Responding to charges of Western, individual, guilt

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
It seems to be a 'thing' lately to criticize theologians, lay people, etc. for interpreting the Bible through a 'western, juridical and individualistic' (even modern) lens, that supposedly goes back to Augustine only to be picked up Luther. One of my criticisms of Tom Holland's work on Paul's theology is that he seems to find everything that Paul says as corporate virtually at the expense of individual application. It was the Gentiles who were called to exercise he says, yet seemingly leaving out the obvious individual implications...
Many who reject Penal Substitution or argue for the new perspective tend use these very arguments. Rather they advocate a 'eastern and corporate honor/shame' reading of the Scriptures and calling cultures and not necessarily individuals to loyalty (not faith per se).
Yet, after all, only individuals repent, and have faith and they make up societies and communities. Jesus says he came to bring a sword relating that families will be torn up based upon an individual's faith.
How does refute this further? Is it both/and? Most obviously, the Gospel has ramifications for both individuals and groups.
 

BottleOfTears

Puritan Board Freshman
I find a lot of these critiques, which also come from converts to Eastern Orthodoxy, sound very similar to Postmodern critiques of (small o) orthodoxy. "too legal" "it needs to be more relational" etc

Weird that those who seek to avoid Western ways of thinking, often end up sounding exactly like the Emergent Church.

A lot of it is overgeneralisation mixed with fluffy language. As @BayouHuguenot says, often things are not argued for, most of it is just aesthetically pleasing language.

My big problem with a lot of it is how it fits with the OT sacrificial system.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
Isn’t that the whole thrust of the NPP?
Yes and no...
Reading snippets of Lee Iron's dissertation on the word Righteousness in Greek literature, T. David Gordon's Galatians commentary (especcially his appendix on righteous language) and Horton's two volumes on Justification make me wonder how in the world the new perspective is still floating around. In other words, its mostly about completely unsubstantiated lexical claims from the mid 19th century, some of which relate to the debunked Hebraic and Greek thought ideas.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
world the new perspective is still floating around.
It really isn't. If it weren't for NT Wright, it would have faded in obscurity. Wright considered himself an evangelical (something rare among NPP guys) and he is an electrifying communicator (also rare among academics). But Wright is getting on up there in years and also writes on stuff beyond the NPP, so there aren't any big weights pushing it.

Reformed people don't care about Sanders. I've read one of his books and it was just average. James Dunn is something of an evagenlical and a good scholar, but he never gained the following that Wright has.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
It seems to be a 'thing' lately to criticize theologians, lay people, etc. for interpreting the Bible through a 'western, juridical and individualistic' (even modern) lens, that supposedly goes back to Augustine only to be picked up Luther. One of my criticisms of Tom Holland's work on Paul's theology is that he seems to find everything that Paul says as corporate virtually at the expense of individual application. It was the Gentiles who were called to exercise he says, yet seemingly leaving out the obvious individual implications...
Many who reject Penal Substitution or argue for the new perspective tend use these very arguments. Rather they advocate a 'eastern and corporate honor/shame' reading of the Scriptures and calling cultures and not necessarily individuals to loyalty (not faith per se).
Yet, after all, only individuals repent, and have faith and they make up societies and communities. Jesus says he came to bring a sword relating that families will be torn up based upon an individual's faith.
How does refute this further? Is it both/and? Most obviously, the Gospel has ramifications for both individuals and groups.
One of the unfortunate consequences of postmodernism is a tendency to critique the entire system instead of individual parts of the system. If the whole system is bad than every part, I know there's a fallacy in there somewhere, needs not be analysed. This goes for historical blaming, "it was all Augustine's fault", as well. It's too easy but wrong.
 
Top