Friday, July 29, 2022


The prophets and apostles are witnesses in two different but complementary ways.  They are first of all natural witnesses.  That is to say quite simply that they were there, they encountered something of significance - namely, God's revelation.  This is the sense of 1 John 1, or 2 Peter 1.  Something happened, someone was there, and by virtue of their proximity to that event and that person, they became witnesses.

The fact that the prophets and apostles are natural witnesses has both apologetic and theological significance.  The apologetic significance is already recognised in Scripture - we did not make it up, we were there, we saw.  Appeal is sometimes made to the fact that in this sense the prophets and apostles stand in the midst of a much wider group of natural witnesses, that they are not bearing witness to something which happened hidden away, but to something which was at least in part a very public occurrence.  I can see no reason at all, beyond prejudice, why this status of the prophets and apostles as natural witnesses should not earn them a hearing at least.

The theological significance of these natural witnesses is even greater.  Their existence as witnesses in this way demonstrates that when we are talking about God's revelation we are talking about something - ultimately, someone! - historical, contingent.  An event which took place, a life which was lived, in proximity to other lives, a reality which became a factor in our space and time.  Revelation is a matter of history, of recollection and testimony, rather than philosophy or speculation.

The second way in which the prophets and apostles are witnesses is as legal or commissioned witnesses.  That is the sense in the prophetic call narratives of Isaiah and Jeremiah, or most clearly in the language of the great commission.  'You will be my witnesses' means much more than just 'you are those who have seen and heard', although it depends on that.  As those who are natural witnesses, they are claimed and sent to go and bear witness.  Their relation to what they have seen and heard is not that of neural observers; rather, they are governed and ruled by that to which they bear witness.  To be concrete, the Lord Jesus has become their Lord, in this particular way and for this particular service, their natural witness being taken into the service of his own testimony to his Person and work.

This legal witness is of huge theological significance.  To be sure, the prophets and apostles purely as natural witnesses warrant a hearing and a degree of human credence, but they do not warrant divine confidence, faith.  That can only rest in God's Word itself - in fact, in the very reality to which the prophets and apostles bear witness.  It is as Christ's own commissioned witnesses, empowered by his Spirit, that we have to listen as to Christ himself, because they are his ambassadors.  He continues to accompany and empower their witness as it is laid down in Holy Scripture; having commissioned his witnesses, he does not abandon them or their testimony.  Our doctrine of Scripture is, or should be, built on this foundation

Finally it is worth noting that all of us who are Christians are called to be witnesses - of necessity, secondary witnesses, who weren't there, didn't see or hear, and who are therefore bound to the prophets and apostles as primary witnesses.  Because of their witness, we can bear witness, that we have heard them and have found that in their witness we have heard the Word of God.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Reader Response: Church Dogmatics ch III (4)

In support of his sixth point about Scripture, Barth offers some brief notes on two key Biblical passages, 2 Timothy 3:14-17 and 2 Peter 1:19-21.  Since these passages feature prominently in much discussion of the doctrine of Scripture, it seems worth pausing to see what Barth does with them.  Note that he is not here offering a full exposition, but a reading of these two important Scriptures in support of his theological conclusions.

First, Barth points out that both passages have to do primarily with the Old Testament, "but according to the fundamental meaning of the two authors in whom they are found, the expressions can and ought and must be applied to all the witnesses of revelation and therefore to the New Testament witness as well." (504) It is helpful to have this stated up front; I think many treatments of these verses (especially the 2 Timothy passage) make this move surreptitiously, or perhaps just presuppose it.  But there is actually an important theological move being made when we class the NT witness alongside the OT - we are claiming that they are both the same thing, united in being a witness to Christ.  It is because both these passages speak of the OT in terms of its witness to Christ that it is possible to make this move here.

When it comes to 2 Timothy 3:14-17, it is obviously striking to Barth that the text has both a backward and a forward reference.  Timothy is pointed back to his childhood acquaintance with the Scriptures and reminded of their formative influence on him.  But then he is encouraged to look ahead, to what the Scriptures are able to do in terms of completing his formation and giving him all he needs to serve in the church.  "Scripture was able and it will be able..." (504) - that corresponds to Barth's motif of recollection and expectation.  Timothy is to continue in the Scriptures, in recollection of what they have shown themselves to be for him, and in expectation that they will show this again.

In the centre of this recollection and expectation stands the crucial sentence: all Scripture is inspired (or breathed out) by God.  Barth understands this to mean that "all, that is the whole of Scripture is - literally: 'of the Spirit of God,', i.e., given and filled and ruled by the Spirit of God, and actively outbreathing and spreading abroad and making known the Spirit of God." (504)  Or, in other words, "...the Spirit of God is before and above and in Scripture..." (504).  This is quite obviously a broader understanding of what is implied by the word usually translated 'inspired'.  On the one hand, Barth does not want to get pulled into a debate about the nature of inspiration - he sees the statement as "an underlining and delimiting of the inaccessible mystery of the free grace in which the Spirit is present and active before and above and in the Bible", and therefore not as something that can be parsed as a precise doctrine.  On the other hand, he is unwilling to restrict this description of the relationship between God and Scripture to a particular point, as if it had only to do with the production of the texts that we have -  he sees it as describing also (and the word 'also' is important here) the ongoing relationship of the Spirit to the Bible.  It is on the basis of this ongoing work that Timothy can approach the Bible with expectation that it will again be to him what it has been in the past.

The treatment of 2 Peter 1:19-21 is much briefer, and essentially makes the same points: we are called to continue to be attentive to the prophetic witness because of its relationship to the Holy Spirit.  To my mind, Barth does not engage as much as I would like him to with the fact that these verses clearly do lay great stress on the Spirit's role in the production of Scripture, which seems to push back a little on his emphasis in his notes on 2 Timothy 3.  The other fundamental point made here is about the exposition of Scripture: we must "allow it to expound itself, or... to control and determine our exposition" (505).  This is because it comes from the Spirit and not men, and therefore is not open to our manipulation - and here, perhaps, we see the link again to Barth's emphasis on the ongoing presence of the Spirit in Holy Scripture.

"The decisive centre to which the two passages point is in both instances indicated by a reference to the Holy Spirit, and indeed in such a way that He is described as the real author of what is stated or written in Scripture." (505)  Barth wants to be clear that this does not mean that the human authors were not real authors - "there can be no question of ignoring their auctoritas and therefore their humanity" - but nevertheless "they speak in the place and under the commission of Him who sent them" (505).  For Barth, the theopneustia, the inspiration, of these authors consists precisely in this commission.  In their human freedom, they think and speak and write in obedience to their commission, and therefore under the lordship of God.  They function, then, as true witnesses.  This is not to be restricted to their writing, but describes their being in so far as they are commissioned witnesses to revelation.  "In what they have written they exist visibly and audibly before us in all their humanity, chosen and called as witnesses of revelation, claimed by God and obedient to God, true men, speaking in the name of the true God, because they have heard His voice as we cannot hear it, as we can hear it only through their voices." (505-6)

It is in recollection that in their voices the voice of God has been heard, and in expectation that this will be the case again, that the people of God are called to be the people of Holy Scripture.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Climate change, responsibility, and the sovereignty of God

The last couple of days in the UK have been pretty grim for ginger people.  We are not constitutionally well suited to temperatures above, say, 18 degrees.  One of the things that we've had to do - and I confess I've not done it very well, partly due to enervating heat and total lack of sleep - is manage our kids' concerns about climate change.  They are, of course, taught a fair bit about this at school, and they have an acute awareness that their broiling in their rooms when they should be sleeping is at least partly traceable to human actions and inactions.  They have been alternately, and understandably, angry, afraid, and in despair.  How ought I to have responded, as a Christian dad?  What should I say if the subject comes up again when I'm feeling a bit compos mentis?

Well, I know some Christians would say: just tell them it's all made up and they don't need to worry about it.  Hasn't the Lord promised that seedtime and harvest will continue until he returns?  In the face of that promise, how can we think that human beings have the ability to so desperately damage our planet?  I'm not buying this - it seems to me that the evidence for human impact on climate is pretty solid, and from my position as a non-specialist that's as close as I can get to certain.  But also theologically this just seems desperately naive.  Granted that the Lord does not intend to wipe out all life again in a flood, does that completely preclude the possibility that he might allow our acquisitiveness and greed to be followed by some pretty painful consequences?  It seems dangerous to me to teach the sovereignty of God in a way that strips humanity of responsibility.  We are moral agents, with the ability to make bad choices which have consequences.

