Monday, 9 June 2008

Troubled by Wright

I am in the process of reading Tom Wright’s Surprised by Hope (code for, I’ve started it and got side-tracked) and, as I expected, find myself swinging between recognition of the same ideas I’ve been trying to preach for a long time and worry at the way Wright applies them.

On the one hand, Wright is spot on when he points us back to the true Christian hope: not us ‘going to heaven when we die’, but heaven ‘coming to earth when Christ returns’. Many of Wright’s ideas in this regard are things I’ve been urging for some time - see these notes from talks I gave back in 2004. Some of what I said then is what Wright is saying now:
Christians often speak, and importantly they often sing, as if the great hope was that on death the soul will go to heaven. But as the Bible makes abundantly clear, the real hope is the resurrection of our bodies, following the pattern of Christ’s resurrection.
The problem is that Wright seems to run this through a different understanding of the gospel itself, and instead of coming up with a call to proclaim salvation from a coming judgement, when the present heavens and earth will disappear, produces something else to do with Jesus being Lord over everything and us being called therefore to transform this world today via an essentially political agenda (reflecting Wright
’s personal concerns and interpretations).

I’m probably not the only person to find American accents a bit irritating in bulk, but there is a helpful discussion at the White Horse Inn, here.

More later, perhaps.

John Richardson
9 June 2008

PS I'm trying to work out why I have a compelling sense of
déjà vu about this post.

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1 comment:

  1. Good Day Vicar,

    The combination of your observations and those of Mr. Horton and the Whitehorse roundtable were quite useful. I faced the same issue while pastoring within the Church of God (a thoroughly semi-Pelagian lot).

    I believe that this mindset of "Getting to Heaven" rather than the revelation of our Christ and His kingdom on earth is the reason that many outside the faith have dismissed the faith as escapism. Too, folk who a "laser-focused" on pie-in-the-sky in the sweet-by-and-by only serve to reinforce this idea.

    Now as to the sound of a gaggle of Americans... Well, I do suppose they (we) do to the Queen's own English what a big gob of ketchup does to a fine filet of beef. (smile)

    Kind Regards,

    Andy Terry