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Why do we expect justice? Why do we crave spirituality? Why are we attracted to beauty? Why are relationships often so painful? And how will the world be made right? These are not simply perennial questions all generations must struggle with, but, according to N. T. Wright, are the very echoes of a voice we dimly perceive but deeply long to hear. In fact, these questions take us to the heart of who God is and what He wants from us.
For two thousand years, Christianity has claimed to solve these mysteries, and this renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop shows that it still can today. Not since C. S. Lewis's classic summary of the faith, Mere Christianity, has such a wise and thorough scholar taken the time to explain to anyone who wants to know what Christianity really is and how it is practiced. Wright makes the case for Christian faith from the ground up, assuming that the reader has no knowledge of (and perhaps even some aversion to) religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Simply Christian walks the reader through the Christian faith step by step and question by question. With simple yet exciting and accessible prose, Wright challenges skeptics by offering explanations for even the toughest doubt-filled dilemmas, leaving believers with a reason for renewed faith. For anyone who wants to travel beyond the controversies that can obscure what the Christian faith really stands for, this simple book is the perfect vehicle for that journey.
- Simly Christian
We used this book in a study group at church. It was well received by the group and produced lots of discussion. N. T. Wright writes in a very interesting style....more info
- A brilliant but meanspirited mind
N.T. Wright is a powerful thinker, and he succeeds in framing orthodox evangelical Christianity in a way that makes it more accessible to postmodern seekers. However, his arguments are drenched in a kind of meanspiritedness and intolerance of other perspectives that makes it difficult to detect a truly Christian voice. Further, Wright makes constant use of an unconvincing rhetorical style: "Let's face it. We all know what the real story is; all this pretending that there are two potentially viable ways of looking at things is really just pretending. We all know the truth ... and it just happens to be what I believe in." ...more info
- Fantastic examination and analysis...but a bit broad
To start, I really enjoyed and like this book. I only had one major problem with the book but even that is relatively small and somewhat nit-picky: Wright moves on from topics a little too quickly.
N.T. Wright, as usual, provides us with another fantastic look at not only the message of Christ but, the logical deductions one can make from the gospel and the support for faith. While this is by no means a new topic Wright does an excellent job of keeping the issue fresh and fairly provocative.
While some other readers will argue that his tone and "voice" are condemning and rigid, I would have to disagree and say that Wright is a writer who feels obligated to present to the reader the "truth" as he sees it. And it is those individuals who best affect a reader, for good or bad (and Wright never came across as judgmental or spiritually "haughty," but maybe it's just me).
The book is a great examination of the Christian faith and will help old, new and unbelievers alike to take a first or fresh look at the story and message of Christ as it relates to the world we live in and the arguments for and against it.
As stated earlier, I felt Wright could have spent a few more pages fleshing out his ideas and arguments instead of merely counting on the fact that the reader would just automatically agree. Thus, I think he easily could have given more support for himself but simply didn't.
Much like Dallas Willard's "The Divine Conspiracy," this book presents the Christian faith with a shifted and fresh perspective in a way that the reader can really grab on to some intense concpets and really wrestle with the issue of faith, while being equipped to grow....more info
- way too much
this book was recommended, so i bought it. Wished I hadnt. Too much non-sense, and way too complicated for an otherwise "Simple" subject. I gave it to a intellectual friend of mine who said it was mindless rambling....more info
- Cloud-stuff, sadly . . . Cloud-stuff
Clouds look solid from a distance, but when you get up close you see that they are wispy, hazy.
So it is, sadly, with the Old and New Testaments.
There is simply no convincing archaeological evidence for the events it proclaims--the Exodus, Solomon's temple, the historical existence of David. Even the well-known Josephus passage about Jesus is now accepted by many scholars (maybe most) as being totally made-up, or certainly modified greatly by some Christian forger.
So what does this have to do with Wright's book? For centuries, Christian ministers have said that their religion is based on real events, and a real communication from God. It is different from philosophy, they said, because philosophy is based on the vanity of human reasoning, and has no historical realities to bolster it. Well, their religion is not based on real events, any more than the legends of King Arthur are based on real events. There appears to be an historical core reality to both King Arthur and biblical events, but both have been embellished, sometimes heavily. The supposedly solid ground under the Bible is spongy marshland. Can't God do better than this? What are we left with--doctrines established on myths? History turned into fable, much as St. Nicholas was turned into Santa Claus, with his elves and reindeer; or Arturius into King Arthur with his Camelot, noble knights, and the mysterious, Druidic Merlin?
