N. T. Wright & Evangelical Theology

Alister McGrath on Wright:

Wright’s project is like a gadfly to evangelical theology.  It is an irritant, a stimulus, that demands we reexamine our ways of thinking and interpreting Scripture, particularly Paul’s writings, to see whether we have fallen into settled and lazy ways of thinking that, in the end, fail to do justice to the New Testament.  A favorite slogan of later-Reformation writers was that the Reformed church must be ecclesia semper reformanda—that is, a church that is always reforming itself.  Reformation, rightly understood, is not a once-for-all event whose ideas are to be set in stone but an ongoing process of reexamination and reconsideration, forced upon us by the priority of the biblical text over our provisional interpretations of that text.  Wright obliges us to read the New Testament again and to take the profound risk of allowing our most settled ideas to be challenged in the light of the biblical witness.  The price of being biblical is to constantly return to the Bible, sometimes with anticipation and at other times with trepidation, in that our present ideas may find themselves rendered questionable.  It is a price that I, for one, am glad to pay.

“Reality, Symbol & History: Theological Reflections on N. T. Wright’s Portrayal of Jesus,” in Jesus & the Restoration of Israel: A Critical Assessment of N. T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God (ed. Carey C. Newman; Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1999), 178-79.

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