July 23, 2009

I’ve read a respectable chunk of NT Wright’s work, and he takes up more space on my bookshelf than any other author. It’s not often that I read one of his books and am left wanting. But after reading Justification, that’s where I found myself.

That’s not to say that Justification isn’t a good book. Like most Wright books, it is well written (even when it gets technical), and his arguments are well developed.

I was left wanting more from where I sat as the reader than where he came from as the writer. I have at best dabbled on the fringes of the conversations about Pauline theology — specifically those related to the New Perspective(s) on Paul. It is a large conversation that I’ve not yet had the interest or personal resources (ie time and energy) to invest in it.

My hope was that Justification would take a large theological conversation and present it at the popular level. Wright does this so well, as we have seen in Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope. (Yes, the fact that this was published as part of IVP‘s Academic should have served a warning to me that this wasn’t the case.)

The reader should know that Justification primarily serves as a response to John Piper’s The Future of Justification — a book I haven’t read. I walked away with more understanding, even having only read part of the conversation. But when I do decide to work my way a little further into the Pauline discussions, I hope that someone like Wright will offer a helpful introduction.

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