Thoughts on NT Wright’s “When God Became King”

I’m currently reading N.T. Wright’s book, “How God Became King”.

In the first few chapters, he discusses the problems he finds with various approaches to the four gospels.

First, he critiques the overuse of the creeds in reading the Gospels. He explains that the creeds (Nicene, Apostles, etc) invariably discuss Christ’s miraculous birth, then immediately go to the cross and resurrection. It’s as if Matthew went from chapter two to chapter 26, with nothing in between. The creeds were heavily influenced by Paul’s writings, who never spoke of Jesus’ ministry, but only his resurrection. In doing so, we totally emphasize Christ’s godhood, but not his other important roles.

On the other extreme, liberal readers tend to only read the middle, ignoring the miraculous birth and resurrection. They consider Jesus a wise teacher, but not the Messiah nor a miracle worker

For Tom Wright, former bishop of Durham in the Anglican Church, and NT scholar, many Christians do not see the whole Christ, but only a part of him. For example, they may see him as teacher or God, but not in his divine role as King of Israel and of earth.

As I thought about Wright’s concerns, I considered how the Book of Mormon handles such issues. Would the creeds or scientism in Joseph Smith’s day affect the text?

Does the Book of Mormon contain the beginning, middle and end things of the Gospels? Yes. In the Vision of the Tree of Life, Nephi sees the birth of Christ and his mother, Mary. We learn of Jesus healing the sick and afflicted. And we see Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Later, the risen Savior would heal the Nephites, bless their children, and teach the Sermon at the Temple (compare to Sermon on the Mount). Again and again the Book of Mormon gives us the “fullness of the four gospels.”

Perhaps this is a key reason we are encouraged to study the Book of Mormon. It keeps us centered on Christ, all of Christ, and not get lost on just a portion of who he really is.

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts on NT Wright’s “When God Became King”

  1. And I would remind any who haven’t already noticed that only in the Book of Mormon (versus the Bible) do we see a Savior who is intent on saving all mankind, from Adam and Eve and all their descendants of all races through the last generation of mankind.

    Once you notice this, it becomes blindingly apparent. This is, indeed, the fullness of the good word of Jesus Christ, that he is come to save all mankind.

  2. “Does the Book of Mormon contain the beginning, middle and end things of the Gospels? Yes. In the Vision of the Tree of Life, Nephi sees the birth of Christ and his mother, Mary. We learn of Jesus healing the sick and afflicted. And we see Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Later, the risen Savior would heal the Nephites, bless their children, and teach the Sermon at the Temple (compare to Sermon on the Mount). Again and again the Book of Mormon gives us the “fullness of the four gospels.”
    Perhaps this is a key reason we are encouraged to study the Book of Mormon. It keeps us centered on Christ, all of Christ, and not get lost on just a portion of who he really is.”

    Rameumpton, could you flesh this out more? I agree in spirit with what you are trying to say, but I have to mention that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon have beginning, middle and end things of the Gospel. The Book of Mormon goes even further and shows/discusses additional post-resurrection ministries of Christ, but the principle is that both sets of scriptures complement each other. So in essence, the comparison in my mind should be how do Mormons and non-mormon Christians view Christ’s ministry.

    I had an interesting discussion with a non-mormon Christian on the atonement the other day. When asked what did Christ do on the Cross, I mentioned he suffered for our pains and sorrows so he knew how to help us in our pains and sorrows. She said I was incorrect, because he died on the cross for our sins. In actuality, I was merely incomplete, but it got me thinking about how clearly it is stated in the Book of Mormon – multiple times, actually – that the Savior’s suffering in the Gethsemane and the Cross were both for our sins and every physical ailment we would ever suffer.

    While Isaiah 53 mentions the Savior being “bruised for our iniquities”, the Bible is less clear on this important aspect of the Atonement. How grateful I am to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to enrich my understanding of Christ and his selfless sacrifice for all of us.

  3. “Rameumpton, could you flesh this out more? I agree in spirit with what you are trying to say, but I have to mention that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon have beginning, middle and end things of the Gospel.”

    I think what he means is that the Book of Mormon encourages the reader of the Bible to pay attention to the whole of its content about who Christ is as a Savior. My own experience when I started reading the BoM was an illumination of the Bible that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. There was a non-Mormon years ago who in a BYU presentation argued the Book of Mormon took some stories of Jesus during his life and presented them from the Johannine perspective of Jesus having become the Savior.

  4. Jettboy,

    Thanks, that helps me understand better what the OP is trying to say. I agree with both of you.

  5. When I read this (about three years ago now) it helped me understand several ideas.
    1. The idea that the Temple is the intersection of Heaven and Earth and that this includes Christ, The Church, the members of the Church and the Sabbath.
    2. The Gospel is about establishing the Kingdom and the Kingdom will be here

    I listen to this pod cast for Christen Leaders and the most recent episode is on what the Bible says about heaven. It is fascinating how Mormon it is.
    https://churchleaders.com/podcast/313700-313700.html

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