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« Religion in the Media | Main | McKnight on Substitutionary Atonement »

April 18, 2006



I found Tom Wright's comment a bit unnerving. I didn't get a chance to read the original article, but Christians DENYING the bodily resurrection sounds to me like an oxymoron. I could track with him if he said that Christians sometimes misunderstand the bodily resurrection and its significance, as I suspect many new believers do, but DENY it? I don't think so.

Unfortunately, we don't help matters when we fail to adequately ground young believers in the faith, which is why I so appreciate the work of STR.

Warm regards,

Jeff Kimble

It is interesting that this topic comes up at this point (besides it being Easter) since I will be interviewing Gary Habermas, April 27 on the Countercult Apologetics Hour. Our topic will be the bodily resurrection - reason being is that this is a teaching the JWs deny.

I think this commentary makes a dichotomy between bodily resurrection and survival of the soul after death but ignores a third option. I would agree that survival of the soul after death cannot be called a "resurrection" since nothing is raised to life that wasn't already alive.

But the third option would be the Jehovah's Witness option. They don't believe the soul survives teh death of the body. Jesus literally ceased to exist, and then came back to life as a spirit creature. Although this position is fraught with difficulty, I suppose it's possible that N.T. Wright may be talking about this.

Without this third option, denying the bodily resurrection would be equivalent to denying resurrection altogether.

I'd like to know what alternative Wright things are acceptable. For example, his friend, Marcus Borg, doesn't believe Jesus was raised from the dead in any sense. However he affirms the spiritual meaning (whatever that is) in the story of the resurrection. He believes in what the story of the resurrection represents (that Jesus is Lord), but not in the literal resurrection itself. I wonder if that's what Wright is talking about, and if Wright thinks that's acceptable.


I am going to go easy on Tom Wright. Partly because he has been such an inspiration for me, and his arguments about the bodily resurrection has built my faith. Also because I have seen this kind of "compromised" thinking from more solid evangelicals like Billy Graham. Let me explain.

While Melinda's description of the article sounds alarming (Given my respect for Wright, I was very worried). However when I read the article, it came clear that he:

A.) Believed in the bodily Resurrection

B.) Thinks that NOT believing in it is spiritually Unhealthy

C.) Thinks that NOT believing in it is not conducive for the growth of the Church

D.) Thinks NOT believing it derives from skepticism, pressure from the academic community, and post modern self centeredness

E.) Thinks NOT believing it is muddled thinking.

F.) In the above context, he says Marcus Bodily and other bodily resurrection doubting believers may be Christians.

So, Its not the shocking , Bishop Spong type statment that it sounds like at first hand.

The other reason why I would go easy on him is because of many Evangelicals, such as Billy Graham who cracks under pressure. When asked whether a "Muslim,Jew, Hindu or Homosexual" will go to heaven without Jesus, he prefers to plead ignorance.

N.T. Wright at least does not crack down under pressure, he tells it like he sees it, whether its is Christianly politically Correct or not.

As for me, us Evangelicals often concentrate on the Bible and personal faith, at the neglect of community. This often excludes people like me who have a very very very hard time believing In God, Jesus and the Bible, despite my apologetics knowledge. The Anglican and Catholic community has two further aspects that balances out their emphasis on Faith and The Bible, that is Community and Church Tradition. If you lack faith, the community will carry you as you are swept up into a 2000 year history of Church tradition. That is what may prompt an Anglican Bishop make room for the doubting Thomas's.


I haven't read the article by N.T. Wright, so I don't know the context of his comments, so I am making my comment without actually reading it. But, from the above summary, it seems strange that Dr. Wright would both accept the omission of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and refute the DaVinci code. The former position plays nicely into the opposite position of the latter. If he is trying to be historically accurate, wouldn't he need to embrace the bodily resurrection of Christ, and reject the DaVinci Code, since the bodily resurrection of Christ is far more historically accurate (as supported by ancient witnesses) than the internally inconsistent drivel in the DaVinci Code?

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