N.T. Wright is awesome.

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by WrittenFromUtopia, Sep 25, 2005.

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  1. AdamM

    AdamM Puritan Board Freshman

    Being out of the college scene for 20 years, how much of an influence does the Jesus Seminar have these days anyway? I always thought it was silly, sort of joke with their black and white balls and I wondered how even a skeptic could take those guys seriously?

    I guess my point is, that I hear Wright get credit for taking on the Jesus Seminar and I wonder - well so what, who took them seriously anyway?

    [Edited on 9-26-2005 by AdamM]
  2. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    I appreciated Sinclair Ferguson's thoughts in his lecture on the NPP described in this thread. It was very pastoral. He said that truth is truth wherever you find it and he noted that the people advocating the NPP often have good stuff even in the midst of error. Sounds like Wright's writings on the resurrection may fall into that category (I have not read it - going off Jacob and Gabe).

  3. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    It is immensely clear that you (and many on this board) have been out of college for quite some time and have no idea what is needed to handle the hostile attacks you face daily in a secular school setting in regards to the Christian faith. That is why I love N.T. Wright so much. He is dealing directly, head on, with the things I face as a college student in the real world with atheists. He doesn't say "well that's just stupid who would believe that anyhow!", but he actually accepts the challenges atheists and extreme liberals put forth against Christianity and gives people like me sufficient ammo (temporally speaking) to be steadfast and confident in my faith no matter what I have to face in an intellectual setting.

    It is real easy to gather all your friends and high-five one another over the truth and how awesome it is when you're in a setting like this message board. However, for people like myself in a secular college setting, that is worthless and does me more harm than good. I need answers, not flippancy or a writing-off attitude towards challenges to the faith. This is why I am so thankful for tools such as presuppositionalistic apologetics, N.T. Wright's writings and lectures on Christ and early Christianity, and so forth. They may not seem important or "worthy" to many on this board, but try going to a secular Medieval Philosophy discussion class with all atheists who are hostile against Christianity and well versed in logic and rhetoric and then we'll see what's what. There is more to studying theology than labeling heretics and non-heretics; it is a study of God and His truth and wisdom, wherever it is found. :2cents:

    [Edited on 9-26-2005 by WrittenFromUtopia]
  4. Puritanhead

    Puritanhead Puritan Board Professor

    N.T. Wright v. A.N. Wilson

    Who will win?
  5. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    N.T. Wright may be helpful on some points but he is not awesome.
  6. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I think he's awesome, in the context of my original post. Name someone better, in this context? Go ahead, I won't hold my breath.
  7. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    I wouldn't be too sure about that Gabe. Those of us who have been out of college for a while certainly know what its all about because those same people we faced in college are now at our work places and in our churches making the same arguments and even more sophisticated arguments.

    My opinion would be that there are more than a few solidly Reformed theologians who have taken on atheists (Van Til) and liberals (Machen) who have not taken the heretical positions that Wright has that can provide more than sufficient ammo.
  8. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    They don't cover all the bases and I'm sure you know this. I would rather be more prepared to make a defense for my faith in as many areas as possible, and read texts by less-than-perfect men who are far astray on some issues than to be hyper-selective and not be able to answer pagans who challenge my faith point-blank day after day. I would rather sufficiently defend the honor of the Lord's namesake than have a 100% confessional Presbyterian book collection, in other words.
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Tom Wright took him to the school-yard. It would get ugly quick.

    Ditto Gabe. Reading men like Wright, Chesterton, Howard Marshall and others forces us to be more self-critical without abandoning our core theological assumptions. Of course it is dangerous, but that's where I grow spiritually, anyway.

    [Edited on 9--26-05 by Draught Horse]
  10. AdamM

    AdamM Puritan Board Freshman

    This is exactly what I was getting at. So you have hostile atheists well, versed in logic and rhetoric taking their cues from the silly Jesus Seminar of all places? Something about that doesn't fit.

    Who labeled him a heretic? I didn't and don't think he is. I think his theology of justification is contra-confessional, therefore not accurate Biblical teaching and I think he massively overplays the Exile theme and I get bothered by him often trying to read a hidden meaning behind the text and along with a few other smaller issues, but I have not labeled him a heretic.
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    As idiotic as the Jesus Seminar is, they, like all of our opponents, progress in rhetoric and presentation. Just because they are stupid, doesn't mean they can't present something effectively. Furthermore, as James White will admit, not all JS people are dumb.

    Secondly, not all attacks of people like the JS are similiar. So debunking "bead counting" doesn't cover all their arguments. Even if they are silly, we must be prepared to give an answer to all men, silly or not.

