Tom Wright's Response to John Piper

UPDATE In January 2008, the following post was identified as the 13th all-time most popular post with readers of this blog. The 14th most-read post was the summary of my interview with the leader of Newfrontiers, Terry Virgo.This post was part of a series of posts on the debate between Wright and Piper over justification. Other parts of this series which would have made the top 30 in their own right include: John Piper, N. T. Wright, and Gracious DiscernmentJohn Piper: Is N. T. Wright Preaching … [Read more...]

Piper Gets Passionate With the ETS on Justification

John Piper has delivered an amazing lecture on the vital place of justification to the ETS. The manuscript, video, and audio are available online, and this sets his new book, The Future of Justification, into context. The whole talk is fantastic, but these couple of paragraphs stuck out for me, especially considering his audience! I’m aware that for some in the academic world, perhaps some of you, this very confession calls my fitness into question as a competent exegete. “This fellow has so muc … [Read more...]

The Christian and the Law

As we continue looking at John Piper's book we have now reached page 200 and following. I want to highlight Piper's attitude to the law. What, according to Piper, is the purpose of the law?“The reason the law is not against the promise is precisely that it was designed not to give life but to hold under sin and lead to Christ who gives life. Paul says that if the law had given life, then it would have been against the promise. It would have short-circuited the purpose of the promise to make C … [Read more...]

2 Corinthians 5 and Romans 5 – Two Critical Passages on Justification

Today I want to share how John Piper brings two passages to bear on the justification debate. The quotes are all from his new book, The Future of Justification, and come from pages 170-180. The two passages are Romans 5 and 2 Corinthians 5. Piper is responding to Wright's slightly odd way of speaking about them. If you are interested in seeing an example of this, there is an article by Wright on 2 Corinthians 5:21 that I must say I found wholly unconvincing. This is what John Piper says about … [Read more...]

Legalism, Racism, and the First Century Jew

In his book, The Future of Justification, John Piper addresses the issue of legalism and the first century Jew. Piper responds to some of the notions of the New Perspectives people who claim that first century Jews had not drifted from the grace message of the Old Testament into legalism. He explains . . .“In regard to the second objection to the general view that “the Jew keeps the law out of gratitude, as the proper response to grace,” it is important to see that, from Jesus’ standpoint, relati … [Read more...]

Hard and Soft Legalism

There is a very interesting quote from Matt Perman, one of John Piper's students, which Piper includes in his book, The Future of Justification. It addresses N. T. Wright's view that Judaism was not legalistic. Matt argues that there are, in fact, two types of legalism. Speaking of Wright and others he says: “They appear to be thinking only in terms of hard legalism, which is the notion that either your works bribe God or that they are self-produced by your own effort. But, as you flesh it out, h … [Read more...]

Legalism Versus Grace in First Century Judaism

Anyone who has read anything about the New Perspectives on Paul will realize that one of the key arguments is that we have misunderstood the Pharisees through the perspective of the Reformation. The first century Jews were never legalists, we are told. There are a number of problems with that position. The first is looking at Jesus' own perspective on the Pharisees seen most prominently in Luke 18. The second is that while we should acknowledge that the original message of the OT was one of … [Read more...]

John Piper: Is N. T. Wright Preaching Another Gospel?

We are continuing to look at John Piper's elegant exposure of the heart of the differences between his position and that of N. T. Wright's. For those without the time to read massive volumes written by the current Bishop of Durham, Piper has done a great service. His scrupulous attempts to be fair to Wright are most useful. I also love the way which, in responding to Wright's teaching, Piper adequately uses the opportunity with which error presents us to clarify and restate truth. In explaining … [Read more...]

Piper and Wright: Does Justification by Faith Save Us?

So far in this series we have looked at the following: John Piper, N. T. Wright, and Gracious DiscernmentJohn Piper Challenges N. T. Wright on JustificationPiper Explains the Classic View of Justification Versus N. T. Wright's ViewToday I want to share a quote from The Future of Justification in which Piper responds to another of Wright's main criticisms of traditional views of justification. Wright has argued that the Gospel is not a way of getting people saved, and that we are not saved by … [Read more...]

Piper Explains the Classic View of Justification Versus N. T. Wright's View

Today I will take you further into Piper's argument where he explains the long-held position, which Wright denies, that God cannot simply 'forgive' the guilty, but instead an exchange between guilt and righteousness must take place:An omniscient and just judge never “finds in favor” of a guilty defendant. He always vindicates the claim that is true. If the defendant is guilty, the omniscient, just judge finds in favor of the plaintiff. The judge may show mercy. He has it in his power to bestow cl … [Read more...]