NT Wright On Justification - Part 1
I am reading N. T. Wright’s book on justification and John Piper’s critique of N. T. Wright as well and John Owen’s original work on “Justification by Faith” (or here). My goal is actually personal in that I believe my own spiritual growth needs a big dose of grace. As we receive grace, we become more gracious. I have six children and I need a lot of grace to remain gracious. I find good exposition to be sanctifying and inspiring for me.
My blog plan is that while I read I will summarize and make comment.
The first thing one must understand and appreciate is how remarkably conservative N. T. Wright is. Many conservatives seem to paint Wright as a theological liberal but in the pantheon of New Testament scholars N. T. Wright is stand in the solidly if not even extremely conservative camp. In fact in this book, Wright’s approach is to flank Piper and co. on the right. It is Wright who appeals to scripture as opposed to tradition. On this note and with many illustrations, Wright begins his book, as he must begin all his more thorough works, with an appeal to method and an explanation of the role worldview of the many actors in hermeneutic process.
An Appeal to Method and the Role of Worldview
This section and a far more expounded discussion of method (see The New Testament and the People of God) is extremely important to understand thoroughly. The basic point is so simple. The reader must be very aware that, as a subject, he or she plays a role in the reading of the text. If one is humble in light of this awareness, the reader will seek all manner of evidence in an attempt to get to the mind of the author of the biblical text. What we are after is not our experience of the text or confirmation of our previously held convictions regarding the meaning of the text. We are always after the illusive meaning of the text itself. Therefore, it is vital that we tough the world that the author touched by immersing ourselves in the world of the author. This process is called contextualization. Is it not more important to learn about the world of Paul, than the world of the reformers if we are after and seeking to understand the bible. This process of radical doubt concerning our own preconceptions and even doubt about our traditions is the basis of conservatism and sola scriptura.
N. T. Wright illustrates this principle with many illustrations but these will have to wait for tomorrow....