Monday, May 11, 2009

N. T. (Tom) Wright

No writer in modern history has probably challenged me more in my personal theology than N.T. (Tom) Wright, the good Bishop of Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, England. I'm just finishing up his small, but powerful book "What Saint Paul Really Said". The good Bishop simply floors me with his profound thinking. Apparently, I'm not the only one who is impressed with his writings. He is influencing a large number of people in the evangelical world. His debates and partnering in books with Dominic Crossan, a well know Jesus Seminar scholar, are marvelous.

But what has really impacted me the most are his views on Justification. I hope to pick up his book on Justification soon. For years now, I have questioned a great deal of the reformation theology as more reactionary to the abuses of the Catholic Church rather than actual explanations of what the Bible teaches. I have come to believe that the reformation was more about defending its proof texts for Sola Scriptura rather than extracting what the New Testament authors where actually teaching the early churches. It always seemed to me they ignored the historical context of the passages taught.

Tom Wright addresses this problem in many of his books. I won't go into detail, as, if you are interested, I encourage you to do the research. It's all out there. There is a great interview by Intervarsity on his book, Justification that I recomment for starters. Check it out. Tom's books and papers aren't for the written for the beginner. I find his books to be more written for the scholar, which, in a way, is a shame as what he teaches needs to be put in everyday street vernacular so that the average person can relate to it and understand. Some of his books such as his New Testament Guides For Everyone series are an exception. This series of books are for the average reader and easy to understand.

Those who know me well, know that I love history and am greatly influenced by liturgical thought and have a great appreciation for the Catholic underpinnings of our faith. But Tom Wright is one of the reasons I've not crossed the Tiber or have totally embraced reformation thinking. He and others like him make too much sense for me to ignore God's ultimate call to embrace the entire church at the table of the Lord. Christ teaches us inclusion, not exclusion.
Wright's works really make that clear and for that reason, has made a great impact upon me.

Check him out. Go to his webpage and view more of his works. I guarantee you will be challenged too.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting and following Bible Fountain. Thanks also for leaving a note on the Respect for Law post or I wouldn't have found you again! For some reason the link to your site didn't register when you pressed "follow." Some do and some don't.

    I like your statement summing up your church's work: "It's the body in action." Amen.

    I'm reading N.T. Wright now. He is a great writer and theologian.

    I look forward to dialoging with you via the internet.