From Publishers Weekly
Why does evil persist in a world created by a good God? And why does the church seem so feeble in counteracting evil? Wright, a New Testament scholar who is Anglican bishop of Durham, U.K., and author of several well-received volumes, including Jesus and the Victory of God, addresses these questions in a readable and compelling plea to renew the church's compassionate mission in these challenging times. While many look to secular institutions to fix society's problems, Wright counsels that Christians must envision what life will be like in the coming Kingdom, and then suggests ways in which they can help bring about that world—one where suffering and war are things of the past. Wright expresses godly concern and deep devotion, and offers a vision that he believes is workable even in the midst of so many problems. He sees the call to the church as an extension of God's call to Israel: to be a light to all the nations, a vessel of God's love to the whole world. Jesus, he insists, "articulates and models the call to Israel to be Israel." Wright calls upon the church to accept the challenge to represent God in the world in its service and its witness, and to reach out to those who are hurting. (Nov.)
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When the bishop of Durham, Christian scholar and excellent popular exegete, turns to that sturdy theological tough nut, the problem of evil, he fills old answers with fresh hope. That is fortunate, for the two most current answers to it are hollow. The ideology of progress--that there is only constant improvement toward perfection--was quashed by the Holocaust, and the postmodernist tenet most succinctly stated as "Shit happens" declares us powerless to fight evil. But God, Wright argues, has conclusively answered the problem of evil in his promises to the Jews in the Old Testament and to everyone through Christ's death and resurrection. Wright's biblical exegesis is brilliant enough to revive many a flagging spirit, and the advice on how to use faith in God's promises to deal with evil in the real world is even more restorative. Live within the kingdom of God now, imaginatively but also really, by living in holiness, and practice forgiveness (e.g., in the nascent restorative justice movement). Familiar teaching made vital and compelling again. Ray Olson
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