Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Salvation Belongs to Our God by Christopher J.H. Wright

Today, I received a review copy of Christopher Wright's new book, Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible's Central Story, from InterVarsity Press. This is the sixth volume in the Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective series, edited by David Smith and John Stott.

I've been scanning through it and am deeply impressed with, not only the subject matter, but also the way in which he presents this study. This is a biblical theology of salvation. In his own words Wright describes this study as one
that strives to treat its topic by gaining a biblical perspective that is as broad as possible. The Bible uses the vocabulary of salvation very widely indeed. I did not want to predetermine what constitutes acceptable theological categories within a structured doctrinal framework. I rather wanted to take that text in Revelation 7:10 and find out what biblical assumptions, content, expectations and implications are nested within its simple phrases. (p. 12)
In the concluding chapter, Wright summarizes God's plan of salvation. He writes,
God's mission was that
  • sin should be punished and sinners forgiven
  • evil should be defeated and humanity liberated
  • death should be destroyed and life and immortality brought to light
  • enemies should be reconciled, to one another and to God
  • creation itself should be restored and reconciled to its creator
And all of these led to the cross of Christ. The cross was the unavoidable cost of God's mission--as Jesus himself accepted, in his agony in Gethsemane: "Yet not as I will, but as you will (Mt 26:39). So as we get our minds around the biblical concept of salvation, let us make room for all that the Bible teaches. Salvation, we have reminded ourselves often in this book, is not just a theory, a doctrine, or a merely subjective state or experience. Salvation is what God has done. Biblical salvation is the historic reality that God sent his Son into the world and his Son willingly gave up his life on the cross in fulfillment of that mission. (p. 187)
Oh, the text goes on, but the publishers would not be happy with me reproducing too much of it. I'm hooked, and I expect to be up a good while tonight reading this book.

Table of Contents
Series Preface
1 Salvation and Human Need
2 Salvation and God’s Unique Identity
3 Salvation and God’s Covenant Blessing
4 Salvation and God’s Covenant Story
5 Salvation and Our Experience
6 Salvation and the Sovereignty of God
7 Salvation and the Lamb of God
Scripture Index

Wright, Christopher J. H. Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible's Central Story. Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2007. Paperback, 202 pages. $16.00

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