Thursday, March 09, 2006

Today's Big Thoughts for Little Brains

N.T. Wright says that the discussion of justification (and the argument surrounding Sola Fide) belongs not so much within soteriology as it does within ecclesiology.

He goes on to say that being justified by faith says less about how we are saved as it is a declaration that we are saved. Therefore faith is the badge, the declaration of our justification rather than its source. We do not merit justification through our believing, but our believing (our faith) is the evidence of our justification.

N.T. Wright can be difficult to understand. His ideas are especially difficult to understand after they're squeezed through my brain - perhaps they make no sense after I process them. Maybe it would just be easier to call him a heretic.


Jamie Dawn said...

I think that anyone who used to come up with new ways of looking at things was called a heretic. So many people were burned at the stake for just doing some deep thinking.
You'd really have been in trouble.

Scott said...

Hey, is that smoke I smell? Thanks, Jamie.

ross daws said...

Interestingly, I think that sometimes Wright is criticized, not because of anything he has said, but because he has not reaffirmed what some readers have wanted to hear.

In (I think) the introduction to "The resurrection of the Son of God" he makes the comment that some people accused him of not believing in the resurrection, owing to him not talking about it in Jesus and the Victory of God; a misconception which he hopes that weighty tome will now quietly lay to rest.

I had a similar experience at theological college, discussing Wright's work with one of the lecturers. He informed me that Wright subtly dispenses with the atonement in his work - penal substitutionary atonement to be precise. He dispenses with it by omission; because he didn't talk about it JVG obviously he doesn't believe it, and therefore cannot be considered evangelical. Not being a big fan of penal substitutionary atonement that doesn't bother me, though I suspect that the case against him has yet to be made. God save us from a day when we need to include an introduction to every book which explicitly states everything that we believe, just so that people will read the body of the book - which presumably has a topic of its own - without drawing the inference that anything we haven't explicitly mentioned we do not believe!

Scott said...

Wouldn't those be nice, tidy, little prolegomena? Is it just me or is this problem increasing? I hear this omission bit all the time - the same happens with McLaren from what I've observed. There are knobs - my brothers and sisters, whom I love in the Lord - who push this drivel constantly. It's as if fundamentalists expect everyone to show his card at the door before letting him in.

Perhaps they could just enlist qualified inquisitors to examine us, and then mark our hands or foreheads to show that we pass muster.

Sorry about the rant.