I am reading N.T Wright’s new book Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. This is Wright’s response to John Piper’s book The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright. It’s very stimulating and it also emphasizes just how big a brain Wright is. I do say this partly tongue in cheek, but also partly seriously, if I was John Piper I would be a little apprehensive – having someone who is way ahead of me in scholarship writing a response to one of my books. Of course that is not to say John Piper can’t be right – but it does mean that all the weak arguments in Piper’s work will be exposed by Wright.
One of the things that Wright says in this new book is something I also have felt for quite a while. N.T says:
Again and again, when faced with both the new perspective and some other features of more recent Pauline scholarship, ‘conservative ‘ churches have reached, not for scripture, but for tradition, as with Piper’s complaint that I am sweeping away fifteen hundred years of the church’s understanding. Of course Piper himself wants to sweep away most of the same fifteen hundred years, especially anything from mediaeval catholicism and to rely instead on the narrow strand which comes through Calvin and the Westminster Confession. But whichever way you look at it, the objection is odd.
Wright hits the nail on the head. Too many times I hear reformed theologians defending the reformed tradition instead of scripture. The reformed tradition (and I love the reformed tradition) is not what we are called to defend and expound – we are to defend and expound scripture. As Wright says 20% of what people say is wrong – the issue is we don’t know which 20%. No one would say the reformed tradition is infallible or perfect – so, 20% of reformed theology is wrong – which 20% we may not know – but it’s wrong. So, lets spend our energies defending the Bible – the glory of God, the risen Christ and not a system, or a tradition – however wonderful, or excellent that tradition is, it’s not infallible – but scripture is.
Remember the book We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be? Well, DeYoung was one of the authors. This time he is writing solo. It’s not a big book, but it is a useful one.
He is tackling topic of seeking God’s will for your life. Too many Christian’s have wasted months and years trying to figure out something which is clearly in the bible for them. I have taught on this topic many times and DeYoung follows the same line of thought I have. The scriptures clearly tell us what God’s will for our life is – to grow in Godliness – to serve Christ – to tell others about him etc, etc. In fact, too many Christians have spent years trying to figure out which job they should take to the neglect of the commands of the Bible. DeYoung rightly turns this on its head. God wants us to to focus on those things which are important – the growing in faith, godliness, fruits of the spirit etc – not on which job or college you should go to. In fact God does not really care which job you take as long as you DO that job to best of your ability and to glorify Christ. If in doubt, seek to obey God’s commands in everything you do – and then just DO something.
I liked this book. And I think its a great book to give teens.
Mark Dever wrote an article called “The Sin of Infant baptism” Written by a Sinning Baptist. It got me thinking as a priest. How would I respond to Mark Dever? Of course, as evangelical anglicans we talk of the covenant of God when discussing infant baptism – it is the like circumcision in Israel – it welcomes the child into the community of faith, but it is not ‘completed’ or appropriated until confirmation when the person makes their own public confession of Christ. This is the first defence of a paedobaptist. But is that the place to begin? It assumes that infant baptism is the ‘core’ growth of the church – it is the main doorway into the community of believers. Yet, this should not be the case. Within anglicanism, we should be baptisizing MORE adults than infants – this should be our focus and mission – evangelism, conversion, etc. So maybe, as Anglicans who uphold the scriptures as the full revealed word of God then our MAIN focus should be on Baptizing adults, and infant baptism is a secondary focus. So, Mark Dever, I am an Adult Baptist and a paedobaptist – does that make half a sinner?
… and for those in the UK who have no idea who Bobby Richardson is…. a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees from 1955 through 1966.
7 times All Star and 3 times world series champion he is also a passionate believer and follower in Jesus Christ. He gave a great talk and the men had a great time. A great morning!