Sunday, September 13, 2009

David Chong on Evaluate the “New Perspective” on Paul’s exposition of the doctrine of justification by faith alone

The current debates regarding justification reflect a readiness to explore new perspectives that hold the promise for ecumenical convergence or even consensus. The importance of these contemporary discussions of justification can hardly be exaggerated. This paper was written by David Chong in attempt to sort out the daunting task of the contemporary state of theological discussion regarding justification here. An Excerpt:

Since the groundbreaking work in E. P. Sanders’ monograph, “Paul and Palestinian Judaism”, a paradigm shift had taken place within New Testament scholarship with regards to the center of Pauline theology. Although by no means a monolithic movement, the New Perspective represents a fundamental rethinking of what the gospel really means. The present paper sought to analyze and evaluate New Perspective views on the doctrine of justification sola fide primarily through interaction with major proponents.

Our reviewer Pastor Lu Tsun En of the Westminster graduate, his review in chinese here, and the newly[4/10] english translated version by Daniel Chew here. Excerpt:

随着英国圣公会Durham主教与首席新约学者汤姆‧赖特(N.T.Wright)的作品陆续被翻译为中文,例如校园出版的〈再思保罗神学争议〉,近年来英美神学界「新观点派」(New Perspectives)的神学观点逐渐受到华人教会的注意。David Chong弟兄用非常简洁而流畅的文字摘要了新观点派的特色...

[This paper is now opened for discussion]

62 comments:

Perng Shyang Teng said...

The review article's link seems not working, pls check.

Augustinian Successor said...

The NPP represents a scholarly attempt to resolve the 'dilemma' between forensic justification and the moral life of the Christian. It therefore aims to relate the eschatological and ontological status of the Christian. By extension, it betrays an inclination to regard the Kingdom of God as ecumenical - a movement 'upwards,' rather than incarnational, i.e. 'downwards.'

Augustinian Successor said...

The NPP of course errs in 'mixing' the eschatological with the ontological time-frame. To be sure, both overlap and inter-twined with each other. But both remain distinct. The old creation remains old; the new creation is entirely new.

Augustinian Successor said...

This is why we are justified by *faith* alone. It is by faith alone that we grasp that we have already been translated into the new age, whilst still in the old age. The tension between the 'already' and 'not yet' is not to be resolved from the perspective of the old age, but the new age. The implication being that the break or rupture between the ages is total.

Justification does not mean change. It means more than that. It means death and resurrection. The paradigm of justification is the Cross. And through the Cross, Jesus is to be received first as Gift (Sacramentum), and then only as Example (Exemplum). The NPP like the Roman and Byzantine traditions reverses the sequence.

CREDO500 said...

Perng Shyang,

Thanks for alerting this, there's a technical problem with the previous server this morning. For the moment, you can read the review through sendspace. Apologies for any incovenience we've caused.

Btw, thanks to everyone for the reading and posting last week. Let's keep up the good works in following Augustine who said "i think as i write, and i write as i think." Am vastly excited to hear yours' words of wisdom!

Jonah

franas said...

The problem is not with "Justification by Faith." Martin Luther added the word "Alone" to Rom 3:27 where it did not belong and created a dynasty with it. A nice article for reflection will be the joint declaration of "Justification by Faith: Lutheran-Catholic Convergence" released 2009 and easily available online.

franas said...

Typo ...

"Justification by Faith: Lutheran-Catholic Convergence" released 1997.

Augustinian Successor said...

The problem is with justification by grace. Justification by faith (alone) is taught in Scripture. Justification by grace has been distorted by the Roman Church to mean man cooperates with the grace of God towards the beatific vision. No, this is not St. Paul taught.

Instead, St. Paul taught that Baptism is the death and resurrection of the elect sinner. That is not a movement, but an event. An event to be repeated throughout the Christian life, to be sure, but which defies human conception of progress.

franas said...

To AugustinianReformed:

Please show me just ONE verse in the bible which says justification is by faith ALONE or something similar.

Augustinian Successor said...

Only justification by faith alone reflects orthodox christology. Justification by grace reflects heterodox christology. Orthodox christology maintains the personal union in its full integrity. Heterodox christology mixes or confuses the natures, the two kingdoms, the two aeons/ages, etc.

In justification by faith alone, the communicatio idiomatum of the Hypostatic Union takes place between Jesus and the sinner on the Cross. Luther called this the 'joyous exchange.'

In justification by grace, habitual grace is infused into the baptised. The 'substance' of God is mixed with the 'substance' of man. This reflects confusion of natures, not the personal union. We see this in 'transubstantiation' as well. So the Roman Church is not exactly orthodox after all.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
(Galatians 2: 16)

Augustinian Successor said...

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
(Romans 4:5)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(Ephesians 2:8)

franas said...

To AugustinianReformed:

I'm sorry to inform you that I really DO NOT see how the verses you used support Justification by Faith Alone. Let's use Galatians as a test: Here, we are told that we are justified by faith and not the works of the law. What you are doing is to insert the word "Alone" where it does not belong. In doing so, you have changed the whole complex and meaning of the sentence. Let's write it out:

We are justified by faith and not the works of the law vs. We are justified by faith alone and not the works of the law.

It is simply not a logical conclusion. You are saying TOO MUCH by inserting the word "alone." To say apples are red is not the same as saying apples alone (or only apples) are red.

There is also nothing in the other verses (Rom 4:5 and Eph 2:8) to fortify that "alone" view. In fact, the only place you can find Justification by faith used together with "alone" is in James 2:24 where it is used in the negative sence:

“You see then that a man is justified by works, and NOT by faith alone”.

No wonder Martin Luther panicked and tried to throw the Book of James out of the bible because it did not agree with his novel doctrine of Sola Fidei.

The Hedonese said...

Well, we can't conclude from those verses that Paul is teaching justification by faith PLUS grace infused works as well.

To demand that kind of evidence is the same strategy used by Jehovah Witnesses: "Show me one verse that contains the word trinity"... hehehe it proves nothing whatsoever

franas said...

To The Hedonese:

Now that's unfair. I'm only here to ask questions. I want someone to show me how the novel doctrine of Sola Fidei is scriptural to justify departing from the established teachings of the Church for 1600 years. I haven't spoken anything about Catholic teaching on the topic yet.

I'm also not questioning the whole doctrine of Justification of Faith, only the "Alone" part. Yes, the JW is also right to question about Trinity 'cos you only believed it first because the Catholic Church told you so.

In Christ,

Augustinian Successor said...

I don't see how that is not fair, Franas. The formulaic proposition of justification by faith alone may not be evident to the Romanists, but meaning and implication are clear. Justification, i.e. being right in the sight of God, only comes by or through faith. Faith is the antithesis of works. In the sight of God, faith is opposed to works, even if it is grace-infused.

Faith cometh by hearing, Roman 10. Faith is completely passive. Works are active. The difference cannot be more acute.

Augustinian Successor said...

... you only believed it first because the Catholic Church told you so."

The Roman Catholic Church? Was Athanasius the pope then? He was only a deacon, if I'm not mistaken. Remember the phrase, 'Athanasius contra mundum'?

Augustinian Successor said...

"In fact, the only place you can find Justification by faith used together with "alone" is in James 2:24 where it is used in the negative sence:
“You see then that a man is justified by works, and NOT by faith alone”.

Man is indeed justified by faith and works in the sight of man, coram hominibus.

Put it simply, God does NOT need our good works. Our fellow human beings do.

"No wonder Martin Luther panicked and tried to throw the Book of James out of the bible because it did not agree with his novel doctrine of Sola Fidei."

Luther had his doubts at one time. But the Roman Church had the Bible listed in the Index of Prohibited Books.

Augustinian Successor said...

http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/ILP-1559.htm#Luther's%20Bibles

Augustinian Successor said...

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew *me* thy faith without thy works, and *I* will shew thee my faith by my works."

Justification before God or man?

Augustinian Successor said...

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For *he* that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. SO (or therefore) speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of LIBERTY.

For (or this is because) *he* shall have judgment *without* mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and MERCY rejoiceth *against* JUDGMENT.

Justification before God by faith only (mercy) OR by faith and works (judgment)?

The Hedonese said...

