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For All the Saints?: Remembering the Christian Departed

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  186 ratings  ·  34 reviews
“We have been drifting into a muddle and a mess, putting together bits and pieces of traditions, ideas and practices in the hope that they will make sense. They don't. There may be times when a typical Anglican fudge is a pleasant, chewy sort of thing, but this isn't one of them. It's time to think and speak clearly and act decisively.”

With these robust words Tom Wright, B
Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Morehouse Publishing (first published August 2003)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  186 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I didn't realize going into this book that it was Wright's response to a trend he was seeing in the Anglican church to bring back purgatory and traditional All Souls' observances. To that extent, it is a good contribution to that subject but not eye-opening for me. He also has a deep problem with the concept of "Christ the King" Sunday; but I have never viewed it the way he portrays it as being presented. I concede that my ignorance is probably to blame for that, but I've only and always viewed ...more
Justin Morgan
Great reasoned little tract on the theological implications of All Saints and All Souls days. I've read it twice and loved it both times. Especially important is Wright's cleaning up of muddy waters surrounding the issue/practice of the 2 feast days and his clear Biblical insight. However, while I love his bright and tight reasoning, I don't want to completely throw the baby out with the bath water and wish he would make space for or at least ask questions around how the two feast days can be re ...more
Alex Strohschein
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This is a short book by an excellent biblical scholar on the state of the departed. N.T. Wright explains that the faithful departed reside in a temporary resting place, being refreshed (a la the thief on the cross). In the same way, Wright dismantles the doctrine of purgatory, noting that Orthodoxy never held to such a belief and that modern Catholic theologians, including Pope Emeritus Benedict have drastically reshaped the concept of Purgatory. Wright does affirm prayers FOR and WITH the dead. ...more
Nathan Haydon
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this a few years ago, but thought I'd treat myself to it again for our current Allsaintstide. ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
N.T. Wright's brief look at the traditional practices of All Saints Day and All Souls Day in the modern, Protestant high church. Are these holy days worth keeping? Do they align with biblical truth? Or are they being imported from Catholic tradition? Wright clearly explains that All Saints Day in the original Catholic tradition unnecessarily restricts sainthood to those canonized individuals when the Bible claims all Christians to be made saints by the justification in Jesus. He also clarifies t ...more
Thomas Creedy
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One area which has always interested me as a Christian person are the wildly different views that different Christian and nearly/non-Christian folk and organisations have regarding what happens when we die. I recently rediscovered and read Tom Wright’s little book For All the Saints: Remembering the Christian departed, which deals (from a biblically informed, historically aware and pastorally sensitive Anglican perspective) with some of the key questions.
Chris Wermeskerch
A great (and extremely quick!) read on what happens to Christians after they die. I rate this so low because a lot of this book is inaccessible for those without familiarity with the Anglican tradition. The third half of the book addresses how Wright's theology would edit the Anglican liturgical season, which is largely skippable for those in low church/Protestant denominations. Also, if you buy this new (as I had), it is shockingly expensive for a 75 page book. ...more
Chris Thomas
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and Clear

N.T. Wright offers a clear and simple book that helps clear up some of the grey on Christian thought concerning death and the afterlife. An excellent and insightful read.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of Wright's lighter books. ...more
Nick Bersin
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brief but excellent discussion of the theological issues around All Souls' Day. ...more
Betty Creamer
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This was a great book, almost a tract or essay about how to view the deceased. This is an issue I have as I'm constantly weighing how Protestantism relates to church tradition, especially traditions that have been in the church from the first four centuries or so.

Basically, Wright gets his viewpoints from his precise and contextually rich exegesis of certain passages. He is a reformer par excellence in the sola scriptura and semper reformanda tradition. No sacred cows for Tom.

His ideas serve as
Jeff Zell
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This slim volume originates from a conversation that Father Wright (He is Anglican and serves in England) had with a grieving widow. She received a number of consoling messages from kindhearted religious folk. But, she noted that what they said seemed to conflict. What really happens when a Christian dies?

Wright turned to the Scriptures to offer the answers that are available to us. When we die, we experience what Wright calls a “discontinuity” with our body. We enter paradise, a resting place.
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting short book. I happened to stumble on this while trying out Oyster (a sort of Netflix for books). It will have more impact and meaning if you are a practicing Anglican; particularly in Europe but there are some insights into how we approach issues surrounding the afterlife, the church calendar and liturgy. Wright's more academic work goes into far greater detail and his larger popular works more completely address these issues. As a result this book is best seen as a kind of teaser ...more
Brad Belschner
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-theology
Weighing in at only 76 pages, this is a quick read. The subject of this book is twofold: First, what happens to Christians when they die? Second, what about the modern liturgies of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day?

