Citizens of Heaven

Just finished this tonight - quite good. Wright is controversial when it comes to justification, but fairly tame on the resurrection. His main point: the future hope that Scripture emphasizes is not life after death in heaven; it is life on earth, after life after death in heaven. The intermediate state when our souls are with Jesus are not the end goal, but a rest stop on the way to a renewed heaven and earth. Our present labor is not in vain, because it will be renewed on the new earth.

As usual, he accurately hits the flaws of liberalism (denying the physical resurrection) and fundamentalism (dividing reality into physical and spiritual). A bit disconcerting that he treats these as twin evils, when the former is far more deadly, but still helpful to sift through fundamentalist critiques.

No time now to pull out the zingers on baptism, purgatory, and the like. One disappointing section taking the liberal view on 3rd world debt, but it only lasted about 5 pages.

One illustration of his really worked: when Paul says we are citizens of heaven, he isn't saying that it is our final destination. He was writing to Philippians, a Roman colony made of Roman citizens, who weren't living in Rome. Their purpose was to instill Roman culture in Philippi - to bring the roman worldview to Philippi. This is what a citizen does. In the same way, we are to bring the lifestyle and worldview of heaven to our world. It doesn't mean we can or should withdraw from the world, but that we are to engage and evangelize the world with heaven's way of life.

Great stuff.

1 comment:

  1. I will have to check out this book too. I am part of the way into his large volume "The Resurrection of the Son of God," I even quoted him on a similar point you bring out, in a series I am writing on my blog about the intermediate state in history. He says at one point in my book that the resurrection being spoken of in the particular scripture (I believe it was Daniel 12) is speaking of life after life after death. This book here is newer than the one I am reading, so will have to pick it up sometime.