Hi Franas,

It is a fair question, really. As you admitted the JW is right to question about Trinity and the only reason you believe the doctrine is not because Jesus and his apostles teach it but the because the Catholic Church told you so.

All I want is to reveal the reasoning behind your beliefs. And thanks for showing it :)

The JW will have a field day with this because they believe what they do bcos that's what their tradition ie Watchtower folks told them so. So both JW and RC are just telling what mere humans are teaching them apart from divine inspiration.

For the Reformers, we believe in Trinity and the gospel of justification thru faith apart from good works because it is scriptural and not because the catholic church told us so.

I'm happy to recognize this difference as it stands

PuritanReformed said...

Guys, sorry for the error with the link.

Dave:
I agree with you. That reductio ad absurdum is priceless.

franas said...

To Hedononese:

You have construed it all wrong. I only meant to say "it's unfair" for you to draw a BLANK statement that the Catholic version of Justification by Faith cannot also be proven from the few verses supplied by Augustinian Successor to defend his Sola Fidei. Thus my remark that "I haven't spoken anything about Catholic teaching on the topic yet."

Anyway, I'm only here to ask a very basic question about Sola Fidei and so far, there's no evidence of any scriptural support for it yet. Augustinian Successor (sorry) can dance around it all he wants but where's that "SOLA" in all supplied texts? Someone here warned me about "adding" to the scripture, so that someone can now tell me who has been doing just that: adding a word to the text of the scripture where it does not belong! Martin Luther actually physically inserted "Alone" in his German translation of the Rom 3:28 to read:

3.28] So halten wir nun daf|r, da_ der Mensch gerecht wird ohne des Gesetzes Werke, allein durch den Glauben.

He added the word "allein" (alone) to justify his new doctrine of Sola Fidei. Of course he felt that the addition was justified (ha!) by the context, but it's still a bad translation practice. It's especially bad from a guy who complained that the Catholic Church had violated the Word of God by adding to it.


To Augustinian Successor:

In respect to the organizers of this blog, I have tried to stay on-topic as much as possible. My apology to CREDO-500 but I just need to briefly respond to the common misconceptions you raised:

1) TRINITY. You can do a better history research on the question of Trinity yourself. Who do you think fought the Arian heresy and defined all the Christological doctrines?

2) BIBLE in the Index of Forbidden Books. There was a time when poor scholarship and reckless private translations of the bible was rampart. Texts were doctored by the Albigensian/Manichean to support their heretical teachings (like the flesh was evil and therefore marriage was evil, fornication was not a sin and suicide was not immoral). For awhile, the local council in Toulouse had found it also necessary to restrict the use of the bible temporarily to protect the faithful UNTIL the commotion caused by the Muslim Moors with their corrupted bibles (to support their view that it was not Issac but Ishmael who Abraham blessed, that Jesus was not crucified and that another even greater prophet would follow Jesus) was over. The universal Catholic Church never banned the use of authentic and legitimate bible translations.

My comments: Will you allow the JW's NEW WORLD BIBLE (which they altered the texts to fit their views like in Jn 1.1) to be promoted in your church as a solid good and honest translation? From another view, what do you think of the Bapist pastor who convinced his parishioners to bring all the non-King James bibles to be burn on the church lawn? Even the Anglicans declared in 1543 that "all manner of books of the Old and New Testament in English, being of the crafty, false, and untrue translation of Tydale ... shall be clearly and utterly abolished, extinguished, and forbidden to be kept or used in this realm." Anyone of you here like the the new edition of the NIV with its "inclusive language"?

In Christ,

Antithesis said...

Dear Franas,

If you are Catholic, I suspect you are excluded from the "springs of life" within the, er, [narrow? closed?] minds of this tiny group of people, particularly one self-conceited fellow.

But anyway, I'll enjoy giving some constructive comments if I'm allowed to ... but I can always take it over to my blog. ;)

Some might not be happy to see my moniker (fear of being exposed further?). I'm not your nice-rank-and-file-fan-I'll-pat-you-on-your-back-and-pretend-you-make-sense kinda fella ... so ...

It's a waste of time to "discuss it further" if one's view is excluded by default. Don't you think?

Sincerely,
Your Antithesis

PuritanReformed said...

