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The New Perspective On Paul[1]

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A quick overview of the NPP and Lutheran understanding of Justification

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The New Perspective On Paul[1]

  1. 1. The New Perspective on Paul <ul><li>Not ‘New’ </li></ul><ul><li>Phrase goes back to Dunn </li></ul><ul><li>Return to Pauline Worldview </li></ul>Perspectives
  2. 2. How can I find a gracious God? “ Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction…….Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted.”
  3. 3. Lutheran Soteriology <ul><li>Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness </li></ul><ul><li>Faith v Works, Law v Gospel </li></ul><ul><li>Same Situation which Paul faced in Galatians/Early Church. </li></ul><ul><li>Developed in Protestant Theology and Praxis </li></ul>“ Faith without works is sufficient for salvation, and alone justifies”
  4. 4. <ul><ul><ul><li>… yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. </li></ul></ul></ul>Lutheran Exegesis and Interpretation of Galatians With Paul we absolutely deny the possibility of self-merit. God never yet gave to any person grace and everlasting life as a reward for merit. The opinions of the papists are the intellectual pipe-dreams of idle pates, that serve no other purpose but to draw men away from the true worship of God. The papacy is founded upon hallucinations. “ What are these false apostles doing?” Paul cries. “They are turning Law into grace, and grace into Law. They are changing Moses into Christ, and Christ into Moses. By teaching that besides Christ and His righteousness the performance of the Law is necessary unto salvation, they put the Law in the place of Christ, they attribute to the Law the power to save, a power that belongs to Christ only.” Justified: Declared Righteous, become a Christian ‘ Works of the law’: Self-Effort, Works Righteousness Faith in Jesus as opposed to moral effort
  5. 5. New perspective on paul ‘Covenantal Nomism’ <ul><li>1976 Stendahl ‘Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West’ </li></ul><ul><li>1977 E.P Sanders ‘Paul and Palestinian Judaism’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Judaism at the time of Jesus and Paul was:- </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not legalistic </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on Gods mercy and election </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best described using the phrase ‘Covenantal Nomist’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>“ The ‘pattern’ or ‘structure’ of covenantal nomism is this (1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the law. The law implies both (3) God’s promise to maintain the election and (4) requirement to obey. (5) God rewards obedience and punishes transgression. (6) The law provides for means of atonement, and atonement results in (7) maintenance or re-establishment of the covenantal relationship. (8) All those who are maintained in the covenant by obedience, atonement and God’s mercy belong to the group which will be saved. An important interpretation of the first and last points is that election and ultimately salvation are considered to be by God’s mercy rather than human achievement.”
  6. 6. The ‘ works of Torah’ were not a legalist ladder, up which one climbed in order to earn the divine favour, but were the badges that one wore as the marks of identity, of belonging to the chosen people in the present, and hence the all important signs, to oneself and one’s neighbours, that one belonged to the company who would be vindicated when the covenant God acted to redeem his people. They were the present signs of future vindication. N.T Wright ‘What Saint Paul Really Said’ <ul><ul><ul><li>… yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. </li></ul></ul></ul>NPP Exegesis and Interpretation of Galatians ‘ Works of the law’: Torah but specifically circumcision, food laws, Badges of Identity, Covenant Community Markers Justified: Declared righteous, declared to be in the covenant family. Covenant, Lawcourt, Eschatology
  7. 7. The New Perspective on Paul Resources: Dunn/Wright/Garlington NPP Moo/Schreiner Not NPP Mp3s and Weblinks for online material and a copy of this powerpoint go to www.ordinand.wordpress.com or e-mail jonswales@hotmail.co.uk

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