Justification by Faith

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    Bumped into this article http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/read/articles/justification-by-faith-9164.html

    I was looking for some info on the false teaching called "New Perspectives on Paul" by N.T. Wright (no, he's wrong..haha)

    And this article popped up. It is relevant to the VBS discussion. You gotta click the link for the whole article.

    Justification By Faith
    by John MacArthur

    The Reformation doctrine of justification by faith is, and has always been, the number one target of the enemy's attack. It provides the foundation of the bridge that reconciles God and man - without that key doctrine, Christianity falls. But the doctrine that the Reformers so painstakingly clarified, even spilled blood over, has become so muddled today that many Protestants barely recognize it. Sadly, there are some who react against a clear presentation of justification, calling it nothing more than useless hair-splitting.

    The superficial interests of the seeker church have caused doctrinal issues to be downplayed and deemphasized - what "unchurched" person wants to come hear about theology? Under the influence of pragmatism, the seeker-sensitive movement has traded God-honoring doctrinal clarity and biblical purity for entertainment and motivational speeches.

    Social and political concerns have brought evangelicals and Catholics together in recent years to unite against the forces of secularism. Under the influence of ecumenism, it's difficult for either group to remember what it was that divided them in the first place.

    The pragmatists and ecumenicists are aided in their forgetfulness by new theological movements that redefine justification in more Catholic terms. Under the influence of liberalism and postmodernism, proponents of the New Perspective on Paul, the Emergent Church, and others have so confused and redefined the doctrine of justification that it has become shrouded in darkness once again

    The Christian church today is in danger of returning to the Dark Ages. The seeker movement has Christianity turning in its Bibles; the ecumenical movement urges Christians to use worldly means to accomplish temporal ends; and current theological movements look through the lens of philosophy - Enlightenment rationalism and postmodern subjectivism - rather than Scripture. The departure from sola scriptura has led to the departure from sola fide - justification by faith alone.
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    RB.... is that a statement you are making? "Sola Fide" is in fact the most important doctrine for separation from the Catholics....Just go and ask them!
     
  3. Charles Meadows

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    The "New Perspective" does not really encapsulate N T Wright's work.

    Wright is a voluminous writer and exegete extraordinaire. It will take more than a few single page articles to address him.

    Probably the best single source you can get, from an evangelical perspective, is John Piper's book "The future of justification". This is without a doubt the most direct, scriptural challenge. Wright "Justification" is a response to Piper.

    Wright's point is that we are justified by Jesus in his role as messiah and the fulfilment of all of God's promises. He does not deny that humans need faith to have right standing - rather he denies that the scriptures intended to answer the question of how to "get saved". As such sola fide is not necessarily wrong - but it is not the message Paul was trying to get across. Where the rubber meets the road he does see the reformation as a theological misstep. Most saliently he denies that Christ's righteousness is transferred to the believer. This puts him a lot closer to Rome than any reformed guy I know would want to venture.

    Wright's most compelling book, which doesn't even touch on the whole "new perspective" thing, is "Jesus and the Victory of God". Great stuff even if you don't agree with him.
     
    #3 Charles Meadows, Jul 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2010
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    The article by Mac was not meant to be a scholarly refutation of Wright's teaching. Nor was this post intended to be either. If a discussion needs to happen regarding Wright's doctrine, then we should start a thread about that. I don't mind this one taking that direction, but this thread wasn't about Wright, it was posted as a helpful article in relation to the VBS article.

    As to your reply, I could not recommend N.T. Wright to any believer in Christ Jesus. He posists himself as a reformer, sheds a negative light on the reformation, and defames the Scriptures. That is my impression of him from reading some of his works, particularly his work on biblical authority.

    I warn true bible-believers against Wright.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    Is what statement am I making?
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Never mind:rolleyes:
     
  7. Charles Meadows

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    I wouldn't go as far as to question Wright's Christianity - but yes he is no friend to reformed Christianity. As far as he is concerned the reformation was not a move in the right direction as far as understanding the Scriptures. On the other hand Wright is a great defender of Pauline authorship of the epistles and of the divinity and resurrection of Jesus. He doesn't demean scripture - he just doesn't think that the reformers' take on scripture is right. He still seems to be attempting to take Scripture for what it intends to say. Because of this for me Wright is definitely worth reading, even if I don't agree with him on things.
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    Rev NT Wright is a good man and an honest Christian. While I don't agree with everything in the New Perspectives camp (it isn't isolated to one individual) and I respectfully disagree with my brother in Christ concerning his views on justification, I cannot doubt his salvation and love for Christ.

