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Justification - God's Plan & Paul's Vision [Paperback]

Tom Wright
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Feb 2009
In what has become known as the 'new perspective' on Paul, Tom Wright has proposed a vision of the apostle's central message that does full justice to all Paul's letters. In particular, he focuses on the God-centred nature of Paul's gospel, arguing that 'traditional' readings of Paul can suggest that the apostle's message is simply about us: our sin, our justification, our salvation. Ambitious in scope, yet closely argued, Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision suggests that this crucial understanding of the theology of St Paul, and thus of the gospel of Christ, is urgently needed as the Church faces the tasks of mission in a dangerous world

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Justification - God's Plan & Paul's Vision + The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright + What St Paul Really Said
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing (20 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281060908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281060900
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"This sprightly and gracious, yet robust, work is Tom Wright's carefully argued and scripturally based response to those who think that he has deeply misunderstood Paul's doctrine of justification... This is definitely one of the most exciting and significant books that I have read this year... Strongly commended! Professor I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen 'Paul's gospel of God's reconciling, world-transforming grace has no more ardent and eloquent exponent in our time than Tom Wright. If his detractors read this book carefully, they will find themselves engaged in close exegesis of Paul's letters, and they will be challenged to join Wright in grappling with the deepest logic of Paul's message... Wright's sweeping, incisive sketch of Paul's thought, set forward in this book, will help us all in that task.' Professor Richard B. Hays, the Divinity School, Duke University"

About the Author

Tom Wright, until recently Bishop of Durham, is currently Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews and is a regular broadcaster on radio and television. He is the author of over fifty books.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and . . . 13 Mar 2009
N. T. Wright's response to John Piper's critique (The Future of Justification) is his most thorough book on Paul yet. It is, in many ways, a masterful unpacking of Paul's thought. Wright shows how Paul's theology of justification is grounded in God's covenant with Abraham and plan to bring redemption to the world through Israel, and ultimately through Jesus. He explores how justification is informed by Jewish law-court imagery, eschatology, and Christology. Wright's unpacking of the narrative substructure to Paul's thought is, at times, brilliant. And after reading this book, I think that Wright and Piper are actually much closer in their thinking than either one of them may think.

However, confusion and misunderstanding continues, and this due not least of all, to Wright himself. It's unfortunate that he sometimes caricatures positions that he rejects out of hand and misconstrues the thought and theology of his opponents. (Can anyone who knows John Piper seriously believe that there is no place for the Holy Spirit in his theology?!) Wright's reasons for rejecting imputation are not fully convincing. I still suspect that he takes some wrong steps in his exegesis at some crucial points. And his articulation of how justification by faith in the present relates to future judgment according to works is still a little fuzzy and subject to misunderstanding.

With that said, I think Wright's unpacking of the believer's union with Christ comes fairly close to achieving what imputation achieves for Piper and traditional Reformed theology. Not all his critics agree, but Wright should at least be carefully read and listened to before stones are cast.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking, Insightful, Necessary 16 Mar 2009
By Dr Dee
This is one of the most extraordinary books to come out of the theologically conservative camp in the past fifty years. Wright both cogently and devastatingly shows how conventional evangelical notions of "justification by faith" are construed out of garbled, cliched, and ultimately shallow readings of the New Testament. Or to put it another way: they are gleaned from the teachings of the Reformers (Luther in particular) rather than the Bible. The problem with Luther, Wright opines, is that he assumes that Paul was addressing the Roman Catholic Church in his epistles to the Romans and Galatians. This exegetical stance has wrongfooted generations of Protestant Christians.The Mosaic Law, Wright contends, was not given to the Jews so that they might keep it and thus be assured of heaven when they die, for the Law had already been given to Israel "after" God had redeemed the nation. Rather by keeping the Law Jews signified their status as God's chosen people and their calling to bring light to the Gentiles. Their failure to fulfil this mission meant that in his own life and sacrificial death Jesus the Messiah lived out Israel's original calling. Salvation, then, is about incorporation into the life, death, and resurrection of Christ - such that his life, death, and resurrection become in turn the believers' new mode of existence. For Wright "justification by faith", as traditionally understood in Protestant circles, is too "man centred". It's typically about "my" faith, my "personal" salvation, etc., which stands over against Paul's (more communal) notion of salvation because of Christ's faith and faithfulness. Read more ›
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I have been very much influenced by Mark Driscoll's sermons since I first listened in 18 months ago. But if I think about it he doesn't introduce any different ideas or emphasis from the emphasis I was taught growing up in a Conservative Evangelical Church here in Wales. He does it in a more cool/hip/rad/street-cred/cussing way, but content and emphasis wise it's nothing new for me. Tom Wright on the other hand balances me off nicely from an emphasis that was missing in my conservative evangelical upbringing. I became a Christian around the age of 14 I think - but for many years after that I didn't grow in the faith because the only thing I was taught was sin management theology - I already got that and what I needed was a deeper understanding of the Cross, a deeper understanding of the restoration through Jesus, a deeper understanding of His Kingdom. From the age of 18 onwards I saw that there was more to Christianity than sin management theology and by the age of 23 when I first got hold of books by people like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell and now Tom Wright I discovered that there were other Christians out there who had been through the same journey as me!

The emphasis of atonement for our personal sin is important, very important, perhaps the most important angle to get right but it is only half the story, the half I had been over fed with in the tradition I was bought up. Carrots and peas are good for you but eating only carrots and peas and nothing else is not good! It's not that I find the reformed evangelical account wrong; only that it tells half the story. There is another half to the story of the Cross and to the story of redemption and restoration. Perhaps Rob Bell and Brian McLaren over compensate a little at times (in the same way as some reformed evangelicals over compensate the other way) so we can look at Tom Wright as someone who gets the balance better to bring the discussion back to the centre. This is a'n important book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
This book challenges so much of what we assume Scripture says, and Tom Wright clarifies his position with clarity and grace. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. Neale
4.0 out of 5 stars Not easy to follow, but worth digging into
This book is part of a continuing conversation between Wright and John Piper, who wrote The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Meadows
3.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful paradigm, but uncharacteristically uncourteous and lacking...
This response from NT Wright, I must confess, is frustrating at times. Firstly, he has written it very quickly- which shows, and it is frankly rather 'sloppy' at times, not quite... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr Childs
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Wright
Tough scholarly stuff I needed (and still need) to get my head round. As a beginning theology student books like this by acknowledged scholars are essential - even better when... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Ms Valerie E Stewart
3.0 out of 5 stars Justified or just confused?
'Justification' is worth reading but it is not as easy to read or follow as Wright suggests it will be in the introduction. Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by Joel
1.0 out of 5 stars I might agree with Tom here, but...
I was thrilled to see Bishop Tom Wright had written an account of such an important biblical subject, and the blurb on the back cover suggested it would well worth reading. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2011 by Andrew Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars N.T. Wright's response to John Piper...
N.T. Wright is the kind of writer who takes me out of my comfort zone. Widely regarded as one of the greatest New Testament scholars alive today, this is his response to John... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2011 by Maverick
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning Christianity inside out
A spiritual journey, started in 1972, has reached a milestone in the teaching given in this book. Unaware of what was called 'the new perspective' my Christianity at that time was... Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by M. A. Coles
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant; worthy of consideration
May be eventually I'll write a longer review. For now, suffice it to say, this is a fantastic book. You don't need to be familiar with the debate as it stands to get a great deal... Read more
Published on 24 May 2010 by M. D. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying and enlightening
Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision

I had been reading a book by John Piper and was surprised by reaction to what he termed 'the new perspective' and his detailed... Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2010 by Ian L
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