Customer Reviews


40 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratches Where It Itches
A friend used to tell the story of being lost in rural Ireland on holiday. Stopping a local farmer, he asked the way to Dublin. The farmer replied, "Well now, if I were trying to get to Dublin, I wouldn't start from here."

The genius of this book, which I have found enormously helpful in clarifying what I think about Christianity, is that it starts from where I...
Published on 15 Sep 2007 by Mr. D. Ash

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars very good, but not great
Very good as you'd expect from Tom Wright. Though I Found it lacked a bit of spiritual spark in places: interesting, informative but not wholly inspiring which a primer for interested seekers really needs to be to convey some of the glories and heights of knowing Jesus.
Published 8 months ago by D. J. Herbert


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratches Where It Itches, 15 Sep 2007
By 
Mr. D. Ash "Literatus" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
A friend used to tell the story of being lost in rural Ireland on holiday. Stopping a local farmer, he asked the way to Dublin. The farmer replied, "Well now, if I were trying to get to Dublin, I wouldn't start from here."

The genius of this book, which I have found enormously helpful in clarifying what I think about Christianity, is that it starts from where I and, I suspect, many others Westerners find themselves. This is not a book which requires you to be on the wavelength of the already-committed Christian or to be familiar with her in-house vocabulary. The author is clearly used to addressing a wider audience.

I have to confess that I have little patience with the religious jargon or party-politics of the kind found in some of the other reviews on this page. As I try to understand what Jesus may have to say to me about God, I find the in-fighting of his followers over the precise meaning of words like "atonement" or debates about whether the Reformers or the Roman Catholics have it right, profoundly unhelpful and unattractive. Such discussions do not make me want to go searching for God if I have to do so in the company of those who enjoy splitting theological hairs or putting each other down.

Tom Wright, however, caught my attention immediately not only with his crystal-clear prose and fresh, provocative imagery but with the insight that the reader will know what he means when he speaks of the Echoes we have all heard which speak to us of the greater reality for which we are all looking. In the four short, brilliantly crafted and memorable chapters which make up Part 1, he explores four areas of human experience which preoccupy many of us: the search for justice in a world which seems incapable of providing it; the widespread interest in "spirituality" which has many of us caught up in wild goose chases; the universal need to live in relationship with others, with the created order and, Wright would add, with God; and the puzzle of beauty, what it might be and why it fascinates us. The first part of the book essentially asks the question, "Do these experiences ring bells with you?". Inevitably, the answer is "Yes", and the reader is then drawn into a explanation of why this might be so from a Christian perspective which is always illuminating, sometimes erudite, never patronizing. Parts 2 and 3 take a fresh look at the historical Christian faith under headings with which most Christians, from the evangelical to the orthodox, would be familiar and comfortable. They include "Jesus, Rescue and Renewal", "Living By the Spirit", "Prayer" and "Believing and Belonging".

One of the marks of a great teacher is the ability to simplify and distil complexity without becoming simplistic or imbalanced. Tom Wright has this gift in abundance. One senses the depth of his scholarship on every page and respects him for it, but the text which emerges from the depths of his experience is attractive and accessible enough to hold even a teenager's attention. One might almost say that, like many popular airport novels, this is a "page turner". Once hooked, you want to know what comes next.

The overview that he is able to offer of the key components of Christian belief is impressive. If nothing else (and it is a great deal else) this would make a first-rate revision course in Christian basics for jaded believers in need of refreshment. And for those who may have been misled without realising it. I have been a Christian for 35 years, have belonged to a number of different churches and have read countless books about the Christian faith; but I have been startled to discover in these pages that I hold assumptions which shouldn't be there. I am grateful to have been put right by a man who really knows what he's talking about and can demonstrate it with wisdom and gentleness from a deep knowledge of Scripture, theology and church history. If I may use a Wright-like image, the experience of reading this book has been, for me, a little like sitting in the chair at the optician's while he places a series of lenses in front of my eyes. As lens after lens is applied and adjusted, eventually the furniture in his office comes into clear focus and I see it and him as they were meant to be seen, without the blur.

