What Does Justification Have to Do with the Gospel?

Sinclair Ferguson: “I must stress again that the doctrine of justification by faith is not what Paul means by ‘the gospel’. It is implied by the gospel; when the gospel is proclaimed, people come to faith and so are regarded by God as members of his people. But ‘the gospel’ is not an account of how people get saved.”—N.T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, pp. 132–33 There is a striking plausibility about saying that “justification by faith is not what Paul means by ‘the gospel.’” After all, as N.T. Wright elsewhere observes, we are not justified by believing in justification by faith but by believing in Jesus Christ. How Luther-like this all sounds. Did he not affirm that the gospel is “entirely outside of us”? Is this perhaps the longed-for antidote to evangelical individualism and a cure for subjectivism? Clearly Bishop Wright and others believe so. Elsewhere, Dr. Wright confesses the great relief he felt in discovering that we

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Guy Waters on Tom Wright

Guy Waters thoughtfully reviews N. T. Wright’s Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. His conclusion: Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision is the most comprehensive and current statement of N. T. Wright on justification to date. Justification is largely a restatement of Wright’s views, with some amplification and rhetorical refinement. It is not a detailed textual and theological interaction with his Reformational readers’ concerns and objections. To the degree thatJustification summarizes and synthesizes nearly three decades of Wright’s publications on justification, the book is useful to the student of Wright’s work. To the degree that Justification has failed to engage criticisms of Wright’s formulations on justification in such a way as to advance the discussion, the work is a missed opportunity. What is clear from Justification is that the fundamental concern of Wright’s Reformational readers remains unallayed and firmly in place: Wright’s views on justification have parted company with the teaching of the apostle Paul. (HT: Andy Naselli)