Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review

"Surprised by Hope" (N. T. Wright) - I found this book rather frustrating to read. Wright is targeting a group of Christians I am not too familiar with. These are dispensationalists who focus more on the intermediate heavenly state, than on the final united new heaven and earth.

I'm not certain how important this distinction is. The Bible makes it clear that the heavens and earth will be destroyed, and God will reside with us in the new earth (no separate heaven). Beyond this, the peculiars of timing are non-essential.

I had assumed Wright's eschatology was post-mil. He seems to be backing off of this (if he ever fully was). But, his motivation is still post-mil. That is, the Church must act to make the world a better place.

This leads to his oddest statement in the book. He is almost obsessed with third world debt. He says (page 216):
"As far as I can see, the major task that faces us in our generation, corresponding to the issue of slavery two centuries ago, is that of the massive economic imbalance of the world"
On the face of it, this is boldly absurd. The exploitation of the poor by the rich is a constant factor in history since the invention of money (and is not going away until the abolition of personal wealth). Pastor Wilson has an excellent in-depth analysis of Wright's "solution".

But, I'm curious how Wright can overlook abortion. I will be generous, and assume he means "the major task, after the abomination that is abortion and the assault on the right to life"...

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