Chris Tilling has a high regard for the writings of Tom Wright. It is of interest, therefore, that he thinks that many who attempt to reflect Wright’s teaching in their preaching end up saying either of two things:-
1. “You thought this text means this…but you are wrong! It is not about going to heaven when you die. Understood in terms of exile and restoration, it means…” Tilling remarks that this iconoclastic habit has a tendency to undermine hearers’ confidence in Scripture. After all, if I’m given the impression that everything I thought I knew about the teaching of the Bible is now found to be askew, and needs correcting by experts, then maybe Scripture isn’t as clear as I once thought it was.
2. “Salvation is not about being rescued from this material world. It is about the transformation of the physical, and this means that justice in the present world is important.” This kind of utterance forms a healthy corrective to the undue stress on the individual and on a future ‘spiritual’ salvation. However, says Tilling, it can too often be linked with a neglect of the gospel’s call to repentance from sin and personal faith in Christ.
Tilling thinks that Wright himself can be excused from these imbalances. I wish I could agree.