more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.


The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.

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'a new perspective on Paul' changes our understanding of 'the gospel' and 'the law'

James Dunn on 'The new perspective on Paul'

'The new perspective was an attempt to set the record straight in reference to the traditional or
Lutheran perspective. That perspective tended to operate with a view of Judaism as very legalistic,
narrow, and bigoted, so that what Paul was objecting to was the idea that you could “earn” your way
to salvation – that you paid your way to heaven – and that this is what all Israel taught. “Works of
the law” were works that you did to prove to God that you were deserving of entry into the new age.
Your “boasting” was boasting in your achievement, in good works.

The new perspective really begins by asking whether this is the case. In Judaism it doesn’t appear
that it was assumed that you had to “earn” your way to become acceptable to God. It was E.P.
Sanders who made this breakthrough, but before him there were many Jewish scholars, very
sympathetic to Christianity, who were quite puzzled by this presentation of the Judaism that Paul
was attacking because it wasn’t the Judaism they knew.

E.P. Sanders started with the observation that Judaism begins its soteriology with the conviction
that Israel had been chosen by God to be God’s people. The ten commandments begin: “I am the
LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex. 20:2,
NRSV). The act of salvation – the act of deliverance – is God’s prior choice of Israel. Then comes
the ten commandments, the statement of what God expects of his people. So the commandments
are not a way of earning God’s favor but a way of showing how the people of God should live.
That’s the basic point that had to be made in terms of the new perspective.

The other key feature of the new perspective begins from an observation made particularly by
Krister Stendahl in the last generation: that Paul’s theology of justification emerges as his attempt to
explain how it is that Gentiles are acceptable to a Jewish God. Prior to Paul it was characteristically
assumed that in order to be acceptable to God they had to become Jews. But Paul discovered – the
early Gentile mission discovered – that the gospel of Jesus preached to Gentiles was received by
faith, by faith alone. Gentiles received the Spirit, God’s sign of acceptance; so that was that! Paul’s
whole concern, as apostle to the Gentiles, is to defend this gospel, this understanding of how the
gospel works. This gives a quite different twist to the old debate about justification by faith. It’s not
just about the problem of individuals trying to earn salvation by pulling their bootstraps. It begins as
a statement of the way in which God accepts all who believe.
The gospel is for all who believe, as
Paul again and again emphasizes.

Those were really, I think, the two basic starting points.'--James Dunn in 'A New Perspective on Paul'

NT Wright on Christ's faithfulness

Question: Richard Hays has reopened the question of whether Galatians 2:16 should be
translated “faith of Christ” or “faith in Christ.”

Wright: We actually disagree on this. Yes, go on.

Question: The Greek is apparently ambiguous. Luther translated it “faith in Christ.” Tyndale
translated it “faith of Christ.” Every English translation up until the RSV followed Tyndale. All of a
sudden, the Lutheran translation took in the RSV. I’m just wondering if there is any discussion as to
why the RSV followed Luther as opposed to Tyndale.

Wright: That’s a much more focused question than the one I thought you were going to ask. I
have no idea why the RSV did that. I have no inside track on that at all.

Of course, in older English, you could have an objective genitive more easily, so “faith of
Christ” might have been heard in the sixteenth or seventeenth century as “Christian faith” or “the
faith related to Christ,” not necessarily, as in some of the modern debates, as subjective genitive, that
is to say, “Jesus’ own faith” or “faithfulness.”

Let’s see if we can do this in about two sentences each, shall we?
There was a big debate between Richard Hays and Jimmy Dunn in SBL about ten years ago on
the meaning of pistis Christou in Paul, and I was sitting at Richard’s left hand as one of his supporters
and friends on that occasion.

My own view is based entirely on Romans 3. I do not claim that Paul must have always meant
the same thing by the phrase wherever it occurs, but I think Romans 3 creates a presupposition in
that direction. Paul says in Romans 3:1-3 that the Israelites who were entrusted with the oracles of
God were faithless, which leaves a problem for God because God is committed to working through
Israel to save the world. What is required is a faithful Israelite in fulfillment of God’s covenant
faithfulness, so when in 3:21 he says God has unveiled his covenant faithfulness, dia pisteōs Iēsou
Christou, eis pantas tous pisteuontas, I find every reason to translate “God has unveiled his covenant
faithfulness through the faithfulness of Jesus for the benefit of all who believe,”
both halves of
which are important. I think what Paul means by “the faithfulness of Jesus” there is not Jesus’ belief
system or act of faith, but his faithfulness to God’s saving plan, which is the same thing as his
obedience as we find it in Romans 5. Therefore, I hold my mind open to hearing the same things in
Galatians and elsewhere.'

--N.T Wright on the faithfulness of Christ as foundation for salvation

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    you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen" U2 - Journal - 'a new perspective on Paul' changes our understanding of 'the gospel' and 'the law'

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