"...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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  • « I Believe White is Right to say Wright is Wrong | Main | John Calvin: Christian Biographies for Young Readers »

    Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision by NT Wright

    Check out the wide array of endorsements for N.T. Wright's new book he wrote in response to Piper, Carson and other NPP critics. A number of endoresents from emerging folk like Scot McKnight but the strangest endorsements come from some who don't even understand the basics of the gospel like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren who both think Christianity is about what we do for Jesus rather than what He has done for us. In other words those who see Jesus, not as their savior, only their guru who teaches them principles for right living. And are these guys Pauline scholars? --- strange for IVP to list these endorsements to say the least. Well, you will find this list interesting ....

    Posted by John on January 8, 2009 12:48 PM


    The endorsement that counts is from Richard Hays. Hays is balanced, charitable, and humble. And he invites us to enter into the conversation not polemically, but with the aim of understanding Paul.

    If you don't mind me asking, what is NPP?

    Seeing that Wright sought endorsements from men like McLaren and Bell, it goes without saying where he is coming from. He has consistently mistaught the Gospel over the course of his ministry and deserves no hearing by true believers other than for the purpose of refuting his lies.

    Wright is no true Pauline scholar...he consistently twists Paul's words(and thus the Holy Spirit's words.).


    Alan, I'm sure that Wright did not seek out Emergent endorsement. Endorsement are collected by publishers with the hopes that more books will be sold and more money will be made. Also, to judge Wright as no true Pauline scholar means you see yourself fit to make such a judgment. A pretty bold assessment if you ask me. As a Presbyterian who has read Wright for 20 years let me assure you there's nothing to be scared of.

    Jonathan - you ask what is NPP? Type into google, or check it out under 'Bad Theology' on Monergism.

    It seems to me that the NPP has two parts, one good one bad.

    The first, good element is the realisation (based in part on work with the Dead Sea Scrolls) that the Pharisees were not pelagian legalists but covenantal nomists (i.e they were not nervously trying to get saved, but were perhaps rather arrogantly keeping the Law to show others that they were saved).

    The second, bad element is what the NPP have done with this realisation. They say that those seeking after God (whether Pharisees or Jewish Christians) should make a better job of their covenantal nomism - be less arrogant, and more concerned with genuine community than with parading their status. To go further, they should have tried harder in case they lost their salvation - this becomes a neo-catholic position.

    However I think the first element of the NPP, when taken by itself, can be used to strengthen JBF (justification by faith) rather than to weaken it.

    Instead of taking the second step (that Wright takes), we should conclude that Paul criticises covenantal nomism for still being a form of legalism - i.e. the pharisees and the jewish christians should be putting more distance between themselves and the law/laws, rather than seeking to follow it/them more humbly.

    The problem with my suggestion is that when the Pharisees were perceived as legalists (and the Galatians as neo-legalists), then we could trumpet covenantal nomism as the solution.

    But if we now find Paul criticising covenantal nomism, it still leaves reformed protestantism with the need to interpret 'Keep in step with the Spirit' (Gal 5.16) in a better way. We cannot just say that the law of christ is now our law - that is still covenantal nomism.

    There is a serious but exciting challenge - we need a fuller doctrine of what exactly (psychologically and perhaps existentially, as well as forensically) it means to be 'in Christ'.


    ps - if a christian is not 'moved' by gratitude to Jesus to help someone in need (perhaps feeling rather tired on a particular day), should that christian 'make themself' do it out of a 'christian duty', or not? When does 'christian duty' become new form of law keeping?

    I just stumbled onto this post, but the topic seems rather interesting as I have been trying to stay informed in order to strengthen my faith. Any other readings or books like this one to suggest for me?

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