    Thirdly, I have used several aspects of Tom's methodology (be careful doing this, black magic can be helpful but is not always safe) against people who argue for Documentary Hypothesis, etc. (No, there is no connection or sure refutation between Tom and the DH; I had to tinker with this to make it work, but work it did!).

    Fourthly, Heretic? Check some old posts on this board. You will have seen the H-bomb lobbed at people for less than that.
  12. CalsFarmer

    CalsFarmer Puritan Board Freshman

    N.T. Wright is awesome.

    REALLY??? :banghead:
  13. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    You are right. Van Til and Machen may not cover all the bases but I am sure we could find some confessional Presbyterians who could make up for Van Til's deficiencies.

    BTW, I wonder if Paul thought the same way about the Judeizers? They taught Christ crucified. They probably had other worthwhile things to say. They just added alittle more to it. So I am sure the curse Paul laid on them was taken back in his second letter to the Galatians. ;)
  14. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    If being contra confessional makes one a heretic, then there are hundreds on this board, tragically.
  15. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    James White seems fairly popular on this board. Didn't he rely on Wright in his research for his debate with Crossan?
  16. AdamM

    AdamM Puritan Board Freshman

    I think I do remember Dr. White saying something about that.

    Maybe this "N.T. Wright is Awesome" thread more properly belongs in the apologetics forum, where folks could affirm it in that context? I think the trouble comes when you see "N.T. Wright is Awesome" in the general theology forum, people who hold to basic Reformed Theology have issues with such an unqualified endorsement in the theological context.
  17. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm with Jacob and Gabriel here. If we should not read someone such as Wright for some purposes, why on earth do we ever read the material of Gospel-denying unbelievers?

    Furthermore, it's not about recommending any of Wright's material to new believers or brothers in Christ who may be largely undiscerning - but simply about those of us that can soundly defend and hold our views on essential doctrine, reading Wright on certain points to sharpen our own defense against liberalism and unbelief without even having to mention his name when incorporating those ideas.

    It really is largely the same way with Chesterton, Aquinas, etc.
  18. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  19. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Even a broken watch is right twice a day. ;)

    I would not say that Wright is wrong about everything. He has probably written a number of things everyone could agree with at some level. But the question is how far do we go with someone who has fundementally redefined the Gospel, which has serious implications about Christ and His work? Are we sending a mixed message to the people in the pews when we say, "He's okay on this point but...."?
  20. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think a lot of this depends on what we mean by the "go" in "how far do we go." In other words, how would we safely yet effectively make use of some of Wright's material? Using your example, would we even have to point out to everyone in the pews certain points on which he is helpful? I would say no. (Now, of course we should tell anyone who specifically goes out of their way to ask if he is helpful on a specific point if he is - but that will rarely if ever happen.) Thus, if parts of our defense can potentially be sharpened by some of his work, we still need not go out of our way to publicize that work, and we need not even mention his name when using arguments that he may have helped us to see in a better light; and with that approach (which is the same one I would take with Chesterton and Aquinas) what is the danger?
  21. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    That is basically what I am getting at. Concerning the danger with Wright, it is evidenced by what is happening right now in Reformed churches. Wright is not only a prolific writer he is also a very effective writer who can be very persuasive, and because of this he has become quite influential. I personally know of young men (who were not well grounded in the Reformed Faith) who have come under the influence of Wright's theology. We should remember Paul's admonition that a little leaven, leavens the whole lump.

    Also regarding the dangers, the same thing could be said of Karl Barth, whose book "Epistle to the Romans" basically buried old style German liberalism, but introduced neo-orthodoxy to the church (something the church still suffers with). Barth was extremely influential on the Reformed churches as Wright is becoming.
  22. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    We definitely have to be cautious, indeed - especially around new believers or people who may not be very grounded in Reformed theology and able to recognize error. I don't see that important fact, however, as a reason to say that no one should read him on their own, especially if someone is truly well-grounded in the faith and keeps a critical mind while looking for beneficial points to sharpen.
  23. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I took on the atheists at school, at work, and at church. At school it may be more hidden in academia than when you're at work, but the gist of it is still the same. I think you're turning to the wrong things for answers to the challenges.

    I'm not going to run down Wright or Bahnsen; I'm just telling you that a tool is a tool. Nothing replaces the Spirit within you. That is most important. You have to answer them in the name of Christ, as representing Him, not yourself. If they run you down, then they run you down: that's their business. But as a Christian you reperesent something that goes beyond yourself. If you feel hurt, then just think how Christ feels everytime He gets slapped for being a holy-roller. For those who are forgiven they have to remember that Christ died for their sins, not so they could be free not to worry about sinning, but so they could be free not to worry about their committed sins.

