Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

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Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Format:  Hardcover,

332 pages

Publisher: Harpercollins

Publish Date: Feb 2008

ISBN-13: 9780061551826

ISBN-10: 0061551821

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.

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.

Award-winning author N. T. Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright, who is one of today's premier Bible scholars, asserts that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection. He provides a magisterial defense for a literal resurrection of Jesus and shows how this became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. 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, all this will come as a great surprise.

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.

Lively and accessible, this book will surprise and excite all who are interested in the meaning of life, not only after death but before it.

Specifications

Publisher: Harpercollins
Publish Date: Feb 2008
ISBN-13: 9780061551826
ISBN-10: 0061551821
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 332
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.3
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.5 x 9.25 x 1.0

Chapter outline

Preface
Setting the Scene
All Dressed Up and No Place to Go?
Introduction
Confusion about Hope: The Wider World
Varieties of Belief
Puzzled About Paradise?
Christian Confusion About Hope
Exploring the Options
The Effects of Confusion
Wider Implications of Confusion
The Key Questions
Early Christian Hope in Its Historical Setting
Introduction
Resurrection and Life after Death in Ancient Paganism and Judaism
The Surprising Character of Early Christian Hope
The Strange Story of Easter
Stories Without Precedent
Easter and History
Conclusion
God's Future Plan
Cosmic Future: Progress or Despair?
Introduction
Evolutionary Optimism
Souls in Transit
What the Whole World's Waiting For
Introduction
Fundamental Structures of Hope
Seedtime and Harvest
The Victorious Battle
Citizens of Heaven, Colonizing the Earth
God Will Be All in All
New Birth
The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
Conclusion
Jesus, Heaven, and New Creation
The Ascension
What About the Second Coming?
When He Appears
Introduction
Coming, Appearing, Revealing, Royal Presence
Jesus, the Coming Judge
Introduction
Second Coming and Judgment
The Redemption of Our Bodies
Introduction
Resurrection: Life After Life After Death
Resurrection in Corinth
Resurrection: Later Debates
Rethinking Resurrection Today: Who, Where, What Why, When, and How
Purgatory, Paradise, Hell
Introduction
Purgatory
Paradise
Beyond Hope, Beyond Pity
Conclusion: Human Goals and New Creation
Hope in Practice: Resurrection and the Mission of the Church
Rethinking Salvation: Heaven, Earth, and the Kingdom of God
Introduction
The Meaning of Salvation
The Kingdom of God
Building for the Kingdom
Introduction
Justice
Beauty
Evangelism
Conclusion
Reshaping the Church for Mission (1): Biblical Roots
Introduction
The Gospels and Acts
Paul
Reshaping the Church for Mission (2): Living the Future
Introduction: Celebrating Easter
Space, Time, and Matter: Creation Redeemed
Resurrection and Mission
Resurrection and Spirituality
Two Easter Sermons
Notes
Index
Biblical Passages

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2008-05-01)

Wright's subtitle aptly describes his purpose with this work, which is to rethink what is essential to Christianity. His conclusions are both simple and world-shaking. The "good news of the Gospels" is not, as many Christians and non-Christians seem to believe, that if you behave well and believe in Jesus then you will go to heaven when you die. Wright doesn't deny the existence of some paradisical resting place, the "many rooms in my Father's mansion" of Scripture, but he offers that the real promise is of another life in God's new creation.

Jesus's resurrection in this light is simply the first instance of this new life foretold for all. Wright believes this new creation will be a redeeming of God's first creation; for him, far from rushing to leave this world behind, a Christian's true calling is to work toward this new creation right now. Readers will need a Bible handy to appreciate this work fully, as Wright prefers to cite rather than print Scripture. His prose, deep but not murky, is lightened by glints of humor. For any library serving patrons who are willing to think a bit about religion.

-Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

For years Christians have been asking, 'If you died tonight, do you know where you would go?' It turns out Christians have been giving the wrong answer. It is not heaven. One of today's premier Bible scholars and award-winning author N.T. Wright outlines the present confusion about a Christian's future hope and shows how it is deeply intertwined with how we live today. Wright shows that Christianity's most distinctive idea is bodily resurrection.

First, he provides a magisterial defense of a literal resurrection of Jesus himself. This became the cornerstone for the Christian community's hope in the bodily resurrection of all people at the end of the age. Next Wright explores our expectation of 'new heavens and new earth,' showing what happens to the dead until then and what will happen with the 'second coming' of Jesus. For many, including many Christians, all this will come as a great surprise.

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. Lively and accessible, this book will surprise and excite all who are interested in the meaning of life, not only after death but, before it.

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