Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Two textbooks were listed as required for the “Justification in the Pauline Corpus” classes I am currently taking.

Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)

John Piper, The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007)

They are not easily located and finally I had to fork out RM108 to get Westerholm’s book from Canaanland that had them flown in. I started reading it before classes and before long found myself more scanning than reading.

I just got hold of Piper’s book yesterday (also from Canaanland), and read about 40 pages of it this morning. It is a good book. For someone who has not spent much on this topic of justification and who is quite new to the New Perspective on Paul (NPP), I feel that Piper would be a good start.

He gives a good introduction and also lists out a few NPP issues that he deals with in the book:
  • The Gospel is not about how to get saved?
  • Justification is not how you become a Christian?
  • Justification is not the Gospel?
  • We are not justified by believing in justification?
  • The imputation of God’s righteousness makes no sense at all?
  • Future justification is on the basis of the complete life lived?
  • First-century Judaism had nothing of the alleged self-righteous and boastful legalism?
  • God’s righteousness is the same as His covenant faithfulness?
To me, at this point at least, the Gospel is about how we get saved, justification by faith is how I become a Christian, but that is about all I can attest to in the list above for now. I do not agree that justification is the Gospel per se, or that we are justified by believing in justification. I would have to read Piper to see why he asked those questions.

I do not have an answer to the question on imputation because as much as I believe that Christ’s righteousness is imputed on us, I need to study it deeper. As far as the other questions are concerned, I have no idea what they refer to. I will have to read on to find out. And just like the last book I actually finished reading, I must do the same for this one and kick myself if I end up having it half read like the ones piled on top of my table now. Hit me if I do.



  1. I love the title Pearlie! I hope you follow-up with more on the Piper book.

  2. KB,
    It really shows how lost I am! haha

    About the book, I hope I can keep up - I am halfway through and in the verge of browsing already because being so ungrounded in the traditional view, it is hard to understand traditional from new or new from traditional for that matter.

  3. :) Nice to 'meet' in real life hehe... The NPP is a very interesting and crucial topic to grapple with, glad Peter O'Brien did the class with us. Think I'd try to do the question on righteousness and justification according to NT Wright (but can't transfer credit to MBS so will depend on whether got time or not la haha)... Will skip Isaiah too hehe...

    when i met John piper in minneapolis two years ago, i asked him about this book... it was still in the draft stage and some frens were reviewing it, glad that it has finally come out

  4. Hi hedonese,
    MBS won't allow you to transfer? Why not? What are you doing there btw? I am not taking Isa either - too many pending and Thurs night is school night.

  5. Ehem, ehem... tell u more when we meet la, dun wanna open a can of worms like Kar Yong has a knack of doing ahahaha

  6. Hedonese,
    When will be meet I wonder ... you with MBS, I with STM, another CBTE one?

    Kar Yong been opening up cans of worms? Where? hahaha