I think it was Scot McKnight who suggested that the “New Perspective on Paul” would make a lot more sense to traditional Protestants if they assumed that Ephesians was the epitome of Pauline theology rather than Romans or Galatians. (He may have merely been reporting an observation of N. T. Wright, and I don’t have time right now to look it up.) If that’s the case—and I think it is—then the “Ephesians Road” version of the “plan of salvation” developed by Trevin Wax and now elaborated by Derek Leman will be of interest.
According to Leman, the “Romans Road,” familiar to evangelical Christians, is not untrue, but it is incomplete:
Whereas the Romans Road says, “You can be forgiven and live forever,” the Ephesians Road says, “God is making a perfected cosmos and you can join in.” The Romans Road is limited because it ends in mere acceptance of future blessing. The Ephesians Road is more complete because it ends in all things united in Messiah and calls for us to work with Messiah through the community to bring about healing and redemption for the world.
Here is Leman’s summary of the “Ephesians Road”:
- Salvation is about God’s plan for the world (Ephesians 1), including the election of Israel, the adoption of Israel as the people of God, the inclusion of Gentiles in salvation, and the uniting of all things in Messiah symbolized by the new unity of Jew and Gentile in Messiah.
- Salvation is only by unearned favor (Ephesians 2:1-9), raising us from the dead and saving us from God’s wrath.
- Salvation comes with a calling that must be fulfilled in the community of faith (Ephesians 2:10-22), including good works, kingdom community of mutual blessing between Jew and Gentile, and imaging God to the world.
What do you think?