Global Missiology English, Vol 3, No 7 (2010)

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Review of "The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright"

Mark R. Kreitzer


My conviction concerning N. T. Wright is . . . that his portrayal of the gospel—and of the doctrine of justification in particular—is so disfigured that it becomes difficult to recognize as biblically faithful. . . .  In my judgment, what he has written will lead to a kind of preaching that will not announce clearly what makes the Lordship of Christ good news for guilty sinners or show those who are overwhelmed with sin how they may stand righteous in the sight of God. (15).

To this I can only say, Amen.  Piper’s zeal is for the classic life changing portrayal of the Gospel that moves from Paul through Augustine of Hippo to Luther and Calvin, and then on to us.  N.T. Wright, an Anglican Bishop of Durham with an Oxford Ph.D. in New Testament is an ecclesial leader, spokesman for the poor and oppressed, and advocate of many solid evangelical position.  He certainly seems an utterly intimidating opponent for the Pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist mega-Church in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  However, Piper is no neophyte.  He has an earned doctorate from the University of Munich, Germany (1971-74) in New Testament under Leonhard Goppelt.  He is the author of many scholarly and pastoral oriented volumes and articles.  Hence this is the struggle over the meaning and application of the Gospel between two giant pastor-scholars. The discussion between these two men is at time quite intense on both sides, yet always fascinating. Piper is very irenic and exceedingly fair, which I appreciate greatly, yet the seriousness and gravity of the issues comes out continually in his approach.  In this essay, I will both review Piper’s book and analyze N.T. Wright’s approach to justification.