What’s wrong with Wright? part two

Alright – I finished the book. And I have to admit I was surprised at what I read. I guess I am naive as to what doctrines are out there….

Wright has a few unusual definitions, thought I might share a couple of them….

Evil and Sin –

Wright:”Evil is the force of anti-creation, anti-life, the force which opposes and seeks to deface and destroy God’s good world of space, time and matter, and above all else God’s image-bearing human creatures.” pg 89

“Sin is the rebellion of humankind against the vocation to reflect God’s image into the world, the refusal to worship God the Creator, and the replacement of that worship and that vocation with the worship of elements of the created order.” pg 109

“Evil is then the moral and spiritual equivalent of a black hole.” pg 113

Compared this with Piper’s definition: “Everything which is not from faith is sin.” Anything, absolutely any act or attitude which is owing to a lack of trust in God is sin, no matter how moral it may appear to men. God looks on the heart.” August 24, 1980

Atonement –
Wright: “the victory of Jesus Christ over all the powers of evil and darkness, as the central theme in atonement theology” pg 114

Piper: “The atonement is the work of God in Christ, by his obedience and death, by which he cancelled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation.” April 1, 1999

Idolatry –

Wright: When we humans commit idolatry – worshipping that which is not God as if it were – we thereby give to other creatures and beings in the cosmos a power, a prestige, an authority over us which we, under God, were supposed to have over them.” pg 112, emphasis his

Piper: “The first dark exchange is the exchange of the glory of God for the glory of images of man and animals. Call it idolatry.” October 4, 1998 regarding Romans 1:21-23

God’s Ultimate Purpose –

Wright: “God’s ultimate purpose, which is to rid the world of evil altogether and to establish his new creation of justice, beauty and peace.” pg 102

Piper: God’s Passion for His Glory (most life-changing book to be read, save the Bible)

“His ultimate purpose – in all his wrath and all his power and all his mercy – is this: “to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” February 23, 2003 regarding Romans 9:23-24

I have read so much Piper lately, that I find myself caught offguard by any man-centered theology. This book is full of it – and while God is on the pages of Wright’s book, He is there in some making-everything-right-for-man-and-the-rest-of-creation facilitative sort of role. Wright refers to creation as “the project of God” pg 109; evil as a “Negative Force” pg 112 and God and His plan and His Gospel as “ambiguous” and “mysterious” pgs 113, 83, 119, 74 to list a few.

One of my biggest concerns came only a few pages after I stopped with my blog yesterday. I do not understand what Wright’s thoughts are on eternal punishment, only that it does not seem to exist. Consider the following: “It is not enough to say that God will eventually make a new world in which there will be no more pain and crying, that does scant justice to all the evil that has gone before.” pg 96 And then, he moves on – to talk about personal forgiveness. “What right has God to say that this evil can somehow be wiped away so that it appears to not exist anymore? Is this not simply another way of belittling evil, making it appear that it isn’t really as important as all that?” pg 142 He missed the point! God has done justice to all the evil! There is ETERNAL punishment for those who do not glorify God in this life, who do not know Christ Jesus in a salvific way. There is the work of Christ on the cross – that paid for the penalty of the sins of those who were called, chosen, elected, predestined…. Christ is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12) because the work He set out to do on the cross, He accomplished!

Wright’s answer is instead: “this is really the central point of this book, the ultimate answer to this aspect at least of the problem of evil – is not only that in the new world God Himself will be beyond the reach of the moral blackmail of unresolved evil, but that we shall be as well.” pg 143

He also states “What right has God to say that He forgives the offender when it is Joe Smith, not God, who has been really hurt?” pg 142 Again, he has missed a crucial point. King David, upon having his eyes opened to the extent of his sin – in murdering Uriah, in taking Bethsheba, says in Psalm 51:4 “against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight”.

My one other major concern, before I close, pertains to Wright’s understanding of the human heart. “This is the point at which the recognition that the line between good and evil runs right through the middle of me, and of everyone of us, is met by the gospel proclamation that the death of Jesus is “for me,” in my place and on my behalf.” pg 95. also pg 38, 39.

Psalm 53:3 “there is none who does good, not even one.” There is no line within us – we are either dead in sins, or made alive in Christ, because His blood has covered our sin.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. clearly
    Oct 17, 2007 @ 10:52:36

    It should be abundantly clear why emerging Christianity runs to this man’s teaching. Remember all the times that Rob Bell talks about “to create is to risk?” In other words, God was taking a big risk when He created the world because now he has this problem to deal with…this makes me sick.

    Before I saw the topics on your blog, I actually started a series on the glory of God! I’ve been studying it through…very beneficial!

    Reply

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