OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.

N.T. Wright

General issues relating to the theology of N.T. Wright.

NT Wright is seriously wrong

I have come to the view that there are serious mistakes in NT Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God.

One error is that Wright presents a view of salvation history which is anachronistic at key points; and which fails to notice the difference in the portrait of God in the New and Old Testaments.

Wright wants to present God as having had a plan from the time of the fall for defeating evil. The plan involves the selection of Israel to be a light to the world. There are a number of problems with this. 

Why didn't anyone take notes?

i find it ironic that Jesus never wrote anything down and more and more i find myself asking, “why not?” apart from anything else, Jesus was a great & wise teacher. therefore, in not writing his core teaching & theology down, either himself or via scribe - as Paul did at times - he must have been confident that the most vital elements of His teaching would resound unadulterated through the centuries.

will religions join with the returning of Jesus?

It is a fact that those centres of power that have religion and its moral values in their sights have combined the wide opportunities at their disposal and are acting in alliance against people who have religious beliefs. It is actually not that difficult to destroy, in the ideological sense, that wicked alliance, to eliminate the negative and destructive effects of atheist- materialist indoctrination, and to bring about a society where proper morality, happiness, peace, security and well-being prevail. The one way of doing that lies in the three revealed religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) joining forces in the light of that common objective.

NT Wright's critical realism and understanding of history

After coming back to New Testament theology following many years’ absence I have found the work of NT Wright invigorating- I wish I had had something like his conceptiion of the scriptures years ago.

That having been said I find his position on history and critical realism not on a par with the rest of his work. As regards critical realism he attacks the view of knowledge based on sensation but without any apparent grasp of the work of the later Wittgenstein - work which bestrides the modern philosophical world like a colossus. He is also unaware of the work of Michael Dummett. His critical realism, though it is given the trappings of argument is not really argued for but simply asserted. I think he would have been better off saying: I am not going to get into the philosophical debate about knowledge but simply take the plain man’s view, with the caution that in the case of the the scriptures we have to very rigorous in what we assert.

crucifixion: cross or post?

Was Jesus crucified on cross (hands outstretched) or on a post (hands over head)?

Back to the Future?

This conference has had a profound effect on the way I view the world, who I am, what the church is. Tom Wright has made me think back to the Back to the Future movies with the very youthful looking Micheal J Fox(MJF). In those movies, MJF could travel backward in time to effect the future, and if I re-call travelled forward to view the results. We can’t go back persoanlly but we there is a similarilty in our vocation: We are the people of the future.

Instead of going back to alter the present, we are the people of the new creation / the kingdom. WE CHANGE THE PRESENT BY SOWING/LIVING THE FUTURE NOW. In that way we are also bringing about the future. The historical study of Jesus helps us to understand how to live the future in the present; His way of doing it, his means of bring it about. The questions / tentions that this brings about are these:

'A strange unmapped new land'

We agreed with Tom Wright at the end of the Future of the People of God conference, and have confirmed with him since, that we would initiate an online discussion around some of the ideas that he presented at the conference. We think these two paragraphs from the end of the first session (download) are an excellent place to start. In effect Tom makes a case here for an 'emerging theology' - though he doesn't use that phrase himself - that draws together three key themes: i) the interpretation of mission in terms of the new creation; ii) the link between historical Jesus scholarship and the mission of the church; and iii) the analogy between Jesus' mission to Israel and the church's mission to the world.

Discipleship in the future

the question I’m interested in engaging with on the conference is how do we disciple or what does/will discipleship look like the future people of God? Radical discipleship is much harder to do these days. I wonder if this in part due to problems with the way we present the gospel, an over-emphasis of justification over sanctification (to use the theological terms). How do we take seriously the call to follow Jesus in a consumer culture. Tom Wright’s work rightly goes back to heart of Jesus’ message: kingdom of God - how does that look and what does that mean for today’s emerging church?

How many ecclesiologies in the NT?

Tom Wright’s discussion of both second temple Judaism and the NT shows how Jesus subverted the centralised understanding of God’s people in Israel at the time. Though Tom never says it like this, the NT insists that God’s people after the Christ event is thoroughly decentralised. The NT’s primary interest is not in one global church, but in scattered local churches. Sacred spaces and sacred times are no more. Churches benefit from the outpoured Spirit of God and operate with all believers being de facto ‘priests’. No lording it over each other and no hierarchies, just mutual exhortation (Col 3:16).

Authority, Truth, Scripture and Canon

There are few things that are capturing as much discussion state side in the emerging church discussion as the issue of canon, how does text exert authority, how does truth inhere in any text (let alone a “scriptural” text) and what are the implications for preaching and spiritual formation. How do we “use the Word” is often the question in the discussion. Of course the very utilitarian mechanistic bias is instantly identifiable. The issue of canon is no less hot. Bart Ehrman, from Princeton has a recent book Lost Christianities. Time magazine did a cover article a couple months ago on this issue and it has made what was once the domain of most scholars and informed laypeople, now ubiquitous and immediate.
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