Franas:

the Arian heresy was fought by the Old catholic (small 'c') church, not the Roman Catholic church, your historical revisionism notwithstanding.

That's all I have to say; I have digressed too much already. Now back to the main topic: the heretical doctrine of NPP.

PuritanReformed said...

IMO, the principle error of NPP is the negligence it pays to the biblical historical context. Instead of using the infallible and inerrant historical context as narrated in the Bible, it uses the fallible and errant empirically-derived (and thus logically fallacious) "findings" of contemporary historical research to re-interpret the message of Scripture. After all, why do you think that there is so much narrative found in the Scriptures?

It is a pity that Dave did not pick up on this vital point in his evaluation of NPP. Attack the entire fallacious enterprise of empiricism (which is a form of unbelief), and the whole enterprise of NPP will come crashing down.

valleyofvision said...

Hi Daniel,

I'd just like to clarify. I am hearing you saying this syllogism.

1. The principle of the sufficiency of scripture extends to the realm of hermeneutics i.e. Scripture is self-interpreting and therefore all extra-biblical references are irrelevant when it comes to interpreting scripture.

2. NPP employs some reconstruction of the extra-biblical historical context to interpret the NT, esp Paul's letters.

3. Therefore, NPP denies the sufficiency of the Bible and builds its case upon errant foundations.

Is that a fair representation of your argument?

regards
Edward

Augustinian Successor said...

"He added the word "allein" (alone) to justify his new doctrine of Sola Fidei. Of course he felt that the addition was justified (ha!) by the context, but it's still a bad translation practice. It's especially bad from a guy who complained that the Catholic Church had violated the Word of God by adding to it."

Not at all. Luther added 'alone' to emphasise what was already evident from the text.

Augustinian Successor said...

"TRINITY. You can do a better history research on the question of Trinity yourself. Who do you think fought the Arian heresy and defined all the Christological doctrines?"

The Catholic Church. The Roman Church as it now is came much later.

Augustinian Successor said...

Of course the Roman Church until Vatican II banned PROTESTANT Bibles for the laity.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Instead of using the infallible and inerrant historical context as narrated in the Bible, it uses the fallible and errant empirically-derived (and thus logically fallacious) "findings" of contemporary historical research to re-interpret the message of Scripture."

This is why the NPP proponents engage in 'eisegesis' rather than exegesis.

Hedonese said...

Hi Franas,

You missed the point I'm making perhaps. Your criteria for prooftext is too narrow in the same way a JW's insistence to find the word Trinity in the bible is too narrow. Serious exegetes dun work like that... a concept may be biblical even if the term is not found in the Bible just as Trinity is biblical though you'd not find the term inside. But in your view, you believe this bcos RC told you so while in my view, it's not just bcos someone told me so but bcos God's inspired Word says so. So tat's where the difference lie. The texts given may not have 'sola' but they do exclude good works as means of justification, therefore, a serious obstacle to the RC view.

Hedonese said...

As a matter of strategy and methodology, we don't engage with NPP based solely on presupposing "infallible and inerrant historical context". We dun need to give it up but we don't need to put all our weight on it either.

Doing so usually results in people talking past each other or as in the case of Wright, scoring easy points on reformed critics on this bit. (Fact is, we cant even have a Greek NT text to read unless someone does the sweaty historical/grammatical homework first)

If all truth is God's truth, empirical data is not something to be feared... Because the Word of God also came to us in specific human socio-historical context and our reading of its meaning is much clearer with that context.

So I'd take the approach of biblical scholarship exemplified by reformed folks like DA Carson, Peter O Brien, Thomas Shreiner etc who do excellent historical work (which is by no means an evidence of unbelief, but faithful ministry). They dun normally complain that their opponents dun share the same presupposition of inerrancy but do their work with better, 'sounder' historiography than them.

franas said...

To Hedonese:

"The texts given may not have 'sola' but they do exclude good works as means of justification, therefore, a serious obstacle to the RC view."

Really? James 2:24 just told you that "a man is justified by WORKS, and NOT by faith ALONE”. If you read further along, it says: "So faith apart from works is DEAD (2:26). This theme is repeated over and over:

"What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? CAN HIS FAITH SAVE HIM?" (Jm 2:14).

