Page 1

The Semi Special Edition

VOLF + WRIGHT


Semi-Coherent

Editor’s Notes

Playing a word guessing game during Christmas-time, a friend of mine tried to lead me and another friend to the answer of “Santa Claus:” “This guy is coming to town!” In high-pitched excited unity, my other friend and I both shouted, “N.T. WRIGHT!” This really captures the general fervor on campus when the last week of April/ first week of May is brought up in conversation. No one can quite suppress their excitement about Miraslov Volf or N.T. Wright; copies of Exclusion and Embrace or Jesus and the Victory of God are cropping up everywhere. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Volf or Wright—I knew neither name before coming to Fuller—this SEMI will hopefully whet your appetite. Dr. Carolyn Gordon, chair of our preaching department, has a piece that highlights the importance of Volf for the contemporary church, while Art Bamford, SOT Graduate Union Co-President, has interviews with both Wright and Volf that give us glimpses of the lectures to come. As always, this magazine is here to provoke reflection and conversation that will form us into better leaders for the church and the world. We pray that it may be effective.

Reed Metcalf, Editor *Cover image: Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Oil on canvas by El Greco. circa 16th-century. *Background image: St. Paul at his Writing Desk. Oil on canvas by Rembrandt. circa 17th-century.

The SEMI

Managing Editor Carmen Valdés Editor Reed Metcalf Production Editor Jonathan Stoner and Rachel Paprocki

Letters to the Editor

The SEMI welcomes brief responses to articles and commentaries on issues relevant to the Fuller community. All submissions must include the author’s name and contact information and are subject to editing.

2

Legal Jargon

The SEMI is published every other week as a service to the Fuller community by the Office of Student Affairs at Fuller Theological Seminary. Articles and commentaries do not necessarily reflect the views of the Fuller administration or the SEMI.

Write for Us

You read that correctly. Email us at semi@fuller.edu to add your voice to the SEMI.


Wo r d P l a y Published Works by Volf +Wright (No fooling around this time.)

E C O K T W Z X R O P E S E D W V V W I X T K F O E O N B Z

D V W E B R X R B D D U W J M H I F U X P H L P T R O S O G

D O G F O Y R O T C I V E H T D N A S U S E J Y L P M I S Q

M C G N I K E M A C E B D O G W O H V P K R S U E E E F D J

U L F F B V F I W Z P L N G B Z F H K A S E C I X J B O I D

P U Z I O S H F E C A R B M E D N A N O I S U L C X E B H S

R O C C O S M X X T T C L Z D W K F X I F U X R Z N W K S O

W Z T E A P S A G B O R J T F M Q E Q P M R P K E B C O L T

D Z D Y R O M E M F O D N E E H T O O R T R L Y C X L N I S

G R P C H X E M N D K F H U Y G Z I R Q C E K G Y K T O C B

Z Q H L O A J I X L S T K A Y K R J C A F C S B R R M D A M

S X H P V W G A A V U S P X Q X L A D H L T F A F Y H W G H

Y A G J Z J N I G C Y F S I D P Q I H O F I T Z B M D G U J

J S F R E V I L A N D T H E J U S T I C E O F G O D H J Z Q

1. AFTER OUR LIKENESS 2. AGAINST THE TIDE 3. ALLAH 4. A PUBLIC FAITH 5. CAPTIVE TO THE WORD OF GOD 6. EVIL AND THE JUSTICE OF GOD 7. EXCLUSION AND EMBRACE 8. FREE OF CHARGE 8. HOW GOD BECAME KING 9. JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD

