Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth

Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth
Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth

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What does it mean to be saved? Did God choose who would be his followers, or was it a personal choice? These are just some of the questions Paul addresses in the sixteen challenging chapters of his letter to the Romans. Reading Romans shows how some of the greatest minds in the history of the church have wrestled with, and even been changed by, Paul's words. For example, God used a passage from Romans to speak to the untamed heart of Augustine, and John Wesley said that after hearing Martin Luther's comments on Romans, he felt his heart "strangely warmed." This book will show why, in many ways, Christian theology begins and ends with Romans.

Pages: 224
Publisher: Brazos Press
Published: 2005
ISBN-10: 1587431564
ISBN-13: 9781587431562

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5 out of 5 based on 1 user ratings
The volume is rich and substantial. It begins with Gerald Bray’s account of Ambrosiaster and his commentary in which the influential ideas of massa damnata and substitutionary atonement are mixed with Eastern ideas of the human race sharing the natural death but not the guilt of Adam. Bray has obviously worked closely with the text of this commentary and knows it well. However, it is not entirely clear from this account whether his preference for the Western reading of Rom 5:12 (“death reigned over those whose sins were like the sin of Adam”) had anything to do with a parting of the ways between East and West in the person of Ambrosiaster. Some guidance toward useful secondary literature would have been welcome. Christopher Hall explains that John Chrysostom’s theology made sure that grace never overrode human freedom, although without going into much detail. The point is that there is grace not to sin with our choosing. The Parable of the Prodigal Son in which the son chose to return is set against any “predeterminist” view of the message of Romans. This treatment does not really convince me of Chrysostom’s theological skill, but the presentation is comprehensively done. [Full Review]

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