What would Paul think? (Douglas Campbell)

From Douglas Campbell in his big new book, Pauline Dogmatics: The Triumph of God’s Love.

Not a quote you expect to come across in a heavy-weight academic treatment of the apostle Paul’s thought and its implications for the mission of the church in the contemporary world.

I sometimes wonder what Paul would make of the conferences at which scores of highly learned people sit around and debate for hours tiny semantic nuances in his preserved writings. I expect he might be patient with this exercise for a while, but then at some point I’m pretty sure he would jump up – possibly wielding a whip – and shout: “For goodness sake! Haven’t you read what my writings actually say? You’re not meant to be sitting around debating them. You are meant to be out there doing what they tell you to do – meeting people and fostering Christian communities in service to your Lord. Get off your backsides and get moving!” Doubtless this challenge would be accompanied by the sounds of tables being overturned and piles of pristine books crashing to the floor. (p. 4)

2 thoughts on “What would Paul think? (Douglas Campbell)

  1. Agreed. A theologian needs to be rooted in a local church – otherwise the pressure to ‘produce’ for ‘peers and careers’ takes over at the expense of involvement with the messiness and normality of community life. I love the story about F F Bruce. A young believer in his church always asking him questions, saying to someone that ‘old guy Fred seems to know a lot’.

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