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Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  4,314 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Why do we expect justice? Why do we crave spirituality? Why are we attracted to beauty? Why are relationships often so painful? And how will the world be made right? These are not simply perennial questions all generations must struggle with, but, according to N. T. Wright, are the very echoes of a voice we dimly perceive but deeply long to hear. In fact, these questions t ...more
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2006)
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Elizabeth
Sep 06, 2007 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians
Shelves: already-read
I went into this a little wary, just because the book (and the author) has received a lot of hype-- Anne Rice went so far as to call it better than the C.S. Lewis classic Mere Christianity. I might not go that far, but it is a very solid, inspiring book. I hesitate to call anything so new a "classic", but I truly believe that this will be a classic, someday. One thing that I liked is the way that Wright (who is an Anglican bishop) explained the continuity (or cohesion) of the Bible. He just expl ...more
Skylar Burris
Jun 17, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Practicing Christians only
Shelves: christianity
N.T. Wright never seems to settle on a single audience or a single purpose for this book, which makes it appear disorganized and ultimately renders it ineffective. He begins Simply Christians as a seeming apologetic, speaking of our longings for justice, truth, and beauty the same way C.S. Lewis argued from the existence of a moral sense to the existence of God, but he doesn't ever bring these arguments to convincing culmination.

Despite the book's subtitle "Why Christianity Makes Sense," Wright
...more
David
Wright has some interesting things to say about the intersection of heaven and earth - that they don't exist in separate places and times but are overlapping in various ways. And his discussions of social justice and church-building reflect obvious passion. There are a lot of sections, though, which either weakly reflect C.S. Lewis (the "echoes of a voice" section) or bring up knotty debates only to dismiss them summarily (the discussions of apocryphal gospels). The book doesn't make up its mind ...more
Ben De Bono
In Simply Christian, N.T. Wright makes the case for Christianity and outlines, at a basic level, what believing in Jesus is all about. The book has been compared to Mere Christianity. There are definitely some comparisons between the two (including their titles), but I wouldn't take it too far. Mere Christianity reads as an apologetic for the foundations of Christian faith while Simply Christian reads as an entry level primer into Wright's thought.

Overall, I got quite a bit less out of this one
...more
Jon
Jan 23, 2008 Jon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to understand the central beliefs of Christianity
Simple, yet far from simplistic, this may be one of the most important books I've read. Tom Wright set forth the key issues of the Gospel in a way that's easily accessible to both studied Christians and people who just want to know what Christianity is actually all about. Many political and theological issues have become hot-button topics and seem to be litmus tests among different Christian communities for how good of a Christian someone is, and unfortunately many of those are actually fringe i ...more
Jocelyn
This seems like kind of a basic book for a professional Christian (so to speak) to read, but I was curious. It's a kind of 21st-century "Mere Christianity" with less apologia and more ecclesia. What I like about Wright's approach is that he stresses the "renewal of creation" salvation theory more than the "atonement for sin" theory. And, speaking of sin, I am frankly quite envious of how many books this man has written. And, speaking of C. S. Lewis knock-offs, I see that a year ago Wright publis ...more
Mark Ward
The main value of this book for me was probably the arresting one- to five-liners. Like these:

It’s no part of Christian belief to say that the followers of Jesus have always got everything right. Jesus himself taught his followers a prayer which includes a clause asking God for forgiveness. He must have thought we would go on needing it.

human beings have been so seriously damaged by evil that what they need isn’t simply better self-knowledge, or better social conditions, but help, and indeed res
...more
Jacob Stubbs
So, this book was excellent. I have come off of a summer of reading somewhat dry books (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger [which still is not completed...]). It was a nice relief to read a book that serves as an excellent introduction to Wright's thought (note that I have not read any of his other work, but due to Biologos and such, this seems to be the case).

Perhaps it is my Southern Baptist church I attend at home, but Wright's view of Scripture and Prayer--the use of LITURGY!--have provid
...more
Scott Rachui
This is the first book by NT Wright, but certainly not the last. I heard a sermon in which the speaker encouraged us to get to know NT Wright, and he recommended this book as a starting point. It was and is an excellent choice to begin reading the works of this fine author.

