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Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response Paperback – November 30, 2004

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Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response + The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875526497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875526492
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Waters makes his case in a fair and considerate presentation…We are all in his debt for this timely book. -- R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

… well researched, well written, and well worth reading. -- Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

About the Author

Guy Prentiss Waters (M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Duke Univer-sity) is assistant professor of Bible at Belhaven College.

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Customer Reviews

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At the time this book was published in 2004, Guy Prentiss Waters was a professor of biblical studies at Belhaven College; he is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in America.

He wrote in the Preface, “Many in the churches today are hearing for the first time about ‘the New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP)… From what quarters has the NPP come? Who are its major academic proponents? What are they saying? What biblical, theological, and confessional issues does the NPP raise? Should individuals in the Reformed community have an interest in this movement that is gaining popularity within the evangelical church?... Those are the questions that I will endeavor to answer in the next nine chapters. In this work I have at least three objectives. I first want to give an exposition of what leading … proponents of the NPP, are saying about the theology of Paul and related issues… Second, I want to show how the NPP emerges from an academic and theological discussion that predates it by more than two centuries. This ‘historical-critical’ discussion yielded certain interpretative and theological decisions that… have determined the contours of the NPP… Third, I want to illustrate the ways in which the NPP deviates from the doctrines set forth in the Westminster Standards… I will finally attempt to explain why officers and congregants within Reformed and evangelical churches find NPP attractive, and why such interest often attends interest in the theology of Norman Shepherd and the theology represented in the September 2002 statement of… the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church.” (Pg. ix-x)

He further explains, “Why, then, is this work largely critical in its assessment of the NPP?...
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56 of 83 people found the following review helpful By John W. Brandkamp on January 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Guy Waters has done an admirable job of fairly representing the views of the major advocates of the New Perspectives on Paul (NPP). An example of his fairness is seen in the title itself, which describes the views as "Perspectives" and not simply one monolithic viewpoint. While there are certainly connecting points between Stendhal (arguably the father of the NPP), Sanders, Dunn, and Wright, Waters points out the areas in which they do not agree. There's a good deal of nuance in this book, but not so much as to bog it down in semantical jargon and hairsplitting details. The initial section of the book is an historical overview of the develpoment of the NPP, laying the roots at the foot of the "higher critical" schools of the late 1900's and the early 20th century. This aspect of his thesis is probably the most arguable, since it involves guessing at the motivation of the writers involved. Less controversial, is his illustrating the reaction against the earlier anti-Jewish writings of the pre-war II theological writers. Waters graciously points out that the NPP advocates are reacting against the errant argument of a purely legalistic/Pelagian Second Temple Judaism that was presented by these pre-WWII writers. Stendhal up to Wright have appropriately pointed out that Second Temple Judaism was a synergistic religion and semi-Pelagian, contra the earlier writers, which (mis)represented Judaism as being nothing more than a crass works-righteousness religion. Modern NT scholarship and Second Temple Jewish scholarship has been improved by their work in this regard. Yet even with this said, the weakness exists in their research of making Second Temple Judaism essentially no different than NT teachings on justification/salvation.Read more ›
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Ballein on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Guy Waters is an exceptional scholar and theologian. His overview of the history of interpretation that has led to the new perspectives on Paul is clear as it is thorough. Guy Waters then goes on to present the New Pauline Perspectives as objectively and sensitively as possible. After three quarters of the book given to delineation of NPP, Dr. Waters gets to the critique of these perspectives/doctrines and their effect/affect upon the Protestant Evangelical church.

Dr. Waters writes with tremendous humility and balance. His presentation is very fair to the NPP scholars. Even when Guy Waters has devastating evidence against New Pauline scholarship he doesn't blow the trumpet, but relates it quietly so that the evidence speaks for itself. Dr. Waters also notes where NPP scholarship HAS been constructive and helpful. In my opinion, this is the first book one should read when embarking upon the journey to understand the NPP movement.

God bless,

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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. M. Roeda on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Waters' summaries of the NPP and its roots are not terrible. He does the poorest job summarizing Wright's position. This is particularly unfortunate given the fact that, of the three scholars featured (Dunn, Sanders, and Wright), Wright is the most important for evangelicals and Reformed folk. More than with the others, Waters slips from summary into critique-- even before the critique portion of the book. This wouldn't be so problematic if Waters presented Wright fairly. But he doesn't.

For instance, Waters say that because Wright emphasizes that Scripture is first of all a narrative that we live into rather than a set of propositions to which we give our assent, there is "an inherent bias against doctrinal formulation and linear, logical reasoning" (121). For someone determined to defend "linear, logical reasoning," that strikes me as a huge leap. Yes, Wright's view has implications for how we think about doctrine but it's not that we are suddenly opposed to it.

Waters goes on to say that Wright has "a predisposition against conceiving the relationship of God and man in vertical terms. Rather, Wright is inclined to understand that relationship in essentially horizontal categories." No, that's not it. He has a predisposition against imposing 16th century concerns on a first-century document. For the early Christians, there wasn't this primary issue of one's individual standing before God and then the secondary issue of the Gentiles standing relative to the Jews. These issues were basically one and the same.

Waters also argues that Wright over generalizes regarding 2nd Temple Judaism, that the literature is more diverse than Wright suggests. This is potentially a legitimate point.
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