Reclaiming Paul is off to a good start here in Kansas City. It’s become clear to me that this is going to be like no other event I’ve ever attended. I’ll offer more reflections on the individuals who have gathered, the church we are meeting at, and the whole “Emergent” concept at a later time. Here, instead, here’s what’s happened so far.
Really good supper at O’Doud’s Irish Pub with the above crowd.
Excellent opening presentation by Mike Gorman. Here’s what he had to say:
“Why Reclaiming Paul?”
1. Addressing proof-texting…looking at the big-picture, instead of just
2. Privatization of Paul, someone who is focused solely on the individual
3. Protestantization of Paul –> Paul defends Protestants against Catholics
4. Paradigm Shift of Paul (includes #1-3) –> Paul is now “en vogue” in academic circles
5. Passion of Paul –> he’s very passionate about what be believes
Similarities between Paul’s context and 21st century context
– Pagan Idolatry
– Multi-cultural world with lots of perspectives
– Ethnic conflict
– Competing sotierologies (who is saved? who does the saving?)
– An imperial context
Book Suggestion — Doug Harrink – “Paul and the Post-Liberals”
Narrative is important to Paul
“We don’t need to choose between Jesus and Paul”
Paradigm Shifts when Looking at Paul
1. From “propositions” to NARRATIVE
1 Corinthians 15
Paul tells the story within the context of a larger story…and allows the listeners to become a part of the story
2. Moving from Paul as a Systematic Theologian to a Pastoral Theologian
Paul wants people to live out their faith in a real way in the communities
Paul is grounded in both the PAST (crucifixion, resurrection, etc.) and FUTURE (judgment, salvation, etc.)
3. Move from a narrow understanding of “atonement” to a broad understanding –> “the cross is polyphonic”
A few other quick hits from Gorman:
- Justification is about participation and transformation.
- Justification is both vertical and horizontal. Not just “God and me”, but “us and us”.
- Paul embraces Theology of the Cross AND a Theology of the Resurrection
- Faith and Works are inseparable.
- The cross is the quintessential act of COVENANT FULFILLMENT.
- It’s impossible to be “justified” without doing justice
- Private Paul becomes Public & Political Paul
After Gorman spoke, a panel of five super-smart people spent some time talking to each other while we tried to lick their table-scraps of knowledge off the floor. Some of it was over my head. Some of it was painfully obvious. Some of it just sounded like blatant book promoting. Just about all of it was very good…except this quote from Tony Jones, which was both awesome and terrifying:
“The impending failure of Protestant mainline denominations is their desire to create bureaucratic superstructures where people discuss theological issues in large convention centers and take votes on what we believe.”
Damning and prophetic…