Answering the New Perspective on Paul and NT Wright

28 May

From Dr. R. Scott Clark:

There seems to be a cadre of biblicist, evangelicals, who don’t know much about the medieval church (and who think it might even be cool to get back there in some ways), who don’t know much about the Reformation (except that it had an uncool, legal, fictional doctrine of justification), and who don’t know much about earlier versions of evangelicalism (an “evangelical” is someone who loves Jesus, right?), who like the doctrine of predestination (God is sovereign, so why does it matter what one says about justification, it comes out in the wash, right?), who have no real connection to Reformed churches (“Dude! We like couches, coffee, and candles”), who are tempted by N T Wright’s (“Man! He is so cool!) revision of Paul. It’s grounded in the first century, and that has to be good, right? It’s different. It’s hip and it’s socially relevant (after all, NTW has a plan to transform society and that has to be good, right?).

This society of  fairly uncritical supporters seem to be quite unaware that there are serious, even fatal, flaws in NTW’s revision of Paul (and of Reformed theology), beginning with his redefinition of Paul’s doctrine of justification and carrying through his entire program of “God’s faithfulness.” There are good reasons not to be persuaded by NTW’s revisionism. Those reasons are not just mere knee-jerk conservatism of the past but are grounded in the text of Holy Scripture, in biblical exegesis that takes account of the Judaic setting of the NT, in a coherent account of the history of redemption, grounded in faithful attempts to correlate passages with one another, including their implications (what we used to call “theology”), and in an attempt to relate our contemporary reading of the Holy Scriptures to that of the church before us (historical theology and the history of exegesis, something that NTW freely admits and regularly demonstrates he little cares about or understands). The pastoral consequences of NTW’s program might also be mentioned as reasons for doubting.

Here are some critical resources you should read before inviting Tom Wright into your heart:

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