N.T. Wright on Reformed Theology

For those of you who are Reformed, what do you think of this?
Interview with N.T. Wright – Responding to Piper on Justification

It makes me not want to read the book even if I may not completely agree with Piper. Not that I’m much interested in whole books that are debates anyway.

Some perplexing parts:

My anxiety about what has now been seen as the traditional Reformed view (though there are many traditional Reformed views!) is that it focuses all attention on ‘me and my salvation’ rather than on ‘God and God’s purposes’, which – as we see in the Gospels, and in e.g. Romans 8 – are much wider than just my salvation.

I hope that the book will alert people to the fact that the underlying discussion is really about taking Scripture seriously – (a) the whole Scripture, not just selected parts, and (b) Scripture as the final arbiter, over against all human traditions including our own!

However, this may explain part of it, with added emphasis:

In fact, the omission of the Spirit from many contemporary Reformed statements of justification is one of their major weaknesses.

It would be nice if he was more clear about whether he was talking about Piper (which he did mention specifically in a few places), stereotypical contemporary Reformed doctrine and classic Calvinism/Reformed theology, although he did mention the latter in the first quote, not that it made any sense.

In this interview it looks like he doesn’t have an accurate view of what Reformed is.

I’m dipping my toe into more controversial posts which I’ve avoided so far and don’t want to do too much of so we’ll see how it goes.

7 Responses to “N.T. Wright on Reformed Theology”


  1. 1 Robert Jimenez

    <p>Jeff,</p><p> <br />I haven’t read either books, nor the interview.  But I will say this, if N.T. Wright is not properly representing the Reformed position or making stereotypical remarks, then I wouldn’t read it either.  I don’t like it when they do that to Pentecostals or Arminian Theology, and I am certainly not going to tolerate it the other way around either.  Besides your my friend, and if he offends you he offends me.</p>

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks Robert.

    I won’t come back and make remarks about him or his views. I don’t know them well enough. Plus I’m not into debating these things. And besides, he’s a great scholar and I’m not. I know I’ll see him in heaven. (Little joke there regarding Surprised by Hope.)

    But those remarks regarding Reformed really seemed off the mark. He sure wasn’t describing me at all–just the opposite in many ways–and I’m definitely Reformed.
    Jeff

  3. 3 Brent

    I think we need to keep our mind open and listen to what Wright has to say. He may be wrong. But we have to listen (read) before drawing that conclusion. If we isolate ourselves from “different” ideas and perspectives, then we will always think we are right and are no better than other closed minded, dogmatic fanatics.

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Brent I’m not sure what you’re getting at, or maybe I’m am. I’ve read Wright but don’t want to read this particular book and haven’t been a real fan of his. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m isolating myself and being closed minded.

    If I told people that N.T. Wright believes in works-only justification (a false assumption) and people don’t agree with me and don’t read my (non-existent) book are they being closed minded and in danger of being a dogmatic fanatic? (That has a nice ring to it.)

    If you are Reformed do you agree with his brief assertions?
    Jeff

    I liked your study Bible comparisons and need to add you to my Blogroll. Somehow I neglected to.

  5. 5 Robert Jimenez

    I think that Jeff and I are very open minded.  He is reformed, I am Arminian, I am Pentecostal, he is not (as far as I know he is not).  Yet here we are able to discuss topics and issue without misrepresenting each other, or making any stereotypical remarks towards each other.
    I own a book by NT Wright, and plan to purchase another.  He may have some good things to say, but if what Jeff is alleging is true, then I stand on what I said.  I just get tired of misrepresentation of any sort.  I have been blogging at Parchment and Pen, on the topic of “Why I am not a Charismatic”.  I don’t have a problem at all why Michael Patton chooses not to be a Charismatic, but I have had huge problems with the typical stereotype descriptions, the misrepresentation, and not being able to site proper theological teachings from others.  It just gets old.
    I make it a point to do my best to properly present any opposing position.  If I am wrong I am always willing to accept correction for any misrepresentation.  I also have a deep respect as to why Christians hold to their positions.

  6. 6 Richard

    I certainly think that Wright has a point although he has admitted that he doesn’t have an extensive knowledge of Reformed thought. A lot of the attacks on Wright by modern Reformed writers have been based upon the idea that Wright has no place for individual salvation. I was at a seminar for church leaders in 2005 and attended a conference where Guy Prentiss Waters and Revd Philip Eveson were the main speakers the topic being the Justification and the NPP (c. this).  Of course Herman Bavinck et al pointed out in their own day that salvation is more than simply individuals but this is not reflected in mainstream UK Reformed preaching and teaching.

  7. 7 Michelle

    I wish y’all knew just how bad you sound. Denominations are not of G-d. It means to divide and boy oh boy has Satan divided. G-d said that He gave 1 law for the natural born and the sojourners among them. There isn’t 2 rule books. Only one – G-d’s Word. The problem here is that your denominations do not go back far enough and you listen to what men teach instead of what G-d teaches in His Word. The scripture is cyclical. In other words most of what you read in the NT can first be found in the OT. Last time I checked, the Word of G-d says that we are grafted into Israel and not the other way around. (Romans 11) We who were once far off have been brought near to G-d through the shedding of the blood of Jesus the Messiah. We are now citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel. (Eph 2) And I for one, think it’s about time the believers start acting as such. We are living in the day folks. We need to be found sober and watchful, ever loving and holding fast to the Word of G-d. Blessings to you.

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