Paul's Passing Thoughts

NT Wright Has Two Things Right, Plus One

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 1, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“Now, in what time I was able to invest in this, I find two challenges by NT Wright against the traditional Reformed narrative absolutely exquisite and dead-on.”

I haven’t jumped into the whole fray between the minions of Plato’s Protestant Reformation and NT Wright. At the behest of some PPT friends I have perused some of NT Wright’s stuff and find him a little more philosophical than I prefer. Furthermore, he seems to be coming from the European mindset that discusses systematic theology from the viewpoint of a linear gospel or the “golden chain” construct.

Once again, his name came up to me in regard to Al Mohler et al having their panties in a bundle over this guy. I was sent a couple of videos and one in particular incited me to dig a little deeper. The second video, seething with pompous Platonist arrogance, made me wonder what exactly it was about NT gramps that worries these guys so much, so I downloaded the book that irritates them the most on my Kindle and read the chapters on justification.

Let me pause here to remind you of something. These guys that are on the Southern video know how to present themselves in a way that makes everyone listening to them feel small. But be sure of this: when they stand before the Lord to give an account of their false doctrine we will be reminded in no uncertain terms that they sit down on the toilet and take a dump in the exact same way we do. Moreover, if you listen carefully, much of what they espouse is not even worthy of toilet paper. Mohler, in the video, is incredulous that NT has the “audacity” to question an anti-Semitic murdering mystic despot; namely, Martin Luther. Mohler then describes Plato’s Protestant Reformation as “the gospel.” At the end of this post, I have embedded a video that speaks to this aptly in my opinion.

Here, I will focus on what seems to irritate these guys the most about NT gramps. Doctrinally that is, their displeasure that NT takes away from the number of people they can control notwithstanding. When I watch the Southern video, I just see nicely dressed and well-spoken wolves whining about the mutton that they are being deprived of. Then there is a cub that they always have tagging along for training in the form of Denny Burk.

Now, in what time I was able to invest in this, I find two challenges by NT Wright against the traditional Reformed narrative absolutely exquisite and dead-on.

First, the idea of Christ’s righteousness being perpetually/progressively imputed to the believer for justification. NT is not dogmatic about this, but the wolf pack cannot even tolerate any semblance of this idea because it is the core of their false progressive justification gospel. They find a challenge here by a scholarly heavyweight most threatening.

Secondly, one of the elements of NT’s New Perspective on Paul; ie., the Reformers read Paul wrong in regard to the Pharisees; specifically, their idea (supposedly from Paul) that the Pharisees were “legalists.” Oh my. If not for the width of the Atlantic and my precious Susan, I would kiss this guy right on his bearded face. In the video, Mohler, shifting around in his throne-like chair because his panties are in a bundle (probably pink), reiterated the Reformed idea that the Pharisees were the legalistic personification of mankind’s fetish for “justifying themselves.”

This is not true at all. First of all, “legalism” is a word that does not appear anywhere in the Bible. It’s not a biblical concept. I have eradicated the concept from my mind because it is not a biblical concern. The Bible is primarily concerned with the traditions of men and antinomianism. That’s God’s truth replaced with the traditions of men in an anti-truth endeavor. And that’s exactly what the Pharisees were. They weren’t professionals at attempting to obey the truth of God’s word for justification as posited by the Reformers, they were rank antinomians inside and out who replaced God’s truth with their traditions.

The Reformers, past and present, have replaced that fact with their own narrative because they are the Pharisees on steroids. Luther was constantly accused of being an antinomian by medieval theologians, and the likes of John Piper (among others) have stated that the accusation of antinomianism is an indication that you are preaching the true Reformation gospel. The Reformation coined the term “orthodoxy” which is Reformed creeds, confessions, and councils that have replaced the truth of God’s word. The Reformed crowd is the epitome of the Pharisees and NT Wright is dead-on in his assertion that the Reformers misrepresent the Pharisees (see chapter 2 of  “The Truth About New Calvinism” available on Amazon and this ministry).