If you are looking for a book which has a chance of reigniting your hope that the church may have something to say to the world after all, as long as it scratches where people are itching and speaks to them in a language that they understand, this may well be it. On the other hand, if you are trying to sort out which of the scandalously numerous Christian denominations has cornered the correct interpretation of this or that verse of the New Testament, you may be disappointed. There is an absence of bigotry here, as one would expect of a book written by a thoughtful disciple of Jesus. As the author Anne Rice has written, "This is a book about Christ that is full of the spirit of Christ himself".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Grand Christian Vision for the 21st Century, 24 July 2006
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
Tom Wright has a grand vision for Christianity. It is not

primarily one of going out and bringing people into the

church. It is not primarily about faith as assent to a

system of propositions describing correct belief about God

and our salvation. It is about God's great rescue mission

that started through creating a people Israel, and climaxed

in the appearance of Jesus as God amongst mankind. It is

about his death and rising from the dead as the first born

of a new redeemed creation, so that we could all share in

that resurrection and the resulting new creation life, and

take part in our great God given task of putting creation

to right. Tom Wright does seek to point people outside the

church towards faith in God, but his principle burden is

present such a vibrant vision of active faith that people

will find themselves summoned to rise from beneath their

pall of inaction, so that they will be inspired to take

part in the great rescue mission.

This is not the easiest book to read. Neither is it a book

which Christians can pick up to be comforted in their

certainties. It does read like a professor trying to bring

down his thoughts to an everyday level, sometimes he is

more successful, sometimes less so.

What this is not is the vision of someone trying to

undermine the historic Christian Faith, as some reviews

here have alleged.

On the theme of Justification by Faith Tom Wright says -

P178 `we can't ever earn God's favour by our own moral

effort'

P179 `This, by the way, is what St Paul meant when he spoke

of `justification by faith'. God declares that those that

share this faith are `in the right'.

On the incarnation he says -

P100 (of early Christians) `they remained firmly within

Jewish monotheism; and yet they said, from very early on,

that Jesus was indeed divine'

In another place he repeats his favourite illustration of

this in which Paul takes the Shema, the great Jewish Prayer

proclaiming the unity of God, taken from Deuteronomy 6:4,

and puts Jesus into it beside God the Father in 1

Corinthians 8:6 (page 145)

This isn't a new `Mere Christianity', but it is a valuable

vision of the Christian faith at the start of the 21st

century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratches Where It Itches, 16 Sep 2007
By 
Mr. D. Ash "Literatus" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A friend used to tell the story of being lost in rural Ireland on holiday. Stopping a local farmer, he asked the way to Dublin. The farmer replied, "Well now, if I were trying to get to Dublin, I wouldn't start from here."

The genius of this book, which I have found enormously helpful in clarifying what I think about Christianity, is that it starts from where I and, I suspect, many others Westerners find themselves. This is not a book which requires you to be on the wavelength of the already-committed Christian or to be familiar with her in-house vocabulary. The author is clearly used to addressing a wider audience.

I have to confess that I have little patience with the religious jargon or party-politics of the kind found in some of the other reviews on this page. As I try to understand what Jesus may have to say to me about God, I find the in-fighting of his followers over the precise meaning of words like "atonement" or debates about whether the Reformers or the Roman Catholics have it right, profoundly unhelpful and unattractive. Such discussions do not make me want to go searching for God if I have to do so in the company of those who enjoy splitting theological hairs or putting each other down.

Tom Wright, however, caught my attention immediately not only with his crystal-clear prose and fresh, provocative imagery but with the insight that the reader will know what he means when he speaks of the Echoes we have all heard which speak to us of the greater reality for which we are all looking. In the four short, brilliantly crafted and memorable chapters which make up Part 1, he explores four areas of human experience which preoccupy many of us: the search for justice in a world which seems incapable of providing it; the widespread interest in "spirituality" which has many of us caught up in wild goose chases; the universal need to live in relationship with others, with the created order and, Wright would add, with God; and the puzzle of beauty, what it might be and why it fascinates us. The first part of the book essentially asks the question, "Do these experiences ring bells with you?". Inevitably, the answer is "Yes", and the reader is then drawn into a explanation of why this might be so from a Christian perspective which is always illuminating, sometimes erudite, never patronizing. Parts 2 and 3 take a fresh look at the historical Christian faith under headings with which most Christians, from the evangelical to the orthodox, would be familiar and comfortable. They include "Jesus, Rescue and Renewal", "Living By the Spirit", "Prayer" and "Believing and Belonging".

One of the marks of a great teacher is the ability to simplify and distil complexity without becoming simplistic or imbalanced. Tom Wright has this gift in abundance. One senses the depth of his scholarship on every page and respects him for it, but the text which emerges from the depths of his experience is attractive and accessible enough to hold even a teenager's attention. One might almost say that, like many popular airport novels, this is a "page turner". Once hooked, you want to know what comes next.