"So faith by itself, if it has no works, is DEAD" (Jm 2:17).

It cannot get plainer than that! Now, I am not saying to use James to the exclusion of the rest of the bible. I'm certainly not proposing that "works" justify. What I'm merely asking is for you to explain the apparent contradictions to Sola Fidei according to James. I will give Martin Luther credit for being at least honest about the problem of Sola Fidei when confronted with the Book of James.


To Augustinian Successor:

"The Arian heresy was fought by the Old catholic (small 'c') church, not the Roman Catholic church, your historical revisionism notwithstanding"

Who did you say was re-writing history? If you are not convinced, read the Church Fathers.

"Of course the Roman Church until Vatican II banned PROTESTANT Bibles for the laity"

Now where did you get that from? Catholics had their own vernacular bibles and didn't need to use a Protestant bible with its biased and anti-Catholic commentaries in the footnotes. So even if the charge is true, can you blame mother Church for wanting to protect her children from heresies which kill the SOUL?

In Christ,

gummie said...

Dave,

I agree with you in that there is a need to know more about the historical and circumstantial context the scriptures were written in. The sufficiency of scriptures does not mean that they were so self-contained that we can read them without the aid of any external referents. (After all, as you rightly pointed out, the knowledge of Hebrew and Greek (and this knowledge is clearly external to the holy writ) is prerequisite for any sound translation and hence communication of scriptures). That's why I was clarifying whether Daniel was making this point.

However, I do think that there is something to the point made by Piper that there is a limited degree to how such things (i.e. historical context etc) should determine our exegesis. After all, I think that essentially is the problem with NPP. They took a particular view of 2nd Temple Judaism and attempted a home run with it, that is, allowed that view to dominate their interpretive grid.

regards
Edward

Augustinian Successor said...

Franas,

1. The Church Fathers do not teach transubstantiation. They do not teach papal infallibility.

2. Banning the Protestant Bible is the same as banning the Bible. BTW, as you know, the laity were not allowed to read, e.g. the Douay-Rheims(!) under the Index Liborum Prohibitorum until the ban was lifted.

Augustinian Successor said...

I forgot to add, as for Point 2, so much for the 'consensus fidelium.' More of a case of suppressing the consensus of the faithful.

Augustinian Successor said...

"So even if the charge is true, can you blame mother Church for wanting to protect her children from heresies which kill the SOUL?"

So, why did Mother Church change her policy at Vatican 2?

So much for 'semper eadem.'

Augustinian Successor said...

"What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? CAN HIS FAITH SAVE HIM?" (Jm 2:14).

Notice the word, SAYS. Says to who? God or man?

Notice the context.

1. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;

2. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Who needs our good works? God or our neighbour?

Augustinian Successor said...

Franas,

If you want a 'plain' statement, read Romans 9.

Augustinian Successor said...

"CAN *HIS* (emphasis mine) FAITH SAVE HIM?"

The answer is NO. Faith as an act of *believing* CANNOT save anymore than works save, grace-infused notwithstanding.

Justification by faith means DEATH and RESURRECTION. THAT is salvation. That is to say, FAITH is the death of the Old Adam (curved into himself/herself - curvatus in se) together with his/her divine ambition and resurrection of the New Adam.

Thus, faith is the work OF God to man - God operating on man. The God-Man saves and when He saves, He creates faith and thus man is reborn. This is why the Reformation theology insisted that faith as an act of believing is an instrument, organ or means of salvation. But faith as a gift of God the Holy Spirit delivering forgiveness of sins in the living present IS salvation.

Hedonese said...

Hi Edward

I wished I had the time to interact with the latest exchange btw Piper and Wright. but sadly, I dont get to do much of that. The paper above was written many moons ago when the NPP was not as 'hot' as today. So it does need some heavy updating.

Piper has a point if he frames the argument that NPP folks are guilty of wat Carson called "Uncontrolled historical reconstruction" in his Exegetical Fallcies book

http://hedonese1.blogspot.com/2004/07/exegetical-fallacies-by-da-carson.html

The strength of Sanders' proposal though is that he has studied all the relevant literature and claimed that legalism was not the overall pattern of religion of 1st century judaism. I heard tat when challenged, he'd just ask if the challenger has read the primary sources as he did.

