“Male and Female in the New Creation: Galatians 3:26–29” (Ch 10) by Gordon D. Fee -- By: Robert Saucy
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“Male and Female in the New Creation:
Galatians 3:26–29” (Ch 10) by Gordon D. Fee
Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology
Talbot School of Theology
La Mirada, California
The thesis of Gordon Fee’s discussion of Gal 3:26–29 which focuses on verse 28—“there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”—may be briefly summarized as follows: (1) This text represents the new order among God’s people in the new creation “in Christ” and as such disallows the significance of structures and roles in relation to the pairs mentioned; (2) thus “to give continuing significance to a male-authority viewpoint for men and women, whether at home or in the church, is to reject the new creation in favor of the norms of a fallen world” (185).
As an introduction to the actual discussion of this text, Fee spends considerable space attempting to show that the central issue of the book of Galatians is not the traditional question of “whether people are justified by faith or by works” (173), but rather the issue of “who constitute the people of God in the new creation” (174). In other words, the “driving issue is not first of all Soteriology but ecclesiology” (174). After all, Fee says, “those involved in the struggle in Galatia are already ‘saved’” (176).
Fee asserts that the real issue of Galatians is “Gentile inclusion in the people of God” (174). Can they “get in on the promise to Abraham...without also taking on Jewish identity” (174)? The discussion of justification by faith and freedom from the law in Gal 3:1–4:7 “focuses on the place of the Gentiles in God’s new economy” (175). Similarly, the allegory of the bondwoman and free-woman and their children in 4:21–31, contrasting bondage under law and freedom in Christ through the Sprit (4:21–31), “has to do with Gentile inclusion” (176, n. 10).
In this reviewer’s opinion, this question of the nature of the Galatian problem is not central to the topic of the chapter, which is the meaning and significance of 3:28 for gender relations in Christ. But a few comments in response to Fee’s evidence for seeing it more an ecclesiological issue rather
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than soteriological may be noted. As for the argument that those involved in the struggle are alrea...
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