Its a ripper of a book and the best theological read I have had for a while. Tom Wright’s latest book is, for me, his most enjoyable yet. Its called Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision and its a well written answer to John Piper’s “The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright”, which I found a little long and unwieldy, and needing Tom Wright’s response to complete it. And now that response is here.
Tom Wright argues that “righteousness” has to do with the status of being declared in the right by God, rather than with a moral righteousness imputed by a Righteous Judge. Tom also suggests quite strongly that a Reformed view of Paul’s work lacks continuity with God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 3)and the nation of Israel (Dt. 27-30), something which Paul makes clear and is yet often ignored by modern day evangelicalism. He also accuses Reformed theology (but not Calvin) of being too individualistic, sidestepping the Trinity and avoiding an understanding of all creation and its redemption. Tom even throws some punches at the NIV [for pandering to current thinking rather than biblical accuracy] and Don Carson for his misplaced comments on the back of Piper’s book.
Tom Wright has written a great book on one of the most interesting theological debates in this millennium. It moves quickly, has fire on its tail, unlike his more relaxed theological books. This one ismore than its subject – its more than just Romans and its more than “justification. It even goes beyond the “new perspective”. This is a book on how to do theology in general, what questions to ask, how to view the wider sweep of Scripture and attempt to get our heads out of a 16th Century mindset. Its also a parallel argument to what is going on in the emerging church; what Wright points out as the inadequacies of a mediaeval theology are strikingly similar to what emerging church leaders have found as inadequate and unbiblical ecclesiastic practices that need to be overcome. The questions asked are similar and that is why I predict most emerging church practitioners will side with Wright rather than Piper on this one, despite both men being godly leaders and great scholar/pastors.
Have you read it? What do you think?
Previously . . . on Tallskinnykiwi: Tom Wright and the Emerging church, Tom Wright’s ‘Surprised By Hope’ is my Top Book of 2008