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N.T. Wright’s “Simply Good News” A Must Read

Harper Collins

Russell E. Saltzman - published on 03/04/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Wright assesses the reliability of the scriptural witness, especially surrounding the resurrection. As he did in The Resurrection of the Son of God — but with far fewer words — he manages to convey the utterly shattering surprise of the resurrection. What the people around Jesus most expected of him, turned out to be absolutely unexpected. The resurrection of Jesus, simply, “set[s] a new standard for our understanding of the way the world is.” Without the resurrection we’d be talking — if we were talking at all — about just another Jew done to death by the goyim. But the entire business of “good news” spins what is “real” off to something “more real.”

In later chapters Wright dissects “Distorted and Competing Gospels” — rationalism, Enlightenment materialism, and modernity. All these movements have their place but they each squeeze the Good News down to little more than private spirituality imposed by Western secularity. 

His final chapter, “Praying the Good News,” is a provocative and, paradoxically, truly soothing series of brief meditations on the Our Father from the view of the Good News.

Who should read this book? Fans of Wright will want to grab it, of course. He reiterates themes he has previously addressed while still finding a fresh perspective. For anyone new to Wright’s work, this is a good place to begin. The theology is readily accessible, his analogies are clear, and the prose is reader-friendly. Oh, and pastors stuck preaching four-point instruction guides on how to defeat the devil (hint, Jesus already did it) will surely find new avenues for their homilitical efforts. 

Russell E. Saltzman is a web columnist for First Things magazine. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and can be reached at russell.e.saltzman@gmail.com. His latest book is Speaking of the Dead.

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