N. T. Wright—hailed by Time as “one of the most formidable figures in Christian thought”—first captured my imagination with the early volumes of his series Christian Origins and the Question of God. In them, he frames the Christian story precisely as a story, a grand narrative, the greatest epic, and all the greater for being true. As Wesley Hill noted in our most recent issue, there can be peril in such readings of Scripture, but also great promise. In a recent interview with J. John of the Philo Trust, Wright explains why he views the complementarity of the sexes as essential to that story, and to marriage itself. Below is an unedited transcript.
What do you think are the major challenges to the church and the Christian message in the light of the current legislation on the redefinition of marriage?
N. T. Wright: Obviously huge issues there, and there’s no way we can lay them all out tonight. I do want to say a word about a word…
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The authenticity of the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” has been debated since the papyrus was revealed in 2012. Now, new information uncovered by Live Science raises doubts about the origins of the scrap of papyrus.
The gospel, written in the ancient Egyptian language Coptic, has made headlines ever since Harvard University professor Karen King announced its discovery. The business-card-size fragment contains the translated line “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” and also refers to a “Mary,” possibly Mary Magdalene. If authentic, the papyrus suggests that some people believed in ancient times that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.
While there are many reasons why Evangelical Christians of all stripes might disagree with Mormon theology, perhaps the most important of these is Christology and the related matter of soteriology.