NT is right about one more thing in my book. Though I wonder about his concept of “final justification” and what seems to be the “golden chain” approach to justification, I work hard at this ministry and deserve a few sinful pleasures accordingly. Therefore, I like him because he annoys the wolves and causes them to howl irrationally. The video and the screaming thereof like alley cats in the night was music to my ears. When justification is a chain with sanctification links in the middle, the wrangling over what is works and not works are inevitable. NT’s approach to that seems to be novel and not Catholic or Reformed.

Beats me, I choose to like him for now because of the reasons stated. And though I am on a diet, I am eating pizza tonight, and at least one slice will be in NT’s honor.

paul

Dear Jane, I Don’t Know About NT Wright, But I do Know Phil Johnson is a Heretic

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 30, 2013

Paul,

What do you think about this video about NT Wright being called a heretic by Phil Johnson?  Phil says Apostle Paul warns in Galatians about the heretic belief that denies imputed righteousness of Christ.

I think Phil is a puffed-up talking head, but curious on your take of this.

Jane.

Jane,

Thanks for this. Phil Johnson is a hardcore proponent of authentic Calvinist (AC) Reformed doctrine. It holds to the double imputation of Christ’s righteousness being imputed to our justification and sanctification. The Bible emphasizes that the righteousness of the Father was imputed to us APART from the law before the foundation of the world. For AC, it is important that it is specifically stated that it is Christ’s righteousness that was imputed to us because He is the only member of the Trinity that would have “kept the law” as a man. And that’s the crux of the heresy, it advocates a righteousness that is NOT APART from the law. It fuses WORKS with grace.

The cute little Calvinist end-around on that is the idea that it is alright that justification is based on perfect works because Jesus keeps the law in our stead. IF we live by the same faith-alone gospel that saved us, the perfect obedience (Christ’s righteousness) of Christ will be perpetually applied to our life and we will be found covered by the righteousness of Christ at the ONE final judgement where the law must be satisfied. The problem here is that a satisfaction of the law is in view, and that is completely antithetical to the point that the apostle Paul strives to make in the Scriptures about grace being apart from the foundation of works. WHO DOES THE WORKS IS NOT THE POINT–WORKS PERIOD IS THE POINT.

But in this false doctrine a practical problem arises. We have to keep our salvation by faith alone so that perfect works will be perpetually applied to our account in sanctification so that we can remain justified. Because of this fusion of justification and sanctification and the fusion of grace and works, our Christian life becomes focused on the ambiguous endeavor of  living by faith alone apart from works. The standard for what saved us is now the same standard for our Christian life. “It is [NOT] finished.” If our justification was not finished at the cross, what was Jesus talking about? Plainly, justification is not finished, we have to maintain it by faith alone. This is merely works salvation by proxy; ie., our faith alone in sanctification is a rectifier that imputes works to grace.

Furthermore, it requires a complicated theological system that defines what IS A WORK in sanctification versus what IS NOT a work in sanctification. Critical to the AC construct therefore is the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic that rectifies biblical commands to a faith-alone construct. Simply put, it is a way to only EXPERIENCE obedience rather than to be the actual DOER of the law in sanctification lest it become, “the GROUND of our justification.” Hence, interpreting our Bible grammatically leads to works salvation because it necessarily implies “a leap from the imperative to obedience” rather than the imperative being rectified by the progressive imputation of Christ’s obedience.

It’s backdoor works salvation.

Moreover, it makes sanctification exactly what the Reformers themselves called it: “subjective.”  That’s their words exactly, not mine. The power in our sanctification is subjective because we only experience obedience and do not participate in it. We are to meditate on the OBJECTIVE gospel and passively observe the SUBJECTIVE results by faith alone. Hence, “the subjective power of the objective gospel.” John Immel would say that this is all about control; it makes sanctification an ambiguous and fearful endeavor that beckons the saints to depend on God’s annointed to guide them through the tricky and treacherous waters of Christian living by faith alone. Of course, James addressed this very problem in his epistle.

And Immel is absolutely correct about the control issue. That’s why Phil Johnson advocates this doctrine: he is a despicable tyrant filled with lust for the need to control people. Like Calvin, he advocates this false doctrine so as the apostle Paul said, let them both be accursed.

paul

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