A Different View of Paul (A Message from Rev. Kay Johnson)

PageDiscipleChurch Family,
This Sunday Rev. Kay Johnson will be preaching. Kay is a retired Elder in
the United Methodist Church, she teaches in many of the Sunday school
classes, volunteers for Room in the Inn, is a faithful member of
DiscipleChurch and so much more!

The message below is from Kay. Kay told
me this represents where the Holy Spirit is leading her to today…..so, we
will all have to be at DiscipleChurch Sunday morning to find out if the Holy
Spirit changes course!

From Kay…..
This spring the Bible Study that I teach took on The Authentic letters of
Paul by Dewy, Hoover McGaughy and Schmidt. This was a challenge for all of
us, but in the process, I experienced a completely different view of Paul,
his mission and his message. Always intimidated by his language and
rhetorical style, in my preaching career I shied away from the Pauline
Corpus except for those most beloved passages, Romans 8, Philippians 2, I
Corinthians 15.

With the immersion into this new translation and commentary I now deeply
appreciate Paul’s mission and message in a new way. So it is with this
background that I humbly approach a reading from Paul’s letter to the
Galatian churches, Galatians 3:23-29.

These are a few of the insights that I have come to understand in the
reading of Paul.

1.Paul an extraordinarily zealous Pharisaic Jew experienced a paradigm shift
so profound that it transformed the way he saw the world and all in it.
This is a man who has glimpsed what it means to live beyond tribal and
ethnic boundaries. This is a man who can imagine those considered outsiders
as equals, a man who had found freedom and meaning in the rag-tag
communities of nobodies. The Authentic Letters of Paul, pg. 1

2. From his letter to the churches in Galatia, we learn he never stopped
being a Jew rather he takes up the vision of a Jewish prophet. He has had a
fundamentally changed understanding of God. Because of the God of Israel’s
action in vindicating Jesus who died on a cross as a common criminal which
in his former life, would be totally impure, he comes to the realization
that with God’s acceptance of this shamed criminal , God has taken this
outrageous step and accepted the impure, the nobodies.

3. His vocation thus becomes to announce this “world transforming vision” to
the ends of the earth as he knew it. Paul understood that his mission is
to take this vision to the “nations” that the Jews regarded as morally
inferior and thus at a distinct disadvantage.

4. In the Galatian churches his rhetorical speech is to counter
missionaries who have come to these small communities and insisted that in
order to be followers of “The Way”, they must first take on the traditional
practices of Jews mainly circumcision and keeping the law.

An article in the latest issue of The Christian Century titled “Grace
without Conversion” by M. Craig Barnes; President of Princeton Theological
Seminary will be my starting point.

Galatians 3:26-29
You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who
were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is
neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male
and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Now if you belong to
Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the
promise.

I hope to see you Sunday at 7:30 in Wesley Hall for breakfast, worship in
the chapel at 8:30 and in formation group in the Foundation Building at
9:30.
Grace and Peace,
Page

 

Rev. Page Hines
Director, First Street Methodist Mission
801 West First Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102
817-335-6080 main line
817-336-2606 fax line
www.firststreetmission.org

 

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