I mentioned in a previous post that I was excited to start reading Surprised by Hope, by N. T. Wright, who is frequently spot-on, sometimes way off, but couldn’t be boring if he tried. I started the book this morning and I’m definitely hooked and excited to see if he delivers on the promise of his thesis. Here’s his plan for the book:
“This book address two questions that have often been dealt with entirely separately, but that, I passionately believe, belong tightly together. First, what is the ultimate Christian hope? Second, what hope is there for change, rescue, transformation, [and] new possibilities within the world in the present? And the main answer can be put like this: As long as we see Christian hope in terms of ‘going to heaven,’ of a salvation that is essentially away from this world, the two questions are bound to appear as unrelated. Indeed, some insist angrily that to ask the second one at all is to ignore the first one, which is the really important one. This is turn makes some others get angry when people talk about the resurrection, as if this might draw attention away from the really important and pressing matters of new creation, for ‘new heavens and new earth,’ and if that hope has already come to life in Jesus of Nazareth, then there is every reason to join the two questions together” (5).
That’s an exciting prospect that has the potential to set a strong dual concern for global evangelism and global mercy ministry on a strong biblical footing among evangelicals, a previous generation of whom mostly ignored the latter, and an emerging generation of whom are in large part ignoring the former.