Early Christian Problems Needing Solutions


1. A new interpretation of Jesus's death and resurrection: the Messiah (Christ) sent from God to die for human sins

--Problem #1: Traditional Jewish messianic ideas don't figure on an atoning messiah

--Problem #2: Torah doesn't mention Jesus or a cosmic drama

--Problem #3: In Judaism, the Torah is given by God to provide atonement for humans

2. Everyone agrees that Gentiles are somehow included in this cosmic drama, but how?

In an effort to avoid conflict, Paul set aside some of the most problematic Torah laws in his congregations

--Problem #4: To Jews, the Torah laws are all equally binding: setting aside some means setting aside all

Rabbinic solution: re-interpret the original law in such a way as to set it aside

Paul's solution: why bother?

3. As the movement becomes more non-Jewish, Jews began leaving it.

--Problem #5: Early followers, all Jews (including Paul) believed that God had an eternal covenant with the Jews

--Problem #6: Jewish non-response threatens Christian incorporation of Jewish scriptures and prophecy

Pauline Solutions

1. New cosmic map: Christ in the cosmic plan from the beginning of time

2. New concepts to explain why Torah doesn't atone: sin and grace

3. New age prefacing coming of the kingdom: new social order and new laws that govern it

4. Jewish non-response is in fact part of the cosmic plan

5. New Jerusalem: Christians are the "true" Israel