I just stumbled upon an interesting discussion today about God’s Righteousness that I thought you all might like. Specifically, it is a four part blog series about the current John Piper / N.T. Wright justification/righteousness debate written by J. R. Daniel Kirk, a New Testament Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.
To summarize the debate real quick, Piper is a Reformed theologian who says that:
…the entire world is under the same law, will be judged by the same law, and requires fulfillment of that law in order to be justified. This transhistorical narrative places all of us on the same footing, and sees God as simply the judge who judges based on our failure to attain to the standard.
On the other hand, Wright, as an Anglican biblical theologian suggests instead that
…righteousness is more closely tied to the specific relationship God has with Israel. Israel is required to perform certain actions, to fill certain roles, and God has bound himself to respond in certain ways. The work of Jesus is about a surprising fulfillment of Israel’s calling to obedience (in the cross), and God’s fulfillment of his covenant obligations comes in vindicating those who faithfully join themselves to this crucified and risen king.
It is worth nothing that this debate is more then a disagreement among scholars.
It is a debate that is being worked out on streets across the globe – as in; most traditional evangelical churches tend to favor John Piper’s view on theology/justification/righteousness, while the rising Emerging/Missional Movement tends to favor N.T. Wright’s view. As such, I think Kirk’s summary of the debate is very timely as it is worth understanding and knowing BOTH views as we are called to love and to bless BOTH groups.