N. T. Wright on taking Jesus seriously

Two days ago I referenced a Patheos post by Drew Dyck (@DrewDyck) of Leadership Journal in which Drew argues that the church of tomorrow will be "stronger, smaller, and stranger" and will be populated by "upstream swimmers." Yesterday I commented further that upstream swimmers are people who take Jesus seriously as King not merely the Great Suggestion Maker.

Among influential voices urging us to take Jesus seriously is theologian N. T. Wright:
What would happen if we were to take seriously our stated belief that Jesus Christ is already the Lord of the world and that at his name, one day, every knee would bow? (Surprised by Hope, 144)
If Jesus is Lord/King now, he will be Lord/King in the future -- and "then" means him appearing as judge over all the world. Jesus is to be taken seriously.

What difference does it make? A lot. When I was a kid and was home from school for summer vacation, knowing that dad was coming home from work around 5:00 affected everything I did before 5:00. On one hand, I tried to stay out of trouble because I knew my dad would (and did) punish wrongdoing. (Among us siblings, the trump card of all threats was, "Wait 'till dad gets home. I'm telling on you.") On the other hand, I went through the day with the security of knowing my dad loved me and would be home later. This instilled in my world a sense of security, authority, and rightness. So my dad's character as both just and loving informed the choices I made and the frame of reference with which I made them.

Similarly, Wright goes on to say that taking Jesus seriously as both present and future Lord (or King), can and should enable us to live distinctive lives.
People who believe that Jesus is already Lord and that he will appear again as judge of the world are called and equipped (to put it mildly) to think and act quite differently in the world from those who don't. (144) 
So let's pull a couple of ideas together.

  • Drew Dyck argues that the church of tomorrow will need "upstream swimmers" who are content to go against the current of dominant culture in the name of following Jesus. 
  • N. T. Wright essentially says that taking Jesus seriously as present Lord and future judge is what enables people to think and act differently. 
  • I conclude that the church of tomorrow needs upstream swimmers who swim upstream precisely because they take Jesus seriously as Lord now and in the future.

Comments

  1. Amen. Just an old Moose trying to keep swimming upstream, only by Grace in the love and strength of Christ Jesus, my Lord and Master. };-)

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