Tom Wright brings good news to Norwich
The world-renowned scholar Tom Wright spoke about his new book ‘Simply Good News’ at Norwich Cathedral as part of a nationwide tour.
Helen Baldry reports
The Bishop of Durham Tom Wright
is touring the UK, with events in Cambridge, St Andrew's, London, Liverpool and Manchester. The event at Norwich Cathedral
was held on Wednesday May 6. Bishop Tom spoke to the large audience about his book Simply Good News
and then took questions from the floor.
Put simply, the focus of the book is around the following:
1. Something happened (Jesus’ resurrection)
2. Something will happen (Jesus will return)
3. Something is happening now among those who believe.
Bishop Tom said “The good news was, and is, that all this has happened in and through Jesus; that one day it will happen, completely and utterly, to all creation; and that we humans, every single one of us, whoever we are, can be caught up in that transformation here and now.”
There is a crucial difference between good news and good advice. Good advice is about how to reorder your life. Bishop Tom said, “Part of my anxiety which drove me to write this book is that a great many Christians have the temptation to turn the ‘good news’ into ‘good advice’.”
Bishop Tom spoke about the importance of the back-story to the good news and that we need the context of the Old testament. “Christianity generates a fresh way of telling that back story.” And he made the point that the gospel redefines everybody’s story.
Another point discussed was that we are God’s stewards over creation and God transforms us into his royal priesthood. The common perception of a bullying, angry God is incorrect, rather God uses us in his generous, creative love. He has dealt with the sin that stops humans from taking their proper part in it.
Bishop Tom said, “God wants his world to be wisely governed by responsible human authority.” A pertinent point made on the day before the general election!
Bishop Tom talked about the effect of the Enlightenment – that it was a blessing in terms of discoveries and growth, but that the Western world felt that since the eighteenth century, humans have come of age – the modern belief that we are ‘masters of our fate and captains of our souls’ resulted in the notion that Christianity can exist alongside this, rather than Jesus’ resurrection being the turning point of history.
Bishop Tom finished on that fact that we are called to be good news people living between one point (something happened) and the other (something’s going to happen). A good start, he says is the Lord’s prayer. He mentioned that sometimes people approach it back-to-front ie they start by asking for help, rather than with worship. He likened this to entering a place by the back door- and, in fact, Jesus is waiting to welcome us at the front door.
The book shows how the gospel is an announcement of a past event, which ensures a future event - meaning that we have choices to make in our present lives which enable us to be transformed.