N.T. Wright on Newsworthy with Norsworthy

I hope you're still following my friend Luke Norsworthy's podcast Newsworthy with Norsworthy. Luke continues to have fun and insightful conversations with a great lineup.

Recent interviews have included Rob Bell, Phillip Yancey, and a second podcast with Barbara Brown Taylor.

A few days ago Luke sat down with N.T. Wright to talk about his new book Simply Good News.

Luke and I chatted prior to the interview, bouncing around ideas to ask Wright. One of my suggestions was to raise the criticism Wright has received from those espousing an apocalyptic reading of Paul. Specifically, if you know Wright's work well he emphasizes Israel's grand narrative and how that story is resolved in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. As told by Wright how this grand narrative resolves in Jesus is almost perfect, a beautiful interlocking structure, like a fine, mechanical watch. By contrast, the argument from those who espouse an apocalyptic reading of Paul emphasize the radical and unprecedented rupture that was Jesus along with God's creative and elective activity outside of the covenant of Israel. In this sort of reading, to stick with my metaphor, Jesus smashes the watch and totally upends previous categories, expectations and narrative elements.

In raising this debate with Luke I'd feared that such a question would be a bit too nerdy and intramural to Pauline scholarship to be of interest in a podcast for general listeners. But Luke got that question into the podcast. Well done, sir, well done.

And I like Wright's response to the question. The story that is unfolding for Israel isn't chugging along fixed narrative railroad tracks, everything predictably flowing toward a clearly discerned outcome. Israel's story is one of stops and starts, dead ends and plot twists. It's a grand narrative, sure, but it's a story of surprises.

And for my part, if in the apocalyptic reading the cosmic and epistemological rupture is too great it undermines the Jewishness of Jesus, Paul and the New Testament. There needs to be some continuity even in the discontinuity.  

Finally, accompanying Luke to the interview was my own preacher Jonathan Storment (who you might know if you follow his installments at Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog). The podcast ends with Johnathan asking Wright a few questions about how his Kingdom vision might affect the life and often mundane work of the local church.

Jonathan, who grew up in a small church, calls everyone "Brother" and "Sister." I love this and he's gotten me taken with the practice.

Anyway, both Luke and I just love how Jonathan calls N.T. Wright "Brother Tom" at the end of the podcast. Classic Jonathan Storment. I love my preacher.

Enjoy Luke's podcast with Brother Tom!

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6 thoughts on “N.T. Wright on Newsworthy with Norsworthy”

  1. Luke's podcast has become a favorite since I first learned of it from you. I appreciate the way he asks insightful questions and has a very down to earth way of carrying on a conversation with people that makes you think he's known them all his life. And yeah, how he gets these interviews with major "game changers"--ie people who are leading the way in asking the tough and important questions relevant to Christianity today is impressive. Thanks Richard for the introduction.

  2. Thanks Richard. I really appreciate the support and for the help preparing for the interview.

  3. As with this blog, I look forward each week to hearing great conversations on Newsworthy with Norsworthy!

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