Monday, August 03, 2009

Gerald Bray and Paul Helm on N.T. Wright

My two HTC colleagues, Gerald Bray and Paul Helm, have written some direct and animated criticisms about N.T. Wright's latest book on justification which will prompt much discussion on the internet.

9 comments:

Doug Chaplin said...

Since Bray starts out with the claim that Tom Wright's views "have been openly opposed by almost everyone engaged in the field" perhaps you should lend him a copy of your "Saving Righteousness". I must confess at that point I thought he probably wasn't worth reading any further.

Ben Byerly said...

I'm with Doug.

I'd love to hear your explanation of those particular "falsehoods." While you're at it, can you tell me how he disses Wright as a half-time scholar in an article supporting Piper's scholarship?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Steven said...

Bray's review is crazzzzzzzzzy bad.

prometheus33 said...

"...despite the fact that his
disciples seem to come mainly from the ranks of those who have not studied the subject in any depth."

What?! Perhaps he should take a second look at Piper's followers.. hell, Piper himself.

Wow.. Bray rightly and ironically says desperation knows no bounds.

Sam said...

http://refluct.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-heart-nt-wright.html

Greg Monette said...

Is this for real??? Gerald Bray has written what I believe to be the most pathetic and amateur book review in theological history. Instead of focusing on the issues at hand relating to the work of Tom Wright, he needed to give him a lecture on the relationship between his being a Bishop and Scholar.

Bray couldn't carry Wright's sneakers let alone give pointers on Wright's career. DId Bray even read the endorsements given at the back of 'Justification' ?

This is hilarious! I'm not saying that good points can't be made to make an argument against Tom Wright's work, but this kind of review is bushleague.

Mike, did you post this review as a joke? Or as an honest assessment of 'Justification'?

-By the way, I love reading this blog and I just finished reading 'Introducing Paul'. Great job!

Paul said...

But Helm...

Anyone reading Helm's criticisms? They're a trenchant response and worthy of consideration; not that I don't seem much of what Wright is saying as valuable.

Andrew Cowan said...

On Helm,

I think that he is on to something in his critique of Wright's understanding of the "righteousness of God" as God's covenant faithfulness, but I'm not sure if he has read Wright on this issue quite carefully enough. In the statements he quotes, he claims that Wright defines God's righteousness in terms of faithfulness to the covenant with Abraham. However, there is a large ellipsis in the middle of the quotation, and a part of what is ellipted says, "God's [righteousness] is, not least, his faithfulness to, and his powerful commitment to rescue, creation itself" (Justification, 46). Elsewhere, Wright speaks of God's righteousness as including an original commitment to creation, which he describes as an "implicit covenant." So, although Helm may have a point in charging that Wright is insufficiently systematic as a thinker, his deconstruction of Wright's view of God's righteousness fails to hit the mark as he hasn't taken in the whole of it. I would like to note that I too am unsatisfied with Wright's definition and feel sympathetic to the direction of Helm's critique; Helm just isn't actually in direct dialogue with the view that Wright espouses.

Steven said...

That's all tied into the Christus Vicotr vs. Penal Substitution paradigms. Both are true, of course, but you can usually tell which one is "controlling" the other in folks. I hear a lot of folks questioning Wright's atonement position, and the most I can make of it is that he's not exclusive enough for them.

The emphasis on "rescuing creation," and certain critic's satisfactions with such a mission, reveals a bit of this divide.