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Galatians Chart: Patrick Mitchel

Here is a nice chart, by Patrick Mitchel, about Pauline theology that belongs in our new perspective discussion.


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Mick Porter

posted June 1, 2009 at 5:24 am

This seems to be a reasonably useful chart. Perhaps it could benefit from also showing the Gentiles under slavery to idols, in parallel with the Jews under law? I suspect a chart could be a good way to show that the Gentile Galatians had moved from one form of non-freedom into freedom, and back to another form of non-freedom. There seems to be too much flattening-out of this, to say “everyone is under law until they’re in Christ” which blurs a lot of Paul’s arguments and a whole lot more.
Actually, I’m working on a few diagrams to show just that at the moment.

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david yates

posted June 1, 2009 at 6:16 am

I think the chart needs a bit more filling in on the Period of Law, People of Israel side!

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posted June 1, 2009 at 9:49 am

I just find it ironic that there’s a “Conversion to Judaism” ad underneath the chart on my computer.

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posted June 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I think that the old-style dispensationalists had part of the right idea when they would put a parenthesis around the “church age” in their charts. But the parenthesis should have been around “the law”, not around the church. Abraham had faith and kept the law from his heart (Genesis 26 and Romans 4), the law was the tutor and placeholder until the Seed would come – so the parenthesis. Now we’re re-newed back to heart faith, Abraham faith (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36).

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posted June 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

# 1 Mick
good idea on including the Gentiles, thanks – I was concentrating on God’s unfolding promise to Abraham. I enjoyed trying to picture Paul’s argument and it clarified for me the big picture eschatological framework of his argument and how the NPP has the right emphasis here. The other aspect is the absolutely crucial role of the Spirit – something that all too often has tended to be sidelined as some sort of abstract ‘add on’ to ‘the gospel’ within some strands of evangelicalism. This was the case in my experience – it was not that the Spirit was denied, it was just that there was just no coherent ‘place’ for him within a predominantly legal / individual understanding of the gospel.

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Mick Porter

posted June 1, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Great point about the parenthesis being around the law and not around the church – I would totally agree, and the diagram shows that quite well.
However, when you say the “law was the tutor” and “now we’re re-newed…” who are you referring to? Surely the law was the tutor *for Israel* for that period? Paul tends to talk in Galatians about “we”, “you”, and “us” referring to Jews, Gentiles, and Christians (the new covenant people made up of both Jews and Gentiles).
Unlike Paul, I personally was never in bondage to the Torah, and neither were my ancestors. I come from Gentile stock who were in bondage to false gods. Paul’s quite radical point here is that if I then place myself under Torah I just go into someone else’s form of bondage – thus he explosively makes Torah observance somehow equivalent to pagan idolatry.

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posted June 1, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Mick, that’s mostly how I see it too. My ancestors were running around the british isles naked and painted blue, worshipping trees, while Paul was writing this. I was using “we” a bit loosely, identifying myself with Israel, as I too am part of the grafted in wild branches on that old olive tree. I am Israelite by faith.
So I agree that’s Paul’s meaning. On a more personal significance level, I’ve watched lots of gentile Christians – including myself – recapitulate in a way Israel’s and the Galatian’s history. Starting with an exodus, freedom, and then living under the bondage of performance religion and legalism, until once again meeting the Seed and being set free.

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posted June 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

And I’m hanging around with Messianic Christians who think being grafted into Israel leads one to love God and neighbor as the Jews were taught to: by Torah keeping. Thank you for the chart, it makes sense to me.

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Mick Porter

posted June 8, 2009 at 7:47 pm

BTW, I finally posted my diagrams, FWIW.

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