Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bp NT Wright: NPP Protagonist
This post was inspiried after an exchange between blogpastor and myself over the merits and the demerits of the New Perspective of Paul on facebook. I refer to NT Wright because I am familiar with his writings and Wright represents the New Perspective of Paul (NPP).

Wright's view of Justification is covenantal, forensic and eschatological. "Faith" for Wright, not unlike circumcision, functions like a boundary marker which identifies gentiles as part of God's people. In Paul's historical context, a highly influential group believed that one had to be circumcised if one wanted to become a Christian. Paul opposed this view because he saw it as an intrusion which highlighted jewish ethnic nationalism at the expense of one's belief in Christ. Parts of Paul's letter to Romans and the letter to the Galatians gives creedence to Wright's emphasis.   

I sometimes think ... however that Wright unnecessarily gives emphasis to the the larger context of justification at the cost of the personal dimension of the justificiation which includes a person being declared righteous before a Holy God. Cant we have both? Paul was referring to a personal faith as a well as a faith which functioned as a boundary marker for God's people. A new believer's personal faith made him part of God's people without having to exhibit redundant Jewish religious beliefs  

I am all for a wider context of justification. My own understanding of justification has been enriched by the NPP but not at the expense of seeing faith as a personal belief. Wright is correct in saying that faith is a boundary marker but his view is deficient when he gives no space for faith as a personal belief. He tries to clarify himself elsewhere but you get the feeling he is trying to go beyond the old perspective. Hence the criticism that's levelled against him.

Here is an example of trying to integrate the old and new perspectives of Paul:

Romans 3:21-26 speaks of Christ's righteousness coming through faith. The faith described here refers to persona belief and a trusting relationship v. 22, 26. This is the old perspective. The NPP however go on to read Romans 3:27-31 as grounds for identifying faith as a new boundary marker for God's people which includes the gentiles v 28-30. The law/circumcision is viewed as a redundant boundary marker which only propagates a Jewish ethnicism which tries to make gentiles into Jewish proselytes. Romans 4 makes a lots of sense when read with the NPP lens. But the point is that the old perspective and the NPP is integrated when we marry Romans 3:21-26 with the Romans 3: 27-31.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Praise the Lord! I graduated 2 weeks ago with a Masters in Theology from a Florida based Seminary in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I finished my course work some time ago but did not find the time to complete my thesis and graduate. The bolivian based rector of the university gave me a non-negotiable deadline. 

I put everything on hold, slept a few hours a day, and worked hard at the thesis, "The Eschatological Character of the Anglican Eucharist". Working through the hypothesis wasnt easy and putting it all together was mind boggling at times.

By God's grace (which included large amounts of cups of black coffee) I finished the thesis a few days before the deadline. Presenting the thesis and defending it was a novel experience. I didnt quite know what to expect. Apparently the panel had never dealt with subject matters related to the anglican church! I was pleased with the grade given. Bishop Frank Lyons was very supportive of me doing post graduate studies and visited us on the weekend of the defense and the graduation.

Oh yeah I forgot...all my course work was in Spanish and so was the thesis.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Temperatures have dropped to 4% centigrade. We've never had to cope with this sort of climate before in Santa Cruz for such a prolonged period. Freezing cold weather only lasts for a day or two. We've had to put up with this icy temperature for about a week. Its really cold! Both us, Michelle and I use nearly 3 to 4 layers of warm clothing. 

6 sick people, vulnerable to death, succumbed to the cold. 

The municipality have opened large enclosures for the homeless. A place to sleep and some hot soup keep them warm.Home made bonfires keep the poor families warm. Schools are closed till the weather improves.It gets dark by about 6 pm. Only few cars ply the roads. The few brave souls who walk the streets are heavily clad in winter clothing. 


The Spaniards were at their best against Germany in the semis.

They controlled play with incisive passing and moved in a pack around the ball, both in attack and in defense. The physical conditioning was mind boggling. Germany were outplayed and not having Mueller didnt help. Spain's forwards however cant seem to stick the knife in! Torres and Ramos seemed lost. And it took a header from Puyol to setttle the game.

Spain kept their cool in the final game and deservedly scored in extra time to win the World Cup for the first time. They were prevented from playing their usual game by their opponents, whose game plan was to have none except to maim their opponents and score on the break. The dutch team were a sham!

The dutch destroyed the world cup final with a cynical approach. Aggression is part of football but they entered the game determined to break the Spanish rythmn with the sort of football you'd normally associate with thuggery. Was the dutch coach behind this strategy? He probably was because the rough play was consistent and unrelenting. They showed no respect for the occasion and seemed oblivious to the fact that millions were watching. Human decency would assume some decorum when one's performance is on display before the whole world. I hope we never see the likes of this dutch team in the final, of any competition!

Where was the team which beat Brazil in the quarter finals? The dutch were brimming with enthusiasm and confidence then. What happened between the quarters and semis? It was as if Dr Jekyll had turned to Mr Hyde. The kind of soccer we associated with the dutch was absent. The dirt they dished out was unlike the sort of soccer one would expect from the dutch! De Jong's foot on Hernandez's chest was awful. He claimed it was unintentional but the replays seemed to indicate otherwise. He should have been sent off.

Who knows? they may have played better with 10 men on the field.

This dutch team of 2010 were nothing like the legendary teams of '74 and '78. Hence the great disappointment. Cruyff was scathing in his cristicism of the dutch team. He was fully justified. I was hoping for a dutch triumph in this final as a tribute to dutch football in the 70's. Maybe they will learn their lesson from this final and give us better performace 4 years from now in Brazil.

So, Spain rule! They have a great coach and might win the European Nations cup in 2012, as well.

Well done Spain..till Brazil 2014. Bien hecho EspaƱa... Nos vemos...Brazil 2014!!