When I was in the UK recently I was struck by the vast difference between the view taken of Tom Wright there, and that found in the States. In general everyone I spoke to there chuckled at the idea Wright is in any way “conservative.” And the more he speaks, the more it is clear his countrymen know him better than the colonials do.
The Australian today carried an article on comments Wright made while speaking there recently. His words speak for themselves, at least for any person with a biblically-based faith:
Attesting to this is one of the Church of England’s heaviest hitters, the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, who was in Australia recently on a lecture tour. An eminent theologian, an expert on the historical and biblical Jesus and a staunch believer in the resurrection, he baulks at denouncing those who are not.
“I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection,” he says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.
“But the view I take of them – and they know this – is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.
“Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection.
“I actually think that’s a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don’t want to say he isn’t a Christian.
As is always the case with Wright, his wild statements are normally juxtaposed with sound, sober statements (later in the article he very accurately rips The Da Vinci Code apart, for example), once again illustrating the Magic of Anglicanism, the result of the Via Media. For some reason, Americans only “hear” the conservative statements, and seem to gloss over the rest. In any case, I think an ancient writer saw it much more clearly than Wright does: “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).