Monday, January 30, 2012

Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

This book connected with me on all cylinders.

Surprised by Hope is Wright's attempt to explain the biblical teaching on the resurrection of the dead, what happens when we die, heaven and how the church should act in light of these teachings.

Then he throws in the typical Wrightian thoughts on the Kingdom of God and global debt forgiveness for good measure.

It may have been the season in which I was reading this book but I could not put this down. It seemed as if every chapter had moments where I wanted to scream out, "Hallelujah".

As with other works by Wright, he builds each chapter upon what was discovered from the previous one. He breaks this book into three parts: Setting the Scene in which he explains the different views of life after death and how there is so much confusion out there. He walks us through the early church thought of Easter and the ramifications.

Part two is God's Future Plan. This was the biggest emotional, spiritual, intellectual boost and encouragement for me. This is where Wright explains about the Kingdom of God and how Jesus understood it, moving on to what the second coming is all about and how Jesus acts as judge. Lastly he discusses what the redemption of our bodies will be and how Scripture refers to a physical bodily resurrection and not some sort of spirit resting in paradise.

Wright's thoughts on Purgatory, Paradise and Hell are refreshing even as this book was written before Rob Bell's Love Wins. Even if this isn't the book for an exhaustive study, it may have set more people at ease.

The final part deals with what we can do, as the church, now that there is a fuller understanding of what the Kingdom of God is all about and what it should look like as we live the rest of our lives.

Simply a terrific book. I can't wait for the next Wright book.

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