Caring for the world in light of the coming Kingdom?

There certainly has been a good amount of publicity for N.T. Wright’s new book “Surprised by Hope.”  (I look forward to reading it soon myself).  As a big fan of Bishop Wright who has read and listened to him with some frequency, I have gotten a good handle on his view of life, death and the world to come.  I thought that this short video, summarizing a bit what N.T. Wright is speaking on would would help us speak to something that has been on my own mind for some time now.

Though there are some elements of Wright’s doctrine that I do not agree with (ex: the intermediate state, which I don’t really think he understands either), he really has done a great job as explaining the Kingdom, speaking to its need in this world, and bringing his audience back to to the first century Jewish world of Jesus and the New Testament.

However, after just finishing his book “The Challenge of Jesus” and watching this short video myself, I thought it would be helpful to raise some of the challenges that N.T. Wright has given to me based on his writings and teachings.

I come from a back ground where, before I was a Christian, I was very involved in working to improve the lives of the community I was a part of.  I would organize and oversee food drives, blood drives and the like.  We would work socially to collect food and money for families in the community that had desperate needs.  However, perhaps ironically, when I became a Christian I was taught that my time should be devoted to the service of the people of the church – like-minded believers should be given my time, my resources, and my service.  After all, Jesus said in Matthew 25, that we should be concerned for the “least of these (his) brethren.”

Recently though, influenced by Scripture and helped along by N.T. Wright, I have seen that the elements of the coming Kingdom should influence the Christian’s ethics now.  The Kingdom is marked by justice being done, thus the Christians should be concerned about the afflicted.  God will care for the poor, and His people should for Him now.  All of these points, and much more have been rolling over in my head – I believe that certainly the Christian’s concern should be for the church first, but then what?

Galatians 6:9-10 – Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

The question I pose is the following: What is the balance between the two extremes I have personally been through?  Do we have direction from Scripture and wisdom from experience to figure this out?  I don’t want to spend my time out in the world trying to fix all of its problems and feed every open mouth, but I also don’t want to just think that “its all going to burn, so just care for the people who believe like I do and preach the gospel.”  I’ve got some thoughts on this which I can include in some latter comments, but I’d like to hear from you.

PS: did you see N.T. Wright’s library?……:-)

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JohnO on March 27, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    I did. 8 ft, two walls… wow.

    I totally agree that we need to do something for the world. And always the first question is “Well what *can* we do?” Previously I was in a church where its unique ability was in construction. In a year they put four or five roofs on members houses and reconstructed a house in New Orleans after the disaster. New Orleans was exactly what they had an opportunity to do. A member’s mother lived there, and they saw a need and we able to reach out.

    Reply

  2. So how was this roofing project balanced with the proclaimation of the gospel? Were the houses worked on only church members?

    Reply

  3. […] Contact Us Caring for the world in light of the coming Kingdom? […]

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  4. Posted by JohnO on March 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    The houses worked on were church members, with the exception of New Orleans. And that woman was impacted by what the church did strongly (though I don’t know firsthand)

    Reply

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