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writing things down…

Wright on an Ephesians view of God’s purpose

Apparently there is something afoot among evangelicals in the Church of England. Read the full text of a “covenant” presented to Archbishop Williams here (rtf download). Read N. T. Wright’s rather pointed response, Fulcrum: A Confused ‘Covenant’. By in large, I tend to gravitate toward Wright’s position on many things. On this particular issue, I am no different. But, I am making this post not so much to comment on the brewing controversy, rather I was struck by the following sentences in Wright’s response. They speak to a major theme of Ephesians. Since I am keenly attuned to Ephesians-related things at the moment. I present the text here for your reflection.

Equally worrying is the resolute opening statement of individualism, couched in classic evangelical-modernist terms: ‘individuals’ coming into a ‘relationship’ with God. Let’s be clear: of course each person must answer for themselves, must come to personal faith. But that (especially when reduced to the shabby 60s language of ‘relationship’) is not the centre, or the full width, of the biblical gospel. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself; God’s purpose was to sum up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. The challenge to each person comes, as Ephesians makes clear, within that larger framework. And when the authors write that the love and grace of God in the gospel ‘draws members into the Body of Christ’, the teacher feels his red pen jumping out of his pocket at the slapdash writing: are they already members of the Body before they are drawn into it? Surely they mean ‘draws people into membership of the Body of Christ’…and what is this ‘Body’, anyway? Wait and see, is the authors’ answer: it turns out to be not the church as envisaged within classic Anglicanism or indeed classic Pauline theology, but the free agglomeration of a bunch of individuals.

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