N.T. Wright is one of the leading voices within New Testament scholarship today. Wright taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities.
He was the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England from 2003-2010. He presently holds the Chair in New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Wright, a prolific author, has written over forty books, including both scholarly and popular works. His major academic series Christian Origins and the Question of God is making no small contribution to NT studies.
As I’ve said many times before, I sincerely believe he is one of the most important of Christian scholars alive today, particularly in the area of early Judaism, historical Jesus studies, and the theology of the apostle Paul.
Wright’s work offers fresh insights and a stimulating challenge to evangelical Christianity. In his book Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (Feb. 2008), Wright challenges the notion of “going to heaven when you die” and spending an eternity in some bodiless future. For if this was the case, Wright says, “then what’s the fuss about putting things right in the present world?”
What about the resurrection of the dead? What about renewed creation? What about the gospel of the kingdom come to earth?
For newcomers to the blog, I have reviewed Surprised by Hope in a series of five books that I believe are helping to shape a new vision for 21st century evangelicalism. I think you need to read all of them. Make it a group study!
In the following ABC News interview, Wright talks about how evangelicals, especially those in America, have distorted the Christian hope by obsessing over heaven, while neglecting the NT teaching of new heaven and earth—a future reality in real space and time (Rev 21).
In this video, Wright also critiques rapture theology and provokes us to rethink the implications of embracing such an escapist view of the church and a subsequent cataclysmic destruction of the earth.
Do you agree or disagree with Wright? Have many believers neglected the real Christian hope? Do you see a conflict with rapture theology and the NT vision of the Kingdom coming to earth? Do you believe that a person’s view of future things shapes their behavior and actions in the present?
D.D. Flowers, 2012.