Doug Wilson has a brief commentary today on N.T. Wright’s recent ETS appearance (HT: Trevin Wax). In short, Wilson argues that Wright’s clarification of “on the basis of” language is good but that there are still other problems with Wright’s views on justification. He writes:
“He consistently has set his views over against the ‘traditional’ Reformation view, and adherents of that view may be pardoned for thinking that he knew what he was talking about which, as it turns out, he didn’t. His area of expertise is not historical theology of the Reformation era, and it shows. And he managed to write an entire book responding to John Piper without really responding to him, which, let’s face it, looks fishy.”
Wilson goes on to interrogate the idea that righteousness means “covenant membership” when applied to people and “covenant faithfulness” when applied to God. Wilson makes the point with a brief look at Paul’s “unrighteousness” language. Piper made a similar critique in The Future of Justification arguing that Wright has confused the meaning of Paul’s righteousness language with a legitimate implication of it. “Covenant faithfulness” and “covenant membership” are legitimate implications of what righteousness means, but it confuses the issue to make them the meaning of the term. This confusion comes out clearly when one pays attention to the way Paul employs “unrighteousness” language, as Wilson cleverly points out. Read the rest here.