Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On a collision course or two ships passing through the night?: A study of the underlying differences in the dispute between John Piper and N. T. Wright on the doctrine of justification
by Gillette, Jason D., Th.M., Trinity International University, 2016, 209; 10245911
Abstract (Summary)

From the inception of the Reformation, Protestants have championed the doctrine of justification as the foundational core of their creed. In fact, it has often been said, then and now, that the doctrine of justification is articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae—the article upon which the church stands or falls. Yet, at the start of the twenty-first century there is strong dissent over this core doctrine. In recent years, this topic has attracted vast attention and stirred immense conflict within evangelical circles. Scholars are increasingly at odds as to how to define the doctrine, while questions abound concerning the role it plays in the soteriological, eschatological, and ecclesiological framework of the evangelical faith. At the center of the dispute are two opposing and well-respected evangelical leaders, John Piper and N.T. Wright.

The purpose of my project is to capture this contemporary debate on justification between John Piper and N.T. Wright—to aid in understanding the details of their debate in better measure. The primary question I will address is, Are John Piper and N.T. Wright on a collision course, or are they two ships passing in the dark of night? A secondary question will guide us towards an answer, “How do two Protestant, evangelical, sola scriptura theologians arrive at such different places in relation to this essential doctrine?”

I will first address how the doctrine of justification has been understood throughout the history of the church, starting with the apostolic fathers, then tracing the doctrine through the medieval church and culminating in the Reformation, as well as the Counter Reformation at the Council of Trent. Thus, this journey will highlight the soteriological views of the patristics, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Ockham and the nominalists, Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin. Putting the Piper and Wright debate into historical context is imperative to understanding their dispute. We will also look briefly at what has been termed the new perspective on Paul, a label which has been ascribed to Wright. Finally, we will look at the intricacies of John Piper’s and N.T. Wright’s doctrines of justification before answering the central question.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sweeney, Douglas A., Manetsch, Scott M.
School: Trinity International University
Department: Church History
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history, Theology
Keywords: Covenant theology, Imputation, Justification, New perspective on Paul, Salvation and salvation history, Wright, N. T.
Publication Number: 10245911
ISBN: 9781369425109
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