How dangerous is the "New Perspective" on Paul?

Extremely dangerous: you can neither be a true evangelical nor fundamentalist and embrace The New Perspective
63% (10 votes)
Dangerous, but you are still an evangelical if you embrace it
13% (2 votes)
Somewhat dangerous but nothing to separate over
13% (2 votes)
Wrong but not dangerous
0% (0 votes)
Not really an issue unless someone chooses to make it one
0% (0 votes)
The New Perspective has some merit; I am considering it
6% (1 vote)
The New Perspective is pretty much correct
0% (0 votes)
I do not know what the New Perspective really means
0% (0 votes)
Other
6% (1 vote)
Total votes: 16
1722 reads

There are 8 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

I consider the New Perspective the greatest error infiltrating the evangelical world.

1. It denies salvation by grace alone through faith alone;
2. It is inconsistent with eternal security
3. It denies the complete efficacy of the atoning work of Christ, as do all works systems.

It is insidious and has penetrated where other errors could not.

What do you think?

If you do not know what the issues are, this article on Theopedia is pretty fair. Click http://www.theopedia.com/New_Perspective_on_Paul ]here !

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I went with other. I see it as "dangerous" but "embrace it" depends on what the embracer understands "it" to be. I'm at the point where I think I would have to read NT Wright (and some related background) to get clear on what exactly he's saying. I've heard fairly widely differing ideas lumped under "new perspective."

But in general, I look it with more than a jaundiced eye... I do not see why we need a new perspective on Paul, regardless of what that perspective might be made of.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I went with other. I see it as "dangerous" but "embrace it" depends on what the embracer understands "it" to be. I'm at the point where I think I would have to read NT Wright (and some related background) to get clear on what exactly he's saying. I've heard fairly widely differing ideas lumped under "new perspective."

But in general, I look it with more than a jaundiced eye... I do not see why we need a new perspective on Paul, regardless of what that perspective might be made of.

I think this review of Dr. Tim Gombis' book (which is more moderate than some) will help you get into the thick of it. Here is the link:

http://www.cedarvillecoalition.com/?page_id=10 ]http://www.cedarvillecoalition.com/?page_id=10

E.P. Sanders (whom I have read) is the father of this movement, but N.T. Wright's version is perhaps a little less radical. The amazing (but very academic, at my outer limit) 2-volume set, Justification and Variegated Nomism deals a blow to the assumptions of the New Perspective, IMO.

Generally, NP people believe that the Jews in Jesus day uniformly (or overwhelmingly) held that they were saved because they were born under the covenant, and, unless they apostatized or did something really bad, they would be saved. Volume I of Justification. & Variegated Nomism documents the diversity of belief of the Jewish people at that time; there was no single belief about salvation/justification among the Jews.

Volume 2 demonstrates that the Reformers did properly understand Paul, one is saved by grace alone through faith alone, not law keeping. NP would generally say that Paul was talking about the particularly Jewish aspects of the Law ("boundary markers"), not the moral teachings. Thus one comes under the New Covenant by faith (and/or baptism, in some instances), but must then keep the applicable commandments and walk faithfully with the Lord to be justified, and justification is usually understood to occur after death when being judged.

That is a pretty fast synopsis, but, as you mentioned, there are variations among NP teachers.

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Doug Brown gave us a kind of overview a while back:
http://sharperiron.org/article/overview-of-new-perspective-paul
Interesting discussion also.... but it got down to some pretty fine hair splitting. I can't believe that NP is really about fine hairs. It's probably a case of theological particulars that seem relatively minor but overall emphasis that is damaging in effect.

We've also got a look at NP here: http://sharperiron.org/2006/07/11/the-new-perspective-on-paul-what-saint...

An FBFI response to it here: http://sharperiron.org/2006/07/11/concerning-the-new-perspective-on-paul...

A related book review here: http://sharperiron.org/2007/05/18/book-reviewe28094the-gospel-of-free-ac...

... for those who want to start digging into it.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Doug Brown gave us a kind of overview a while back:
http://sharperiron.org/article/overview-of-new-perspective-paul
Interesting discussion also.... but it got down to some pretty fine hair splitting. I can't believe that NP is really about fine hairs. It's probably a case of theological particulars that seem relatively minor but overall emphasis that is damaging in effect.

We've also got a look at NP here: http://sharperiron.org/2006/07/11/the-new-perspective-on-paul-what-saint...

An FBFI response to it here: http://sharperiron.org/2006/07/11/concerning-the-new-perspective-on-paul...

A related book review here: http://sharperiron.org/2007/05/18/book-reviewe28094the-gospel-of-free-ac...

... for those who want to start digging into it.

Sounds like you know what the New Perspective is all about. The NP is not about splitting hairs; in a way, it is a return to Catholicism, IMO.

"The Midrash Detective"

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

After all that reading, I'm still fairly befuddled on what it is. Thought I knew but it's managed to crawl back into the fog, Creature from the Black Lagoon like. But maybe if I went back and re-read, clarity would return.

What I do know: the old perspective doesn't need fixing.

FredK's picture

I guess I just fell off the milk wagon. I have not heard of this. Can some one briefly outline it for me please? Thankfully it may not have reached our IFB church yet.

Secondly, can some one tell me why I am not getting notification of new posts in my email?

Peace and joy,

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

There are some links in the thread to articles about it... see post 4.
These will give you an overview.
The gist is that it's a re-evaluation of Paul's teaching on justification, based on changing understandings of intertestamental Judaism.

Best I can understand it, New Perspective de-emphasizes (some say outright rejects) the forensic understanding of Paul's teaching on justification.
(To me, it's a classic case of complicating the simple and clouding the truth in a fog of superfluous nuance)