Thanks to all of you who have responded to the paper that I presented last week at the 58th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Washington, D.C. I have received helpful feedback/critiques from both those who attended my presentation and from those who read this blog.
I already knew that my paper would be controversial, and this hunch was confirmed during my presentation in one telling moment. As I was reading my paper and nearing the end of my allotted time, I realized that I would not have enough time to finish the paper. So I stopped reading to ask the moderator how much time I would need to allow for discussion at the end. Before the moderator could answer, a voice from the audience exclaimed, “A lot!”
It turns out that we did need more time for discussion because a paper like this one can actually raise more questions than it answers for some people. I want to address one of those questions here.
Some people have interpreted my paper as an apology for the United States and its foreign and economic policies. That, in fact, was not the main point of my paper. Although it is true that I think that Fresh Perspective (FP) interpreters overstate the analogy between America and imperial Rome, my real aim in this paper was to show that the FP does not provide Evangelicals with a more faithful way to read and understand the apostle Paul’s letters. In the end, this is really all that matters–that we hear the voice of God in Bible and that we not let it be domesticated by our own biases against it.
Once again, thanks for your feedback. It has been very helpful, and I will take it into account when I revise this paper.