The world still needs St. Patrick, and not just in Ireland.

WHERE IS ST. PATRICK TODAY?

Thankfully, the Church still includes believers with similar character qualities as St. Patrick. Believers should consider where modern practical theologians and social activists can be found.

Modern St. Patricks are people who (a) love God deeply and are able to discern His calling, (b) are able to teach deep truths by illustrations from common experience, and (c) demonstrate their faith through a genuine love for people, advocating the cause of those who cannot defend themselves; often this advocacy is motivated by personal experience.

Patrick's life was full of obstacles for those who would want to become leaders in a local church: he lacked education and experienced a terrifying adolescence. Yet those experiences prepared him to become a leader able to reach out to those outside the walls of the church. Patrick's lack of formal education made him a practical theologian, but a theologian none-the-less. Church leaders: look for the Patricks in your own congregation; then recruit and train them for leadership roles.

On St. Patrick's Day we should be reminded that the world still needs leaders like St. Patrick. Church members: pray that the leadership in your local church will recognize, recruit, and reward such people - practical theologians who speak out against injustice.


[1]Dates taken from Dictionary of Christian Biography. Ed. Michael Walsh. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001.

[2]Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization. New York: Doubleday, 1995.

[3]As mentioned at http://www.prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_breastplate_prayer.htm. This article's translation of "St. Patrick's Breastplate" is also from prayerfoundation.org.

[4]As claimed by Thomas Cahill, and evidenced in both Patrick's Confession and Letter  to Coroticus. Also mentioned in Jonathan Hill's What Has Christiainity Ever Done for Us? How It Shaped the Modern World. Downers' Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

[5] Both his identification with the Irish and a sin he confessed before entering the priesthood hindered his influence with the British. His confessed sin somehow become a scandal among church leadership, and prompted him to write his Confession.

[6]From Patrick's Confession, and quoted in Cahill, 109.

[7]These statistics are from http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2010/01/facing_modernday_slavery_1.html

[8]"Letter to Coroticus." http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1166.htm

Stanley J. Ward serves as the Biblical Worldview Director at The Brook Hill School (www.brookhill.org) and frequently speaks at conferences (www.stanleyjward.com). He is also a PhD candidate and napkin theologian (www.napkinvideo.com).