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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXPOSITION FOLLOWED BY A SHARP CRITIQUE OF THE “NEW” INTERPRETATION OF PAUL
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...
Published 1 month ago by Steven H. Propp

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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More anti-Catholic than anti-NPP
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...
Published on May 22, 2009 by C. M. Roeda


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXPOSITION FOLLOWED BY A SHARP CRITIQUE OF THE “NEW” INTERPRETATION OF PAUL, August 21, 2014
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
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?... I write from a standpoint of full sympathy with the Westminster Standards… I have accordingly examined the NPP and found it defective on several key points of biblical teaching. A second and related reason is that I write this book primarily for individuals who already find themselves within the Reformed community… I have thought it necessary to underscore these concerns in this work in view fo the potential dangers to the church that are occasioned by enthusiastic and uncritical reception of the NPP.” (Pg. xi) He reviews and critiques writers from Luther’s day, but particularly focuses on contemporary figures such as E.P. Sanders, James Dunn, and N.T. Wright. He says of Wright, for example, the “he has done more than any other single individual to mediate NPP exegesis into the mainline and evangelical churches… he has never intentionally segregated his scholarship and his parish ministry.” (Pg. 119)

He observes, “We… have recognized diversity and divergences among the primary NPP proponents. Nevertheless, there is enough held in common among them to group them as a school. We now turn to an extended critique of the NPP… we will show that … the NPP is flawed hermeneutically… we will show that the exegesis propounded by the Reformers and their heirs is faithful to Paul, while … the theological assumptions and implications of the NPP writings are contrary to good, sound biblical teaching.” (Pg. 151)

He notes that “[Francis] Turretin addresses those who would delimit works of the law to the specifically ceremonial (i.e., Jewish) prescriptions of the Torah, a view that was addressed and dismissed by Thomas Aquinas. The innovation of Dunn and Wright… is in driving a wedge between status and activity in regard to these works of the law and in refusing to restrict works of the law to the ceremonial law of the Mosaic administration. While there have been sporadic attempts in the history of interpretation to delimit Pauline works of the law, whether in the thirteenth or the twenty-first century, interpreters throughout the church’s history have generally maintained the traditional view articulated and defended above.” (Pg. 169-170)

He argues, “The NPP mistakenly reinterprets justification as an ecclesiological doctrine, not a soteriological one. The doctrine that Pauline justification is ecclesiological and not soteriological is one of the most remarkable inversions of Paul. No orthodox interpreter of Paul has ever disputed that the doctrine of justification has ecclesiological implications… To affirm, however, that Paul’s doctrine of justification was EXCLUSIVELY ecclesiological and not at all soteriological is to force a dichotomy where Paul… has seen none… one wonders whether ecclesiastical proponents of the NPP have forced this dichotomy in order to permit rapprochement with Rome.” (Pg. 189-190)

He also critiques Norman Shepherd, the former theology professor at Westminster Theological Seminary: “The problem with Shepherd’s model is that it functionally supplants the doctrine of regeneration with the sacrament of baptism… there is no overriding concern with the heart, with the religious affections… Shepherd would have us confuse the ‘husk’ (covenantal faithfulness) with the ‘kernel’ (a heart that has been renewed by the grace of God). Shepherd, in his zeal to have the covenant swallow regeneration, would have us ignore the vital question of the NATURE of the covenantal faithfulness in view. In this respect we are presented with a stunning departure from Reformed orthodoxy. Shepherd’s model promotes the very externalism that the apostle Paul labored so hard to oppose in early Christian circles. (Pg. 208)

He concludes, “All expressions of Christianity are on the path to one of two destinations, Rome or Geneva. What the NPP offers us is decidedly not ‘Genevan.’ The parallel interest, in some Reformed circles, in the redefined categories of covenant and justification, coupled with a new stress… on baptism and with a consequent diminution of regeneration, does not bode well. It seems that there are elements active in the Reformed churches that wish to lead the church into a sacramental religion, all in the name of being ‘more Reformed.’ … what they are really and increasingly saying is that Luther and Calvin were mistaken, and that Trent was right.” (Pg. 211-212)

NPP advocate will not care for this book, obviously; but Waters’ reasonably fair summations of the positions of NPP defenders balance the criticism; in any case, this is an important volume to study for anyone seriously investigating the New Perspective.
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56 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful introduction to the issues of the NPP et al., January 17, 2005
This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (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. Overall, Waters does a decent job of advocating his viewpoint (the traditional Reformed/Lutheran perspective on Paul's teachings on justification), while representing the NPP views fairly, although he does occasionally give a dig during the historical overview. It's in the second half of the book that Waters provides the critique of the NPP. Since this part of the book is mainly concerned with an exegetical defense of the traditional Reformed/Lutheran view of Paul, it's necessarily a bit more technical. But it's well worth the effort to plow through it. It is by far the strongest part of the book. The one weakness the book has is in its occasional tendency to take a statement made by an antagonist and seeing it in its worst possible light. Thankfully, he's not often guilty of this, but it does detract from the overall tenor. Of course, the advocates of the NPP are also guilty of that tendency themselves, so there's plenty of blame to go around! (that behavior runs rampant in conservative Reformed circles!)The book ends with an analysis of Norman Shepherd's views and that of the AAPC, which are of particular interest to me, since I'm indirectly personally connected to Shepherd. So I was particularly concerned to see how Waters dealt with him. Essentially, Waters thesis is that these various writers are guilty (in slightly different, but essentially similar ways), whether unknowingly or intentionally, of conflating the doctrines of justification with sanctification, thus leading to a view that's essentially that of Rome. While the writers in question (esp. Wright) are admirably concerned with ecumenical concerns, and with interfaith dialogue (esp. with Judaism), this should not allow us to dismiss proper exegetical analysis of the Scriptures in a proper historical context. That's the main beef Waters has with them. And in that I agree.
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21 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First stop for understanding the New Pauline Perspective, January 3, 2007
This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (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,

--Jeffrey
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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More anti-Catholic than anti-NPP, May 22, 2009
This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (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. But it is undermined later by the fact that Waters has his own generalization about 2nd Temple Judaism. Basically, to Waters, it looks nearly identical to the 16th century Catholic Church. In other words, the NPP's argument that we've imposed 16th century theological concerns on a 1st and 2nd century document is illegitimate because the concerns were, in fact, exactly the same. The Reformers were right in doing so.

Maybe this is why Waters is so resistant to seeing Scripture in terms of narrative: because, for him, nothing changes. History-- that grand narrative we find ourselves in-- moves nowhere. It may sound like I'm exaggerating, but consider this sentence from the concluding paragraph: "All expressions of Christianity are on the path to one of two destinations: Rome or Geneva." (Speaking of generalizations . . . )

It seems to me that Waters' concern that at any moment we are all going to adopt the Council of Trent makes him unable to give Wright a fair hearing. I don't say this as a Catholic, but as someone deeply committed to the Reformed tradition. I also say this as someone whose appreciation for Scripture has only deepened through the work of NT Wright and others.

There have got to be better books laying out the differences between the NPP and the Reformers. If that's what you're looking for, I hope you find it.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justification and the NewPerspectives on Paul, January 25, 2013
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
Great Book provides a different perspective. Use with the letter of Romans good insights. And I received it in time for class
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Perspective Heresy Exposed, April 7, 2008
This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
This book is a scholarly conservative reformed refutation of the "New Perspective on Paul scholarship." As it concerns the central theme of the gospel, Justification by faith alone, this book clearly describes how the New Perspective has deviated from orthodoxy.
Guy Prentiss Waters studied under one of the most popular proponents of the New Perspective, E.P Sanders. In this book, Waters as a conservative reformed scholar, claims that E.P Sanders confided in him saying that if Ephesians is to be considered a Pauline letter, then the entire scholarship of the new perspective is erroneous. Ephesians Ch. 2, and Titus expose the lie of the New Perspective concerning Justification. Clearly the New Perspective has a glass jaw. The new Perspective on Paul is an utterly retarded paradigm by which to read the Apostle Paul, for it interprets Pual's writtings through the prism of a wrong historical interpretation of 1st century Judaism. This false prism then yields a faulty interpretation of the mighty doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read, May 26, 2014
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
I found this book hard to read. My professor had us purchase it for a book review. It was full of good information butI found it hard to follow sand boring.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a scholarly book, it's propaganda., January 13, 2012
By 
Alan E. Barber (Idaho Falls, ID USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
I must agree with those who have given negative reviews of this book. Waters had a chance to make an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the "New Perspective on Paul" (the "NPP"). Sadly, he didn't do so; he's much more concerned about attacking certain persons, notably Bishop N.T. Wright, than he is about making a scholarly contribution to what is a very complex set of issues.

