Book Review: N.T. Wright – Surprised by Hope

This is a review and reflection of

Wright, N. T.  Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Hope of the Church.
New York: HarperOne, 2008.  332 pp.  $24.95.

Copyright © 2008 by Alex S. Leung. All rights reserved.

Introduction

N. T. Wright - Surprised by HopeOur future hope is securely grounded in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  N. T. Wright makes this point painstakingly clear in his popular work on eschatology, Surprised by Hope, arising as the major strength of his latest book.  He argues that this assured hope in Christ’s resurrection should convince of us of our own redemption and renewal in Christ.  This is promised and guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and as such, it is the very thing that the whole world’s waiting for (107).

For this reason, those who are united with Christ and indwelt by his Spirit should properly await and expect the resurrection of our bodies.  Wright is correct to commend that Christians will be given a new, immortal body on the new earth through and by the Holy Spirit at the coming of Christ, the purpose of which is for us to rule over God’s new creation wisely (159-163).  Wright’s impassioned cry to readers for this very hope to shape the church’s mission is compelling and contagious, and yet it is dangerously so.  He incorporates a significant amount of biblical and theological material in making a strong case for a “hope-shaped mission” (194).  Henceforth, the topic that this paper thus hopes to address is Wright’s understanding of salvation and the gospel.  His definition of salvation and the meaning of it that is presented in his book is confusing at best and misleading to say the least.  As a serious area of concern, we therefore must address the issue of salvation: what did Jesus come to save?

I would argue that Jesus came to save sinners, and that the gospel is the good news of Christ Jesus’ atoning work (his life, death, and resurrection) to save sinners.  Let us then examine this issue through the lens of Wright’s book. Continue reading

Book Review: The Meaning of the Millennium

This is a review of

Clouse, Robert G., ed. The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views.
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1977. 223 pp.  $16.99

Copyright © 2008 by Alex S. Leung. All rights reserved.

Introduction

The Meaning of the MillenniumThe kingdom of God is a topic of significant discussion in the church, and especially in theological academia.  Over the past fifty years, there still have been serious disagreements in the doctrine of Last Things between historic Premillennialists, Dispensational Premillennialists, Postmillennialists and Amillennialists.  Because of this ongoing discussion, Christians must seek to understand God’s word and come to an interpretation of Revelation 20:1-6 that is faithful to the inerrancy of Scripture and the whole counsel of God.  For this reason, The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views was compiled in order to help Christians on this endeavor.

Each chapter contains an essay on one of the four views of the millennium, followed by a brief response by each of the other three theologians.  In this manner, readers are enabled to analyze each view for their own strengths and weaknesses, and consequently come to their own conclusion about which view is most tenable. Continue reading

Does Hell really exist?

Rob BellRob Bell doesn’t seem to think so. Or does he? Maybe he does, and I’m just confused at his evasive indirectness. If he does believe in a literal hell, he’s seems very quiet about it — especially for somebody who apparently has graduated from seminary. At least, that is what I gather after reading this recent interview where he simply dodges answering the question in a very Emergent kind of way: Continue reading

Premillennialism

John MacArthur caused quite the uproar in the Reformed side of the Christian blog world recently by speaking on “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millennialist?” at the opening session of the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference. Read a summary here, and post-conference Q&A here.

“Of all people to be pre-millennialist it should be the Calvinist–those who believe in sovereign election. A-millennialism is ideal for Arminians because according to their theology God elects nobody and preserves nobody. A-millennialism is consistent with Arminianism. Yet it is inconsistent with Reformed theology and its emphasis on God’s electing grace.”