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Justification in Galatians:New and Old Perspectives

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Christians dissatisfied with traditional formulations of the doctrine of justification have found a new alternative in N. T. Wright's popular book, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?, published by Eerdmans in 1997. Wright, currently Bishop of Durham, is a talented and prolific writer and speaker who has clarified many New Testament truths. His overall thought on Paul, however, belongs to what many have termed the "new perspective on Paul," and his views on justification have created concern among some Christians. What is it about Wright's teaching that is causing a stir? Very simply put, it is the question of whether justification by faith in Christ is or is not the solution to the problem of sin, whether it establishes in a legal sense the sinner's acquitted status before a righteous God. I cannot begin to treat the matter fully here, but I will try to get at the heart of the issue, with special reference to Paul's teaching in Galatians.

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1 [ Back ] Quotations are from N. T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1997), pp. 120-22. For Wright's claims that Paul did not speak of justification in his evangelism, see pp. 116-17.

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Issue: "The Heart of the Gospel: Paul's Message Of Grace in Galatians" Sept./Oct. 2003 Vol. 12 No. 5 Page number(s): 37-39

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