Many people are fascinated by the writing of Prof. Wright – and have trouble putting into own words what Tom Wright is giving to the world. That is why I wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Earth. It helps digest his thoughts and draws out the main story lines.
This week, a lecture by Tom was transcribed and circulated that captures the key turning points in NT Wright vs. current evangelical thought. Again, his thoughts are elaborate, nuanced and connecting many things. This might be the most pointed sentence how NT Wright changes the perspective on what the Bible says and what Jesus means:
As I have argued in The Day the Revolution Began, the essentially Platonic eschatology of ‘going to heaven’ has been coupled with an essentially moralizing anthropology in which keeping (or not keeping) the moral law is the clue to ‘going to heaven’ – so that those who don’t keep it need some other way, namely to be ‘justified in the Messiah’ and/or ‘by faith’. But this does no justice to Paul’s arguments. For Paul, as for all serious Jews of the period, the primary human failure was not ‘sin’ but idolatry, and the primary result was not simply not ‘going to heaven’ but the failure of the whole human project, including the divine mandate to look after creation. ‘Sin’ still matters, of course; it is what happens when humans worship idols, thence distorting their own humanity and that of others with them. Ultimate ‘eternal life’ still matters, of course; only it will be resurrection life in God’s new creation, with responsibilities (‘the royal priesthood’) not simply disembodied bliss