Monday, July 14, 2008

N.T. Wright on Justfication

This is what he says (in The Shape of Justification): "By 'the gospel' Paul does not mean 'justification by faith' itself. He means the announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus is Lord. To believe this message, to give believing allegiance to Jesus as Messiah and Lord, is to be justified in the present by faith (whether or not one has even heard of justification by faith). Justification by faith itself is a second-order doctrine: to believe it is both to have assurance (believing that one will be vindicated on the last day [Rom. 5.1-5]) and to know that one belongs in the single family of God, called to share table-fellowship without distinction with all other believers (Gal. 2.11-21). But one is not justified by faith by believing in justification by faith (this, I think, is what Newman thought Protestants believed), but by believing in Jesus." (emphasis his)

This is what Paul says (in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8): "1. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2. and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4. that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5. and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."

Wright calls Justification by Faith a "second-order doctrine." He must have missed the three little words Paul used in 1 Cor 15:3--"for our sins"--which Paul included under that which is "of first importance."

I don't think N.T. Wright handled God's word correctly here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bert Waggoner on Hope

Berten Wagonner, head of The Vineyard USA, said, "...What is our object of hope? The eschatological community." (In Building a Community of Hope in a Despairing World).

What does he mean by this? I'll read on, but my guard is up. Where is Scripture? Where is God? I smell the worship of the Church which you find rampant in the big ecclesiastical organizations.

He then says, "the ultimate goal of history in the eschatological future is the revealing of God’s eschatological community at the consummation of the age (Revelation 21)." But Ephesians 1 says, "9. He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10. with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth...". How about 1 Cor. 15:28: "When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all." Who is the primary object of our hope here?

Okay, later on he says, this: "The primary sign of the Kingdom, other than the coming of the Messiah, is the community of God." So at least he's putting Jesus in. But the message is a bit confused. Who gets the glory? In whom do we hope?