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In this book by Tom Wright (NT Wright) he lays out several of his academic theses in an accessible way. It encourages Christians to re-examine the role and purpose of the gospels. For a full review see Book Review: How God became King.
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How God Became King by Tom Wright was published by SPCK in April 2012 and is our 5744th best seller. The ISBN for How God Became King is 9780281061464.
Tom Wright’s central thesis in this wonderfully accessible yet highly authoritative work is that the church has for centuries been distracted from reflecting on the reality of Christ’s life by Pauline theology on the one hand and the Christian creeds on the other. We know why Jesus was born, why he died and why he rose from the dead, but none of this theology answers why Jesus’ actual life comprised the events that it did. ‘We have all forgotten what the four gospels are about’, Wright claims.
As someone brought up on the Social Gospel with its emphasis on Jesus’ ushering in of the Kingdom of God through his life’s actions, I am not quite convinced that Wright’s assertion reflects the church as a whole. However, Wright’s thesis may reflect a welcome development in evangelical thinking, in which a dependence on faith rooted in doctrinal agreement is replaced by one more rooted in social engagement. Perhaps in this book Wright is inviting us to observe his own theological journey slowly evolving?
At the heart of Wright’s argument is one that is – in broad terms – very familiar to readers of more liberal theologians like Crossan, Wink or even Spong: the story of Jesus is ‘the story of the kingdom of God clashing with the kingdom of Caesar’ to quote Wright (p127). Wright’s juxtaposition of kingdom and cross is arguably not new, but it is refreshing to read it from a leading and very influential evangelical theologian.
Tom Wright is a remarkable thinker and writer whose prodigious output is shaping a generation of Christians. His many admirers will undoubtedly gulp down this book; those more hesitant about him would do well to do the same.
Tom Wright: Perhaps God has so ordered it in such a way that every generation has to grow up. Because if I could just get the answers right, give them to you, all you would have to do is go look them up and you wouldn’t grow up yourself.
Micky Marvin: I’m Micky Marvin from Harper One taking with Tom Wright who has a new book called ‘God Became King’.
Tom you’ve have had a fascinating history of spending many years in University and then many years in the church. Most recently as a Bishop. I was really intrigued in ‘How God became King’ in your argument that not only have the church’s teachings been criticised by sceptical scholars, even in our defense by conservative scholars defending tradition we’ve distorted how we tell the story of Jesus and how we read the Bible.
Um. can you explain how that works.
TW: Yeah. I think most Christians have actually, in the western world, been puzzled without evening know that they are puzzled as to what the Gospels are really there for. The way that the modern age is asking its questions over the last 200 years has driven wedges between different bits of the New Testament which we really ought now to be able to say “its time to put that lot back together again” - and when you do that its explosive!
A lot of Jesus parables are told precisely to say “No! The Kingdom isn’t what you thought it was!”. The story the Gospels tell, which is how God became King, is one that I think the whole western world has not only not wanted to hear, it has forgotten that the story was even out there in the first place.
We missed the right point
MM: What part of Jesus of our story about Jesus are wrong?
TW: For a great many christians in the western tradition the divinity of Jesus has been a major feature of their whole world view. “Look here in these miracles, wow, this shows Jesus must have been the son of God.”
People then say, “Well wait a minute, when Matthew writes his miracle stories Matthew knows perfectly well this was the sort of the thing that Elisha and Elijah did. Does that mean Elisha and Elijah were the son of God?”. Not in the same unique sense
Then theres the transfiguration, “but hang on, Moses and Elijah again, they are transfigured with Jesus so does that make them a second person of the trinity?”. Of course not!
And it is that whole framework that I think, if Jesus were to see, he would say “Sorry guys, you’ve just missed the point. I’m talking about God becoming King and that means God is running the show and however you’re going to do your politics in society. If you’re a christian you ought to do in such a way as to find a system which acknowledge the sovereignty of God even though then how that works out is going to be very tricky.”
|Author / Artist||Tom Wright|
|Publisher||SPCK (April 2012)|
|Number of Pages||304|
|Page last updated||21st October 2015|