Tom touches on the subject of biblical interpretation, but he touches it very lightly. He does not go into all the events that really did not occur as traditionally accepted, and which would seem, to me, to affect the veracity of the whole scheme.
That is why I am puzzled that he accepts "resurrection" literally. He does not stop with heaven; he says that God wants to re-unite people with their bodies in some future resurrection, and reclaim creation in the name of justice and beauty.
First: Paul is the earliest account we have of the resurrection of Jesus, and to him it was a highly individualistic event. There were no bodies to be felt, no appearings and disappearings--he saw a light, and heard a voice. Those around him, he says, saw the light and did not hear the voice, or heard the voice and did not see the light, depending on which account you read. But Paul's mystical vision concurs with the original mysterious ending of the book of Mark, which simply has a "young man" proclaim, to frightened women, that Jesus has arisen (there are no bodily encounters, angels rolling away tombstones, soldiers guarding the tomb, a gardener who is really the risen Jesus, etc. . . . and the women leave, still frightened).
Second: If Tom accepts the doctrine of resurrection literally, why not accept the Garden of Eden literally? What about the earthquake and darkness at the crucifixion, and the tearing of the temple curtain (for which surely there would be historical evidence, but sadly there is not.) What about the mysterious zombies that arose out of their graves at the crucifixion (Matt. 27: 52, 53. Only Matthew mentions this curious event).
Third: If God is so powerful, and acts in such ways, where is the evidence of it today? People are starved for such evidence. If the Spirit actually changes, heals and empowers people, I simply don't see it. Preachers like Tom will tell you to look at what the Church accomplished in South Africa, preventing bloodshed after apartheid was abandoned. Good enough, but what about South Africa today? If that is the work of the Holy Spirit--no thanks! Is the Holy Spirit or the church preventing the slaughter of the White farmers, or the rapes of the Black girls and even babies? Out of the frying pan and into . . . another frying pan. Ditto for the American and German Christians who tore each other to bits in the two World Wars.
People are starved for bread, but it must be the bread of truth. Tom seems like a good man, and I wish him well, but I have eaten of the fruit of the tree of biblical knowledge, so I cannot enter his sanctuary, even though I support many of his moral positions. ...more info
- Why "Simply Christian" is a "must read"
It presents a compelling case for Christianity without attempting to bully the reader (as C. S. Lewis often does in his essays) and without relying on all those "code words" that long-time Christians find familiar but others do not. This is the Gospel in plan English. Bravo!
It firmly insists that Christianity makes claims about history - that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, and that this resurrection is the central event in the story of God's re-creation of our fallen world.
It insists that Christians be active participants in the future unfolding of God's plan. We are each called to play a unique role in it.
It insists that there is a transcendent realm, another world, that can and does intersect or overlap with our own world, especially in sacraments, in worship, in Bible reading, and in prayer. Moreover, just as the temple was, for Jews in Jesus time, a place where heaven and earth overlapped, now we, as individual Christians, are called to be such places of overlap, where the light of Jesus shines through us.
It highlights the crucial importance of forgiveness. Just as God has forgiven us our sins, so are we to forgive others. The Lord's prayer is explicit on this point.
Becoming a Christian, Wright asserts, is not a matter or accepting certain improbable factual assertions, but rather a matter of trusting in God and accepting our role in unfolding his plan for the world.
Rather than being dissected, as in a laboratory, or treated merely as an instrument of historical or linguistic research, the Bible is in fact one of the principal ways in which God addresses us, to prepare us for our role in fulfilling his ultimate plans. It is another place where this world and God's world overlap. Current debates over "literal" versus "metaphorical" ways of reading scripture are, in Wright's view, counterproductive. The Bible eludes these simplistic categories, which should be abandoned.
At its core, then, the "faith" to which the Bible calls us is essentially trusting in a God who has revealed himself in history, who has begun, through Jesus' death and resurrection, to redeem the world and transform it into his kingdom, who invites us into to an intimate relationship with him, who demands that we become all that we were created and meant to be, who forgives us when we fall short of that mark, and who invites us to play a significant role in moving forward his plan for the world. For Wright, Christian faith is not just a matter of spiritual feelings that are quite independent of what we say and do. It makes demands upon us that can only be met in the realm of thought and behavior.
