Posted by: Dan | May 18, 2006

If you could ask Tom Wright one question…

As I stated in my previous posts, I recently attended a conference hosted in Toronto. The main speaker was Bishop N.T. Wright, pastor, author, grandfather, and New Testament scholar extraodinaire. During my time at the conference I was able to participate in some Q&A with Tom Wright, and I was lucky enough to be able to speak with him informally a few times. Since I began reading his books half a dozen years ago, I have had one burning question kicking around in my mind. It was this question that was the focus of our discussion. This is what I asked:

Given the observation that the majority of the contemporary, corporate, Western Church seems to have abandoned the call to be agents of God's new creation, and given the fact that the reason why Israel ultimately collapsed into exile was because God withdrew his Spirit from the Temple, can we then conclude that the contemporary, corporate, Western Church is experiencing the withdrawal of God's Spirit? Could the experience of contemporary Western Christians be appropriately labeled as an experience of exile? Is exile even possible for the people of God after Pentecost and the outpouring of the eschatological Spirit? If the Western Church can be said to be in exile does this lead us into a new dilemma when we are faced with the issue of God's righteousness (understood as covenant faithfulness)?

Wright's answer was both frustrating and encouraging. However, before I post his reply I would be curious to hear how those who read this blog might answer this question, or how they might think Wright answered this question. Anybody want to take a stab at it?

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