Wednesday, November 11, 2009

St. Paul's Gospel

(HT: Carl Olson at Ignatius Insight Scoop)

In the November 2009 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr. Kenneth Baker, S. J. has authored an editorial entitled, "St. Paul's Gospel." Here are some excerpts:

Christ is the key to St. Paul. His theology is Christocentric. The Gospel according to St. Paul is that the Son of God became man in Jesus Christ in order to reconcile all mankind to God the Father by his life, passion, death and resurrection. For Paul, Christ is the glorified Christ, now reigning gloriously in heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father.

Here are some of the main points in the theology of St. Paul: 1) Because of the sin of Adam and each one’s personal sins, all men are sinners and in need of redemption (Rom. 3:23; 5:12-21). 2) In order to save mankind, God sent his Son into the world, born of a woman (Rom. 4:4), to make a fitting satisfaction for sin. 3) That Son is Jesus Christ, who communicates his grace and justifies all who believe in him and are baptized. 4) The grace of Christ includes the sending of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes the believer as an adopted child of God, a member of the body of Christ, and an heir of eternal life. 5) Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament and has established a New Covenant to replace that of Moses; therefore Christians are not bound by the ceremonial and dietary laws and circumcision of the Law of Moses. This means that one does not have to become a Jew in order to be a Christian. This insight of Paul made Christianity into a religion open to all peoples (see 1 Tim. 2:4).

A recent author said that ideas have consequences. That certainly applies to the Christian faith. St. Paul argues in most of his letters, towards the end, that faith in Christ demands a moral way of life based on the Ten Commandments, the law of nature, and the commandment of love of God and neighbor (Rom. 13:9-10). Here he mentions regulations for bishops, elders, old men, old women, husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves. Christians are to avoid sexual immorality, idolatry and other vices of the pagans. They are to give good example in word and deed to all. He often insists on purity of doctrine, preaching and defending the deposit of faith from the Apostles, and refuting the errors of false teachers (1 & 2 Tim.; Titus).

You may read the whole thing here.

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