On the other hand, I don't want to wholeheartedly embrace the frankly rather panicked reaction which is so widespread in the world (and also therefore the church).  I do think it is hubristic to claim that we can destroy the world; though doubtless we have the ability to make it more or less pleasant to live in.  We are stewards of creation, but that does not mean that the Lord of creation is absent or inactive.  God is sovereign.  Moreover, he is the sovereign God of the resurrection; the end of this world is new creation, not destruction.  We can have confidence in the goodness of this God, and whatever action we might need to take in response to the threat of climate change can be taken calmly and without fear.

So I guess what I should have said is something like:
God is in control, and he is able to preserve the world;
we are stewards, with a responsibility to do what we can to care for the world;
and in the end the Lord Jesus is coming back to renew the world.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Reader Response: Church Dogmatics ch III (3)

I mentioned that Barth initially makes six points as he begins to navigate the meaning of 'Scripture as the Word of God'.  The first we looked at in detail, but can perhaps summarise it as follows:

1. We are directed to the canon of writings which has been recognised by the church.  However, the canon does not derive its authority from the church, but from the object to which it bears witness (God's revelation); for this reason, whilst we are to hear and respect the church in its description of the canon, ultimately we can only regard this description as having limited and relative authority.  The real and absolute authority belongs to God himself. (473-481)

Briefly, the rest of the list is as follows:

2. When we talk about Scripture, we are talking about the Old and New Testaments, which find their unity in the object of their witness (namely, God's revelation). (481-485)  This section deals in the language of expectation and recollection which is so important to Barth's doctrine of Scripture, on which more below.  The main point here, though, is about the unity of the Scriptures, which corresponds to "the unity and holiness of God in his revelation" (482), a unity which can only be perceived when one is grasped by revelation, which is to say, by Jesus Christ.  Barth is therefore suspicious of any and all attempts to present a schematic or system to display this unity.  It will be seen in encounter with Christ or not at all.

3. The Bible itself establishes the doctrine of Holy Scripture by reference to the prophetic and apostolic office held by the original witnesses. (485-492). Scripture bears a general and implicit witness to its own authority by virtue of the fact that here and here only do we find witness to God's revelation (this is not quite a circular argument; it requires the self-witness of God by the Holy Spirit).  But it also explicitly speaks of its own authority by reference to "certain specific men" who "stand within the Bible" (486).  Passively, these men saw and heard God's revelation; actively they were commissioned to proclaim it (490).  In them - by virtue of their office, and not any human quality they possess - the circle of revelation is already opened up to include humanity.  I found this really helpful; I think in my tradition the prophets and apostles are played down in importance, with the Bible as a book played up instead.  But actually it is the prophets and apostles in their relation to revelation who make the Bible, literally.

4. Because the Bible includes within its sphere the prophets and apostles, there can be no getting at the content of revelation except in the form of their witness. (492-495). It is no use trying to extract some sort of kernel of pure revelation from the husk of the prophetic and apostolic witness.  Nor can we somehow directly access the history of revelation that stands behind this witness.  Because revelation is contingent and genuinely historical, not some general principle, we can only receive it in the historical form of this first witness, in their words.

5. These original witnesses, because of their office and role, are distinctly set apart from the rest of the church, and their witness is really Holy Scripture because it stands over against the whole church as an authoritative foundation. (495-502). It is of course true that Scripture is a set of human documents, with all the historical, cultural, and personal contingency which that implies.  In this sense, the Bible stands in continuity with all other human documents.  But if we read it only in this way, we miss its essential character as witness.  By virtue of this witness, Scripture "too can and must - not as though it were Jesus Christ, but in the same serious sense as Jesus Christ - be called the Word of God: the Word of God in the word of man, if we are going to put it accurately." (500)  Barth explicitly develops the Chalcedonian parallel here: the Bible, without ceasing to be wholly a human book, is also wholly a divine book, by virtue of the revelation to which it bears witness.  This means there can be no question of a series of sources of revelation, or of the possibility of placing the Bible alongside other church documents or preaching.  It stands over against and above all of them, as genuine holy.  Incidentally, Barth has things to say to those who want to oppose a 'living faith' in the church to a 'dead letter' in the Bible: in fact, the church only lives and thrives when it is wholly under the Word of God in Scripture.  "Death usually reigns in the church" when this is absent (502).

