Is the New Perspective on Paul Heretical?

It has been a while since I’ve been quizzed on my thoughts about the New Perspective on Paul. But at the Overthinking Christian, Paul Moldovan interviews me for my thoughts on the New Perspective on Paul and if the NPP is quite the satanic spawn of heretical evil that some make it out to be.

Here is a sample of the interview:

Many Christian leaders are publicly and loudly denouncing the New Perspective as heretical. Do you think the New Perspective is a threat to orthodox Christianity, or is this an overreaction?

Michael: Over-reacting like Reagan in Grenada! In all things, do what Paul says in 1 Thess 5.21, “Test everything, hold to that which is good.” While not everything is correct in the NPP and I disagree in places with N.T. Wright, I have more far agreements with him than differences.

What, if anything, is at stake in this debate? In other words, what difference does it make to the average layperson if the NPP can hold its weight? If the New Perspective is true or false, what weight does this bear on Christian praxis?

Michael: Oh my word, yes, it matters. In my view, the NPP loses none of the Reformed, evangelical and Protestant emphases on piety, salvation, grace, and election, etc. What you gain is a rich understanding of how justification means that the church belongs together as the multi-ethnic people of God. Justification by faith means fellowship by faith. It means multi-cultural churches should be the norm. It means nobody gets asked to sit at the back of the bus. It means that that racism and ethnic prejudice has no place in our churches. It means, in Christ, there is not Jew nor Gentile, neither African-American nor Hispanic American, neither Arab nor Israelis, but all one in Christ Jesus. Because that which unites us is infinitely more powerful than anything that might divide us. See the excellent book by Scot McKnight and Jo Modica on The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life.

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