N. T. Wright At Lanier Theological Library

Bishop N. T. Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, spoke at the Lanier Theological Library on the topic, "Discerning the Dawn: Knowing God in the New Creation."

The lecture took place in the reconstructed 6th century Byzantine chapel on the library site. The chapel was full as was overflow seating in the adjacent library building.

"I am the way"

The chapel frescoes are stunning. Here is the Pantokrator image, or Christ the Ruler of All, typical of many Byzantine chapels.

Famed Houston trial lawyer and patron of the library, Mark Lanier, thanks his wife, Becky, as he introduces Bishop Wright.

Bishop Wright spoke of the way both modern and historic proponents of both natural theology as a path to God AND modern and historic Epicurean sceptics miss the central point. He identified 7 key questions raised by people in all cultures and all times:

1. Justice: How do we live out our inate sense of fairness?

2. Spirituality: What is healthy spirituality?

3. Relationships: How are we to maintain relationship with one another, personally and nationally?

4. Beauty: Beauty seems to be a vital part of life, but is it really just a cruel joke? The beauty of a sunset soon gives way to darkness.

5. Freedom: We all want freedom, but is it really possible? New forms of slavery are constantly arising.

6. Truth: We live in a surveillance society seemingly in search of more Truth, but we also talk of "my truth, your truth." What is Truth? Or is it all relative?

7. Power: It seems necessary but there is no consensus on how to manage it. How should power be used?

Bishop Wright commented that it is misguided theology to argue from these questions to God, saying that there must be a God with a plan to answer these questions. It is equally misguided to subscribe to the Epicurean philosophy that if there is a God, there is no divine involvement in the world and thus no "right" answers to these questions.

Bishop Wright believes the scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, provide a single narrative. And that narrative is how God suddenly intervened in the old creation, with its sin and death, to bring about a new creation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we start from the perspective of this new creation, and look back, we see that these are the right 7 questions to ask. The new creation provides God's answers to each of them in ways that are startingly different than answers often provided from the old creation. Love provides the catalytic difference.

When the Church, he says, fails to live out of new creation ways, when it lives out the 7 questions in old creation ways, that becomes a force of ANTI-witness more powerful than any non-believing sceptic.

I understand about half of what Bishop Wright says, but that is enough to fortify my faith and fuel my imagination.

Created By
Bob Johnson

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