6. Because the authority of Holy Scripture is ultimately the authority of God's own revelation to which Scripture bears witness, we cannot claim any control over this authority, but can only live as those who have heard and expect to hear again God's Word in these texts. (502-506)  For Barth, this derives from the structure of Scripture itself, which is characterised by expectation and recollection (see 2 above).  It also derives from the freedom of God in revelation, and the nature of the texts as witness.  They can only point to revelation, testify to it; they cannot in and of themselves bring it about that revelation occurs in the present.  Therefore the whole of theology, and indeed the whole preaching and worship of the church, "circles around" the event of God's revelation, unable of itself to make this revelation present but always living in memory and expectation of it.  This, perhaps, is the life of faith.

That last point is alarming to many evangelicals, who want Barth to give a straight answer.  They hold up the Bible and ask: well, is it the Word of God or not?  All of this talk about revelation coming or not, circling around - how does that not just muddy the waters, diminish our confidence in Scripture?

I hope that the rest of the context here shows that Barth absolutely does want to pin us to the Bible, to secure for Scripture the place of unique authority, the one place where God is to be sought and found.  But I think Barth's return question to the anxious evangelical might be: why do you need to pin this down in this way?  Do you not trust God - the faithful God to whom that Bible in your hand bears witness?  Why do you need to be in possession of God's Word, rather than always receiving it?

I think there are lots of things going on here which cause the different perspectives - it would be good, for example, to work in the doctrine of illumination here and the role of the Spirit, and see if we couldn't show that in slightly different conceptual ways both Barth and the conservative evangelical want to safeguard the same things.  But I think there is a lot in Barth that we could helpfully learn from here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

On liturgy, for the non-liturgical

It seems to me that the renewal of our corporate worship ought to be a priority for evangelical churches in the UK.  I think so many of our problems can be traced back to weakness here - whether it's a lack of joy in the gospel (and therefore a lack of joyful witness), a leadership that doesn't stand in awe of the Lord (and therefore abuses authority in the church), or a weak discipleship (and therefore ethical compromise with the world).  We need liturgical renewal (amongst other things) because worship stands at the very centre of our church life, of the outworking of God's redemption in the community life of God's people.

But I know that whenever you start talking about liturgy, there is a group of Christians immediately turned off.  If you think that liturgy means ritualism, dressing up, reciting everything from a script, and inaccessible choir performances in place of congregational singing - well, in that case I can see why you might not be thrilled at the thought.  For many who grew up in traditions which had, perhaps, beautiful liturgy and shiny vestments and ancient sanctuaries, but little to nothing in the way of living faith, I completely understand the negative associations.

Suffice to say that when I'm agitating for liturgical renewal, I'm not aiming for any of those things (although some of them might do more good than harm, if done well).  What I'm talking about is simply making our Sunday gatherings appropriate, or fitting, to the immensity of what is happening in the gathering of God's people - in tone, structure and content.

Tone is perhaps the most difficult thing to pin down, but essentially I mean this: does this feel like we are coming into the presence of Almighty God?  The book of Hebrews tells us that, whereas Israel came to the burning mountain of Sinai, we come to the heavenly mountain of Zion, gathered into the presence of innumerable angels and the assembly of the saints who have gone before, into the very throne room of God through the Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Does the tone of our worship reflect that?  The tone we're going for is reverence and awe with cheerfulness, a sort of serious joy.  This tone will be set by the nature of the greeting, by the voice and posture of the service leader, by the choice of hymns, and perhaps preeminently by the way we are led in prayer.  Does it feel like we are meeting with God?

Structure helps to underline what it is that we are doing.  If we are coming to God through Christ in the Spirit, it is helpful to have some narrative structure, a movement, to what we are doing.  The imagery of spatial movement is useful and thoroughly biblical here: we draw near, we enter, we come.  The sense of movement and direction fosters the sense of encounter, as we approach the Lord.  This is not a manipulative thing; we're not trying to manufacture something that isn't there.  Rather, we are trying to make the outward structure fit with the inner spiritual reality.  When God calls his people together to worship, he does meet with them, and we want to show that.  And of course the particular narrative structure for our worship is the gospel.  That is the story we retell and in a sense relive reach Sunday.

Content is actually much more flexible from my perspective, but it has to serve tone and structure.  A jokey little sketch is inappropriate tonally (and can't be justified by the bad excuse of talking to kids!); a lack of Scripture reading and preaching is inappropriate in terms of narrative, missing the central place of God's speech in the gospel story.  A participatory liturgy - the congregation doing more than just singing the hymns! - helps with that sense of coming together to worship.  Responses, confessions, corporate prayers - all good.  As an aside, in the sorts of churches I'm most familiar with, this is often hindered by too much talking from the front; there is no need for an explanation of each Bible reading, or an extra sermon before Communion!  And speaking of Holy Communion, this should ideally be a weekly feature of our worship, the highpoint of our time together.  Giving it this place will help with tone and structure as well.

There are lots more specifics that we could get into, but I imagine the more specific we are the more likely it is that there will be disagreement.  I have strong opinions on all sorts of minor details!  But in the end I'm convinced that what really matters for our spiritual health as believers and as churches is that we be able to come week by week, with serious joy, to rehearse the gospel as we come into the presence of God to worship him.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Reader Response: Church Dogmatics ch III (2)

The next subsection carries the title 'Scripture as the Word of God', and opens with a helpful summary of where we've got to so far: "If what we hear in Scripture is witness, a human expression of God's revelation, then from what we have already said, what we hear in the witness itself is more than witness, what we hear in the human expression is more than a human expression.  What we hear is revelation, and therefore the very Word of God." (473)  How is this the case?  Well, put a pin in that question.  First of all, Barth wants to clarify and expand our understanding of Scripture as a witness, and he initially does so in a list of (I think) 6 points.  We'll only get to the first one today, but hopefully the others will move along a bit faster!

Point 1 clarifies that when we are talking about Holy Scripture, we are talking about the canon of books acknowledged in the church.  It is not for us as private individuals to go around making judgements about the scope and extent of the canon; rather, we receive and acknowledge the canon that our spiritual forebears have recognised.  Barth is at pains to point out, however, that this certainly does not mean that the church historically had the right to decide the canon.  The church cannot "give the Canon to itself." (473). It can only recognise that which is given it by God, and therefore all its decisions on this matter, whilst important, are nonetheless merely human and therefore to some extent provisional decisions.  We do well to listen to the judgement of the church in this matter, but we don't believe the Scripture because of the church's judgement.  "When we adopt the Canon of the Church, we do not say that the Church itself, but that the revelation which underlies and controls the Church, attests these witnesses and not others as the witnesses of revelation and therefore as canonical for the Church." (474)

For those unfamiliar with the Church Dogmatics, just to note that if you ever read it you'll find some in a normal typeface, and some sections in a much smaller font.  The main line of thought is presented in the larger and more accessible text, but the detailed argument, exegesis, and citations in the smaller text.  The small text parts of this section are largely historical.  Barth notes that "the establishment of the Canon has a long and complicated history." (473)  Certainly it was controversial in the early centuries, and became so again at the Reformation.  Against the Roman view that the authority of Scripture derived from the church - Barth notes that some Roman apologists even argued that Aesop's Fables would be Scripture if the church so declared (475) - the Reformers saw the role of the church as like the Samaritan woman of John 5, who merely directed those in the town to Jesus; the church directs people to the canon, but does not make the canon.  However, at the same time, the Reformers almost unanimously wanted to remove the Apocrypha from the canon, and some wanted to reopen the question further: Luther had serious doubts about various New Testament books (Hebrews, James, Jude, Revelation), and he was far from alone (476-7).

Barth notes helpfully that even where the question of the canon is not regarded as open, there can be - and perhaps almost always is - a functional 'canon within the canon', where greater stress is laid on one part of the Scriptures than another.  Perhaps the New Testament is privileged over the Old, or the Gospels over the Epistles (think of the treatment of the Gospel Book in liturgical churches).  It is useful to repeatedly ask "whether we do not neglect essential parts of the witness of revelation to the detriment of our knowledge of the Word of God" (478) even when the whole canon is formally acknowledged.

Nevertheless, for Barth the question of the canon must remain at least in principle open.  He considers that the attempts of Protestant Orthodoxy in the 17th Century to definitely close the question end up circling around to the old Roman answer: that the church has the authority to decide the canon.  For Barth this will not do.  Whilst there may be no question of the church - and certainly no question of any individual - actually changing the canon, to preserve the truth that its authority derives not from human pronouncements but from the Word of God to which it bears witness, the question must not be in principle closed.

