Sunday, May 13, 2007

Paul Rainbow on Justification

What Gathercole tentatively concludes below, Paul Rainbow argues for at book length. Rainbow's book is well written and worth reading, but in many respects it seems too broad in its approach. It's part systematic theology, part biblical theology, part exegesis, and part historical theology. It probably needs to be about twice as long in order to cover so much ground. Regardless, I think Rainbow is generally moving in the right direction.

The major point of departure I have with both Rainbow and Gathercole on the issue of future vindication in Paul is that I'm not comfortable using the term "justification" to describe Paul's notion of eschatological vindication at the judgment. Paul almost never uses it this way, and for us to do so is to muddle his customary use of the term. Further, the pastoral implications are significant. Using the same term for both initial salvation and final vindication adds a layer of complexity to the gospel that Paul did not intend to burden us with.

3 comments:

Michael F. Bird said...

Gerald,
1. Rainbow's book is interesting, although I cannot buy into his "Augustinian synergism".
2. Why be uncomfortable with describing the future act of vindication as "justification" since Paul himself uses dik- terminology to describe the verdict of the last day. Paul would not share your discomfort.

Gerald said...

Michael,

Thanks for the comment.

Which passages in particular (besides Roman 2:13 and possibly Galatians 5:4-5) do you see Paul using dikaioo to refer to vindication at the final judgment?

Michael F. Bird said...

Gerald,
See esp. Rom. 10.9-10 and then go ye and read Kasemann!