Thursday, March 25, 2004

White on Wright

I'm finishing up my read of What St. Paul Really Said, and some of James White's recent criticisms of the NPP are fresh on my mind.

First, White's failure to differentiate between the "New Perspective-ism" proponents is becoming more of a glaring error as I read, especially with every correction that Wright makes to Sanders' arguments. I had assumed this before, but now I have confirmed that White is simply wrong in trying to lump all of these guys together (although it sure is convenient to create one monolithic position to attack!). As Wright himself has noted, many of the criticisms leveled against him (as part of the "lump o' NPP") don't even apply to anything he's ever taught!

Secondly, in digging deeper into Wright's assessment of "justification" (for Paul), I find one of White's critiques to be very ironic. White, at the conference we attended, slammed the NPP (Wright included) view on justification as being "monochrome." His reason was that it provided no "depth," since it dealt primarily with eschatological vindication and not with anything as "rich" as the imputation of Christ's righteousness. This shallowness, White said, leaves a doctrine of justification that is bland and lacking in substance.

Of course, reading through Wright's teaching on "justification" in WSPRS and elsewhere, -- and seeing how Wright ties in eschatology, union with Christ, the expansion and fulfillment of God's covenant, and the new humanity available to Christians -- I have to ask: "who really has a 'monochrome' view of justification?"

FYI: The March edition of Q & A with N.T. Wright is now up.

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