Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Wright begins with the theme of general revelation, asking, How much do we know about God through common human experience? In our desire for justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty, we hear echoes of God’s voice calling us.

Wright demonstrates his greatest strength in addressing the theme of God’s specific revelation in Jesus Christ. Here his immense scholarship as a historian of Jesus offers significant payoff for grasping Jesus’ message and his religious and cultural context. Jesus is best understood as a first century Jew who proclaimed the Kingdom of God and himself as the fulfillment of God’s work with Israel.

On a related theme, Wright tackles the nature of the Bible. Its pages contain God’s story of salvation in the history of Israel, in the ministry of Jesus, and in forming the Church as a response to Jesus’ message, all of which demonstrate God’s love for the world. Most important, we are called to respond to the message of the Bible. As a bishop, Wright is deeply concerned with the Christian community and exhorts it to live in the light of Jesus’ message and to offer hope to a despairing world. The church’s calling (or vocation) is found in God’s sending it into the world for “restorative justice.”

Toward the end, Wright sketches the theme of eschatology, or the final chapter of God’s purpose for creation. The Creator will not give up on the world by destroying it and popping Christians into heaven, or “life after death.” Instead God will renew the created world and his people, who will live eternally in the new heavens and new earth, a promise Wright calls “life after ’life after death.’”