That probably is what convinces lots of biblical scholars to a diff perspective.

If his argument is right, that the pharisees and gang are historically not legalistic but but have a religion of grace, then it wud have significant bearing on how we understand Paul's rhetoric.

That's probably why it took the two volumes by carson etc on 'variegated nomism' to try to overturn it... (via a team of scholars in order to cover the enormous terrain)

franas said...

To Augustinian Successor:

"Banning the Protestant Bible is the same as banning the Bible. BTW, as you know, the laity were not allowed to read, e.g. the Douay-Rheims(!) under the Index Liborum Prohibitorum until the ban was lifted"

I don't see the logic. Even if it is true, banning a Protestant bible is not the same as banning the bible period. As to whether the laity was allowed to read the bible, I remember there were even indulgences attached for faithful reading of the bible! Go figure. Please demonstrate the ban on the Douay-Rheims under the Index Liborum Prohibitorum. Meanwhile, here is a history concerning bible reading by the laity:

Pope St. Gregory I (died 604 AD)
“The Emperor of heaven, the Lord of men and of angels, has sent you His epistles for your life’s advantage—and yet you neglect to read them eagerly. Study them, I beg you, and meditate daily on the words of your Creator. Learn the heart of God in the words of God, that you may sigh more eagerly for things eternal, that your soul may be kindled with greater longings for heavenly joys.”
[Letters, 5, 46. (EnchBibl 31)]

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153 AD)
Doctor and Father of the Church.
“The person who thirsts for God eagerly studies and meditates on the inspired Word, knowing that there, he is certain to find the One for whom he thirsts.”
[Commentary on the Song of Songs, Sermon 23:3.]

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903 AD)
“The solicitude of the apostolic office naturally urges and even compels us…to desire that this grand source of Catholic revelation (the Bible) should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ”

Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914 AD)
“Nothing would please us more than to see our beloved children form the habit of reading the Gospels - not merely from time to time, but every day.”

Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922 AD)
“... all the children of the Church, especially clerics, to reverence the Holy Scriptures, to read it piously and meditate on it constantly.”

Pope Pius XII 1943 AD
“...This author of salvation, Christ, will men more fully know, more ardently love and more faithfully imitate in proportion as they are more assiduously urged to know and meditate the Sacred Letters, especially the New Testament…”
[Divino Afflante Spiritu]

In Christ,

CREDO500 said...

This is an email from Kin Lam, whom graduated as M.Div and M.Th at Westminster, and is now a church planter and PCA pastor. He had wrote about N.T Wright on Atonement few years ago under Dr.Clair Davis, while discuss with Richard Gaffin. He had (and still have)a fairly critical assessment of N. T. Wright and his "version" of Christianity.

Here is his quick response to David’s paper:

I consider brother David's paper well-researched and he seems to have a good grasp of the key challenges from NPP camp plus the evangelical responses. However, it is a "short" paper (17 pages without bibliography) and it seems to me a bit over-ambitious to interact "with Stendahl on hermeneutical presuppositions, Sanders on Jewish socio-religious context and finally, N.T. Wright on exegesis of key passages related to justification /sola fide/" all in one "short" paper!

I don't know who the targeted audience are, but unless someone is relatively familiar with the NPP, it may be difficult to understand and digest all these matters in one instance. You end up wondering what Stendahl, Sanders, and Wright really said, and if the responses actually hit their targets. Still, the paper can be valuable to those who are knowledgeable of the issues. It can then serve as a good summary.

Wish you all a blessed blog conference =)

Emmanuel,

Kin (kin@alum.mit.edu, kin514@gmail.com)

Thanks for the thoughts, Kin.

CREDO500 said...

David, thanks for your profound treatment, make my head hurt. And Ps Lu's excellent review, that edifying me too. I agree with your overall position of sola fide. This is indeed the nub of the whole controversy.

Here's my random thoughts on the issue in Chinese:

http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/jonahttm-reformed/article?mid=2383

Jonah

franas said...

To Augustinian Successor:

"The Church Fathers do not teach transubstantiation. They do not teach papal infallibility"

Really? Transubstantiation is just a theological term to describe the reality of the Real Presence. Do you find the eucharist described as being merely signs and symbols here?

