Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Has the New Perspective on Paul Created a New "Left" and/or a New "Right?"

A rather strange thing has occurred in Reformed-Evangelical circles (especially in the PCA). What was once a neatly divided front--conservatives on the right and progressives on the left--is now no longer as neat. The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) has allied these two "old" fronts. Both the old "conservatives" and the old "progressives" see the NPP as a threat. But what does the NPP threaten for each of these groups? On the one hand, the old conservatives believe that the NPP begins with less-than-Christian presuppositions, which can only lead (so they believe) to less-than-Christian results. Moreover, since these old conservatives have a skewed understanding of sola scriptura, they feel that the NPP directly threatens this reformation doctrine since it makes great use of Second Temple literature and history. On the other hand, the old "progressives"--who tend to be Sonship-types--see the NPP as a direct threat to the gospel. This unfortunate reality comes as a direct result of equating justification by faith with the gospel proclamation itself.

So is the NPP creating a new "right" or new "left" in Reformed-Evangelical circles?

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