Faith and relevance in the 21st century

Category: Heaven (Page 2 of 2)

N.T. Wright on the resurrection and Simply Jesus

Here are a couple of great talks by N.T. Wright on Jesus’ resurrection and Wright’s recent book, Simply Jesus.

The talk on the resurrection is not just an apologetic going over the usual defences for the resurrection. In this talk Wright delves thoroughly into what the beliefs of the time were about what resurrection was and what it wasn’t. He provides a solid foundation for why the disciples and others respond as they do, and say what they say, when they hear the first reports that Jesus had been seen alive.

Context is everything when seeking to understand history, and Wright gives a detailed explanation of the background to the events we read about in the four gospels. For those who want it, further detail is found in Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God.

Importantly, Wright also goes into why Jesus’ resurrection matters, why it quickly became central to the message of the early Christian movement, and why it matters in the 21st century.

For an overview of the reasons why the physical resurrection of Jesus is far and away the most reasonable explanation for the explosive growth of the early church, you probably couldn’t go past this talk. There is enough here to answer any questions, as well as enough to why your appetite for finding out more.

Of particular relevance to our time in this talk is Wright’s explanation about why Jesus’ resurrection says that Jesus is Lord and that therefore Caesar (or in our day, anything else that claims lordship over our lives) is not, anyhow that matters for mission.

The talk on Simply Jesus is among the best of Wright’s I have heard. It is a clear, succinct description of a wonderful book which is accessible to new believers, people wanting to find out more, or people who have been Christians for years and want a very clear overview of why Jesus matters in the 21st century.

What has social justice got to do with salvation?

When I was in my late teens, I believed that salvation was all about having a personal relationship with Jesus so I would get to heaven when I die and avoid hell. While social justice was good, it was not the main game, as people’s eternal destiny was surely infinitely more important.

I don’t believe that today. I still believe that a personal relationship with Jesus is crucial – the human heart needs just as much renewal as society does – but today I believe that any ‘salvation’ that stops there is not biblical and is not honouring God for who God is. Any kind of ‘salvation’ that stops at a personal relationship with Jesus is too small and does not understand how much God loves everything that God made. Salvation is spiritual, sure, and it is physical, emotional and social as well.

In September 2010, World Vision Australia held a theological forum looking at the question of what social justice has to do with salvation. The speakers were Tim Foster from Ridley College, Merrill Kitchen, former Principal of the Churches of Christ Theological College, and Siu Fung Wu from World Vision. Each of them gave a presentation on their view of the topic, and papers of each of their presentations, along with a response by me, have now been published online in Ridley College’s Centre for Applied Christian Ethics paper, BriefCACE. Click here to check them out.

Thoughts on life…Who gets there?

I believe that it will not be only Christians who have consciously confessed Christ as Saviour who will be in heaven. I believe that we are all on a journey either towards God or away from God. I will not be surprised if people like Gandhi and Fred Hollows will be in heaven.

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