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The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
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The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
N. T. Wright, a world-renowned New Testament scholar and bishop of Durham in the Church of England, has spent years studying the apostle Paul's writings and has offered a "fresh perspective" on Paul's theology. Among his conclusions are that "the discussions of justification in much of the history of the church-certainly since Augustine-got off on the wrong foot, at least ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Crossway Books (first published 2002)
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Ben De Bono
Before I discuss the content of the this book, I want to briefly talk about the book itself and my feelings on whether or not it should have even been written. If you've looked at the rest of my Goodreads page, you can tell pretty quick I'm a fan of N.T. Wright. I find his theology to be a breath of fresh air. Because of that there's a part of me that is a bit annoyed that John Piper felt the need to write an entire book critiquing N.T. Wright.

On the one hand, I don't believe Wright (or anyone
Bret James Stewart
Feb 12, 2014 Bret James Stewart rated it really liked it
John Piper has written a book critiquing the views of N.T. Wright primarily regarding justification. I would first point out that Piper has done so in an engaging and non-hostile manner. He is concerned about some of Wright's views, but does not attack Wright himself. N.T. Wright is a renowned theologian and scholar known, among other things, for his non-traditional views on Paul and what he thinks the Bible says regarding justification. Wright essentially holds to what is known as the New Persp ...more
Matt Pitts
Mar 31, 2016 Matt Pitts rated it really liked it
I read this book neither as a John Piper fanboy nor as an N.T. Wright critic. I read it as someone who has benefited from the work of both men and who wants to get justification right.

I am currently in the middle of Wright’s massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God and felt the need to listen to a critical dialogue on Wright’s view of justification. The reason for this is simple: Wright’s writing is simultaneously complex and compelling. The danger in this is that it is easy to be swept away no
Jul 11, 2011 Jon rated it did not like it
I have read and been deeply impacted by many John Piper books. I was disappointed, because I found in this book that he seems to be arguing a strongly polemical position from a place of passion about preserving traditions. This is ironic, given that the traditions he's arguing to preserve are the traditions of the reformers who argued that we should scrutinize traditional teachings carefully in light of the Bible. Piper argues less from the Bible than from the tradition. My second disappointment ...more
Cathy Cramer
Piper's book is very thorough and very scholarly. At the end of it, he summarizes, "Justification is, in fact, part of the event of becoming a Christian. By justification we come into a right standing with God. And until we do, we are not saved, we are not Christians."

This has been my primary concern with Wright's teaching: that people will think they are Christians when they are not, that they are "saved" when they are not. There is no more horrific mistake than one could make in terms of heav
Ben Adkison
Jan 22, 2016 Ben Adkison rated it liked it
Several months ago I set out to understand the theological debate between N.T. Wright and John Piper about the meaning of "justification" in the Bible (in the Greek the phrase under consideration is "dikaiosyne theou" - the righteousness of God). Here's what I read, and the order in which I read it:

Paul In Fresh Perspective - by N.T. Wright

The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright - by John Piper

Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision - by N.T. Wright

A Review of: Justification
Jan 29, 2008 Lee rated it did not like it
Unimpressive, this book reminds me of Piper's efforts in Counted Righteous in Christ, where he takes on Robert Gundry and, in my opinion, loses. The exegesis is too forced, much too plastic, and seems to stem from theological bias against anything seemingly 'new' and 'fresh'. Things old or traditional are not always right because they are old or traditional. Maybe a 'new/fresh perspective' is not wrong because it is new. Maybe the historic doctrine of justification needs "distorting", or maybe W ...more
For those who enjoy subjects such as these, the books by Piper and Wright on justification are a treat. Piper's book came first, a response to Wright's writings on justification which Piper contends are not true to the Biblical witness. I appreciate the humility and respect Piper writes with in this book. Piper does a great job of putting forth the traditional Reformed understanding of justification: the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to human sinners.

