‘After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters’ by N. T. Wright
Bishop Wright’s latest book will surely be one of his least controversial. In this volume we get very little about “the New Perspective on Paul” or on “life after life after death.” What we do get is in many ways a quite old fashioned book on an old fashioned but perennially necessary topic: Christian living.
How do we live as Christians? What should our moral standards be, how do we articulate them, and where do they come from? What do we do when they conflict with the lifestyles of others? These are the sort of questions that the bishop wants us to be able to answer for ourselves by the time we finish this book.
Bishop Wright’s approach is Aristotelian, centering on the practice of virtues which enable us to flourish as human beings. Of course, these virtues and how we practice them will be different for Christians than for Aristotle. By leading us through a tour of the New Testament, and in particular the Pauline writings, Tom Wright shows us what the virtues are for Christians and where our ultimate telos (goal) lies. In traditional evangelical terms, this could be expressed as the process of sanctification leading to Christian maturity.
This is a very fine book indeed, one that will repay careful study. However, I suspect that as well as being one of the Bishop’s least controversial books it will also, unfortunately, be one of his least read.