Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Article excerpt

SURPRISED BY HOPE: RETHINKING HEAVEN, THE RESURRECTION, AND THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH. Nicholas Thomas Wright, Harper Collins, New York, 2008. Pp. 332, Hardback. $24.99- ISBN 978-0-06-155182-6.

Wright hopes to connect the future hope of salvation and eternal life to contemporary life. What is Weight's theological surprise? Instead of aiming for an existence in some unearthly realm qua heaven, Christians are due for a future resurrection and can begin to live like people with new life in the present. Wright asserts that a new focus on the resurrection is important to overcome such problems as (a) the unbiblical belief that people go to heaven when they die, (b) alternative beliefs of life after death such a reincarnation or some sort of ghostly existence, and (c) the lessened preaching about hell in recent decades. Wright closes the four chapters of Part One with an emphasis on the importance of Easter and a call to establish the physical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as the ground of hope for all believers.

In Part Two (chapters 5-11), Wright lays out God's future plan after arguing, based on examples of destructive human acts in the past century, that secular hopes in evolutionary progress are erroneous. In addition, he argues against recent teaching of an airlift-rapture in favor of a focus on Jesus' return to earth and the completion of a new creation. Wright considers the downside of those without faith. Rather than speculating on the nature of hell, he opines that people who are not aligned with God reflect the idols they worship: notably, money, sex, and power.

The final chapters (Part Three: chapters 12-15) address the practical implications of hope. …

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