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I certainly still believe that people must undergo a radical transformation, change of allegiance, etc., when they are incorporated into the people of God

I think any response I make to this statement will be almost inaudible, but it is where I find the Reformed paradigm much more convincing than NP/narrative-historical-whatever paradigm. In the latter, the “transformation” is indeed a “change of allegiance”, but it is extremely difficult to find what this actually constitutes, or in what it consists.

In the Reformed paradigm, you have a change of allegiance on the basis of a direct application to the believer(s) of the death of Jesus on the cross, dealing with sin, and direct Spirit reception, giving new life. If I didn’t have this, I would have very little, if anything, in my own experience, and very little to offer anyone else.

In the NP/narrative historical paradigm, these realities fade into insignificance. Continuity of the people of God is empasized in your own presentation, but the character and content of that people receive little definition, because the biblical basis for it has been removed — the NT having been made the discrete and exclusive possession of the 1st century “pre-Christendom” church. (We are “off the map” biblically, remember?).

So I think we need both Reformed and NP paradigms. The former provides a scripturally coherent basis for personal experience of NT realities. The latter gives significance to the whole of all the gospels as ‘the gospel’, and a more coherent view of OT and NT as a whole — within a narrative historical framework. It also, in my view, breaks down barriers between private and public experience of God more effectively than the Reformed paradigm.

There has to be dialogue between the two paradigms, in my opinion, as a result of which the paradigms in themselves would need to change. However, I think you are also right, Andrew. I think the direction in which you have pursued the narrative-historical forecloses reconciliation. That’s what worries me about it. It is highly totalitarian!

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