As C. S. Lewis did in his fiction, "Simply Christian" persuasively invites its readers to recognize that there is a transcendent reality that impinges on our ordinary world, that the God who rules this realm has made himself known in history and continues to do so, that we are part of his plan to renew his creation, and, consequently, that what we think and do has cosmic significance.
- solid writing, solid thinking
N. T. Wright ably represents mainline Christianity in this 21st century restatement of the basic, essential and commonly held tenets of the Christian faith. Unlike most current Christian best sellers he doesn't shy away from a commitment to social justice, and he emphasizes the importance of the faith journey as a communal endeavor instead of just "me and Jesus." It is a needed corrective to much of the drivel that has passed for Christain writing in the post C. S. Lewis era.
While the Lewis comparisons are a bit of a stretch with regard to writing style and communication ability, he does a great job of bringing the best of current Christian thought to the popular reader. Highly recommend. ...more info
- Reads like a first draft from a mediocre mind
Wright is sometimes blind to the implications of his own statements. He uses a water-in-the-pipes analogy to talk about how, supposedly, since about 1780, religion has been compartmentalized and filtered to us through some human authority. At which point I say, "Do ya mean, like the CHURCH?" In other words, he has it exactly wrong. It was the Romantic Age (which began around 1780) that got Christianity all the way out of the pipes (the Reformation of course had started the process), that broke down the compartmentalization, that at last took seriously the idea that the kingdom is in each individual, each moment, each space.
After the first section, the writing improves and the points become more convincing. I argue with him sometimes, agree at others. And I learn things about Christian history: history is his strong point, it seems; persuasive writing isn't.
Overall, I'm afraid I can't imagine anyone being drawn to Christianity by the book. (Contrast Mere Christianity.) Wright is too vague, too touchy-feely (until he finally brings in sin and salvation late), too focused on changing the outward circumstances of the world. When he focuses on those circumstances, it's hard to take seriously the idea that Christ brought anything new; the world in general is just as messed up as it has always been; God still waits till things are at their worst to do anything, and even then He sometimes doesn't. He reminds me of the person who in one prayer will pray for someone who just lost a relative in a traffic accident and then pray for traveling mercies for someone else.
The idea that Christ changes the inner life (and therefore changes the world in small ways, from neighbor to neighbor) and redeems us for the next life is much more convincing to me. Wright talks about these lives some, but I think he is too much focused on circumstances and the ability of our redeemed humanness to change them. I think here of Voltaire in Candide, and of Rilke in his letters, both arguing that intervention in the world is presumptuous and more likely to mess up people's lives than to improve them. They overstate, but they might be closer to right than Wright is.
Wright's de-emphasis of the next life runs contrary to the emphases of the New Testament; you might even say that Wright flirts with what I have just decided to call the "Palm Sunday mistake," the idea that Jesus was a King who would defeat the enemies of the Jews (i.e. would change the Jews' outward circumstances) rather than a King who would transform each person's inner life and give each redeemed person a place in a mansion in the next.
When he gets into Christian practice, I think he makes a decent defense of the basis of worship (God as creator and redeemer) but not of its effect (he claims that it transforms us, but he doesn't support the claim with logic or evidence) and so not of its importance to the Christian life. He also goes from being vague to being specific in an arbitrary way: the stuff about reading Scripture during a service, with at least one passage from the OT. It's just all too sad and predictable that at this point in Christian history (when there is an almost "frenzied pagans in a temple" mania for worship) the first Christian practice he would mention would be worship, as if loving God with our mouths and rituals were more important than loving Him with our minds and actions.
As an addendum, I'll mention three moments in the book that amused me and that illustrate why I say it reads like a rough draft:
1. Wright compares the history of Israel to a Wagnerian leitmotif. Does he really not know that Wagner was an explicit anti-Semite; he wrote at least one book about how Jews degraded the purity of German culture; he was one of the inventors of the idea of an Aryan super-race. His music has been unofficially banned in modern Israel since 1948.
2. The reference to how "Worthy is the lamb" is like a great oratorio. I don't think Wright is winking at his reader here; I think he has forgotten that the greatest oratorio ends with Handel's setting of those words.
3. The declaration that in the new kingdom on earth followers of Christ will be in charge. In charge of whom? Who else is there? Does this mean he believes that souls other than followers of Christ will be there? Since he eventually writes about sin and salvation but never quite gets to necessary atonement, it's hard to tell.
- A modern day CS Lewis
N.T. Wright is is a renowned New Testament scholar. Though he has written extensively for academia, he is also a great speaker and preacher. And he has a sincere calling to interpret Christian faith to the modern world, to those who have drifted away, to those who might be dubious. This book is an engaging conversation about the essentials of Christianity - our passion for God, justice, and hope, God's long engagement with us and the world, the gift of Jesus, the presence of the Spirit, and our life in realtionship and in service with God. This book is thoughtful, easy to read, and promotes honest reflection and discussion. It is a gracious explication of Christian faith for these complex times....more info
- Fresh look at Christianity
Wow, another great book from N. T. Wright. This has to be the book of the year for 2006. This is a great book for anyone looking to defend or learn more about Christianity. He deals with two world views that are false throughout the book. One is pantheism or the idea that God is everywhere and in everything or is everything and the other view is deism. Deism is the idea that God created the world but stays distant to it and does not even dream of getting involved in it affairs. He sees the latter as being the idea of God behind left behind type of theology that sees to goal of Christianity as being getting people saved to get them out of this world. Wright's view makes better sense of God and the world. In Wright's view heaven overlaps and interlocks with Earth and is not distant from it and neither is God in everything. The world was created good and became distorted by Adam and Eve's or humanities disobedience. God went to work to restore his good creation by calling Abraham. His seed was to be the means by which the world was put back to rights. The story of the nation of Israel includes slavery, Exodus; judges and kings, tabernacles and Temples being built; disobedience through injustice and idoloatry and all kinds of uncleaness brought about exile. The prophets then came an promised return from Exile. Jesus brings the story of Israel to it climax and brings about New Creation through resurrection. Wright works through this story like nobody else can and then in he end acts as a pastor when it comes to coaching on such things as prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, and sacraments. This is a book that should be read by everyone. It is destined to be a classic. ...more info
- Engaging the question of contemporary culture and church
NT successfully writes a book that address culture and church at the same time, highlighting what he considers to capture the simplicity of our Christian faith as well as opening the door for future conversations among believers and non-believers.
I appreciate his use of metaphor, his clarity and his ability to reframe ongoing arguments in new ways that help us think in ways that integrate the real world story of the gospel with our real world practice....more info
- Why? Where's the Raison d'etre?
N. T. Wright is a gifted essayist and his apologetics is among the very best. But stating the central doctrines of Jesus and Saint Paul, while useful for those who cannot focus on biblical texts, also misses the point. Preaching to the choir, like C. S. Lewis, does not serve his thesis: Why Christianity makes sense. In fact, Christianity does not make sense, which is why the Latin Father Tertullian called Christianity "absurd." A Transcendent Persona, an Incarnate Persona, and Immanence (non-persona) are mutually exclusive, and thus the Trinity is absurd. How does it make sense?
The teachings of Jesus, the Uber-Subversive of both Jewish and Greco-Roman perspectives, inverts the political, moral, and aesthetic world order, where the Virgin's Magnificat is held out for the final subversion: "To dethrone the powerful, and exalt the lowly." Like all discontents, Jesus seeks to overthrow the natural world order by devaluing the present world for the world to come. He overthrows the legalism of his ancestors, and he repudiates Greek virtues of justice, courage, prudence, and temperance for injustice (turn the other cheek), meekness, abandoning family and wealth, and asceticism. Jesus's institution of the Eucharist is literally cannibalism and vampirism, which caused alienation among his disciples for violating the dietary laws of the Levitical Code of Holiness.
Jesus is the Uber-Loser who seeks to overthrow the powers that rule, from Caesar to Mammon to Sanhedrin to the Law, to instantiate the "spirit" and the "kingdom." Saint Paul follows and cannot avoid his own legalisms, seems to preach values that often conflict with Jesus's, and is a Platonic Jew as much as he is a Christian. Sex, food, clothing, happiness, joy, pride, virtue, etc. are all depreciated, since God's Chosen have been predestined to salvation, at once pawns in a cosmic game, at the other ordered to work out one's salvation in fear and trembling.
