NT Wright has been affirmed as a prolific biblical scholar and “the most important apologist for the Christian faith since CS Lewis”. Since retiring as Anglican Bishop of Durham, Wright has become Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Andrews University in Scotland.
His credentials in New Testament scholarship and as an experienced church leader are apparent in the integrity and user-friendliness of Simply Good News. Beginning with the first chapter, where Wright asks, “What’s the News?” we are challenged to clarify exactly what is meant when we talk about the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ. As Professor Wright notes, “Over many centuries, Western churches have got the story wrong. They have forgotten what the backstory is”.
Because of this, Wright suggests that, “in many churches, the good news has subtly changed into good advice: Here’s how to live. Here’s how to pray. Here are the techniques for helping you become a better Christian, a better person, a better wife or husband, and in particular, here’s how to make sure you’re on the right track for what happens after death.”
Wright discusses the effect of news. He looks at news with reference to Paul’s writings, especially 1 Corinthians 1:23. I was hooked by his analogy about Jonny Wilkinson leading England to victory over Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, as being good news to the English, scandal to the Australians and foolishness to the Americans (in the hotel where Wright was staying at the time!) This is the down-to-earth, eminently accessible NT Wright many Christian readers have grown to love.
Simply Good News is no dry academic deconstruction, decrying evangelism done poorly. It concludes with Wright offering useful teaching on the Lord’s Prayer, inviting readers into practical engagement with what it means to share the gospel.
Rev Dr Wendi Sargeant
Lecturer, Trinity College Queensland