Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nice Piece on Paul in CT

Here's the link:

Again, I want to point out that my views on Paul in general (although not always on specifics) are very much those of Pauline experts in general.  If at times I seem to be controversial on some things, this is usually more because of the gap between scholar and pew than because of any real radicalness to my thoughts.  In the words of Jack Handy, "Sometimes I think the experts really are experts."

This leads to some interesting rabbit trails in my mind.  I affirm in general the political structure of my denomination, where at district and general conference, half the vote is lay and half the vote is ministerial.  But of course a lay person is not likely to be knowledgeable about theology or the original meaning of the Bible and in my denomination, ministers are generally only a little further along.

I can justify this structure in two ways, where doctrine and ethics are set by those who are not studied in these things.  First, doctrine and ethics are lived out in community, and these individuals represent the community.  Secondly, the Spirit is not limited by knowledge.  It is more important that a church have the heart of God than full comprehension.

Still, a denomination would be wise to bring in its scholars on important matters of doctrine or ethics.  True, scholars can disagree with each other.  They can in fact be skewed in their expertise and myopic, since a certain personality often goes on to be a scholar.  Yet if you ask who is more likely to have it right, surely the collective voice of a denomination's scholars are far more likely to sense the current lay of the land.


Rick said...

Are you referring to the NPP issue in regard to your view on Paul?

In regards to the divide between the academy and the pew, this issue came up recently in regards to biblicism. There is a gap between how many use Scripture, and how many (most?) scholars say it was intended to be used.

You are right, God uses both knowledge and community, but at times and with certain issues, there are dangers.

Ken Schenck said...

I avoided using NPP (new perspective on Paul) as a description of this article because 1) there is a good deal of variety among those so labeled and 2) it has become a label that can distract from what we are actually talking about.

I am quite happy to be called NPP if by that one means I fit more with Sanders, Dunn, and Wright than with Bultmann, Piper, or Carson (I really enjoyed putting them together in a list of similars ;-) but I am closer to Sanders than to Wright.

Rick said...

What do you think of Michael Bird's view that the issue of the OPP and NPP does not have to be an either/or, but a both/and?

Scott F said...

I was disappointed that so much of the support the author calls upon are not Paul's words at all.

Perhaps I am alone in this but I would consider the Acts of the Apostles as a questionable source for Paul's words and arguments.

While there are some who will defend Ephesians as Pauline, did we really need the Acts of Paul and Thecla? ;)

Ken Schenck said...

I think Michael Bird and I are good examples of a center that takes on the common ground of the post-Sanders era. He is still a little more OPP than me and I a little more NPP, but we are shadows in the middle.