Tuesday, September 8, 2009

N. T. Wright and Catholicism

Every now and then someone makes the charge that N. T. Wright's views on justification are very similar to those of Catholicism. In a recent panel discussion on Wright the issue was raised again. The panel members included Tom Schreiner, Mark Seifrid, Denny Burk and Brian Vickers and was moderated by Al Mohler. You can find the discussion here. I found it interesting but not much that was new.

But several people responded to the charge that Wright's views were the same or nearly the same as the Catholic view of justification. One of the comments referred to post by Taylor Marshall called "Does N. T. Wright's Theology Lead to Catholicism?" Marshall says "I started reading N.T. Wright at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) and along the way through my hiatus as an Anglican priest. I believe that he provided the necessary paradigm shift for me to appreciate the nuances of the Council of Trent regarding justification." He says that Wright is a "Protestant writing like a Catholic." Imagine my surprise then at finding a comment from Chris Castaldo whose book Holy Ground I just recently reviewed. Castaldo agreed with Marshall saying he was "right to suggest that NT Wright’s emphasis on covenantal nomism raises new questions about the merits of the Catholic position on justification." Marshall was so taken with Castaldo's comment that he offered him an opportunity to do a guest post on the subject of “The Four Aspects of Wright’s Pauline Theology." Castaldo agreed and wrote a post called "An Evangelical Perspective on N. T. Wright and Catholicism". Castaldo concludes however, that while he understands why some would take a second look at Catholicism because of Wright, "because the believer’s identity is founded in the risen Christ, God the Father views us as possessing the merits of Jesus’ victory and on that basis declares us 'not guilty.' For this reason, it seems to me, Wright stands closer to Calvin than anyone on the Catholic side of Wittenberg’s door."

Marshall has written a book, The Catholic Perspective on Paul, which is due out Summer 2010.

No comments: