Justification | N. T. Wright

This book was an advance treat. I’ve already read and thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in Wright’s Christian Origins and the Question of God series:

  1. The New Testament and the People of God
  2. Jesus and the Victory of God
  3. The Resurrection of the Son of God

The proposed fourth book deals primarily with Paul. While waiting for it to be written, this gem arrived. Thank you to Dr. Piper for necessitating Wright’s interim volume. (In case you are unaware, Justification is Wright’s answer to Piper’s The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright.)

Along with Sanders and Dunn, Wright forms the trinity of lead thinkers on the New Perspective on Paul. Interestingly, though, Wright doesn’t ask everyone to board the New Perspective bandwagon—instead he calls for a synthesis of views that puts everything in its proper perspective.

For Wright, the old view of justification had a lot of valuable components, but missed the main point of the story: God’s plan to rescue the world through Israel. Traditional justification proponents largely treat talk of covenant in Genesis 15 and Deuteronomy 30 in Paul as illustrative. Wright reads them as essential to the argument.

In Justification, Wright pleads with his detractors to join the heliocentric revolution: If you see God’s plan to rescue the world through Israel (i.e. covenant) as the sun then every other theme falls into place. All the puzzle pieces can be accounted for. Long arguments make logical sense.

Wright’s tone is sharp at points, and the commanding metaphor of the earth revolving around the sun is almost insulting. However, with something this fundamental at stake along with a published critique by Piper, it was time for action.

This is Wright at his best. Read it.

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