I listened to one of the podcast’s from theBibleProject of a discussion between Tim Makie and NT Wright (https://thebibleproject.com/podcast/what-does-word-gospel-mean/), and I was enjoying the discussion and listening along when all of a sudden NT Wright said something that set off alarm bells a little.
Tim, Question “it seems to me that the 1 Corinthians passage has become almost over dominant in Western Protestant and if you were to put them both on a scale 1 Corinthians 15 has outweighed Romans 1 in terms of the gospel’.
NT Wright “when I was working on Romans, and that I had grown up in a tradition that says Romans 1:16-17 was the Gospel, namely justification by faith, now of course, 1:16-17 doesn’t actually say justification by faith, but it talks about the revelation of the righteousness of God and according to some theories of justification what Paul means by the righteousness of God is the righteous status which God gives or grants to all that believe, now I think that’s completely wrong. “
alarm bells rang at this point a little.
“but i remember when I was first studying Romans intensively in the Greek, being struck by the fact that in 1:15-16, Paul says I’m not ashamed of the gospel because in it the rightness of God is revealed, and realising that that sentence means the revelation of the righteousness of God is not itself the gospel but what is revealed in the Gospel, so what is the Gospel, answer so Paul said it up front in Romans 1:3-4 so then I started reading commentaries and articles on Romans 3 and 4, and i discovered a very interesting thing that particular in the German tradition which is dominant in 19th and early 20th century, people did not want to find the Gospel in Romans 1:3-4 because they wanted the Gospel to be justification by faith within a Lutheran framework, whereas what you’ve got in Romans 1:3-4 is very explicit Messianic language, seed of David, etc and so people would bring out all the big guns and say oh paul is quoting an early Christian formula. just in order to say hello to the people in Rome. to say yeah I know this formula as well. but actually it’s not an essential part of his theology.
the podcast continues and also mentions the the wrong readings of Galatians 1:4 etc…
I’d never listened or read any NT Wright before, but found this article (https://www.gotquestions.org/New-Perspective-Paul.html) which suggests some issues such as this.
According to N.T. Wright, “Justification in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God. It was about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was in fact, a member of his people.” The problem with this tenet of the “New Perspective on Paul” is that it distorts the biblical teaching on justification by faith and instead teaches that Paul’s doctrine of justification was only concerned with the Gentiles’ standing in the covenant community and not at all about a guilty sinner being declared just before a holy and righteous God. Simply put, we cannot disregard or redefine justification and still be considered Christian or biblical. In his writings, N.T. Wright often argues against the imputed righteousness of Christ, which is the heart and soul of the true gospel (2 Corinthians 5:21).
is anyone familiar with NT Wright? Is he suggesting that justification by faith is wrong (the whole point of the Reformation starting with Luther)? I’ve really enjoyed theBibleProject and they’re about to do a ‘how to read the Gospels’ video, which will be very interesting; but if they say that ‘justification is not by faith’ then I’ll be a little perturbed at their view to say the least.