Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
In this groundbreaking book--available in paperback for the first time--renowned Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and bestselling author N. T. Wright argues that Christians have not distorted the Bible's message about heaven and what happens after we die.
For years, Christians have been asking, "If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?" It turns out that many believers have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven.
Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection, and provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus. Wright then explores our expectation of "new heavens and a new earth," revealing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the "second coming" of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, it will come as a great surprise to learn that heaven comes to earth instead of us going to heaven.
Wright convincingly argues that what we believe about life after death directly affects what we believe about life before death. For if God intends to renew the whole creation--and if this has already begun in Jesus's resurrection--the church cannot stop at "saving souls" but must anticipate the eventual renewal by working for God's kingdom in the wider world, bringing healing and hope in the present life.
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About the Author
N. T. Wright is one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is currently Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford. From 2003 to 2010 he served as Bishop of Durham. He has taught at Cambridge and McGill universities and has been featured on ABC news, Dateline NBC, and Fresh Air. Wright has written over eighty books, including The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion and the eighteen volumes in the New Testament for Everyone series.
"In calling Christians to an epistemology of love and a re-emphasis of the Easter season, Wright knocked it out of the park."--Beliefnet (A "Top Religious Book of the Year")
This book will be widely read because it stirs together Scripture, tradition, art and world affairs with pleasing metaphors and public courage.--The Dallas Morning News
A crystal-clear, powerful course-correction for all of us--Christian or otherwise. If you want to know what Easter is about, get yourself a copy of Surprised by Hope and hunker down for the read of a lifetime....literally.--Phyllis Tickle, Beliefnet.com
"Wright's unwavering faith in the resurrection is quite evident as he defends the Easter narratives on historical and theological grounds."--America Magazine
"N.T. Wright can write. . . when it comes to questions of Christ's resurrection and what that means, no one is more persuasive. Wright's new book, Surprised by Hope, builds on C.S. Lewis' succinct defense of the faith and takes it to a new level."--World Magazine
"This book is N.T. Wright at his finest."--Rob Bell, author of Velvet Elvis