much so that our efforts to explain or describe such a God would necessarily be complicate or contradictory.

    None of that is to say that it's necessary to understand such things about God to love him, to follow him. Christianity is replete with a history of holy fools and there are certainly many small children who are able to love God better and more wholeheartedly than I love Him.

    But if you are going to try to understand such things, why would you expect them to be easy?

  9. Thinking about some of y'alls comments.

    I also worry that when we layer too much advanced learning over a text if we've gotten it right. For example, although I love Rene Girard's work on the gospels it is so subtle that I wonder if the first century readers got his point about scapegoating. This is why I like Mark Heim's book Saved from Sacrifice as it helps me see how the early church was picking up on the themes Girard so powerfully discusses.

    I'm not as worried though, about The Deliverance of God. For example, there are two things about Romans that Campbell discusses that make me think that the letter was much more transparent to first readers in ways that leave us modern readers in the dark. First, there is a controversy over the occasion of the letter. Why did Paul write it? Particularly to a church he'd never visited? The letter is very polemical. Who was Paul arguing against? In short, we are only hearing half the conversation. The Christians in Rome had the whole picture in front of them. And, as Campbell argues, having the right frame for the letter can make a great deal of difference. Also, the prose style of Romans 1-4 is very distinctive and unlike any of Paul's other writing. This would have set this section apart from the rest of the letter in the ears of the congregation (the letter would have been read aloud). Modern English readers can't see/hear this difference.

    In short, the letter might have been extraordinarily transparent to the Roman Christians. Our temporal distance, church-historical baggage, language barriers, and lack of context for the letter are largely the root of the problem. Thus, Campbell's work looks like an excavation site.

    That doesn't, however, answer the question about why, if the bible is inspired, God didn't work it out to leave more transparent texts behind for readers 2000+ years after the fact...

  10. Campbell should thank you for what you're doing. You're probably getting his book in a lot of people's hands who would otherwise not have seen it.

    I can't wait to get to the constructive bit. I've been convinced of the inadequacy of Justification Theory for a while, but I want to know what Campbell believes is better. I'm also suspicious that he is going to put together a case which is perhaps too watertight. Some of the "inconsistencies" he charges to JT for example could well have just been Paul being inconsistent. If you read a random sampling of my writing over a span of decades it would be pretty inconsistent. If Campbell tries to harmonize Paul too much he may make just as big of a mistake.

  11. Being a huge NT Wright fan, I'm curious to see how his construction of the early chapters of Romans squares with Wright's readings. Its been a while since I've read his commentary on Romans, but I may have to dust it off after the next part of this review.

    Wright, by the way, is reportedly working on his own book on Paul - something that he says is the culmination of his life's work. I wonder how much re-drafting will be necessary as a result of this work...

  12. Richard:

    There is an obvious and simple answer to the point you raise at the end of your comment. Can you guess what it is?


  13. pf,
    Hmmmmm. Let me think.

    How about this: God made it hard so that we might seek Him intentionally and, thus, strengthen our faith?

    At least that's what they told me in Sunday School...

  14. I wonder if part of the problem is our obsession with the mechanics, rather than praxis.

    "Why does God allow evil?" is a hard question.

    "How can I better imitate Jesus?" is also hard, but not in the same way. It doesn't pose an intellectual puzzle as much as it challenges our nature.

    I just read CS Lewis' chapter on the atonement in Mere Christianity a couple of weeks ago. There are many theories of nutrition, he says, but people ate food and gained strength from it long before those theories developed, and if they are one day proven wrong, well...people will still benefit from eating food.

  15. This exegesis has me reflecting on the philosophical argument against the existence of a relational God that asks the question: If God wants relationship with us, why does he seem so distant? Why not make his character and his desires for us more clear? Why does the Bible read like it was written by uninspired men? Why does the world look as if God does not exist? God should be like the uber-parent, involved and caring and guiding and protecting the lives of his children.

    I see this as kind of variation of the problem of evil argument, except that instead of an argument against a good God, it is an argument against a relational God. It is equally devastating for me, and no I don't think there is an obvious or simple answer.

  16. we are pigs, pigs and no matter how much lipstick, i am still a pig, and guess what i think like a pig,and why do i act and think like a pig,i live with pigs.,why is god's writing of his thoughts so hard for me Richard????
    oh please don't tell me because i just couldn't believe it...what is it you say? GOD IS NOT A PIG!

    blessings rich constant

  17. Richard:

    I'm guessing your answer about God wanting to make it hard to strengthen our faith is tongue-in-cheek, but the obvious answer is that the bible is not inspired.

    Why would God speak directly to Abraham and Moses and not tell them that he was in fact a trinity and some day the "son" portion of his essence would come to earth and "save" people? By not telling them the truth, he was actively misleading them. Does that sound like a righteous being? Not to me.

    That's why every "christian" theology needs some sort of "hermaneutic" to cover up the obvious. Either God changed his mind (nope, can't have that) or there has to be some crazy explanation like dispensations or progressive theology (Abraham and Moses weren't ready for the truth. Yeah, that's the ticket!)

    In essence all these explanations boil down the fact that people can make up nonsense and attribute it to god.

    Scott, your assertion that god is complicated so humans naturally can't understand, is another twist on that argument. Essentially, it is a way to excuse god for evil (like killing children when he is piqued) and to hide the fact that christian belief is 100% illogical.


  18. pf,
    I was kidding in my earlier response.

    I think it pretty clear that issues such as this mean any simplistic notion of biblical inerrancy or inspiration needs to be jettisoned.

