Tom Wright’s new book is out, and here is a promo video from IVPress.
As I said in a previous blog, I endorsed this book for the publishers (SCM and IVP), and I absolutely love Tom’s “big-picture” interpretation of Paul (which he mentions toward the end of the video). But that does not mean we see exactly eye-to-eye on justification itself. The majority of his critics criticize him for being insufficiently reformed. This seems like an odd criticism of a biblical scholar, unless we understand the Rule of Faith to be much more than the ecumenical creeds—which is precisely what most of Tom’s critics do. Our understanding of Paul’s understanding of justification should be guided primarily by Paul’s own words within the context of his letters, his Scriptures, and his world. The results should then be used to judge the tradition, not the other way ’round.
I do not mean to discount the theological tradition—not at all. But if we discover that Paul’s view of justification is (as I and others argue) more participatory and inherently transformative than some Reformation texts and traditions suggest, then what needs to be challenged is those traditions, not Paul. And that is happening. A growing number of historians of theology are arguing, for example, that participation is the key to the Reformation understandings of justification.
Let the debate continue…