December 10, 2006

Wait until Dobson hears about this: then you will be in some serious trouble

Thanks to Melissa Rogers for linking to this story on N.T. Wright. Wright, sometimes refered to as a "modern-day C.S. Lewis" is a respected conservative Christian, though his viewpoints will get him in trouble with some. He thinks homosexuality is a sin, but argues "forcefully for the role of womena s leaders in the church." But he also is one of those conservative Christians who wants to expand the pale of concern beyond homosexuality and abortion.
Wright says his beliefs may seem odd and contradictory in the United States but not his country. He says plenty of conservative Christians in his homeland, for example, are as passionate about relieving Third World debt as they are about defending traditional Christian doctrine.

"There seems to be no conflict in my country between believing that if Jesus is the Lord of the world, we can't keep on treating our fellow human beings like we have," he says during a phone interview from his home in England, where he is the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England.

The fight against disbelief

The thread that runs through Wright's books and lectures, though, is his defense of traditional Christian doctrines that now seem to be under assault.

He has become the go-to source for traditional Christians shaken by the profusion of books and theories that question the reliability of the Bible. He combines two strengths: a passionate belief in the Bible's authority and the intellectual muscle to defend that belief against all comers.

Wright has conducted a series of public debates with celebrated New Testament scholars such as Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. Both are leaders in the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars who have questioned everything from the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the existence of "lost gospels" excluded by early church leaders.

In his books and debates, Wright returns to a common theme: a "post modern instinct to disbelieve everything" about religion.

"There are a lot of people who don't want traditional Christianity to be true," he says. "They run toward anything which will give them reason to say that Christianity is not true. It's old hat."

He says this impulse to disbelieve everything about traditional religion is reinforced by some Christians' upbringings. Many grew up in strict religious homes, "bruised" by their experience. As adults, they grasp for alternatives to organized Christianity that vindicate their skepticism.

Wright is also a vigorous critic of two popular Christian trends —- the fascination with the Gnostic Gospels and the "Left Behind" novels.

The Gnostic Gospels present an alternate version of Jesus and the early church. Its leaders, who existed around the time of the early church, denied the resurrection of Jesus. They also taught that only a select group could gain access to a hidden form of wisdom necessary for escape from this world.

The Left Behind novels tell stories of the Rapture, a belief extracted from the Book of Revelation that predicts that all Christians would be whisked from the earth during the Last Days.

Wright says both theologies cultivate a "private spirituality" where Christians are encouraged to forget Jesus' prayer that his followers work toward bringing the "kingdom come on earth." Why address global warming if the world is going to be wasted anyway?


Steven Carr said...

Wright dislikes the Gnostics who denigrate the flesh and say things like :- 'There is nothing good in my flesh', 'Who will rescue me from this body of death?','For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.' 'For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh'

Wright also seems to have an aversion to quoting in full Paul writing 'The first Adam became a created being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit'.

It is never quoted in full in Wright's 700-plus page book on the resurrection.

Perhaps seeing it quoted in full would let his readers see the obvious typology implied by Paul, that we too will share the nature of both Adams, and first be living beings, and then life-giving spirits.

Nor can he find space in that book to quote the author saying that 'All flesh is grass', which is a rather suprising Bible verse for somebody whose world was supposedly turned upside down by the news that flesh would be made immortal.

Does Wright battle disbelief or ignore it?

There is a Review of a book which refutes many of Wright's views (Of course, Wright is not wrong about everything)

The Bishop of Durham has been aware of this review for 8 months now, but has not written one word against the arguments of the disbelievers.

Streak said...

Ok. honestly, I really don't care about the Gnostics debate. I just found it interesting, and also found his criticism of the LB series.

But thanks for the comment and visit.

volfan007 said...

we are not to work for a kingdom of this world system. Jesus spoke against that often. christians are to work for His kingdom which will come one day. and, when it ushers in, Jesus will not need any human help in setting it up.


Streak said...

volfan. All I can do is sigh.

volfan007 said...


i dont know why you have such a vendetta against dr. dobson. why the hate?

dr. dobson has done wonderful things for the marriages and families of the u.s. and the world for years.


Streak said...

Volfan, don't ask such stupid questions. I don't hate Dobson. I don't respect him. Nor do I respect people like you who blindly follow him. If you read anything, you would see what a thug he is.

volfan007 said...

a thug? dr. dobson? lol streak, you obviously dont know what a thug is if you are calling dr. dobson a thug. lol


Streak said...

Actually, Volfan (though like every thing I tell you, I know this is wasted) but I didn't originate that term for him. A Republican and Christian (Dick Armey) referred to him as a thug. Obviously in the political sense, but it certainly holds true. If you read anything, you might remember when Dobson threatened Evangelicals who wanted to address global warming. He has acted as a political kingmaker, and sees himself above reproach (you can look that word up). Remember, he had that cozy little interview with Ann Coulter where the two of them laughed about torture. Such a Christian thing to do, isn't it?

volfan007 said...


dr. dobson is a fine christian man who stands for what he believes to be right....just like you do. there's nothing thuggish about that.


Streak said...

Thanks for ignoring me, yet again, Volfan.

I think you might be the perfect fundamentalist. Facts mean nothing to you, and never cause you to reconsider anything. Tony points out how wrong you are on usury, yet you just ignore. I point out that Dobson has done some very UnChristian things and stands for things that Christ himself would not--you ignore.

Perfect fundamentalist. Historical evidence; scientific evidence; hell, just factual evidence means nothing to you.