  19. Richard:

    I suspected you were joking. And I kinda' agree about jettisoning simplistic notions about the bible, but what notion would you replace it with?

    I was for many years a believer in inspiration, albeit with a more liberal bent and an open mind. As I studied over the decades to find evidence for my views of Jesus, I would discard individual tenents of beliefs. The idea was that there was a big picture in the bible that could be identified if you understood it properly. But eventually it dawned on me that such a belief was tenuous.

    The logical implications of everything I understood collectively was that the books were purely human productions that represented a snapshot in time of the idea of a particular part of a particular culture in time. Rather than finding a principal tying the parts together, I came to see that it is infinitely more logical and likely that the authors of the various "books" taught a wide variety of beliefs that could not be reconciled in many ways.

    So God may exist, but if his plan involves communicating his message through the Hebrew/christian bible, he isn't very bright.

    Most people don't think through their beliefs, which remain static largely because they refuse to expose themselves to anything contrary. I don't think many people are looking for a nuanced explanation.


  20. I just want to say that according to those who are Reformed they hold that man by nature was created under a "covenant of works" or a law covenant-therefore in Romans man-Gentiles by creation are under a Law covenant "covenant of works"- the Jews are under the Torah or the Mosaic Covenant which is believed by some Reformed theologians to be a renewal of the covenant of works made back in Genesis (see the book "The Law Is Not Of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant" Edited by Estelle and Van Drunen). So according to Reformed theological logic man-sinners are condemned by being under the covenant of works-law covenant-peace Jonny

  21. pf,
    Minimally, here's my view of inspiration and the Word of God:

    The Christian confession is that the Word of God (logos) = Jesus. Or, in the language of gospels, if you see Jesus you see the Father. That, in a nutshell, is my view of divine inspiration.

    I don't believe a person can purchase the Word of God from Barnes and Noble or

  22. Richard:

    Which Jesus are we talking about? The second member of the trinity who was begotten yet always existed and 100% human AND divine? Or the human being born to Mary and an unknown human father who was chosen by God to be his representative on earth?

    And how do I get to see Jesus? Seriously. All the times I "spoke" with Jesus in prayer, I never heard anything back, and for decades I was very sincere.

    It's like "Jesus was here and all I got was some crummy books" written by, well, nobody knows who, and well, nobody knows which one was accurate since they all sort of disagree about the message and times and places and events.

    So how do I see Jesus? By devoting myself to the ethics sermon on the mount? That's great, but it is not christianity. Plenty of people live that way and have nothing to do with Jesus. In fact, people who have nothing to do with Jesus are more likely to follow his actual teachings.

    I gather you are poking fun at my intellectual approach with your last comment, which is surprising from someone doing a 10-point review of a book on Justification Theory. But that's OK.


  23. richard

    i am so happy to see more jumping into a perspective of Christocentric understanding of ROM.3 and the faithfulness of god to his words of promise.In bringing about the promised kingdom through the faithful seed that was born under the law and so through one righteous act perfected all those who believe that HE is the mediator of a new covenant in and by and through righteous faith...the new creation created through loving kindness of god by the Spirit of hope

    blessings rich constant

  24. pf,
    Let me apologize. My last answer wasn't an attempt at making fun. It was a very serious response. Your earlier question was about my view of inerrancy and I attempted to reframe that question Christologically. That is, the printed text called "the Bible" is not the logos, The Word of God. Thus, when a person points out problems with the Christian Scriptures I'm not very alarmed.

    Pushing back a bit on your last comment I'd quibble a bit with the notion that "plenty of people" live by the Sermon on the Mount. In my experience very, very, very few people live by the Sermon on the Mount. Very, very, very few people read that sermon line by line and adopt it for their life day and night. And if they do, then I'd disagree with you, I'd call such people Christians (i.e., followers of Christ). You might have another definition for Christian in mind (something other than "intentional follower of Jesus") but I'm just giving you my take. People define "Christian" all kinds of ways.

    And again, I'm my tone here is serious. I appreciate the exchange.

  25. Richard:

    Ah, now I get what you meant. I have thick skin, no need to apologize.

    But I still don't get what you mean by Jesus being the word of god. How do I see him or know him except by the scriptures? You seem rational, you can't possibly believe that people today can have a relationship with him.

    After 9/11 in church (and I live in the shadow of the WTC and work in the financial services industry) people would criticize Osama bin Laden, and I would wonder how they could criticize him yet love the god who ordered genocide and murdered people for being "evil" in the hebrew bible.

    And polls show 80% of "christians" voted for George Bush, which to me is proof that 1) they ain't talking to no god and the whole thing is a farce or 2) god is evil.


  26. BTW, my comment about bin Laden was a bit convolute. When I said criticize him, obviously what he did was hideous from any perspective. But it seems people want to say that he is a crazy evil monster (true) but shrink from the idea that if you believe that, then the God who ordered genocide has to be a crazy evil monster as well.


  27. Richard if you please

    there also seems to be the issue of whether in Romans 1:17,,, the concept of intrinsic/forensic
    has not been brought as yet,the A RIGHTEOUS OF GOD(THAT SPEAKS OF A FORENSIC Righteousness) THIS CARRIES OVER TO ROM3:21-22 and continues to form a concept of imputed righteous in chapter 4 in the idea of anthropocentric justification... yes?
    i will stop here...

    blessing rich constant

  28. P.S.
    I'm sorry i do have to say this,although. to be constant,(ha ha no pun intended),why did the translators,(unless there is a predisposition of a theological lens)as they translated "the wrath of god in 1:18, not also translate this as "A WRATH OF GOD" i us this to accent the issue...
    blessings rich constant

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