NT Wright declaring only the fashionable part of the truth?

NT Wright being a prat

The ‘true truth’ is non-violent. Really? Jesus’ assault on the money changers challenges that statement, as does the image of him in Rev 19:

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”

That final verse is a quote from Ps 2 which says:

Ask me,

and I will make the nations your inheritance,

the ends of the earth your possession.

You will break them with a rod of iron;

you will dash them to pieces like pottery.

And even in the New Testament we have the story God taking it out on a ruler (Acts 12)

Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

So what do we make of a leading theologian coming up with this phrasing? He’s right to some extent – God’s way FOR NOW is not to have Christians use force to impose their way of living. However this is easily heard as suggesting that this is God’s only game plan, which leaves Christians looking absurdly unrealistic. This is not healthy for the effectiveness of our evangelism, and we surely need to resist soggy quotes that give the world the wrong impression about our God. Too often what they hear is: ‘It doesn’t matter how you live, but you might find God helpful’. Paul, addressing the dilettantes of Athens offers: ‘“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17)

Of course the former is a lot more comfortable to be preaching!


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