“Simply Christian” by Tom Wright.

“Nobody was expecting anyone, least of all a Messiah, to rise from the dead. A crucified Messiah was a failed Messiah. When Simeon ben Kosiba was killed by the Romans in AD 135, nobody went around afterwards saying he really was the Messiah after all,…” (p.96)

This book was lent to me by my local priest who recommended it when I told him that I was reading the Holy Bible.

After I was done reading the scriptures in its entirety (which took me over a year), I ventured into Wright’s work, which is a very straightforward and easy read.

The book is very enjoyable and explains Christianity and what it really is and what it really means.

Nothing beats having the source material though and it is vital to always keep in mind that the Bible is the number one “document” or more fittingly “Testament,” to which believers are to stay true.

“Once we glimpse this vision of the Holy Spirit coming to live within human beings, …” (p.111)

I therefore recommend people who are either turning to Christianity or becoming practising Christians to actually read the Holy Bible rather than not reading at all, or only reading Church approved interpretations of the Holy works.

It is not an easy undertaking reading the scriptures, because a lot of the Old Testament make for repetitive reading, but it is worth it due to those parts that aren’t, and especially since it exposes you to all of that which is normally excluded from pop-culture and mainstream Church services. It is quite staggering how much that has been left out and how limited modern Christianity is when it comes to what it quotes….

I’ve written before that I was going to review the New and Old Testament, and that I’m working on a very long entry for the Old, this is all true, but I wanted to read what our priest had recommended first.

I’m glad that I did because there were certain aspects of the Christian faith that I hadn’t quite figured out, such as “God-time,” meaning that the past, present and future isn’t linear when dealing with God.

“Somehow, God’s dimension and our dimension, heaven and earth, overlap and interlock.” (p.110)

I choose to start my Testament reviews with “Simply Christian” so that others too can read and enjoy this work, hopefully avoiding misconceptions and confusion. My reviews of the Old and the New Testament are based on my reading of the uncensored source text and is not based on politically correct, modern-Church approved, filtered, interpretations. I intend to address: slavery, the role of women, the fact that you should not rebel against your government, the early persecution of Christians, and the divisiveness that Jesus’ presence brings into this world, all of which is based on the Holy texts themselves, but aspects that modern-churchians and pop-culture never mention.

On that note it might be fitting to reveal that Wright’s work is not particularly politically correct, and that I was somewhat surprised that my local vicar would recommend something that must surely stand opposed to a great deal of what is being promoted within Church communities today.

“But setting it out in this way feels a bit like trying to describe my best friend by offering a biochemical analysis of his genetic makeup. It is important. Indeed, if he didn’t have that makeup he wouldn’t be the same person.” (p.154)

It was a relief that the book wasn’t filled with post-modernist falsities, yet there were some conclusions that Wright arrived at that puzzled me, and his digestible promotion of Christianity appears very mild, if re-visiting the New Testament after having read “Simply Christian.”

Wright concludes that global economic justice must be one of the many goals of Christians today but the Holy Bible itself states that: “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5 (8)

I’m also questioning the presence of female priests and authority figures within Northern European churches when it is explicitly said in 1 Timothy 2 (12) : “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” I guess it can be counter-argued that women are keeping the faith alive and that it is better with female priests than no priests.

I also think it is important to quote James 2 (17) & (26) since it is written that: “So faith by itself, if it has no works; is dead.” “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”

“You become like what you worship.” (p.127)

“How many times have I been grateful, faced with nightfalls both metaphorical and literal, for the old Anglican Collect which runs:

Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord;

and by thy great mercy

defend us from all perils and dangers of this night;

for the love of thy only Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.” (p.142)

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (p.144)

 

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