Bishop N. T. Wright Misses the Mark on Terrorism

John ArmstrongThe War on Terrorism

Readers of this site know that I have huge respect for the biblical theological contributions of Dr. N. T. Wright, the esteemed bishop of Durham (Anglican). Wright is one of the finest biblical scholars in the world. Readers should see his books on the gospels, Jesus and Paul. Though there are areas of biblical interpretation with which you can disagree with Wright, for sure, no current writer is saying more that is so vitally important to biblical theology.

Some years ago we did a two-part interview of Wright in our quaterly journal, which is no longer published. In that interview Wright revealed some of his post-9/11 ideas politically and I chalked them up to his "Britishness" at the time. As I have continued to read him I have grown more and more distressed by his very unbalanced thinking about nations, social theory and public policy. Because a man like Tom Wright is genuinely brilliant in one area does not mean, in any case, that he is universally brilliant. Wright demonstrates this plainly in his most recent comments about the war on terror and the role of the United States and Great Britain.

Wright’s mistakes are powerfully underscored and challenged by Joseph Loconte, a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in a recent online article that appears in The Weekly Standard, one of my favorite publications. Loconte shows that Wright’s views regarding the war on terror actually spill over into his new IVP book on evil as well. I intend to check this out myself when I get time. I encourage you to connect to The Weekly Standard article via the hyper-link above and read Loconte for yourself. I think his analysis, sadly to me, is right on.

Sometimes our theologians are not the best guides in international matters, as Loconte illustrates when he reminds us of what some churchmen told us about Hitler in the 1930s. And theologians can, and often are, terrible judges of disciplines such as economics, banking, business, law and social theory, to name only a few areas of great importance to the people of God and all people more generally. Again we have, in the case of N. T. Wright, a sad illustration of a great theologian seriously misleading us with regard to a very important concern to both the nation and the world.