NT Wright notes:
“For too long we have read Scripture with nineteenth-century eyes and sixteenth-century questions. It’s time to get back to reading with first-century eyes and twenty-first century questions” (Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, p. 37).
He reminds us of an important point–the gospel message does not change, and yet it must be understood with fresh eyes in every season. Theological innovation, rooted in the text and in traditions of the church, enables the message to be captivating to new generations of people.
Innovation is risky. There is the possibility of missteps. But holding onto old forms simply because they have been found to be reliable at some point in history is deadly and leads to dusty theological relics.
The Word does not change–and yet it must be approached with a sense of adventure. We must ask how does the Word speak today? How may we, and must we communicate the good news now.
It won’t be easy. When we step out in new ventures, we must be open to critique. And we need to be careful not to annihilate those who take the risk. When others venture out, we must listen and ponder before we dismiss the innovation. And just possibly we will say–this too is part of the gospel message.
The gospel is the power of salvation–let it ring out with truth and clarity and freshness, for our twenty-first century situation.