Overall I found Piper's book less
Jan 28, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it
I have heard numerous Pastor's quote N.T. Wright and with the quote state his title which convinces the audience to think, "ooooh, aaahh, this Pastor is reading some impressive theologian with impressive titles so he must have really good things to say" but unfortunately, the hearer doesn't research any further into what the person being quoted believes or if what is being fed to them is good solid food and not a trendy sushi bar smorgasbord called a new “fresh perspective”. (I'm leery of anyone ...more
Dec 17, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second time through this book was probably even more helpful than my first time through. It is obvious that Piper isn't out to win a debate--he truly believes that true and right doctrine is being attacked by the New Perspective on Paul and he provides a very helpful response to this way of thinking. I am very thankful that Piper wrote this book. It has helped me tremendously when thinking through these issues.
John Rabe
Apr 09, 2008 John Rabe rated it really liked it
A very thorough and careful response to N.T. Wright's pervasive and influential contra-reformational teaching that Paul's use of the term "justification" is about ecclesiology rather than soteriology. I'm about halfway through and taking it carefully. It is a substantial work--as evidenced by the fact that Wright himself saw fit to write an 11,000 word response to Piper's first draft. It's also a model of charitable theological disagreement.
Mike Knox
Dec 31, 2010 Mike Knox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, theology
I read this book a long time ago (early summer maybe?) and I won’t be taking time to review it. Except to say that John Piper has gone to great pains to hear Wright out and understand him. This book is a model for how to disagree with someone.
Timothy Bertolet
Aug 01, 2011 Timothy Bertolet rated it really liked it
Good book, easy read for anyone who wants to understand more about the New Perspective on Paul. Piper is gracious and clear. Sometimes he adds a few to many caveats as he tries to understand what N.T. Wright says--but he engages the issue without a condescending tone.
Jun 01, 2009 Jerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
A much needed and well-crafted response to NT Wright's justification errors.
John Piper took issue with some of N.T. Wright’s views on justification. Because of this, Piper decided to write a whole book to point out the areas where he felt that Wright was misleading his audience. In this book, Piper raises 8 questions concerning Wright’s teaching. I will discuss all 8 questions by first stating Wrights view, then stating Piper’s view, then concluding with my response to that particular question.
Question #1: The Gospel Is Not about How to Get Saved?
Oct 01, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
John Piper is the pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA and author of more than thirty books. In The Future of Justification, Piper responds to the writing and influence of an even more prolific, English Christian author and former Anglican Bishop, N. T. Wright. The context of the theological conflict about justification by faith between Piper and Wright addressed in this book is the wider impact that the New Perspective on Paul has had on Christian theo ...more
Martin Pujdak
Mar 10, 2017 Martin Pujdak rated it it was amazing
The simple reason that I have given this book 5 stars is that it excels at the impossible. John Piper has turned God's Grace into a perpetual (as in FOREVER AND EVER) sacrificial atonement for our sins. Here is my succinct review that includes the pivotal quote straight from the horse's mouth (or more like monkey's ass):

I nearly fell off my chair as I came to see Piper's ETERNAL implication of the FUTURE tense as it applies to Justification. In his book "The Future of Justification: A Response t
Chris Borah
Mar 13, 2017 Chris Borah rated it it was amazing
I was surprised at how helpful this book was. I've agreed with Wright, McKnight, and others that Piper's and many others' gospel is soterian (McKnight's term), not accounting for the four Gospels articulation of the gospel, continued in Acts. However...

Wright's reinterpretation of Paul, contra not only Piper but also Augustine, Calvin, and so on, pushes back on 1,500 years of deep thought. Piper, while maybe missing many aspects of Wright's from the Gospels definition of the gospel, he still rec
Apr 21, 2011 Jason rated it liked it
Shelves: church
I read and gushed over Wright's "Justification" which is a response to this book, and so I figured I should read this book as well.

I will confess that I went into it ready to disagree with Piper in anyway that I could. Had he said that the sky is blue, I would have argued with him. Had asserted that the sky is indeed up, I would have scoffed. Piper disagrees constantly with some of my favorite authors and people who articulate things which I have thought for a long time, so I am always ready to
Dec 09, 2012 Bryon rated it really liked it

Book title: The Future of Justification; A Response to N.T. Wright
Author: John Piper
Wheaton, Crossway; 2007
Number of pages: 188

N.T. Wright is an incredibly popular and engaging writer. He’s saying things in a new way and that has everybody (especially those enthralled to Reformation Theology) a little jumpy. Wright is an incredibly engaging and talented communicator both in written and spoken word. He has helped and emerging generation of church leaders look at church, the Bible, and the gosp
Oct 23, 2011 Travis rated it liked it
In The Future of Justification, John Piper takes on N. T. Wright’s championing of what is commonly called the “New Perspective on Paul.” Piper, who often writes in a very pastoral, if also deep, style, is fully engaged in Bible-scholar mode for this work. Piper takes Wright’s challenge to the historic understanding of justification in the writings of Paul very seriously, and the book that Piper has written shows that seriousness.


