67 responses to “Q & A on N. T. Wright

  1. Pingback: theologiaviatorum.com » Blog Archive » Q & A on Tom Wright

  2. Jim, where did you get that picture?! That is pure greatness!

  3. Denny,

    The picture is from here: http://alastair.adversaria.co.uk/?p=371, which also gives a nice little biography of Wright.

    Blessings!

    Jim

  4. “In some ways that sounds like typical preterism. But does this comment about Acts 1:9–11 mean he doesn’t believe everything the Bible says?”

    Is this “question” implying that Preterists do not believe “what the Bible says” or is it just speculation for the sake of conversation?

  5. Virgil,

    That line is mainly referring to the fact that Wright says Acts 1:11 looks like a post-easter innovation (in Jesus and the Victory of God).

    He doesn’t elaborate on the point, but it sure sounds like he makes this comment to marginalize what Acts 1:11 says–which is that Jesus will come again just as he was seen to go.

    Hope this helps,

    JMH

  6. Celucien L. Joseph

    Well done Jim!

  7. Thanks for the reply – I read the Victory of God a long time ago so I do not recall that comment, and I can see why it seems controversial. It would be interesting to spend some time with him and find out exactly what he means by that statement. To me, the “in like manner” return found in Acts 1 does not need to be a point of contention or be excused like Wright is doing as “innovation.” We do not know what the “manner” was exactly, so unless the body of Christ is floating in outer space today still “ascending” one would be hard pressed to say with certainty that the second coming is a physical one just based on Acts 1.

    Also, I believe Wright is making a good point by illustrating the fact that the use of “clouds” throughout the Bible is highly figurative and symbolic of power and glory and may not necessarily refer to just a puff of smoke and rather the coming could be “in power and glory.” Sometimes it really helps to seriously consider such arguments on their merits of context and use in the Old Testament for example.

    Thanks again for the response; I really enjoyed this Q&A.🙂

  8. Hey Jim,

    Thanks for the entry concerning N.T. Wright. I’m currently a student at SWBTS and am about to take the second part of New Testament survey where we will have to deal with Wright’s material, so thanks for the discerning words!

    Zach Bowden

  9. Virgil,

    Thanks for your note and your kind words. I’m pasting Acts 1:9-11 (ESV) below, and I’m going to put in all caps the five references to people seeing Jesus depart:

    “And when he had said these things, as they were LOOKING on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their SIGHT. 10 And while they were GAZING into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand LOOKING into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you SAW him go into heaven.”

    If the resurrected body of Jesus can pass through walls, I suspect that it doesn’t have to be floating in outer space somewhere. And these 5 references to people seeing Jesus resurrected body going into heaven seem to point to the conclusion that people will actually see his resurrected body coming “in the same way” they saw him go.

    This is in the earliest creeds (“whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead”), and I think the meaning of Acts 1:9-11 is pretty clear.

    Blessings!

    JMH

  10. Jim,

    And that is when we get in trouble, when we literalize such passages beyond their immediate cultural/historical context. I think it would be inconsiderate and disrespectful for me to get in a debate with you over eschatology here on your blog, so I will only point out a few things that you may consider if you are willing to do so:

    – Acts 1 shows Jesus ascending into a cloud while Revelation portrays him returning on a horse; this points to symbolic language in both cases, not a literal/physical interpretation of the return. If that is the case, which one is true, the return on a horse, or on the clouds? Jesus did not ascend riding a horse.
    – Zechariah 14 speaks of “the feet of the Lord standing on the Mount of Olives” yet…
    – Micah 1 presents a very vivid and physical coming of the Lord – we know this was fulfilled when the Assyrians destroyed Samaria. The splitting of the mountain and the coming/presence of the Lord is vividly presented, yet not a physical actuality. A physical body present does not necessitate a failure of prophecy to take place.
    – Your quote of Acts 1 implies that the men were still “gazing” into the skies, yet the angels are virtually telling them to move on and stop gazing and looking for a physical body in the skies.
    – Matthew 24 speaks of the “parousia” of Christ, which is the “presence” rather than a physical, bodily return. After all we do worship a spiritual, invisible God who is “present” with mankind in spirit, not in a physical body that has to be touched and seen by us in order to be aware of its presence.