L M X G F T I R I P S E H T N I K R O W F N L U A I I S V M

B U H M I A S R N R R P U D I E I K A J V O B Z T E P G W Q

Y H A B V P Y N S O K O K V Y A K Z K Z X F E F F R S Z G Q

J B Y X J U B C T B W H Y H S C F I T I C T W E R M B B D E

M W X Y J B U F T H F Y O D H K W E L B U H W W R Y R H Y F

Z I Y S A L L A H B C B T Z M W I S H R J E F Z Q F Q Y B M

C U Q N J I C V E A T D S T H H N J V T U S Q X Z A R B D A

J P T B O C A P T I V E T O T H E W O R D O F G O D L O E I

H S U H U F R U I D E S A G X R H L B H S N R D S N C X B Y

K V R Q I A N O D S Q I P G H A M C F E S O A E X A Z G E A

S G O G C I T M E Q X R W C E C Z I U U Z F W L T H C A T R

I J U N X T J L U T J P R J J M A D S U F G W M U F Y J X E

P Y I W P H S A B W M R N U L P M P Y B G O L L C A A R M L

G S H X Q G D V L L K U G V N B Z D I F L D S X H E P I P P

Z L H O E E T U T F U S P B D W T Y G Z L K T A R P P O T U

E W F Q T W Z F N Y C R M T S W O J Z O S C G I H P W I E E

10. PAUL AND THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD 11. SIMPLY JESUS 12. SURPRISED BY HOPE 13. THE END OF MEMORY 14. THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD 15. WORK IN THE SPIRIT

3


An interview with Bishop N.T. Wright

March 27th, 2014 By Art Bamford

N.T. Wright might be the foremost biblical scholar of our era. The former Bishop of Durham has produced a massive amount of writing of the highest caliber. Just as impressive is his heart for the church herself; Wright’s work is firstly for the community of God over the academy, though his writing stands among the greatest in the academic field. His trip to Fuller is in the wake of publishing the fourth volume in his Christian Origins and the Question of God series, the monumental Paul and the Faithfulness of God. An incredible 1500 pages of examining the Apostle to the Gentiles, Wright’s newest book is being hailed as a landmark in Pauline studies. The conference at Fuller will see Wright offer us fresh perspectives on Paul and implications for the people of God in the present day. Here, Fuller’s Art Bamford (MDiv ’15) interviews Wright about Volf, Paul, and what the Epistle to the Angelinos might have looked like.

Art Bamford : Your upcoming vis- N.T. Wright : it looks like it will be an interesting mix of lecturing, preaching, panel discussions, worship, and so on. I was hoping you could share a bit about how you have been preparing to be our featured guest. Are there any unifying themes or ideas that you hope will stand out during this time? As someone who will both present and participate is there anything that you yourself are hoping to take away from the conference?

4

My hope is that we will be able to focus on the major themes of Paul’s writing as I have set them out in my new book, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Despite the length of this book I always learn new things when discussing the issues with others and I look forward to that happening here. But the main thing is that I hope to hold out to people a new way of looking not only at what Paul said but at why he said it – what made Paul, effectively, invent this thing we now call


Interpreting Paul for the

Future World of the

‘Christian Theology’. It wasn’t just that he wanted to teach people certain truths; it

strongly with our contemporary culture than they perhaps have in the past?

“Every generation brings its own perspective to Paul, and that’s right and proper as long as we then allow Paul to reshape our questions and force us to think differently about them, rather than us forc\ ing Paul to speak to the issues we imagine he should have done!” was that he wanted to teach them how to become mature in their Christian thinking and hence living, being ‘transformed by the renewal of the mind’ as he says.

AB:

The title of the conference is “Interpreting Paul for the Future of the World.” Could you tell me a bit about what initially sparked your interest in Paul? Are there certain things about Paul’s life and writings that you think resonate more

NTW :

Every generation brings its own perspective to Paul, and that’s right and proper – as long as we then allow Paul to reshape our questions and force us to think differently about them, rather than us forcing Paul to speak to the issues we imagine he should have done! I have been interested in Paul since teenage years when we had endless debates about predestination, justification, ethics, holiness and so on . . . Romans 7 and Romans 9-11

5


always loomed large, and they still do, though I now read them very differently. Our contemporary culture has rightly been concerned about the NT’s teaching on Jews and Judaism in the light of the horrible events of the twentieth century, and clearly Paul has a lot to say about that – but again we have to beware of making

NTW :

Any pastoral and preachingministry desperately needs to be solidly grounded in scripture. In my own view, though people of any faith or none can study the New Testament, there is a sense that this is a text (like a musical score) not just to be studied but to be performed. That’s not to say that the performers always understand it very well; an academ-

“In my own view, though people of any faith or none can study the New Testament, there is a sense that this is a text (like a musical score) not just to be studied but to be performed.” him answer our questions. We have also had a massive new interest, and rightly so, in discovering how the church can truly be for ‘Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female’, and Paul’s vision of a different type of community, often obscured in previous readings, has now come to the fore. But again in order to see what he’s really getting at you have to understand the underlying shape and structure of his theology, and that’s at the heart of what I hope this conference will be doing.

