A Place at the Table is a record of W. J. Elliott’s search to discover Jesus by interviewing dozens of people, many “professional Christians,” one of whom was N. T. Wright. In the course of his conversation with Wright, Elliott asked him, Who is a Christian? Here was Wright’s reply: “A human being who follows Jesus of Nazareth as Savior and lord and trusts what he has done in his death and resurrection as the means of ultimate salvation.” Then he said something I thought about for a long time.
“Christians tend to fall into one of four categories. First, those for whom personal spirituality is the center of everything. Second, those for whom the theology and the biblical study that goes with it are everything. Third, those for whom the political and social engagement and the desire to change and heal the world is the main thing. Fourth, those for whom the wonders of charismatic phenomena, body healing, and other signs are the main thing. The really interesting people are the people who pull two, three, or even four of those things together because, for goodness’ sake, they are all there in the New Testament. They are all there in the Christian tradition and it seems to me if we want to grow up and be mature, we need all four in the right balance and in the right measure, to be operative.”
- Which emphasis (or emphases) do you tend toward – spirituality, theology, politics, or charismatic? (Not just in theory but in action. Answer on the poll below. Remember, this isn’t what you should be, but an honest look at who you are.)
- Would you add a fifth category, and if so, what would it be?
- How do other factors – age, family situation, occupation, location, etc – impact where we fall at various points in our journey?