The overview that he is able to offer of the key components of Christian belief is impressive. If nothing else (and it is a great deal else) this would make a first-rate revision course in Christian basics for jaded believers in need of refreshment. And for those who may have been misled without realising it. I have been a Christian for 35 years, have belonged to a number of different churches and have read countless books about the Christian faith; but I have been startled to discover in these pages that I hold assumptions which shouldn't be there. I am grateful to have been put right by a man who really knows what he's talking about and can demonstrate it with wisdom and gentleness from a deep knowledge of Scripture, theology and church history. If I may use a Wright-like image, the experience of reading this book has been, for me, a little like sitting in the chair at the optician's while he places a series of lenses in front of my eyes. As lens after lens is applied and adjusted, eventually the furniture in his office comes into clear focus and I see it and him as they were meant to be seen, without the blur.

If you are looking for a book which has a chance of reigniting your hope that the church may have something to say to the world after all, as long as it scratches where people are itching and speaks to them in a language that they understand, this may well be it. On the other hand, if you are trying to sort out which of the scandalously numerous Christian denominations has cornered the correct interpretation of this or that verse of the New Testament, you may be disappointed. There is an absence of bigotry here, as one would expect of a book written by a thoughtful disciple of Jesus. As the author Anne Rice has written, "This is a book about Christ that is full of the spirit of Christ himself".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable guide for the Christian and non-Christian alike, 9 Jan 2007
By 
Mr. Kevin Hargaden (Maynooth, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
Alot of the reviews you read of this book on Amazon.co.uk deal with a controversy surrounding the academic research Tom Wright has engaged in that has very little to do with this book. If you are:

a) a Christian who wants to understand the grand narrative of Christianity better and get a better handle on Scripture

b) a non-Christian who wants to educate themselves on what Christianity actually is

c) a new Christian who is grappling for somewhere to hold on to

then this book is ideal. It may not be quite as earth-shattering as Mere Christianity but the comparison stands because over the coming years who knows what influence this book might have?

All the complaints about this book are about the Bishop's academic research into the Jewish context Jesus and his followers lived in and the controversy has to do with a historical question to do with Pharisees and reformer, theological terms like imputed or vindicated and a section of evangelical Christianity that feels very threatened. For most of you considering this book, it is all over your head. Its an academic discussion that has become a popular one because of the very huge success Wright has had in making his case. His writing, even his scholarly efforts (which are published as NT Wright) are accessible to any interested reader. Some people have started with an interest and ended up having nightmares which is unfortunate for them. But their reviews of this book are unduly clouded by these tangential concerns.

This book, taken on its own, independent of any furore surrounding Tom Wright, is a superb introduction to Christianity. He has an easy to read style that can sometimes come across as patronising but once you find your rythym with him you will see he is just guiding you along with care. This is as innovative an approach to explaining Christianity as Lewis' "Beyond Personality" approach was with the famous Mere Christianity. I think it is as well adjusted for Wright's day as Lewis' was in his own.

The great strength of this book is that it takes you from discussions about the seemingly meaningful echoes we all experience in our life that seem to point to something more right through into the complete Biblical story and crucially out again to how it relates to our lives today. It is very readable. You could discuss it in a group setting. You can understand it without any introduction or support. It is well worth the money and the time. I hope you buy it and I hope you enjoy reading it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Christian, 19 Jan 2010
By 
John Royle "samjcopp" (York. UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
I have been a regular attender of the C of E for 70 years, and having read this book feel I have been trying to follow a map holding it upside down. Now that the map is turned the right way up, many of my questions have been answered. Why when I have listened to thousands of sermons, have I not had this guidance before? My daughter who bought this book asked the same question, and feels that it has strengthened her faith considerably.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of the Christian Faith told as never before, 10 Oct 2006
By 
Dcl Bester "Niel Bester" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
This is truly a book of great significance, especially if you consider the immense job of crystallizing, into such a 'small' book, the groundbreaking Christian scholarship expounded in the author's other major scholarly works.

This book emphasizes tree things which I personally appreciate very much:

Firstly, it places the correct emphasis on the historical nature of Christianity, always keeping in mind that it starts with the story of Abraham (Israel) and climaxes in the amazing story of Jesus the Messiah and is now working with power in the story of the Church. Here we get the Big Picture. As such Christianity is not about abstract philosophical statements but about a God who has acted in history to set things right - to renew all things.

Secondly, it attempts to tell the Christian message in a way which 'post-modern' people can better relate to. It's a fresh explanation on Christian truth, not a different gospel. The 4 categories of common human experience discussed as a type prelude to why Christianity makes sense is very thought provoking.

