A new book by Daniel Kirk has been released with great fanfare and a star-studded blog tour, to which I will make a contribution next week. The book is called Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? and is basically an attempt to show that Jesus and Paul are on the same page—or at least on different pages in the same story. Here is the product description from Amazon:
Readers of the Bible are often drawn to Jesus’s message and ministry, but they are not as positively inclined toward Paul. What should people who love Jesus do with Paul? Here Pauline scholar J. R. Daniel Kirk offers a fresh and timely engagement of the debated relationship between Paul’s writings and the portrait of Jesus contained in the Gospels. He integrates the messages of Jesus and Paul both with one another and with the Old Testament, demonstrating the continuity that exists between these two foundational figures. After laying out the narrative contours of the Christian life, Kirk provides fresh perspective on challenging issues facing today’s world, from environmental concerns to social justice to homosexuality.
Daniel has an excellent blog (Storied Theology), and his book Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God came closer than anything else I found to the argument that I developed in The Future of the People of God, though he may not thank me for saying that.
He brings a firm grasp of narrative to the reading both of Jesus and Paul, though I think he fits the “half-historical paradigm” rather than the “consistent historical paradigm” (see “Three ways to fit the story of salvation into history”).
He may not thank me for saying that, either, so to mollify him a little I will affirm that I think he is absolutely right to stress, as he does with clarity and purpose in Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul?, the narrative continuity between Jesus’ gospel of the kingdom and Paul’s gospel regarding the resurrected Son of God in Romans 1:1-4. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.