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Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense Paperback – March 2, 2021
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“Simply outstanding. It will confirm, challenge, and deepen your grasp of Christian faith and practice.”—Christianity Today
Christian scholar and Anglican bishop N. T. Wright’s best-known work, written in the tradition of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity but for today’s generation—a rigorous and mind-expanding explanation of the essence of Christianity and why people believe—is available in paperback for the first time.
For two thousand years, Christianity has claimed to answer the mystery of human existence. Renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop N. T. Wright—the award-winning author Newsweek hails as “the world’s leading New Testament scholar”—argues that the Christian faith still holds the answers today.
Like C. S. Lewis did in his classic Mere Christianity, Wright makes the case for Christian faith for modern readers, whether you are a believer, an agnostic, schooled in a different spiritual tradition, or are a skeptical atheist suspicious of organized religion. Using clear, simple language to convey a profound message, he walks you through the Christian faith step-by-step and question by question, and reveals how basic inquiries such as Why is justice fair? Why are so many people pursuing spirituality? Why do we crave relationship? And why is beauty so beautiful? take us into the mystery of God and his plan for us and leave believers with a reason for renewed faith.
Provocative and insightful, with a discussion guide for individuals and groups, Simply Christian offers answers to expand and guide all of our lives.
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“Wright offers...[an] intelligent view of Christianity, and his title invites us to compare his work with Lewis’s [...] Mere Christianity.” -- Washington Post
“N.T. Wright is simply crucial; his writing can transform one’s life.” -- Anne Rice, author of CHRIST THE LORD
“We are in Mere Christianity territory here [...] Bound to be a classic.” -- Rob Bell, author of Love Wins
“The book demonstrates that it is still possible in the 21st century to represent the Christian tradition in a persuasive way that speaks to the human heart.” -- National Catholic Reporter
“No one living today is writing more thoughtfully and compellingly about Christian theology.” -- Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America
“Readers will welcome such ready access to one of the fine teachers of the church.” -- Walter Brueggemann
“Simply Christian is an amazing testimony to the vitality…of the Christian faith—and to the skill of N. T. Wright.” -- Will Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference, United Methodist Church
“[No one] has done more to clarify what [...] Christianity looks like in our day than Tom Wright.” -- John Ortberg, teaching pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
“Fresh, engaging, and highly readable…Simply Christian [is] an invaluable guide for seekers and doubters as well as believers.” -- Os Guinness, author of Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Faith
“N.T. Wright is uniquely qualified to convey the enduring substance of Christian life and thought to contemporary people.” -- Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, University of Southern California, and author of The Divine Conspiracy
“Brilliant Bishop Wright is one of God’s best gifts to our decaying Western church...” -- J.I. Packer, professor of theology, Regent College
“Wright attempts a 21st-century counterpart to Lewis’s Mere Christianity. . . . notably clear, readable and thought-provoking.” -- Richard Ostling, AP
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; Reprint edition (March 2, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060872705
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060872700
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.58 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #36,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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(P.S. highly recommend getting the kindle book and the audible book and listening and reading together as the Kindle app now flips the pages for you as you listen to the book. Very well read.)
N.T. Wright does it pretty well. Yes it could be rewritten to make a few chapters a little clearer, and should be, but overall, it makes the argument that Christianity makes sense, and gets the point or arguments across.
I have a friend who is an animist, whose mother is French. My wife and I have talked with "her" socially in French at least 4 times. She likes us because we are loyal and faithful friends to her son.
Well, I sent her the book with a friendly introduction how how my Christian conversion stopped me from committing suicide at age 21.
She responded by starting to read it and thanking me and sending me a thank you card entitled: Thanks so much - A simple act of kindness has a beauty all its own. COOL
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What I anticipated was a more modern version of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, being a outline of apologetic reasoning with some, though not many, sources being cited as evidence. Given the difference in backgrounds between C.S. Lewis (a pretty ordinary bloke with a gift for clear writing) and Tom Wright (one of the world's foremost New Testament scholars), I was expecting this to be a little more scholarly, but that the discussions would follow a broadly similar path. This turned out not to be the case.
It was very refreshing to see a new approach to apologetics where the book wasn't written in direct response to an atheistic polemic, but it felt far more like it was addressing an unfulfilled need. The book is beautifully written and a large amount of credit is owed to the author for being such a clear and down-to-earth writer.
It was also good to see the author tackle some difficult topics head-on, which all too often many christian writers either avoid or give cursory answers that do little but enrage the critics.
There are frequent glimpses of the breadth and depth of study that have gone into this book though if there is to one criticism of it, it would have to be the lack of references.
This is not a book that I would recommend for dyed-in-the-wool atheists. I think the matter-of-fact presentation is not designed to be persuasive - it just states the case clearly. This is far more helpful for those wanting to investigate Christianity (e.g. those who may be thinking of going on, or have just done, an Alpha course - or something similar) and it serves as a useful reminder for those of us who are Christians about what it's all about. It can be easy to get sidetracked by various issues at one time or another, and this serves as a good reminder to tell us "this is what's all about. Don't ever forget it."
This is the same premise on which Tom Wright starts. His book starts by describing four things everybody experiences in his or her life: that there is a lot of unjustness in the world, that the world contains a lot of spirituality and searching for real and true answers to life's questions, that people want to live in good harmony with each other but that this goes wrong much of the time, and a certain longing for beauty. These four topics are described through anecdotes and are recognizable for all.
In the second part of the book Wright describes God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and how God's Kingdom has progressed through the ages. Every believing Christian should already know all of this. Nevertheless it's interesting to read it all again, because Wright presents a number of themes that can be found in the development of God's Kingdom, thereby showing that He wanted to make it all right again ever since it went wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, for example, it was no longer possible that the sacral and the secular could intertwine, but through the Tabernacle, later the Temple and ultimately Christ's sacrifice, this was made possible again.
The third section of the book starts with a beautiful chapter on worship, in which Wright makes perfectly clear that worship is not just singing and dancing for the Lord, but that it is a way of life: giving praise and being grateful to the Lord in all one does. See for example Romans 12,1 (ESV): "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." In the remaining chapters of this section he moves in on the question what it's like to live like a Christian, for example by describing what a healthy prayer life entails or what it's like to read in the Bible.
In his final chapter he returns to the four topics that he described in the first section of the book, showing that it's our job as Christians to make the world a bit more just, to make it a bit more beautiful and to work on healthy relations. That a better world contains a lot of God over against vague spirituality is of course out of the question.
There is more to say about this book. It clearly shows that Wright knows what he is talking about. The way he describes different and sometimes conflicting theological and biblical ideas and interpretations is absolutely great. Moreover, the way he overcomes these differences is even better, for example when he discusses the different and partially conflicting views on the Holy Supper. This book does not presuppose a lot of knowledge about Christianity, which is a good thing, because it makes the book - which is not difficult to read or that long - easier to read.
I have read quite some books of Tim Keller, who works on showing - among many other things - that being a Christian is being someone who has a message for the world: a message of hope and a message of (social) justice (see for example his Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just ). This spoke to me, since I have been long looking for an answer to the question what it means in practice to be a Christian. This book of Tom Wright has essentially the same message, but has it backed up by a good set of ideas that form the basis or foundation of one's personal and communal believes in God.