If I could get every American conservative Christian to read Surprised by Hope, it would be mandatory reading.
Wright forces my thinking away from what I thought was the ultimate question: Who is going to heaven or hell? (And, did God send them there or did humans choose?)
Maybe we’re asking wrong questions, and this is what stirs me reading this book again. I need to understand what the ultimate questions are, and be willing to surrender my old thinking. Maybe the question isn’t about who is going to “make heaven” and how. Maybe the question is how is God going to redeem and renew his creation through human beings and how is he going to rescue those humans themselves as part of the process but not as the point of it all.
I need my life aligned with HIS ultimate goals, not mine.
“What do I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
We want the “ultimate answers” settled without looking right in front of us. If we’d look right in front of us we’d find the answers to our “ultimate” questions. And we’d find those “ultimate” questions less vital.
Spiritual giants are in transition. Dallas Willard a few years ago. Today, Eugene Peterson. Read more
Luk 21:1 — Luk 21:4
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
So many give their all for the Kingdom in obscurity. No awards. No big conventions in their honor. Others have been applauded on big stages.
But the Kingdom has noticed. When the accolades from the big audiences are over, the king himself will rise and applaud the ones we never knew… but they are the ones who gave their all.
“The power of the gospel lies not in the offer of a new spirituality or religious experience, not in the threat of hellfire (certainly not in the threat of being “left behind”), which can be removed if only the hearer checks the box, says this prayer, raises a hand, or whatever, but in the powerful announcement that God is God, that Jesus is Lord, that the powers of evil have been defeated, that God’s new world has begun.”
— NT Wright, Surprised by Hope