Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community
This picture contradicts the common impression of Paul as an abstract theologian, someone who wrestled with deep theological doctrine while hovering six feet above everyday reality. But in fact, it was the philosophers of Paul's day--and even some of Paul's Christian opponents--who traded heavily in abstractions, one-way rhetoric and top-down hierarchies while depreciating the currency of everyday reality. By contrast, Paul the tentmaker was a conversationalist of God's Good News, a storyteller of Jesus Christ, an apostle who walked the avenues and back alleys of everyday reality. His passion was for communities of grace and conversation where the new reality of Christ was explored and embodied within the daily messiness of life.
Reframing Paul unveils this Paul in his original context and invites us to engage him in new terms. Courageously it draws Paul into vital conversation with contemporary evangelicalism. This is a book for those who wonder why people leave churches for alternative spiritual paths--and who may even be tempted to do so themselves. More than anything, it's for those who wonder what's gone wrong and want to learn from Paul how the church can be an attractive community of transforming grace and conversation.
"If you are concerned about the way the Bible is sometimes taught today, and sense that something is not quite right with some parts of evangelicalism, this is the book for you! Carefully researched and penetratingly argued, Mark Strom brings Paul, his culture and the contemporary church into dynamic and unsettling conversation. He shows that too much that goes on among conservative Christians reflects the attitudes and practices of the culture of Paul's day rather than of Paul himself." Robert Banks, director and dean, Macquarie Christian Studies Institute, Sydney, Australia
"In Reframing Paul, Mark Strom brings Paul's writings back in touch with life as he intended. In doing so, Strom challenges much contemporary theology and church life. Interpreters of Paul and those interested in the future of the evangelical church need to read this important and engaging book." Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
"Mark Strom's presentation of Paul is a service to anyone interested in the New Testament, for it clarifies Paul's message by putting it into its setting and gives one readable access to Paul's world. His critique of the evangelical church is challenging . . . . Important reading for those interested in understanding Paul and must reading for those thinking about how to do church in our contemporary world." Peter H. Davids, theological educator, Innsbruck, Austria
"This wide-ranging book includes an extensive reading of ancient sources and their best commentators, hermeneutical considerations on how to relate Paul's grappling with his setting to our analogous settings today, and a challenge to today's church to rethink our values and models in light of Scripture. Strom challenges us to ask ourselves whether the way we've always done things is the only (or even a correct) biblical way-a challenge we need to always readily consider." Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament at Eastern Seminary