Repent and Believe (or Let Go of Your Agenda)

I have been reading some of N.T. Wright’s The Challenge of Jesus and also What Saint Paul Really Said and I must say, I am quite amazed and challenged all at the same time. Wright provides in his books clear, readable scholarship intertwined with a faith that is heavily pastoral in nature. In his book on the historical Jesus, Wright argues that the phrase ‘Repent and Believe’ , which Jesus used all so often with his listeners, was not as much a call to ethical and religious behavior as it was to an abandonment of personal, social, and political agendas. Jesus was calling Israel to be the true salt and light to the world and now was the time for this to happen.

For me, this was like a breath of fresh air. For so long I have wanted a scholar to pin-point Jesus’ Jewish roots as well as paint him as a leader of a new sort of community. E.P. Sanders’ books helped me see Jesus’ true Jewishness but failed to display a Jesus that I thought was real. Wright has filled in some of these gaps for me and I am grateful for that. If you get the chance, read some N.T. Wright. Beware, he will poke and prod where you might not feel comfortable but in the end, his writing helps those who are tryinf to follow God in the way of Christ. Take Care Guys…

P.S. Josh, I owe you a post on Murphy’s third way between immanence and intervention, it is coming soon I promise!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Repent and Believe (or Let Go of Your Agenda)

  1. you should try blogging everyday for 7 days, starting now, ill give you a cookie

  2. Dan-

    Is “What Saint Paul Really Said”, part of that new perspective on Paul that you were talking about?

    Why do you think it is important to see Jesus in both these lights, both as a the leader of this new community and as a Jew? Is it that it makes Jesus more tangible as a person? Or is there something else that you think is significantly important?

    I know that being able to see the direct connection between history and the Bible, outside of itself, has helped me to make Christianity a reality. Seeing Rome made something click.

    -Della

    Better get back to the paper I’m supposed to be writing.

  3. Della-
    For me at least, Jesus’ ‘Jewishness’ is important to see who he was in history and in his social and religious context. I believe that most of what he said references old prophetic writing. Also, Wright has helped me see that many of the parables were used as cryptic messages of what it meant to be the true Israel and how to live as God’s people. Ironically, I think this has helped me see where there might be a link between Jesus and the NT communities that were starting after his death and resurrection. I think early Christians, Jew or Greek, had a better idea on what it meant to be Israel than we do today. Ultimately, my questions come out of a desire to find how a first century Jewish messiah (which was unique to Judaism) impacted Greek and Roman thinking gentiles. It is a complex question.

    While “What Saint Paul Really Said” does mention the new perspective, it is rather short and I think he argues for it in more detail in his more scholarly and lengthy books. Thanks for the question.–>

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