- Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church © 2008
- 332 pages
It’s no secret. I read pretty much everything that Bishop Wright writes. I was particularly excited by the subtitle of this book. This is an area I feel we all could use some clarity in.
Here’s the short version of the book. Story #1: Believe that Jesus died for your personal sins and accept him as your personal Saviour so you can go to heaven when you die. True, but highly incomplete. Story #2: In the resurrection, heaven has broken into earth. As we follow Jesus, we do things that will last until that day when God will recreate the heavens and the earth.
I started this book hoping to hear some interesting stuff about heaven and hell. I came away from it more excited than ever for what we are able to do today. I especially appreciate how this way of understanding eschatology puts the gospels back in the centre of the faith. In Story #1, the gospels are pretty much prologue to the belief system that Paul mastered later on in the first century.
There’s far more to this book than I’ve said here. If you want to demuddle the Christian doctrine of life (after life) after death, and come away challenged to make a difference in the world, read this book.