But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God (dikaiosunē theou) has been revealed, being attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in/of Jesus Christ (pisteōs Iēsou Christou) to all who have faith.
A further reason why pistis Iēsou Christou here is likely to refer to Jesus’ own faithfulness is that, if taken instead to refer to the faith Christians have “in” Jesus, the next phrase (“for all who believe”) becomes almost entirely redundant, adding only the (admittedly important) “all” (470).
Let me hear from you! Do you prefer the translation “faith in Christ” or “faithfulness of Christ”? What is the best argument for each rendering? Do you think Paul is writing with nuance or redundancy? Might he be using repetition to emphasize the point?
Here are a couple more quotes on abortion from Di Mauro’s A Love for Life. These are from some well-known church reformers.
From his commentary on Genesis 25, this is Luther:
“He [God] is not hostile to children, as we are. But God emphsizes his word to such an extent that He sometimes gives offspring even to those who do not desire it, yes even hate it…How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God” (italics Di Mauro’s, 25).
And Calvin, from his Commentaries on the Last Four Books of Moses:
[T]he foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being (homo), and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light…” (quoted in Di Mauro, 26).
I’m presently reading Dennis Di Mauro’s A Love for Life: Christianity’s Consistent Protection of the Unborn (Wipf and Stock, 2008), in which he argues that historic Christianity has always opposed abortion, and that pro-choice Christians have departed from the biblical and historic teaching of the church. In chapter 3, he makes the case from the early church fathers. Following are a few noteworthy quotes.
This is Clement, from The Tutor:
“Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, in order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the matter completely dead, abort at the same time their human feelings” (quoted in Di Mauro, 11-12).
Here is Tertullian, from his Apology:
“But for us [Christians], to whom homicide has been once for all fobidden, it is not permitted to break up even what has been conceived in the womb, while the blood is still being drwan from the mother’s body to make a new creature. Prevention of birth is premature murder; and it makes no difference whether it is a life already born that one snatches away or a life that is coming to birth that one destroys. The future man is a man already: the whole fruit is present in the seed” (quoted in Di Mauro, 13).
And Chrysostom, from his Commentary on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans:
“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makes her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?” (quoted in Di Mauro, 16).
When I first encountered the term “theological interpretation,” I was a bit confused about its meaning. As far as I could tell, all the interpretation of scripture to which I had been exposed had been theological. So, I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. It should, of course, be understood that this thing called theological interpretation is quite a big deal. It has become a major movement in the world of academic biblical studies as indicated by a very significant amount of literature recently and currently being published. So, what is it? I’ve done a little reading in the area lately and, as best as I can discern, theological interpretation is the practice or discipline of reading and interpreting the Bible as holy scripture with something to say for the life and practice of the Church. “What?” you say. “What is so novel about that? Have we not been reading the Bible as holy scripture with something to say for the life and practice of the church for millennia?” This was my initial reaction to the matter as well. As a pastor, I do theological interpretation of scripture on a daily and weekly basis. I read scripture for the Church as part of my vocation. So, why all the fuss?
The reason this is a big deal is because it is catching on as a valid discipline in academic circles. A bit of history is always helpful. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, what has become known as higher critical scholarship was on the rise in the academic field of biblical studies. This movement dismissed the notion of a transcendent God who had made himself known through special revelation. These scholars did not read the Bible as scripture with something to say to the Church; they read the Bible purely as critics of history. These men were highly influenced by the German philosophers of the period and discounted all biblical accounts of supernatural activity like miracles and divine revelation. The Bible was read as a purely human book. Scholars sought to understand the historically authentic world that was allegedly behind the religiously embellished text. Thus, a massive wedge was driven between the Bible of history and the scriptures of faith. The Bible was seen as telling us about the beliefs of the early Christ-followers; it was seen as telling us nothing from God.
This historical context should shed some light on the importance of the current rise of theological readings of scripture in academia. Theological interpretation should be seen as a response to those who would strip the Bible from the devotional life of the Church. It is an attempt to recover the scriptures as the word of God for his people and the larger world. The movement is still young and a great deal of energy is being spent on issues of method and how exactly this practice should be done. The thing for which we can be thankful is that theological reading of the Bible is coming to be seen as a very exciting, valid, and scholarly approach to the scriptures.