When I lived in England some years ago, it seemed that every spring, one or another bishop of the Church of England would publish some new, outrageous doctrinal idea about God. I began to suspect that they drew straws every year to see whose turn it was to create a storm in the news before Easter.
One year, it seemed that N.T. Wright (Bishop of Durham) drew the short straw and published a book titled Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. To boil down his most provocative idea:
Christians do not go to heaven when they die.
Reading the New Testament, I find there’s really is not much room for misunderstanding here about the fundamentals, and I assume that is what motivated the Bishop to write his book. Traditional Christian assumptions often don’t match Scripture, as comforting as they may seem to be. But if you take a second look, you’ll find that what lies ahead is much more exciting.