If the name Tom Wright means anything to you, you will be excited to learn that he is coming to Harrogate in January of next year to speak to the Harrogate School of Theology and Mission (HSTM). Tom Wright is one of the UK’s greatest New Testament scholars at the present time and has been described by some as the CS Lewis of our day. A former Bishop of Durham, he is now Professor at St Andrews, and has that rare gift of communicating deep scholarship in a clear and powerful manner to a wide audience.
I wish that more of our congregation attended the Harrogate School of Theology and Mission. It is not just for the donnish and bookish, but for all people who want to deepen and widen their Christian faith. HSTM has attracted some of the greatest scholars in the land, and managing to get Prof Tom Wright is a real coup for us. So put 12 January, 2019 in your diaries.
Tom Wright is a prolific author. He has just published a very readable biography of St Paul, Paul: A Biography. His style is easy to follow and this book is not weighed down with acres of academic footnotes. I recommend it.
My reason for mentioning Tom Wright is that in 2016 he published another book on the meaning of Christ’s crucifixion, a timely read as we prepare for Easter. This book has the intriguing and striking title The Day The Revolution Began: Rethinking The Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion. Again, the style is easy to follow but the thinking is deep and challenging. As we approach Easter, we don’t really think of the Crucifixion as a ‘revolution’, do we? The French Revolution with its ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ turned France upside down. The Russian Revolution of 1917 swept away the rule of the Czar and the power of the Church and re-made society along Marxist lines.
Since those heady days, people have become disillusioned by revolutions which promised a new earth but which delivered more of the same old rotten, corrupt system. Revolutions resulted in only a change of leadership.But what Jesus did on the Cross on that first Good Friday was a genuine revolution, because his atoning work got right to the heart of the problem, the problem of the human heart. It is human sinfulness, human selfishness and greed which make our political and social systems so cruel and unjust. A revolutionary change of leadership achieves nothing, because it is the same old sinful human beings in charge. We sinners are the problem, not the solution. But Jesus died on the Cross to nail human sinfulness and by his being raised from the dead on the third day to transform humanity. That is the revolution, a revolution of the human heart.
May you know the power of the risen Lord Jesus in your life this Easter time.
Very sincerely Yours,