Paul Owen, well known to our readers, has been reviewing Guy Prentiss Waters’ new work, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul (P&R, 2004). J. Ligon Duncan had spoken with me about this work while I was speaking at the 400th anniversary celebration of the beginning of the translation of the King James Version in Manhattan last year. He then kindly sent me Waters’ lectures on the topic. I will be writing a review of the work myself for the Reformed Baptist Theological Review. In any case, I’ve been following Owen’s rambling response to Waters in the form of an “open letter” on reformedcatholicism.com. Today I suffered through some truly amazing stuff to find this at the end:
Before wrapping this up, let me just say that I appreciated your concise handling of 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Romans 5:18-19; and Romans 5:9-10, 12 on pp. 172-174. I thought that your handling of these passages, though brief, revealed great exegetical instincts, and was right on the money. We have every right, on the basis of such passages (as well as Romans 4:5-6 and 10:4) to reject the path of scholars like Wright and Gundry (and to some degree Seifrid), and instead to hold on to the doctrine of Christ’s imputed righteousness.
If you are a long-time reader of my blog, and are familiar with events back over the summer, you probably just fainted. Yes, this is the same Paul Owen who wrote one of the most mean-spirited, nasty, personal hit-pieces against me I have ever seen all in defense of Dr. Seifrid, and for what? I dared to disagree with Seifrid’s views on justification and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. And here Owen casually associates Seifrid, “to some degree,” with Wright and Gundry on the very same issue! At least I was kind enough to fully document my statements from Seifrid’s own writings. The irony is only heightened in that Waters’ book is endorsed by Dr. Mohler! Waters identifies Seifrid as holding a non-standard view in this area in the book, just as I did. If Owen was justified to attack me so vociferously and personally six months ago for noting Seifrid’s position and disagreeing with it, what has changed so that he can say these things now?
Secondly, I have to wonder: since I have been presenting 2 Corinthians 5:21 as one of the key passages relevant to NPism for quite some time now, and since I have presented on the Dividing Line, on our website, and in recorded lectures on this topic, a very full, and documented discussion of Wright’s exegesis of that text, and have offered a counter exegesis that, while significantly fuller than the brief comments in Waters’ work, coincides with his views completely, why does Waters’ have “great exegetical instincts” and I remain, according to Owen, an utter dolt? Could we have here a glowing example of a double standard on Owen’s part, where what one writes, teaches, or preaches, does not matter, but only where one went to school? One is forced to wonder.