Ignatius of Antioch: "I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible" (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).

Ignatius of Antioch: “They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr: "For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

Irenaeus of Lyons: “And then, when we have perfected the oblation, we invoke the Holy Spirit, that He may exhibit this sacrifice, both the bread the body of Christ, and the cup the blood of Christ, in order that the receivers of these antitypes may obtain remission of sins and life eternal” [120-180 AD] Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus.

Irenaeus of Lyongs: "If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).

Clement of Alexandria: "’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children" (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

And the list goes on and on. (Do you really want me to address papal infallibility too?)

In Christ,

Augustinian Successor said...

Franas,

Protestant Bibles are based on faithful translation. The Protestant Bible is the Word of God. What the Roman Church did was to ban the Word of God in the vernacular from being read in the church.

Augustinian Successor said...

"Transubstantiation is just a theological term to describe the reality of the Real Presence."

Really? Do the Church Fathers understand the Real Presence as transubstantiation? Go figure.

Augustinian Successor said...

Yes, address papal infallibility from Scripture and Tradition. BTW, the quotes that you provide has nothing to do with transubstantiation. If at all, they simply support the Lutheran understanding of the Lord's Supper. Actually, Thomistic transubstantiation is the Real ABSENCE. Remember, Christ is only present according to a SUBSTANTIAL mode. The distance between Christ on the right hand of God and Christ on earth is not overcomed.

franas said...

To Augustinian Successor:

You are so off based that it's not productive for any kind of dialogue any more. You take care!

In Christ,

Augustinian Successor said...

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13635b.htm

See the section, "Attitude of the Church towards the reading of the Bible in the vernacular."

Augustinian Successor said...

"Third, on certain conditions, and after asking special permission, leave is granted for the reading of Latin translations of the Old Testament edited by heretics, and for the use of Bible-versions in the vernacular written by Catholics."

Quoted from "Censorship of Books"
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03519d.htm

Hedonese said...

Hi Jonah,

When I wrote that as part of my assignment, the audience I had in mind is actually those who had no prior knowledge on NPP hehehe... it is kinda tough bcos the lingo is more of biblical theology than systematic theology and I struggled the first time i come into contact w Seyoon Kim/Dunn. Its is also tough to squeeze and summarize the key proponents' main arguments over such a wide terrain.

I'm concerned with some of Wright's proposal but I'd hesitate to call it another gospel at the same time... giving him the benefit of doubt, I think he's at heart a covenant theologian trying to reframe it more firmly in the sociohistorical context of 1st century palestine.

Btw here's a Bibliography... Wright deserves a more indepth treatment and i recommend his article Shape of Justification on ntwrightpage.com

Reformed folks often think of NPP when hear of Wright... but tat doesnt do justice to his contribution on historical Jesus etc.


1. Dunn, J. D. G. “Paul and Justification by Faith” in The Road from Damascus edited by R. Longenecker. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997. Quoted in Kim, Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the Origin of Paul’s Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
2. Dunn, J. D. G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
3. Gathercole, Simon. Where Is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul’s Response in Romans 1 – 5. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
4. George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1988.
5. Kim, Seyoon. The Origin of Paul’s Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981.
6. Kim, Seyoon. Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the Origin of Paul’s Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
7. Kruse, Colin. Paul, the Law and Justification. Leicester: Apollos, 1996.
8. Oden, Thomas. The Justification Reader. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
9. Piper, John. The Justification of God: An Exegetical & Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993.
10. Piper, John. Counted Righteous In Christ. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2002.
11. Ridderbos, Herman. Paul: An Outline of His Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975.
12. Sanders, E.P., Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion. London: SCM Press, 1977.
13. Shreiner, T. Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
14. Shreiner, T. The Law & Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993.
15. Siefrid, M. A. The ‘New Perspective on Paul’ and Its Problems. Themelios 25.2, 2000.
16. Thielman, F. A Contextual Approach: Paul and the Law. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1994.
17. Westerholm, S. Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.
18. Wright, T. What Saint Paul really said: Was Paul of Tarsus the real founder of Christianity? Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1997.

PuritanReformed said...