A couple of reviewers have lamented the dearth of scholarly, unbiased summaries and critiques of the NPP. However, there are a few books out there to which the earnest seeker after truth may turn. James Dunn, Emeritus Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, is the most prolific author on this subject. His book, oddly enough entitled The New Perspective on Paul, is the place to begin. Those seeking a fairer, albeit somewhat more negative, critique of the NPP are encouraged to check out Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The "Lutheran" Paul and His Critics, by Stephen Westerholm. In addition, Pastor Tim Gallant has some very trenchant remarks on this subject at his website, rabbisaul.com. Check out his article, "Without justification: A review of Guy Waters, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul." You'll come away with a new appreciation for the depth of the NPP debate, as well as for Waters' total failure to engage with the main scholars on this topic.

Avoid this book; there are others that are much better!
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51 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waters clears the air, February 6, 2005
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
Here is a very informative and thought-provoking book on the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) by an evangelical Presbyterian (PCA) biblical scholar. If there is one book to be had by Reformed Christians that makes a good comparison between the NPP and their own tradition this book is it. Though not as deep as Westerholm's book, it still does a good job outlining the issues and problems of the NPP.

There are nine chapters in total. And the first seven are devoted to the views of the various New Perspective scholars (from Schweitzer to Wright) on the issue of Judaism, law, and justification. Waters outlines the various New Perspective views more easily and concisely than Westerholm does. Out of the various New Perspective scholars, Waters focuses most of his attention on Sanders, Dunn, and Wright (the NPP trinity).

One will be impressed by the depth and amount of knowledge Waters possesses regarding this issue. The critiques he gives of the views of Sanders, Dunn, and Wright are quite impressive and penetrating. In fact, Waters does not hold back and tells it like it is. One of the things I liked about Waters' analysis of the NPP is that it is based on faulty foundations (liberal and modernist assumptions) and improper hermeneutics (using Second Temple sources as interpretive guides for Paul's letters). I also liked the way Waters highlights how NPP scholars failed to exegetically deal with the Pauline texts that deal with Christ's death (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). Waters rightly concludes that Christ's atonement is fundamentally soteriological than ecclesiastical (i.e., dealing more with personal sin than covenantal openness).

Most of all, I really liked Waters' critique of the NPP and his analysis of the NPP's relationship to Reformed Christianity. Though he only devotes two chapters (8 and 9) on this issue, I believe that he has pretty much decisively struck down the idea that the NPP is compatible with confessional Reformed (and Protestant) theology. The reader will come out of these chapters wondering how a Reformed pastor in his right mind can accept the conclusions of the NPP and still be considered Reformed (or even evangelical). I also liked his section on Norman Shepherd's view of justification and how it has more affinities with the NPP and Trent than the Reformed standards (pp. 204-211).

This book should be read by all theologians, pastors, and officers in the various conservative Presbyterian and Reformed seminaries and denominations. This book will make it clear that the NPP and Reformed Christianity are incompatible. Those NPP leaning "Reformed" teachers and ministers who still insist on serving at Presbyterian and Reformed schools and churches should realize that they are doing their students and congregants a disservice with their deception. In fact, they preach a false gospel that Paul would condemn if he were alive today (Galatians 1:8-9). If they had enough integrity they would openly confess that their views are incompatible with Reformed and Protestant orthodoxy and quietly leave their respective schools and congregations. Unfortunately, it seems, many of these "Reformed" ministers out there seem to care more about creating some theocratic state on earth and not losing their livelihood. May God use this book to further His truth.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible packaging, August 27, 2013
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This review is from: Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response (Paperback)
This product arrived in a box without tape and the sides were opened. When I opened the package this book had been damaged with bend cover and the first 10 pages bent as well. Worst packaging job I have ever had at Amazon.
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Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response
Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response by Guy Prentiss Waters (Paperback - November 30, 2004)
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