Wright on the Good News

I just finished N.T. Wright’s most recent book, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes It Good. While some of this book is a summary of his other works (most notably Surprised by Hope), there is some values in his distinction that the Gospel is news and not advice. Advice is something that can be accepted or rejected, while news—describing a historical event—shapes and affects reality.

In the first few chapters, Wright discusses the Gospel proclamation in context of first-century Roman culture. Notably, he compares the announcement of victories by Roman emperors with the announcement of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Christian claim, remarkable, is that the world is a different place, in a different way, not because of Augustus but because of Jesus. Not because of great affairs of state in the first-century Roman world, but because of something that happened in a far-off province near the easter frontier of the Roman Empire in the same period. The good news that Jesus announced, like that good news that his first followers announced about him, was not a piece of advice, however good. It was about something that had happened, about something that would happen as a result, and about the new moment between those two, the moment in which people were in fact living, whether they realized it or not. (Wright, Simply Good News, 17, emphasis original)

Brandon Schmidt

I am Brandon Schmidt: writer, husband, father, brother, reader, and laugher.

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