Thirdly, it seems like this book has attracted quite a lot of criticism. This is no bad thing in itself - fresh readings of God's truth often had that effect in the past and some of the critiques listed here could easily be addressed. I find this book especially refreshing because it does not represent the author's 'Anglican' tradition but, as far as I can see, cuts across all Christian traditions to the core of what is 'Simply Christian'.

My guess is that many of those who have given this book negative ratings have done so prematurely and without truly understanding the issues at hand. This book do not discuss all the finer points of theology, those who are that way inclined would find many books by the author addressing many of the criticisms levelled here.

There is no question about the author's 'orthodoxy' or not being true to the key Christian doctrines (e.g. Trinity, Incarnation etc).

This book challenges Christians from diverse background to freshly consider the wonder of the Jesus story. At points it may challenge cherished Christian traditions - but is that such a bad thing?

For instance, Pentecostal/charismatic minded individuals are urged not to confuse spontaneity with work of the Spirit (in the section on prayer).

I'm sure Evangelicals will be challenged to see Jesus' work on the cross within the context of the larger story (not just personal salvation) of God renewing all creation...and so forth for other Christian traditions.

Lastly, I have found the book easy reading - although the author do not shy away from some difficult concepts and, now and then, will use some difficult word. Some readers without formal theological training may find that at times they may need to do slightly more work than usual - but not too much! The book is a good combination of intellectual (loving God with our minds...) and 'spiritual' (...and all our hearts).

This is a book that I will enthusiastically share with Christian friends and seekers alike.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 25 April 2008
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
A fantastic read.
Some of the highlights for me:
In one of the early chapters Wright uses a picture of underwater springs being paved over with concrete to depict how spirituality has been hidden and controlled over the last couple of centuries.
In a later chapter, he comments on Revelation: the creatures, then elders worshipping God and then the lamb that is worthy to open the scroll. This was really inspiring: inspiring me to worship Him now and make a difference now!
Wright also talks about the importance of scripture. Since reading this book I have been reading the Bible more than ever before. I have been using a Hebrew-Greek study bible, different translations and also enjoying reading the Psalms aloud. I have been encouraged and enspired by Wright's work.

I would thoroughly recommend it!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening: how heaven and earth touch, 26 Aug 2012
By 
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
I've read a lot of books on Christianity and its rare these days that I find something that gives me a fresh perspective. Most of the time friends recommend something that 'blew them away' or 'opened their eyes' or 'challenged them' and I think, 'yeah, yeah, been there, done that.' But this book really did open my eyes. The thing that grabbed me the most is Tom Wright's description of the overlapping of heaven and earth in sacred places and in our hearts. So much so that when my daughter the other day asked me if heaven was 'above space' I was able to confidently say, 'oh no, it's much, much closer than that.' This book is an excellent introduction to Christianity for those who are searching for spiritual truth and a wonderful refresher for those of us who are a little bit further down the road. The only disappointment for me was the chapter on prayer. Although Wright is correct in saying that many evangelical Christians are impoverished because they dismiss liturgical prayer, that's all he discusses. I thought a discussion of spontaneous prayer would have given a more balanced picture. It also didn't really explain what the actual purpose of prayer is. But apart from that, I thought this was a brilliant book which I will definitely read again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 2 Jan 2008
By 
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
I think this is Simply the best book I've read this year. A modern thinker (theologian, New Testament scholar, evangelical, Bishop of Durham) sets out to write a modern version of C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity", i.e. a guide to faith for the thoughful layperson. Very creatively, he starts from five things modern people are seeking, and explores how God satisfies these hungers in Christ. Quality writing, simple but profound. Superb!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The new ABC of Christianity, 7 Jan 2007
By 
L. J. Goode (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simply Christian (Paperback)
As a born-again Christian of evangelical persuasion I give this book my whole-hearted vote.

By its title "Simply Christian" invites comparison with C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity". Tom Wright's book presumably aspires to be the "Mere Christianity" of the twenty-first century. In this it more than succeeds. "Mere Christianity" has, one is tempted to forget, its obscure passages. Tom Wright's book never ceases to be lucid. It is relevant and practical - and up-to-date ABC of Christianity if ever there was one.

So, if, like me, you feel C.S. Lewis' argument breaks down a bit when he gets to the Atonement, or if you want something more up-to-date to give to a non-believing friend, this book is certainly worth thinking about. If there is any book that will convert a sceptical non-believer, this is probably it. Why not give it a go ?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Simply Christian
Simply Christian by Tom Wright (Paperback - 20 May 2011)
£7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews