N. T. (Tom) Wright has written a “provocative” book, does he write any other kind, that challenges his readers to ask – who is Jesus and how has the church gotten Him wrong?
I like reading Tom Wright because he is not afraid to ask deep challenging questions. The types of questions that ask us to revisit some of our ideas about God, Jesus, and theology that may otherwise go un-explored.
I often find that his discourse can be vague when we most want more details on what he is thinking. Though I think this is intentional. In part it is to create and encourage dialogue and in part because the answers are not as simple as we would like them to be. In both the video and in the opening pages of chapter 1, Wright reminds us that his goal is not to always provide answers.
people often imagine that they come to a professor to get “the answers” but actually as I often said to my students – No you come here to learn what the questions are. And the point about Simply Jesus and also How God became King is to say – wait a minute – go away – rub your eyes – open them – and just try to get this bigger picture of Jesus.
I think that he can come across as arrogant in the way questions are framed and the prose has an air that suggests that the church is doing it wrong. I certainly don’t always agree with his conclusions either. However, Wright does present ideas worth thinking about. He also is very good at illustrating a point through analogies and word pictures.
What I get out of reading him is not a sharp course correction because ‘I have it all wrong’ but an appreciation for areas that may have been ignored, forgotten, or left undeveloped in the way I understand theology.
The book Simply Jesus, Wright tells us, was written to challenge those who separate the “Jesus of history” from the “Jesus of faith”. He encourages us to think about hard questions and suggests the Jesus we will find will be “larger, more disturbing, more urgent than we imagined”.
I plan on reading and blogging through the book. I invite each of you to read the book along with me and share your own thoughts in the comment section below.