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After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters
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After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,981 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
From the author of the acclaimed Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope comes a book that addresses the question that has plagued humans for centuries—what is our purpose? As Christians, what are we to do with that ambiguous time between baptism and the funeral? It's easy to become preoccupied with who gets into heaven; the real challenge is how we are going to live in the ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2010)
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Cathleen Falsani
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Last winter, while on a trip to Southern California, theologian N.T. Wright spent some time strolling through Laguna Beach, the seaside village I happen to call home.

He wandered into one of our many charming boutiques -- he called it, perhaps more accurately, a "junk shop" -- and saw a sign that piqued his interest theologically. It read:


"There are times I think I'm doing things on principle,

But mostly I just do what feels good.

But that's a principle, too."

"Doing what feels good" would be "ea
...more
Booketeer
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every Christian
This is an extremely helpful, understandable, and practical book on the Christian life. Wright wants readers to understand that God wants Christians to be changed in their very character and that this change, while a gift, is not effortless. This had a powerful impact on me especially because I listened to Proverbs several times while reading it and that book amplified Wright's message.

If you were to only read one book by N. T. Wright I think it should be this one. I love some of his other works
...more
Hilary
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-class
I'm giving this a grudging 3 stars because I think it has a fairly good argument that a lot of people probably need to hear, because the last two chapters had a few good parts that helped redeem the book for me (even as other parts of those same chapters produced more of a face-palm response), and because Goodreads won't let me give it 2.5 stars. My actual reading experience hovered around 2 stars, with definite 1-star moments where I wanted to throw it at the wall and scream "YOU SAID THAT ALRE ...more
Brian
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethics, spirituality
In this book, Wright unfolds a vision for the formation of Christian character, by carefully situating this vision within his understanding of the kingdom of God and new creation, and showing how the NT writers take the classical approach to virtue (such as in Aristotle) and reconfigure it around Jesus and the Spirit, giving prominence to the new virtues of faith, hope, and love. Lots of ground is covered here, touching on theology, ethics, and ecclesiology, and all in very readable prose. There ...more
Allison
Jan 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
I only found one or two clear premises. The writing was overly wordy and the content kept repeating itself. If you must read the book, reading the first chapter will contain all the information.
David
The central question this book seeks to answer is, what is the purpose of the Christian life after you first believe? (Hence the title!) This book serves as a sort of third part in a trilogy following Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope. Wright's answer to the question is that we live as followers of Christ with the goal of having a distinctly Christian character formed within us.

Before getting to how this works, Wright dispels two false notions of the Christian life. First is the idea that f
...more
Oliver Pierce
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
N.T. Wright is author I have been meaning to read for a long time. I've heard a lot about him especially his book "Jesus and the Victory of God" (which is probably next on my list) and I'm an anglophile at heart so I'll give any british writer/theologian a chance. When this book came on sale for the Kindle I immediately got it and I am very thankful I did. Admittedly the book was much more theological and philosophical than full of "practical advice" but it gave me a lot of meat to chew on that ...more
Carrie
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The title of this book--*AFTER YOU BELIEVE: WHY CHRISTIAN CHARACTER MATTERS--is what drew me to it. As N.T. Wright acknowledges within these pages, there is very often an either/or factor among Christians. We either live our lives trying to legalistically adhere to a bunch of rules (though the rules vary from person to person), or we give very little thought or care to how we live, knowing that "God's grace is sufficient" (which is true). But how we live between our conversion and our funeral ve ...more
Bryon
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Author: N.T. Wright
New York, HarperCollins, 2010
Number of pages: 284

Landing an airplane on the Hudson River in the middle of winter and everyone walking away with nothing more than cold wet feet is a miracle. That's what the media called it when Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger set US Airways flight 1549 down on the river across from New York City.

For you or me, this was a miracle. For Sulley, this was a natural course of events in response to an emergency. Skillful, yes. Amazing, no doubt
...more
Adam Shields
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: At the end of the day I found this a very helpful book to think about developing Christian character. That being said, this is the third time I have started the book and I think the main reason I finished was that I listened to it on audiobook from Scribd instead of reading on my kindle. Like most everything Wright, he connects the development of character to Jesus and the kingdom and I think that is helpful. The central idea is that we have a role in developing character and it is ...more
Brian
May 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy it when Wright speaks to the layman and this is one of those books which hammers the same point again and again and again, but you need to hear it that many times. I have a few reservations. (Wright's books, though practical, rarely touch some of the most mundane, normal situations that his stuff should at least bounce off. I also don't recall much about the Holy Spirit from this--though grace was important.) Wright can communicate very effectively and synthesizes his historical p ...more
Alex Stroshine
N.T. Wright offers a detailed account of how Christians should practice virtue. Virtue does not come spontaneously and it may not feel sincere immediately, but believers need to practice patience, hope, mercy, love, etc...nonetheless, just as a piano player does not become a virtuoso overnight.

