Recently I had the good fortune of taking in two, very different, yet very powerful presentations of the Gospel. One, more “high church,” the other more “low church” if you please, yet both worth sharing and both very relevant in their own way.
The first is a series of eight academic lectures given by the prodigious New Testament scholar and historian, N.T. Wright, at this year’s Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology; lectures that have been held each year since 1888 at Scotland’s four traditional universities. Professor, and Bishop, Wright’s series on the nature and meaning of history; post-Enlightenment philosophical developments and their interaction with Christian thought and biblical studies; and the historical in-breaking of God’s eschatological kingdom through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, can be seen here https://www.giffordlectures.org/videos. They should not be missed by anyone, even those of us who might struggle to understand the very words coming out of his mouth. And yes, he covers all those themes, and more! This is “high church” at its best.
The other profound Gospel message, although not nearly as long, was delivered by actor Chris Pratt. I don’t watch many movies, so in all honesty I don’t know what movies he has made (although, I think he is the guy from one of the recent Jurassic Park films. My wife dragged me to one about two years ago; it had a sort of camouflage, albino, super-T-Rex as its main antagonist. What I mainly remember is that the guy from Full Metal Jacket was also in it, because I hadn’t seen him in anything since then). Anyway, I think that was Chris Pratt, but whatever, I am digressing.
Either way, his very “bold” if not just outright courageous presentation of the Gospel can be seen here: https://youtu.be/EihqXHqxri0.
Pratt’s speech also contains some bits of humor that are probably not within Bishop Wright’s capacity to produce. Still, both are relevant, and both are worth watching and learning from. In fact, I would probably venture to say that while Wright’s lectures are easily the more profound in one sense (i.e. the intellectual), Pratt’s might be far more profound in another (i.e. the experiential), especially considering his audience and his vocation.
So, just a reminder to all of us that God can speak to the world through all kinds of messengers: men and women in all walks of life and in every stage of life.
Moses was a prince, David was a shepherd, Peter a fisherman. Augustine was a lawyer, Luther a monk, Eric Liddell ran races before dying in China, and Chuck Colson cheated and lied as a presidential advisor before starting the largest prison ministry in the world. God speaks to us through the highly educated and scholarly, through the politically active, the blue collar laborer, and even through those untrained in any relevant theological discipline, yet who have a celebrity status in the culture; and who just “get it” when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Praise God for both of these two very different spokesmen. A good example of the kind of unity in diversity that God Himself acknowledges from on high. Maybe Wright and Pratt should think about collaborating together: there have been few movies about New Testament scholars, after all.