N. T. Wright Reconsiders the Meaning of Jesus’s Death

Michael Horton | October 10, 2016


The early Christians turned things upside down with a seemingly ridiculous announcement of a revolution through the crucifixion of a Jewish teacher, such that “by 6 p.m. on that dark Friday the world was a different place.” But the church has tamed this radical message, domesticating it to the powers he came to subvert. 

The burden of N. T. Wright’s latest book, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion, is to unpack those two claims.

The traditional presentation of the gospel—e.g., the “Romans Road”—has little contact with the story the apostle is telling in that famous epistle, Wright argues. Abstracted from the story of Israel, the gospel becomes reduced to “Jesus bore God’s wrath in your place so you could go to heaven when you die.” That old-time religion had some legitimate pieces of the puzzle, but it didn’t put them together properly. Consequently, evangelicals have moralized the problem (sin merely as violations of a code), paganized the solution (an angry Father punishing his Son), and platonized the goal (going to heaven when we die). Wrigth identifies this misunderstanding of the basic plot of the Bible the “works-contract.”

Instead of this works-contract, Wright offers what he calls the covenant of vocation. The relationship God established with Adam…


To read the rest of this article, visit https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-reviews-the-day-the-revolution-began.