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Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church Hardcover – February 5, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
In a world where the radio orthodoxy of Christianity espouses a gospel of fire insurance, Wright correctly and articulates a gospel and hope for so much more than disembodied bliss. "God's Kingdom in the preaching of Jesus refers not to postmortem destiny, not to our escape from this world into another one, but to God's sovereign rule coming on earth as it is in heaven".
Our hope according to Wright is not "going to heaven when you die" but rather in life after life after death. We hope not for an escape from this earth, but to the glorious day when God will make all things new.
Readers of this book may find the lack of eschatological certainty within the book frustrating. In a Christian sub-culture where end-times charts and elaborate explanations of the book of Revelation are the norm, Wright is careful to show that Christian eschatology is not about a certitude of specific events yet to come, but rather a hope for a renewed earth. Eschatology must be viewed as sign posts guiding our way through a fog rather than a detailed map.
Wright's comments in chapter 12 on the meaning of salvation are worth the price of the book, and his restatement of the doctrine of hell in chapter 11 is worth twice the price of the book. How we view the gospel, and the death and resurrection of Jesus greatly determines how our definition and the outworking of salvation.
In short, this is N.T. Wright at his best. A foremost expert on the resurrection of Jesus and the implications of Christ's defeat of death on eschatology and future hope, Wright has given us a clear, readable, and deeply Biblical picture of Christian hope.
Chapter 1 sets the scene by describing the broader world's confusion about hope, then describes three popular views about the afterlife in the world: annihilation, reincarnation, and ghosts and the possibility of spiritualistic contact with the dead (new age stuff).
Chapter 2 describes the reigning confusion about hope in the church, which has oscillated between seeing death as a vile enemy or a welcome friend. Wright blames Platonism's influence on the Christian faith for much of the confusion and reason why so many value the soul over the body. He is concerned that not many Christians understand biblical hope, and rarely think about it, much less live in light of it. The biblical vision of "heaven" is not souls flying off to a spiritual domain but resurrected bodies reigning with Christ on the new heavens and new earth. He then lays out the effects of the confusion in our hymns (the ultimate vision is not us going home up there but Christ coming here), our celebration of the Christian year (Easter should be celebrated more than Christmas), and funerals. The wider implications of our confusion about the future have to do with how we live here and now, and the way we look at earth and our actions here. If one thinks God is going to destroy this universe, why care about it now?Read more ›
Nearly a decade ago, he became a sensation among American journalists for touring the country with Marcus Borg, the two of them cast as a pair of dueling Bible scholars and co-authors of a still very popular book, "The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions." What drew headlines coast to coast was that, in each city along their tour, the crowds were larger than anyone envisioned. I recall reporting on this myself, double checking to make sure the claims were true -- that thousands of people, rather than hundreds, were hungry to hear truly gifted scholars debate details of Jesus' life and ministry.
That year, Borg played the provocateur, skeptical about many traditional claims concerning Jesus. However, since that time, Borg's own path has veered right into what he calls "The Heart of Christianity" and his recent books are read by thousands of regular churchgoers across the U.S.
That year, Tom Wright played what I can best describe as the C.S. Lewis role. In many of Tom's books, he even writes in Lewis' nuts-and-bolts voice and measured cadence. Many Americans may have forgotten the role Lewis played as a Christian titan in the popular media of his era. In his heyday, before "The Chronicles of Narnia" eclipsed everything else he wrote, Lewis was famous as "a Christian apologist," meaning that he'd go anywhere and stand toe to toe with anyone to defend his orthodox view of the faith.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thought provoking. Wright is truly an original thinker and very readablePublished 1 month ago by Gregory B. Wood
The book was very enlightening and challenging. It is one every scholar should read.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
What I was surprised by was the dismantling of many false narratives I had held that were more based on tradition than on scripture. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chris Jordan
This book took me a while. I had to think on it between sessions. Its principles, though, are part of a movement worth joining. Resurrection as a concept finally understood. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alex Parrish
Excellent book. You will never regret purchasing this one.Published 2 months ago by Theodore V. Krueger