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Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense Hardcover – February 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“Readers will welcome such ready access to one of the fine teachers of the church.” (Walter Brueggemann)

“Simply Christian is an amazing testimony to the vitality…of the Christian faith—and to the skill of N. T. Wright.” (Will Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church)

“[No one] has done more to clarify what [...] Christianity looks like in our day than Tom Wright.” (John Ortberg, teaching pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church)

“Fresh, engaging, and highly readable…Simply Christian [is] an invaluable guide for seekers and doubters as well as believers.” (Os Guinness, author of Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Faith)

“N.T. Wright is uniquely qualified to convey the enduring substance of Christian life and thought to contemporary people.” (Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, University of Southern California, and author of The Divine Conspiracy)

“Brilliant Bishop Wright is one of God’s best gifts to our decaying Western church...” (J.I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College)

“We are in Mere Christianity territory here [...] Bound to be a classic.” (Rob Bell, author of Velvet Elvis)

“N.T. Wright is simply crucial; his writing can transform one’s life.” (Anne Rice, author of CHRIST THE LORD)

“Wright attempts a 21st-century counterpart to Lewis’s Mere Christianity. . . . notably clear, readable and thought-provoking.” (Richard Ostling, AP)

“Wright offers...[an] intelligent view of Christianity, and his title invites us to compare his work with Lewis’s [...] Mere Christianity.” (Washington Post)

“Simply Christian is simply outstanding. It will confirm, challenge, and deepen your grasp of Christian faith and practice.” (Christianity Today)

From the Back Cover

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 outsides ôYou might want to look at this further,ö and to say to insiders ôYou may not have quite understood this bit clearly yet.ö

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061920622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061920622
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

N.T. WRIGHT is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. As being both one of the world's leading Bible scholars and a popular author, he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. His award-winning books include The Case for the Psalms, How God Became King, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God, The Meaning of Jesus (co-authored with Marcus Borg), as well as being the translator for The Kingdom New Testament. He also wrote the impressive Christian Origins and the Question of God series, including The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God and most recently, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

625 of 641 people found the following review helpful By A. Ort on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I come from a background of nominal Presbyterian Christianity followed by many years in my adult life of fundamental, Pentecostal Christianity. My early years provided me with a dull version of Christianity; my later years the other extreme. Burned out from the emotionalism, the overemphasis on the sensational and what I see as the move toward the gospel of materialism cloaked in Christianese, I had just about given up on Christianity as a whole, settling instead for my own version.

I stumbled across this book in my local bookstore today and was drawn to it as I really enjoy N.T. Wright's ability to take on modern criticism without ever wavering in his faith nor compromising its essentials. He has a way of stating the essentials simply without bogging them down in highbrow theological language. I started the book and could not put it down.

Within a few pages a wave of peace and comfort washed over me. Rather than critiquing Christianity as expressed today, he opted instead to focus on its essence, to keep the story focused on what is right with Christianity and how it makes sense, even - or especially - today.

He never sets out to prove that it is right; he sets out to prove how it is salvific. And he does so in a calm, reasoned voice, unafraid to bring awareness to modern day critical scholarship yet remaining true to the fundamentals of the Gospel message. The book is brief and is an easy read with Wright's concise and powerful prose.

His descriptions of salvation, the kingdom of God, the mission of Jesus and, especially relevant to me coming from a Oneness Pentecostal background, the power and the mystery of the Trinity, resonated more deeply than I was prepared to experience. I almost cried.
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154 of 168 people found the following review helpful By William H. Panning on April 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It presents a compelling case for Christianity without attempting to bully the reader (as C. S. Lewis often does in his essays) and without relying on all those "code words" that long-time Christians find familiar but others do not. This is the Gospel in plan English. Bravo!

It firmly insists that Christianity makes claims about history - that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, and that this resurrection is the central event in the story of God's re-creation of our fallen world.

It insists that Christians be active participants in the future unfolding of God's plan. We are each called to play a unique role in it.

It insists that there is a transcendent realm, another world, that can and does intersect or overlap with our own world, especially in sacraments, in worship, in Bible reading, and in prayer. Moreover, just as the temple was, for Jews in Jesus time, a place where heaven and earth overlapped, now we, as individual Christians, are called to be such places of overlap, where the light of Jesus shines through us.

It highlights the crucial importance of forgiveness. Just as God has forgiven us our sins, so are we to forgive others. The Lord's prayer is explicit on this point.

Becoming a Christian, Wright asserts, is not a matter or accepting certain improbable factual assertions, but rather a matter of trusting in God and accepting our role in unfolding his plan for the world.

Rather than being dissected, as in a laboratory, or treated merely as an instrument of historical or linguistic research, the Bible is in fact one of the principal ways in which God addresses us, to prepare us for our role in fulfilling his ultimate plans. It is another place where this world and God's world overlap.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By David Mitchel on March 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
N. T. Wright is both a brilliant thinker and excellent writer; the latter gift enables him to communicate his deep and broad thinking on Jesus to just about anybody. As the subtitle of the book suggests, here he writes primarily to explain for people who are either non-Christian or perhaps anti-Christian why Christianity makes sense. Wright also writes with an eye toward helping Christians understand more clearly the one whom they follow. Thus, his audience and purposes are pretty much identical to those of C. S. Lewis's modern classic Mere Christianity, making the many comparisons of Wright's book to Lewis's pretty much inevitable.

Others have already ably summarized the contents of this book here, so I will not just recapitulate what has already been said. Instead I will do a bit of compare and contrast with Mere Christianity, and then give a final assessment, in the hope that that will help readers decide whether they would want to read or purchase Simply Christian.

First, while Mere Christianity is more philosophically oriented and more systematically organized (though hardly systematic), Simply Christian is more oriented to history/narrative, particularly the basic historical narrative of the Bible itself. Thus, Wright engages the actual biblical texts more often than Lewis did; that difference is welcome.

Second, Wright's book is more culturally contextualized than Lewis's. Thus, Wright refers to current events and issues far more frequently than Lewis did--which is especially remarkable given the fact that Lewis wrote what became Mere Christianity for a series of BBC broadcasts aired during World War II.
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