N.T. Wright: The Gospels Have Been Taken Too Lightly

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By Chris Strong, CP Contributor
January 26, 2012|7:42 pm

N.T. Wright stormed the gates of Calvin College in Michigan to deliver the message that the Gospels have been taken too lightly.

The renowned theologian was the final speaker of Calvin College's annual January Series on Tuesday, and drew an overflowing crowd of 1,400 people.

"The upshot of the talk was to say that for too long Jesus' life has been skipped. In terms of faith, we treat the Gospel stories too lightly," Scott Hoezee, the director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin College, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. "We cannot understand the Gospels overall arch and its details unless we understand that it's a continuation of Israel's story."

Most of Wright's talk was about his upcoming book, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. Western Christianity has squeezed between faith based on incarnation and the cross. Wright argues that the current understanding of Jesus is connected with what we, as individuals, know to be true about him.

"He conveyed a clear message and was very thorough and to the point," Hoezee said, "Basically the Gospels work like a quadraphonic system where each speaker would play a different musical instrument, all turned up to hear the full volume of the Gospels."

Wright compares the Gospels to that of listening to a symphony – no one Gospel can be turned down otherwise everything sounds unclear, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

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Two Gospels have had the volume turned up way too loud, while the other two have been played too softly, according to Wright.

"Heard in full sound, the Gospels tell about the establishment of a theocracy, and portray what theocracy looks like with Jesus as king," Wright states, according to The Grand Rapids Press. "The body of the texts – the parts between Jesus' birth and death – present an entire agenda for renewed humanity."

The question of Jesus' divinity also surfaced as Wright compared Jesus to a social worker, one that is kind and caring to all he loves, saying that orthodox Christians don't want Jesus to come with any baggage.

"While some who downplay Christ's divinity have imagined Jesus as a great social worker 'being kind to old ladies, small dogs and little children,' orthodox Christianity has not wanted Jesus to have a political message," Wright said.

"He overemphasized the fact that Jesus' divinity, the way he lived his life comes into question, was it truly divine?" Hoezee told CP. "It's hard to understand when the picture isn't clear."

Calvin College begins its annual Worship Symposium this week, marking their 25th Anniversary hosting the event that includes full worship services and over 150 international guests from 30 different countries, including N.T. Wright.

 

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