Dr. David Bauer: On N.T. Wright’s Visit to Asbury
Bishop N. T. Wright, one of the most significant New Testament scholars of this century and arguably the most influential Christian thinker in the world today, was on Asbury Seminary’s Wilmore campus the week of November 14, 2022 to deliver the Theta Phi lectures and to meet with several groups of students and faculty as part of Asbury’s centennial celebration. In addition to delivering the three Theta Phi lectures in Estes Chapel, Bishop Wright preached at the Wednesday Eucharist chapel, addressed the Biblical Seminar, spoke in Hughes Auditorium on the campus of Asbury University at an event sponsored by the Seminary’s Anglican Studies Program, and sat down for a recorded interview that will soon be made available to the extended Asbury family.
After earning his doctorate from Oxford University, N. T. Wright went on to serve as Dean of Litchfield Cathedral, Canon of Westminster Abbey, and Bishop of Durham. He has taught at McGill University (Canada), the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), and at Oxford University, where he is now Senior Research Fellow. He is the award-winning author of over 80 books, which range from the most rigorous and in-depth scholarly treatments to semi-popular books for pastors and laypeople. He has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, Dateline, to name only a small fraction of his appearances.
Bishop Wright’s presence at Asbury Seminary brought visitors to the campus from all over the nation, some of them arriving in busloads. All of his Theta Phi lectures were packed with enthusiastic and appreciative listeners. Those in attendance will always remember how the chatter that usually characterizes the minutes before chapel begins ceased immediately when Bishop Wright took his seat on the platform; one could literally hear a pin drop. Moreover, livestreaming for the week of Bishop Wright’s addresses increased 1600% over a typical week. His presentations were exciting, full of fresh biblical and theological insights that clarify thinking, nurture genuine discipleship, and equip ministers. He was generous with his time; in fact, on just one day he had four major speaking responsibilities. And his personal demeanor, particularly his spirit of gentleness, humility, and genuine loving concern for everyone he meets, matches his excellence as a scholar and his remarkable accomplishments for the Kingdom.
Bishop Wright has a long history with Asbury Theological Seminary. He has spoken at Asbury Seminary three times before, the first time in 1992; but this visit marks his first appearance at the Seminary since 2007, and the only time that he has participated in a major, ongoing lectureship. He repeatedly expressed his great appreciation for the Seminary, and at the conclusion of his last lecture he offered a beautiful word of congratulations to Asbury Theological Seminary for one hundred years of ministry to the Church and the world.