Was Paul Converted? NT Wright on the “Conversion” of Paul

The standard reading of the apostle Paul’s life is the story of conversion, and at work in that story is religion and hence of Paul “finding religion” or “leaving religion for faith.” In the altogether exciting 15th chp of NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright pitches his tent in a way that he gets [Read More…]

Paul Takes on the Philosophers (acc to NT Wright)

What did Paul say to folks on the Areopagus? What would Paul have said to a philosopher like Seneca? NT Wright, in chp 14 of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, ponders precisely these sorts of questions and it makes for engaging reading. When we ask, as we must in this chapter, how the Paul we [Read More…]

Paul and Religion

So many today love to contrast Jesus (and therefore themselves) with “religion” and “religion” is always bad and institutional and ritualistic while Jesus (and probably Paul, too) was not … but that means those who do this will be surprised when they read chp 13 of Wright’s massive study of Paul. One of the more [Read More…]

Empire Criticism and NT Wright

This is a repost on NT Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, but I do so because I have now come to chapter 12 in our months-long series on Wright’s monster volume(s). So, here it is again: a look at what NT Wright says now about empire criticism. Empire and the Echo Chamber IBR [Read More…]

What Jesus Thinks of (some) Pastors and Church Leaders

The operative words here are status and honor, chased behind by the words power and authority, chased behind by theological discussions about the importance of leadership and pastoral authority. The problem, very quickly, is what Jesus thinks of (some) pastors and church leaders (including seminary professors!). He thinks they have gotten things upside down. A [Read More…]

NT Wright: Paul, Israel and the Church

NT Wright’s new study on Paul, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, argues two central themes: that monotheism, election of Israel, and eschatology have been fulfilled in Christ and the Spirit, and that this fulfillment is entirely within the scope of Israel’s Story — it is not “replacement” but “fulfillment.” He knows classical Protestant theologians think [Read More…]

When Leaders Demand Honor

As we described in a previous post (Putting People in their Place), the Roman world was a world shaped by the “honors race,” or the quest for honor and status. What happens when the gospel invades the honors race? What happens, more particularly, when the apostle Paul encounters the Roman honors race with a gospel [Read More…]

Putting People in their Places

Humans look at others and assign the others a social location. Not all humans do this because there are some who like to think they don’t assign others. We may strive not to assign others but those who are successful are few indeed. The Romans did not even try; in fact, status and honor and [Read More…]

NT Wright, Paul and How to Live the Christian Life

The issue is eschatology, and eschatology for Paul begins with the resurrection of Jesus, and that means new creation has been unleashed while there is yet more to come (N.T. Wright, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God). The Christian life is about learning in the “meantime” in the power of the Spirit through Christ. For [Read More…]

Eschatology Begins Here

Where does eschatology, the belief in the future, begin for the Christian? for Paul? Right here: If Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead, then it meant either that the whole cosmos had gone completely mad or that ‘the resurrection’ had come forward into the present, in just this one case, with Jesus [Read More…]