|Publication Date: 21 Aug 2013|
|Publisher: SPCK Publishing|
|Page Count: 256|
|Author: Tom Wright|
|ISBN-13: 9780281069859, 9780281069866|
Surprised by Scripture
· Does belief in heaven mean there’s no need to worry about climate change?
· Should Christians avoid getting involved in worldly concerns like politics?
Acclaimed byNewsweekas ‘the world’s leading New Testament scholar’, Tom Wright conveys his knowledge in terms that excite and challenge Christians of all persuasions, allowing them to see the Bible in a fresh and surprising light. In this sparkling collection of popular essays, sermons and talks, Wright provides a series of case studies that show how the Bible can be applied to some of the most pressing issues facing Christians today.
“My intention is to pay the fullest possible attention to scripture in both its details and its broad sweep, and to allow the biblical writers to set the agenda rather than forcing on them a scheme of thought that does not do them justice. This task is made harder still by the traditions of thought, prayer, spirituality, and ethics in various parts of the church. My aim is always to allow scripture to enter into dialogue with traditions, including those traditions that think of themselves as biblical, with scripture”.
This explains in Wright’s own words the background to this collection of sermons and lectures. He goes on, in this introduction to a seminar delivered at Windsor Castle on eschatology and ecology, to declare that it is his belief that both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in its various branches have been sub-biblical in their treatment of these two areas and by implication other areas where distinctive biblically insight can be given.
So we are in familiar Wright territory as he seeks to call us towards a more profound biblical base to our trust in the Christian Hope and its relationship to the future of life on this planet. Other chapters consider the relationship of religion and science, politics, the ordination of women and the future of the human being.
I confess I was not ready to be impressed. I have never been drawn to selections of previously given material. It smacks of publisher opportunism especially using a title which is a lazy parallel to a previous book i.e. Surprised by Hope; with its echoes of C.S. Lewis. Does Wright have aspirations to emulate one of his heroes? I’d wish him to move into Christian apologetics first.
But here is an opportunity to appraise Wright’s own criteria for the proper use of scripture. If you know his material it is all rather familiar. Yet it might kindle the interest of anyone who has not read much of his recent work and wonders why he can be a divisive thinker especially among the Evangelical tribes. For what could be more threatening to firmly held convictions than letting the scriptures speak for themselves?