There is a buzz in the evangelical theological world over N.T. Wright's latest book (I have yet to get my copy) on justification, in response to his critics, especially John Piper. Justification in Paul's letters is a judicial, forensic term having to do with God's declaration of righteousness to those who trust in him and in his word to them in Christ.
The issues lie in differing interpretations of texts, and for me the issue is exegesis of the relevant texts. The problem being that one can read into the texts their theological point of view and axiom, that for them in nonnegotiable, instead of letting each text speak for itself, and then seeking to integrate each with the whole, the entirety of Scripture.
I see this over and over with those who make much of their theological system. It's not that we don't systematize, for all of us automatically do that, if we consider Scripture over any length of time at all. It's that we can inadvertently, or for better reasons, set such systems in stone, because they are "right," and all in opposition is wrong in some set (and labeled) way.
I don't mean to suggest that anyone is immune to this, for such is not the case. But we should want to let each passage speak for itself before putting it into the context of another passage as well as all of Scripture. And it's important for us to keep reading those who are taking special time and pains to work through such things, such as Piper and Wright in this current debate.
To get to the point of the title just a bit, our justification and vindication before God is in Christ. And it plays out not only in declaring us, the guilty, justified, or declared to be in the right only because of Christ. But it also sets the stage for the immediate working of the Spirit in our lives to make us in our character and living, righteous. And in the end, even though it's not of ourselves at all, we will be judged by Christ as righteous.
Any thoughts you'd like to share on this? Has anyone here followed, or even been aware of this current debate?