Justification: The Saving Righteousness Of God In Christ -- By: Thomas R. Schreiner

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 54:1 (Mar 2011)
Article: Justification: The Saving Righteousness Of God In Christ
Author: Thomas R. Schreiner


Justification: The Saving Righteousness Of God In Christ

Thomas R. Schreiner*

* Thomas Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison professor of New Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2825 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40280. This paper was originally presented as a plenary address at the annual meeting of the ETS on November 17, 2010 in Atlanta, GA. I have not revised the paper significantly but I have added a few footnotes and remarked upon a change in Wright’s view in note 8.

I. Introduction

It is understandable that Tom Wright provokes strong reactions, for he is a groundbreaking and innovative thinker and one of the premier NT scholars of our generation. Two dangers exist in considering his scholarship. Some incline to an uncritical adulation of his scholarship, others to an uncritical denigration. I, for one, am very thankful for his work and stand in debt to his scholarship. Certainly he is a friend of the Evangelical Theological Society. His work on the historical Jesus is creative yet faithful, provocative yet conservative.1 In my opinion, his book The Resurrection of the Son of God is the best and most compelling book on the topic.2 Wright has also taught us that we should look at the big picture. How common it is to look at the individual exegetical trees and not to see the forest. Wright has reminded us of the larger story, of the narrative that is told in the scriptural account. Obviously there is a danger of imposing one’s own story onto the biblical text, but there is also the danger of focusing on so many details that we end up with sound and fury signifying nothing. Scholars may end up adjusting Wright’s narrative account of Scripture here and there, or perhaps even radically, but we as evangelicals rejoice that there is a voice out there proclaiming the unity of the biblical story. Those of us who know the history of critical study of the Bible appreciate how radical and refreshing it is to conceive of the Bible as a unified message.

I also want to say that I think Wright is fundamentally right in what he says about the exile. Jesus came proclaiming the end of exile and the restoration of the people of God. Perhaps exile is not the right word to use (I do not have any great quarrel with it), but the idea is on target in any case. Israel was under the thumb of the Romans in Jesus’ day because of its sin and had not yet experienced the fulfillment of the great promises found in Isaiah and

the prophets. God’s kingdom dawned in the life, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. If Wright had merely said...

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