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Simply Good News: Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It Good Hardcover – January 6, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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“For those who are new to Wright, Simply Good News will offer a helpful introduction to and summary of . . . the work of an undoubtedly brilliant artist.” (Christianity Today)
“Simply Good News is a potent reminder that the gospel is an announcement of a past event, and this ensures the future and transforms the present. In a world of competing allegiances and rivals for cultural dominance, Wright steps in to say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’” (Gospel Coalition)
“Takes aim at pious church-going Christians who cling to a naive but persistent belief--that Jesus’ teaching is all about getting your caboose into Heaven. . . . Wright is a giant among conservative Christian thinkers, often compared to C.S. Lewis in stature and influence.” (The News & Observer)
“Wright wipes off the dust of history and culture and finds that the good news of Jesus is more exciting, dynamic, and inspirational than what we have settled for. . . . Excellent scholarship expressed clearly and simply . . . a short gem.” (Above the Haze)
“Explains the nature of good news, the essence of what that good news is and is not, and what it means for the way we live now, think about God, and pray . . . readable and insightful, characterized by Wright’s familiar mixture of rich scholarship, vivid illustration, and contemporary application.” (Christianity Today)
“Clarifies what exactly the good news is, and why such an undertaking even matters . . . well-articulated.” (Seedbed)
“Thoughtful and accessible, offering concrete Biblical wisdom as to how we can live as good news people.” (Unfundamentalist Christians)
Praise for N. T. Wright: “Tom Wright is, as always, brilliant at distilling immense scholarship into vivid, clear and accessible form.” (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury)
“Wright’s direct style, reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ writings, invites readers in but allows for internal argument.” (Booklist (starred review))
“When today’s leading New Testament theologian has something new to say about anything, readers pay attention.” (Kimberly Mauck, The Christian Chronicle)
From the Back Cover
Discover the Real Story Jesus Came to Announce
Many people think the message of the gospel is that if we believe in Jesus we will be saved from hell and be transported to heaven after we die. But what if that is not what the Bible actually teaches? What if the good news Jesus came to announce is much bigger, much better, and includes much more than merely what happens after we die? Revered bestselling scholar N. T. Wright reveals what the gospel really is and how it can transform our todays just as much as our tomorrows.
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Implicit in his distinction between news and advice, Wright wants Christians to rethink how they see (and explain) the gospel. For Wright, reducing the gospel to advice (such as "five steps to salvation") hardly does justice to the robust nature of the news about Jesus's life, death, resurrection and exaltation and boarders on misrepresenting the biblical emphasis. "For something to qualify as news," Wright says, "there has to be (1) an announcement of an event that has happened; (2) a larger context, a backstory, within which this makes sense; (3) a sudden unveiling of the new future that lies ahead; and (4) a transformation of the present moment, sitting between the event that has happened and the future event that therefore will happen." Echoing 1 Corinthians 15, Wright sums up the major touchstones of the gospel quite nicely: "The announcement of what has happened - Jesus's death and resurrection as the fulfillment of the ancient biblical promises and divine purposes - is matched by the assurance of what will happen in the future, when God is `all in all,' transforming the whole of creation and raising his people into new, transformed bodily life . . ." and "[b]ecause Jesus died and was raised, those who belong to him have died and been raised, and they must live accordingly. Because God is going to remake the whole world and raise his people from the dead, they must live in the present in accordance with that ultimate promised destiny." The rest of the book powerfully elaborates on the implications of embracing the gospel as good news in both proclamation and practice.
I found Wright's book both timely and refreshing. He offers an apt word to those evangelicals who conflate the gospel message into barely comprehensible sound bytes divorced from a much larger biblical and historical context. Following a similar trajectory to two other outstanding books with parallel concerns, Darrell Bock's Recovering the Real Lost Gospel and Scot McKnight's The King Jesus Gospel, Wright's Simply Good News is simply excellent. Highly recommended!
The reason, is that we see the gospel as a sweeping proclamation of redemptive history. Receiving Christ may indeed be an appropriate response but "How To Receive Christ" is not the gospel. The God stepping into our history and culminating it for His glory is.
Like most Christian books, it probably would have been more effective if edited back to a pamphlet.
This book summarizes many of the points found in Wright's writing elsewhere, and will be familiar ground for those who have read his other books. But if you are unfamiliar with Wright, this is a great starting place, especially since the book covers a critical issue.