Wednesday, June 21, 2006

N. T. Wright on the Delay of the Parousia

I ran across this quote from a 2002 interview with N. T. Wright.

The problem of the delay of the parousia is a modern myth. The problem is caused by liberal Christianity’s no longer believing in the resurrection, which means that the weight of God’s activity is pushed forward in time. There’s not much evidence that the early church was anxious about this. First-century Christianity didn’t see itself so much as living in the last days, waiting for the parousia, as living in the first days of God’s new world.

We are still awaiting the final outworking of what God accomplished in Jesus, but there are all kinds of signs to show that, though the situation is often bleak, we are in fact on the right road.

Read the rest over at


Steven Carr said...

My previous comment is highly relevant here again

2 Peter 3 says

4They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

If the author of 2 Peter thought that the death of Jesus marked the end of an age, why didn't he denounce the people who claimed 'everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation'.?

The author doesn't argue that those people were wrong.

Instead, the author claims that things will change a long time in the future.

Didn't the author know that the death of Jesus marked a radical change in how things had gone on since the beginning of creation?

Hadn't he read his Wright?

And, of course, the church in Thessalonica were worried that people were dying before Jesus came.

This showed a) early Christian converts to Jesus worship believed the dead were lost (Hadn't they heard Jesus prove the resurrection in Matthew 22? And why doesn't Paul remind them of the promises of resurrection that their Lord and Saviour had spoken to them?)

And it also showed that they expected Jesus to return real soon.

Remember , many Jesus-worshippers in Corinth also denied any reward for the dead. They did not join in baptism for the dead, and scoffed at the idea that a dead corpse could rise again.

Wright claims that only the resurrection of a corpse can explain the rise of Jesus-worshippers in the 1st century AD. Presumably he argues that only the resurrection of a corpse can explain the rise of 2 large churches of converted Christians who denied that God would ever choose to breathe life into a corpse.

Anonymous said...


Spot on!