Pragmatic Gospel of N.T. Wright

This book review by Gary Gilley sheds more light on the subtle darkness of the pragmatic "social gospel" advocated by N.T. Wright with its "new perspective on Paul" and new perspective on evangelism being promoted today by seeker-friendly pastors such as Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC).

…Drawing from N.T. Wright and the “missional” understanding of Christianity, Keller infuses a social dimension into his gospel definition. Keller’s gospel is more than the good news that Christ has come to reconcile us to God; it is also solving the world’s problems of injustice, poverty and healing the troubles of this earth. He quotes N. T. Wright, not Scripture, to support his view:



The message of the resurrection is that this world matters! That the injustices and pains of this present world must now be addressed with the news that healing, justice, and love have won… If Easter means Jesus Christ is only raised in a spiritual sense—[then] it is only about me, and finding a new dimension in my personal life. But if Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, Christianity becomes good news for the whole world—news which warms our hearts precisely because it isn’t just about warming hearts. Easter means that in a world where injustice, violence and degradation are endemic, God is not prepared to tolerate such things—and that we will work and plan, with all the energy of God, to implement victory of Jesus over them all (p. 212).



Later Keller makes clear what he means: “The purpose of Jesus’ coming is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. It is not just to bring personal forgiveness and peace, but also justice and shalom to the world…. The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world” (p. 223).


Scripture knows nothing of such a gospel message. Nowhere in the New Testament will you find such a commission given to the people of God. You will, however, find a similar message in the Emergent church, N.T. Wright’s New Perspective on Paul and those reviving the old “Social Gospel” agenda…

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