Respected all over the world, N.T. Wright has spent a lifetime studying the New Testament. Yet, many church leaders and traditional scholars have identified significant points of discontinuity between Wright’s conclusions and what many interpreters—from Augustine to today—have to say about “justification by faith” as it is taught in Paul’s epistles.
The Future of Justification, written by pastor and New Testament scholar John Piper, pinpoints where Piper believes Wright has departed from traditional teaching regarding justification. Piper explains why it is crucial that the church not lose the gospel message it has proclaimed for over 1500 years.
Interested in more? Check out the Crossway John Piper Collection (39 vols.).
“My conviction concerning N. T. Wright is not that he is under the curse of Galatians 1:8–9, but that his portrayal of the gospel—and of the doctrine of justification in particular—is so disfigured that it becomes difficult to recognize as biblically faithful.” (Page 15)
“Justification must be seen in this larger picture. ‘Justification, for Paul, is a subset of election, that is, it belongs as a part of his doctrine of the people of God.’3 Wright is recognized for his unusual definition of justification as the declaration that a person is in the covenant family.” (Page 39)
“Wright has labored hard to clarify that it is both-and—covenant and law-court—not either-or.” (Page 44)
“So, on the face of it, Wright’s definition of justification as ‘God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was, in fact, a member of his people’ does not fit well with Paul’s use of justification language.” (Page 44)
“And Paul is eager to make explicit that this ‘for our sins’ is good news because by it we are ‘saved.’ This is at the heart of what makes the gospel gospel, and not just an effect of the gospel.” (Page 89)
John Piper’s challenging yet courteous book takes issue with Tom Wright regarding Paul’s teaching on justification. This serious critique deserves to be read by all who want to understand more fully God’s righteousness in Christ and his justifying the ungodly.
—Peter T. O’Brien, senior research fellow in New Testament, Moore Theological College, Australia
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