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    Northeastern Seminary Blog

    May 19, 2015 8:00:00 AM

    The Gospel and the Kingdom: Esau McCaulley’s Talk for the Rochester Preaching Conference


    My talk for Rochester Consortium of Theological Schools Preaching Conference on May 21, 2015 is titled: “The Gospel and the Kingdom: Preaching the Law, Faith, and the Messiah Jesus in Galatians 3:10–14.”

    Galatians 3:10–14
    10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (NRSV)

    cross_on_scriptureThe Approach of My Talk
    These verses have often been read as a treatise on how an individual can obtain salvation, given that fact that all people sin and that the Law requires absolute perfection. In my talk at the preaching conference, I will argue that we can understand Paul’s argument better by a careful reading of Galatians 3:10–14 and by paying attention to the story of Israel that drove Paul’s understanding of the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah.

    I have four primary goals for this session:


    1. Homiletical Fruit
    First, I hope to demonstrate that a close reading of Pauline texts can provide fresh avenues for preaching. Exegesis bears homiletical fruit!

    2. Focus on the Community of Faith
    Second, I will suggest that Galatians 3:10–14 is not primarily about how a wicked individual can stand before a just God. Instead, Paul focuses on God’s vision for the climax of Israel’s story, namely, the post-exilic creation of the people of God—Jew and Gentile—through faith in the Messiah Jesus, apart from Torah. Thus, at the heart of Paul’s gospel stands a vision for a multi-ethnic kingdom under the reign of the crucified king. The people of this kingdom are identified by faith, and their lives show a foretaste of the kingdom through Spirit-empowered mutual love.

    3. Paul’s Use of Old Testament Scripture
    Third, I intend to analyze how Paul uses scripture to substantiate his claim. I will show that examining the contexts of Paul’s Old Testament citations (Deuteronomy 27:26; Habakkuk 2:4; Leviticus 18:5; and Deuteronomy 21:23) provides a richer understanding of his argument.

    4. The Connection between Conversion and Justice
    Finally, I hope to reveal how this faithful interpretation of Paul’s message allows our preaching to make organic connections between conversion, deep involvement in a community of believers, racial reconciliation, and the church’s public witness against injustice.

    I look forward to our mutual engagement around these issues at the conference.

    You can register for the 2015 Rochester preaching conference here.

    Esau McCaulley is completing his doctoral work at the University of St. Andrews and will be joining the Northeastern Seminary faculty part time for 2015-16.
      This blog has been established for the exchange of ideas. Posts do not necessarily reflect the philosophies of the Seminary.

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