Quotes from Bishop N.T. Wright, p3


The final post capturing some of the more memorable NT Wright quotes in our 3 day consultation with him.

As an aside, I was really impressed with the Bishop.  He has an incredible mind that effortlessly recalls Scripture, history, contemporary authors, and influential conversations with the pastors in his diocese.  But he is not just a theologian – he is a practitioner.  He is on the ground with people loving and learning from them.  That is what really made him legit in my eyes.

The last round:

“The Psalms are not the only way to pray but they are the only way we are told we have to pray.  They could (maybe should) be the backbone of prayer and worship.  (Wright uses the analogy of a big brother’s clothes) When you wear them they are floppy and too big but you have to keep wearing them and growing them into.”

“We need to firm in the middle and flexible on the edges as God will work how He works.  ‘We must build many altars so that the fire may come down somewhere else.’  This is not a call to casual thinking but to humility.”

1 Corinthians 15.3-4: “This is a summary of the Gospel and the preface to an explanation of the kingdom we now live.  It seems that Paul uses the term ‘the Kingdom of the Messiah’ or ‘Christ’ to describe the kingdom that is here now, and the ‘Kingdom of God’ represents the future kingdom that comes after Jesus has defeated all his enemies and hands it over to God the Father.  So Jesus is reigning here and now.”

1 Corinthians 15.58: This is a guiding light for NT Wright.  “Not in vain” – this is such a massive statement, and that is because of the Resurrection.  You or I might say, “Relax because your future is secure.”  But Paul says, “Act now in beauty and love because they matter.  Your acts are going to be located in the new future that God will bring to this world.” This isn’t something other than the Cross and Resurrection – this is because of the Cross and Resurrection.

Romans 1.3-4 is another summary of the Gospel.  The Gospel is not that “you were a naughty boy and deserved death but luckily God found someone else and conveniently his Son was the closest one around and he chose him so now you are off the hook.”  Paul says, “The message is concerning God’s son who has descended from Heaven in the flesh and is now Jesus Christ our lord.”  That is all Caesar language.  The same language was written on the coins of the day – “This is Augustus ruler and lord of our own land.”

“The language of empire actually comes through the marketers.  They are telling you what you should want and desire and what will make you feel whole.  They are far more powerful than politicians because they connect you with your desire for lordship.”

Philippians 2.1-4: This is about unity – it is Paul telling us what makes his day and gives him hope.  To be united is such a massive challenge and requires so much humility.  “Consider others better than yourself.”  “Be prepared to learn from contexts that are not your own.”

Chapter 4: Crushed but not despairing – at the time you felt like you were forsaken and destroyed, which it was like for Paul in Chapter 1.  But Paul says this was to get us to rely on God who raised Jesus from the dead.  Somehow through that cross bearing discipleship the love of God flows through us and into the world.

Matthew 28: “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me, so therefore go…”  Enlightenment has taken authority and put it all in heaven and left us here to run the earth.

“If the announcement is that Jesus has died and has been risen from the dead and is now lord of the world, that has immediate implications. “

Matthew 28: “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me, so therefore go…”  Enlightenment has taken authority and put it all in heaven and left us here to run the earth.

“If the announcement is that Jesus has died and has been risen from the dead and is now lord of the world, that has immediate implications. “

On baptism: “baptism is so important in the NT.  When you baptize someone this is a truth about the community being embodied in that act.  We put the weight on the individual which is important, but when the community baptizes someone it is expressing who we are as a community.  We are the people who die to our sins in Christ and rise as new people and we are welcoming this person into that reality.  It is a symbolic statement as to who we are as a community that this person is coming.”

On Acts: “Jesus has risen and is in charge, and the energy of Heaven has been let loose.  Acts 1-8 show what happens in the world when the energy of Heaven gets loose.  This is what the world looks like when Jesus is in charge.”

John 18/19: “The trial before Pilate is central to understanding what happens when the kingdom of God faces up against the kingdom of Caesar.  Even Jesus acknowledges there is human authority over him, yet also tells him he only has it because God gave it.  “

“C.S. Lewis talked about Heaven as this wonderful concrete reality that we are moving towards and hell is this small, almost irrelevant reality that is small because it is a denial of what is true and beautiful in God.  So to go to hell is to insist on denying the beauty and truth in God that God is always trying to make you alive and aware to.  But it is certainly possible (as Paul says in Romans 2) to deny the beauty, truth, and reality of who God and to insist on worshipping other gods.  It is a process of colluding with the ‘de-humanizing’ of who you were meant to be; a deterioration of your true self.”

“When you persistently worship things that are not the true God you collude with the de-humanization of your image-bearing side.”

“As God transforms you He is transforming you so that you can be part of the transformation of the world.”

“We are a canal not a lake.  We want the living water to flow into us, but we are to have the living water flow through us too.”  To a group of converts on Easter: “You are God’s Easter present to the world.”

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