We have read his words through our own set of assumptions and values. We need to begin with the ideas that informed Paul’s worldview and culture. Our goal is simple — to see things the way he saw them rather than the way we see them.
· What if the whole idea of ‘original sin’ was never part of Paul’s thinking at all?
· What if the idea that we are saved by faith in Christ, as Luther so strongly argued, was based on a mistranslation of Paul’s words, and even more seriously on a misunderstanding of Paul’s thinking? Was Luther — and Calvin who followed him — simply terribly wrong?
‘The tragedy,’ writes Steve Chalke, ‘is that over the centuries the Church has time and again failed to communicate, or even to understand, the core of Paul’s message. Although Paul has often been presented as the champion of exclusion, he was the very opposite. He was the great includer; a revolutionary who saw a new inclusive world dawning and gave his life to help bring it in.’
Steve Chalke MBE is a Baptist minister, founder and leader of the Oasis Charitable Trust, and author of more than 50 books.
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