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Broken Signposts: How Christianity Makes Sense of the World Hardcover – October 6, 2020
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In this thoughtful follow-up to Simply Christian, today’s leading Bible scholar, Anglican bishop, and acclaimed author uses the Gospel of John to reveal how Christianity presents a compelling and relevant explanation for our world.
N. T. Wright argues that every world view must explain seven “signposts,” indicators inherent to humanity: Justice, Spirituality, Relationships, Beauty, Freedom, Truth, and Power.
If we do not live up to these ideals, our societies and individual lives become unbalanced, creating anger and frustration—negative emotions that divide us from ourselves and from God, he contends. Using the Gospel of John as his source, Wright shows how Christianity defines each signpost and illuminates why we so often see them as being "broken" and unattainable.
Drawing on the wisdom of the Gospels, Wright explains why these signposts are fractured and damaged and how Christianity provides the vision, guidance, and hope for making them whole once again, ultimately healing ourselves and our world.
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"A rich and encouraging book. With his great theological and interpretive erudition, Wright shows that our desire for goods like justice, love, and truth isn’t futile. Broken Signposts will deepen readers’ understanding of God’s kingship, the unity of Scripture, and the nature of Christian engagement in the life of the world." -- James Davison Hunter, author of To Change the World
“Some writers are perceptive commentators on human affairs. Some are perceptive interpreters of Scripture. In this book, Wright is both. His interweaving of these two strands is masterful; his exegesis is often amazing. This reader had no intimation of the richness and subtlety of John’s Gospel that Wright brings to light.” -- Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University and Senior Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
“An instant classic! I can think of no better book for those who are struggling to make sense of the world and our place within it. I will be recommending this book for many years to come!” -- Jason Harris, senior pastor, Central Presbyterian Church, New York City
“More like a fast-paced sermon than a lecture, Wright's insights into John's account of Jesus and human life flow lucidly to the reader through analogies that are pertinent, illustrations that are contemporary, and a conviction that Jesus is the bearer of really, really ‘good news.’" -- David Renwick, Senior Pastor, The National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC
“Wright paints an evocative picture of the intersection of our yearning for redemption with the Jesus revealed in John’s Gospel. Wright’s charcoal sketch of our fractured glimpses of truth, beauty, and freedom (among others) is richly overlaid with lush brush strokes of the Word made flesh.” -- J. Richard Middleton, author of A New Heaven and a New Earth
About the Author
N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world’s leading Bible scholars. He serves as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews as well as Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of many books, including Paul: A Biography, Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope, The Day the Revolution Began, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, and Scripture and the Authority of God.
- Publisher : HarperOne (October 6, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062564099
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062564092
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.77 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #80,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Wright finds his answers to life’s big questions and the solutions to all the world’s problems in the book of John. So, for example, we see that Jesus endured and overcame hatred with love, and so should we. Jesus endured and overcame lies with truth, and that’s what we should do. Jesus endured and overcame injustice with righteousness; go and do likewise. That’s about it folks. Need I go through all seven? Its quite underwhelming.
Does the esteemed professor really have nothing more to offer than the ’90s youth group fad bracelets “What Would Jesus Do”? If he does, I really couldn’t find it, notwithstanding Wright’s repeated proclamations that he is providing “fresh and unexpected insight,” and “fresh, creative ways forward,” and a “fresh understanding of the way the world is,” and a “fresh vision of spirituality” and a “startling fresh reality.” While the book may have lots of freshness stains on the outside, its just stale donuts on the inside.
Besides the banal message, there is a serious flaw in Wright’s methodology. If you are claiming that the answers to man’s existential questions are all in the Bible, its incumbent that the Bible be presented as authoritative, especially in these postmodern times when all metanarratives are suspect and postmodernism itself admits of a “legitimation crisis.” But Wright does not do that. To the contrary, when it comes to Scripture, he essentially adopts Bruce Lee’s maxim on the martial arts: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” Wright’s ultimate authority is N. T. Wright, and that won’t cut it for most people.
Finally, Wright just can’t put out a book anymore without taking shots at the Christians he most despises, namely, those who have a present hope in the imminent return of Jesus Christ, and those who believe their sins have been forgiven by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross. In mocking the latter in a recent book, History and Eschatology, he recast John 3:16 as stating: “God so hated the world that he killed Jesus.” Here he dials it down a bit by simply characterizing Biblical accounts of sacrificial atonement as ancient Israel’s misguided co-opting of pagan cultic practices.
As to those who look for Christ’s return, Wright dismisses their hope as escapist and claims they are shirking their obligation to transform the present world into a Christian utopia. Wright’s Prime Directive to followers of Jesus is to “bring the new creation into existence.” This type of talk calls to mind Friedrich Holderlin’s caution: "What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."
I, for one, am not confident enough in Wright's supreme authority to want to live in a world of his making. To use his metaphor, while he's supposedly fixed the broken signposts, he's still not got them pointed in the right direction.
Top reviews from other countries
Not overly complex but deep and refreshing. Even for the well read Christian the author brings together the deeper thoughts of John. He brings the intuitive deep thoughts of what we know is wrong with the world, shows them in John, and what Jesus thought and did and is doing about them in a profound way. Highly recommended.