Synopses & Reviews
For years Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.
Award-winning author N. T. Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright, who is one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.
Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation—and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection—the church cannot stop at "saving souls" but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.
Lively and accessible, this book will surprise and excite all who are interested in the meaning of life, not only after death but before it.
"Wright, one of the greatest, and certainly most prolific, Bible scholars in the world, will touch a nerve with this book. What happens when we die? How should we think about heaven, hell, purgatory and eternal life? Wright critiques the views of heaven that have become regnant in Western culture, especially the assumption of the continuance of the soul after death in a sort of blissful non-bodily existence. This is simply not Christian teaching, Wright insists. The New Testament's clear witness is to the resurrection of the body, not the migration of the soul. And not right away, but only when Jesus returns in judgment and glory. The 'paradise,' the experience of being 'with Christ' spoken of occasionally in the scriptures, is a period of waiting for this return. But Christian teaching of life after death should really be an emphasis on 'life after life after death'-the resurrection of the body, which is also the ground for all faithful political action, as the last part of this book argues. Wright's prose is as accessible as it is learned-an increasingly rare combination. No one can doubt his erudition or the greatness of the churchmanship of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. One wonders, however, at the regular citation of his own previous work. And no other scholar can get away so cleanly with continuing to propagate the 'hellenization thesis,' by which the early church is eventually polluted by contaminating Greek philosophical influence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The award-winning author and premier New Testament scholar tackles the idea of what happens after we die and shows how most Christians get it wrong and the difference it makes.
In Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, top-selling author and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright tackles the biblical question of what happens after we die and shows how most Christians get it wrong. We do not “go to” heaven; we are resurrected and heaven comes down to earth--a difference that makes all of the difference to how we live on earth. Following N.T. Wrights resonant exploration of a life of faith in Simply Christian, the award-winning author whom Newsweek calls “the worlds leading New Testament scholar” takes on one of lifes most controversial topics, a matter of life, death, spirituality, and survival for everyone living in the world today.
About the Author
N. T. Wright is the former bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of Surprised by Scripture, The Case for the Psalms, How God Became King, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God, The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as being the translator for The Kingdom New Testament.