New Perspective on Paul discussion 30 000 feet in the air
I had a fascinating conversation with a Hungarian Orthodox Jew, (who lives in London) on my return flight from Weeze into Stansted. This was the very first one-on-one conversation I had with a practising Jew after being exposed to the New Perspective on Paul. The latter I encountered first-hand in Durham under the likes of James Dunn, NT Wright, John Barclay, Francis Watson (and Simon Gathercole in Cambridge).
Q&A with my Jewish friend:
Question: Is observance of the Law, within your Jewish community a precondition to be part of God's covenant community, or is it an identity marker?
Answer: Law observance is a precondition to be part of God's covenant community.
Question: So are you saved through Law observance or through Grace?
Answer: Through observance of the Law, although God can have mercy also. Mercy however is not the same as grace.
Question: So how was Abraham saved? By faith or through obedience to the Law?
Answer: Abraham did not have the Law of Moses. He obeyed and believed before the Law was given, but now that the Law has come, membership of God's covenant community is reserved for those who observe it.
Very very interesting stuff!
For myself, the three books below provided me with lots to think about: