Friday, July 01, 2011

Surprised By Hope 6

Wright continues to lay out this New Testament hope for the future.  For some this may be elementary, for others boring.  I find it refreshing to affirm (and clarify) concepts that we hear in church circles but never seem to get around to discussing.  It helps me for when I get questions, as a pastor, from folks about such matters.

Here are a couple of key points from chapters 8-10:  (As with any of the points I have summarized in this post or others, I recommend reading the book for the full and best explication of Wright's argument.)

Chapter 8 deals with Jesus' return.  The chapter (and New Testament thought, Wright would argue) is summed up in the following:

"There will come a time, which might indeed come at any time, when, in the great renewal of the world that Easter itself foreshadowed, Jesus himself will be personally present and will be the agent and model of the transformation that will happen to the world and also to believers." p. 136

Chapter 9 deals with judgment.  Now in our culture this has become a taboo word.  We don't like the thought of being judged.  Yet, Wright reminds us that in the Bible, particularly the Psalms, God's judgment is a good thing -- something humanity and creation long for -- indeed a reason to celebrate BECAUSE God is the good and perfect judge, and that perfect judgment will put all things back to rights.

So, as Wright states:  "In a world of systematic injustice, bullying, violence, arrogance, and oppression, the thought that there might come a day when the wicked are firmly put in their place and the poor and the weak are given their due is the best news there can be." p.137

Chapter 10 begins dealing with the confusion of Christians and non-Christians alike about what Christians believe about the fate of the dead.    Essentially Wright says that resurrection is indeed bodily, and will take place on earth when Jesus is bodily present once again, and NOT immediately when we die.  Resurrection, he writes, is a way of talking about a new bodily life after whatever state of existence one might enter immediately upon death.  (Please note, Wright is not arguing for the existence of purgatory.)

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