Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Final Thoughts on Piper, Wright, and Justification Part 1

I was going to write a long review on Piper's new book, The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright, so that I could lay my previous thoughts on these issues to rest:

1. "The Doer of the Law Who Will be Justified": Romans 2:13

2. Piper and Wright on “Future Grace”

3. FAKE Interview with John Piper and N.T. Wright Part 1

4. FAKE Interview with John Piper and N.T. Wright Part 2

5. Piper, Wright, and Justification Part 1

But I didn't write anything because I figured Wright would probably respond in his own words.

Recently, a commenter asked me if I felt that "Piper's depiction of Wright's view was correct in Chapter 8, which is entitled ""Does Wright say with Different Words What the Reformed Tradition means by "Imputed Righteousness"? So I figured I would share a little bit more of my thoughts on Piper's book, particularly as it relates to the question above. My short answer is "yes", Piper correctly shows that Wright doesn't believe in the traditional idea of imputation.

Piper summarizes the traditional Reformed of imputation on pages 124:

"In historic Reformed exegesis, (1) a person is union with Christ by faith alone. In this union, (2) the believer is identified with Christ in his (a) wrath-absorbing death, (b) his perfect obedience to the Father, and (c) his vindication- securing resurrection. All of these are reckoned-that is, imputed- to the believer in Christ. On this basis, (3) the "dead," "righteous,'" raised” believer is accepted and assured of final vindication and eternal fellowship with God.

Then Piper correctly a point out that (2b) is missing from Wright's theology, the belief that Christ's perfect obedience is imputed to believers (pg 125). From this, Piper believes that Wright seems to be closer to the idea of impartation (inner transformation) rather than (Christ's) imputation as the basis for our final vindication (pg. 125-128)

I believe all this is correct. In my reading of Wright, he doesn't appear to believe the idea of Christ's perfect obedience to the law being imputed to believer, this is plainly seen in Piper citation of Wright's lecture "Paul in Different Perspectives: Lecture 1" on pages 121- 123.

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