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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Images of the Savior (37 – His Raising of Lazarus) | Main | Before you convert to Roman Catholicism... (Top Ten List) »

    D.A. Carson on Piper's "The Future of Justification"

    "The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' (NPP) has stirred up enormous controversy, especially, but not exclusively, in the English-speaking world. The issues are so complex that it has taken time to mount a careful evaluation. During the last decade many have undertaken the task, often with helpful contributions. John Piper’s work may not be the last word on the subject, but it brings to Christian leaders everywhere five enormous strengths: (1) By focusing on N. T. Wright, by far the most influential writer of the NPP, Piper brings to bear a badly needed focus. (2) Despite the interlocking complexities of the debate—Tom Wright has an amazing capacity to move theological and exegetical pieces around, creating such a new tableau that words have shifted in meaning and theological notions their conceptual location—Piper has written with admirable clarity. (3) Better yet, John has engaged Tom with simultaneous depth and courtesy. That is a rare but wholly admirable combination. (4) Certain parts of John Piper’s book have quietly broken new ground—not least his handling of “righteousness” and “justification,” their connection with the “gospel,” and his careful insistence that making the words mean different things for the Judge in God’s law-court and for the defendant in that law-court really cannot be sustained in the light of Scripture. (5) John Piper sees the moral and spiritual implications of what he is seeking to explain. Are men and women saved, on the last day, on the basis of the whole life lived? But if not, what is the nature of the connection between justification and good works? The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior."

    D. A. Carson
    Research Professor of New Testament
    Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL

    From Justin Taylor's Blog, Between Two Worlds

    Posted by John on August 20, 2007 11:44 AM

    Comments

    Given what Piper has written already on the topic (i.e., Counted Righteous In Christ), coupled with his experience in engaging G. Boyd over open-theism, he is one of the best qualified pastor-scholars to take on N.T. Wright. How many have begun with N.T. Wright and ended up sliding into the RCC or Eastern Orthodoxy? This newest release, endorsed by Carson, makes his work a timely and meaty contribution to the doctrinal debate over the matter by which the church stands of falls.

    Can't wait till this one comes out. I think N.T. Wright is a false teacher and predict you will see his doctrine move further and further away from the historic Christian faith(if that's possible)
    Justification by faith alone is the doctrine on which the church rises and falls. Anyone attacking the historic protestant view of justification and double imputation is no theologian and is certainly not taught of God.

    Alan

    Do forgive...in correction to my first post (note typo), I meant to say, "...the matter by which the church stands OR falls." (Alan nicely clarifies this phrase in his own above post.)

    Why is it that so many of those who disagree with Wright fail to make any useful comments regarding his work, and simply decide he must be a false teacher simply on the grounds that he doesn't chime beautifully with Carson and Piper.

    I suspect, and this is only a suspicion, most of those who disagree have never read a single substantial work of his...

    Of course this is a generalisation and I welcome the likes of Piper who are taking on Wright at the scholarly level, I'm sure he welcomes it too. But let us refrain from foolish and unwarranted presuppositions that do not drive the debate forward but simply fuel the fire that says 'conservative evangelicals can't be taken seriously because they simply don't think'

    I think it's fair to say that most Wright lay-opponents (obviously people like Piper and Piper excluded) have not taken the time and had the grace to actually consider what he is saying and what he is not saying. They may have read Piper's response but only know what Wright is saying through Piper or other critics.

    As Wright says many people are too eager to short-circuit any argument which approaches the holy-ground of the (neo)Calvinistic doctrine of justification. I think our reformed friends need to consider that their position is also a tradition which came about by looking afresh at scripture and calling into question accepted norms and, more especially our unstated assumption of what doctrinal buzzwords (ala Tulip) really mean or meant to those who formulated them.

    No doubt the process is painful but until we've really followed Wright and co's arguments through we run the risk of turning away from bread which smells strange but is actually good. Are we or are we not ready to have our view of God challenged or do we think we've got God taped?

    At last some rational comments on this whole discussion.I think Wright is causing interest due to the fact that he has something legitimate to say from scripture and what he says challenges reformed theology. An (Wrightly) rightly so. This I think is what is disturbing the likes of Carson and Piper both of whom I consider to simply muddy the waters in order to discredit Wrights views. The neo Calvin/Luther brigade should be concerned. There doctrine on Justification is a leaky one scripturally.

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