An effective observance of the Pauline Year that will bring believers closer to the heart and mind of Christ must â€¨begin with Paul’s writings.
Already in the New Testament, we are warned that there are some things in the apostle’s letters that are “hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16).
This difficulty remains, and the temptation to distort is just as present today as it was for the early church. Therefore, we should proceed with tested Paul scholars who have a solid understanding of the Reformation tradition.
In Springfield, Mass., we formed the Ecumenical Center for Pauline Studies and sponsored a daylong symposium, “To Live Is Christ: Living Christ in a Pluralistic World.”
As the first lecturer, I discussed “1 Thessalonians and Paul’s Dispute with Paganism”; the second, a Roman Catholic, concentrated on “The Implications of 1 Corinthians for Practice and Proclamation;” and the final presentation, by an Episcopalian, moved from the biblical to the practical, “Receiving Paul’s Word of Grace in Pastoral Terms.”
Worship, lunch, discussions and ecumenical collegiality completed an exciting day of learning.
The Web site also offers a list of books on Paul.
We’re beginning the Pauline Year—an observance called for by Pope Benedict XVI from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009, from the one feast day of the apostles Peter and Paul to the next. Lutherans shouldn’t be surprised that the pope initiated this celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of Paul’s birth.
|A Vatican statute depicting Paul.|
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