Remember the lively discussion we had about whether being able to wave around a doctoral sheepskin entitles one to a "pass" from the First and Second great commandments? (I argued for the "No" position.)
Today, I'm really wondering how those leaning in the opposite direction will, mm, "explain" the latest emulation from everyone's favorite oil-and-water man, the Bishop of Durham, the Right Hon. Rev. Dr. Nicholas T. Wright.
Offered yet another opportunity to sound the trumpet with a clear and hard-hitting witness to the waiting world, here's what Wright told The Australian (h-t James White), emphases and bracketed comments added:
"I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection," he says carefully, citing another eminent scholar, American theologian Marcus Borg, co-author with Wright of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions.With our other recent discussion of Dynamic Equivalent versions fresh in my mind, I guess I have to allow that perhaps the good Bishop is reading out of a DE version of 1 Corinthians 15:14 that reads, "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is not as helpful as it might be, but still healthy and foundational; and your faith is in deep trouble, though you can still love Jesus and believe in Him passionately." Perhaps it also re-envisions verse 17 as really meaning, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith may still be passionate, and you can stop worrying about your sins."
"But the view I take of them - and they know this - is that they are very, very muddled. They would probably return the compliment.
"Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately. [My advice: don't even try to make sense of those two statements. That way lies madness.] The philosophical and cultural world he has lived in has made it very, very difficult for him to believe in the bodily resurrection. [In other words, Jesus and Paul were both wrong: some folks really do have a legitimate pretext for unbelief (John 9:41; 15:22-24; Romans 1:20; 3:19).]
"I actually think that's a major problem and it affects most of whatever else he does, and I think that it means he has all sorts of flaws as a teacher, but I don't want to say he isn't a Christian. [Well, I guess if you don't want to say something, and you're an academic, you don't have to... is that it?]
"I do think, however, that churches that lose their grip on the bodily resurrection are in deep trouble and that for healthy Christian life individually and corporately, belief in the bodily resurrection is foundational." [But they can still love Jesus and believe passionately in Him... while calling Him a liar about arguably the central vindicating event of His earthly ministry.]
One must seriously ask the question: if Wright has a view of Christianity that pencils in the bodily resurrection of Jesus as an optional add-on, and embraces Marcus Borg as a "passionate" and believing lover of Jesus... can there possibly be any doctrine that isn't optional? What would merit the apostolically-mandated "sharp rebuke" (Tit. 1:10)?