The Future of the People of God: Reading Romans Before and After Western Christendom

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At a time when the Western church is having to come to terms--painfully and often reluctantly--with its diminished social and intellectual status in the world following the collapse of Christendom, we find ourselves, as interpreters of Paul, increasingly impressed by the need to relocate his writings in their historical context. That is not a coincidence. The Future of the People of God is an attempt to make sense of Paul's letter to the Romans at the intersection of these two developments. It puts forward the argument that we must first have the courage of our historical convictions and read the text before Christendom, from the limited, shortsighted perspective of an emerging community that dared to defy the gods of the ancient world. This act of imaginative, critical engagement with the text will challenge many of our assumptions about Paul's "gospel of God," but it will also put us in a position to reconstruct an identity and purpose for the people of God after Christendom that is both biblically and historically coherent

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