After You Believe
In this video Conversation, BioLogos Senior Biblical Fellow Peter Enns speaks with the Rev. N.T. Wright about some of the concepts explored in his latest book After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (HarperOne, 2010).
Enns begins by asking Wright what prompted him to write the book.
Wright responds, “I wrote it because I became fascinated a few years ago with the way in which the vision of God’s purpose to put all things right in the end actually affects what we loosely refer to as the moral life.” Many Christians think in terms of how good and bad behavior dictates who will go to heaven or hell, while still others focus more on the saving grace of Christ—and from this, it is clear that there is a preoccupation with how one should live.
There is confusion in our culture about what is right, though, Wright notes. Does one try to live by rules? By making a moral calculation when faced with every dilemma? Or does one try to live “authentically” and hope it all turns out well?
None of these options are good, says Wright. For example, rules alone are bad because they can stultify and prevent one from growing up.
How then do we live? Wright suggests that we revive the ancient idea of character and virtue as seen in the New Testament.
When Paul talks about character in Romans 5, he writes, “hope does not disappoint us.” In fact, he offers the steps to a full human existence by highlighting the character traits that Christians are called to develop. Therefore, if we frame the question of morality in terms of a biblical eschatology (a vision of what the real end is) then all sorts of things can grow within us to make us into the people God wants us to be.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
N.T. Wright is a leading biblical scholar, former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England, and current Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, University of St Andrews. He studied for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and was ordained at Merton College, Oxford. Wright holds a Doctor of Divinity from Oxford University in addition to several honorary doctorates. Wright has also written over fifty books, including the multi-volume work Christian Origins and the Question of God and his two most recent books Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters and How God Became King.