New Malden, new ideas
Posted: 21 Sep 2012 @ 00:25
Robin Griffith-Jones sees NT scholarship
Tom Wright for Everyone: Putting the theology of N.
T. Wright into practice in the local church
Church Times Bookshop £9 (Use code CT857
STEPHEN KUHRT has written a short, clear, and highly
appreciative account of Tom Wright's theology, and of its place in
the life and mission of Christ Church, New Malden, of which Kuhrt
is the Vicar. Kuhrt has also written an honest account of himself,
of the Evangelical movement to which he is loyal, and of the
suspicion with which Wright has often been viewed within that
tradition. This combination should win for the book a wide
readership in all parts of the Church.
Kuhrt first tells the story of Wright's rise to prominence, and
of the unease with which Wright has been viewed by some Evangelical
bodies. Kuhrt then describes how unsettled he himself has found
parts of the doctrine he had since childhood been encouraged to
accept without question: emphasis on "pie in the sky when you die",
neglect of the sinfulness that taints whole social orders,
suspicion of the good things of creation.
Chapter 3 gives a lucid, attractive summary of Wright's thought;
and, in Chapters 4 to 6, Kuhrt describes the effect on his own
Church of teaching and applying Wright's insights in the Church's
pastoral care, mission, and Christian formation. The notes refer
the reader to all the main passages discussed from Wright's books
and articles; a bibliography attests to Wright's prodigious output
and to the (sometimes critical) responses that his work has
inspired; and indices of names and subjects conclude the book.
I would have valued one further section: on the appeal made to
the imagination when we preach, as Wright demands, the new creation
in Christ. God completed his work on Day Six (Genesis 2.1-2),
before Day Seven began at sunset. Jesus confirmed, "It is
completed" before sunset on Day Six (John 19.30), and met Mary
Magdalene in a new Eden on Day One of God's newly recreated world.
To see without delusion our place in the old world of sin and
death, and yet to envision and credit and trust our place as
already a new creation (2 Corinthians 5.7) admitted to God's
reopened paradise - many of us, throughout the Church, would gladly
have heard how Kuhrt and his Church have learnt to inspire their
people with this elusive, dazzling, life-transforming vision.
The Revd Robin Griffith-Jones is Master of the Temple
Church, in London.