Wednesday, 14 January 2009

NT Wright

You can work out a lot about a person by who endorses their work. The Reformation Theology blog says about Wright's lastest book on the topic of justification:

...the strangest endorsements come from some who don't even understand the basics of the gospel like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren who both think Christianity is about what we do for Jesus rather than what He has done for us.

Could do with a comma, but at least they didn't include the dreaded ellipsis...


NT Wright is a false teacher, so although the endorsements are strange they are hardly surprising. Group NT Wright with Rowan Williams, Karl Barth and Brian Houston as people to be wary of, even though so much of what they say is attractive, interesting and convincing to those who are convinced by that sort of thing.


Rory Shiner said...

When you say Karl Barth is a false teacher, what do you have in mind there?

pcraig said...


I have found some of NT Wright's stuff helpful, and a lot of faithful Christians I know recommend his books (like Surprised by Hope, and the big one about the resurrection).

Can you explain simply, for a layman like me, why he's a false teacher?

Matthew Moffitt said...

Professors I. Howard Marshall and Richard B. Hays endorse the book on Amazon - does that make them false teachers too?

Anonymous said...

An interview with N. T. Wright on his new book here:

Wright: "Finally, for Piper justification through Christ alone is the same in the future (on the last day) as in the present, whereas for Paul, whom I am following very closely at this point, the future justification is given on the basis of the Spirit-generated life that the justified-by-faith-in-the-present person then lives." With this sentence, Wright is very close to if not on the side of Roman Catholicism.

A first reaction on the interview by Denny Burke here:


Peter Kirsop said...

that sounds very much like something John Chapman used to say (for all I know he still does). He had this chart..which was something like this (with all sorts of arrows and comments to verses) "we have been justified by what Christ did for us"
arrows and stuff
we are currently living justified lives even though we remain unjust
(arrows Romans 8 and so on and stuff about holiness)
we will be justified on the last day.

and it had this kinda slogan
"Now but not yet"

Is that all wrong?

comment please

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Chappo actually said. Never heard him speaking neither saw his arrows. From your summary I don't think Chappo is wrong, but his arrows might have been potentially misleading. What I understand from your summary is that his position on justification is: we are justified in the present although this is not yet clearly visible because we are still sinners. (Chappo's "now but not yet", or Luther's "semper iustus et peccator - always justified and a sinner".) On the last day, according to Chappo, the basis for our justification remains the same as in the present: Christ's atoning work on the cross. Wheras Wright says: We are now, in the present, justified through Christ. But on the last day the basis of our justification will be in Wright's words "the Spirit-generated life that the justified-by-faith-in-the-present person then lives" - or in short: "our works". This is Catholicism. Or in Gordo's words: False teaching.

Alex (I'm not anon :) )

Wonders for Oyarsa said...

Part of the confusion here is that Wright is not using the word "justified" to mean "saved". He agrees that we are saved by the work of Christ and the grace of God alone. But before Heaven and Earth, in the end, that salvation will be shown true before God and men by the works the Spirit has done in the life of the redeemed people of God. Thus, in Reformed-speak, when Wright speaks of "final justification according to works", he is talking about "the perseverance of the saints" and not what Reformed people mean by "justification by faith". He's talking about "thus will all men know you are my disciples - that you love one another".

You just have to understand that he's using familiar terminology differently - the saved are shown to be so by the fruit of the spirit - the salvation accomplished by Christ alone is justified (shown to be true for all to see) by the fruits of that salvation.

I'm just curious - does it seem like a light thing to some of you to declare someone a false teacher? Is that something to be done casually without full understanding of what he's saying? Is such talk pleasing to God?