Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | June 6, 2006

NT Wright

tom_wright.jpgFor those of you who like something more challenging to read, take a look at this excellent collection of articles, sermons and other materials from NT Wright, the Anglican bishop of Durham.

NT or Tom Wright is a remarkable contrast to some of his predecessors. For example, uou may remember that a previous Bishop of Durham gained widespread notoriety for his unbelief in much of the New Testament, particularly the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus.

One of NT Wright's skills seems to be an ability to combine his heavy-weight scholarly background with a gift for clear, direct communication. In recent weeks, I have enjoyed his article relating to the appeal of the Da Vinci Code and also the paper on Gospel and Theology in Galatians. In this latter publication he weaves together some of the biggest ideas of theology and puts a theology of kingdom right at the centre. Here's a few lines to whet your appetite:

‘Justification by faith’ was not,for Paul, a doctrine about how people could ‘find a gracious god’ without moralism. Nor does it speak merely, as the Romantic movement has encouraged some Protestants to speak, of the difference between outward and inward religion (a difference well enough known to first century Jews in any case). Nor is ‘justification by faith’ to be equated with ‘the gospel’ itself; it is, rather, its direct corollary.

‘The gospel’ is the announcement of the kingship of Jesus; ‘justification by faith’ reminds those who, abandoning their varied idolatries, have given their allegiance to Jesus that this very allegiance is the only distinguishing mark by which the renewed and united family of Abraham is to be known. All other possible distinguishing marks undermine the gospel itself, implying that the crucified and risen Jesus is not after all the one true king. Allegiance and loyalty to Jesus, ‘faith’ in this full and rich sense, is not the gospel itself; it is what the gospel is designed to produce and by the power of the spirit, does produce.

I love this 'big' view of the gospel which has eluded so much of the evangelical world. It completely knocks on the head the view that the gospel is just about personal decisions about salvation independent of the wider plan of the perpetual increase of the kindgom of God.

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Responses

  1. Hallelujah! Awesome post, Hugh! Lord Jesus is God – He is the King with a very big Kingdom! One of my elders (Dan) always says, "The Kingdom of God is bigger than the Church!…But the Church's job is to proclaim the Kingdom!"

    Roger recommended the most awesome book on his blog, some months back – called Ultimate Intention. It is probably my favourite book (second only to the Scriptures)…It is in a pretty tight tie with The Radical Church. This is "Ultimate Intention" stuff!! This guy sounds like a Restorationist to me! =-)

    Isn't it refreshing to read a man like the Bishop? He really is on the right page!

    =-)

  2. I think N. T. Wright as the new C. S. Lewis–not just because he uses intials. (In America he publishes some of his books as Tom Wright.) The Challenge of Jesus changed the way I read the New Testament. His latest book Simply Christian reads like a 21st century Mere Christianity! You can read the opening chapter on Amazon. It has an incredible parable about the Church.

    Hugh, I came back to your site after reading your post on Out of Ur about dead religion. Good stuff!


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