Monday, August 13, 2007

Peter O'Brien on Piper's "The Future of Justification"

As part of a wider concern that “the doctrine of justification is being blurred” in many of the contemporary debates, John Piper’s challenging yet courteous book takes issue with Bishop Tom Wright’s major theses regarding Paul’s teaching on justification. The Bishop of Durham’s views on God’s righteousness as covenant faithfulness, the relationship of justification to the gospel, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as well as present and future justification are subjected to lengthy, searching yet sensitive critique. Dr. Piper recognizes that Bishop Wright is “a disciplined, thoughtful, rigorous handler of biblical texts and a lover of the church.” Moreover, he has sought to come to grips with everything Wright has written on Pauline justification, which is no small feat. He cites the bishop at length in order to “treat him with meticulous care.” Yet Piper believes that this fresh perspective disfigures the Pauline gospel. This is a serious critique of one of the foremost representatives of the New Perspective on Paul and deserves to be read by all who want to understand more fully and rejoice in God’s righteousness in Christ and his justifying the ungodly.

Peter T. O’Brien
Senior Research Fellow
Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia