It always makes me nervous to post videos I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but when they look like interesting resources, I’m willing to take the chance. And, these certainly fit that bill. Thanks to Brian LePort for pointing out these videos of Linda Cohick, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, discussing women in the ancient Roman world. Her book Women in the World of the Earliest Christians has gotten some really good reviews. So, I can only assume that the videos will be interesting as well.
Here’s the first one. You can view the other two at the Center for Public Christianity.
Today is Martin Luther’s 527th birthday (Nov 10, 1483). I don’t keep that many candles in my office, so I thought I’d recognize his birthday by posting his description of how he came to discover the true meaning of “the righteousness of God” in Romans. As he tells the story toward the end of his life, this was the pivotal turning point in his understanding of the Gospel and the grace of God.
I had conceived a burning desire to understand what Paul meant in his Letter to the Romans, but thus far there had stood in my way, not the cold blood around my heart, but that one word which is in chapter one: “The justice of God is revealed in it.” I hated that word, “justice of God,” which, by the use and custom of all my teachers, I had been taught to understand philosophically as referring to formal or active justice, as they call it, i.e., that justice by which God is just and by which he punishes sinners and the unjust.
But I, blameless monk that I was, felt that before God I was a sinner with an extremely troubled conscience. I couldn’t be sure that God was appeased by my satisfaction. I did not love, no, rather I hated the just God who punishes sinners. In silence, if I did not blaspheme, then certainly I grumbled vehemently and got angry at God. I said, “Isn’t it enough that we miserable sinners, lost for all eternity because of original sin, are oppressed by every kind of calamity through the Ten Commandments? Why does God heap sorrow upon sorrow through the Gospel and through the Gospel threaten us with his justice and his wrath?” This was how I was raging with wild and disturbed conscience. I constantly badgered St. Paul about that spot in Romans 1 and anxiously wanted to know what he meant.
I meditated night and day on those words until at last, by the mercy of God, I paid attention to their context: “The justice of God is revealed in it, as it is written: ‘The just person lives by faith.'” I began to understand that in this verse the justice of God is that by which the just person lives by a gift of God, that is by faith. I began to understand that this verse means that the justice of God is revealed through the Gospel, but it is a passive justice, i.e. that by which the merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written: “The just person lives by faith.” All at once I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates. Immediately I saw the whole of Scripture in a different light. I ran through the Scriptures from memory and found that other terms had analogous meanings, e.g., the work of God, that is, what God works in us; the power of God, by which he makes us powerful; the wisdom of God, by which he makes us wise; the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God.
I exalted this sweetest word of mine, “the justice of God,” with as much love as before I had hated it with hate. This phrase of Paul was for me the very gate of paradise. Afterward I read Augustine’s “On the Spirit and the Letter,” in which I found what I had not dared hope for. I discovered that he too interpreted “the justice of God” in a similar way, namely, as that with which God clothes us when he justifies us. Although Augustine had said it imperfectly and did not explain in detail how God imputes justice to us, still it pleased me that he taught the justice of God by which we are justified.
From the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Works (1545).
We had a great response for our giveaway of Doug Moo’s commentary on Romans. Sadly, though, I was only dumb enough to have acquired one spare copy. So, that’s all I have to give away.
The winner of our little contest was Kevin Sam who runs an interesting blog over at New Epistles. If you’re particularly frustrated that you didn’t win the commentary, you can probably go over there and leave him hate comments or something. I’m sure that’s what Paul would have done anyway.
I’ve also been contacted by someone who liked the idea of sharing the wealth by giving away duplicates of good books, and that person has contributed another really good book for us to give away next. Keep an eye out for that announcement soon.
For some reason, I seem to have two copies of Douglas Moo’s The Epistle to the Romans from the NICNT series. At just over 1,000 pages, I can’t figure out how I managed to end up with two of them. But I did. And, being the cheapskate wise steward that I am, I was going to sell the extra copy. Then I realized that there might be some interest out there in a book like this and that it would be good for me to spread the wealth instead. So, I’m going to give it away. (But don’t tell God that I’m doing it publicly. I want to score some rewards in heaven for my generosity while I’m at it.)
As usual, the rules are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, here’s what you do (UPDATE – you only need to do one of the following, though you can do more if you choose):
- Blog about it and link to this post
- Link to the post from Twitter and let me know in the comments
- Link to the post from Facebook and let me know in the comments
- Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
- Make a video of yourself on a busy street, dressed like a Roman citizen, explaining to random pedestrians why the book of Romans is important. Post the video on YouTube and leave a comment here.
You can enter as many different ways as you’d like (bonus points for the YouTube video) and increase your odds of winning. I’ll accept entries through September 15, and then randomly select a winner.
- Matt Edwards has begun a 9-part review of Douglas Campbell’s The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul. This significant (i.e. long) work has received considerable attention lately for its argument that the traditional understanding of justification is wrong and that Romans 1-4 is actually Paul’s summary of false teaching that he then refutes in Romans 5ff. Beverly Gaventa has a good shorter review here (HT Euangelion).
- In keeping with our recent discussion of Hunter’s To Change the World, here’s a post from InternetMonk on why he is abstaining from the culture wars.
- This month’s free audio book from Christianaudio.com is Francis Chan’s Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit.
- The lectures from last week’s NEXT conference are now available, including lectures by most of the usual Sovereign Grace crew: Joshua Harris, Mark Dever, Kevin DeYoung, C.J. Mahaney, D.A. Carson, and Jeff Purswell. (HT Justin Taylor)
- Allen Yeh offers some thoughts on the Edinburgh 2010 Conference that begins today in honor of the 1910 World Missionary Conference, providing an interesting summary of some key differences between the two conferences.
- And, apparently James Cameron is among our best hopes for fixing the oil spill in the Gulf. That can’t be good.
For those in the “New Testament Issues” class discussing the NPP I thought I’d repost this link from my own blog. It is a discussion by Daniel Wallace on N.T. Wright’s reading of “the righteousness of God” in Romans. Go here.