Why does this make sense? Why would a "jealous, possessive, wrathful, capricious" deity make humans in "their" image, yet punish them for learning the difference between good and evil from the Tree of Life? Why would this same deity abandon his righteous servants Moses, Job, and Jesus, but then save the Divinely Elected? Original sin, total depravity, crucifixion and resurrection, ascension, turning water into wine, healing the mentally ill, raising the dead, Virgin birth, eschatological parousia, the kingdom, hating families, are not values one normally associates with "goodness," but of elites who believe blindly, repent, and get salvation, but only if the judgment is fair, and Yahweh's judgments are rarely fair or equitable.
Absurdities never make sense, and Tertullian nailed it with his observation. Thus, an apologist needs to give reasons why he believes Christianity make sense, not just assert it, because most of Christianity makes no sense, as one absurdity follows another, and the natural, moral, and political orders are deliberately inverted. Why? Wright never answers....more info
- A classic in the making
This was a wonderful book. The insights of the author were deep and encouraging. The book certainly would strengthen someone's faith. He deals with most of the common ideas of Christianity, such as worship, belief, transformation, but is not "out there" is his ideas. In fact, his ideas are fresh, without being strange. This is a great read with great insights. Certainly a book most people would enjoy and benefit from....more info
- The C.S. Lewis comparisons? But it's a good book.
I must agree with some of the other reviewers that the C.S. Lewis comparisons are a bit much. Nonetheless, Simply Christian is a delightful book, and likely one I will return to now and again....more info
- A must read
Wonderful book. Should be read by every thoughtful person who SERIOUSLY seeks meaning and purpose in this life....more info
- You Will Like It
Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright is an easy to read, clear, thought-provoking book. The book presents a convincing case for Christianity. The book reinforces Jesus' teachings, His life, death and resurrection. Wright stresses the importance of forgiveness through Jesus' teachings and the love of our neighbor. It will deepen your grasp of the Christian faith.
After you read this book it may be a good time to consider reading my book entitled "The Enlightenment, What God Told Me After One Million Prayers, a Message for Everyone" (See Profile Above)
- An Echo of the Still Small Voice
N. T. Wright entices readers to listen to the still small voice in their soul speaking of justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty. His premise emphasizes that these four voices have simply one logical uncaused cause: God who created us in His image. Wright introduces these voices in section one, explains them further in section two, then discusses their implications in section three. While not an easy read, readers with a philosophical bent will be challenged to reconsider the nature of the soul and Who that nature points toward.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Soul Physicians, and Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care And Spiritual Direction....more info
- Simply Christian
Excellent presentation along with an easy to understand
approach to Christianity. Thank you, Charlene Mikkelsen, author of Wild Flowers Are Forever....more info
- It's that simple?
If this guy has such a wonderful ability to explain the complex simply, why don't the reviewers manage to say what his main point is?...more info
- a good beginning
"My aim," writes N.T. Wright, "has been to describe what Christianity is all about, both to commend it to those outside the faith and to explain it to those inside." To do this he adopts a three-part structure. In part one, which if this were a technical book would be called natural theology, Wright examines human experience and argues that most all people experience four "echoes of a voice." He devotes one chapter to each of these four echoes--the longing for justice, the quest for spirituality, the hunger for relationships, and the delight in beauty. These voices, he believes, "point beyond themselves," and of course he argues that they point to (but by no means prove) a Creator. In the second part Wright introduces the "central Christian belief about God," with two chapters each on the Father, Son, and Spirit. Part three then "describes what it looks like in practice to follow this Jesus," with treatments of worship, prayer, the Bible, and church.
Throughout his book Wright emphasizes that the Gospel is the kingdom of God, where heaven comes down to earth, and God's future invades our present. God invites us to receive this free grace and gift, and also sends us into the world to make it a reality. Thus, we are "not simply beneficiaries but also agents." Wright has written a simple book that avoids technical jargon. There are no footnotes at all, relatively few Scripture quotations, no mention of figures from church history, and the avoidance of controversial subjects like universalism or the claims of other religions. Nor does he try to refute objections or contrary positions (except for an extended use of pantheism and deism as alternate world views). You will not find a defense of miracles or a response to the problem of evil. I read Wright's book as more of a confession than a rational apologetic. In that sense it reminded me of Philip's words to Nathaniel in John 1:46, "come and see." For the heavy lifting of a lifetime of discipleship you will need to read other, more critical treatments of the faith, but for an uncluttered and winsome introduction, Simply Christians is a good beginning by a trustworthy guide. ...more info
- The C.S. Lewis comparisons are a bit of a stretch...
