Three New Perspectives on Paul

E.P. Sanders – Jews always believed that salvation was by divine grace and mercy. Paul created a “straw man” within Judaism to defeat (even though no Jews really believed it).

James Dunn – Paul wasn’t attacking justification by works (which Jews didn’t really believe). Paul was attacking “Jewish exclusivism.”

NT Wright – Affirms Dunn, but raises further questions about the nature of justification. He says justification, the declaration that one is righteous, is the declaration that one is a covenant member. God’s call, through the preaching of the gospel, brings one into the covenant family by grace, through faith. Then justification comes in and declares that person to be a member of the covenant. Therefore, justification is a matter of ecclesiology, not soteriology, answering the question, “Who is in the people of God?’ not “How do I get into the people of God?”

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Filed under Lectures, Scripture, SEBTS, Theology

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