Saturday, July 23, 2011

Response to Romans Question

Wow, I'm amazed at how much traction my simple question from yesterday's post has gotten. My little corner of the intranets usually goes unnoticed by most people, so this is kind of fun.

There have been several very thoughtful comments left on this blog, and a number on James McGrath's blog, who put the question out there as well. Tim Gombis (a NT scholar whose work I am now just discovering), blogged his own response.

One of the reasons I put the question out there is that there are some folks at Arlington who like to make altar displays and other visuals to enhance the sermon theme, and they are thinking of making one big display for the whole Romans series, so I'm hoping to state the overarching theme in a way that could be visually represented.

While we're on the subject of visuals, if you're in Nashville, come worship with us at Arlington UMC tomorrow, where you'll see a cool altar display (and hopefully hear a decent sermon) about Jacob wrestling with God.

But back to the question at hand. What do you see as the overarching theme of Paul's Epistle to the Romans?


Llama Lady said...

It is about *us* and not about *me.*

Misfit. said...

I think the overarching theme in the book of Romans, is a contrast between the Law and Grace. Paul begins by explaining the Law as our schoolmaster, showing that throught the lens of the Law we are all broken and without excuse. But then He talks about grace, and beginning witht chapter 8 explains how the inseperable love of God in Christ restores our perfection, fixes our brokeness, and brings us into a new kind of relationship with God.

Matt Kelley said...

Misfit- that's certainly a contrast Paul draws a lot, but it also provides a tension today that was not there in Paul's time. Paul could draw such a contrast and critique the Judaism of his time because that was his tradition and his people. As twenty-first century people, most of whom have no real roots in the Judaism of any century, make sure that we're not being anti-Jewish (which is not the same thing as anitsemitic) when talking about this contrast.

Misfit. said...

Well yes, but as far as application today, Paul is saying that it's not the letter of following the Word that is the goal, it is remembering Grace. And following Christ because of a flame ignited in our hearts through that rememberance.