I just found another reason to add to my book, courtesy of Anglican Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright. (Rather than change the name to (the awkward-sounding) “51 Roads to Rome,” I will probably just replace one of the reasons with this one or add it to the reason that deals with the clearness of the Scriptures.)
An N.T. Wright supporter named Sid over at Called to Communion, responding to a post about the doctrine of justification, put forth the new perspective on St. Paul which N.T. Wright has been championing, a perspective that differs from both Catholicism (not a surprise) and also with classical Protestantism (e.g. Luther and Calvin–a big surprise).
Everyone needs to get and read N. T. Wright’s latest book, Justification, where he refutes John Piper and the whole Calvinist position….[I]n Wright’s own words: “I didn’t write Romans 2! Paul did!” — where Paul teaches a righteous-making by good works…
For the record, Wright is an evangelical Anglican, eschews [the Catholic Ecumenical Council of] Trent, and considers himself the truer sola scriptura than his Calvinist opponents. He doesn’t use Scripture to prop up a dogma, but explicates what Scripture really says.
Wright’s book merits y’all’s attention also for the larger picture. Wright see two serious errors, one committed Protestants, the other by all contemporary Christians. [first emphasis is Sid’s, second one is mine]
I find this comment very interesting. Why? Three reasons:
1. Bishop Wright defends his position by explaining that he is only interpreting what Paul actually says in Romans 2, that is, the “clear” meaning of the chapter.
2. Bishop Wright considers himself “the truer sola Scriptura” advocate than even his Calvinist opponents.
3. Protestant interlocutor Sid believes that (presumably unlike both Catholics and other Protestants), Bishop Wright doesn’t use Scripture to support (previously accepted) teachings, but instead comes at the Bible with no prejudice and has therefore come up with the objective meaning on justification–the true meaning which has eluded both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches for the past 2,000 years and the magisterial Protestant churches for the past 500 years.
Here’s the problem that N.T. Wright poses to his Protestant cohorts: unlike the Jesus Seminar, who faithlessly seek to discredit and deny the most fundamental Christian truths, Bishop Wright is both faithful and brilliant (and thoroughly Protestant). He cannot be ignored or waved away as a crack-pot or apostate.
He has come up with a new interpretation of the Bible on justification, just as Martin Luther and John Calvin did 488 years ago. Neither of those two magisterial Reformers had the gift of infallibility, so Wright, following the founding principles of Protestantism, takes a shot at the Bible himself and comes up with a different understanding of this core Protestant doctrine than the Reformers did. Why couldn’t he be right and they be wrong?
Protestantism cannot but concede that Wright could very well be right and Luther and Calvin “not so right.”
Bishop Wright’s very existence and fundamental difference on the doctrine of justification also strike yet another blow against the Protestant doctrine of the perspicuity (clearness) of the Scriptures. Justification is an essential issue concerning our salvation, so the Bible must be clear on it, yet with this new perspective we have at least three major divergent beliefs on justification: The Catholic/Orthodox one, the old Protestant one, and this new one.
Off of Sid’s recommendation, I just ordered his book Justification, from amazon and look forward to reading it.