Tom Wright, Everyone and You?

 

Tom Wright is one of the world’s greatest living Biblical scholars. I have enjoyed many of his books so I was delighted to receive a copy of Stephen Kuhrt’s book “Tom Wright for Everybody.” There’s a lot to like about this book and here’s 5 reasons why you might enjoy it:

1. Its abbreviated

in 105 pages Kuhrt manages to provide a summary of 38 major points of Wright’s thought. It’s thousands of pages reduced to a single chapter.

2. It’s authoritative

Kuhrt has read and digested everything he could lay his hands of Bishop Tom’s work. If you want a quick tour of “What’s so amazing about Wright” here’s a great start. Kuhrt has done his homework and writes concisely and clearly.

3. It’s applied

Kuhrt is a pastor and explores how Wright’s work has shaped his pastoral ministry, his approach to holistic mission and his preaching. Kurht is honest about the shortcomings of his own church and the struggles of helping a conservative church to engage with fresh biblical scholarship. There’s are some great ideas from the coalface of church pastoral ministry that are well worth taking away.

4. It’s accesible

This book might not quite be for everyone – but he has done his best to make some complex ideas as accessible as he can.

5. It’s appetising

You’re going to want to fork out some serious money and buy more of Wright’s work.

My Top 5 NT Wright Books:

5. Simply Jesus – see review here.
4. Surprised by Hope see review here for Christianity Magazine.
3. Justification – impressive challenge to just accepting inherited thinking rather than thinking biblically.
2. Jesus and the Victory of God.
1. NT and the People of God (review coming soon)

Niggles with the book
Only the word of God is flawless and despite really enjoying the book there were a couple of niggles. Kuhrt does not engage critically enough with Wright’s work – it feels like only a couple of sentences that distinguish a couple of areas that Kuhrt disagrees with Wright. (Kuhrt differs from Wright’s view of Headship in Marriage and Kuhrt’s Annhilationism). Perhaps for brevity the approach has been to summarise what Wright thinks about a subject and then to apply that thought to church life. I am nervous of an uncritical following of heroes. Mark Driscoll’s followers often can see no flaws in his approach, advocates of Alpha struggle to see it’s downsides. Discernment means you can acknowledge good but also spot the flaws. I want to encourage people to engage with a wide variety of thinkers and develop the critical skills they need to; as my Albanian friends used to say “pick the fish from the bones.”

With that minor niggle aside, this is a fine book and Kuhrt is to be congratulated on a producing such a concise and helpful introduction to Tom Wright’s work. Kuhrt’s seminal point is that many evangelicals have simply not engaged with Wrights work or even worse those that have opposed him John Piper simply haven’t understood him. Having read the Piper / Wright dialogue I think he is right. Piper seemed to be arguing that Wright was challenging the reformed understanding of justification and Wright was arguing that irrespective of how the reformers understood it this is not what the New Testament teaches. It lead to a very interesting review from Scott McKnight that Wright had out reformed the reformed church. So I want to commend those that have not engaged with Wright’s work to take another look and Kuhrt’s books is a good place to start.

 

About the author: Krish Kandiah

Founding Director: Home for Good Executive Producer: Books for Life Vice President: Tearfund Tutor: Regents Park College, Oxford University

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