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Archive for the ‘N.T. Wright’ Category

Yesterday Boyce College, the undergraduate college at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, hosted a discussion on N.T. Wright’s forthcoming book, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, which is largely a response to John Piper’s The Future of Justification.  Denny Burk, who moderated the forum, posted about it here.

I spent about three years in conservative confessional Presbyterianism, and this justification controversy was raging at its hottest at that time.  During that period, (the middle part of this decade) practically every major confessional Reformed and Presbyterian denomination in the USA as well as most related seminaries denounced this teaching along with the related Federal Vision teaching that at least to some degree sought to apply some of the purported insights of the New Perspective to Presbyterian and Reformed churches.  A related justification controversy had erupted in the late 1970’s with the teaching of former Westminster Theological Seminary professor Norman Shepherd, ultimately resulting in his departure from WTS.

I find that this issue generally isn’t on the radar screen for most Baptists, whether Southern Baptist or not.  But it seems that a number of seminarians and others are becoming enamored with at least some aspects of Wright’s teaching on justification and related issues.  Of course, the blogosphere isn’t necessarily an accurate gauge of what’s going on, but I do have to confess to being somewhat concerned with the number of people who have expressed that they would have preferred to have seen “both sides represented” or a desire for “equal time” at the Boyce Forum.  In my opinion, Wright’s views lend themselves much more readily to a hypercovenantalist paedobaptist context (as with the Federal Vision) or maybe something like the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, not to a confessional institution like Southern Seminary that is dedicated to proclaiming justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

There are many resources on the web and in print that address Wright and the New Perspective on Paul.  I’ve linked several pages that those who haven’t delved into this controversy might find helpful:

This program from Albert Mohler’s radio show addresses the New Perspective.  Dr. Mohler’s discussion with John Piper and Ligon Duncan on the issue begins about halfway through the show.  Dr. Duncan rightly identifies the NPP as having originated with liberal theologians.  It is now influencing some evangelicals through the influence of N.T. Wright.

Here’s an interview with John Piper about his book critiquing Wright.  You can find other pages on his website that address the New Perspective on Paul here, here, and here.

Piper’s book The Future of Justification:  A Response to N.T. Wright can also be downloaded in its entirety for free from his website here.

Here are some pertinent articles by John MacArthur:
http://www.gty.org/Resources/articles/1393
http://www.gty.org/Resources/articles/22

Here is a three part series by Pastor Gary Gilley, who has also written some helpful works on the seeker sensitive movement:
Part 1
Part 2 (Good information here on how the NPP serves Wright’s ecumenical and social agenda, which includes ecumenism (unity) with Rome.)
Part 3

Dr. James Galyon has addressed Wright and the New Perspective in the article Retreating to Rome: The New Battle Over Justification.  The article interacts with others who are in sympathy with Wright’s views as well, particularly in Presbyterian and Reformed circles in which a related movement known as the Federal Vision arose about 6 or 7 years ago.

In 2005, The Master’s Seminary held a Faculty Lecture series on the New Perspective which consists of 4 lectures.  You can download the lectures by visiting this page and scrolling down to the lectures dated 1/1/2005.

Here’s a helpful article on the New Perspective from Theopedia.

Many more resources are linked here.

Douglas Wilson, who is in the Federal Vision camp referenced above, has nevertheless been critical of aspects of Wright’s teaching on justification (and imputation specifically) in recent years, including Wright’s response to John Piper.  Here’s a link to his blog posts on the topic of N.T. Wrights and Wrongs.

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Here is a helpful post by Greg Gilbert on what to in some respects appears to be a new version of the old Social Gospel, among other things.  What he has in view in these posts is what is being taught by Scot McKnight and N.T. Wright.  Here’s his summation:

In the NT, the good news is always the proclamation of forgiveness of sin through the substitutionary death of Jesus, and the call to repent to believe in him. Sometimes that’s all the NT mentions as the “good news”; sometimes it also seems to zoom out to include in the good news all the promises that flow to those who are so forgiven.  What the NT never holds out as the gospel, however, is the bare declaration that the kingdom has come apart from the means of entering it (faith in Christ’s substitutionary death).  Speaking biblically, the gospel is either Cross or Cross-and-Kingdom.  But it is never Kingdom alone.

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Douglas Wilson has been interacting with N.T. Wright’s latest book, which is a response to John Piper’s book The Future of Justification that is critical of Wright and the New Perspective on Paul’s teaching on justification. I haven’t been keeping up with Wilson’s posts, but Justin Taylor provides us with this key excerpt:

Without imputation, Adam, and Jesus, and Abraham, and Douglas Wilson, and [put your name here] are all isolated and separate individuals, with distinct lives (all but one being wretched and miserable), and that have nothing to do with one another. Adam disobeyed, and what is that to me exactly? Abraham believed, and so what? Jesus died and rose, and how is that mine again? Wright wants us to tell the grand story, leaving imputation behind. But the reason Wright doesn’t see imputation is that he thinks in order to exist, it needs to be a character in the novel he is reading. But it is not so much a distinct character, as it is the paper the whole thing is printed on.

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