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Faith, says Wright, is like a window. The point is not for part of the wall to be made of glass. The point of a window is to allow us to see through it--and let light into the room! Faith allows us to see our situation and our own weakness in light of God who is powerful, holy and loving. Wright also looks at the character of the faith God calls us to. He unfolds how dependence, humility and mystery all have a role to play. God beckons us to lean on him as we seek to be constructive citizens of the world, to speak truth in love without hypocrisy and to risk submitting to one another in love. Wright doesn't ignore the messiness and difficulties of life, when hard times come and the unexpected knocks us down. He opens to us what faith means in times of trial and even in the face of death. Through it all he reminds us, it's not great faith we need: it is faith in a great God.
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By Adam Shields on 08-01-12
A reissue of a 1978 book
This books is primarily based on a series of early sermons that NT Wright gave in the 1970s. The oldest of them was originally delivered a year before I was born. They were first compiled into the first edition of this book in 1978. They were released in 2010 with only very light editing and a new forward.
What struck me most is how many of Wright’s ideas were already in place when he was in his late 20s. So if you have not read much of Wright, this would actually be a decent introduction. It includes some of his thoughts on heaven, many of the major points of his book After You Believe and some hints of some points from Simply Christian. Wright more recent work on Jesus and Kingdom and his more famous older work on Paul are not really mentioned.
The weakness of this book is that it is a collection of sermons. So there are a lot of good ideas here, but not a lot of overall cohesion to the book. The rough idea is that we have faith in a Great God, so our own Small Faith is less important than the Great God that we have. That is a great point, but it isn’t explicit throughout the book. (This is roughly equivalent to his idea in Scripture and the Authority of God that the authority of scripture is found in God and God’s authority not in the particular words of scripture.)
The best parts I think are the parts on spiritual growth and disciplines and why it is that we should work on them (and why working on spiritual disciplines is not salvation by works.)
If you have read more than one or two books by Wright this probably is not a great book for you. I think he has better treatments of almost all of the ideas in other books. But the book as a whole is still a good one, just not one of his revolutionary books.
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