Truer words have not been spoken:
A little part of me dies every time I hear the word “unforgiveable”. The gospel denied in a single word. (@johnhalton)
This reminds me of N.T. Wright’s little book on the Lord’s Prayer. In the section on forgiveness, he makes a similar point: that those who refuse to forgive have denied the Lord’s forgiveness.
For whatever reason, whatever the gravity of sin, when we declare that something is unforgiveable, we are denying the gospel.
This is a long post, but if you’re interested please read on. For those reading from the homepage, I’ll break it up for the sake of space.
As I did in 2007, I kept track of what books I read in 2008. This may or may not be of any interest to you, but it’s useful for me, especially as the number seems to be increasing. This list allows me to show not only my exceeding inteligence, but also how big of a nerd I am. 🙂
Here are some thoughts on the various books I read in 2008: Continue reading
Debates about the authority of scripture have tended to get off on the wrong foot and to turn into an unproductive shouting-match. This is partly because here, as in matters of political theology, in the words of Jim Wallis ‘the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn’t get it’. And sometimes the other way round as well. We have allowed our debates to be polarized within the false either/or of post-enlightenment categories, so that we either see the Bible as a holy book, almost a magic book, in which we can simply look up detached answers to troubling questions, or see it within its historical context and therefore claim the right to relativize anything and everything we don’t immediately like about it. These categories are themselves mistaken; the Bible itself helps us to challenge them; and when we probe deeper into the question, ‘what does it mean to say that the Bible is authoritative’, we discover a new and richer framework which simultaneously enables us to be deeply faithful to scripture and energizes and shapes us, corporately and individually, for our urgent mission into tomorrow’s world. Read the rest here.
Bishop Wright, as he is wont to do, seems to put things into categories that no one is going to be comfortable with. In that sense, I would kind-of, sort-of disagree with him. The rest of the section, which is linked to, is spot on. Talking about the authority of the Scriptures without first talking about the authority of Jesus Christ himself is pointless. As he says, “When the risen Jesus commissions his followers for their worldwide mission, he does not say ‘all authority in heaven and earth is given to – the books you people are going to go and write.’.” The Scriptures, in so far as they have authority, speak from Christ’s authority and nothing less.
N.T. Wright, in his commentary on Colossians, says the following about evangelism:
The task of evangelism is therefore best understood as the proclamation that Jesus is already Lord, that in him God’s new creation has broken into history, and that all people are therefore summoned to submit to him in love, worship and obedience. The logic of this message requires that those who announce it should be seeking to bring Christ’s Lordship to bear on every area of human and worldly existence. (79-80)
Here’s a clip from The Colbert Report with Bishop N.T. Wright. I was worried for him in this interview, but he did a great job and really got his points across.
Trevin Wax interviews N.T. Wright on topics ranging from heaven, hell, John Piper, Douglas Wilson, and third world debt. Good stuff.
John Piper’s latest book “The Future of Justification”, a critique of some elements of N.T. Wright’s theology, is available for free. Here’s a direct link to the PDF. I read a bit of it and I’m preparing to write a few posts over the next few days.