Bishop N. T. Wright-ism

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by yeutter, Jul 3, 2017.

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  1. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Because Bishop Wright has had an influence on some conservative Anglicans, with whom I interact, I read some of his stuff again. In trying to come to grips with what Bishop Wright is teaching about the atonement; I am confused.

    On the one hand he seems to reject the notion of substitutionary blood atonement as pagan or barbaric, and yet he also says that on the cross Jesus took on that separation from God that is the consequence of man's sin. Wright says that on the cross Jesus identified himself totally with fallen humanity and took upon himself the punishment that sinful humanity deserved. Wright says; that on the cross, Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath to the dregs, and in that salvation is accomplished.

    At first I thought Bishop Wright might be progressively moving away from orthodoxy over time. That does not seem to be the case. He seems to have always been inconsistent.

    I notice Bishop Wright does not usually speak of the righteousness of Christ being imputed unto us. Is his error that he is speaking of infused rather then imputed righteousness?
     
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I would say that Wright is orthodox on the atonement. In Jesus and the Victory of God, he spends a huge amount of time depending penal substitutionary atonement. He is not orthodox on justification, however, and his position has not move closer to orthodoxy over time. He believes that justification is about the church, not about individual salvation. It is about table fellowship, and how you tell who is "in," and who is not. This is tightly connected to his despising systematic theology, as well as historical theology, actually (he constantly bashes the Reformers hardly ever citing them). I don't think he advocates infused righteousness any more than imputed. For Wright, the righteousness of God is God's covenant faithfulness, and it is not something we can ever have. He has a lot of systemic errors, ranging from a rejection of the self-attesting authority of Scripture, to his truncated methodology to his desire to contribute something new that no one has ever heard of before.
     
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  3. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    There is little to add to the previous post. Wright seems to believe that union with Christ makes imputed righteousness redundant. Hr has influenced many FV thinkers unfortunately. He says some very good stuff succinctly (like greenbaggins above :) ) however, he does not quite get to reformed theology and what may be viewed as a small chasm Wright starts throwing rocks across and wonders why he is critiqued so often.
     
  4. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Isn't the charge of "barbarism" in a blood atonenent precisely what drove much of the downward spiral in Protestantism in the 1890s to 1930s?
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Neither. Horton has a pretty good response to him in Covenant and Salvation. Wright thinks that imputation means the essential righteousness of the judge being imputed to me.
     
  6. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Horton definitely incorporates the good of Wright while rejecting the bad, all for solid Biblical reasons. I second this.
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    NTW accepts substitutionary in a sense. He just wants to make sure that "substitution" is never abstracted from Jesus as the New Israel, and the narrative in which he is in. I can go with that. Jesus and the Victory of God is quite good. But he loses much of it on justification. I second what Rev Lane said.
     
  8. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, Jean, it is precisely the old charge of "barbarism" that fueled liberalism and made a wreck of mainline Protestantism early in the twentieth century.

    Lane and the others here are on target and are right in noting that Mike Horton is spot-on in his engagement with Wright. Just one additional note here in Wright's misunderstanding of and, thus, wrong-headed criticism of, imputation. John Piper has well-addressed such, both in his Counted Righteous in Christ? and The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright. I think that these works are both accessible and very clear as to Wright's problems here.

    In concert, then, with what Lane said: Wright's problems are not primarily with the atonement (as a part of historia salutis, though even here not in the classic sense in every respect--as I infer from Jacob's comment, with which I agree), but with justification (as part of ordo salutis). To put it in John Murray's terms: it is not Redemption Accomplished that he fails to understand, but Redemption Applied.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
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  9. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Nt Wright thought does not seem to agree with Pauline Justification, as he denies that God poured His wrath for sinners upon Jesus at the Cross, and more that Jesus died for the Covenant people due to the wrath of Rome on Him. Also, he equates water baptism as being the sign of one now being in the new Community of faith, and yet he still sees God has having to judged their entire life work in order to have them keep eternal life in some sense.
    He also does deny that God declares us right in Christ, as in Romans, as his take on that is that the Apostle was addressing not how to get saved and right with God, justified, but in how we now are to be seen as saved in the Community..
    I would take his books on thinks such as the historical Jesus as good, not so much his work in this specific area of theology.
    He should not be seen as being really reformed in this vital issue.
     
