Sundoulos - Spring 2011

From the Editor

It happens, now and then, that novel ideas, born in arid academic circles, percolate into the wider culture, bringing both promising insights and disquieting revisions to cherished doctrine. Debate ensues. So it is with the “New Perspective on Paul.”

New Perspective scholarship, in its focus on Judaism at the time of Christ and the birth of the church, has provided significant insights which can aid our interpretation of the NT. But these contributions have been over-shadowed in the minds of many by the revisionist understanding of the doctrine of justification.

Thanks to the wide popular influence of N. T. Wright and John Piper, a scholarly debate, demanding skills in exegesis, historical and systematic theology, and historical/cultural/sociological study of Second Temple Judaism, has filtered into popular publications, pulpits and pews—and blogs, where often the nuances of the debate are lost.

In this issue, Matt Williams offers a historical overview of the New Perspective and notes some of the positive contributions it has made. The New Perspective brings some keen scholarship and needed insights to our understanding of the NT, and Matt helpfully guides us through the territory.

But many evangelicals have found the New Perspective disturbing, largely because of its reinterpretation of the doctrine of justification. In a second article, Bob Saucy and Alan Gomes team to critique the New Perspective’s reinterpretation of justification.

The importance of this discussion, we think, justifies (no pun intended) the added length of the articles in this issue.

We trust that the Lord will spark your interest and guide your thinking about these important matters.

Fellow-servants of the Lord,

Garry DeWeese

About Sundoulos

Sundoulos is published by the Talbot Alumni Association for the purpose of ministering to and communicating with alumni and friends of Talbot. All rights reserved. No material can be reproduced without the permission of the Sundoulos editorial staff.

The Talbot journal, Sundoulos (soon'-doo-los), is designed to serve those who have graduated from Talbot and are in full-time ministry. Sundoulos grew out of an influx of requests for some kind of continued support for alumni as they finished their coursework at Talbot. In 1993, it joined with the Alumni newsletter and received a new format. Dr. Bob Saucy was instrumental in the creation of the journal and describes it as “a way we could bring the fruit of the faculty to alumni.”

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