AB: A number of Fuller students wres-

tle with whether to pursue a vocation in ministry, in higher education, or in something that will allow them to split the difference somehow. Many of my classmates and I appreciate, and have been inspired by, how you are able to navigate between these two seemingly disconnected worlds, and maintain a comparable level of respect in both. Is there any advice you would give to those of us struggling to decide which direction to turn after Fuller, and hoping to eventually follow a path similar to your own?

6

ic musician may understand a Beethoven sonata better than an amateur performer. But ideally it ought to be a fusion of the two. The American church and academy both conspire to keep the activities separate, and indeed the demands of time, family, energy and so on may mean that comparatively few people will be able to do both very thoroughly. There are always compromises, as I know only too well. But ideally at least holding the serious study of Bible and Theology together with the serious practice of pastoral, preaching and teaching ministry ought to be a regular aim.

AB: Many students are particularly ex-

cited that you will be joining Miroslav Volf, whose visit to Fuller this spring happened to overlap with your own, for a panel discussion moderated by President Labberton. I am curious what your familiarity is with Volf ’s work and/or with him personally prior to this upcoming visit? Are there any specific topics or ideas that you are eager to discuss with him?


NTW :

I have enjoyed Volf ’s work, especially his stunning Exclusion and Embrace. We have worked together on Christian-Muslim dialogue. I will be eager to see how his reading of my work might stimulate fresh thought on both specific topics of dogmatic theology (e.g. Christology, justification and so on), and on the question of the relationship between biblical and dogmatic theology as a whole.

AB:

Hopefully students will already know a bit about the topic of your upcoming presentations here but I was hoping to get a kind of sales pitch directly from you. Every Fuller student needs to attend these events because…

NTW :

…because, I hope, we will together be discovering a larger, and somewhat different, portrait of Paul than what

NTW :

For Paul two things were paramount: the unity of the church and its holiness. (These are both deeply Jewish concepts.) Paul would be horrified at the way we have cheerfully colluded with various kinds of disunity. For him, the only disunity he could envisage would be that caused by immorality and unholiness in the church – in other words, by a paganization of the message and movement. We have exchanged his ‘unity’ for a loose ‘tolerance’, and his ‘holiness’ for a general bland niceness. Paul would suspect that this is because we have lost our grip on the meaning of the Messiah’s cross and resurrection themselves; in other words, that these are, in his language, ‘gospel’ issues. The gospel is always scandalous to some and nonsense to others, and he would remind us of the need to embody a different

“Paul would be horrified at the way we have cheerfully colluded with various kinds of disunity.... We have exchanged his ‘unity’ for a loose ‘tolerance’, and his ‘holiness’ for a general bland niceness.” we are normally used to – a portrait which should set ideas flowing in fresh directions for preaching, pastoral ministry, and theology. I believe a new study of Paul, the church’s first theologian, should always be near the centre of any fresh appropriation and living-out of the gospel.

AB:

If you were to imagine Paul writing a letter to the churches in Los Angeles what do you think he would want to focus on, and to say to this, or any modern city, in particular?

vision of society, culture and human life from what we find all around us – not to escape the challenge of being human in the world, but precisely because God’s new world has come into existence in Jesus the Messiah and we are called to be part of that, to be the good news of which we speak. +

7


Miroslav Volf at the 8

Payton Lectures By Dr. Carolyn Gordon


Recently, I was asked, “Why should stu- intellectual horizon and to think about dents come to hear Dr. Miroslav Volf?” At first, I was a bit taken aback by the question and wanted to dramatically reply, “Really? Because he’s Miroslav Volf.” And then with great pomp and circumstance shrouded in righteous indignation, I would walk away…while praying for the redemption of all who would ask such a question. But instead, I pondered. I pondered to the point of realizing that the question was an excellent one, and if I wanted students to take time off from their overly committed schedules to at-

what their education mean within a global context.

In recent weeks, World Vision Inter-

national announced that it would start hiring Christians in same-sex marriages and disgruntled donors responded by flooding the organization with calls withdrawing their support. Within 48 hours, the organization announced the reversal of its decision, but not before approximately five to ten thousand children were left without sponsorship. I read the blogs

Miroslav Volf is both nationally and internationally known as a theologian and a public scholar. He has the uncanny ability to help the world make sense of itself, while at the same time, challenging evangelical Christians to embrace the world or “the other” with Christian reverence and love. tend this year’s Payton Lectures, then I should be willing to take the question seriously. So, as Chair of the Ministry Division, this year’s lecture host, I write.

I know for many students, both com-

muters and residential, there is little time to attend any outside lectures or events that are not directly or indirectly related to current course requirements. Study time is sacred and nothing should get in its way. But it is Mark Twain who is credited with saying,” Don’t let schooling get in the way of your education.” Miroslav Volf is both nationally and internationally known as a theologian and a public scholar. He has the uncanny ability to help the world make sense of itself, while at the same time, challenging evangelical Christians to embrace the world or “the other” with Christian reverence and love. In essence, he’s an educator and students could learn much from spending a couple of days with him in dialogue. It is a rare opportunity for students to broaden their

and followed the arguments. Some were agreeing with the donors. Others were vehemently disagreeing. Joining the debate was an avowed atheist who basically declared that he didn’t care about World Vision International, nor did he believe in its Christ, but he did care about the children and would continue sending in his contributions to World Vision International for them.

Wow, Christian love with an atheist twist?

Or just authentic love without evangelical Christian biases? Whatever the case, each Fuller student will at some point in life, if not already, be forced to confront his/ her beliefs concerning something that goes against prescribed basic Christian tenets. Currently, the issues are ranging in scope from immigration, to same sex marriage, to the authority of the church and the role of women, but more issues are on the horizon. Students don’t have to have all the answers concerning what will

9


be done, but should at least have the ability to soundly wrestle with the issues from a global Christian perspective and not just from one’s own narrow portico.

Being the son of a Pentecostal preacher,

having been born in Croatia and raised in Marxist Serbia, Miraslov Volf, has a different perspective on how Christians should relate to the world and I believe in hearing him, students will be provided a glance into Christianity from a different point of view. It will definitely be an educational experience. Additionally, attending the Payton lectures is also a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to live out an old gospel in new ways.

church audiences. He frequently served as a guest writer for Christianity Today. For years he was a columnist for The Christian Century and regularly wrote the column, “Faith Matters.” He earned his “public intellectual” nomenclature by making and keeping a commitment to write for both the church and the academy. He has been featured on National Public Radio’s Speaking of Faith and Public Television’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly”.

To date, he is credited with writing and/

or editing more than seventeen books, eighty-five scholarly articles and more than 150 editorials and articles for “popular” or cultural publications. In 1998, Dr.

Why should students attend the Payton Lectures to hear Miroslav Volf? Be\ cause it will be an educational experience that will help students see the world and Christianity from a different perspective. And because, “It’s Miroslav Volf.”\ Miroslav Volf, a graduate and former

professor of Fuller, began preaching before the age of 18. He served as a preacher and teacher in Croatia and once arriving in the United States, he continued preaching and teaching, but extended his pulpit to both radio and television. According to his CV, while pursuing his doctoral studies and teaching in Croatia, Dr. Volf also worked for the Croatian Christian monthly magazine, “Izvori.” He used his creativity and cultural interests to re-design and re-brand the magazine. During that time, his father, then General Secretary of the Pentecostal Church in Yugoslavia, was the publisher. Serving as the magazine’s co-editor for five years and then editor for an additional five years, Dr. Volf frequently wrote articles for the magazine that he would later use as seed beds for writing more in depth articles for academic publications. Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Volf continued writing for

10

Volf became the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and currently serves as the founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

Miroslav Volf has given many presti-

gious lectureships including the Dudleian Lecture, Harvard; the Chavasse Lectures, Oxford; the Waldenstroem Lectures, Stockholm; the Gray Lectures, Duke University; and the Stob Lectures, Calvin College. At the end of the month, he can add one more to his list: Payton Lectures, Fuller Theological Seminary.

Why should students attend the Payton

Lectures to hear Miroslav Volf? Because it will be an educational experience that will help students see the world and Christianity from a different perspective. And because, “ It’s Miroslav Volf.” +


PAY T ON L E C T U R E S 2014 PAY T ON L E C T U R E S 2014 PAY T ON L E C T U R E S 2014 Fuller’s School of Theology Presents Fuller’s School of Theology Presents Fuller’s School of Theology Presents

WORLD FAITHS & WORLD FAITHS WORLD FAITHS & & GLOBALIZATION: GLOBALIZATION: GLOBALIZATION: AA CHRIS TT II AA N P EE R SS P EE C TT II VV EE CHRIS N P R P C A CHRIS T I A N P E R S P E C T I V E

APRIL 30 & MAY 1, 2014 APRIL 30 & MAY 1, 30 Congregational & MAYChurch 1, 2014 2014 10 a.m.APRIL to 12 Noon First of Pasadena 10 a.m. to 12 Noon First Congregational Church of Pasadena St., Pasadena, CA 91101 (corner of Los Robles Ave. and Walnut St.) 10 a.m.464 toE.12Walnut Noon First Congregational Church of Pasadena 464 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, CA 91101 (corner of Los Robles Ave. and Walnut St.) 464 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, CA 91101 (corner of Los Robles Ave. and Walnut St.) For a complete schedule of all related events please visit fuller.edu/paytonlectures For a complete schedule of all related events please visit fuller.edu/paytonlectures For a complete schedule of all related events please visit fuller.edu/paytonlectures

#Payton2014 #Payton2014 #Payton2014

Dr. Miroslav Volf is the Dr. Miroslav Volf is the Professor of Dr. Miroslav Volf is the

founder and director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright founder and director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright Theology, Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. founder and director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture and Henry B. Wright


Fuller, Globalization, and the Courage to Follow the Calling Miraslov Volf and Fuller have a long history together. A graduate of our MA program in 1979, Volf returned to teach Systematic Theology in 1991, being appointed full professor in 1998. His award-winning Exclusion and Embrace was written during his time here; it has since received the Grawemeyer Award for Religion in 2002 and was named one of the 100 most influential religous books of the 20th Century. ASC Presidential Candidate Art Bamford (MDiv '15) got the chance to ask Volf about the upcoming Payton Lectures, N.T. Wright, and his own experiences at Fuller from yesteryear. Art Bamford: I was wondering if you might share a bit about how you first became aware of Fuller, and if there was anything in particular, such as a certain faculty member whose work you were inspired by, that you remember as having factored heavily into your decision to pursue your M.A., and later teach at Fuller? Miraslov Volf: Doug and John, two sons of the then dean of School of Theology, Robert Meye, were traveling around the world and stopped in

12

Zagreb, Croatia, where I was a student of philosophy and theology. It was May 1977, and Doug was about to start studying at Fuller in September. We quickly became friends, and he suggested that I apply. I knew about Fuller already. I read George Eldon Ladd’s books and Geoffrey Bromiley’s translation of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, so I was excited about the possibility. The first semester at Fuller, I lived with the Meyes. Some of my best memories come from that time, the fall of 1977. After the Payton Lectures, we will have a


An Interview with Miraslov Volf April 10, 2014 By Art Bamford reunion at the residence of Bob and Mary Meye; all the “kids” will be there, too— Doug, Marianne (Meye Thompson), and John—as well as Charley Barker, a friend of Doug’s who became a friend of mine as well. AB: Similarly, are there any memories you have from your time here, both as a student and a faculty member, that stand out as having been particularly formative or significant? MV: I loved being a student at Fuller,

though it was tough at first to write papers in English. I needed a lot of help. (Thank you Professor Marianne Thompson for editing the first paper I ever wrote in English!) I worked in the library, first shelving books and then at the front desk, and got to meet a lot of students. It was amazing to return to Fuller as a professor. One of my best memories are meeting with students at McCormick & Schmick’s before my evening class in systematic theology. I stayed in touch with many of them.

13


AB: In your latest book you discuss the importance of being persons whose character is shaped by the character of God, and who think very critically and prayerfully about the culture we live in and how to address its most pressing and difficult challenges. Many students at Fuller, specifically those who feel called to a vocation in higher

MV: I found it important to discern carefully what my calling was—what my gifts are, especially those that others were willing to receive!—and have courage to follow the calling. The key for me was intellectual curiosity, long, long hours of very hard work, and a deep conviction that the Gospel has unmatched beauty and power— amazingly rich resource to address the

I found it important to discern carefully what my calling was— what my gifts are, especially those that others were willing to receive and have courage to follow the calling. education, wrestle with the decision of whether to study and teach in more conservative, explicitly Christian institutions, or to pursue opportunities in the academy more broadly. I know my classmates and I appreciate, and have been inspired by, how you are able to navigate between these two seemingly disconnected worlds and maintain a comparable level of respect in both, whether you’re lecturing at Yale, Wheaton, Harvard, Calvin, and so on. Is there any advice you would give to those of us struggling to decide which direction to turn after Fuller, and hoping to eventually follow a path similar to your own?

14

deepest longings and frustrations of human beings. AB: Many students are particularly excited that you will be joining N.T. Wright, whose visit to Fuller this spring happened to overlap with your own, for a panel discussion moderated by President Labberton. I am curious what your familiarity is with Wright’s work and/or with him personally prior to this upcoming visit? Are there any specific topics or ideas that you are eager to discuss with him? MV: Tom is a good friend. He is a brilliant New Testament scholar, and there has not been an occasion when I read


a book of his and not benefited from it. He inhabits comfortably both the world of academia and the world of religious communities and is equally comfortable behind his desk as he is on the platform. May his tribe increase! AB: Hopefully students will already know a bit about the topic of your upcoming lectures here but I was hoping to get a kind of sales pitch directly from you. Every Fuller student needs to attend this year’s Payton Lectures because… MV: My topic is world religions in the context globalization. World religions and the processes of globalization are

topics. I will be exploring these topics from a distinctly Christian standpoint, offering a Christian take on them. That may seem overly bold: I’ll be sketching, as a Christian, how all world religions should relate to one another. But the issue needs addressing and there is no neutral standpoint to address them. I am hoping that thinkers from other religions will return the favor… AB: Finally, I have to ask, what was the most difficult course you took at Fuller? MV: I took a course from Colin Brown about religious language. I wrote a paper on Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth, about their account of the

I am interested in figuring out how world religions can relate positively to one another without compromising their own truth claims in a shrinking world, as well as how globalization is transforming world religions and how world religions ought to shape globalization. among the most powerful forces in the world today. I am interested in figuring out how world religions can relate positively to one another without compromising their own truth claims in a shrinking world, as well as how globalization is transforming world religions and how world religions ought to shape globalization—all very big

language about God. The topic was challenging intellectually, but also spiritually. I almost lost my faith because I could not figure out how it is that human language connects with God in any meaningful way, how is it that when talking about God we are not really talking merely about ourselves. +

15


The followers of Jesus Christ are sent into the world as he was sent, to love friends and enemies, co-religionists and infidels, and to rejoice in everything that is true, good, and beautiful wherever they encounter it. Miraslov Volf, Public Faith

k e e W y g o l o e Th I M E S e Th d n a

n Publicatio A Student ological he of Full er T Seminary

Paul the Jew, whose controlling story had always included the narrative whereby the living God overthrew the tyrant of Egypt and freed his slave-people, had come to believe that this great story had reached its God-ordained climax in the arrival of Israel’s Messiah, who according to multiple ancient traditions would be the true Lord of the entire world. In being faithful to his people, God had been faithful to the whole creation. N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God


The SEMI: Volf + Wright Special Edition  
Advertisement
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you