Evan Hays's Reviews > Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
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's review
Aug 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: theology

For now, I will just post this: if I could recommend one book of theology for Christians to read, this would be it. So important in helping us get it right on how to think about the Kingdom of God, and to fix our pop-culture understandings of heaven and hell. Read this book along with Love Wins and The Great Divorce (although Love Wins does not really belong in the same sentence as the other two even though I think it is fairly good myself).

In brief, Wright convincingly argues that a true New Testament understanding of heaven is one that focuses on the kingdom of God that we are already a part of here on earth. Heaven is not spoken of as some sort of physical space where we go when we die. Being a part of the kingdom of heaven means living as Christ's disciples to work for the redemption of the world here and now, just as we will do in the New Heavens and New Earth at the Resurrection. Along with this, we should really stop saying "so and so went to heaven" when they die. Let us be Bible believers here, and just say "so and so went to be with Jesus" because that is what we know from the New Testament. Let us also stop all of the arguing about where people go when they die, and live now like we trust in God's promises for us when we die and like we want to be a part of how he is already working here and now.
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message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul D'aoust heh, why do you think Love Wins should perhaps not be mentioned in the same sentence as this book and The Great Divorce? (I just read Love Wins and enjoyed it a fair bit, although I don't think I agree with everything in it. Thinking about re-reading The Great Divorce and picking up Surprised by Hope as well, actually -- they all seem to be of a theme!)

Evan Hays I also enjoyed Love Wins a fair bit. Believe me, I am not anti-Rob Bell. I am, like Bell, a Wheaton Grad, and his chapels while I was there were some of the best out of four years. I like the way he has led his church as well. I just think that the style of Love Wins left something to be desired, and I think it was overly provocative and touchy feely at times. But that message will reach a lot of people; it is just not my thing as much. I just hold that high of a regard for the other two books that I would not put Love Wins in that high of a category. Please do read the other two.

message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul D'aoust Ah, I gotcha. So it's just not up to the snuff of the other two or The Great Divorce then. I read partway through Velvet Elvis, but I think it scared me too much back then or something, because I don't remember finishing it. I think the ideas were a bit too provocative for me back then; I think I would probably eat it up nowadays. Thanks for the recommendation!

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