Conference Week: Day 1

It’s conference week. Day 1.

I’m at Fuller Sacramento today. N. T. Wright is getting ready to take the stage to talk about Paul for the 21st century.

The follow up panel discussion will be moderated by Kathryn Greene-McCreight. I’ll be on the panel with Peter Rodgers, Libby Vincent, and Chap Clark.

Stay tuned for a full debrief. This is your warning: blogging for the next week will be heavily tainted by biblical studies, and the Society of Biblical Literature conference in particular. Stay tuned…


This afternoon, N. T. Wright addressed the significance of Paul for the 21st century church. He began by a sort of brainstorming of various issues that confront us in the 21st century: wealth and poverty, e-generation and its impact on relationships; the standoff between secularism and fundamentalism.

With the table set, Wright addressed three issues where Paul speaks and transforms our understanding: God (monotheism); People of God (election); and Hope (eschatology: one glorious future awaiting the world).

Each of these, Wright argues, is reworked around Jesus and the Spirit in Paul.

God is the God and father of Jesus Christ; Jesus is Lord, the Spirit works the works of God.

The people of God are those who are the one, holy people of God–the body of Christ.

And as for eschatology: there is a hope present among us because new creation has begun with the resurrection of Jesus.

There was lots of great stuff here; nothing new for those who know Wright’s work, but great reminders about who God is for us in Christ, and who, then, we are supposed to be.

The one question I raised, and perhaps slight concern I had, was that Wright talked a lot about hope and resurrection with little mention of the cross as the road to our promised future, the source of obedience that secures our resurrection hope.

All told, it was a great afternoon, with almost 500 in attendance. Tonight’s gathering on Jesus is a few hundred stronger and getting started now.

Great stuff going on at Fuller, Sacramento!

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