Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community

Article excerpt

Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community. By Mark Strom. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000, 255 pp., $17.99 paper.

Mark Strom treats us to an insightful study of Paul and a provocative critique of contemporary evangelicalism, all in the space of 255 pages. Growing out of a doctoral dissertation at the University of Western Sydney, this book challenges evangelicalism to reframe its reading of Paul. Strom's first chapter should be carefully read as it clearly lays out the burden of the book: "... evangelicalism reflects both Paul and the GrecoRoman world. At our best, we faithfully portray the cutting edge of Paul's remarkable message. ... At our worst, we have lost the radicalness of grace and freedom championed by Paul" (pp. 18-19).

Part one of the book contextualizes Paul's mission effort in the Greco-Roman world. Gleaning the fruits of study in the intellectual and social world of the NT, he deftly sketches the leading social realities of Greco-Roman life. Emphasis is placed on the actual, concrete realities of day-to-day living, such as the patronage system with its shame and honor, beneficence and gratitude nexus. Status is everything in such a system, and therefore maintenance of status a major preoccupation. It was precisely Paul's refusal to "play the status game" that made his message so radical. For Strom, the sad part is that evangelicals play their own version of the status game. …

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