I have just finished N.T. Wright’s The Last Word, and I must say, the man impresses me every time he writes a book. A couple of friends from OKC came to visit me this past weekend and we got to discuss the Bishop, his books, and his theology. One of the reasons I am impressed by Dr. Wright is that he lives in tension. What I mean by this is that Wright lives between the world of the church and the world of academia, and is respected by both and challenges both to listen to the other’s side. He does not usually accept the standard claims of either one but seeks to find a way in which both can be in constant dialogue and live with integrity.
Another reason I appreciate him is becuase he makes his points with allegorical stories that illustrate his ideas coherantly. Not since C.S. Lewis have I read someone who can develop and explain theological and philosophical theories and correlate it with little stories that help the reader understand them. Here is an excerpt from his last book concerning the contemporary bible wars:
“The phrase ‘authority of scripture’ is shorthand for the ‘authority of the triune God, excercised through scripture’….Shorthands, in other words, are useful in the same way that suitcases are. They enable us to pick up lots of complicated things and carry them around all together. But we should never forget that the point of doing so, like the point of carrying belongings in a suitcase, is that what has been packed away can then be unpacked and put to use in the new location. Too much debate about scriptural authority has had the form of people hitting one another with locked suitcases.” (Wright, pgs. 23-25)
Do you see what I mean? Fantastic.