Arminian Today

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Making Sense of the New Perspective of Paul

I know very little, I confess, of the theological debate among mainly Reformed theologians and men such as N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham from the Anglican Church.  I first heard about this debate several years ago between Wright and John Piper.  I also confess that I own only one book by Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, which is a massive book on the truthfulness of the resurrection of Christ.  Wright is to be commended for his stand within in the Anglican Church for sound doctrine and for the most part, he comes across as evangelical in many theology issues.

That said, I know little to nothing about the new perspective of Paul.  I know that men such as James Dunn and Wright have been instrumental in building up a following on this issue but I admit that I know little about it.

So that is why I am linking up to this teaching by Phil Johnson on this issue.  I listened to this teaching last night while working and found it to be enlightening.  I believe Johnson does a good job of critiquing Wright and the new perspective of Paul movement.  In a solid but down to earth way, Johnson explains what Wright teaches and why it is wrong.  It is well worth listening to.

You can find the teaching here.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/02/2012 at 2:37 PM

4 Responses

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  1. First, thank you Seeking D. for posting this – Great topic. Phil Johnson is coming from a reformed perspective and like John Piper, et al, basically creates a narrative that NT Wight “preaches another gospel” and is the “same as the Judaizers in Galatians.” Many Reformed leaders love to depict a negative narrative towards Christians that do not agree with Calvinist doctrine. For example, RC Sproul will claim Arminians teach a semi-pelagian doctrine which is a nice way of calling them heretics. My concern is that too many Christians are “brand name” / “franchise Christians” who are too lazy or too busy to find the truth for themselves (2 Timothy 2:15). They would rather just “take someone’s word for it” than really look into it themselves. For example, I really like Ravi Zacharias but I heard him describe a post-modern author’s point that was disingenuous. I was taken back because I would have just taken Ravi’s word for it if I have not read this author’s essay a week before. So we are all guilty of this and can be very naive at times. So far what I have read from NT Wright I really like especially his insights on election. I lean towards agreeing with Wright because he highlights that there is salvation and hope for ALL people who believe in Christ not just the few “elected” as postulated by Calvinist’s doctrine (unconditional election and limited atonement). Wright challenges evangelicals to really try to step out of their “Christian Tradition” and study God’s word via solid exegesis/hermeneutics. It is ironic that the Reformed tradition which was birthed out of challenging the religious establishment and looking into scripture in a different view is criticized here. The reformed movement is doing the same thing to Wright as the Catholic Church did to Luther. Isolate and demonize him by creating a narrative of a heretic instead of challenging his ideas against scripture as the Bareans did with Paul (Acts 17:11).

    Joshua Cook

    12/02/2012 at 5:35 PM

    • Thanks Josh. I will admit I am not familiar with Wright’s works. I need to read them to make a statement on them so I will take your word for me!

  2. Thanks SD, Both Reformed and Catholic traditions and even Wright have been ambivalent in the Holy Spirit’s role in the doctrine of Justification. I am curious to read Frank Macchia’s view on Justification from the Pentecostal perspective which can shed more light on this modern debate on Justification. Have you read his book, “Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God” ? Thanks, J

    Joshua Cook

    12/03/2012 at 9:58 PM


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