Pastor John Piper thoroughly analyzes the teachings of Bishop N. T. Wright on the topic of justification and sounds a call to discernment for the entire church.
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About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; This Momentary Marriage; A Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
Table of Contents
On Controversy 27
Caution: Not All Biblical-Theological Methods and Categories Are Illuminating 33
The Relationship between Covenant and Law-Court Imagery for Justification 39
The Law-Court Dynamics of Justification and the Meaning of God's Righteousness 57
The Law-Court Dynamics of Justification and the Necessity of Real Moral Righteousness 73
Justification and the Gospel: When Is the Lordship of Jesus Good News? 81
Justification and the Gospel: Does Justification Determine Our Standing with God? 93
The Place of Our Works in Justification 103
Does Wright Say with Different Words What the Reformed Tradition Means by "Imputed Righteousness"? 117
Paul's Structural Continuity with Second-Temple Judaism? 133
The Implications for Justification of the Single Self-Righteous Root of "Ethnic Badges" and "Self-Help Moralism" 145
"That in Him We Might Become the Righteousness of God" 163
A Note on the Purpose of the Appendices 189
What Does It Mean That Israel Did Not "Attain the Law" Because She Pursued It "Not by Faith But as though It Were by Works"?: Thoughts on Romans 9:30-10-4 191
Thoughts on Law and Faith inGalatians 3 197
Thoughts on Galatians 5:6 and the Relationship between Faith and Love 203
Using the Law Lawfully: Thoughts on 1 Timothy 1:5-11 207
Does the Doctrine of the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness Imply That the Cross Is Insufficient for Our Right Standing with God? 211
Twelve Theses on What It Means to Fulfill the Law: With Special Reference to Romans 8:4 215
Works of N.T. Wright Cited in This Book 227
Scripture Index 229
Person Index 235
Subject Index 237
A Note on Resources: Desiring God 240
What People are Saying About This
"John Piper's challenging yet courteous book takes issue with Tom Wright regarding Paul's teaching on justification. This serious critique deserves to be read by all who want to understand more fully God's righteousness in Christ and his justifying the ungodly."
—Peter T. O'Brien, Former Vice-Principal and Senior Research Fellow and Emeritus Faculty Member, Moore Theological College, Australia
"The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' has stirred up enormous controversy. The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior."
—D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
"In this captivating book John Piper defends the truth that justification is the heart of the gospel. Wright's views are presented with scrupulous fairness. I found this book to be not only doctrinally faithful but also spiritually strengthening."
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
"I am very grateful to John Piper, pastor-scholar par excellence, for helping me understand better the doctrines of justification and imputation. Tom Wright's interpretation of key biblical passages on the topic has some major problems, and Piper exposes many of them with great wisdom and skill."
—Andreas J. Köstenberger, Senior Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
"Piper's look at justification does this with a superb tone and a careful presentation of his case. Piper has put us in a position to hear both sides of the debate and understand what is at stake. Be prepared to be sharpened by a careful dialogue about what justification is."
—Darrell L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement, Howard G. Hendricks Center, and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
"John Piper addresses a matter of crucial importance for the church, with a clear-headed command of the issues involved. By writing this book he has done us all, including N. T. Wright, a great favor."
—Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John Piper has written a book critiquing the views of N.T. Wright primarily regarding justification. I would first point out that Piper has done so in an engaging and non-hostile manner. He is concerned about some of Wright's views, but does not attack Wright himself. N.T. Wright is a renowned theologian and scholar known, among other things, for his non-traditional views on Paul and what he thinks the Bible says regarding justification. Wright essentially holds to what is known as the New Perspective on Paul. The New Perspective (NPP) basically promotes the idea that the traditional interpretation of the Bible regarding this matter is inaccurate and that the idea of God's righteousness means maintaining His covenant relationship with His people (as opposed to Piper's more traditional view that it refers to maintaining God's glory). Although the NPP brings some thoughtful and legitimate ideas to the table, I have to agree with Piper and reject the system, overall. The more important factors are the imputation of Christ's righteousness to the believer and the ongoing works vs. faith debate. In a nutshell, the NPP holds that righteousness is not imputed to the believer (this is justification) by faith alone, but is, rather, a mixture of faith and actions worked out "over the entire life lived" and these good works result in "final justification" at the final judgment. Piper holds to the traditional view that justification is imputed to the believer separate from works and through Christ alone. I think the biblical evidence supports Piper's view. This is an important debate, and I am glad Piper wrote this book as it elucidates the core issues. Piper's book is relatively short, so it does not grapple with every point of contention. This review is even shorter, and it does not grapple with every point of Piper's book. Piper has laid out his argument in and easy to read and understand manner using headings and subheadings and frequently includes questions in the titles. This makes it easy to stay on track and understand his argument. The book is great as it includes Wright's views in a fair manner with a lot of direct quotes. Footnotes add additional value. Piper includes additional sources in support of both his and Wright's position. He is very fair in this book, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the NPP and an evaluation of the same. I would have ranked it just over 4 stars if I could, but not enough for 4.5, so I rounded down to 4. I have read one other book, Desiring God, by Piper. His style is approachable and clear. I will be reading other books by him in the future.
This book took like 3 weeks to arrive! But it was a great refutation of that heretic N.T. Wright and his false position. I recommend it to anyone for data on forensic justification and a rebuttal to the heretical NNP.