Interesting article from NT Wright.

Discussion in 'Arts, Literature, and Games' started by Dave Kemp, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Dave Kemp

    Dave Kemp Member Anglican

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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Upon reading the article, my initial impression is that some theologians (and some who fancy themselves to be theologians) are too bound up with intellect for their own good. They over-analyze and dissect things to the point where they miss the basic truth of Jesus' atonement/redemption for our sakes and the vital, vibrant fellowship and deep communion between our heavenly Father and ourselves, His beloved children.

    It's not what you know, it's who you know!
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    NT Wright is a much revered Anglican writer, and whilst he does push some boundaries, he does not, in my view, step sufficiently outside as to suggest that he is in anyways heterodox our out right heretical (though I would wonder what that difference might mean). The notion of atonement understood in terms of Christus Victor is only determined to be heretical by those who insist that penal substitution is the only allowable understanding of the atonement. Penal substitution is not the only way an Anglican might understand the atonement. Perhaps those interested may find Anselm interesting reading in his work Cur Deus Homo.

    I am really pleased to see this as it reminds us all that we are saved by the crucified redeemer and risen saviour, not thankfully by the purity of our doctrine, which is not to say that we should give up our pursuit of proper doctrine as that in itself is a response to and of the love we encounter in Jesus.
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree that penal substitution is not the only way to understand the atonement. My reaction was spurred by reading the page I'd linked to, in which the criticism went far beyond the penal substitution issue; Phil Johnson, the writer who critiqued Wright's book, What St. Paul Really Said, claims that Wright leaves the door open for righteousness based on works plus faith. Not having read the book myself, I allow that Johnson may be overreacting or reading too much between the lines, but then again he may not be... and if he is not, then Wright may have gotten off track in latter years.
     
  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    And the letter of James remains part of the canon.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but for those who understand James' letter in the context of who he was writing to and the context of the NT as a whole, so what?

    Jas 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (ESV) James tells us that a person's works allow us to see his faith. We can't see faith alone, but we can see faith at work. Works make faith visible. The verse might be more clear if we read it thusly: 'You see by works, and not by faith alone, that a person is justified.' (Greek sentence structure doesn't match perfectly with English sentence structure, I think. Sort of like, for example, how the adjectives follow the nouns in Spanish... where we would say, "the tall table," in Spanish they say, "la mesa alta," which is literally, "the table tall.") We show our faith by our works (v. 18), and anyone who has a living faith in Christ will be led by faith and the Holy Spirit to do works. Any man who is not so led should examine himself! James was writing to some people who seemed to fit into this category, because they did no works and their faith (if any) could not be seen.

    Were we to interpret James' letter to mean that a man's works can supplement faith for justification, we would be making a lie of Paul's entire letters to the Romans, the Galatians, and the Ephesians. And we would be putting words into Jesus' mouth: 'He who believes, is baptized, and does good works will be saved'?? Not one thing can we do to help Jesus redeem us, nor did He need our help redeeming us when He paid the price for our salvation. Paid in full, I might add!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2020 at 1:15 PM
  8. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    And I might ask can we see the Pauline Corpus through the yes of James who posed a vital question in 2:14 Can faith save you?

    The answer in James is that faith without works is dead. The difficulty some of us have is that faith does not save us, Jesus saves us, and faith is a response which bears fruit in works. We are saved by grace through faith not of works lest anyone should boast.
     
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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If we want to be technical about it, then yes, we could say that 'faith does not save (Greek: sozo) us' because truly it is the grace of God which saves us. Yet it is not really incorrect to say that one is 'saved by faith,' because this 'shorthand' expression was utilized in the New Testament. Jesus Himself told people, "Your faith has saved (sozo) you" (Luke 7:50; c.f. Luke 8:48, "Your faith has made you whole," a translation of the same Greek word sozo). Paul wrote of being justified by faith and being made righteous by faith in letters to the Romans, Philippians, and Galatians. So although your statement certainly is most correct, those who use the shorthand version are not really incorrect, either. Personally, I am with you in preferring the most correct way of stating it, :tiphat: but I try not to come down on those who say it the other way unless I have reason to think they've completely 'missed the ark,' so to speak.

    I suppose the question is: how many people incorrectly think they are Christians but have neither a living faith nor the evidentiary good works? And the issue is complicated by the fact that there are plenty of good-works-doing people in this world who don't even identify as Christian, but are doing the works to satisfy their personal feelings or erroneous religious requirements. I tend to think these latter folks (in all probability) far, far outnumber the former.
     
  10. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Some of the 'new perspective on Paul' scholars argue that faith is a fabricated concept that is foreign to the Greek he wrote in. I have a book on my bookshelf that argues that pistis should typically be translated 'allegiance' or maybe 'faithfulness'. I'm whole-heartedly opposed to wooden approaches to translation but the author makes some good points.
     
  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The New Perspective on Paul is ridden with difficulties and in some aspects, with outright heresies. Firstly it encompasses 7-10 different authors, and thus is indefinable. The only thing uniting it is an attempt to erode and ultimately destroy the orthodox interpretation of St. Paul, which has been in the Church for the last 1700-1900 years.

    Secondly even if we take NT Wright by himself, he has radically revised his own "New Perspective on Paul", in the earliest books claiming that the Reformers "totally" and "radically" misinterpreted St. Paul, blaming the whole thing on the Reformation. Then when someone explained to him that they were just following S. Augustine, he started claiming that, Oh actually Augustine was the source of this "massive error". Then when it was shown to him that the early Church and the organic reading of the Scriptures supports this view, he started saying that the whole Church was always wrong, and the Manuscript tradition itself is the source of this error. And in the most recent book he backed away from all his previous attacks and aggressions, saying that actually nobody was that wrong at all; that his "new perspective" is just a gentle amendment on the standard theology. It's a mess and I wouldn't trust his books on the topic.
     
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