Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Final Thoughts on Piper, Wright, and Justification Part 2

With this being said, I still don't think Wright's view of future justification is as dangerous as Piper thinks. Piper articulates his two main concerns (" the double tragedy") at the end of his book (pg.186 -187):

1. The lack of imputation of Christ’s active obedience will lead to good works "nullify the very beauty of Christ and his designed to display (pg. 187)" because it might try to add to "the perfection and beauty and all sufficiency of Christ's obedience in securing the reality that God is for us" (pg 187) Basically, Piper is saying that Christ will not be glorified if we deny imputation. I won't comment too much on this, but I find Piper's statement to be” out of bounds” for this type of conversation because both Piper and Wright want to glorify Christ in their thinking but differ on their interpretation on how God seeks to glorify Christ. One could (wrongly) say that Piper is dishonoring Christ by attributing him with something he didn't do like give us his perfect obedience. I don't find these kinds of statements very helpful in these type of theological discussions.

2. The lack of imputation of Christ’s active obedience will lead to the works of love to be "severed from their root in the Christ-secured assurance that God is totally for us" (pg.187), that is Piper believes it will lead to the lack of Christian assurance of salvation. Two things in response to Piper's statement, first, Wright articulates a view of how to obtain assurance that is practically similar to Piper, that is, they both say people should look to Christ not their good works for confidence in their salvation. Second, Wright's view of justification seems to be inadequate for assurance only because Piper believes that God demands for perfect obedience must be satisfied by two things: 1) Christ's death, bring forgiveness and 2) Christ's perfect obedience imputing righteousness to believers. But I don't think Piper has decisively established the latter point- the need for more than forgiveness to satisfy God’s holiness and perfection, even though his current book wasn’t aimed to rehash all of the arguments he made in his previous book, “Counted Righteous in Christ” which seeks to establish the doctrine of imputation. I would have like to see Piper more engaged in Don Garlington’s criticisms [1]. I thought it was interesting that Garlington is not cited once in Piper’s new book.

[1] See Garlington’s articles entitled: 1) Imputation or Union with Christ? A Response to John Piper 2) Imputation or Union with Christ? A Rejoinder to John Piper

[2] See Piper’s brief response to Garlington’s first article here.

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