Reflections on Romans – fall 2013 – an introduction

This fall our church is engaging in a conversation around the book of Romans.  Next to John (historically) and Revelation (currently in pop culture) more ink has been spilled and sermons fashioned out of this book than perhaps any other in the Bible.  As such, few books of the Bible can match Romans in its influence on the history and present shape of the church as well as our understanding of the “typical” Christian walk.  And, directly due to its high volume of use, few books have been so badly misapplied.Now, for better of for worse, our conversation is not meant to be a verse by verse walk through the book.  There’s a lot we won’t cover and there are plenty of good (and not so good) resources readily available that do this.  You are encouraged to spend time reading and listening to the book on your own.  A slow reader can typically read the whole of Romans in less than an hour (including ADD breaks, reflective pauses, and occasional rereads to make sense out of what you thought you just read).  Most audio readings of the book are well under 30 minutes.  Getting a sense of the flow of the book and the overall shape of Paul’s arguments will help provide a context for understanding the more troublesome details.  During our adult Sunday School (teens & up), we will take time to consider the background & underlying assumptions of the letter,  look at the argument arcs that Paul builds and tackle some of the more challenging passages in light of these things.

During the Sunday worship gathering (main service) we will begin to discuss issues of church life, personal faith, and larger culture as they intersect with the concerns of this letter.  Things like Who has an inside track with God, and What does real holiness look like.  We’ll also consider what Paul says (and doesn’t say) about homosexuality, law, faith, freedom, and even church demographics (the composition of a church – especially with regards to race, age, and other sociological considerations).

So, I encourage you to join in on the conversation this fall as together we seek to gain a fuller appreciation of God’s purpose and expectation for His people.

Pastor Jim Kushner

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