In ancient societies there was the expectation that such favors be repaid, and this semi-formal system of favors acted like loans. Some argue that this view then undermines the initial "favor"—of sending Jesus—by saying that, despite his life, death and resurrection, Christians still have, as before, to earn their way to heaven. However, others note this is the horns of a false dilemma all grace versus all works. Many new-perspective proponents that see "charis" as "favor" do not teach that Christians earn their way to heaven outside of the death of Christ.
Forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ is still necessary to salvation. But, that forgiveness demands effort on the part of the individual cf. Paul in Phil. To writers of the historic Lutheran and Reformed perspectives the penal substitution atonement theory and the belief in the "finished work" of Christ have been central.
New-perspective writers have regularly questioned whether this view is really of such central importance in Paul's writings. Generally new-perspective writers have argued that other theories of the atonement are more central to Paul's thinking, but there has been minimal agreement among them as to what Paul's real view of the atonement might be. The "new" perspective has been an extremely controversial subject and has drawn strong arguments and recriminations from both sides of the debate.
In Steve Chalke , after being influenced by new-perspective writers, published a book targeted at a popular audience which made comments highly critical of the penal substitution theory of the atonement. The continuing controversy led to the Evangelical Alliance organising a symposium in July to discuss the issue. A record of this symposium includes a chapter by Chalke and his views are also contained in "the atonement debate".
Both sides of the debate have attempted to claim the higher, and more accurate, view of scripture. New-perspective advocates claim that supporters of the historic Lutheran and Reformed perspective are too committed to historic Protestant tradition, and therefore fail to take a "natural" reading of the Bible; while those of the Lutheran and Reformed perspectives claim that new-perspective advocates are too intrigued by certain interpretations of context and history, which then lead to a biased hermeneutical approach to the text.
Justification in Paul and James
The "new" perspective has been heavily criticized by conservative scholars in the Reformed tradition, arguing that it undermines the classical, individualistic, Augustinian interpretation of election and does not faithfully reflect the teachings of the Scriptures. It has been the subject of fierce debate among Evangelicals in recent years, mainly due to N. Wright's increasing popularity in evangelical circles.
Powell,  Mark A. Seifrid , D. Carson ,  Tom Holland ,  Ligon Duncan. Smith has claimed that the New Perspective's challenge to the traditional view of Jewish faith practice as legalistic is misplaced. In John M.
Barclay published Paul and the Gift which re-frames Paul's theology of grace and, in doing so, provides a nuanced critique of the New Perspective. The "new" perspective has, by and large, been an internal debate among Protestant scholars. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox writers have generally responded favorably to new-perspective ideas,  seeing both a greater commonality with their own beliefs and strong similarities with the views of many of the early Church Fathers.
From a Catholic point of view, the "new" perspective is seen as a step toward the progressive reality of human salvation in Christ. The increased importance new-perspective writers have given to good works in salvation has created strong common ground with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Historic Protestantism has never denied that there is a place for good and faithful works, but has always excluded them from justification , which Protestants argue is through faith alone , and to which good deeds do not contribute, whether with or without God's grace.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the song by Panic! Interpretation of good works in the Apostle Paul. Wright . See also: Atonement in Christianity. Christianity portal. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. The New Perspective on Paul. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co. Harvard Theological Review. SPCK, Eerdmans, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Louisville: John Knox Press, Wright, New Perspectives. Journal of Biblical Literature.
The Society of Biblical Literature. Retrieved The Expository Times. Hays, Richard B. The faith of Jesus Christ: the narrative substructure of Galatians — New Testament Studies. Novum Testamentum. Dunn, J. Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers : — Also see Gal. Malina and John J. Christianity Today. Evangelical Alliance. Evangelical Times. Inter-Varsity Press.
Archived from the original on What You Think Matters. The Gospel Coalition.
Ambrosiaster, "Commentary on Romans". Pelagius, "Commentary on Romans". Origen "Commentary on Romans". Justin Martyr, "Dialogue" Ch 10— Clement of Alexandria, "Stromata" Ignatius, "Magnesians" 8.
Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity - Biblical Archaeology Society
Perhaps Luther and the Reformers got it right after all. Like Like. Thanks for the compliments, Dan! And just to add—as you know from my paper—that CD Damascus Document explicitly says, in a soteriological context, that God does NOT justify the ungodly. Right you are, Preston! And here the theological-biblical shape of Sola Scriptura came forth. Excellent post — thanks for the detail on such an important topic that has caused so much division.. There it has the article on it for stress—Jesus is the mercy seat. But the context in Romans sufficiently expresses the means of propitiation as the point and this is the only place Paul uses the word.
There is some debate about the meaning of the word; but it seems to include both ideas of expiation the removal of sin and propitiation the averting of wrath. Although there was the wrath of God against sin, it was also God in His love who took the initative against it. The holiness of God is preserved by the need for propitiation; the love of God is revealed by the provision. Thanks for sharing this, Dan. A major Gospel-position!
Is the NP semi-Pelagian? The first sentence presupposes that God does not take bribes. I agree. I do not raise this point of theology by way of disagreeing with the point that God justifies the wicked by his free forgiveness and acquittal. Of course he does.
I recognize that you were responding to NT Wright, whereas I am pretty obviously coming from a Catholic point of view. In any event, since you seemed to invoke theology proper as an exegetical criterion in the quote above, I would be interested in your take on my attempt to the same, re declaring righteous. BTW, We used your Greek text books in seminary, and I still reference them a lot, along with reading this blog. I am very grateful for your work.
Andrew, you raise some good points. God declares believers righteous now, but will make them righteous in the eschaton. Further, Paul is not saying that God is a liar, nor am I. Thanks for the reply. I wanted to suggest the possibility that a declaring can also be at the same time a making, especially when God is the one declaring. Another interpretation is that God justifies the ungodly such that they become, by justification, godly.
This would be analogous to the way that a parent gives a dirty child a bath. In theory, your view could work.