Pauline Theology: NPP - what I like.

After my last posting concerning the reversal of Reformational Theology by the NPP, I must admit that there are aspects of the NPP that I do like. 

As seen in this chart there is a clear contrast between the two points of view especially coming from Romans (the book of the Reformation). 

So, here's a few points that I appreciate the NPP for.

1. Justification of God (vs. individual justification)
I love the verse "Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures." (1 Cor. 15:1-3) This verse has led to many songs being written about the death of Christ being for individual salvation. While I do not believe this is wrong, I do think that the NPP points out that it is not completely right either. For the NPP, when Christ died he died to make right God's image. Since Adam (humanity) was made in the image of God, sin had tarnished God's image. Thus Christ died to right God's image, and as a result humanity is also justified and saved. 

Why does this matter? : Simply put, if we focus Christ's death upon man's salvation, then we neglect to grasp the redemption of all creation.

2. Corporate View
"The New Perspective rightly critiques much of the North American expression of Christianity that makes faith merely a personal fire insurance policy that requires no obligation to others, little concern for the world, and little obedience to God beyond what satisfies our own pleasures." The NPP view of God's Justification rightly focuses salvation to the community, not necessarily the individual. While the individual has gained salvation and a personal relationship with the Lord, the primary story however is upon the Covenant community. The New Perspective reminds us that we are saved as part of a community with concomitant loves, obligations, and identifications.

Why does this matter? : As a pastor I am constantly confronted with a lack of community participation by believers. The NPP refocuses North American ecclesiology to being the fact that "Christ died for the church." Thus, we must care more for the church.

3. History of Salvation
One of my greatest loves is biblical theology, basically how the OT connects to the NT. Personally I have always been uneasy with how few Christians understand the connection between the NT and the OT. Here within the NPP we find a solid understanding of connecting the two covenants together. However, the means of connecting the two is with some serious fault, adherance to the law...

Why does this matter? : If indeed all Scripture is to be preserved and held by the church, then believers must grasp how the two connect together.

4. The Faithfulness of Christ
My second greatest love is studying the faithfulness of God. The NPP hold the view that believers are saved because Christ is faithful, not because man has faith. If a believer could be saved by their "faith alone," then it could be deduced that their faith saved them. The NPP builds upon covenantal views which hold that the Suzerain who is faithful will save the believer. Allistar McGrath said that Abraham was made righteous by having "faith in the Lord's faithfulness." 

Why does this matter? : If we focus incorrectly upon "faith" and who's it is, then we could perilously believe in a works based salvation. Thus I fall in between the OPP and NPP. 

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