Tom Wright responds to John Piper on justification

N. T. (Tom) Wright has written a book defending his approach to justification and responding to his critics. It’s coming out from SPCK in February, but you can pre-order it here for £7.25 from Amazon UK (reduced from £10.99) with free UK postage. (It’s not out yet in the US, but you can sign up to be notified of its publication at Amazon US.)

Michael Bird from Highland Theological College has seen proofs and writes:

This book is a response to many of Wright’s North American critics and to John Piper’s The Future of Justification in particular. It is not a point for point reply to Piper but a general articulation of what Wright really thinks about justification with some hand-to-hand combat with Piper (as well as others such as Carson and Seifrid) along the way. Wright gives a very forthright defence of his position, but is certainly not acrimonious or uncharitable towards Piper … This book is vintage Wright with his easy-to-read sermonic prose, exegesis of the texts weaved into a master theological narrative, and provocative one liners through out … Wright wonders what Protestant theology would have been like if we read Romans and Galatians in light of Ephesians and Colossians rather than the other way around … And, what I’ve been harping on about myself, God’s plan to deal with the root problem of sin and God’s purpose to bring Jew and Gentile together are not mutually exclusive. Importantly, Wright communicates with great verve and genuine pathos that what ultimately matters for him is that we do not pursue any perspective (Wright, Old, New, or otherwise) but settle for nothing less than Paul’s perspective!

I agree with Bird’s assessment of the debate: ‘I genuinely enjoy both the works of Piper and Wright. I find ample grounds to affirm and disagree with various portions of their respective volumes on justification.’

For what it’s worth, I’ve contributed in a small way to the debate here: Tim Chester, ‘Justification, Ecclesiology and the New Perspective,’ Themelios 30:2, Winter 2005,5-20.

Let me also commend a couple of Bird’s own books:

Amazon UK:

A Bird’s-eye View of Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message (IVP)

The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective (Paternoster)

Amazon US:

Introducing Paul: The Man, His Mission and His Message (InterVarsity)

The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective (Paternoster)

4 thoughts on “Tom Wright responds to John Piper on justification

  1. Tim,

    Thanks for the plug and kind words. I’m scheduled to be down in Sheffield some time to debate James Crossley on “When Did Jesus Become God?” (probably in late February). I hope to touch bases with you then!

  2. “God’s plan to deal with the root problem of sin and God’s purpose to bring Jew and Gentile together are not mutually exclusive.”

    Does someone who is not in the NP actually advocate this understanding of Paul (or any part of the NT)!?!

  3. Tim,

    Thanks for writing that article. I recently read it and already used that court room set up in explaining justification to someone here in Los Angeles this past week. You should link to it here on your blog. It’s online at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/journal-issues/30.2_Chester.pdf

    Keep up the edifying and insightful work.

    I just finished your book “From Creation to New Creation” and will be working through your book on the Trinity for the next week or so. I’m already blessed by what I’ve read about the trinity so far (through 2 and a half chapters).

    In Christ,
    PJ Tibayan

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