Dane Ortlund Review of N.T. Wright

I have often been asked my opinion of N.T. Wright. There is much positive that could and should be said; his works on the resurrection of Christ, for example. But there is also a negative side to his writings, especially in his view of Paul and Judaism of his day. In this latter case I often came away summarizing Wright as, “Everyone since the first century has gotten Paul wrong until now.” I know that may sound unfair and over-simplistic. But, in a way, that is precisely my criticism of his tone and works.

This excellent review by Dane Ortlund of N.T. Wright’s recent popular-level work, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion, encapsulates perfectly my opinion of Wright’s work, both the positive and the negative (pervasive false dichotomies and unnecessary caricatures of reformed evangelicals).

The whole thing is a great read but this from the conclusion is a highlight for me:

“A street-level test for someone trying to track with Wright in this book would be: If your college-aged son or daughter came to you in abject distress at their idolatry or sinfulness or addictive behavior or enslavement to the world’s priorities, and sought your counsel, what comfort would you have for them according to this book? Beneath all the clever cuteness about how all reformed evangelicals have been asking the wrong questions, after all the ornate assembling of the Bible’s storyline, what is the actual comfort of Christianity for your beloved child? What can you give them? What can you say? This book does not give you much to latch onto. And that is a problem, a problem of a fundamental and not peripheral nature, especially for a book pitched at a general Christian population.”

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