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Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul's Theology of Justification

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Since the time of the Reformation, considerable attention has been given to the theme of justification in the thought of the apostle Paul. The ground-breaking work of E. P. Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) introduced the new perspective on Paul, provoking an ongoing debate which is now dominated by major protagonists. Foundational theological issues are at st Since the time of the Reformation, considerable attention has been given to the theme of justification in the thought of the apostle Paul. The ground-breaking work of E. P. Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) introduced the new perspective on Paul, provoking an ongoing debate which is now dominated by major protagonists. Foundational theological issues are at stake. In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume, Mark Seifrid offers a comprehensive analysis of Paul's understanding of justification, in the light of important themes including the righteousness of God, the Old Testament law, faith, and the destiny of Israel. A detailed examination of justification in the letter to the Romans is followed by a survey of the entire Pauline corpus. Seifrid's analysis incorporates a critical assessment of the new perspective, challenging its most basic assumptions; an evaluation of the contribution of recent German scholarship; and a reaffirmation of the Christ-centered theology of the Reformers. In this wide-ranging exposition of the biblical message of justification, Seifrid provides a fresh, balanced reworking of Pauline theology. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.


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Since the time of the Reformation, considerable attention has been given to the theme of justification in the thought of the apostle Paul. The ground-breaking work of E. P. Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) introduced the new perspective on Paul, provoking an ongoing debate which is now dominated by major protagonists. Foundational theological issues are at st Since the time of the Reformation, considerable attention has been given to the theme of justification in the thought of the apostle Paul. The ground-breaking work of E. P. Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) introduced the new perspective on Paul, provoking an ongoing debate which is now dominated by major protagonists. Foundational theological issues are at stake. In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume, Mark Seifrid offers a comprehensive analysis of Paul's understanding of justification, in the light of important themes including the righteousness of God, the Old Testament law, faith, and the destiny of Israel. A detailed examination of justification in the letter to the Romans is followed by a survey of the entire Pauline corpus. Seifrid's analysis incorporates a critical assessment of the new perspective, challenging its most basic assumptions; an evaluation of the contribution of recent German scholarship; and a reaffirmation of the Christ-centered theology of the Reformers. In this wide-ranging exposition of the biblical message of justification, Seifrid provides a fresh, balanced reworking of Pauline theology. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.

30 review for Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul's Theology of Justification

  1. 4 out of 5

    Neil Kruger

    This is another strong contribution to the study of the doctrine of justification. I found the sections on the 'righteousness of God', 'faith', 'the remnant motif in Romans 9-11', 'imputed righteousness' and 'the relationship between faith and works' illuminating and thought-provoking. Seifrid's proposal that justification be rooted in the 'verdict and vindication' in the death and resurrection of the Messiah should definitely be considered. He builds on the foundation of his Protestant heritage This is another strong contribution to the study of the doctrine of justification. I found the sections on the 'righteousness of God', 'faith', 'the remnant motif in Romans 9-11', 'imputed righteousness' and 'the relationship between faith and works' illuminating and thought-provoking. Seifrid's proposal that justification be rooted in the 'verdict and vindication' in the death and resurrection of the Messiah should definitely be considered. He builds on the foundation of his Protestant heritage, whilst at the same time challenging some of its conventional convictions. Seifrid's tone is aggressive. The conviction is welcomed, but charity is lacking, especially given that his disagreements often seem like nothing more than a different emphasis.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Horgan

    Seifrid has had a complex history. Raised in strict Lutheranism (Missiouri Synod) he made a deeper commitment to his Christian faith when at university and went on to become a Professor at Southern Baptist Seminary. This book was written during his time there. A little over a decade later he returned to his Missouri Synod roots crediting the writing of this book as significant in helping him rethink his theology. That background may explain some of the oddities of this work which is both a respon Seifrid has had a complex history. Raised in strict Lutheranism (Missiouri Synod) he made a deeper commitment to his Christian faith when at university and went on to become a Professor at Southern Baptist Seminary. This book was written during his time there. A little over a decade later he returned to his Missouri Synod roots crediting the writing of this book as significant in helping him rethink his theology. That background may explain some of the oddities of this work which is both a response to some currents in the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) and a reaction to reductionistic thinking about justification found in some baptist circles. Rightly rejecting the NPP's view of justification, which reduces to a simple change ethical view that hardly needed Jesus' death to achieve, the bulk of the book is a detailed exegesis of mainly Pauline passages on justification. Notable is the light touch taken to the locus classicus on imputation, 2 Cor 5:21. Justification is seen fundamentally as God's vindication of himself through Jesus' work on the cross. The standard courtroom metaphor is recast to make God injured party rather than just the Judge. Faith is then apprehending a salvation wholly outside of us. The concluding chapter includes an attack on the concept of imputation. Melanchthon is specifically cited as the originator of this idea. Seifrid thus locates himself with a 'Luther' view of justification which focusses more on salvation as a whole rather than the 'how' of it. (McGrath in his magnum opus Iustitia Dei sees these approaches as complementary, not opposed.) Though Seifrid cites a sentence of the Westminster Confession approvingly he omits the preceding sentences which explicitly affirm imputation. There is thus a weakness in his approach which downplays the role of the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ which distinguishes Reformed from Lutheran approaches to justification and resolves many of the tensions Seifrid thinks he has uncovered between Paul and theologies of justification. Unsurprisingly Seifrid's views caused some controversy at the time which are documented on James White's web site, though the subsequent move of Seifrid back to Lutheranism was not known at the time and does explain what was going on inside him!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Decker

