Commonplace Book #11

The point of this final of the book is that a proper grasp of the (surprising) future hope held out to us in Jesus Christ leads directly and, to many people, equally surprising, to a vision of the present  hope that is the basis of all Christian mission.  To hope for a better future in this world–for the poor, the sick, the lonely and depressed, for the slaves, the refugees, the hungry and homeless, for that abused, the paranoid, the downtrodden and despairing, and in fact for the whole wide, wonderful, and wounded world–is not something else, something extra, something tacked on to the gospel as an afterthought.  And to work for that intermediate hope, the surprising hope that comes forward from God’s ultimate future into God’s urgent present, is not a distraction from the task of mission and evangelism in the present.  It is a central, essential, vital, and life-giving part of it.

N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 192.

One thought on “Commonplace Book #11

  1. John,
    In fairness to Bishop Wright, I don’t have his book in front of me so I cannot look at this quote in context. With that understanding, I note that he quotes no scripture in support of his view about temporal hope being as central as he apparently sees it.

    While no Christians I know are opposed to the material amelioration of the fallen world, it’s impossible to put that goal on a par with the spiritual emphasis in the New Testament and especially the teaching in the Pauline epistles which contain the most definitive guidance for gentile believers in this age.


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