The Anglican theologian N. T. Wright once wrote a stirring intro­duction to the Christian faith called Simply Christian. Then, since he had stressed that Chris­tianity isn't about going to heaven, he needed to say what does happen when Chris­tians die, which he did in Sur­prised by Hope. Now he's turned to the small mat­ter of how Chris­tians should live; hence the appropriately but none­theless am­biguously titled After You Believe.

The book has two central lines of argument. The first is that a virtue ethic is the fitting model for the Christian life—a conviction that involves a good deal of ethical exploration and considerable New Testa­ment exegesis. The second is that Chris­tians and the church best understand themselves as a royal priesthood, a theme which brings together the two most pressing aspects of life under God—worship and mission.

Both theses are elegantly outlined and lucidly explained. In introducing the first thesis, Wright vividly describes what he takes to be the two prevalent modes of ethical thinking among lay Christians. One is "keep the rules"—more or less deontological ethics; the other is "be authentic and do what feels right"—a hybrid of romanticism, existentialism and emotivism. This leaves out consequentialism—surely the dominant strand of ethics in the world at large, certainly in the West. Con­sequentialism appears later in the book at various points, but it is never introduced and never located in relation to the twofold status quo.