What is Barth trying to do here, and why this disturbing conclusion?  I think here, as throughout volume I of the Church Dogmatics, Barth is trying to walk a narrow path of Reformed theology, with a deep and dangerous ditch on either side: to the one side, Roman Catholicism; to the other, Neo-Protestantism, what we might call liberal theology.  To say that the church defines the canon will lead us off to Rome; ultimate authority then shifts from the Word of God in Scripture to the church as an institution.  For Barth the great peril here is that the church ceases to listen to God, and becomes merely engaged in a conversation with itself.  On the other hand, the individual may decide the functional canon for themselves, or perhaps a group of individuals or congregations will do so.  This is Neo-Protestantism in the sense that it makes human beings the judge of what must be received as God's Word.  Whilst the one ditch is institutional, and the other feels very free and individualistic, they are basically the same error.  In both cases, authority derives from somewhere other than God.  That is why Barth has to leave the question open: to demonstrate that the only person who can close the question is God, just as the only person who can cause the witness of Scripture to decisively rule in the church and in the individual life is God himself.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Psalm 110 and the cross of Christ

Psalm 110 is one of the most cited passages from the Old Testament in the New, and its popularity continued through the first centuries of the church.  It is not hard to see why.  For one thing, the Lord Jesus quoted it in reference to his own identity.  But even without that, the picture of the triumphant Priest-King, seated in victory at the right hand of God speaks powerfully of the Messiah and his glory.

For us, the Psalm can feel harder to appropriate.  There are elements of the structure which are confusing, and in particular it is not immediately obvious who is speaking at each point.  I think this can be cleared up relatively easily, just by noting the difference between LORD (a placeholder for the divine name, YHWH) and Lord (the Messianic King-Priest).  In verses 1 to 4, David reports the address of YHWH to the Messiah (who is David's lord); YHWH tells the Messiah that he will have victory and eternal priesthood.  In verses 5-7, David sings to YHWH, celebrating the fact that (just as YHWH promised in verse 1) the Messianic King-Priest is indeed at God's right hand, and is indeed accomplishing victory.

Probably the toughest bit for us, though, is the end.  "He will crush kings on the day of his anger.  He will judge the nations, piling up corpses..."  The image of the nations filled with the slain is of course deeply unpleasant, but more than that it sits uneasily with our vision of Christ and his victory.  Isn't this, in fact, the polar opposite of the gospel?  Christ suffered death to deliver his enemies from death, right - not to inflict it on them in vast numbers!  So what do we do with this end of the Psalm?

I think the answer, at least in part, is in passages from the New Testament like 2 Corinthians 5.  This passage is all about the Apostle Paul's missionary motivation.  What is at that drives him out to preach the gospel, at such cost?  One part of the answer to that, it seems to me, is that Paul sees humanity around him through the lens of the history of Christ.  That is to say, he doesn't look at the people around him and then try to work out how the gospel is relevant to them; rather, he considers Christ's story to be the central story of all humanity.  He has reached this conclusion, on the basis of his knowledge of Christ: "that one died for all, and therefore all died."  All died.  Paul, realising that Jesus truly is the Christ, sees his death as an event which has validity and reality for all humanity.  All died.  This is so because Christ took the place of sinners ("[God] made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us...") and suffered the judgement of God on sin - and in so doing, executed the judgement of God on sinners.  Sinners were put to death in him.

And so the Apostle, looking out across the nations, sees them filled with corpses, those slain by the judgement of God executed by - and miraculously, marvellously, in - the Messiah.  This is why the nature of his victory requires a Priest-King, after the order of Melchizedek: his great Kingly triumph over the nations is a Priestly sacrifice of himself.

Because Paul knows that Jesus is risen, he also knows the story doesn't end here.  Psalm 110, after all, envisages the Messiah's enemies coming to serve him; how can they do so if they are all slain?  But Christ died for all so that those who trust in him might rise with him; he put an end to their sinful humanity so that they might share with him in the new humanity, by foretaste in the outpouring of the Spirit ("he will drink from the brook by the way") and then finally in the physical resurrection.  Paul's missionary motivation, then, is that all the people around him are dead, really dead, because of the cross; they just don't know it yet.  But this judgement carried out in Christ is not the final word for humanity.  To submit to this judgement, to accept (in baptism) the death executed on sinful humanity in him, is to find the door opened to resurrection life, and to have a certain hope that as our King and Priest is seated at the right hand of God, so we will be seated with him.