Romans 9-10, pt.2

Tonight we are gathering to discuss Romans 9-10 (and maybe into 11).  For me, this may be the most difficult passage in Romans.  Paul says that God has mercy on whomever he wills and hardens the heart of whomever he wills based upon reasons both beyond our comprehension and even beyond our inquiry. Rom 9:18-21.  If God is love (1 John 4:8), if love is the preeminent virtue (1 Cor. 13), and if all of Scripture is based upon love (Matt 22:40), then how can Paul speak of “God” as a capricious tyrant? Why would love, without any discernable reason, cause its creation to come into condemnation? What loving parent would behave in this manner?  And if God’s ways are so inscrutable, then from where can we derive any meaning or direction?

The great benefit of Tuesday night is to be able to wrestle with these troublesome passages (for me) within a community of faithful Christians.  Manny Reid, a former rector at Trinity in the 1950s and Rector Emeritus at Trinity in the 1990s, used to say that “We do not worship the words of a dead prophet, but we worship the living God.”  In Islam, the fullness of the wisdom of God resides in the Arabic Koran. If you want to know God, read the Book.  For Christians, however, the fullness of the wisdom of God resides in the person of Jesus.  Unlike Mohammed (or Moses or Zoroaster or Buddha) our prophet is not dead but lives eternally as the Son of God. And so when we approach the Scripture, and particularly the troublesome passages, we necessarily see them as living and not frozen in time because their author lives. Genesis tells us that Jacob, Moses’ grandson, became Israel and received the blessing of God only after he spent the night wrestling with God. Gen 32:28.  As so it is within a community that I/we can wrestle with God and his Scriptures in order to secure our blessing.    

Dinner is at 6. The menu is carnitas. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

2 Peter 1:20-21. 

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