May 16, 2007

OUTSIDE SOURCE Book Review: "The Gospel of Free Acceptance in Christ"

SOURCE: Guy Davies (Exiled Preacher Blog)
EXCERPTS: "Venema writes as a systematic theologian. He is able to set his discussion of the new perspective against a broad theological backdrop. Venema begins by setting out exactly what the Reformers had to say about justification by faith. He gives us a clear picture of Reformation teaching, basing his account of the confessions of the period and examples of Reformed interpretation of Paul's writings. He concludes that the Reformers taught that justification is God's declaration that a sinner is right with him on the basis of the finished work of Christ. This righteous status is received by faith alone, apart from human effort....
"Having set out the Reformation's perspective, the writer seeks to describe the work of three leading new perspective writers: E. P. Saunders, J. D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright. Venema gives a clear, concise and fair analysis of the distinctive contributions of these three representative scholars.
"Throughout the book, Venema writes irenically and is respectful towards those with whom he disagrees. He does not claim to have said the last word on the new perspective controversy and is aware that more, detailed work needs to be done. He is grateful for some of the gains of the new perspective. But Venema has shown that the Reformers had a better overall grasp of Paul's teaching than they are sometimes given credit for. By looking at the issues from the standpoint of systematic theology, Venema has brought an interdisciplinary approach to a subject that is often seen as the preserve of historical revisionists and New Testament scholars. Those who simply tend to write off the older perspective will benefit from Venema's assessment of the Reformation and new perspective on Paul. Everyone interested in following the controversy over Paul's doctrine of justification will benefit from this constructive engagement with new perspective teaching."

For the complete review, click here.

1 comment:

Brian G. Hedges said...

THanks for the post on my blog, Steve. I'm a great lover of the Puritans and am trying hard to develop more interest in their writings in our church. You can hear a recent talk I gave on the Puritans at our church website:

Great blog, now in my bookmarks!