Simply Christian is the first of a trilogy of books written by NT Wright on the Christian worldview. Favorably compared to CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, this book looks at the world around us and asks questions about justice, b
...more
Claus
There are a lot of similarities between Tom Wright and C.S. Lewis. Their writing style is quite similar, and they both have a delightful affection for parentheses (delightful, because I share that affection).

Also, it is hardly a surprise that the title of Wright's book "Simply Christian" is strikingly similar to Lewis' "Mere Christianity". In fact, as I was reading the first chapter of Wright's book (which talks about the sense of ethics that all people seem to share) I was constantly reminded o
...more
Joshua D.
N.T. Wright begins by looking at four phenomena:
1.) We all have an innate sense of justice and fairness (or at least we talk like we do).
2.) Modernism, while a powerful shaping force in the Western world, didn't do what Freud and others thought it would - kill off religion. Instead, religion is alive and well in the world. And even more broadly, interest in spirituality seems to bubble up just about everywhere: even in countries most influenced by Enlightenment thinking.
3.) We have a communal in
...more
Steve
NT Wright is heralded to be CS Lewis of our day, or that is how I have been informed from his fans.

This is the first book of his that i have read, and there are several on my read list.

There are parts of this book that I absolutely thought "excellent, what a great way to explain this truth," there are other parts that are OK.

What I like about this book and perhaps where I am - Go find the truth, seek God in where He is in the issue, event, situation, etc. And I confess there is so much I do n
...more
Kjersti
I'm tempted to call this book a modern Mere Christianity.. It lays out the foundations of the Christian faith, as well as what separates it from other world views (specifically pantheism and deism), and it does so masterfully. Those familiar with Wright know how good he is at contextualizing the gospel to first-century Israel. Wright starts off with questions about justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty, and weaves them into the the gospel story, which quickly becomes the very foundatio ...more
Ike
Sep 10, 2007 Ike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christians.
This is my second N.T. Wright book and enjoyed it far more than the first.

"Simply Christian" certainly lives up to its title and was quite simple yet fantastically intelligent and well written. I would suggest this book to anyone interested in Christianity or to Christians who appear to have lost an understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

My only frustration with this book is that it encourages me with a picture of what it means to be "Simply Christian" yet at the same time I find myse
...more
Terri
One of very few books that makes me pause and contemplate all that has been said in a few concise words. It is perhaps cumbersome at the start, but isn't anything thoughtful a bit of work?? N. T. Wright has something to tell us and wants first to set the stage. Fair enough. He very even handedly goes about telling us why Christianity makes so much sense. He makes sense.

..."Nor is Christianity about Jesus offering, demonstrating, or even accomplishing a new route by which people can "go to heaven
...more
Kenneth Clapp
I think Wright's "Simply Christian" is an excellent read. Is it exhaustive in all the areas he tries to touch on? Not even close. If you want that you're going to have to go more the rout of his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series which is currently on it's 4th volume and climbing. Each of those works tries to be more less exhaustive in all the major areas, anyway. However that series is written on an academic level, not the popular level like this book.

I won't try to summarize ev
...more
John
As part of some research I'm engaged in, I've read a lot of apologetics over the past few months, and this work was suggested to me by one of the pastors at the church I attend. And while it has a lot to recommend it, "Simply Christian" focuses more on general Christian theology than on apologetics, per se. Thus, it didn't relate as directly to my research as I had hoped, although it was an edifying read nonetheless. Where Wright's work does relate to apologetics is (however indirectly) at those ...more
Matt Simmons
Wright here gives us a challenging and edifying introduction to Christianity for those outside of the faith, and perhaps an even more challenging and edifying re-acquaintance with the faith for those who already believe, or have lapsed from the faith. Wright thus writes a volume equally geared towards the active believer, the lapsed believer, and the interested non-believer; even the strident atheist might find some pause in response to considering Wright's lucid and moving presentation of the f ...more
Charity
I misshleved this initially. About done with it now, so I will agree with those reviews who wonder who the audience was supposed to be. If nonChristians, then I do not think he would have kept me reading.
Robert Frank
This is a needed book by a popular Bible scholar and theologian. The first four chapters raise questions about things we all long for that appear incomplete, namely justice, spirituality, human relationships, and beauty. The remainder of the book explains how Christianity supplies answers to those questions. To quote from the book, “In particular, we are all invited-summoned, actually- to discover, through following Jesus, that this new world is indeed a place of justice, spirituality, relations ...more
Ron
This is a book from the Gibson list of 100 that have affected Christian Culture today. It is an interesting read and probably needs to be re-read to truly grasp all of what NT Wright discusses. The book discusses 3 options and what they mean to Christianity:

