I wrote here last April about the Wheaton Theology Conference which featured N. T. Wright. Never have I attended an event with so much electricity about biblical theology and serious dialog. It was a moment of my life that I shall always remember. Both devotees and detractors were present in the audience but more importantly I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit uniting us in the oneness that we share in the Christ who justifies the ungodly in Jesus.
Now we blessed to have the newly published book from that event: Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N. T. Wright (InterVarsity Press, 2011). The book comes at a great low price if you order it before the price soon increases, which it is sure to do after this pre-pub period ends. If you are serious, and I mean really serious, about engaging the profound theological insight and wisdom of this amazing teacher put aside all the books of the conservative/evangelical critics, who at times either do not understand Wright or have not even bothered to read him carefully, and hear how solid biblical critics engage with him and how he responds to their excellent questions. This book has plenty of the discussion, debate and questioning found in the event itself. The difference is that now we have this in print and these scholars understand Wright, engage with him seriously and do it with utmost civility.
Does understanding Wright’s biblical paradigm make a difference to ordinary people and to congregations where I seek to equip people to be missional leaders? I am certain that it does thus for this reason alone I continue to urge readers to study the writing of this amazing man.
Jeffrey Greenman, Wheaton’s associate dean of biblical and theological studies, said of this event: “Never before had we focused on interaction with one person’s theology. We felt N. T. Wright’s stature as a leading biblical scholar and his widespread influence in the church warranted a unique exploration of his thought.” This book takes that exploration to a more permanent level. Featured here in dialogue with Wright are scholars Marianne Meye Thompson, Sylvia C. Keesmaat, Brian J. Walsh, Richard B. Hays, Nicholas Perrin, Edith Humphrey, Jeremy S. Begbie, Markus Bockmuehl, and Kevin J. Vanhoozer.
As I noted above I had the joy of being present for this event. You can still access the audio presentations on the Wheaton College internet site. Listening has a certain appeal and immediacy about it. But now we can ponder, read and reflect even more because of this first-rate book.
A special word of thanks is here offered to Nicholas Perrin, of Wheaton, and Richard B. Hays, of Duke, for editing this excellent and important volume.