N.T. Wright clearly argues that our final destination is not "heaven", bur rather, resurrection in the context of the new heavens and new earth. Wright dismantles traditional and modern misunderstandings on the issue, and argues that Christians who die today will be in "paradise", or
Nov 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thoughtful Christians, especially mainline and Catholic
Shelves: read-ministry
Tom Wright uses the recent growth in attention to All Saints and All Souls Day within the Anglican communion as a starting point to explore the Christian (especially the New Testament and early Church) understandings of the resurrection, life after death, our relationship to the saints who have already died, and the very definition of "saint." Clear and succinct, he makes some very good points about the ways that the Christian calendar and its consequent liturgies subtly shape the implicit theol ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of N.T. Wright's I've read that did not get five stars. The reason for this is not that I disliked it, however, but largely because it seemed to be written towards a certain audience. This is directed towards those who believe in purgatory and cast all their faith in heaven first and the other parts of faith following that. This is also a very short book, as it is considered to be more an offshoot of some of his larger volumes. This may best be thought of as a 76-page tang ...more
A good book, which helped to clear up misconceptions about what happens to those who die, and where they go (where we go), etc. I did disagree with his part on NOT asking for intercession from the saints who are departed (saints meaning all Christ followers), but pretty much everything else I would agree with.

Broadened my perspective on heaven, and the afterlife, and life after life after death ;) as Wright so commonly names it. I'm now reading Simply Christian, and just bought Surprised by Hope
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, 2012
The book needed to be longer. Half the time, he would say, "which I explain in more depth in this other book." The contents in the book were scattered themselves. Part of the book was an examination of the liturgical calendar and questioning whether certain feasts added or took away from the celebrations of the life of Christ. At one point he argued only Christians have souls, and I would have liked a larger explanation that the one he gave. His points were all pulled from the Bible (kudos there ...more
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own-ni
As usual, a very well written book that captures the imagination. Which is not something that I can usually say about (loosely-termed) theological books, but that generally what I feel after reading something by N. T. Wright. This short book in particular addresses an area that is, I think, deliberately left vague in most of his other works: namely, what Wright thinks about what happens immediately after you die, before the Second Coming and the Resurrection of the Saints. Well worth a read if y ...more
Glenn Crouch
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Having already read Tom Wright's newer book, Suprised By Hope, probably caused my rating to drop from 4 to 3 stars, as this later book is superb and I couldn't help comparing the two :)

That said, as a short book looking at "the Christian Departed", this is a good resource.

I thought Chapter 4 was a little out of place, given the shortness of the book - but the Conclusion (which followed) was well done - and worth a re-read :)
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, liturgy
"For All the Saints" is worth the read if you haven't already read "Surprised by Hope" or if you need the liturgical correction he offers in the last two chapters. The theology here is simply a condensed form of what he wrote in "Surprised by Hope". The reflection on the misguided celebrations of All Souls' Day and the "Kingdom Season" are good and interesting, but irrelevant in my corner of the Anglican world. ...more
Duane Bamsch
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wright pens an apologia against the idea of All Souls Day in the Church of England. Along the way, he lays out some clear ideas as to how we may remember the Christian dead, as well as addressing their "locality" in the Intermediate State. He also clearly proclaims the resurrection of the body on the Last Day and points to the final goal of the Christian not being a nebulous "heaven," but the New Creation come down from heaven. ...more
Jacob Aitken
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglican, apologetics
By beginning with the Scriptural data on "saints," Wright shows that there is no extra category for understanding the departed as saints differently than how the NT understands its current believers as saints. And as he shows, when we look at the NT language about "saints," some of the saints are really messed up people. Also addresses Purgatory in light of the Resurrection. ...more
Rick Stuckwisch
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful and thought-provoking little book. A fast read, and well worth it. Helpful distinctions between popular images of "heaven" and the Scriptural hope and promise of the Resurrection. Also addresses the dangers of various views of "purgatory." Written from an Anglican context and perspective, but essentially an essay in biblical theology, pertinent to Christians of any communion. ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where are the deceased now? A common question one encounters in local church ministry. NT Wright offers a helpful reflection, colored by Anglicanism, for those who minister in the trenches. Recommended.
Karen Crouch
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
Read this as we approached All Saints day and it certainly helped clarify a few things. He also looked at the structure of the church year used by many liturgical traditions and I found that discussion very helpful. It is only a small book and well worth the read.
Douglas Wilson
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bishop Wright makes clear and valid points without obtuse language.
Fr. Will
Great little book to get us back on track in understanding heaven, and life AFTER life after death.
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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

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  Every year in the U.S., we observe National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15. And this is the perfect...
59 likes · 11 comments
“Now love doesn't stop at death - or if it does, it's a pretty poor sort of love! In fact, grief could almost be defined as the form love takes when the object of love has been removed; it is love embracing an empty space, love kissing thin air and feeling the pain of nothingness. But there is no reason at all why love should discontinue the practice of holding the beloved in prayer before God.” 1 likes
“The myth of purgatory is an allegory, a projection, from the present on to the future. This is why purgatory appeals to the imagination. It is our story. It is where we are now. If we are Christians, if we believe in the risen Jesus as Lord, if we are baptized members of his body, then we are passing right now through the sufferings which form the gateway to life.” 0 likes
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