Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Surprised by Hope 14

(Say the Jesus Creed morning and evening during Lent.)
We now come to the end of Tom Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope. Today I want only to summarize very briefly the last two chps because we have already come to terms with the central ideas.
Tom sketches the significance of resurrection and mission in each of the Gospels and Paul (he doesn’t do Peter!).
The last chp addresses Easter and creation redeemed and mission and spirituality. There are many interesting and suggestive thoughts here, including thoughts about time and space. There are also thoughts about new birth and baptism, eucharist, prayer, Scripture, holiness, and love.
What are your thoughts about this book?

Comments read comments(19)
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Ben Wheaton

posted February 22, 2008 at 8:13 am

Why do you think he doesn’t do Peter?

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John Scott

posted February 22, 2008 at 8:42 am

I loved this book — it’s a great primer for Wright’s ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God’.

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Nicholas P. Mitchell

posted February 22, 2008 at 10:20 am

I love the book. My girlfriend is on my case about the Peter passage though….You know the whole thing about destroying the world. So Tom let me down a smidge.

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Nicholas P. Mitchell

posted February 22, 2008 at 10:23 am

I especially love how Tom has given me a more biblical view of the gospel. However, I would emphasize the whole forgiveness of sins thing as much as the resurrection because of 1 Corinthians 15. The whole matters of first importance topic.

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John Mark Inman

posted February 22, 2008 at 11:29 am

Huge Wright fan, but does he have to say post-enlightenment dualism(or some equivalent) on every page.
The chapter on hell, heaven, and purgatory was my fav.

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William Cheriegate

posted February 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

One of his very best books, a thrill to read and now another thrill as I read sections of it to my wife. Things just got a lot more “physical” for me, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to re-read Paul in this light. Thank you bishop, you’re the best there is and a continuing source of deep inspiration.

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Chris Cottingham

posted February 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Is there a “best place” to start with reading N.T. Wright’s stuff?

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posted February 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Chris, (comment 6), you might start with Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. It give an overview of many of Wright’s thoughts. But I must say that Surprised by Hope would be pretty good as well.
I really like this book also. It has much good about it and provides a holistic view of life that is missing from so much of Modern Christian thinking.
On Peter, this issue is intriguing to me too. The verses related to the earth being destroyed by fire may be allegorical in the sense of the old earth will be gone and replaced by the new creation. Whether it is actual fire or not could be debated but the old earth passing away and being replace with the new is not necessarily inconsistent.

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Bob Postiff

posted February 22, 2008 at 3:00 pm

The earth being burned with fire (2Pet3:19) and Christ’s decent into hell (1Pet3:19) doesn’t fit into Wright’s proposed theology in this book. It would be interesting how he interprets 1st and 2nd Peter in his upcoming Everyone commentaries.

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Ted Olsen

posted February 22, 2008 at 3:33 pm

From Wright’s earlier book, The Millennium Myth (indexed at Google Books):
The problem is that the New Testament simply doesn’t support this literalistic use of apocalyptic language. For all we know, there may have been some Christians in the early church who really did believe that the space-time universe was about to come to a complete halt, to be utterly destroyed. Perhaps whoever wrote 2 Peter 3.10 (“the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed”) expected it to be taken literally, but the last word of that quotation strongly suggests otherwise. It was only later that various scribes altered the phrase to “will be burnt up”, which you still find in some Bibles. The point being made was most likely that a great about-turn would take place within world history, through which the secrets of all hearts would be disclosed, and God would be all in all. (p. 35)

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Stephen Mook

posted February 22, 2008 at 4:04 pm

I think you would agree that Wright is one of the most important/influential theologians of this generation how do you think this book ranks to other significant works?

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Michael Mercer

posted February 22, 2008 at 5:32 pm

The first book on eschatology that opened my eyes to new vistas of understanding, especially with regard to the new heavens and the new earth, was Anthony Hoekema’s The Bible and the Future. For a more academic, exegetical study of things to come, I highly recommend it.
Wright’s book further confirms and establishes the fundamental teachings unearthed by Hoekema for me. It is so utterly refreshing to read a book about eschatology that links the present and future so engagingly.
I have come to think of everything I do now as “planting seeds that will bloom in the new creation.” If this is true, imagine how wonderful that future world will be. If every piece Bach wrote soli deo gloria was but a seed that will be revealed in full bloom in the world to come, how beautiful will that music be!
Our labor is not in vain in the Lord!

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Peter Herzog

posted February 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

Notes from the NET bible in regards to 2 Peter 3:
34tc One of the most difficult textual problems in the NT is found in v. 10. The reading e??e??seta? (Jeureqhsetai), which enjoys by far the best support (? B K P 0156vid 323 1241 1739txt pc) is nevertheless so difficult a reading that many scholars regard it as nonsensical. (NA27 lists five conjectures by scholars, from Hort to Mayor, in this text.) As R. Bauckham has pointed out, solutions to the problem are of three sorts: (1) conjectural emendation (which normally speaks more of the ingenuity of the scholar who makes the proposal than of the truth of the conjecture, e.g., changing one letter in the previous word, ???a [erga] becomes ???a [arga] with the meaning, ?the earth and the things in it will be found useless?); (2) adoption of one of several variant readings (all of which, however, are easier than this one and simply cannot explain how this reading arose, e.g., the reading of ?72 which adds ????e?a [luomena] to the verb ? a reading suggested no doubt by the threefold occurrence of this verb in the surrounding verses: ?the earth and its works will be found dissolved?; or the simplest variant, the reading of the Sahidic mss, ??? [ouc] preceding ???e??seta? ? ?will not be found?); or (3) interpretive gymnastics which regards the text as settled but has to do some manipulation to its normal meaning. Bauckham puts forth an excellent case that the third option is to be preferred and that the meaning of the term is virtually the equivalent of ?will be disclosed,? ?will be manifested.? (That this meaning is not readily apparent may in fact have been the reason for so many variants and conjectures.) Thus, the force of the clause is that ?the earth and the works [done by men] in it will be stripped bare [before God].? In addition, the unusualness of the expression is certainly in keeping with the author?s style throughout this little book. Hence, what looks to be suspect because of its abnormalities, upon closer inspection is actually in keeping with the author?s stylistic idiosyncrasies. The meaning of the text then is that all but the earth and men?s works will be destroyed. Everything will be removed so that humanity will stand naked before God. Textually, then, on both external and internal grounds, e??e??seta? commends itself as the preferred reading.

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Raffi Shahinian

posted February 23, 2008 at 11:23 am

With fear and trembling, the following is the opening paragraph of my post on Chapter 14, the latest in my own review series on the book:
“With all due respect to Scot McKnight, and with utter appreciation to his dedicated and insightful review series on the book over at Jesus Creed, I find myself forced to vigorously disagree with the premise of his introduction to his last post on the series, where he chooses to summarize these last chapters of the book with the barest of details ‘because we have already come to terms with the central ideas.’ Well, yes and no. Wright has, up till now, brought us to terms with the central foundational ideas, but it is in these last few chapters, I believe, where the whole purpose for those ideas is found. Without taking seriously the natural consequences of the solidified vision of the historical Christian faith, and the hope generated by it, wouldn’t this all be an exercise in futility? If we are at least intrigued by the picture Wright has painted so far, wouldn’t we naturally want to see where this is all going? Specifically, having seen how and why we must all individually seek to implement Jesus’ achievement and resurrection and thereby anticipate the renewal of all things, are we not at least curious to see Wright’s vision of what that will look like for the church as one body? Like I said, I humbly disagree with Scot in answering ‘yes’ to these questions. So here’s a detailed account of Chapter 14, the first of a 2-chapter conclusion to this remarkable work, where Wright discusses what he believes to be the entire NT’s unified voice on the subject.”
…for anyone who might agree.
Grace and Peace,
Raffi Shahinian
Parables of a Prodigal World

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Ted M. Gossard

posted February 27, 2008 at 5:36 am

I loved what I saw of it at the bookstore the other day, and I need to get my copy. A tight budget at our place, or I’d have that and a good number more of other books.
It is good, because he gives us a flavor or tone of Scripture and really of substance, that we’re not used to in our faith thinking and speaking. But we need to get used to that.
I do want to keep reading Scripture over and over with such writing, because I’m not interested in following Tom Wright or anyone else. But I find he is helpful in helping us see in it, what we often miss. But we have to keep going back to Scripture itself.
And knowing of him (I did shake his hand once!) I know he’d have a good, ready answer to any question- straightforward, honest, and not evasive. But for him to give the answer he would want to give would involve quite alot of unpacking, and that’s why I need to take the time to read through all of his big volumes.

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posted February 27, 2008 at 10:05 am

In Defense of the Faith Apologetic Ministry » Blog Archive » McKnight Reviews N.T. Wright’s Latest Book

[…] Surprised by Hope 14 […]

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Tom Wright

posted March 1, 2008 at 8:54 am

Just to say a big Thank you to Scot for giving the book such splendid highlighting and to all who have contributed to a remarkable discussion so soon after its publication. I don’t normally (make that EVER) contribute to blogsites, and sadly won’t be able to enter into any further correspondence just now — the day job is simply too demanding — but I think it would be discourteous of me not to acknowledge with deep gratitude all the things that have been said.
As I said to someone the other day at the Pastors’ Conference, I find myself often in the position Karl Barth described a propos his Romans commentary: trying to find the way for myself, suddenly a lot of other people seem to be wanting to know as well. He used the image of when, as a boy, he was climbing up the dark staircase in the church tower in the dark and, thinking he’d found a hand-rail, leant his weight on it only to discover it was the bell-rope.
As for Peter… well, sorry. The book wasn’t intended to be exhaustive. I didn’t actually expect the book to be nearly that long. But I did discuss the relevant passages in RSG, of course.
Warm greetings to one and all and renewed gratitude to Scot (whom I just missed at the pastors’ conference, sadly)
Tom Wright

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Raffi Shahinian

posted March 1, 2008 at 2:51 pm

For lack of anything more poignant to say…How cool was that?! In my next life, I wanna be Scot McKnight (just kidding, Mr. Wright). I’m not quite sure what I would do if Wright were to post a comment on my series on the book; probably just never post anything ever again, like an enamored schoolgirl who got to shake her favorite rock star’s hand and vows never to wash it again.
Green with envy,
Raffi Shahinian
Parables of a Prodigal World

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Michael Awbrey

posted March 1, 2008 at 11:26 pm

A very fitting conclusion to your review series. I found your reviews very thoughtful, and am eager to read the book for myself in the coming weeks.

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