    The bottom line is that N.T. Wright is onto something and it would be beneficial for all of us to reconsider our paradigms and at least take a look at what he is suggesting as far as eschatology goes.

    God bless you, and thanks for the interaction!

  11. “He seems to think the return of Jesus took place in A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed.”

    Thanks for the good post, Just wanted to mention that I have read tons of Wright to know that he does not hold that Jesus returned in A.D. 70. He does believe that a lot of language many evangelicals use from scripture is not second-coming language, particularly Mark 13, but he is not a full-blown preterist.

    vapor

  12. Nick

    Good stuff, Jim. I agree that Wright’s biggest weakness in exegeting Paul is his attempt to fit the contrast between the righteousness based on law and based on faith into his “nationalistic” scheme. It just doesn’t work, nor his attempt to get rid of a faith/works contrast in general. As for Wright being a preterist, I am inclined to agree with the last comment, that at times he does seem to affirm the second coming. Whether one agrees with him or not on Mark 13/Matthew 24/Luke 21, the second coming doesn’t hang on these texts. Though it is troubling to read his comments on Acts 1. I wonder why he says stuff like that? To please the scholarly establishment?

    One question I would love to have answered is whether Wright has changed over the years on the second coming. I was using Wright’s “Colossians/Philemon” commentary the other day (quite good, actually), and he affirms explicitly in several places the second coming. (e.g. p. 88, etc.) Especially with his defense of the resurrection–which I would assume believers are headed for, too, in his eyes!–I can’t imagine that he has repudiated this. But you never know sometimes with Wright.

  13. Jim,
    Critical, but generous as well. This will be helpful to a good many people.

    I would add:
    1) Wright seems to have modified or toned down his views on justification since 2000 and he’s more willing to give it a soteriological dimension as well and not reduce it only to “being in the covenant” as he seems to do in his books “Climax” and “WSPRS”.
    2) My biggest problem with Wright is that he makes justification based on regeneration (see Seifrid’s critique of this), which reduces justification to an analytic verdict.
    3) Wright would say that everything you think you get from imputation, you can also get from “being in the Messiah”.
    4) Wright does believe in the 2nd coming, but he thinks it a legitimate inference that the church made based on the ascension.
    5) In my experience British evangelicals are not opposed to inerrancy per se, but they find other ways to speak of biblical authority and inspiration without using the language of inerrancy (e.g. F.F. Bruce). There is a conservative European tradition (e.g. Bavinck, Kuyper etc) who uphold biblical veracity and authortiy but without going down the Warfield line. Whether that’s the best way to do it or not is another matter!

  14. Man thanks Jim,
    I have long looked for a salient, clear concise definition of Wright’s position. You have given it fairly and graciously. Thank you.
    Steve

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  16. This is very helfpul.

  17. Virgil,

    Great summary of Acts 1, Rev 19, and Zech 14! You ask, “which is it, horse or clouds?” Isn’t it possible to conceive of some sort of combination?

    Of course I agree with you on the function of the imagery in its historical context. One of my buddies did a great dissertation on how the white horse imagery of Revelation probably presents Jesus coming like the king of the one nation the Romans feared–only Parthia had defeated Rome, and the Parthians rode white horses. . . The true Conqueror will come, and I can imagine ways for him to come with horses and clouds and then take his stand on the Mount of Olives.

    As for the word “parousia,” I’m confident that you’re aware it can mean both “presence” (as when Paul refers to the Philippians obeying not only in his “presence” in Phil 2:12) and “coming/advent” (as when Paul is comforted by the “coming” of Titus in 2 Cor 7:6).

    In Matthew 24, the word “parousia” is used in the context of “the end of the age” (24:3), it’s compared to lightning (24:27), and to the coming of the flood in the days of Noah (24:37-39). It doesn’t seem to me that “parousia” in these texts is referring to the invisible “presence” of Jesus with his people through these things.

    Thanks for your interaction, too, and may the fellowship of our faith deepen our knowledge of every good thing in us in Jesus (Phlmn 1:6),

    Jim

  18. Nick,

    We all await the parousia of Wright’s big book on Paul. I trust many things will become more clear, and I trust it’ll be a great read.

    May we hope more, though, for the parousia of Jesus!

    Jim

  19. What NT Wright books should every evangelical pastor read to stay current with what’s going on but not get too bogged down in the debates (if they aren’t happening at his church)?

  20. Matt,

    My advice would be to skip all the short popular ones and read the big three that have appeared so far in the series Christian Origins and the Question of God: The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, and The Resurrection of the Son of God.

    The big book on Paul isn’t out yet, so you have your pick between The Climax of the Covenant, which is more serious exegesis, and the more popular What Saint Paul Really Said.

    You get more application in the short popular books, and if you have one of those it might be better to start with what you have. . .

    That’s my take,

    Jim

  21. Matt Stokes

    This is really helpful stuff. I read the Challenge of Jesus last year and found it very illuminating…it’s good to know what I look for as I peruse NTW’s other works.

  22. Very helpful. Thank you Jim. Has anyone interacted with this paper by Mark Horne on Wright’s view of the atonement (I found the paper on Monergism). Here’s a quote on imputation:

    “Regarding “passive obedience,” this practice of painting Wright as denying imputation is especially weird since Wright spends a whole essay (pp. 220-225) arguing that Romans 8.3 should be translated “… God sent his son… as a sin offering.” Wrights argument is straight out of Leviticus and the context of Romans. He writes:

    The person who sins in this way delights in God’s law (Romans 7.22) yet finds again and again that he fails to keep it. The remedy which the Old Testament offers for this very condition is the sin-offering, and when we meet, in the very passage where Paul is showing how God deals with the condition of 7.14-25, the phrase which elsewhere in the Greek Bible regularly means “as a sin offering,” there can no longer be any suggestion that the context does not support the sacrificial interpetation. Though Paul can view Christ’s death in various ways (in, for instance, Romans 3.24ff, First Corinthians 5.7) he here draws attention to that deat seen in one way in particular, the way relevant for dealing with sin precisely as it is committeed in 7.13-20… The death of Jesus, precisely as the “sin-offering,” is what is required… (Climax of the Covenant, pp. 224, 225).”

    The article link is: http://www.hornes.org/theologia/content/mark_horne/n_t_wright_on_the_atonement.htm

    I am coming from the traditional reformed perspective trying to piece everythign together!

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  24. A friendly note on the point “He seems to think the return of Jesus took place in A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed.” In recent talks, Wright has been careful to stress his absolute belief in the Second Coming as a future event.

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  26. robert

    Good article. Except for thie ridiculous bit:

    Earlier you mentioned Wright applying the faith to contemporary life. Is this safe?

    Some of it’s brilliant. Other parts are questionable. Lately Wright has been emphasizing what he calls the “fresh perspective” on Paul. This draws attention to the fact that Paul’s proclamation of Christianity would have been a direct challenge to the Roman Imperial Cult. This is all very interesting, and it is a healthy reminder that our citizenship is in heaven.

    What becomes troublesome is the way that Wright seems to use this as a club with which to beat up on American foreign policy. This politicization of his message identifies him with the shrill voices of the liberal fringe.

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  29. While I don’t agree 100% with your assessment (probably due to minor differences in theology to begin with), this is a fairly balanced look at Wright. Nice job.

  30. Great post. Congrats on summing up Wright so succinctly.

  31. Oddball

    Only “shrill voices on the liberal fringe” dare to criticize US foreign policy?

    • cwest

      I found this Q&A to be very fair and useful, but I must say that the characterization of Wright’s criticism of empire and US foreign policy as akin to the shrill voice of liberalism is quite off the mark. This narrative of the people of God set against empire stretches from Egypt to Babylon to Rome, and is an authentically Christian concern, even if current US policy is implicated. There are no shortage of conservatives who would have quite similar concerns, if even from a Jeffersonian perspective. For a conservative voice in this family of thought, see Andrew Bacevich and his recollection of Reinhold Niebuhr’s christian realism. I do have concerns with Wright on justification, but this description of Wright as a cousin to political liberals belies a “category” problem in itself. Are we using Christian categories or American categories. It is refreshing to hear from the international Christian community on American politics: they aren’t bound by the peer pressure we feel to faithfully tow the expected party line.

      Dr.CW

  32. I was wondering if maybe a reference or bibliography could be given for each of the questions/points you make, in order see where and how you are reading Wright.

    I don’t mean quotes but book and page references would be helpful.

    Thanks.

    Grace and Peace,

    Kelly

  33. Kelly,

    There’s no way that I have time to document everything that I wrote. It’s mainly based on the three big books (The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God) and the little book What Saint Paul Really Said.

    You might enjoy this essay that I wrote on Wright: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3803/is_200410/ai_n9521950 (sorry, this version has no footnotes–if you want the footnotes, you’ll have to get a hard copy of Trinity Journal).

    Blessings!

    JMH

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  35. I liked the Q & A, but find it a little strange the the criteria for being biblical seems to be the view of women and in ministry and view of american foreign policy. Even publishing something like that seems dangerously close to syncretism to me.

  36. Pastor Astor,

    Thanks for your comment.

    The Bible is clear on women in ministry, and the church held one position on women in ministry until the late 1960’s. The exceptions only proved the rule.

    As for American foreign policy, I am not claiming that one particular position is biblical. I am merely suggesting that drawing an analogy between the United States of America and the Roman Empire is very suspect. So suspect that such suggestions result in certain conclusions being drawn about where people fall on the political spectrum.

    Both the USA and the Roman Empire were powerful, but that’s about where the analogies stop. As Colin Powell once said, the USA has fought in wars all over the world to liberate oppressed people, and the only land we have asked for in return is the ground in which we have buried our dead (paraphrase).

    This was hardly the policy pursued by the Roman Empire.

    Blessings!

    JMH

  37. Casey Hamm

    I just finished reading your engaging summary and shared with Tina how helpful it was in explaining the “fresh perspective.” Just wanted to let you know that I still benefit from your teaching.

  38. Thanks for your reply!
    I understand that a Q & A is informative and easy to read, exactly because it is not debate, but commentary on the basis of a set standard, so my critique might not have been entirely fair. Your clarification makes me feel I still have a point though. I cant see how political stance could be a basis for judgement on someones theology. Especially in this case where you interpret a foreigners stance on your countrys international policy in domestic terms, judging him – as I understand rightly – as a democrat or lefty. This way of categorizing is entirely an American one, and does not translate well to other culteres, not even the Canadian one, as far as I understand. That does not mean that it doesn´t have a global influence – it does, and it creates all kinds of strange problems internationally. A theology that is influenced by internal American politics, by the american dream, by consumerism, by fear of being labeled a liberal in politics och theology, by democrat being an ugly word, by 9/11 trauma, by nationalism, is to some extent syncretistic.

    Theology, as the internet, is a global entity. I would like to ask you North American theologians to remember that.

  39. As for the question of women in ministry, the denomination I belong to (a baptist one) have ordained women from the start in the 1850’s. I don’t really see how it would be a big deal. Changing it would be like making slavery legal or forbid any footwear but sandals.

    Blessings to you too!

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  41. Pastor Astor,

    You seem to indicate that you regard Paul’s instructions regarding women as culturally constrained, as you liken his instructions on women to the kind of shoes people wear and to the institution of slavery.

    I would respond by saying that God did not create slavery in the way he created gender. God’s commandments in the Bible regulate the cultural practice of slavery, but his commandments do not require slavery. Gender, by contrast, is part of the world as God created it, and when Paul regulates the behavior of women in 1 Tim 2:12, he appeals to the created order in 1 Tim 2:13-15. This appeal to the created order makes these instructions trans-cultural.

    You can read a fuller explanation of my position by clicking on the link to the book WOMEN, MINISTRY, and the GOSPEL in the upper right page of my blog under “Books.” This will take you to a paper I presented at the Wheaton Theology Conference which will be published in the book pictured.

    You may also be interested in these links:

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/07/19/rob-bell-has-women-elders/

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/08/02/can-women-be-elders/

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/09/02/may-women-teach-men-at-church/

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/09/06/unity-liberty-and-charity-does-this-mean-women-can-teach-men/

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/12/06/pastors-are-not-elders-an-egalitarian-suggestion/

    https://jimhamilton.wordpress.com/2006/12/06/pastors-are-not-elders-an-egalitarian-suggestion/

    Blessings!

    JMH

  42. Just a clarification, Tom argues for women in ministry because he believes it is ” the Bible’s teaching” to quote your post. He is going against the history of the church on this point precisely because he believes women in ministry is biblical.

  43. Danny,

    Thanks for your note. I believe women in ministry is biblical, too, but I also believe the Bible regulates what women can do in ministry.

    Please see my essay: What Women Can Do in Ministry: Full Participation within Biblical Boundaries. It’s here: http://www.swbts.edu/faculty/jhamilton/documents/4-12-05.pdf

    Blessings!

    JMH

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  45. BTW, the roots of the “New Perspective on Paul” are older than Sanders, Dunn, or, especially Wright. It really began with an article by Krister Stendahl, Dean of Harvard Divinity School from 1960-1980 and later a Luthern Bishop in his native Sweden. Stendahl’s article, “Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” began the so-called New Perspective. It was furthered by W. D. Davies, the Welsh scholar transplanted first to New York’s Union Seminary and then to Duke Divinity School.
    I was amazed when all the hub-bub broke out over Wright and the New Perspective, because Sanders’ work was standard fare at SBTS when I was a student there in the mid-’80s.

  46. Thank you for the invitation to discuss the question further, but I don´t think I will. I´m very pleased with my conviction in the matter, and you don´t sound like you will change yours any time soon. A debate on the subject would propably prove meaningless. I wish you wouldn´t say that the Bible is clear on the issue though, since it is far from it. You might have formed the conviction you have, but that does not mean that those who come to another conclusion are less biblical.

  47. Concerning women in ministry and the “argument from the created order, ” consider this: the Sabbath was also part of the “created order,” set aside for rest as part of the process of creation. Yet, Jesus himself breaks the Sabbath to eat. Picking heads of grain means also separating them from the husk, and possibly grinding the grain into flour, making dough, and baking bread. Any of this, from the picking of the grain on down, was common work forbidden on the Sabbath, forbidden as part of the “created order.” When questioned, Jesus of course replies that “The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” His statement suggests a hermeneutic that trumps arguments from the created order. Also, concerning divorce, Jesus makes it clear that a law or rule can exist for cultural reasons for a time, but is not necessarily the final word on the matter.

    Once the “argument from the created order” is dealt with, then only the statements in Timothy suggest that women are prevented from ordained ministry. The problem here is that by its very nature correspondence is situationally constrained. We only have a portion of what was probably a much longer conversation. Can we, in such a situation, lay claim to clarity? I personally think that the ethical answer to this is “No.” As a result, I think that it is wrong to prevent half the human race from being utilized in ordained ministry.

  48. A second thought: The passage in 1 Timothy you refer to:

    9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

    11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women[a] will be saved[b] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

    This passage discusses a number of things besides women in ministry issues. Do you, for instance, forbid your wife from wearing gold jewelery and braiding her hair? What is her clothing budget? If what Paul says concerning women teaching and exercising authority is normative, is everything else in the passage? Are women saved through child birth? What does that mean?

    Also, is there clarity about anything when it is seldom mentioned?

  49. Brian,

    The issues you raise are all addressed in the essay I wrote, “What Women Can Do in Ministry: Full Participation within Biblical Boundaries.”

    I refer you to the answers to your questions and interaction with your position found in that essay. It is here: http://www.swbts.edu/faculty/jhamilton/documents/4-12-05.pdf.

    Blessings,

    JMH

  50. Jim,

    The link is not taking me to your paper. Is there an updated URL for it?

  51. Jim,

    Thanks for the great Q&A. Very helpful for providing a quick summary for those who wonder what all the fuss is about with the “New Perspective,” generally, and with N.T. Wright, specifically.

    When it comes to women in pastoral ministry, I, too, am a complementarian. But I would like you to clarify this sentence, especially your use of the word “church”:
    The Bible is clear on women in ministry, and the church held one position on women in ministry until the late 1960’s. The exceptions only proved the rule.

    Do you mean the “Church” universal, the “Church” evangelical, the “Church” conservative evangelical, or the Anglican church? My great-grandmother was ordained in the late 1920s as a pastor.

    Thanks again for your work.

  52. Brian,

    It should take you to the paper if you click on the photo of the book: “Women, Ministry, and the Gospel,” in which a revised version of that essay will appear. The cover is the third from the top in the top right corner of the blog under “books”.

    Let me know if this doesn’t work,

    JMH

  53. Jim,

    I found your paper through the SWBTS website. Strange that the link did not work.

    First of all, I would like to commend the breadth of your research, and the degree to which you interact with those with whom you disagree.

    However, your paper does not address, as far as I could find, my fundamental question. I concede that Paul appeals to the “created order” in his argument. My question, though, given the actions of Jesus that I mentioned (and, for that matter, the actions of David that Jesus refers to in this passage, which Jesus says were “unlawful”), is this: do the actions of Jesus suggest a way of thinking that calls into question Paul’s rhetoric?

    Your paper also does not, that I could find, interact with the other things in that passage. What is normative? Is it all normative? Is part of it? By what method do we determine what is binding for the whole church, everywhere, at all times?

    I would contend that we all, to one extent or another, engage the text out of our cultural location. We all, as Robert Schuller suggests, “eat the meat and spit out the bones” based on how we have been conditioned and taught. All we can do is acknowledge our own incapacity before God, and walk by faith, owning the fact that at best we see through a glass darkly. The tendency of those who are against women in ordained ministry is to consider only those parts of the text in Timothy that they want to. It is an explanation for this inconsistency that I find frustratingly lacking.

    I would also suggest one other thing: I am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that you have a basically Calvinist/Reformed view of the sovereignty of God (or are they allowing open theists at DTS and SWBTS these days…). If you do, do you hold God captive to your reading of the text, and suggest that God cannot call a woman into ordained ministry? If a woman is genuinely called by God into ordained ministry, who are we to stand in the way? Or is God bound by how we, in our imperfect and darkened vision, read a text? To go back to my original point about Jesus and the Sabbath, it would seem that God can do what He wants. Moreover, the example of that Jesus gives of David eating show bread suggests also that those who God calls and anoints, he also directs and provides for. Even when it contradicts the letter of the law. Maybe especially when it does so.

  54. One other thing. I followed a link from your blog to your church website. Is BCR a new church plant? If so, my prayers are with you. I know that trying to do that, teach, and write has got to be tough.

    All disputation aside, I always try to remember that, one way or another, we are all trying to pull the cart in the same direction.

    Brian

  55. Peter Head

    Hi Jim,
    “He says that the statements in Acts 1:9–11 about Jesus coming just as they saw him go look like a “post-Easter innovation.””
    What is the big deal? Acts 1.9-11 is in fact “post-Easter”!
    So is it innovative? Surely that can be discussed exegetically (does this language appear pre-Easter?), without it encoding theological waywardness.

  56. Peter,

    Thanks for your note. You prompted me to go back and look again at that passage in JESUS AND THE VICTORY OF GOD (p. 635).

    I think the way Wright worded this led me conclude that he was dismissing Acts 1:11, but looking back at it now I see that he is mainly arguing that what is normally thought of as the second coming was not taught by Jesus himself.

    You are correct that this can be discussed on exegetical grounds, and thanks for drawing this to my attention. I’ll revise what I have posted.

    On exegetical grounds, I find Wright’s exegesis unconvincing at this point. I am inclined to see more continuity between what Jesus meant by the king’s return in the parable of the talents (which is what Wright is dealing with when this comment is made) and Luke’s depiction of what the two men in white say in Acts 1:11.

    It seems more plausible to me that Luke as well would intend this continuity between his first and second volumes, even if he had to rethink some things as he wrote up his Gospel (along the lines of what John says in John 2:17-22).

    Thanks for your comment,

    Jim

  57. robert

    “As for American foreign policy, I am not claiming that one particular position is biblical. I am merely suggesting that drawing an analogy between the United States of America and the Roman Empire is very suspect. So suspect that such suggestions result in certain conclusions being drawn about where people fall on the political spectrum.”

    Wright’s drawing attention to Christianity’s challenge to the Roman Imperial Cult is what should most concern us. The analogy is less between America and Rome than between the Roman Imperial Cult and a Christianity that plays chaplain to America’s myths about itself:

    “Both the USA and the Roman Empire were powerful, but that’s about where the analogies stop. As Colin Powell once said, the USA has fought in wars all over the world to liberate oppressed people, and the only land we have asked for in return is the ground in which we have buried our dead (paraphrase). This was hardly the policy pursued by the Roman Empire.”

  58. Thanks for this summary.

  59. Peter Head

    Thanks Jim,

    If you check NTPG, 461ff NTW is very clear that he affirms that ‘the expectation of the return of Jesus’ is an important part of NT-based Christian hope.

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  61. I am a new jack, novice, mere babe to N.T. Wright and his work, but for me he does provide a fresh approach for a student who wants a clear perspective on an OPINION concerning the New Testament text. I enjoy seeing different views but cannot put too much credence on these views as they are only personal opinions. It is none the less exciting to see the body of christ (all whoh love the lord) come together to fellowship on the word of the lord. I currently attend New York Theological Seminary and in our Second Testament Class we are reading Luke Timothy Johnson’s Writings of the New Testament. I do not like the book as I do not know where he is coming from in the text nor do I know where he is going. All I know is I want to learn something that I do not see myself in the New Testament Text.

  62. I just discovered your website, and I must say, I like it very much. Possibly, because, to my mind, there are some similarities to my style. Great thanks! Best wishes.

    http://spartan.cis.temple.edu/synergy/_knobas/0000031e.htm

  63. Angela

    Jim, I know this is a bit late, but I stumbled onto your article while searching for info on Wright’s potential preterist leanings. I’m very glad I found your article! Thank you for a very concise and salient treatment of Wright’s positions. What I appreciate most is that you encourage us to take everything we hear or read back to the Bible … the Bible should most assuredly be the plumb line for all those who claim to be a child of God by grace by faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah.

    “We can learn much from reading him, but we must obey Paul by testing everything and holding onto the good (1 Thess 5:21). As long as people continue to read their Bibles and compare what Wright is saying to the Bible, he can’t do too much damage. If we read him instead of the Bible, or if we allow his interpretations to dictate our reading of the Bible, we’ll get into trouble. But Wright himself doesn’t want us to read him that way.”

    I couldn’t agree more! I would only add that we need to disallow our own personal interpretations and inclinations that would attempt to come against the Word of God.

    It’s a grievous thing to read that you were hounded a bit in the comments by those who have a desire to turn the Bible into a political hammer (anti-Americanism, and I’m in now way saying America is perfect!) or uphold women in ministry (beyond what is clearly acceptable from Scripture). As a Christian woman who appreciates God’s order of things, and joyfully exercises my gifting within those God-given parameters, I was disheartened to read ultimately ego-driven comments such as those of ‘Pastor Astor’:

    “Thank you for the invitation to discuss the question further, but I don´t think I will. I´m very pleased with my conviction in the matter, and you don´t sound like you will change yours any time soon. A debate on the subject would propably prove meaningless.”

    This illustrates precisely the issue to which you were so kindly trying to respond. You attempt (and succeed) to stand on Biblical teaching and Biblical order ordained by God Himself (if we are indeed to agree that the Bible is divinely inspired … 2 Tim 3:16-17). We all have our ‘druthers’, and surely we’d all like to ‘be pleased,’ but to describe ourselves as true worshipers of God (those who God seeks, who worship in spirit and truth … John 4), we must set aside our ego-driven ‘druthers’ and self-indulgent ‘pleasures’ when they directly conflict with what God has prescribed through His Word. Women have served, can serve, and will serve God admirably when order is maintained. I would in no way consider myself a feminist, but neither would I consider myself subjugated to willful mistreatment. Order is ordained by God (Ephesians), and I know women tend to bristle at the mere mention of the word ‘submission.’ What is important to keep in mind is that there are even more edicts for men!

    All this to say, again, thank you for compiling such a succinct Q&A article. It is greatly appreciated. I just wish you hadn’t had to suffer the slings and arrows of those who (either in ignorance/veiled to the truth or in outright rebellion to it) prefer to cling to their own pet causes, rather than embracing the whole of Biblical Truth.

    Isn’t this just the way, though? A prophet (forth-teller in this instance) is seldom well-received! As Hebrews 4:12 describes, “Indeed, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” That is a process many would rather not endure … but how much they miss by avoiding it!

    May we all, in the laying aside of our own selfish inclinations (and we all have them!), remain open to the penetrating, restorative and transforming work of God in our hearts and minds.

    Many blessings,
    Angela

  64. Pingback: Assessing The New Perspective On Paul: Does N.T. Wright Get The Gospel Right? | Christian Internet Search Engine & Web Site Directory

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