Last week, Steve argued that “saved by faith alone” is possibly a “doctrine of straw.” This week, he continues to argue, in line with the message of his upcoming book “The Lost Message of Paul,” that this doctrine of straw is responsible for so much of Protestant Theology. And thus, how we’ve misunderstood Paul.
“Most informed Christians know that Luther had a problem with the New Testament book written by James. He called it an ‘epistle of straw’ and campaigned to have it removed from the Bible.” And it’s exactly why, a glossed over but important fact, that brings Steve to this week’s episode of Chalke Talk.
Does part of our misunderstanding around Paul comes from the fact that his letters are so often used to bolster preachers’ pulpits?
“Jesus is Lord” is often viewed as a resounding imperial call, when actually it’s root is about living life radically. This week Steve takes looks back at the Roman Empire; an empire under which Jews, like Paul, were subjugated.
“The culture we inhabit is just like the air that we breathe." And this week, Steve argues that trying to understand the Apostle Paul without understanding his culture will fail to give us the full picture.
What do these two seemingly unrelated famous men share in common? As Steve puts it, “To attempt to understand the development of the Church worldwide without any reference to the work of the Apostle Paul is a bit like trying to trace the development of pop music without mentioning Elvis, or the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, Michael Jackson, and U2 all put together.”
Following on from last week’s episode, Steve continues to look at the many ways Paul’s writing has been used to justify some of the church’s worst mistakes. From racism to homophobia, it’s hard to believe there is anything redeemable about Paul’s texts. As Steve puts is, “…it is no surprise that for too many he is the author of structural social exclusion.”
This week, Steve begins a new conversation – a serious conversation that he invites us all to participate in; a conversation about the apostle Paul.
Paul is often referred to as “the great excluder” and is used by many to defend a legalistic view of Christianity. But what happens, Steve asks this week, if it’s not that the rules don’t matter, but the principle behind them matters more?
This week Steve continues to expand on what does “being human” involve and asks “what does living well really mean?”