Simply Christian may seek to benefit from it's titular similarity to Mere Christianity and it, too, may seek to inform or remind it's readership of Christianity's core tenets, but any further claims of resemblance to C.S. Lewis' sublime talents of clarity and simplicity are, quite frankly, overwrought. I find Chesterton's Orthodoxy closer in intent, if not style, yet one needn't aim so high for comparisons in an effort to give N.T. Wright his due. He is no C.S. Lewis, no G.K. Chesterton, but, then, to craft a book worthy of our attention, he doesn't have to be.
I found myself alternately confirming that which I already suspect and affirming that which I already know as I sailed through Wright's decidedly non-technical approach to theology. His focus on the mission of Jesus and the Church was particularly engaging, as were his foundational aspects of justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty, though I yearned for him to explore these further. Simply Christian, like other books of it's class, does not seek to convert, but to educate, and it is the emphasis of the latter over the former that makes them so very effective. This is the first of Wright's books that I've read, but it won't be the last. He possesses talents of his own which easily establish him as a teacher of considerable value. 4 stars.
- Wright at his best
N.T. Wright does it again. He's brilliant. Literally the most brilliant theologian of all time. I put him up there with the "greats". And he's still living. If you haven't read any of his works . . . then you're missing out. This is by far his most accessible books. While I have read and love most of his other works, I would never recommend them to anyone because they are basically for theology nerds. Extremely wordy. Extremely heavy. Extremely weighty. One of his books took me over 8 months to read. And I was reading from it 3 to 4 times a week. This book isn't like that. I read it in 4 days. It's great. If you ever wanted to know "my theology" . . . why I believe what I believe . . . or what I believe . . . this is it. I know most of my friends and family think I'm a raging heretic (maybe so?) . . . but this book explains my theology better than I could. A lot of people are comparing it Mere Christianity. While I wouldn't compare the style to it . . . I think it has the potential to be that vital in scope. It's a breath of fresh air. And really, really good....more info
- Excellent Book
N.T. Wright provides a powerful work in the spirit of C.S. Lewis's classic Mere Christianity. For all of those who, like me, enjoy Lewis, Wright offers a more comprehensive and biblically consistent tour of Christian ideas.
He begins by identifying four things that make us suspect that this world is not all that there is. Our desire for justice, quest for spirituality, hunger for relationships, and love of beauty all leave us seeking something that we have never actually seen. In fact, we find it hard to express what we are seeking.
Wright then proceeds to unfold the story of Christianity and shows how it promises to fulfill these four desires and so much more. His presentation is necessarily brief and he is honest enough to admit his own limitations. But a thoughtful reader may find that Wright's presentation of Christianity builds a framework by which virtually all of our questions about life have real answers (if sometimes incomplete).
By the end of the book, Wright shows how the Christian story invites people to join in God's New Creation, which He has promised and ratified through the resurrection of Jesus. The implications of this New Creation are staggering and sometimes demand a complete rethinking of life.
It's worth it....more info
- Rich and insightful, but silent on personal sin and God's judgment
I found Tom Wrights book fresh and insightful. It is refreshing in the way it is filled with new and insightful metaphors and parables. It is rich in the way it traces theological themes instead of citing a few proof texts. It is insightful by describing the "echoes" that are such a profound part of humanity: the thirst for justice, beauty, spirituality, and meaningful human relationships that find powerful meaning in Christianity. He avoids clich¨¦ conclusions and evangelical jargon.
