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Now here’s a fight worth having…

August 6, 2006

I’m so excited I can’t sit still.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    August 8, 2006 10:48 am

    In all the controversy on justification of the last few years, the part the worries me really the least is N.T. Wright’s teaching. This is not because he’s not a heretic, ‘cuz he is. I have one sociological reason, and one more-or-less theological reason.

    The sociological reason is that I, personally, don’t know anybody that has fallen under his sway. Even the “Auburn Four” (Wilson, Barach, Wilkins, Schlissel) and associates, who of course were accused of adopting an N.T. Wright-like view of justification (and do indeed have some dangerous implications for the doctrine of justification coming from their teaching), have been careful to swear off his view, with Doug Wilson saying something close to “Those things that his view has right, others have historically said better, and the rest is wrong” (see the appendix in Wilson’s “Reformed Is Not Enough”).
    I’m sure that there must be somebody that follows him, I just don’t know any. Perhaps it’s all Anglicans and seminary professors.

    The theological reason is simpler: The doctrine of justification, while continually under attack by wicked men, has been 90% settled since Augustine, and fully formed and armored since the Reformation. Within the covenantal context of the New Testament, the ancient church picked up from the Apostles a view of PERSONAL salvation into a covenant people. This was propagated through Augustine, remembered by many through the middle ages (culminating in Wycliffe’s Lollards and Hus’ Bohemian church) and recovered as a central doctrine of the faith in the Reformation. It’s an issue that needs defense, but not an issue that is vulnerable to successful reinterpretation in the Church Catholic. And there’s been a LOT of stuff written about Wright’s views already. Better, in my mind, to send folks to read what’s already out there than to spend sweat and treasure in saying the same thing over again. Although, as I think about it further, it is probably better for Piper to use his wider audience appeal to cement this with more folks. Perhaps this can be the last book on Wright’s views, and then we could move on to settling some of the broader (if less critical) covenantal issues touched off by the Federal Vision folks–but probably not.

  2. August 8, 2006 11:21 am

    Well now, General Gabor, we always have to be careful with the H-word. I’ve always found it unhelpful in part because it has come to mean something different in our usage than it does in the Bible. A heretic in the Bible is one who promotes divisions in the church. It’s actually possible, then, to be an orthodox heretic. In fact, most heretics are ultra-orthodox.

    So then we can use the word false teacher, but that’s pretty loaded too. If it just means one who teaches something false, then I suppose you must think I’m a false teacher because I teach something about baptism that you believe is false. But we shouldn’t call each other that since Paul usually reserves the term for the apostate and the legalist.

    So all I’m comfortable saying about N.T. Wright is that I think he is in error on the doctrine of imputation and that this error, when believed, seriously weakens our pastoral ministry of equipping the saints to stand against the devils schemes.

  3. Bethlen Gabor permalink
    August 8, 2006 3:14 pm

    Chuckling here. Okay, I’ll be nice. Well, nicer. Instead of any of those terms, I’ll say he’s a “bad guy” in a very general sense. The doctrines that he is writing books about are wrong, are disruptive of the church, and are harmful to those that hold to them. He’s a bad guy, and more faithful men have written books condemning his teachings.

    Okay, I can’t be much nicer than that. I think I sprained something ;)

  4. Egana permalink
    August 12, 2006 8:02 pm

    what happens in the camp when the GENERAL sprains something?

    sergeants and corporals scurry bringing medics and red cross trucks…

    statements are made to the press affirming his manly stoicism against the excruciating pain…

    colonels stand around puffing out their cheeks and wondering which one of them will inherit the “throne” next…,

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