As I have been speaking a lot lately on “New Perspectivism”, I thought I would share a thought that I was developing while speaking on the subject briefly in St. Paul, Minnesota over the weekend. First, as I was flying up there, I had been giving thought to how NPism “flattens out” some of the most precious and full truths of the Reformed faith. Consistently applied it really leaves no room for such precious truths as the union of the elect with Christ, the specificity of the giving of a particular people by the Father to the Son, (John 6), etc. Even if an advocate of NPism were to claim such beliefs, the foundation just isn’t there: without inerrancy and the consistency of the revelation of God en toto such doctrines are simply not tenable (which is why historic Reformed theology has held such a high view of Scripture). This then led, during the seminar, to the thought that the forcing of a monochrome, one-dimensional concept of dikaiosu,nh qeou/ (the righteousness of God) leaves it so bereft of the beauty that men have lived and died for over the past centuries. Wright’s tremendously forced reading of 2 Cor. 5:21, for example, illustrates this. By insisting that the phrase can only mean God’s covenant faithfulness, and cannot refer to a righteousness that comes from God (i.e., is imputed to the believer, the righteousness of Christ), Wright is forced to say that this passage is simply saying that the apostles are the embodiment of God’s covenant faithfulness. Likewise, Phil. 3:9 is reduced to a statement that Paul wishes to be right with God on God’s own grounds rather than on the grounds of Jewish national symbols. The rich depth of color that is the biblical concept of righteousness is forced into an artificially shallow monochrome concept that simply does not do justice to the fullness of biblical revelation.
By way of addition to this section…I recently saw an article by J. Ligon Duncan being panned on an AAPC-oriented site (notice the strange confluence again). Actually, the person was just applauding someone else who was blasting the article. As soon as I started reading the referenced article, I knew the Duncan article must be good, since I could tell the author had no idea what he was talking about. So I tracked it down and yes, indeed, it is a great article on NPism.