My one concern is not so much what Wrights says, but what he doesn't say. God's goodness, life, mercy and grace are discussed, but the backdrop of personal sin and guilt is gone. The book says little about the problem of human sin (the Bible seems to treat it as a deeper problem than just "not living up to our real `humanness'") and even less on the wrath and judgment of God. Surely these are sensitive subjects, and I am not looking for a book that proudly presses such realities into the face of those discovering Christianity. Yet these very truths-- their staggering reality and complexity in the face of a world that mocks the idea of a God of wrath-- are precisely why I want to better understand how Christianity makes sense. Certainly the great story of the Bible and the truth it contains makes less sense, not more, if the gravity of sin and judgment are quietly dismissed. One who read the book should remember that the Exodus story for the people ended in judgment--one in the wilderness and one that cast them into exile. The prophets warned but the people refused to listen. Judgment did not end at with Jesus, it moved to a new level. Now God will perform all judgment--the one that is greater and more searching-- through the Son (John 5:22, Acts 17:31, 2 Cor 5:10, Rev 14:7). To miss this is to miss that behind the Lamb that was slain is the Lion who will be vindicated. ...more info
- Simply Amazing
This book is in the tradition of books such as C.S Lewis' Mere Christianity in providing a synopsis of Christianity which attempts to describe "why Christianity makes sense" as the answer to the deep questions of the human soul, the longing for justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty. It begins by looking at the human condition in general, and how these universal longings may be "echoes of a voice" that speaks to us and within us of something even more foundational. Wright then goes on to demonstrate how the Christian God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is in fact the answer, the voice of which these longings are but weak echoes. He summarises the Biblical narrative which reaches it's climax in Jesus, and helps us see our place in the continuing story of God's work in the world. As he goes along he manages to effortlessly incorporate quite a lot of central Christian theology, but in a manner that does not feel stale or boring - rather it is a breath of fresh air showing how these deep truths really do speak to us at the level of the heart, and not just the mind. He finishes by bringing in some of the essentials of living a Christian life such as Worship, Prayer, the Bible (including a brilliant chapter on Biblical authority which makes the same points as his recent book The Last Word, only much more succinctly and clearly) and the sacraments of Baptism and Communion.
This book is simply amazing. It provides a clear refreshing picture of the gospel which will help those of us who are Christians to rediscover what it's all about, and hopefully encourage non-believers to see that Jesus is the answer to the deepest needs and questions of their heart. It is not a reasoned apologetic aiming to provide "proofs" that the gospel is true. It does not seek to argue or defend, rather it aims to connect with people at a more fundamental level. To those who are familiar with Tom Wright's other books, the depth of his scholarship and the overall coherence of his thought as a whole once again shine through here, and his usual emphases are evident. Yet this is a book that just about anyone could read, Christian or not. It is not full of technical jargon or difficult concepts, yet neither is it "dumbed down" This would have to be one of the best books I have ever read. Hopefully this book will become for the 21st century what Mere Christianity was in the 20th - only let it reach an even greater audience of those both within the Church and those as yet outside it....more info
- Very Helpful
If you wonder what Christianity is all about and want to leave out questions about history of the Church and the development of denominations, this is an excellent book. Written for the lay person....more info
- A Great Overview of the Christian Faith
N.T. Wright, known for his scholarly work on the historical Jesus, writes for a more general audience in this book.
Wright begins the book by discussing four `signposts' of the divine; our desire for justice, our quest for spirituality, our need of relationships, and our apprehension of beauty. According to Wright, while such things do not necessarily point us to the Christian God, they do compel us to look beyond the purely physical universe to something deeper.
He then proceeds to go through the basic Christian story, from the beginning of the Old Testament to the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He goes on to discuss the practical implication of this story for our lives, including an explanation of the relevance and importance of Christian disciplines such as worship, prayer, and Biblical reading.
One of Wright's main themes is to explain that, according to the Christian worldview, heaven and earth interlock. This is opposed to pantheism, where God and the universe are one, and Deism, where God is separated from, or at least not much interested in, the world. Wright points out that the beauty of living the Christian life is the ability to live where heaven and earth collide. Christians are not merely those who believe an abstract set of theological truths, they are people who are striving, individually and collectively, to live as a part of God's new creation-
"We are called to be part of God's new creation, called to be agents of that new creation here and now. We are called to model and display that new creation in symphonies and family life, in restorative justice and poetry, in holiness and service to the poor, in politics and painting." 
Simply Christian is an extremely accessible and readable book that will come as a breath of fresh air for many. ...more info
- More than a good book: a new direction for the church.
This book is the heart of a new direction for the body of Christ. As a stand alone book, it is as good as the best reviews already written say it is.
This book is more than a stand alone book. It provides the framework in which other books with more specific orientations fit.
Bishop Wright has two different style of writing. Books (usually thick)of serious theological writing, with end notes and footnotes and appendixes, he signs "N.T. Wright."
Bishop Wright also writes books in a relaxed, informative style. These small books explain what is going on in different books of the New Testament. They are written in simple terms, without the end notes and footnotes and appendixes. Bishop Wright signs these books as "Tom Wright."
