N.T. Wright has just released another book. It’s the companion volume to his superb volume, Simply Jesus. He kindly had an early copy mailed to me.
Two months ago, I interviewed Wright on Simply Jesus. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so.
In his new book, How God Became King, N.T. Wright explores what he calls “the forgotten story of the gospels.”
He explores the story that each gospel writer is seeking to tell. By doing so, Wright unveils a fresh way of looking at what the gospel writers actually say.
Traditionally, Christians have focused on the birth of Jesus, underscored some of His teachings, then jumped straight to His death and resurrection.
Wright turns the dial back and asks, “What about the middle, between His birth and the cross? Why is all that there, and what does it actually tell us?”
Instead of giving you a summary of N.T. Wright’s conclusions, I’ve decided to list some of the key questions that How God Became King asks and answers.
The reason why I’m taking this approach is because many people will read a standard book review and assume that there’s no need to read the book because they got the gist of it from the review. Mistake.
Let me just say that Wright opens the book with a beyond evangelical position. He challenges both liberal skeptics and conservative crusaders, urging them to lay down their weapons and begin asking new questions. Such as “What did the gospels mean for those in the first century and what do they mean for us today?”
The usual question that’s fought hand-over fist is, “Did all of that really happen?” N.T. Wright answers that question cogently in some of his other volumes. But the question, “What does it even mean?,” has been largely ignored.
So here’s a list of some of the questions that N.T. Wright answers in How God Became King:
- How and why have so many Christians missed the middle of the story?
- How should we view the creeds and how have they been misunderstood?
- What about the social gospel?
- Did Jesus talk about Himself?
- How has the Enlightenment shaped Christian thinking about Jesus today?
- What do the gospels have to say about going to heaven?
- How should we view Jesus’ ethical teachings?
- Was Jesus a moral teacher?
- What about proving Christ’s Divinity?
- Where does the story of Israel fit into the gospel story?
- What story do the four gospel writers actually tell, and how does each writer tell the story differently?
- What are the signposts of the future church?
- What do the gospels tell us about the clash between Jesus and Caesar?
- What is the relationship between the Kingdom and the cross in the gospels?
- What should the Christian’s relationship be to power and empire?
- What are the four dimensions of the Kingdom and the cross?
- How do we properly celebrate God’s story?
- How do we cooperate with God’s Kingdom here and now?
If you are even remotely interested in these questions, then this book is for you.