Don’t know anything about the NPP or N.T. Wright? That’s ok, join the club. But I can clue you in to some helpful information I’ve recently discovered. The books in which N.T. Wright is named as “Tom Wright” are the books for you and me. That’s right, his Paul for Everyone (read: “Paul for Dummies”) is for everyone, I’m coming in through the servant’s entrance.

Well, on to the thought I wanted to share. After mulling over (subconsciously, it’s great to be an N!) the article I linked to yesterday on Wright, some issues came to mind. One of the “problems” with Wright from the conservative evangelical community (according to the article) was that foundational thoughts in the NPP interpretative scheme have the wrong academic pedigree. This simply means that liberal scholars thought these things up, and as conservatives (and liberals!) are often disposed, the conclusions are rejected out of hand. The point is then made that we should be glad old Tom saw the diamonds in the rough over there in liberaldom.

At first read I accepted that point and moved on. However something James White said in his lecture series on Wright* from (Wright’s text) What Saint Paul Really Said, stuck out to me. Having read that first chapter of WSPRS, I found White’s (not Wright’s!) point to be valid. Namely, the charge of the ‘wrong pedigree’ may be motivation for some, but if you examine Wright’s recounting of the last century or so of Pauline study, the liberal presuppositions directly affect the outcome. Allow me to get to the point. Reading the text from the perspective of literature (or whatever liberal scholars call it, what I mean is not as Scripture, all of it… inerrant God breathed Word, roger?) produces conclusions that are then invalid. I am not going to listen to Bultmann tell me my interpretive scheme is not properly recognizing all of Scripture if he takes passages that do not fit into his scheme as gloss (or Paul’s own mistakes!) Does Wright do the same thing? I’m not sure. Word on the street is that he is not an inerrantist, but all I know now is that he is building (heavily) from the conclusions of Sanders and his ilk. The charge of “wrong pedigree” sure seems like a strawman, untill I realized, wait, they produce bad stuff! Sadly, it is from that ‘bad stuff’ that much of the so-called NPP takes shape.

These theories are from the other side of the tracks, sure, but it doesn’t matter if they are from my block, they fail the test. If John Piper tried to pass this stuff off on me, I’d reject it. Could you imagine? “Well, Paul didn’t actually write this bit” or “Paul didn’t mean to say that, he was still figuring that part out, but I’ve put it together.” Errrnt. Wrong answer, thanks for playing.

As far as the NPP is concerned and Wright in particular, I’m now weighing the opportunity cost of continuing much farther in his work. I may comment on his Galations commentary that I find fascinating, although sketchy. It may just be me, but in reading it I can’t shake the feeling that there is a lot of agenda alongside the text.

*download the zipped mp3s, scroll down to check the title over those three talks.

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