The primary positive that I will mention about this work
Dwight Davis
I wish there was a 2 and a half star rating, that would be more accurate to my assessment of this book.

Overall, this was okay. I thought Piper showed a few places where Wright could be a bit more clear and he raised some good objections. However, I also thought he was incredibly unfair to Wright on some points, most especially on Wright's theology of the gospel. I thought Wright's definition of the Gospel was great, and I think it was irresponsible of Piper to basically say that Wright didn't un
James Criswell
Sep 30, 2016 James Criswell rated it really liked it
I'm actually re-reading this book. The first time I read it, I had only the faintest interaction with N. T. Wright. Since then, I've read many of Wrights popular books and dipped my toes into one of his more scholarly ones. I've become quite a fan of his. And so I decided to re-read this to see if I saw the points through a different lens.

Several reviews criticize the fact that this book exists. I disagree. While I don't share Piper's assessments that Wright's theology (particularly his view of
Micah Lugg
Aug 08, 2012 Micah Lugg rated it really liked it
I had not read any N. T. Wright before this book, but Piper quotes often from his works, so you can get a flavor of what Wright was trying to say.

There were a few things I appreciated about the book:
1. His tone and approach was winsome and loving. He was attempting to protect more than attack. His concern was pastoral and that came through.
2. He shows that the problems with Wright's views are not of the "splitting hairs" variety, but have significant implications for the life of the church. For
Adam Shields
Aug 16, 2009 Adam Shields rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I really appriciate how Piper is trying to make sure he accurately reflects what Wright believes, not only by using a very well cited quotes, but also a pretty generous reading. His intent is to make sure that Wright would not have any issues with the way that Piper explains what Wright believes.

All that to say, I really respect Piper for putting together a pretty academic responce to Wright and keeping it pastoral in concern and at least so far, bending over backwards to tell people that Wrig
Joel Wentz
Jan 10, 2013 Joel Wentz rated it it was ok
I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in the full scope of the Justification debate. The low rating is due to Piper's ultimately unconvincing argument - his over-reliance on tradition, seemingly for the sake of tradition, and his tendency to "hop-scotch" through scripture references to back up his points (in comparison to Wright - who he is responding to - who does brilliant exegesis through entire sections of Pauline letters).

Piper does write well, and he is fair to Wright, quoting a
Wesley Sims
Apr 01, 2015 Wesley Sims rated it liked it
I thought with the author being Piper and the subject being justification that I'd be more convinced by the book. I DO think that Piper illustrated that there are some points where Wright (or at least Piper's representation of Wright) could and should straighten up, but nothing really regarding central points.

I love Piper and am thankful for how pastoral he is, but I don't read him often because he's very repetitive, which perhaps is him trying to drive the point home but it makes it easy to get
Todd Miles
Jan 16, 2013 Todd Miles rated it really liked it
Shelves: soteriology
This is the clearest response to Wright’s New Perspective on Paul teaching that I have yet encountered. It is clearly reasoned and lucidly argued. He spends most of his time attacking Wright’s understanding of the “the righteousness of God” as “God’s Covenant faithfulness,” by demonstrating that such an understanding is reductionistic and does not account for all of the biblical data. He then presents several concise arguments from Scripture for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ to t ...more
Kent Maitland
Aug 06, 2011 Kent Maitland rated it liked it
Clear, straightforward argumentation that leaves no question of what Piper thinks about the New Perspective on Paul.

Slight proof-texting; Excessive appeal to what the 'majority' of church history believes.

Bottom Line:
Piper presents a very clear, concise, and informative objection to the New Perspective on Paul, even if the objection is largely ineffective.

I myself am NOT a proponent of the New Perspective on Paul. However, I do believe there are better arguments agai
Jun 06, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great and balanced explanation of and response to NT Wright's views on Paul and justification. Piper explains which charges against Wright are valid and which are not, which errors he falls into and which he does not, and which Wright's views may lead into even though Wright himself doesn't go there. It definitely helps me understand why there are such mixed views of Wright in evangelicalism. As his response, Piper provides an excellent defense of penal substitutionary atonement.
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John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethe
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