Personally, I don't find I learned a whole lot from this book. I already agreed with Wright's assertions about the need to practice virtue. He could have written more succinctly. Also, many of Wright's "po
...more
Sean
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
NT Wright does a great job of writing about the purpose of a Christian after they come to belief. What is the point of our life? How does Christian virtue become second nature, etched in the strings of our DNA. Wright looks how we practice Christian life in anticipation of God's kingdom. Scripture, community, stories, examples and practices are all incorporated into a circular look at the relation of Christian living. A very convicting read that we should be actively pursuing all fruits of the s ...more
Tina
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
NT Wright is a great person with beautiful ideas. If you like talking about morals, ethics, and virtues from a Christian perspective, this is the book for you.
It's not an easy read, sometimes I had to re-read things to really understand what he was saying. He also has some stuff in there that is truly incredible that will blow your mind.
Frankie
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned, regent-reads
This book has some wonderful nuggets in it - alas, they are buried in a sea of words. If trimmed, this could be a gem, as Wright's perspective on virtue is a welcome one in a landscape of trite prescriptions and post-modern truisms. I am excited to read more from him, as my respect grows with each book. This one just didn't totally work for me on an editorial level.
David
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Pat Krayer
This was a great book detailing ever so clearly the importance of what Christian character is and how it is developed in our hearts and lives. It stresses the need to be free from our cultural enticements if we are going to be images of God and display the Gospel message to the world.
Trey Herweck
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Of the three in this series, this was far and away my favorite. Surprised by hope was incredible to rethink the resurrection but this took the implications of that and gave a beautiful picture of life and ministry as a result of the resurrection.
Luuya
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's the one of my favorite book on the Christian ethics. NT Wright skillfully answers the difficult question of how to live as an effective Christian!
Garrett Behrends
good book. Wright can be tough to read at times, but he always makes me think.
Brandon Wilkins
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty good book on the role of virtue in the Christian life. Essentially the book is saying: "Jesus died and rose again, and he's going to come back to judge and renew the universe... so what do we do now?"

Wright sets he cultivation of virtue in between two common extremes. Extreme #1 is pure self-expression, doing whatever your heart tells you to do when you want. Extreme #2 is relentless rules and codes to follow. The middle is the cultivation of character, or as Wright sometimes r
...more
B.J. Richardson
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
OK. I believe. What next?
NT Wright uses that question and the illustration of Captain Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger to launch into this excellent book of why the development of Christian virtue is an essential part of the believer's life. This is the third in a series following up Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope. I would strongly recommend both books but they are not necessary for reading this one for all it is worth.
Getting back to Sully, you or I would say that his emergency landing of
...more
David Worrell
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wright is one of my favorite Christian authors along with Philip Yancey and C.S. Lewis. He's deep but accessible.

This book is a treatise on Christian character. Why it matters, what it is, how to get it. Basically, Wright is saying that merely "being saved" from sin for some future kingdom after we die misses the bulk of Christianity. The Kingdom is here, now, within us. Our work today is to take up our cross and develop the morals and behavior that lead to Christian character as second nature.
...more
Parker
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If I could put this book in the hand of every modern (or post-modern) Christian (along with the will to read it), I absolutely would.

I don't think I've whole-heartedly agreed with NT Wright as much as I have here. So much of what he has to say here is, I think, massively important to the circumstances of contemporary Christianity: Why we ought to develop ethical character, how we do it (in a general sense; he isn't trying to write rules), and why it HAS to be done in community rather than indivi
...more
Lauren Fee
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have slowly trudged through this book because I could not digest it after long periods of reading, but I am thankful I persevered. I feel like God has been teaching me about Christian virtue through my living it out over the past few years of my faith, yet not really knowing how to verbalize or even define the term. I came to faith in a church that was super strong evangelically, but I wasn’t as confident of what I should be doing aside from completing the great commission. This book put to wo ...more
Jonathan
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Some great stuff here. It explains very well the relationship between Aristotelian virtue ethics / teleology and the writings of Paul, and the relationship of works to faith and grace, and why works are still important in light of those things, even if they don't necessarily secure your (already secured) salvation. But it is very repetitive, so much so that I stopped reading 3/4 of the way through, having felt that I had very much gotten the gist of it. I have utmost respect for Wright, so I'm w ...more
Becky
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ah, so good. I always think "I'll have to read it again" - but Tom Wright has written so many books that I'll probably never have the time to read any of them again. However, this one might just be the exception. I found about 80% of it to be directly relevant to my life and the other 20% to be worth knowing. If the title intrigues you, you'll enjoy the book.
Mary Margaret
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this to be most useful and insightful. It's dense with information, so I will have to come back to it some day and read it with sticky notes and a pencil to annotate it as there's just so much information to absorb. I will say that all the metaphors did get a bit repetitive after a while, but this is a personal problem, and not necessarily one for which N. T. Wright should be criticized.
Mar
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me personally a 2-3. I think the book is well written and theologically and biblically sound, however, I was hoping for some more practical applications and this one was more theological and philosophical. It took much longer fro me to get through than I had hoped as well. slogging at times.
Chelsea
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So good that as soon as I finished I promptly started over from the beginning!!
Kavin Kramer
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Helped my understanding of the role that virtue plays in the life of the believer.
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1,177 followers
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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“Someone who is determinedly trying to show God how good he or she is is likely to become an insufferable prig.” 22 likes
“Virtue is what happens when someone has made a thousand small choices requiring effort and concentration to do something which is good and right, but which doesn't come naturally. And then, on the thousand and first time, when it really matters, they find that they do what's required automatically. Virtue is what happens when wise and courageous choices become second nature.” 14 likes
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