    Though his emphasis on the resurrection in relation to justification was good, his view of imputation along with his lack of explaining the idea of "contention" was a major shortcoming of the book. Though his emphasis on the resurrection in relation to justification was good, his view of imputation along with his lack of explaining the idea of "contention" was a major shortcoming of the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lal Bahadur

    Nice book

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bauer Evans

    My introduction to this new series edited by Dr. Carson. Excellent!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Young

    The issue of justification is at the heart of the Christian message. What we understand about the Bible's teaching on justification directs how we not only understand our relationship before God, but how we appeal to and invite others into this relationship with God through Christ. Seifrid takes us to Scripture and walks us through Paul's conversion and his primary texts about justification, especially Romans. His teaching is clear and helpful. He engages the modern debates sufficiently to help The issue of justification is at the heart of the Christian message. What we understand about the Bible's teaching on justification directs how we not only understand our relationship before God, but how we appeal to and invite others into this relationship with God through Christ. Seifrid takes us to Scripture and walks us through Paul's conversion and his primary texts about justification, especially Romans. His teaching is clear and helpful. He engages the modern debates sufficiently to help us understand certain emphasis or points of contrasts in contemporary scholarship. But he doesn't belabor the modern debates, which I found helpful. HIs treatment of Romans is especially insightful. He lands us by pointing out flaws in some Protestant formulations of justification that separate the doctrine and it's parts (vindication, imputation, etc.) as ideas separated out form Christ. That is the great value of this book for all Christians: Seifrid takes us to Christ, and all the wonder of God's work on our behalf through him. This book may be more difficult for some readers, but it is well worth the time. I'd recommend this for all Christians. For pastors this book will be helpful to study yet again that great charge, to hold up Christ and him crucified, and help them to place that message amidst the modern debates about justification.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Seifrid's theology of justification in Paul is helpful on many fronts. His careful exegesis and thoughtful analysis of the pertinent texts is thorough and true to the text. It is also helpful in highlighting some of the problems with the New Perspective on Paul. One issue I have with this book, however, is that Seifrid downplays the issue of imputation of Christ's righteousness. While he does not deny the notion of imputation, he says it is incomplete and prefers to simply speak of justification Seifrid's theology of justification in Paul is helpful on many fronts. His careful exegesis and thoughtful analysis of the pertinent texts is thorough and true to the text. It is also helpful in highlighting some of the problems with the New Perspective on Paul. One issue I have with this book, however, is that Seifrid downplays the issue of imputation of Christ's righteousness. While he does not deny the notion of imputation, he says it is incomplete and prefers to simply speak of justification through union with Christ. I appreciate Seifrid's careful exegesis that stands as a helpful corrective to the NPP, but I differ with Seifrid when it comes to his stance on imputation.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Bonadies

    In this book Seifrid does a good job challenging the New Perspective(s) on Paul. My one concern is how he handles the doctrine of imputation. Though I am fairly certain that Seifrid does not seek to deny the doctrine (just look at the title), he could, at times, be a bit clearer. Nevertheless, this is a good read for those who are interested in the topic of Righteousness. CB

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacob McGill

    My problem with Seifrid is that he assumes that his view is correct and doesn't consider alternatives. Premise - I'm right - this is the only possible/correct reading - I'm right - complain about how everyone is wrong. My problem with Seifrid is that he assumes that his view is correct and doesn't consider alternatives. Premise - I'm right - this is the only possible/correct reading - I'm right - complain about how everyone is wrong.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Good discussion on justification with particular attention to the New Perspective on Paul. I appreciated Seifrid's big view of justification. Good discussion on justification with particular attention to the New Perspective on Paul. I appreciated Seifrid's big view of justification.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel Martin

    Seifrid is difficult to understand at times, but this is the most helpful book I have read on the subject. It's a must for anyone interested in the debate on justification. Seifrid is difficult to understand at times, but this is the most helpful book I have read on the subject. It's a must for anyone interested in the debate on justification.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Hutchens

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alan Alexandrino

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonty Haywood

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evan Knies

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Slawrenson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mykaƫl Arsenault

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gary Scott

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Mcculley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joel Jackson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Hatt

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chase Sears

  27. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charles R. Biggs

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shane

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