Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, The   Resurrection, and The Mission of the Church  -     By: N.T. Wright
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Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, The Resurrection, and The Mission of the Church

HarperOne / 2008 / Hardcover

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2009 Christianity Today Book Award of Merit in Theology and Ethics

"If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" Christians for many years have been asking this question. As award-winning author N.T. Wright points out however, the answer isn't heaven. In Surprised by Hope, Wright, one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.

Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation---and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection---the church cannot stop at "saving souls," but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 332
Vendor: HarperOne
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0061551821
ISBN-13: 9780061551826
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

For years Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.

Award-winning author N. T. Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright, who is one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.

Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation—and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection—the church cannot stop at "saving souls" but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.

Lively and accessible, this book will surprise and excite all who are interested in the meaning of life, not only after death but before it.

Author Bio

N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham and now serves as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of How God Became King, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as translator for The Kingdom New Testament.

Publisher's Weekly

Wright, one of the greatest, and certainly most prolific, Bible scholars in the world, will touch a nerve with this book. What happens when we die? How should we think about heaven, hell, purgatory and eternal life? Wright critiques the views of heaven that have become regnant in Western culture, especially the assumption of the continuance of the soul after death in a sort of blissful non-bodily existence. This is simply not Christian teaching, Wright insists. The New Testament's clear witness is to the resurrection of the body, not the migration of the soul. And not right away, but only when Jesus returns in judgment and glory. The "paradise," the experience of being "with Christ" spoken of occasionally in the scriptures, is a period of waiting for this return. But Christian teaching of life after death should really be an emphasis on "life after life after death"—the resurrection of the body, which is also the ground for all faithful political action, as the last part of this book argues. Wright's prose is as accessible as it is learned—an increasingly rare combination. No one can doubt his erudition or the greatness of the churchmanship of the Anglican Bishop of Durham. One wonders, however, at the regular citation of his own previous work. And no other scholar can get away so cleanly with continuing to propagate the "hellenization thesis," by which the early church is eventually polluted by contaminating Greek philosophical influence. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

“This book is N.T. Wright at his finest.”
A crystal-clear, powerful course-correction for all of us--Christian or otherwise. If you want to know what Easter is about, get yourself a copy of Surprised by Hope and hunker down for the read of a lifetime....literally.
His conclusions are both simple and world-shaking
This book will be widely read because it stirs together Scripture, tradition, art and world affairs with pleasing metaphors and public courage.
“Wright’s unwavering faith in the resurrection is quite evident as he defends the Easter narratives on historical and theological grounds.”
“N.T. Wright can write. . . when it comes to questions of Christ’s resurrection and what that means, no one is more persuasive. Wright’s new book, Surprised by Hope, builds on C.S. Lewis’ succinct defense of the faith and takes it to a new level.”
“In calling Christians to an epistemology of love and a re-emphasis of the Easter season, Wright knocked it out of the park.”

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