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This book offers a probing, insightful look at the "outsider" motif running through the Bible. The biblical story about God's covenant with "insiders" - with Israel as the chosen people - is scandalous in today's cultural climate of inclusivity. But, as Frank Anthony Spina shows, God's exclusive election actually has an inclusive purpose. Looking carefully at the biblical narrative, Spina highlights in bold relief seven remarkable stories that treat nonelect people positively and, even more, as strategically important participants in God's plan of salvation. The stories of Esau, Tamar, Rahab, Naaman, Jonah, Ruth, and the woman at the well come alive in new ways as Spina discusses and examines them from an outsider-insider point of view.
The Bible is quintessentially about binsidersb: Israel as the chosen people and Jesus as the savior of a divinely elected people. Yet the ideas of election and exclusivity are under attack today. What could be more scandalous in a time when inclusivity has become a dominant cultural value?
This important book explores the Biblebs abiding insider/outside motif, showing that Godbs exclusive election actually has an inclusive purpose. Frank Anthony Spinabs careful look at the biblical narrative puts in bold relief the remarkable number of stories that treat outsiders, the non-elect, not merely positively, but as strategically important participants in Godbs redemptive plan.
"The Faith of the Outsider" features stories of outsiders who, whether wittingly or unwittingly, actually promote Godbs agenda and who sometimes become insiders themselves under the most amazing circumstances. There are also stories in which outsiders are favorably contrasted to insiders who behave like or become outsiders themselves.
In addition to providing fresh insight into the ultimate purposes of God, each of the outsiders appearing in these stories -- Esau, Tamar, Rahab, Naaman, pagan sailors and Assyrian citizens, Ruth, and the woman at the well -- act in ways that require a reassessment of the Biblebs election theology. Spina argues that God chooses Israel not for its sake but for the blessing of the entire world. Likewise, Jesus is presented in universal terms, the vehicle for the reconciliation of all.
Successfully presented as talks to church and lay audiences, the stories gathered here are as instructive as they are enjoyable to read. Spinabs work illustrates just how much can be learned from thebiblical narrative itself as opposed to abstract theological reflection. More than anything else, these inspiring stories underscore the radical nature of the Biblebs gracious and sovereign God.
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