1. Seeing God and the world as basically the same thing
2. Seeing God and the world as a long way apart from one another
3. God and the world are different from one another but not far apart

Wright believes option 3 and explains why and what it
...more
Ron
Good, not great.
Michael Philliber
Whether you are simply wondering what Christianity is "all about," or a newbie in the Faith, or have grown tired and weary in the long trek of following Jesus, this book should be in your hands! N.T. Wright displays the beautiful textures of what makes Christianity Christian, and the Faith fresh.

The author tackles most every "big" subject that sets out the parameters of Christianity. Starting out with what Calvin would call the "sensus divinitatis" (the sense of the divine), Wright walks the rea
...more
Stephen
"Despite what many people think, within the Christian family and outside it, the point of Christianity isn't 'to go to heaven when you die.'"

N.T. Wright writes a book for the masses. This is a great read for someone who would like to have a better idea of the Jewish "worldview" of Jesus' day. Wright does a great job describing the Jewish idea of the ages, how that is different than the western dualism of creation and Heaven, and how that connects to a lot of things in scripture and following Jes
...more
Justin Tapp
Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense is the first N.T. Wright book that I've read, and he made a pretty good first impression. I expected this book to be somewhat like C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, but it's much less apologetic in nature and more of an exposure to a non-Christian of what Christianity is and is not.

I enjoyed Wright's apologetic, although a committed neo-Darwinist atheist would be unpersuaded, I think. The part that was most persuasive, for me personally, was that every
...more
Chuck Jackson
While I really looked this book, I'm not sure it deserves something like book of the year from Christianity Today magazine. The overall assertions are sound. Wright explains the idea of heaven better than most, that it is another dimension, not a physical place in this universe. His presentation of how heaven and earth intersect follows from that and is reasonably convincing (if you buy the assumptions).
I thought the second half of the book was the weakest, partly because it was obviously his op
...more
Andrew
Review originally published in "Baker News and Reviews" June 2007

What are the core questions of the human condition and how do we find the answers? Where does religion fit into our post-modern or even post-secular world? Does the Bible matter anymore? Who is God?

Author/theologian N.T. Wright offers ‘simple’ answers to these challenging questions in his new book, Simply Christian.

Beginning with questions that are at the core of the human condition, Wright shows how our varied longings can be focu
...more
Peter
Not today's 'Mere Christianity'

Firstly, let me say that, as modern biblical authorities go, Tom Wright is second to non. period!

I'm now reading this book for the 3rd time and I have to say that my opinions on it have changed as a result.
It's still an excellent book, no doubt about it simply because it bristles with the authors passion and sparkles with his knowledge and intellect of all things biblical, however, it does sit astride two different horses, namely apologetics and for want of a bette
...more
Frank
NT Wright loves to write: “put [or set] [everything or creation or the world] to rights” and even uses “you were put back to rights” in his translation of 1 Cor 6:11 where most bible versions have: “you were justified”. Perhaps he hopes to put the world to Wright's…understanding of justification ;-)

Whereas Paul says we see dimly (1 Cor 13), Wright likes to repeat that we hear echoes.

One highlight: “The rules are to be understood, not as arbitrary laws thought up by a distant God to stop us from
...more
Angus Mcfarlane
A friend who recently finished reading this mentioned it requires holding several thoughts in mind at the same time, and I agree. Although this is written as a general introduction to Christianity, the re is no apology for the complexity of thought that is required, nor is there a need for one, as wright writes with a clarity that seems to revel and thrive in the challenge complexity poses. I like the fact that he has taken up his own challenge from a previous book, namely positioning christiaty ...more
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N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010) and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air, and he has taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGi ...more
More about N.T. Wright...
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #1) Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #2)

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“Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world ... That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God's new world, which he has thrown open before us.” 27 likes
“[Arguments about God are] like pointing a flashlight toward the sky to see if the sun is shining.” 27 likes
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