Would Paul Have Made a Good Evangelical?
Even when you account for 2000 years of cultural differences between Paul and Evangelicalism, the answer is no.
Why? Because Paul didn’t treat the Bible the way mainstream Evangelicalism says you need to.
The way Paul handled his Bible–what we call the Old Testament–would keep him off the short list for openings to teach Bible in many Evangelical seminaries and Christian colleges. Heck, John Piper, John MacArthur, and R. C. Sproul probably wouldn’t let Paul lead a home Bible study, at least not without supervision.
Here is the main reasons why:
For Evangelicals, the Old Testament leads to the Gospel story. For Paul, the Old Testament is transformed by the Gospel.
For Evangelicals, the Old Testament, read pretty much at face value, anticipates Jesus. For Paul, the Old Testament is reshaped in order to conform to Jesus.
For Evangelicals, the Bible is God’s final authority. For Paul, Jesus is the final authority to which the Bible must bend.
You see, Paul had a monumental theological and hermeneutical task before him. The Old Testament is centered on Israel’s need for obedience to the law of Moses in order to stay in God’s favor–what the Old Testament often calls “life.” God’s favor is most clearly demonstrated by Israel’s remaining in the Promised Land–if they obey, they stay; if they disobey, the are cast out (which is what the exile to Babylon was all about). And, as an added benefit, when Israel is faithful to God, the other nations will take notice and also bend the knee to Yahweh, Israel’s God.Continue reading at www.patheos.com