Mar 19, 2018 Richard Mansfield

New! N. T. Wright's Small Faith--Great God

Wright, Small Faith I’m not certain I’d want to share the sermons I first preached in my twenties. It’s not that they were heretical or anything like that; but when I occasionally look at an old sermon I preached from my younger days, I can now see where my outlook and perspective lacked the wisdom of life experience. Some of those old sermons could probably be reworked, but I doubt I’d share them as they essentially are. Of course, I’m no N. T. Wright.

I have no doubt that N. T. Wright, former Anglican Bishop of Durham, is one of those figures alive in the church today who will still be read generations from now. With Wright having already published over 70 books, and with thousands of his sermons floating around on the internet and elsewhere, who knows if one day studies of his writings will be divided into Early-, Middle-, and Late-Wright?

If such distinctions are made in the future, the volume Small Faith—Great God: Biblical Faith for Today’s Christians will easily go into the first category. This title, released today for the Accordance Bible Software Library, is an adaptation of 20 sermons preached “in and around Oxford” from when Wright was in his early twenties. Wright’s giftedness as a communicator of the Gospel is apparent, even in these early sermons.

The theme of the title, Small Faith—Great God comes from Matt 17:20 where Jesus tells the disciples, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (NRSV). Wright explains the theme in the third message of the collection, “Not by Sight”:

So Christian faith is not a vague optimism or a general religious approach to life. It is believing and trusting in the God who made us and who has shown what he is like in Jesus of Nazareth. And what does that mean? First, it means that we know that God is a holy and almighty God: the life of Jesus leaves us no room for doubt about that. Second, it means he is a loving and merciful God: the death of Jesus leaves us no room for doubt about that. Third, it means he is a God who gives new life: the resurrection of Jesus leaves us no room for doubt about that. We cannot see God: Jesus has shown us what he is like. And what God requires of us is not (in the first instance) great faith. When the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, increase our faith,” Jesus said that all they needed was faith like a grain of mustard seed. It is not great faith we need: it is faith in a great God. Hence the title of this book. And this faith comes, like Abraham’s, through hearing the promises of God, believing them and acting on them.

Wright divides the messages into three sections: (1) Faith in a Great God, (2) Faith to Live and Love, and (3) Faith to Walk in the Dark. This collection was first published in 1978 and the revised in 2010. In this updated edition, Wright quotes primarily from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Wright, Small Faith, iPad

I fully understand that Wright can sometimes be controversial and response to him is divisive at times. Regardless, these are well-written Gospel messages and are worthy of consideration for study and reflection.

 

Small Faith – Great God: Biblical Faith for Today's Christians
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