CONTEXTUALIZING ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH WITHIN BROADER PROVIDENCE
The title of the book is derived from a relatively obscure passage of St Paul (Eph3:8-11). That forms the focal point for what is a substantially reconstituted biblical schema, of necessity involving some deconstruction of the foundational biblical theology developed by Western Christendom’s most influential Doctor of the Church, Augustine of Hippo (AD354-430). Perturbing as this will be for conservative Christians, it is unavoidable if the broader providence believed and taught by the post-conciliar Catholic Church and spiritually discerned by many more outside her is to be solidly underpinned from Scripture. The book is the direct result of an experience that I as a one-time staunch Calvinist is clear was as an encounter with the Holy Spirit. The experience brought much joy but also a certain trepidation as it became clear to me that Augustine and the medieval Reformers who built on his paradoxical, binary, fatalistic theology had misinterpreted the Apostle Paul’s teaching on law and the economy of grace, thus ensuring that the mystery and majesty of God’s munificent providence be sustained through much of the Church’s earthly pilgrimage. [This I believe was in accordance with divine intentions and is what is being referred to in Revelation chapter ten.] There was still more trepidation in the realization that what I had been shown could hardly be for personal devotion but was to be shared with as many as might receive it.
The overall message of the book is undoubtedly one of joy and hope for all people of good will; a providential outcome delineated from Scripture which is in accordance with how Yahweh declares Himself to be in that Scripture (e.g. Ex34:6-7): supreme, sovereign and awesome in His majestic holiness, yet fair and tolerant towards all; filled with mercy and compassion just like His Son – a God of love (agape) even as that quality is understood in human terms and defined in Scripture (1Cor13:4-8). If (and it’s a big “if”) such historical interpretive errors can be acknowledged by all parties it may pave the way for reconciliation between those of the old faith in East and West, and the children of the Reformation. Also that once Paul’s reference in Ephesians 3 to “the fellowship of the secret (plan) hidden in God from previous ages and the heavenly authorities” is grasped, there can be reconciliation also between the Jewish fathers of the Faith and their Gentile children who have been given, to the initial surprise of Apostle Peter, an identical gift of salvation to the Jews (Acts11:17-18) and a share in “an inheritance with the sanctified” previously understood to be for the faithful of God’s chosen race alone (Acts26:18).