Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Future of Justification by John Piper


This newly published book by John Piper, The Future of Justification, A Response to N. T. Wright, is now available for free from the Desiring God website, here.
These are Piper's words from the introduction,
"My little earthly life is too far spent to care much about the ego gratification of scoring points in debate. I am still a sinner depending on Christ for my righteousness before God. So I am quite capable of fear and pride. But I do hope that, where I have made mistakes, I will be willing to admit it. There are far greater things at stake than my fickle sense of gratification or regret. Among these greater things are the faithful preaching of the gospel, the care of guilt-ridden souls, the spiritual power of sacrificial deeds of love, the root of humble Christian political and social engagement, and the courage of Christian missions to confront all the religions of the world with the supremacy of Christ as the only way to escape the wrath to come. When the gospel itself is distorted or blurred, everything else is eventually affected. May the Lord give us help in these days to see the word of his grace with clarity, and savor it with humble and holy zeal, and spread it without partiality so that millions may believe and be saved, to the praise of the glory of God’s grace".

12 comments:

Reformed Baptist said...

I have really enjoyed the book so far. I have made it to page 70, and I find Piper's style to be the same as always: clear and concise.

I really get tired of people discounting him because he is a pastor (i.e. some of those commenting on Tillings blog).

Have you read any of the book yet?

In Christ Jesus,
blake reas

Nick Norelli said...

I don't think people discount because he is a pastor -- I think they discount him (or at least wonder why he's relevant as one commentator said) because he's not known for his scholarship. He writes popular books! As I said on Tilling's blog, I didn't even know he was a 'scholar' (I guess earning a PhD qualifies him as such?) until recently. I always thought he was a Joel Osteen or Rick Warren type of popular Christian author.

Exiled Preacher said...

Blake,

I've read the intro so far. Looks very good. I like the fact that Piper interacted with NTW while the book was in progress. He has tried hard to be fair to the man and not misrepresent his views.

Nick,

Piper is in a different league to Warren and certainly Olsteen. He's the best kind of theologian - a pastor theologian. Many of his books are aimed at the people of God as a whole, not just the scholarly elite. That's a good thing isn't it?

Nick Norelli said...

Exiled,

Sure, it's good that he writes for a wide audience. My only point was that I don't believe for a second that people are discounting him for being a pastor.

And while it might he true that he's in a 'different league' than Warren or Osteen (I don't know, I haven't read any of them), I'm sure there are those who would argue that Warren and Osteen are providing just as good (or even better) a service to the body of Christ as Piper is. I guess it boils down to personal taste in such matters.

Exiled Preacher said...

Nick,

From what I know of Warren and especially Olsteen, it is deep theological conviction, not just taste that distinguishes Piper. Being an evangelical Calvinist in the mold of Jonathan Edwards (as is Piper) isn't the same as liking custard (or not).

Nick Norelli said...

Exiled,

But your theological convictions are not everyone's. My deep theological convictions are certainly not the same as Piper's as a Charismatic-Pentecostal who holds a classical Arminian soteriology -- we can agree on continuationism but that's about it.

But my point is that there are those who prefer a Warren or an Osteen to a Piper and even those who feel that Warren or Osteen are correct over and above Piper. In the end, 'deep theological conviction' ammounts to 'personal taste'.

Exiled Preacher said...

Nick,

I had kind of realised that not everybody shares my point of view. But I couldn't disagree with you more when you say that deep theological convictions are just a matter of taste. That is just postmodern relativism.

Would you say that belief in the deity of Christ (or not) is just a matter of taste? If not, why not?

Looney said...

The only thing that I would note here is that the people Jesus commends are generally not of the sort who would even comprehend the distinction between Piper and N.T. Wright. Is there anything we can deduce from that?

Exiled Preacher said...

Looney,

No one is saying that a person has to comprehend the difference between Piper and Wright to find acceptance with God. But their discussion is about justification by faith - how sinners find acceptance with God. Paul certainly thought that it is important to get justification right and dangerous to get it wrong, hence Galatians.

Nick Norelli said...

Exiled,

I think you're equating deep theological conviction with absolute truth claims. My position would be that YES, belief or unbelief in the deity of Christ is a matter of personal taste (which I am here equating with a deep theological conviction).

I would also say that the deity of Christ is an absolute truth. But obviously not everyone is persuaded by this -- people believe what they want to believe whether it is true or not.

Reformed Baptist said...

Piper not a scholar? Have you read his "The Justification of God"? If not I guess you should, and then come back later and tell me what you think. Piper is a scholar for the church, which in theology I am not sure there is a much higher level teaching than that.

Also to group him with the likes of Joel Osteen shows that maybe you should not talk about Piper anymore. I consider even putting the man in the same bracket as that joker (osteen) to be an insult. As far as Warren goes, I believe that his gifts are elsehwere, but still as far as theology goes he is a far cry from Piper.

Sorry, for the strong conviction on this, but I do
not think it is fair.

Just to let you know Nick this is nothing personal, but I do believe that being a Pastor carries a stigma in American culture, that of being unintelligent. Piper is a good antedote to this.

In Christ Jesus,
Blake

Tandy said...

Within his courteous treatment of Wright, Piper used these words and others to describe Wright’s treatment of the gospel and justification - “disfigured,” “distorted,” and “blurred.” Just how disfigured, distorted and blurred does teaching on the gospel have to become before Galatians 1:8-9 applies? I would like to know where Piper and others would draw the line.

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