Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Tom Wright interview

Jenee Woodard mentions this on Textweek. It's just published in Christianity Today:

The Dick Staub Interview: Tom Wright's Theology for Everyone
The author of the Christian Origins and the Question of God series is also writing a theology series for the masses.

Reflections on disseminating one's theology to clergy rather than undergraduates (Tom was clearly teaching at the wrong Oxford college):
One of the reasons that I left the academy some years ago and went into full-time work in the church instead was that I found I was getting more of a buzz myself out of meeting clergy who were at the [coal] face, if you like, than simply teaching undergraduates who wanted to know "How soon can we finish this tutorial and then I can get off and play tennis?"
Getting political:
I've sometimes heard Americans say we don't understand kingdom because we live in a democracy, and it's you Brits who have a king.

That's a very shallow analysis because I know America got rid of kings when they booted George III out 230 years ago, but in terms of today's world, when you look around and say, who in today's world has the kind of authority and the kind of empire that George III had, the answer is George II, your current president. You actually have something much more akin to the sort of monarchy that we had then, even though it's democratically elected.
On resurrection and life after death:
What the New Testament is on about is what I call "life after life after death." That is, resurrection life after whatever state we go into after death. The New Testament teaches a two-stage post-mortem eschatology. And it goes on and on about resurrection and says very little about the intermediate state, which we can call heaven if we like. It's very interesting that so much Western Christianity has focused on the intermediate state so much that it's forgotten that there is an ultimate resurrection. It thinks that heaven is all there is.
On homosexuality:
The question is more, when you do the serious historical work and discover what the early Christians thought about why God gave us the gift of sexuality in the first place, and how it reflects who we are as human beings, then the question is more, "Did they know anything about the issues that we face? And if they did, do we have to do what they say?"

It would be a more intellectually authentic position to say, the New Testament says that homosexual practice is not what Christians ought to engage in but I disagree for these reasons. I can understand that position. I can't actually understand a position which says the New Testament is either silent or open on the subject because, frankly, it isn't.

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