N. T. Wright on the Resurrection
Easter is more than one Sunday celebration a year.

At the National Pastors Conference in San Diego, our friend at PreachingToday.com, Brian Lowery, got to interview N. T. Wright about his latest book - Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church - and how it relates to preaching. Since we are all in the midst of the Easter journey, his words are timely, challenging, and above all else, hopeful. Here are a few excerpts. Read the full interview here.

Bishop N. T. Wright: [Studying] the Resurrection for an earlier book, Resurrection of the Son of God ? ended up rubbing my nose in the New Testament theology of new creation, and the fact that the new creation has begun with Easter. I discovered that when we do new creation - when we encourage one another in the church to be active in projects of new creation, of healing, of hope for communities - we are standing on the ground that Jesus has won in his resurrection.

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For me there's no disjunction between preaching about the salvation which is ours in God's new age - the new heavens and new earth - and preaching about what that means for the present. The two go very closely together. If you have an eschatology that is nonmaterial, why bother with this present world? But if God intends to renew the world, then what we do in the present matters. That's 1 Corinthians 15:58!

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The line I often use - which makes people laugh - is: "Heaven is important, but it's not the end of the world." In other words, resurrection means the new earth continues after people have gone to heaven. I put it this way for my audiences: "there is life after life after death." People are very puzzled by that.

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So many people think preaching the Resurrection means doing a little bit of apologetics in the pulpit to prove it really is true. Others simply say, "Jesus is raised, therefore there is a life after death." This isn't the point! Those types of sermons may be necessary, but there's more to it than that. To preach the Resurrection is to announce the fact that the world is a different place, and that we have to live in that "different-ness." The Resurrection is not just God doing a wacky miracle at one time. We have to preach it in a way that says this was the turning point in world history.

Read the full interview with N. T. Wright at our sister site, PreachingToday.com.

March 20, 2008

Displaying 1–9 of 9 comments

Darren King

March 29, 2008  11:14am

Richard, you are one piece of work. You claim that global warming is a myth and that N.T. Wright (one of the most respected biblical scholars IN THE WORLD) furthers a New Age gospel. It's hard to imagine that you want to be taken seriously.

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Sam Andress

March 27, 2008  10:07am

Hey Richard, pick up the Early Church Fathers and read their writings. You can get an anthology of them cheap. Tom Wright almost quotes their ideas verbatum. What is convaluded is enlightenment captive American evangelicalism that thinks Jesus is about saving souls. Read the gospels and nowhere will you read Jesus or his disciples speaking of the need to save souls. It just aint there! Jesus is about making flesh and blood disciples–that is why God became man–and the purpose is because resurrection has come and is going to come! And resurrection entails our physical bodies being spiritually transformed. Much of what Wright and a plethora of other theologians and scholars are writing today seems heretical to popular evangelical ears because the neo-platonic dualism that divides spirit and matter has us in its clutches. For the Hebrew and thus Jesus and the earliest followers there is no separation bewteen spirit and matter. The idea of ones inner soul being saved or liberated from this world/body is a Gnostic notion of salvation which was the earliest heresy the church addressed. It's more like Dan Brown than Jesus.

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Richard Dennis Miller

March 25, 2008  12:52pm

There is something really wrong about this but it is so convaluded, it is hard to put a finger on it. But leave it to Ur and CT to put it on a pedestal. It all sounds somewhat new agish.

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sheerahkahn

March 25, 2008  11:24am

The one thing I like about NT Wright is that he makes me think which is the most any good writer, or Christian can do in presenting the texts from the Bible.

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-bill

March 22, 2008  1:49pm

May God's richest blessings be yours as you reflect on the extent of His love demonstrated through the death His Son on the cross and the awesomeness of His power exhibited through the resurrection. To God be the glory! -bill a spiritual oasis

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Sam

March 21, 2008  7:00pm

I finished Tom Wright's Surprised by Hope a couple of weeks ago and my hunch is that it will be one of the book of the year for 2008 in all religious literature and perhaps the top 5 of this century. This is not hyperbole. Bishop Wright has me convinced that no matter how "muddled" the pure gospel message of a–crucified and resurrected Jesus from Nazareth–becomes in the midst of Easter bunnies and televangelists, the Lord will not let the resurrected Chrsit be buried again! I loved in the book that Wright says point blank, make no mistake, the Gospel fo Jesus Christ is about none other than: death has been and will finally and ultimately be conquered. How? Through the obedient Messiah of Nazareth who was crucified, buried, and resurrected bodily from the dead. Try preaching that in a church in America on a Sunday morning. Most churches think you can't "just preach a crucified and resurrected Messiah" and so it needs to be dressed up and butressed with self-help. But the self-help stuff just muddles the true message: Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. This narrative as Wright waxes poetic can only lead to one conclusion that new creation, new humanity, new heavens and earth, have begun in the shell of the old and thus the church has a mission in this world. Such Great News! Our hope is not to escape the earth but to be ones who bear witness to what has happened and will happen in the resurrection of Jesus! Thank God for his faithfulness to raise up clear, articulate, and prophetic voices throughout the ages who do not mince their words. If you are up for it, I recommend anyone to read Wright's triology (NT and People of God, Jesus and Victory of God, and Resurrection of the Son of God) over a year. It will give you the kitchen sink on how to interpret the theology(s) of the NT.

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Kevin Derr

March 21, 2008  2:50pm

I'm encouraged by this post. I've often felt that there is more to easter than what we often preach and hear on easter. Indeed, the resurrection, the new creation have more to do with the present than we often are willing to allow. Thanks

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mike rucker

March 21, 2008  8:45am

okay. somebody's got to be the first one in the water here... "...my preaching ... present[s] a Christian response and not just a political response for the sake of political response. I keep asking myself, How is one to think Christianly about these big things?" and, i wonder, if we are to "think Christianly," then might that tell us that sola Scriptura only takes us so far? the easiest thing to do it seems is to "find a verse" to justify any position. our reason needs to play an important part when we we try to determine WWJD. in the end, it could be WWJDN - what would Jesus do now? It's the church's responsibility to stand up for those who have nobody to stand up for them. this is a clarion call to all of us. too often we get stuck at, "well, are they doing all they should be doing to stand up for themselves?" Some people are always going to be offended when you actually teach them what's in the Bible as opposed to what they assume is in the Bible. man, i gotta wright that on a card and keep it handy - that's a great quote! especially here in america, where Christianity is so much a part of who we are, there are so many ingrained beliefs that stand up to neither biblical analysis nor reasonable questioning. my favorite, of course, being that God is going to burn 90% of the people in the world in Hell forever and ever amen. but you already knew that... if nothing else, wright makes me want to study the bible again, to see what i may have missed the first 666 times i read it. the view of God's sovereignty that's becoming more and more vocal in the reformed and calvinist camps does not give me a feeling of "hope" at all. i don't find comfort in a God named Willie Nillie. but if, as wright wrights :), the resurrection says, "Here's where we're going with this thing –- what are you going to do about it?" - that's a different ball game entirely.

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Casey Taylor

March 20, 2008  7:46pm

Amen.

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