After the New Perspective – Part 1

After the New Perspective – Part 1 July 13, 2011

We are now in a post-New Perspective on Paul era. The primary response I see these days is a “yes, but …” kind of thing. Though I suspect that many will continue become enamored with the NPP as the hottest thing to come off the wire, or else many will still insist that the NPP are the barbarians at the gates of Reformed orthodoxy. So what have we learned from the NPP? I intend to do a couple of posts on this in the future, but before I do, I have to reference Tim Gombis’ recent post on the subject here. Gombis writes on the pro-side of things:

When Paul sets pistis (“faith”/“faithfulness”) in opposition to “works” or “works of law,” he does not intend a contrast between human trust and human action.  Nor does he ever oppose faith to obedience.  He does set in opposition faithful obedience to Jesus and the effort to accumulate credentials toward the establishment of a status before men thinking that such social standing carries weight with God.  The opposition, therefore, is between obedience and disobedience—discipleship to Jesus that looks like faith-working-through-love, to use the language of Galatians, versus discipleship to Jesus that must be pursued within Judaism … Related to this, Paul regards those who are advocating a Judaizing strategy for gentiles as disobedience to God.  It is not that they are advocating obedience at the expense of faith.  Paul charges them with disobedience in Romans and apostasy in Galatians, and calls them to the obedience of faith.  It’s not that Paul sees an over-emphasis on obedience in this wrong approach to Christian identity, but characterizes the Judaizing impulse as actual disobedience to God, and potentially apostasy.

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