  10. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    His entire focus seems to be on the Christ as Victor mode, and yet really denies Penal substitution as defined and outlined by the Apostle Paul regarding Justification.
     
  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    He seems to be arguing for the Judaism of the time of Jesus was not apostate from God, rather that it was still good, and that we have really misunderstood what Paul was meaning and intended by Justification. He also wants to make Judaism of that type as not teaching works salvation, and that it was really good, and that Jesus was just addressing places where some had taken it astray.
     
  12. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    Doesn't Wright also deny the Pauline authorship of any epistle that seems to undermine his argument? Seems to be a questionable method.
     
  13. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    He also has stated a view that seems to deny inerrancy of the scriptures.
     
  14. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Do you have any specific examples to cite ? I just did a quick re-read of 'The Book God Breathed' in Wright's 'Simply Christian', and from that chapter it would seem to me that he is enthusiastically convinced that the Bible is the genuine word of God. He does discuss various trends of thought throughout history, but names William Tyndale as one of his heroes, quotes 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and so forth.
     
  15. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Wright doesn't do this, to my knowledge. Dunn does this in his theology of Paul.

    David, Wright does not do this. He does not set the two against each other, but argues for both.
     
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  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The Christus Victor model is there, and there is nothing wrong with that. Paul uses Christus Victor in Colossians. And to be fair, Wright does see Jesus as the Israel-Substitute.
     
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed. In his new book on Paul he comes out for Pauline authorship (though he doesn't argue the point).
     
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He reads the inerrancy debate within a specific 20th century Evangelical framework, so he won't affirm it because he thinks it will commit him to a certain historiography of American/British evangelicalism. I disagree with him on this point, but he isn't "denying the Scriptures."
     
  19. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    I was not saying that he was, but that he seems to shy around from saying that there are no errors/mistakes in the original scriptures.
     
  20. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    He does seem though to place a primary emphasis upon the Victor mode, at the expense of the penal substitution aspect, as he really argues against God pouring wrath upon Jesus.
     
  21. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Wright though seems to really not want to see the atonement in the terms as Paul outlines to us, as he shies away from God pouring His wrath upon Jesus at the Cross.
     
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Wright sees that the scriptures have authority to us , but again, he does not seem to equate them in same fashion as we all do here regarding inerrant scriptures.
     
  23. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Not in his Romans commentary. In a debate with Gaffin, Gaffin praised Wright for defending the translation of propitiation. And I can turn it around and say a lot of evangelicals reject Christus Victor aspects. I got points marked off in seminary for quoting Colossians 2:15
     
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you have any specific examples to cite?
     
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    "Seems to shy around" is vague and misleading language.
     
  26. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    https://adaughterofthereformation.w...-n-t-wright-summed-up-in-one-chapter-heading/
    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/whats-wrong-wright-examining-new-perspective-Paul/
    https://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/is-n-t-wright-wrong-on-Jesus
    First deals with how he views the scriptures, and second on his overall beliefs.
    The final one shocked me, for that would mean that NT Wright has a strange view on the person of Jesus Himself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
  27. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    He does not seem to view the death of Christ though in a fashion that would be as say a Calvin did, or any other major Reformer.
     
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Replace the word "seem" with an actual citation from Wright. That way we can find the nature of the contradiction (yes, he disagrees with Calvin on this point, but that tells me relatively little about his own view).
     
  29. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    So no direct citations from Wright himself? I am not reading second hand sources. Rachel did a great job exposing the Doug Wilson sex scandals, but on this issue I would rather go directly to the source. I've read almost everything he is written, but some of it was over a decade ago.

    The last article is misleading. He believes Jesus has a divine nature. He is simply attacking a certain post-Enlightenment view of "knowledge." What do we mean by "knowledge?" Do we have in mind Gettier? Plato? Plantinga? Polyani?

    If Knowledge = justified, true belief, then we have to ask ourselves, "Did Jesus 'know' he was God?" That means, did Jesus have to continually meet internal criteria to justify his believing the claim he was God? Ironically, that is nigh-blasphemous. Despite himself, NT Wright came out conservative on this one!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
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  30. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Brother - would we say that Wright is closer to Kuyper than Piper on the nature and "purpose" of the atonement?
     
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