    I am thankful fr Rev Wright and his contribution to the Kingdom. I wouldn't go so far to say that the New Perspectives and his position on justification fall into heterodoxical teaching.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    I wanted to take a moment and respond to a few things specifically here.

    The New Perspectives positions are of a wide variety since not one person defines the New Perspectives position definitely.

    Here Dr. MacArthur is being overly dramatic. I'm not certain I would call Christian brothers and sisters the enemy of anything doctrinally. His words seem too pointed so he might capture an audience.

    Here Dr. MacArthur needs to clarify which particular reformer he is speaking of because in the pantheon of theologians that lived and worked in the midst of the Reformation there are a great diversity of view of justification.

    There's actually a pretty strong movement against this position. Many of the "seeker-churches" (which there aren't many of these days) are dropping their former models and beginning to examine ministry anew.

    I fail to see how Christian ecumenism is a bad thing.

    Wow, here he's just labeling and partnering people left and right that deserve and share no such company.

    I'd like to see source data from the last ten years to support these claims. Enlightenment rationalism and postmodern subjectivism are just about as opposite epistemological categories as you can get. I think Dr. MacArthur is being overly dramatic here.
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    If you fail to see how ecumenism is a bad thing, then I can understand why you like someone like Wright. He is ecumenical and on a sure path to Rome.

    I have read his essay on biblical authority. It made me want to puke. Is that dramatic enough? lol

    I think MacArthur's points stand, as do others who have dealt directly with Wright. Wright is a self-styled reformer that will come to nothing. ANd if I am alive to see his winds of doctrines pass away, I will rejoice.
     
  11. Charles Meadows

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    Ecumenism is not synonymous with caving in to catholicism.

    Ecumenism, in its positive form, is Christians understanding that they can have differences but still be brothers in Christ.

    Folks like Wright do believe in the authority of Scripture, but they have a bit of a different take on what the Bible was intended to be. They see it as less of a rule book and more of a testament to what Jesus' ministry was about.
     
  12. ReformedBaptist

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    And those who take Ecumenism as a good thing, also take Roman Catholics to be Christians. This is a great error.

    Wright diminishes the authority of Scripture. I have read his essay on the authority of Scripture. He does indeed say that the Bible is not a rule book, or we could say, Wright does not take the Bible as Law.

    Yet the Lord Jesus referres to the OT as "The Law and the Prophets" Turning the Scripture into some happy narraitive is to differ with the Son of God. God's Law (His rule book) is still God's Law, and while the Covenants have changed, His Law is yet holy, good, right and useful to the Christian.

    Even under the New Covenant His Law is yet written upon our hearts and the one who is said to love Jesus is the one who keeps His commandments.
     
  13. Charles Meadows

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    If Wright is wrong (ha!) then he is wrong because his interpretation of the scriptures is wrong, not because he challenges doctrines that many Christians are not willing to question.

    He challenges the reformed doctrines because he thinks they misinterpret scripture. The question he's asking is, "what is scripture really saying" - and that's the RIGHT question to ask. So that's why I still regard him highly despite disagreeing with him.

    His position on justification certainly is closer to that of Rome, particularly in his denial of the imputation of Christ's righteousness directly to us. But the issue of catholicism is irrelevant. The issue is what the scriptures say. Luther and Calvin were fallible men (albeit Godly devoted ones) and as such they have no more of a corner on doctrine than any other men (be it you or me or N T Wright).

    My concern here is that many believers will look at him and say that he is anathema because he disagrees with Luther and Calvin, when the issue is whether or not he is RIGHT by scripture, not men.

    I have read nearly every available book on the "new perspective" and have (disappointingly) found that most do NOT interact with the claims that Wright is making - they just dismiss him because he's different.

    What is most compelling about N T Wright is the fact that he claims to have made a cogent synthesis of the OT, Jesus, and Paul in a way that few have attempted. This demands more of a response than the flimsy "refutations" that most in reformed circles have offered.

    Thus far John Piper, Michael Horton, Paul Helm, Don Carson, and Mark Seifrid have taken the time to address Wright seriously. More authors should follow their leads.
     

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