In the August 2007 article “What Did Paul Really Mean?”, which concerns this counterfeit view of the theology of the Apostle Paul Christianity Entropy Today magazine we read:

For nearly 30 years, a number of theologians have argued for a “new perspective” on the apostle Paul and his doctrine of justification. Advocates of this approach believe that many cherished concerns of the Protestant Reformation were either wrong or ill-directed. Those concerns include justification, which Martin Luther described as nothing less than the “key article of Christian doctrine.”

Yet some evangelicals have found in the writing of new perspective theologians—particularly James D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright—a key to unlocking Paul’s original intent. So what’s all the fuss about?
(Online source)

The “fuss” is that this New Perspective of Paul (NPP) is actually an attack on the doctrine at the very heart of the Protestant Reformation, justification by faith alone. Apprising Ministries is pleased to bring you this three part series where Gary Gilley dismantles the NPP, which unfortunately is still largely flying under the radar apart from those of the Emergent Church worshiping at the altar of N.T. Wright.

Gilley writes:

In order to make the NPP “work” it becomes necessary to redefine or deny fundamental doctrines of the faith… Ultimately the NPP is ecumenical in nature. By eliminating and reworking the foundational truths of Scripture the NPP has reduced the requirements to become part of the covenant community to a nebulous belief in Jesus, baptism and obedience. This allows for a set of doctrines, especially that of justification, with “which Catholic and Protestant might just be able to agree on, as a result of hard ecumenical endeavor…

And which declares that all who believe in Jesus belong together in the one family”… Robert Thomas, at the end of his article on the hermeneutics of the NPP offers an excellent summary of the NPP teachings…

• First-century Judaism was not a salvation-by-works religion.
• Until the death and resurrection of Christ, by virtue of God’s election, any physical descendant of Abraham is a member of the covenant people and thereby justified.• Those who maintain the covenantal nomism relationship by obedience are the ones who will be saved.

• Paul retained his covenantal nomism after his Damascus road experience.

• From that point on, his mission was to dispense with circumcision, Sabbath observance, and dietary restrictions of the Mosaic law as boundaries that limited who could be a member of the covenant people.

• Guilt was not expressed in Paul’s writings, but was introduced by Augustine and Luther.

• Justification by faith and imputed righteousness was read into Paul by Augustine, Luther, Wesley, and Calvin because of their contemporary situations.

• Faith is not the means of justification or of joining the covenant community; it is rather a badge of covenant membership. One joins the covenant community through water baptism.

• Final justification is based on works of obedience to the Mosaic law so that any justification a person enjoys at present is only preliminary and can be reversed.

Part One      Part Two     Part Three