Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simply Good News

I have just read "Simply Good News:Why the Gospel is New and What makes it Good" by NT Wright. It is an interesting book. The title includes the word simple. He is effective at communicating simply, but he tackles some quite complex ideas. Any book that refers to Foucault and Derrida is not for the faint hearted.

Wright says that the popular understanding of the gospel that “Jesus died for me so that I can go to heaven when I die” is a bit of a distortion. He explains clearly that the good news is that Jesus died and rose again, so his kingdom has come. This is good, but I find his vision of the kingdom is a bit weak.

Tom Wright makes five main propositions about the kingdom.

  1. The Lordship of the risen Jesus, who had launched his new creation in the middle of the present old one, means that real and lasting change is possible at personal, social, cultural, national and global levels. It has happened, and it can happen again.

  2. Real and lasting change is costly. The principalities and powers that have run the world in their destructive fashion for so long won’t release their deadly grip without a struggle.

  3. Therefore, real and lasting change in everything from personal to global life is always sporadic. It is never smooth, linear progress.

  4. There is an equal and opposite danger that Christian, recognising the danger of a triumphalist progress of the gospel, will retreat once more into gloom and negativity. True, real and lasting change in the present time will not bring God’s kingdom all by itself, but such real and lasting change genuinely anticipates God’s final kingdom points towards it, and gives a foretaste of that ultimate reality.

  5. It is vital that those who believe the good news work tirelessly for real and lasting change in individual lives, the church and the wider world.

The good news is true. Something has happened as a result of which the world is a different place. We can be part of it. If we are following Jesus, praying for his spirit to guide and empower us, we are already part of it.
Wright only expects a real manifestation of the Kingdom has to wait until Jesus appears at the end of history.

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