"Simply Christian* is a "Tom Wright" style book. It is simple, no footnotes or end notes. Bishop Wright signed this book "N.T. Wright." In other words, "Simply Christian" is serious theology from one of the church's leading theologians.
Another reviewer commented on the lack of discussion of the problem of evil in "Simply Christian." That problem is addressed in a book that fits within the framework Simply Christian provides. The Title of the book is "Evil and the Justice of God." There are other titles in this recently published series of "Tom Wright" style books signed as N.T. Wright.
I recommend reading "Paul" by N.T. Wright as the second book in the series. By the time I had read a third of the book, merely as a side effect, Wright had unified the Old Testaments in a dynamic, powerful, energizing way. By half way through I understood previously obscure parts of the Pauline Corpus.
In "The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture" Wright points out the fallacies of the common theological positions taken by liberals and conservatives. He proposes a new direction that would unify liberals and conservatives to join God in the work explained first in "Simply Christian."
I agree with those who praised this book highly. It is a great stand alone book. The book is even more important and better when we recognize it as the heart, the framework of a new, exciting, invigorating and powerful way to go about truly being the Body of Christ.
- Presenting the Gospel in All Its Glory!
N.T. Wright has managed to pen a novel that accurately defends the Gospel, never wavering in his attempt to demonstrate that Christianity is both historically and spiritually the most rewarding, refreshing, and needed substance in the universe. Creation, existence, and renewal are all under the same fold when one fully understands the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is a must-read for anyone seriously considering a serious discussion about why the human soul cries out for justice, peace, and relationships that satisfy the deepest wants.
We were meant for a relationship with our Creator. That longing for completeness can be satisfied. It can be understood. Christianity is not a manmade religion. Man could never create the sacrifice Jesus made on that cross.
I applaud N.T. Wright for his work, and I hope and pray that people will take a look at his work with an open mind and a sincere heart.
There are several other books that compliment this work. C.S. Lewis's book "Mere Christianity" is an excellent book that I highly recommend readers take a look at.
See ya next review!
- Thoughtful Theology
I am a big fan of N.T. Wright. So when I saw this book, I had to purchase it. However, I found the opening chapter a bit dry and frankly, put the book aside for sometime. But now, giving it a second chance and plowing past the first 50 pages, I have found this work fascinating. N.T. Wright is at his best when he draws together his vast biblical knowledge into a simple message that explains the development of the Christian faith. His description of God and his apology for Christianity is excellent. He does a marvelous job explaining why the Hebrew Scriptures are relevant to the New Testament. This one is worth the time and will enlighten your understanding of Christianity. This is great for those exploring Christianity for the first time or for the life long Christian in need of deeper knowledge of the Christian faith....more info
- No C. S. Lewis
I've seen Wright's name popping up in relation to Lewis, including on the book jacket, and I really wanted to like this book, but found his writing to be pretty bland. The content is fine - especially his emphasis on social justice which sets him apart from many evangelicals and his description of the atonement. His theology is nuanced and thoughtful as he walks the middle way of Anglicanism. That, for me, was the only similarity to Lewis, who was much more creative in his use of metaphor and argument. I'd still give "Mere Christianity" to my friends over "Simply Christian."...more info
- NT Wright, typical fluffy minded christian
starting with all the *fathers of the faith*, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, thousands others whose writings leave the soul gasping for breath of life of God's lifegiving spirit.
Lets hear from the *few* (many are called VERY FEW are chosen) who speak truth concerning NTW's ideology.
*SADLY THIS GENTLEMAN HAS LARGELY ABANDONED THE ORIGINAL GOSPEL...SIMPLY AMOUNTS TO NONSENSE*
*WAYWARD OVERBOARD SCHOLASTICISM*
*DIFFICULT TO DETECT A TRULY CHRISTIAN VOICE...UNCONVINCING RHETORICAL STYLE*
*TOO MUCH NONSENSE*
*SIMPLY DRIVEL...A PSEUDO-SPIRITUAL LINGO*
I've looked over his books at B&N, heard his ideas on Youtube.
Seems the church never runs dry of authorities, system makers, methodologists, power seekers.
Thankfully the christian institution, which NTW is part of that foundation stone, is in her death throes. Historically, the good souls were persecuted, condemned, flogged, and yes murdered during the past 1700 years..
The false church is struggling to keep its system alive, death awaits....more info