Is the “New Perspective on Paul” a Product of Our Current Cultural Moment?

Ever since Krister Stendahl’s seminal essay, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” one of the foundational arguments for the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP) has been that the traditional protestant/reformed view of justification is largely due to the cultural influence of “the West” and its emphasis on individualism and subjectivism.

Paul is not really concerned with individual sin, guilt and forgiveness (we are told).  Reformed folks are simply reading that issue into the text due to their cultural situation. Indeed, according to Stendahl, the Reformed view of justification is largely due to Luther’s individual struggle with his own conscience.

In place of the reformed view of …

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Here are Some Great Videos on the Five Solas from the Faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary

Last month RTS Charlotte and Christ Covenant Church came together to host a Reformation conference entitled, The Gospel of Grace and Glory: The Reformation at 500 and Counting.

The five plenary sessions of this conference were on the five solas of the Reformation: Kevin DeYoung (Sola Fide), James Anderson (Sola Gratia), Blair Smith (Solus Christus), Derek Thomas (Soli Deo Gloria), and myself (Sola Scriptura).

I might add that all these speakers (except myself!) are Systematic Theology profs at Reformed Theological Seminary.

And Keith and Kristyn Getty capped off the weekend with a concert that Sunday night.

Over the years …

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Here’s What Christians Should Be Busy Protesting

There’s a lot of protesting going on in our culture today.  Seems like everyone is upset about something.  And they are quite willing to let the world know about it.  Indeed, even in the evangelical Christian world, it seems like protesting has become the thing to do.

The key question, however, will always be, “Against what things should Christians offer a protest?”

I suppose there are many answers to that question. But, as we near the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses to the Wittenberg door (Oct 31st), we should at least consider what the Reformers were busy protesting.

After all, that is what the Reformers were.  …

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Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 2)

Last week, I posted the first of a two-part response to a recent Pew study which claimed that modern Protestants sound more like Catholics when it comes to issues like sola scriptura and sola fide.

While modern Protestants certainly have some significant theological weak spots, I pushed back against the results of this study on the grounds that the questions being asked were fundamentally misleading.  Indeed, the theological descriptions of the Protestant (and Catholic!) positions were flat out wrong.

Having already dealt with the sola scriptura issue in the prior post, we now turn to the issue of sola fide.  Here is the summary of the Pew survey …

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The Achilles Heel of the New Perspective on Paul

As most readers know, there has been a long scholarly debate over what is known as the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP). This approach argues that “justification” in Paul does not mean what many Christians (especially Reformed folks) have always believed.

In short, NPP advocates (e.g., N.T. Wright, James D.G. Dunn) argue that when Paul mentions “justification by faith” he is not referring to a doctrine about how one gets saved but to how membership in the covenant community can be obtained without the standard Jewish boundary markers laid out in the law of Moses (food laws, circumcision, Sabbath observance).

In other words, justification is less about soteriology and more …

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