Saturday, November 24, 2007


Let's talk a bit about perspective. It can be good from time to time to get a new perspective. As believers we need to be willing to allow God to realign our priorities when our lives become imbalanced. Living in obedience to God's Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to give us direction is essential to living a balanced life with proper perspective. In the same way that the tires on our cars need a realignment from time to time due to the rigors of the road, we need to have our priorities and our thinking corrected and put into alignment with His Word as we go through the rigors of this life and deal with our sinful nature. This is what gives us a proper biblical perspective, and allows us to live godly lives in a day and age of godlessmess and immorality. (I realize I misspelled "godlessness", but I decided to leave it that way because without a biblical perspective, that is what lives become - a godless mess).

I have been noticing lately that many Bible Schools, Seminaries and Christian publications have been promoting something called the New Perspective on Paul. It got me curious since I had never heard of it before. I read the articles promoting it with great interest; however, it did not sit well with me. Something about it didn't quite ring true. I wondered why we all of a sudden needed a new perspective on the Apostle Paul and his writings as found in the New Testament, and what was wrong with the old one. Due to my investigative nature I decided I needed to find out what this was all about and what was behind it. For the past six months I have dedicated many hours to studying NPP theology. And what I found did not please me. This post contains some of my findings. I hope you will find them helpful to your own investigation.

The most prominent promoter of the NPP is N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham for the Church of England. He is a technically brilliant author and a scholar, and therefore appealing to other scholars. Two other proponents of the NPP are James Dunn and E. P. Sanders, but it is Wright who has come to the forefront of the movement to promote it and who has been accepted by other evangelicals. Wright himself appears to be an evangelical, but upon careful examination of his doctrine I have come to believe he is a pseudo-evangelical who has crept into our Christian educational institutions with an agenda - redefining Christianity according to his own terms and promoting a social, liberal gospel, a different gospel.

Most evangelical scholars will acknowledge that they do not agree with everything the NPP is teaching, and then ignore the things they don't agree with. What I believe they fail to recognize or acknowledge is that the things they disagree with are FOUNDATIONAL doctrines which taint all of his writings on the NPP. Some may think that I am being unduly harsh and critical, but:

It is important that Christian lovers of the truth understand the roots of the NPP and its implications for all believers, because one day, if the trend continues (and I believe it is going to because it has been getting more and more attention as the years go by), it will challenge their doctrine, and it may change the way they read their Bibles, see the world and live their lives. This can only be a good thing if it is based on the inerrant and inspired Word of God, and from what I have been able to ascertain, the NPP is not.

A few of my observations regarding the NPP:
  • It redefines the important doctrines of justification, faith, and righteousness, altering the gospel and perverting it into "another gospel". Redefining Biblical terms is a favorite tool of Satan to deceive those who are not strong in the faith and firmly grounded in God's Word or are blinded by the sins of pride and arrogance.
  • It's origins are suspect. The Church of England is a "state church", which is a compromising church.
  • It misconstrues both Paul's and Christ's teaching on soteriology (salvation), and makes the cross of no effect and minor importance.
  • It denies the fallen sinful nature of man
  • It's agenda is ecumenical in nature.
  • It panders to liberals and reconstructionists.
  • It bases its teachings on a misrepresentation of Second Temple Judaism. Their claims about it have been refuted by other scholars, yet they cling to their misunderstandings. They teach that Judaism (per the Pharisees) in Christ's day was grace-based, contrary to what Paul and Christ taught. Read for yourselves what Christ said about the doctrine of the Pharisees in Matthew 16:11-12, John 5:16-40 and Luke 18:9-14.
  • It twists the meaning of Scripture.
  • It waffles on the issues of the Bible's inerrancy and inspiration.
  • It is essentially a works-based, "social gospel".
Are we to extend the hand of fellowship to one who would promote false doctrine and uphold him as a fine teacher? Should we consider him an authority on the life of Paul and his teachings? I would suggest that it is Wright who needs a new perspective, and that many of our Christian institutions have lost sight of the simple gospel message as found in the Bible in a effort to expand their "intellectualosity" and come up with ever more new and profound things to write about.

I challenge all readers to study one or several of the comprehensive articles which can be found online which refute the NPP and warn of its dangers:
The New Perspective of N. T. Wright on the Doctrine of Justification by David H. Linden
The New Perspective on Paul by Louis DeBoer
The New Perspective on Paul by Gary E. Gilley

The thing that hath been, is that which shall be: and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV

Satan is a master of disguise whose greatest aim is to destroy the work of the cross which Christ came to earth to accomplish. His tactics take on many faces, but his goal NEVER changes.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
I Peter 5:8 KJV

More on the NPP to come at a later date...

Beneath the Cross of Jesus
1. Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand
The shadow of a mighty Rock
Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And the burden of the day.

2. Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears
Two wonders I confess
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.

3. I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.
Lyrics: Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane

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