View our video summary of Bishop NT Wright’s talk in Carlow Cathedral on 10th Nov 2008 entitled ‘Paul: Faith and Hope for Tomorrow’s World’.
Click on link if you wish to download a recording of the full talk along with the text Paul:Faith and Hope for Tomorrow’s World – Audio and Text
Bishop NT Wright
Bishop NT Wright, the Church of England Bishop of Durham, is one of the worlds leading scholars on the New Testament, and especially on the letters of Paul. He was the official representative (fraternal delegate) of the Church of England at the recent Synod on the Word of God.
The invitiation to Bishop Wright to give this talk araose as as one of the diocesan initiatives to mark the Pauline Year – with its inherent ecumecial dimension.
Text of video highlights from Bishop Wright
…St Paul was and is a dynamic and dangerous travelling companion. I am often reminded of the Bishop who said plaintively, �Everywhere St Paul went there was a riot; everywhere I go they serve tea!’ Clearly there is something strange about a Pauline gospel which does nothing more than rattle the tea-cups. We should expect fireworks from the great apostle, and particularly when we ask what challenges he might have for the world today and tomorrow, and for the church as it seeks to engage in the mission of the gospel in that turbulent and unpredictable world….
…For Paul faith, like everything else, is rooted in the Old Testament. (Reading the Old Testament wisely in the light of the New is one of the great skills of normal Christian life, as the Synod Fathers in Rome were doing their best to emphasize.) Biblical faith is defined in relation to the God of the Bible, the creator God, Israel’s God, Abraham’s God, the God of the Exodus. Faith in this God is anchored in the solid belief that he is indeed the creator of the world, and that one day he will sort the whole world out, will put it all to rights. That’s the biblical meaning of �judgment’, and it reflects the belief that God, as creator, is also just and true. Creation and judgment are the twin poles of Jewish monotheism. But of course normal life sits, often uncomfortably, between those two poles, and the Jew believes that this same God has called Israel to be his people, not just for their own sake but for the sake of the world, so that through Abraham and his family all the nations will be blessed. And the faith of Israel is focussed, again and again, on the belief that this God, the creator and the judge, acts within history to bring order out of chaos once again, rescue out of disaster, life out of death, and thereby to anticipate the final day when he will put all things right at last….
…This is the heart of Pauline faith: that in Jesus Christ God has done what he has promised, rescuing humans and the world from sin and death, and launching his project of new creation; and that in the Holy Spirit God will do and indeed is already doing what he has promised, bringing new life to humans and to the world. For Paul, faith isn’t just a matter of believing in God and then somehow bringing Jesus or the Spirit into the picture. Faith is a matter of learning who the true God, the creator and covenant God, really is in the light of Jesus and the Spirit, and in that light renouncing idols, reshaping worldviews, and especially confronting the world in which the principalities and powers think they are divine and need to learn that they’re not…
…When you believe in this God, your faith has the quality of rich, cheerful trust and ready obedience, sustained by love and drawn forward in hope. What we need in this next generation is a church that understands this vision, that is fired by this faith, and that can speak of and live for this God in a confusing and dangerous world. Nobody else is leading the way out of our political, economic, and social turmoil. It won’t do simply to say �if only you’d all do as you’re told’ or �if only you’d all get converted’. What we have to do is to think through what Christian faith really is, in the light of Jesus Christ and the Spirit, and then live out that faith in the public square, challenging the powers of the world at every point where they are shying away from it. Pauline faith in the public world: that is what we need, and that is what a fresh reading of Paul will supply….