N.T. Wright's revolutionary book on eschatology and the church's mission, SURPRISED BY HOPE, is now available. You can follow an excellent discussion about this book at Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog.
Wright sets the stage like this: "This book addresses two questions that have often been dealt with entirely separately but that, I passionately believe, belong tightly together. First, what is the ultimate Christian hope? Second, what hope is there for change, rescue, transformation, new possibilities within the world in the present? And the main answer can be put like this. As long as we see Christian hope as 'going to heaven,' of a salvation that is essentially away from this world, the two questions are bound to appear as unrelated....But if the Christian hope is for God's new creation, for 'new heavens and new earth,' and if that hope has already come to life in Jesus of Nazareth, then there is every reason to join the two questions together. And if that is so, we find that answering the one is also answering the other. I find that to many--not least, many Christians--all this comes as a surprise: both that the Christian hope is surprisingly different from what they had assumed and that this hope offers a coherent and energizing basis for work in today's world" (p.5).