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Saints

In listening to a lecture by Bishop Tom, he made a startling statement about 'Saints' -- like St Bartholomew, or St Joan, etc. -- that I had never considered before.

The lecture was in answer to the question, 'Could a scientist believe in the resurrection?'. He then went through various meanings of 'believing' and 'knowing'. The scientist, he contended, is all about the repeatable event(s). The historian is all about the non-repeatable event(s). 'There can only be one first moon landing' he said. He then went through the evidence for the resurrection, summarizing his book, 'The Resurrection of the Son of God.'  And finally ending with a more holistic view of knowing and believing based in the evidence for Jesus' resurrection and surrounded by 'faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.'  After the lecture, the evening was opened up for question and answer (my favorite part, actually). A gentleman stated that he was kind of confused. He didn't know if Bishop Tom actually answered the question or not. 'At one point you seem to be saying "No" and the next "Yes". So which is it?' Bishop Tom then summarized his arguments about 'knowing' and 'believing' by stating that if by 'knowing' the gentleman meant a repeatable event exactly like the one of Jesus, then the answer is most definitely 'No.' But, if he meant events that were similar, that is, they were events that pointed to 'New Creation' (and Bishop Tom asserts that the resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of New Creation), then Church history points to these events over and over again. He also points out that, because of the blind belief of the Enlightenment (my words, not his) we, in the Western world, see the Church as part of the problem (or it IS the problem) and we miss 'the many, many, many signs of New Creation' that have taken place. He said, 'This is the kind of "repeating the experiment" which is appropriate for that sort of New Creation.' He then made the statement that prompted this post: 'And ultimately the Church's, um... glorifying, if that's the right word, of saints, was an attempt to say, at it's best, New Creation does go on happening.' I find that extraordinarily helpful. I have always had difficulty with the Church's reverence of 'saints' but, in this light, it makes perfect sense. We should be looking at those people as sign posts that point, not to themselves as something to be worshiped, like idols, but as examples for us to follow. St Paul said the same thing about Jesus, himself and others (see Philippians 3.17; 1Thessalonians 1.6-7; 1Timothy 4.12; etc.). That is how the saints should be seen. They should be honored as examples of YHWH's New Creation project implemented in our world.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

Comments

Ted Gossard said…
Good thoughts here. Always good to hear or read from Bishop Tom Wright.
Odysseus said…
Yeah. Bishop Tom is a great example of what (I think) scholars should be. He has changed the way I view a lot of things, not least of all the resurrection. If you didn't know, I used to be a 'Full Preterist', i.e., one who saw all of the predictions of the Bible as fulfilled in AD 70. The resurrection, therefore, was a 'spiritual' resurrection. But because of the historical work of Bishop Tom, that all changed.

Peace be with you.

+ OD

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