Alter Video Magazine has posted two video clips containing very brief interviews with Tom Wright (while he drinks tea) discussing very hot topics:
(1) Wright is asked about Judgement Day in light of this last weekend’s rapture prediction frenzy here.
(2) Wright is asked about the doctrine of Hell in light of the frenzy surrounding Rob Bell’s recent book on the subject here.
[The money quote from clip two: “Why are Americans so fixated on hell?”]
Go over and leave some comments and if you’d like you can comment here as well.
I suppose the reverse could be asked: “Why are Europeans so unfixated on Heaven?”
But I do catch NT Wright’s drift in his response. He is right. My guess would be, to answer his question, is that American Calvinism and Arminianism is quite popular; and both have a strong emphasis on the doctrine of reprobation as part of their particular theory of salvation. Of course these folks would respond that they actually have a strong emphasis on God’s justice and holiness. And I would say that they have a strong emphasis on a doctrine of God who is a strong composition of all of his various attributes, related to creation, added together.
I thought it was very much so the case that Europe is very much so spiritually dead, in the main. At least that’s what my European friends tell me (and the stats seem to suggest). Of course this is to generalize.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with an emphasis on God’s justice and holiness, per se. I do wonder with Wright what it does for everyone to come to a place where they no longer feel like they are obligated merely to proclaim the gospel, pray that the Spirit work in the lives of others, and warn of a judgement for those who reject God, but rather that they need to know the exact criteria to explain how each individual stands before God.
I’m with Wright that there is definitely a judgement. I don’t feel as positive about Bell’s “conversation” starter as Wright seems to feel, but that is mostly because I think Bell is over his head.
I think (I could be wrong) that he is saying “America” in the sense of American Christians, not just the nation in general.
I don’t think its wrong to emphasize God’s justice and holiness either; only when its tied to an ad hoc doctrine of reprobation and a doctrine of God that is essentialist in nature. I.e. And it is this doctrine of God that allows God’s holiness and justice to be abstract attributes of God, left undefined by His triune love; instead it becomes defined by impersonal absolute decrees.
And I was talking about European non-Christians 😉 .
@Bobby: We do have a huge problem when God’s love is not included in the discussion of his judgment. It makes God seem petty and vindictive. Of course, I wonder if many fellow American Christians actually do see God this way so it simply emerges through their proclamation?
I thought you were talking about Europeans in general, but I wasn’t sure!
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