Monday, September 15, 2008

No "i" in Team...

One of my live ninjas - the Ox - has written a pretty good piece over at Assembly Quest entitled, Apostasy, Then and Now.  I suggest checking it out.

Much of it focuses on Daniel 9, and its application to the contemporary church (especially 'Brethren').  While understanding that Daniel was writing under a(n obedience-based) Law Covenant - as a member of that covenant nation - and plenty of "disenfranchised assembly guy" stuff not withstanding, he still makes some awesome (and honest) points.

My favorite part follows (reprinted without permission):

Daniel 9 is well worth examining, but I want to point out what is to me the most outstanding feature: Daniel was personally guilty of none of the things he confessed. Daniel himself had not committed the idolatries and immoralities he confessed; he had been only a boy when taken from Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and had an impeccable track record when in Babylon. Further, he was decidedly separated from the rest of Israel while in Babylon. But despite his personal blamelessness in the sins he confesses, he insists on saying "we".

I find this striking, because my experience in "brethren" has been precisely that they see themselves as somehow blameless in the current state of things, because they "walk in separation".  But Daniel---one of only a couple men of whom the Scripture recordsnot one sin---falls to his knees and says "we".

This is the great failure of "brethren" in my mind: that having seen the deplorable state of the Church, they have refused to humble themselves and confess it as "we". They've been quick to separate from sin they see, even if it means separating from other Christians; one would think that might mean they understand the seriousness of sin. But they have refused to acknowledge that we are all One Body, what one member does, all feel. Their fine-tuned rules of fellowship and separation have sprung from an admirable sense of wanting to avoid evil: but they have failed to see the big picture; we are in this together.

N.T. Wright Interview

Trevin Wax, in November of last year, actually sat down with the Bishop of Durham for a lengthy interview, largely revolving around New Perspectives on Paul theology.  I'm just now sitting down to read the interview at length, and found it very well done.

I must confess to a certain obsession with NPP.  I certainly admire the desire to place all of Holy Writ in its historical context.  Even if that means going against the status quo:  since many in evangelical Christendom often see the Bible as though it were written in a vacuum, and dropped from the sky (a somewhat pagan notion, in my opinion:  see the statue of Artemis in Acts 19).  If we're going to champion an "historical/grammatical hermeneutic," we need to be consistent.  And I can honestly say I've learned much from my study of NPP (both pro and con).

That being said, I have serious reservations about NPP, especially in regards to the doctrines of Justification, Eternal Security, and Imputation.  One need exercise great discernment when opening up such material.

Nonetheless, I believe this interview with Tom Wright - aside from further revealing his winsome, likable character - allows the man to condense things in an easily digestible way for the casual reader.  If your exposure to NPP is limited, this would probably be a good place to start.