NPP shaped or broadened your view?

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by arapahoepark, May 15, 2014.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I am just skimming through his book Justification: God's plan Paul's vision and there are parts where I am in genuine agreement or at least with the way he rhetorically phrases something. However, it is absolutely maddening that he can't go a couple pages without taking a pot shot at the Reformation and it's followers. No doubt there are other problems.
    So my question is this: for those of you who have read through Wright's works on justification in particular, if you have found any diamonds in the rough so to speak?
    I hope I am not out of line, I am not thinking of going to the dark side but, are there ways in which some of the NPP can broaden the reformation view?
  2. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Trent, what I have loved of N. T. Wright's emphasis in the books I have read (I can't remember which now) was to be found in earlier reformed writers I have read like Hugh Martin and Thomas Goodwin. It was indeed a little distressing that he denied the reformed their heritage.
  3. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    NPP and FV are worse than it's pot-shots @ the Reformed, however. When it is asserted that Romans is primarily about ecclesiology and not soteriology, that justifacation is about "covenant faithfulness" and not about the faithfulness of the covenant maker, and that justification sounds more Roman than Protestant, I'm out.
    I commend the OPC's position paper on justification, especially as it relates to NPP and FV. While N.T. Wright is very intelligent, on justification, he sure is slippery... :2cents:
  4. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Oddly enough, the tone I'm getting from Wright's fans is suggesting that he's mellowed a bit. The real issue comes down to imputation, specifically of Christ's righteousness, which in the context of Wright's (good) emphasis on union with Christ, ought to lead him to embrace it, but he doesn't follow the reasoning where it leads.

    Part of the trouble comes in that Wright (correctly) tries to bring the Old Testament into his reading of Paul, but doesn't quite do it justice because Wright simply isn't as well-versed on the Ancient Near East and OT biblical theology as he is on the Greco-Roman-Jewish world. In particular, his treatment of the OT sacrificial system is (according to my OT profs at least) woefully deficient.
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Yeah, he basically hasn't read any post-Calvin writer on the covenant, which is annoying. I do like how he emphasizes the forensic aspect of it, contra Eastern Orthodox.
  6. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I think most would agree that the NPP controversy highlights broader ideas connected with covenant righteousness, especially in the development of the history of redemption, so that it can be seen as more than an individual's right standing with God. But, as noted, the Reformed have recognised this all along. And what the NPP gives with one hand it takes away with the other because it fails to see the fuller concept in the light of the leading idea of the individual being right with God. When that focal point is lost the broader picture becomes a bewildering if not terrifying scene.
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

  8. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    A finely defined, nuanced critique of this subject is way over may head and I wouldn't even presume to attempt one. NPP/FV is a bridge I strolled across from Rome to Geneva. Tragically, I am one of the few that seem to step off on this side. From Stendhal hence that was the intention of NPP and what has became of it. Scott Hahn, a big NT Wright fan himself, has trained a whole generation of young conservative Catholic bible teachers/professors using him. I know this second hand from more than one source. If Wright were officially Roman Catholic (he would fit in just fine with the Pontifical Bible Commission as a theologically center-right contributor ) and not Anglican, gullible young Reformed seminary students wouldn't be so enamored by him.
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  9. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    He actually admits that he really hasn't read much systematic theology period. I think if he had read more and more deeply, he would be more careful. As it is, I think he's actually on the right track, but is missing a number of pieces of the puzzle which is where confusion (and I do think it's genuine confusion) sets in.
  10. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    This comes to sharp expression when Wright makes victory over the powers the central motif in Christ's crucifixion. A failure to see that the powers were defeated because sin was overcome severely distorts the whole representation given.

    I've read at least four books by Wright, and I enjoyed and profited from each one of them; but he is never exactly correct, and if his formulations are taken as definitive they are disastrous.
  11. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Well observed! How did the powers come to have power if it were not the justice of God consigning men to their dominion as a punishment for sin? and how were the powers stripped of their power but by the satisfaction of justice making it an act of righteousness to deliver the captives?
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thanks for mentioning that, Matthew. Of course without that understanding justification won't be the main hinge of religion and the wrath of God is minimized. The error with regard to the work of Christ has significant consequences.
  13. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    It used to be that the exegetes pilloried the dogmatics folks for not taking a careful enough look at the text.

    In Wright's case the error is exactly the opposite. His preoccupation with a reconstruction of Second Temple Judaism, bereft of solid historical theology and systematics results in depriving the meaning of justification of its force and resulting in a presentation that provides a too-easy bridge from Geneva to Rome. Why bother being Protestant if Luther and Calvin got it all wrong? Redefining justification in Rome-friendly ways will only hasten the crossing of the Tiber by many young theologs.

    Wright says so much that is so right and helpful that it frustrates me with respect to his impact on justification. Sadly, the cover puff piece in CT recently only documents how popular he has become among the Millennials.
  14. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I have noticed this as well. He tries to prove too much. Carson and Poythress have both said he has more of a systematic mind but, he is poor at it. His historical Jesus and Paul he tries to stuff into nice and tidy categories: aims, praxis, badges, questions, etc. Like for instance his exile theme (which I think is there to a degree) but, he paints every single verse with it like even those dealing with forgiveness he says is not a private blessing but a way of saying end of the exile. Really?
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