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Justification - God's Plan & Paul's Vision Paperback – February 20, 2009
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"This sprightly and gracious, yet robust, work is Tom Wright's carefully argued and scripturally based response to those who think that he has deeply misunderstood Paul's doctrine of justification... This is definitely one of the most exciting and significant books that I have read this year... Strongly commended! Professor I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen 'Paul's gospel of God's reconciling, world-transforming grace has no more ardent and eloquent exponent in our time than Tom Wright. If his detractors read this book carefully, they will find themselves engaged in close exegesis of Paul's letters, and they will be challenged to join Wright in grappling with the deepest logic of Paul's message... Wright's sweeping, incisive sketch of Paul's thought, set forward in this book, will help us all in that task.' Professor Richard B. Hays, the Divinity School, Duke University"
"Tom Wright has out-Reformed America's newest religious zealots--the neo-Reformed--by taking them back to Scripture and to its meaning in its historical context. Wright reveals that the neo-Reformed are more committed to tradition than to the sacred text. This irony is palpable on every page of this judicious, hard-hitting, respectful study." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Despite my nitpicking, it is a thought provoking theological book that, in my opinion, is worth reading. 3 and 1/2 stars for me.
I gave it four stars---not for lack of superb presentation---but for the challenge of digesting the material. This is not light reading. If you are looking for a solid heart-felt presentation on one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith this should be in your library!
This one had a lot more personal meaning for me.
I understand his concern for the tradition of forcing biblical interpretation to conform to specific beliefs which have their source external to scripture.
For example, if one has been influenced by Manicheism and NeoPlatonism as significantly as Augustine was.
Manicheism's view of the deity is dualistic, containing both good and evil.
Neoplatonism contained the doctrine of universal divine determinism (all things are predestined by the gods).
These pagan belief systems have many elements in common including the dualistic nature of the deity.
Thus, Zeus can act as the protector of justice by punishing one of the lesser gods for an unjust deed.
While alternatively Zeus can make himself irresistible to Europa in order to rape her.
It is well acknowledged within Augustine's writings that even though he started to discard elements of these beliefs, many of them overtly influenced his view of the God of the bible, with the result that he envisioned a deity (who like Zeus) has the potential to make himself irresistible to a soul, while alternatively, he has souls born for the specific purpose of an eternal lake of fire, for his entertainment (i.e. "for his good pleasure") .
Thus Augustine's teachings were loaded with syncretism.
Out of this would evolve the *traditions* of "irresistible grace" and "predestination".
What we hold as absolute truth, influences our understanding of scripture.
Elements external to the scripture, (e.g. universal divine determinism) become canonized in the mind of the believer.
Once canonized, in the believer's mind, he sees every verse in scripture as affirming them.
N.T. Write, in this work....although focused on the long-term Hebrew understanding of "Justification", pleads with the church to read Paul's letters without enforcing external *traditions* onto the text.
The result, as Write observes is those verses which don't affirm the canonized belief, are relegated to valueless side-thoughts where Paul thoughts strays off the main topic. What we end up with is *cherry picked* verses that affirm what we believe prior to reading Paul and ignore all other verses that don't.
Write is wonderful and witting while guiding the reader through his observations.
The predestinationist will not find anything in the book to affirm what he already holds as cannon.
The book is better suited for someone willing to approach the text's of Paul on Paul's terms.
The only flaws in this book is that he didn't devote enough time to studying the theology of John Piper who he was responding to, comes off a tad grumpy in the first part of the book, and over exaggerates heavily the differences between "Old" and "New" perspectives on Paul.
None the less, this is a Christian masterpiece on Justification that I recommend to everyone, especially it's exegesis.
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I deeply celebrate N.T. Wright’s meticulous and pastoral exegesis of the Pauline corpus.Read more
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