The brilliant mind of NT Wright

I was introduced to the debate on the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP) back in 2008 (my previous post on the subject here). Since then I had this view that NT Wright together with EP Sanders and James Dunn are on the "wrong" side, and the likes of John Piper on the "right" side.

But I was already aware at the same time that I need to be careful not to fully subscribe myself to anything wholesale without deeper study, thought and prayer but to keep an open mind with Scripture as my foundation and guide. And later in that period as well, I remember my lecturer Kar Yong saying we should not dismiss Wright altogether. Moreover, my seminary's principal was and still is Rev Ezra Kok, who studied under James Dunn.

So, I shelved the subject along with NT Wright to be tackled later at an opportune time. I have yet to return to the topic of NPP but time has come for me to discover the brilliance of NT Wright.

I have posted on my current line of thought back in December last year about Genesis and its theology when I spotted a very interesting title in the bookshop - Evil and the Justice of God. The book's author is NT Wright.

I purchased a copy and I was utterly impressed by his mind, his thought and line of argument. He does not answer the most pertinent question on the origin of evil, a question I have already put to rest as something that may not have an answer, at least until we meet God, but he tackles evil from our current perspective as well as from the OT and NT perspective.

Evil and the Justice of God
by NT Wright (SPCK, 2006)

I like his first chapter - "Evil is still a four-letter word: The new problem of evil". He summarized how we see evil these days into these three points:
1. We ignore evil except when it hits us in the face
2. We are surprised by evil when it hits us in the face
3. As a result, we react in immature and dangerous ways

One of the dangerous ways in which we react is to really delineate ourselves as good and the party who did wrong, evil. This has been so clearly portrayed in our society today. When things go wrong, we labelled the other party as evil and we become, albeit subconsciously, as good, true, right and pure. But that is certainly not what God said.

There is no one righteous, not even one.
~ Romans 3:10

After finishing the book, I have new respect for NT Wright. I ended up buying his published 3 volumes out of 6, of the Christian Origins and the Question of God series. These are huge tomes, it will be a huge challenge for me to finish reading them but I have started on the first volume. It is my prayer to complete them within 2013, God willing.

I may find myself not agreeing fully with him in these volumes, but it will be a delight to get into his mind and discover his thoughts on God.



  1. NPP has already gained overwhelming acceptance in NT scholarship, but Malaysian church folks are ignorant of this, and seminary lecturers are afraid of telling the church folks of that in order to be politically correct.

  2. Thanks for the update. I have not been active in the circles of biblical scholarship lately. I will get to NPP one day.


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