    I'm not a follower of N.T Wright, nor of Bahnsen, but I am prepared at all times to defend the faith against all comers. Some of the time silence is the best reply, as debating will only add to the sins. Multiplied words only adds up to multiplied sins in a lot of cases. If they don't want to hear then they won't, no matter what you say. More often just a few words is enough. Say what needs to be said, and leave it at that. Saying it again and again won't help. I would give one, maybe two answers to their questions/accusations, but I wouldn't give them any kind of satisfaction that they purturbed me in any way. Receiving abuse and scorn is a positive sign to me, not negative. It shows I'm on the right side, and it shows that I'm connecting somewhere deep inside. They have the next move, not me.

    Don't think its any worse at college or university than anywhere else. I know that it is more concentrated, and that this is a protection and impetus for the challengers; but that is also a weakness. It gives the individual more cause for pause and reflection, seeing the behaviour of his peer group compared to yours. It can be just a gruelling at work, but in a different way. At work working together and making a profit has a priority over Christian life, and that works against anything you might like to say to anyone before conversation even begins.

    And you can't compare this Board to what's going on outside the Board. We have our tensions here, but its a world all its own as a cyber connected group of individuals. You can't see my face as I say these things, and that's a big drawback from real fellowship. Any kind of real-life fellowship.

    Let me say again that you will find answers from certain leaders. I find a lot of "ammunition" in Mortimer Adler. But he's no hero of mine, as well-studied as he is. The best defence you have, though, is a personal relationship with Christ, and nothing less. I'm not saying you don't have that; I'm saying you need to rely on it more in those situations. You'll be disappointed to know that when you're done all your courses, that things don't get easier. As the song says, "Things get complicated when you get past eighteen." (Statler brothers., "Class of '57".)

    To everyone else here:

    I know about people who teach things that are not the gospel, who teach the precepts of man as doctrines of God. And I know that N.T. Wright represents that to many of us here. But the problem is more serious than that. It's not just there, in the new teachings on Paul and Justification; its found its way into a lot of things that are normal fare from the pulpit in our day. As I read through Jus Divinum I am aghast at how far we are from even dreaming of a proper church government as God directs us to have. We are so divided into denominations, where Christ's authority goes only so far as the divisions go. We can't even stop a minister from preaching as he wills, whether or not he has approval of the church that commissioned him. As long as that remains, any talk of divine right is useless. The first mark of the church is the preaching of the Word. It's not just that N.T. Wright, or people like him, are preaching their views from the pulpit, its that denominations aren't addressing the fact that this goes blatantly against the very first principle of church. They're so worried about whether or not it complies with the Westminster Confession; and if so, then there is nothing they can do. But the problem is more serious: men are standing on the pulpit preaching their own gospel, feeling free to expand liberally upon the Confessions, as long as they don't transgress the wording of it. So for one its this, for another its that; and you have different gospels in different churches, even side-by-side churches. Where do you find that Christ has commissioned His preachers to preach their own views that are not solidly grounded in Scripture? Where do you find that, if a man is convinced that his view is Scriptural, that he may preach it? Where do you find that interpretation of Scripture is from personal impulse? Where do you find that the writings of men are sufficient authority to ground the preaching of current views?

    Its not that men following Wright or Sheppard are preaching their views per se: its that they have licence to do so in our milieu. All kinds of men are doing it in one way or another. They may not be preaching as dangerous a view, but that is only a matter of degree; for the most dangerous thing is that we are not protecting the pulpit from the precepts of men. We have the most blatant transgressions going on unaddressed, only because we find them not so dangerous. But they are the very licence that grants preachers to preach their abberrant views, only afterward, after the damage is done, to be addressed by their overseers.

    Can't you see how this tears the heart out of someone whom the church has rejected? There are many like that. Given the boot because they won't swallow the preachers' and the elders' latest ism. Sure, they find different grounds, and the testimony of all the elders is a lot weightier than the testimony of a lone man. But in the end, its still about doctrine: discarded from the Covenant, from the family of faith, from the fellowship and the sacraments, all because they stood up against the precepts of men making its way in as preached doctrine.

    [Edited on 9-26-2005 by JohnV]
  24. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    I understand your point. I have read some of Wright's work as well. But one should be very careful. Consider what happened to John Armstrong.
  25. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    :up: With this I agree.
  26. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    aww snap
  27. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Are you putting Wright/Sheppard in the same category with Bahnsen?
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Speak of the Devil and he shall appear

  29. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    For those who can't wait, the lecture is available at:

    Sinclair on NPP

    I have heard it may be removed on October 1st.

    Copied from comments on Blog. I already downloaded it.
  30. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I thought this part was very interesting:

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