Is a Functional View of Christian Anthropology Less Loving?

Is a Functional View of Christian Anthropology Less Loving? January 10, 2014

Still reading N.T Wright’s essay, “Justification: Yesterday, Today, and For Ever” (JETS, 2011). Wright is known for a functional anthropology whereby God wants to reclaim broken humanity as “kings and priests to God.” Basically, God wants to redeem humans so they can live and be and work in the ways God had always intended. He saved them to put them to proper use.

Some of his disputants have remarked that this understanding of humanity comes across as unkind and unloving – God just wants to use his creatures. Wright offers a helpful response and analogy:

When Jesus, showing his continuing love for Peter, tells him to feed his sheep, does that mean he does not really love Peter, he only wants to use him? Of course not. If a great composer has a child who is a brilliant musician, and the composer, out of sheer love for the child, writes a magnificent concerto for her to play, is he merely using her? Or is his love not expressed precisely in this, that he wants to celebrate and enhance her wonderful gifts? (427)


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