Title – Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes it Good
Author – N. T. Wright
Publisher – New York: HarperCollins, 2015
I read this book before Easter. Wright always has a way of heightening my faith and wonder over the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not simply a spiritual metaphor but a living, physical reality. And in so thoroughly establishing Christ’s resurrection, Wright does the best job in communicating to me the vibrant link of heaven and earth.
“The resurrection of Jesus is the launching of God’s new world” (99).
“The resurrection declared that Jesus was not the ordinary sort of political king, a rebel leader that some had supposed. He was the leader of a far larger, more radical revolution than anyone had ever supposed. He was inaugurating a whole new world, a new creation, a new way of being human. He was forging a way into a new cosmos, a new era, a form of existence hinted all along but never before unveiled. Here it is, he was saying. This is the new creation you’ve been waiting for. It is open for business. Come and join in.” (100-101).
The author gives to you the good news. He emphasizes that it is not moral advice.
In characteristic form, N.T. Wright reveals that he is not (1) an inerrantist concerning scripture, (2) disapproves of six day literal creationism, (3) declares the dispensational fundamentalist’s belief in the rapture as harmful, and (4) considers “the satan” as synonymous with “the dark quasi-personal”.
He clarifies his view on the penal substitutionary atonement. “We note, by the way, that though Paul very clearly sees Jesus’ death here as both penal (this was a judicial sentence) and substitutionary (Jesus dies, therefore we do not die), he does not say that God punished Jesus. That would be an oversimplification, and it lends itself to distortion. Stick with the big picture. On the cross, God passed the sentence of death on evil itself” (45-46).
In past days, some rather hefty critiques have been written in rebuking Wright over his position on the penal substitutionary atonement made by Jesus Christ. Wright would claim this fact — Jesus did die in our place. But Wright will persistently argue that the idea of the Father exerting wrath upon the Son is rooted in paganism. Outside of a trinitarian monotheism, it could appear so.
But I simply disagree. The concepts of justice against sin and love for the sinner interlock with each other through the greatest news to ever shake humanity.
What Jesus did on our behalf — it is indeed the sun bursting through the shudders and curtains of our candlelit rooms. The good news changes everything.