Those Whom He Justified He Glorified: Paul’s Argument in Romans 1:17–3:31

In contemporary evangelicalism, the writings of the Apostle Paul are conventionally interpreted in terms of a strictly forensic doctrine of justification. According to this reading, mankind has, in sinning, incurred the just wrath of God. The sins of mankind were counted (imputed to) as if they were Christ’s, and when one exercises faith in Christ, one’s sins are recognized as punished in his person and Christ’s active obedience is imputed to the…

The Apostle Paul’s Reading of Psalm 14

Have you ever compared the wording of Psalm 14 in English translations of the Old Testament with how the apostle Paul cites it in the New? Paul was of course thoroughly familiar with the Jewish scriptures, referring to them frequently and revealing the truth of Christ’s life within. In his letter to the Romans, before claiming that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, Paul first underlines the depths of our sin. He references Psalm 14, showing that…

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Four)

This is the final part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. You can also read part one, part two, and part three. – – – And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” —Rom. 9:29 The citation is from Isaiah 1, where the prophet describes “survivors” of the great disaster. Where Isaiah has…

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Three)

This is the third part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. You can also read part one and part two. – – – So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. —Rom. 9:18 Though it is sometimes difficult for modern readers to see, burdened as they are with a long history of Calvinist interpretation, there is no indication that the people whom God hardens are chosen arbitrarily. In…

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part Two)

This is the second part of a four part series on interpreting Romans 9. Read part one. – – – The story is then told in great detail in Romans 4–8, which is constructed around the shape the Old Testament narrative. Romans 4 deals with Abraham, Romans 5 deals with bondage “in Adam” just as Israel was in bondage “in Egypt.” Romans 6 deals with the liberation from bondage through the waters of Baptism, just…

Ecumenism as Dialogue or Monologue? (Part Two: The Witness of Scripture)

In the first part of this series, I offered an overview of the traditional Orthodox method for addressing non-Orthodox communities, highlighting two notable events in Church history. In this essay, I’ll discuss the ecumenical method—that method of God’s covenant people interacting with those outside the covenantal body—as found in the Holy Scriptures. Examples from the Old Testament As one can imagine, while there are no direct examples of Old Testament ecumenical dialogues and monologues…

A Journey through Romans 9 (Part One)

The ninth chapter of Romans is often referenced as ‘the’ text convincing Christians to become ‘Calvinists.’ Many would go so far as to argue that it is impossible to read this section of Romans in any other way. For me, the ‘Calvinist reading’ seems to ignore Paul’s use of the Old Testament. Furthermore, it fails to situate the argument of Romans 9 within the context of Romans 9–11, and further within the fabric of the Epistle as a whole.…

Theosis and Justification in Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians

Reading the Bible as an Orthodox Christian post-Protestantism can be difficult. Even as one’s views of God, Christ, sin, and salvation dramatically shift, old reading habits can stubbornly persist. More than once I have encountered converts who simply have no idea how to read St. Paul consistently with the Orthodox faith. I believe that such a reading is not only possible, but is also the best possible reading, even without reference to the Fathers.…