In what has become known as the New Perspective on Paul, Tom Wright has proposed a vision of the apostle’s central message that does full justice to all Paul’s letters. In particular, he focuses on the God-centered nature of Paul’s gospel, arguing that “traditional” readings of Paul can suggest that the apostle’s message is simply about us: our sin, our justification, our salvation.
Ambitious in scope, yet closely argued, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision suggests that this crucial understanding of the theology of St. Paul, and thus of the gospel of Christ, is urgently needed as the church faces the tasks of mission in a dangerous world.
This is definitely one of the most exciting and significant books that I have read this year. Like all of the author’s work, I found it hard to set down once I had started to read it. Strongly commended!
—I. Howard Marshall, honorary research professor of New Testament, University of Aberdeen
N.T. Wright provides yet again another fresh and exciting exposition of the Apostle Paul. Here Wright shows how Paul proclaimed justification by faith as part of the Bible’s theodramatic story of salvation . . . Wright responds to many criticisms including those of John Piper and, regardless of whether one gravitates towards Wright’s or Piper’s unpacking of Paul, you cannot help but enjoy the sparks that fly when these two great modern pastor-scholars cross swords over the apostle.
—Michael F. Bird, lecturer in New Testament, Highland Theological College
Like Paul himself writing to the Galatians, Bishop Tom expounds and defends in this book his interpretation of the apostle’s teaching on justification with passion and power. At the same time, he seeks to move beyond divisive categories so that Paul can speak from within his own context and thereby to us in ours. The result is an extraordinary synthesis that should be read by the sympathetic, the suspicious, and everyone else.
—Michael J. Gorman, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University
For some time now, I have watched in puzzlement as some critics, imagining themselves as defenders of Paul’s gospel, have derided Tom Wright as a dangerous betrayer of the Christian faith. In fact, Paul’s gospel of God’s reconciling, world-transforming grace has no more ardent and eloquent exponent in our time than Tom Wright. If his detractors read this book carefully, they will find themselves engaged in close exegesis of Paul’s letters, and they will be challenged to join Wright in grappling with the deepest logic of Paul’s message. Beyond slogans and caricatures of ‘Lutheran readings’ and ‘the New Perspective,’ the task we all face is to interpret these difficult, theologically generative letters afresh for our time. Wright’s sweeping, incisive sketch of Paul’s thought, set forward in this book, will help us all in that task.
—Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University
I find it quite stunning that a book dealing with the subject of justification could be this compelling a read—along the way you find yourself getting caught up in the momentum and energy of the book, which pulls you into the momentum and energy of The Book—which is, of course, Tom’s point.
—Rob Bell, founding pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church
This is a sharply polemical book, and N.T. Wright occasionally rises to Pauline heights of exasperation at his opponents. At bottom, though, it is about Pauline basics—about Abraham and Israel, eschatology and covenant, courtroom and Christology. With debates about perspectives old and new swirling around him like a cyclone, Wright does what he always does—he leads us carefully through the text. Some will doubtless remain skeptical about the Copernican revolution Wright proposes, but we are all indebted to him for reminding us once again of the breadth of the gospel of God and the majesty of the God of the gospel.
—Peter Leithart, senior fellow of theology and literature, New Saint Andrews College
Frank theological table talk is sometimes a necessary endeavor. Tom Wright’s Justification is his substantive reply to critical work by many, including John Piper, on the New Perspective. Wright correctly reminds us that this approach should be better called New or Fresh Perspectives. The goal is to open up the text connecting what it originally said in the first century, not change it. This book sets up a meaningful and significant conversation between the camps in this debate through its direct interaction with the critique. It should be read and reflected on, just as work on the other side should be. . . . In the dialogue, all of us will learn more about what Paul and Scripture say about justification (and a few other things as well).
—Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Wright is a joy to read; he uses clear analogies, interacts with the reader, has ‘Paul-like’ anticipation of counter claims, and provides timely reminders of where we are in the argument.