What are we supposed to think about the coronavirus crisis?
Some people think they know: ‘This is a sign of the End,’ they say. ‘It’s all predicted in the book of Revelation.’
Others disagree but are equally clear: ‘This is a call to repent. God is judging the world and through this disease he’s telling us to change.’
Some join in the chorus of blame and condemnation: ‘It’s the fault of the Chinese, the government, the World Health Organization. . .’
Tom Wright examines these reactions to the virus and finds them wanting. Instead, he invites you to consider a different way of seeing and responding – a way that draws on the teachings and examples of scripture, and above all on the way of living, thinking and praying revealed to us by Jesus.
A whole new vocabulary has come into common usage: lockdown, R rate, social distancing, and shielding. We have become accustomed to self-isolating, to working from home, and not going to places of worship, cinemas, and National Trust properties. On top of that, we are aware of the conspiracy theorists: that 5G is to blame, that cures include injecting disinfectant.
Then there is the perennial question, ‘Why has God allowed so much trouble and sadness, if he is a merciful God?’
Although God and the Pandemic is written about the current pandemic, its application can be for any disaster. It lays out the Scriptural context of God’s concern for the poor, the sick, the outcasts and those without hope. Tom Wright, noted theologian, guides the Christian to come to terms with the Christian response in a world where disasters (major and minor) seem commonplace, and many people want answers or to lay blame.
This book is well-researched, cogent, to the point and entirely Bible-based. Not only does it provide new biblical insights, but it leaves the reader wanting to learn more to enable them to make a real difference.
The book is short with only five chapters: 1. Where do we start? 2. Reading the Old Testament, 3. Jesus and the Gospels, 4. Reading the New Testament, and 5. Where do we go from here?
Great emphasis is placed on the Psalms in chapters 2, 4 and 5. In chapter 4, Wright expands on a number of passages (Acts 17, Revelation 1, Romans 8) that create a picture of the ‘house’ we all want to live in. Chapter 5 adds detail to the building of that house and asks four questions: Why must we lament? How do we talk about God? How do we live in the present? How do we recover?
Here is a great passing on of wisdom to assist the reader to decide for themselves what they need to do. The book finishes with a flourish, outlining healing policies across God’s wounded world (Psalm 43:3-5).
Archbishop Justin Welby, says, ‘I read it in a sitting with pleasure, provocation and profit.’
I know exactly how he felt, do not hesitate to read it.
Preach magazine book review by Alan Rashleigh
Methodist local preacher (Manchester and Stockport District), Air Training Corps padre, VAT Consultant.
AUTHOR: Nicholas Thomas Wright FRSE (also N. T. Wright or Tom Wright; born 1 December 1948) is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. Between 2003 and 2010, he was the Bishop of Durham. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland.