Have evangelicals misunderstood Paul? Was the Reformation doctrine of justification a mistake? The New Perspective on Paul has serious implications for that pivotal doctrine of the gospel. Guy Waters lays out the theological, historical, and cultural antecedents to the New Perspective and examines its leading proponents. He offers a trenchant critique of their work and warns us of problems that the New Perspective may pose within the Church. Guy Prentiss Waters (M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Duke University) is assistant professor of Bible at Belhaven College.
- A thoroughly documented overview of the New Perspective.
- Historical survey and analysis by an upcoming scholar who studied under E. P. Sanders
- A well-formed critique, with special attention to the doctrine of justification
- Employs both exegetical and theological analysis
Traces the rise of the "new perspective" on Paul, beginning in the nineteenth century, offers a critique, and identifies what's at stake for Reformed Christianity.
Is the Bible less than infallible and inerrant? Was Paul in actuality more impacted by the Greeks than the Jews? Is Evangelical Christendom's perception of Paul all wrong? Guy Prentiss Waters doesn't think so. And he has researched both sides of these questions, having studied under two of the leading expositors of the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP), and then dug deeply into the Bible, Christian history, and the basis for The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.
Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul begins at the beginning and goes forward to the best conclusions. Just as new morality is not new, the foundations for the NPP are found at least two centuries ago. The first chapters review history of the NPP, starting with the Reformation, moving into the fallacies that emerged, considering Albert Schweitzer, and moving on to Davies, and Kasemann. The following chapters look at contemporary proponents of NPP, from E.P. Sanders through Raisanen and Dunn to N.T. Wright. The author backs his statements with many quotes from these people. He states his arguments against them clearly, grounding all his criticisms in the Bible and Christian history, and pointing out the differences in definitions between the Bible and NPP using words commonly indigenous to Christianity. He also discusses any good effects coming from NPP and its antecedents.
Penultimate to the conclusion, the chapter titled A Critique of the New Perspective, appraises the flaws of this school of thought, looks at how Reformed theology is faithful to Paul, and demonstrates how NPP is not sound biblical teaching. As the title of this book suggests, justification is a pivotal point in this book. Throughout, the facets of justification are continually considered. In this chapter, Waters enters into an in-depth discussion of biblical justification versus NPP justification. A consideration of the doctrines at stake in this dispute, the damage done to the church by this dispute, and how the church should react to it, all amply close this volume. Waters, being a Presbyterian, assesses this from a Reformed stance.
Perhaps as a layman like myself, you will need to use a dictionary and the Internet to cope with this book. Believe me, it is well worth it. Whether lay or clerical, all readers will be challenged to come to grips with their stance toward some deep themes of the Bible. Professor, researcher, student, and author, Dr. Waters comes firmly down on the side of the Bible. It is infallible and inerrant, and Evangelical Christians will wither and fade if they let go of God's Word. Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews.com
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