Fee: Who Owns the Church?

The gospel is God’s thing, and his alone, and so too, therefore, is the church. The church, he argues strenuously, belongs neither to himself, nor to Apollos, nor to them. The church belongs to God through Christ, and all of its ministers, including the founders (!), are merely servants.

Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), 825.

Another thing we have largely lost sight of.

Wright and Bird on the Nature of First Century Christian Meetings

Though we do indeed sometimes think of the movement as a ‘religion’, a first-century observer, blundering in to a meeting of Christians, would almost certainly have seen it first and foremost as some kind of educational institution, a kind of philosophical school in which prayer and worship happened to be central but didn’t displace the sense of eager learning. This is the more remarkable in that education in that world was mostly reserved for the rich, for the elite.

N. T. Wright and Michael F. Bird, The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians (London; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic; SPCK, 2019), 849.

Too bad we left that behind. We have given it all over to selling fire insurance.

Paul: A Biography, NT Wright

I just finished reading Wright’s biography of Paul. Wright has written thousands and thousands of pages, and many of them about Paul and his writings, and I have read nearly all of those pages over the years.

But this book is different.

Not only do I feel like I know Paul better from reading this book, but I also feel like I know Tom Wright better. Or maybe I should say that I see a pastoral side to Wright that is often overpowered by the scholarly Wright.

I can say it’s my favorite Tom Wright book of them all. So far. And that’s saying a lot, since they are all my favorites.

The last chapter on why Paul was successful is worth the price of the whole book. I recommend this book to anyone in ministry, especially to pastors. And I recommend it to serious laymen like myself who care about the church and who aren’t willing to accept the status quo without question.

That’s the real trick, isn’t it? Not social distancing, but spatial distancing. We have ways of staying close to our circles without being in the same room.

The doctor told me I would probably die by being so tired I cannot move anymore. Since he told me that I’m afraid to sit in one place very long.