N.T. Wright and Our Urgent Task

N.T. Wright is taking part in a point-counterpoint forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Here is a snippet from the Baptist Press news article on one of his thought-provoking lectures.  Really good stuff on living redemptively.

Armed with the hope that comes from Christ'sresurrection and from the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, possibilities now exist for lives to be healed and for communities to be mended, Wright said. Followers of Christ should strive to be the model and the means by which renewal comes about in the surrounding communities, he said.

"If we are even beginning to do any of this, we will also be, as part of our conformity to the pattern of the Son of God, people in whom the battle for the Kingdom of God becomes apparent," Wright said.

Indeed, living Christianly in the present postmodern society often proves to be a battle, he said, while noting that postmodernism also can be a positive agent for the spread of God's Kingdom.

"The task of postmodernity within the purposes of God has been to preach the Fall [of man in the Garden of Eden] to arrogant modernity," Wright said. "I regard this as a necessary task."

Modernism taught that mankind could rise to any level, even to the point of redefining good and evil and placing mankind in God's place, Wright said, whereas postmodernism's legacy is that it reminds proponents of modernism that knowledge leads to power and power often corrupts. However, postmodernism cannot complete the task, he noted.

"Postmodernity can condemn, but it cannot give life," Wright said. "In putting down the arrogant modernist self, [postmodernism] collapses all human identity into a morass of invention and experience.

"It carries no possibilities of new creation," he said.

Christianity must take up the challenge where postmodernism falls short, Wright said.

"Though postmodernity has shown the modernist empire to be dangerous, it can't do anything about it. It can't stop it," he said. "Part of the task of living Christianly in today's world and living by a new creation is the task of finding a way through postmodernity and out the other side."

Wright challenged Christians to take seriously the part of the Lord's Prayer that says, "Thy will be done on earth," and to find confidence in Jesus' statement that "all authority in heaven and on earth" has been given to Him.

"We have to learn -- and I think this is the most urgent ethical task of the 21st century -- how to live as new covenant people in new creation, submitting neither to modernism nor to postmodernism nor to empires or anything of the sort but to the Gospel imperative," Wright said.