Archive for the ‘Tom Wright’ Category

Audio: Duke’s Convocation & Pastor’s School

October 24, 2010

The audio recordings for Duke Divinity School’s recent conferences are now available on iTunesU, and can be found here. These includes lectures by, among others, Tom Wright, Rob Bell, and Andy Crouch.

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Simply Christian: Introduction & Orientation

September 21, 2010

Some people like to jump straight into a book at the first chapter. Others prefer to read the introduction and gain an understanding of the general shape of the argument, and this allows them to grasp better the individual parts along the way. This post is for the latter folk – people like me.

Wright’s basic aim in the book was to describe what Christianity is all about, “both to commend it to those outside the faith and to explain it to those inside.” (ix) He doesn’t remotely pretend to have covered everything, but has tried to give the subject a particular threefold shape.

In the first part, Wright explores four points of contact with today’s world which he suggests are the echoes of a voice: “the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationship, and the delight in beauty.” (ix) The echoes point beyond themselves to something deeper, more profound, and Wright wants us to keep them in mind as we progress through the book. Having raised important questions in this first part, he will gradually offer answers to them in Parts 2 and 3. All he asks is the patience to bear with him, to wait until everything gets tied together by the end of the book.

Part 2 focuses on the Christian belief about God, that: there is only one true and living God, and this God is to be known in the face of Jesus; this God called the Jewish people to be his special agents in advancing his plans to rescue and restore his good creation, and; this God acts now by his Spirit. Thus,  

Gradually, as this part unfolds, we discover that the voice whose echoes we began to listen for in the first place becomes recognizable, as we reflect on the creator God who longs to put his world to rights; on the human being called Jesus who announced God’s kingdom, died on a cross, and rose again; and on the Spirit, who blows like a powerful wind through the world and through human lives. (x)

Part 3 imagines what it looks like in practice to follow Jesus, be energized by the Spirit of God, and advance the plan of the creator God (i.e., worship, prayer, Scripture, mission, new creation etc.). This leads us to think about the “church”, not as a building or an institution, but as the community of believers who try to follow Jesus. Indeed, what is the church there for, because following Jesus isn’t simply about wanting to ensure a better afterlife. 

Our future beyond death is enormously important, but the nature of the Christian hope is such that it plays back into the present life. We’re called, here and now, to be instruments of God’s new creation, the world-put-to-rights which has already been launched in Jesus and of which Jesus’ followers are supposed to be not simply beneficiaries but also agents. (x)

This gives us a new angle to approach prayer/Christian behaviour, and enables us “to find the “echoes” of the first part coming back again, not now as hints of a God we might learn to know for ourselves, but as key elements of the Christian calling to work for his kingdom within the world.” (x)

To buy: Simply Christian

Simply Christian

September 19, 2010

One of the things I’d like to do over the life of this blog is provide some accessible resources for the church. As such, from time to time, I’ll blog through one of the introductory books on Christianity. As each of these is slightly different and will have varying appeal depending on one’s presuppositions and personality/temperament, I intend to cover a range of material such as Stott’s Basic Christianity or Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Over the next couple of weeks though, I’m going to post on Tom Wright’s Simply Christian, which the blurb on the back cover describes as:

Why is justice fair? Why are so many people pursuing spirituality? Why do we crave relationship? And why is beauty so beautiful? N. T. Wright argues that each of these questions takes us into the mystery of who God is and what he wants from us. For two thousand years Christianity has claimed to answer these mysteries, and this renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop shows that it still does today. Like C. S. Lewis did in his classic Mere Christianity, Wright makes the case for Christian faith from the ground up, assuming that the reader is starting from ground zero with no predisposition to and perhaps even some negativity toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. His goal is to describe Christianity in as simple and accessible, yet hopefully attractive and exciting, a way as possible, both to say to outsiders ‘You might want to look at this further,’ and to say to insiders ‘You may not have quite understood this bit clearly yet.’

By the way, if anyone has any books they’d like me to look through or blog on, please do let me know either in the comments or by email (which can be found on my “About” page).