11.7.08

WISDOM FROM TOM WRIGHT ON HOW WE DIVIDE THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

The following words from Tom Wright are very helpful because there does seem to be a divide going on in our churches about what we should proclaim and what we should do.

...the divide between different kinds of reading of the Gospels, includes a divide between those who see Jesus as the great moral example, the great teacher, the great friend of little children, the great confronter of the self-righteous etc., and then on the other hand, those who Jesus as simply coming in order to die for our sins. And in the former case, you get Jesus as a kind of a social prophet (“let’s do it differently”), and then you get n the other hand Jesus as the one who embodies a system of salvation. Now both of those represent significant belittlings of what the Gospels are actually trying to give us. So that contemporary Christianity, and this is really a post Enlightenment phenomenon and we have to unmask it as such; has divided down the lines of “is this about a supernatural salvation somehow accomplished by Jesus’ death”, or “is this about a social agenda which we can now reconstruct in our work for social betterment at the present”. And the Gospel writers I think will be tearing their hair out and saying For goodness’ sake, it’s both; but it’s both because it’s something much bigger than all of that. It’s about the one moment when the living God actually came and did this kingdom thing, which involved necessarily his own embodied dying and rising so that we’ve got to have the whole package and not some shrunken thin version of it.

Tom Wright is in conversation here in a radio interview, for the entire transcript click here.

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