The end of religion-a sermon on the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Scripture Readings: Romans 3.9-18, 21-24
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

In the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

One of the most controversial issues in theology is the question of whether the writings of St Paul truly reflect the teachings of Jesus. For Jesus, as we meet him in the Gospels, is a man of action- striding out across the country, healing and caring for people, and preaching usually by telling stories. But Paul stands accused of having taken the original, pure good news, and turned it into some kind of metaphysical system. Jesus tells stories- Paul writes about abstractions.

But I think part of the problem is that Paul’s letters are often trying to deal with the questions of his own time. He’s talking about Jesus by through a fog of first century controversy. Yet faced with these problems, Paul asks, ‘What does Jesus Christ mean in this situation?’ Continue reading