Hello Edward:

>I'd just like to clarify. I am hearing you saying this syllogism.
>
>1. The principle of the sufficiency of scripture extends to the realm of hermeneutics i.e. Scripture is self-interpreting and therefore all extra-biblical references are irrelevant when it comes to interpreting scripture.

Nope, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that because the principle of the sufficiency of scripture extends to the realm of hermeneutics, all extra-biblical references are fallible and MUST be interpreted according to one's presupposition and therefore are of secondary importance in interpreting Scripture.


>2. NPP employs some reconstruction of the extra-biblical historical context to interpret the NT, esp Paul's letters.

NPP employs a fallible empirical reconstruction of the extra-biblical historical context, and thus its reconstruction is subject to the same problems as empiricism - namely the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent and post hoc ergo propter hoc.


>3. Therefore, NPP denies the sufficiency of the Bible and builds its case upon errant foundations.

Since the NPP does not take into account the primary historical context as revealed in the Bible, but instead relies on a logically fallacious reconstruction which depends on the unverifiable truth of certain unbiblical presuppositions, NPP is ultimately fallacious and an unprovable hypothesis at best, and error at worst.

>Is that a fair representation of your argument?

See my comments above. Ignore the anonymous troll and attention-seeker Antithesis. I don't care for his Neo-Orthodox heresy.

franas said...

To Augustinian Successor:

"Protestant Bibles are based on faithful translation. The Protestant Bible is the Word of God. What the Roman Church did was to ban the Word of God in the vernacular from being read in the church"

JW can thank Protestantism for the perverted New World Translation.

Latin was the vernacular in its time, and sorry KJ Onlyists, the Douay-Rheims preceded it.


"Really? Do the Church Fathers understand the Real Presence as transubstantiation? Go figure"

They certainly did not "walk away" because it was a "hard saying" like the reformers did (Jn 6: 60-67).

In Christ,

Augustinian Successor said...

"They certainly did not "walk away" because it was a "hard saying" like the reformers did (Jn 6: 60-67)."

Yes, the Roman Church not only walked away, but wilfully perverted the Lord's Supper into a sacrifice. This is why the papacy is the seat of the Antichrist.

Augustinian Successor said...

"JW can thank Protestantism for the perverted New World Translation."

The JW and the Roman Church have one thing in common: Salvation by works.

"Latin was the vernacular in its time, and sorry KJ Onlyists, the Douay-Rheims preceded it."

Latin is NOT a VERNACULAR. Vernacular means 'mother tongue.' The laity did not know Latin.

And what is the relevance Douay-Rheims's earlier history than the AV???

Augustinian Successor said...

"... Neo-Orthodox heresy."

Hoho ..., right on Daniel. Neo-orthodoxy is neo-heterodoxy. It is a failure.

David Chen said...

The tough part about this paper (I can't read the review) is that after a brief discussion on the minor differenes between Sanders, Dunn, and Wright the rest of the paper assumes a single NPP definiton, which makes this reader hard to follow just which NPP is the paper interacting with.

Is the writer arguing that the NPPs advocates are, at the end of the day, complementary each other and there is a sythesis to the NPP movement? Where, if my read of the major NPP proponents are correct, then there are a multiple unique and distinctive NPP advocates out there and sometimes they hold antagonistic views within the big umbrella of the sole-called NPP movement. Perhaps it would be helpful the writer focus on one major writer of NPP and interact with that against orthodox Reformed Theology.

But overall a pleasant read, thanks.

Hedonese said...

Hi david chen,

ur rite and therefore I have focused on one NPP writer that most reformed people recognize, that is NT Wright :)

Not bcos NPP is monolithic but more so bcos Wright is the guy who generates most interest amongst reformed readers (and i think may be more popularly accessible than Dunn etc)

My hope is that the short paper is a big picture 10000 feet helicopter view from the layperson who just wanna know briefly what the fuss is all about before zooming in

Thanks and cheers
David Chong

Hedonese said...

Forgot another clarification is that the beginning of paper was not so much to discuss minor differences between the proponents rather to see how Stendahl, Sanders and Wright build on each other on some key planks.

One cud probably do a similar trajectory frm Stendahl, Sanders to Jimmy Dunn (i suppose)