N. T. Wright, some Answers

Here is a Q & A session with N.T. Wright at St. Andrews church in Southern California (my mother-land 😉 ). It is good and long. Watch and see what you think:

ht: Brian MacArevey

I have come to the conclusion that there is more about NT Wright that I like, than I dislike; and I mean his heart, and his biblicism (even if I don’t follow him down every turn).

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28 thoughts on “N. T. Wright, some Answers

  1. Brian, of course 😉 .

    Fr Robert, it’s not about a sheen for me; he seems to be a good guy who loves the Lord and the Scriptures. Like I said I don’t endorse everything NT Wright might say, but he’s not all bad either!

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  2. Bobby,

    My point is not so much personal, as to his use and handing of the Word of God. Though I must say as an Anglican bishop he made many mistakes, and his position on women so-called priests, was again in error. Also, I must confess I see him as a dangerous exegete quite often. But hey, he is a theological rock-star in America! 😉

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  3. Fr Robert,

    Yeah, I am more trad than NT Wright, for sure! But as far as historical reconstruction goes I think he is a helpful voice (one of many though).

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  4. I’m happy to hear this. Seriously, I have read passages and thought i don’t know why Bobby doesn’t like this guy. It’s good to hear you have an open mind, now maybe I’ll get to that Torrance reading list.

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  5. I generally like Wright. His reading of Romans helped a lot. During his interchange with Richard Gaffin, he showed me how one can actually appropriate imputation language without the medieval and post-nominalist baggage that came with it (Christ’s death is imputed to his via baptism, ala Romans 6). He also showed me how I can accept the vicarious substitution without accepting all of the problems of penal substitution.

    And his hermeneutics of “prophetic language” protects against the wackiness of evangelical eschatological scenarios.

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  6. And contrary to what a lot of PCA guys have said (mainly on puritanboard.com), I am not a Wright-cheerleader. While I agree with his approach to interpreting the gospels, I don’t like the way he glibly accuses ALL of the church for getting it wrong (he can make the same move, score the same points, without cutting the limb out from under him when he says that).

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  7. Yeah, that’s me.. just one of those “wacky” evangelical Anglicans, that believes we are actually seeing eschatological prophetic things shaping (as the Bible said it would) the modern, and now the postmodern world towards the Eschaton! And here btw, modern Israel is centre stage! No “supersession” here, but indeed, “the times of the Gentiles”.

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  8. In a very, very qualified sense, I suppose. And they only reason I qualify it is because I haven’t found a definition of baptismal regeneration that does justice. Putting on Christ, dying to Christ, participating in the Exodus event–all baptismal language and all very strong. So far, so good. On the other hand, different traditions have different connotations (or at least that is what is accused).

    I don’t mind using the word, but I know it will get people angry

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  9. @Kenny,

    Yes, I’ve come to appreciate Wright more; esp. after I read Suzanne McDonald’s “Re-imaging Election.” Yes, read some TFT 🙂 !

    @Jacob (Ansgar),

    Given vicariousness, and union with Christ; I think baptism and regeneration collide in Jesus’ vicarious baptism for us (starting with John the Baptist), and culminating in his death/resurrection. This way baptism isn’t tied to an institution, a rite, a church, even a sacrament; instead its tied to the person of Jesus pro nobis. I am still planning on reading more Wright, I’ve read big chunks of him in the past (and his Justification recently); but I’ll spend more time with him in due course.

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  10. As an Anglican, I have in my history there believed (for a short time) in Baptismal Regeneration, but I now reject that outright! And move back to the Scripture and the language of the Anglican Articles, that baptism is a ‘sign’ & ‘seal’, but certinly not the reality of salvation itself. I think Acts 10:43-48 wipes out any idea of Baptismal Regeneration too! As John 3:3 ; 8, etc. Verse 8 is a powerful verse that dispels this view also.

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  11. Fr Robert,

    I reject baptismal regeneration myself. I think Baptism, for Christ, signals the coronation of the Son as He is blessed by the Father and anointed by the Spirit to accomplish the works of the Father.

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  12. Bobby,

    Yes, Baptism is a real and lasting ‘sign’ and ‘seal’ of our death and union with and ‘In Christ’…Risen & Ascended! But, it is first a sign of our spiritual “death”! Oh Lord, help (reckon) me to BE “dead” with you! (Col.3:3)

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  13. It’s not so much that one goes “simply to the Scriptures” while another is a slave to the Fathers. We interpret texts via a hermeneutical framework. For example, I’m not entirely convinced that scripture is using “sign” terms in the same way that the Confessions use it. In Scripture sign is when God does a mighty act, etc. Sign doesn’t mean “think theological thoughts,” or something.

    I would also dispute the hard divorce between symbol and reality, but even that disputation proves my point. Interpreting symbols has a very convoluted and contested history in Western thought, so simply to say “symbol” as such doesn’t say that much.

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  14. Again, you are assuming what you are trying to prove. It is by no means self-evident that the Reformers claim to be biblical meant they were actually biblical. We don’t think Arius was biblical, even though he went to the Bible. We certainly do not think Origen was biblical, yet he had the entire bible memorized in several different languages.

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  15. Yes, but the ministry and life of the Reformers: Luther, Melanchton, Bullinger . . . Calvin, Farel, Beza, etc. they proved the principle of the Reformation itself…the true Church is always reforming itself by the Word of God! And the Holy Scripture is again its own presupposition! As an Anglican, yet both catholic & reformed, via-media I stand! 😉

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  16. Following on from Ansgar’s point on eschatology, Wright’s preterism concerning the Olivet Discourse is troubling. (I think I recall Wright saying that Jesus never speaks about his 2nd Coming in the Olivet Discourse). I realize that Wright does hold to the personal return of Christ at the Consummation, but logically his approach can, and does, lead to full preterism – as in the case of David Chilton. Postmillennial reconstructionists, such as Gary DeMar, love to quote Wright regarding his preterism; especially “Jesus and the Victory of God”.

    It seems that partial-preterism and full preterism is on the rise. Personally, I’ll stick with the glorious theme of the “blessed hope” referring to the ‘soon’ return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory to judge this world and reign in glory; and I’ll take the wackiness of evangelical prophetic scenarios any day over the damp squib of an idea that it’s all been fulfilled in the 1st century.

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  17. Pingback: Elsewhere (06.22.2011) « Near Emmaus

  18. @Jon,

    I don’t follow preterism either; although I do think that partial preterism is different, in substance, from full preterism; and that partial need not be a slipper slope to full. In a sense we all have some sorts of preterism in our respective theologies; we all see certain prophecies, like messianic ones, fulfilled in Christ (but in some instances only partially). I would be more comfortable in using the language of historist in some instances (with double-fulfillment etc).

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  19. Bobby,

    Agreed… We’re all partial preterists to some extent! But the approach of people like Ken Gentry, Keith Mathison and Gary DeMar can be a slippery slope, as we saw with David Chilton – and as full preterists argue themselves, in the interests of consistency.

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  20. Indeed full preterism removes one from the authority and spirituality of the Bible itself…simply a huge error! I met some of these (theonomy) guys back in the 90’s, just after Gulf War 1 (when visting my then American Marine younger brother). I did like Greg Bahnsen (RIP), and too Ken Gentry. Gentry’s book on Revelation was interesting. I agree with the early dating of most all of the NT, but per more John A.T. Robinson’s thinking.

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