In N.T. Wright’s third section to his book Simply Christian, he deals with the following themes about the Christian life: worship, prayer, Bible, interpretation, believing/belonging, and new creation/starting now. It is a bit of a short manual on Christian living today. I wonder what you thought of this section in his book.
Worship: Rev 4–5 is briefly examined. He deals Scripure reading (in public) and celebrating God through breaking bread.
Prayer: he brings back Option Three (see yesterday’s post) and says prayer only makes good sense for Option Three (heaven and earth overlapping). A nice appeal to use set prayers, including the use of prayer books, the Jesus Prayer (which he cites in a form I’ve not seen with “Son of the Living God”), and then Shema.
Bible: reminds of his book The Final Word. The word “inspired” has to do with Option Three. Squabbling over which word best describes Scripture is like parents arguing about which parent loves the children the most. (Not a good analogy, but an evocatively useful one.)
Story and task: interpretation is covered here. Authority has to do with living out the story of the Bible. A long discussion on literal vs. metaphorical.
Believing and belonging: very good chapter on the church. Very good. I like this on believing and belonging: “You can hide in the shadows at the back of the church for a while, but sooner or later you have to decide whether this is for you or not” (203). Appropriate this week when we are blogging about emerging evangelism. The Church is about mission. He uses the image of waking up and deals with baptism, too.
New Creation/Starting Now: again, not about going to heaven but about bringing heaven to earth now. This is Tom’s clearest statement I’ve seen him make about the Second Coming (219). He sees two terms: renunciation and rediscovery. And then he looks at justice, relationships and beauty.
This is a good book, not a great one. It is not on par with Mere Christianity (for me at least); there are two competing themes in this book, which Tom ties together at times: the four echoes of a voice and the overlap of heaven and earth.