21 June 2012

Review: How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels
How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Some of Wright's stuff is a bit more technical and theological, but I felt this was easy to read and comprehend, and his case was well made. I admit, I have read two other books by him just prior to this, as well as another on a closely related topic by Scot McKnight, so maybe this topic just struck me more on the heels of those.

Wright lays out the problem - that for the past few hundred years or more, the church has glossed over and missed much of the thrust of what the four gospels are telling us when they give the details and history of Jesus' life and works. He starts by looking at the early church creeds, and how they jump from the birth of Jesus right to his death and beyond, and how that same mentality has caused us to greatly miss the importance of all of the details in between and what they tell us about the story of Israel, God and the Kingdom.

That, combined with an already lack of understanding by the modern church about the importance of understanding that Jesus has come to fulfill and bring in the end of the long story of Israel as laid out in the first testament, has caused further points to be missed when reading the gospels.

Thanks to things like dispensational theology/eschatology, their escapist mentality regarding the world we live in, and the division of Israel and the church into two separate worlds, the truth of Jesus' coming to fulfill Israel's story and promises and establish God's kingdom in this world is pretty much totally missed.

I believe this book, along with the last few Wright wrote on this type of topic (Simply Jesus, and Surprised By Hope in particular) are much needed reading by all in the church, but especially the church leaders and minsters. We need to rethink and get our heads around the true meanings of what is being given to us in the Word of God; it is not all about personal salvation and just surviving until we get to leave this world and go to heaven. We are called to have a much deeper and wider vision and worldview; one that requires us to be the hands and mouth of God to work within this kingdom he has established by the works and accomplishments of his Son Jesus.

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