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4 Stars Out Of 5
November 5, 2009
There's much to be said about Justification that cannot be said in a book review. Let it be said that the New Perspective on Paul is under fire. John Piper fired a huge round when he wrote Counted Righteous in Christ & The Future of Justification. Piper is no light-weight expositor, but should be taken seriously. Wright has done so in many ways. This is Wright's response.First,the good. There is much good in this book. Wright has much knowledge and experience as an exegete. This is obvious as one reads Justification. Wright also seeks to be true to the Scripture. Even those who disagree with him must admit the fact of Wright's seriousness when he approaches God's Word. What impresses me the most is the fact that behind the disagreement, Piper and Wright have two huge things in common. They both believe that God is working in this world to manifest His glory. They also both believe in the unity of the Bible.It is the commitment to the unity of the Bible that most impresses me about Wright. He simply seeks to relate everything. Indeed, everything in the Bible is related. Wright has worked hard to harmonize the various texts that are relevant to the discussion of justification.The not so good: Wright is not always as charitable to those with whom he disagrees as one should be. His opening comparison between Old Perspective believers and geocentrists was not wise. It could serve to alienate many whom he desires to reach.Wright also at times does not seem to quite get the point of Piper. While he states that Piper misses his points (and I think that is indeed possible), he misses Piper's points, too.In the end, it's simply an amazing work. What saddens me the most is that Piper and Wright both could probably sit down together and work through much of this issue. Piper is right that imputed righteousness cannot be diminished. Wright is correct in seeking to bring the writings of Paul into their covenantal perspective.
This is a must read for those who are willing to look for truth rather than accept dogma without thought. If we are serious about our faith then we must be willing to regularly return to the springs of our faith. Wright is leading us to do that
This book is N.T. Wrights attempt to explain once again his view on Pauls use of justification. The most amazing feature is the Biblical paradigm shift that Wright presents to his readers regarding justification. His basic view is that justification is Gods law-court declaration that a person is in right standing (so far, so good) with Gods covenant. Its that covenant part that raises questions, particularly since Wrights definition of justification does away with the doctrine of imputed righteousness. Wright does not believe that through justification we receive the righteousness of Christ (p. 135). And yet, what Wright takes away with one hand, he gives back with another. Wright argues that issues related to deliverance from the penalty and power of sin in our lives come through resurrection, not through justification (pp. 231-235). This, however, though a major doctrine, is a minor point in Wrights book. His main concern is to show how his view of justification makes more sense of the Pauline passages that speak of it. And with this, he is more than a conqueror. If, for example, youve ever struggled with what Romans 9-11 has to do with the rest of the letter, Wrights view makes these chapters not only fit within the flow of Pauls argument, but actually become the pinnacle and the climax of Romans. Wrights strength in this is due to his insistence on reading the biblical text, not with twenty-first century eyes and sixteenth-century questions, but with first-century eyes and first-century questions. This, it seems to me, is the best way to read and study Scripture, and Wright does an excellent job leading the way.If you want to understand some of the nuances to the current debate on justification, I recommend this book. If, however, you want to understand the thought flow of some of Pauls letters (like Galatians, Ephesians, and Romans), this book must not be ignored. Take it up, and read.