N.T. Wright’s Doctrine of Justification, Part 1

The Christ the Center panel had the distinct privilege of discussing N. T. Wright’s new book Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision with Guy Prentiss Waters, associate professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS.  Dr. Waters is an ordained minister in Presbyterian Church in America and did his doctoral work under the supervision of E. P. Sanders at Duke University.  Dr. Waters has written numerous books and articles, including The End of Deuteronomy in the Epistles of Paul, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul, The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology, and he has co-edited with Gary Johnson By Faith Alone and has contributed a chapter to the recent publication The Law is Not of Faith.  Dr. Waters and the panel discuss various features of Wright’s book, such as what is new in the book from what Wright has previously published, continuities with Wright’s past work, and the tone of the book.  This a a fascinating and detailed discussion that we have divided into two episodes.

Part 2 of this discussion is also available.


  • Guy Prentiss Waters
  • Jim Cassidy
  • Nick Batzig
  • Jeff Waddington
  • Camden Bucey


Carson, D. A., Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid. Justification And Variegated Nomism. Baker Academic, 2004.

Fesko, J. Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine. Phillipsburg N.J.: P&R Pub., 2008.

Johnson, Gary L. W., and Guy Prentiss Waters. By Faith Alone : Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2006.

Waters, Guy. The end of Deuteronomy in the Epistles of Paul. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

Waters, Guy Prentiss. Justification and the new perspectives on Paul : a review and response. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub., 2004.

—. The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology : A Comparative Analysis. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publ., 2006.

Wright, N. T. Justification : God’s plan and Paul’s vision. London: SPCK, 2009.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

20 Responses

  1. Pingback : Christ the Center Interview with Guy Prentiss Waters

    1. Randy

      I think you guys missed the point a bit toward the end of that first half (Part 1). Yes, Jesus did say “Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (from Matthew 28). The “church,” or more accurately the body of messiah and children of Yahwah are called to bring others to salvation. But what are people being saved for? What are we justified for? What are we sanctified and eventually glorified for? Who are we disciples of? For Yahwah’s glory right? For our Father’s purposes right? We are disciples of Jesus, right? Jesus’ central topic of teaching and discussion (obviously) was “The Kingdom of God.” Or “The Kingdom of Heaven” as Matthew wrote (partially simply by reverence for the Jews who didn’t write God’s name). These two are the same though. In Matthew 4:17 Jesus states “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” The kingdom of God. Jesus is God. Repent for “I” (Jesus) am here/near and “I” have come to battle and conquer the enemy death; and have permanent victory over the kingdom of darkness. We are disciplines of Jesus having been justified, and being progressively sanctified to live the rest of our present time on earth as His tools of redemption to the cosmos. Yes it is God’s “job” to redeem all things. But it starts now done by His spirit working through us because the kingdom of God has been inaugurated by Jesus’ death and corporeal resurrection in a glorified body (as the first fruit). We live in the ‘now and not yet.’ The kingdom has started and will be completed when Jesus returns in his re-appearing as the reigning king. From Genesis to Revelation Yahwah is after partners, workers, stewards, children to “do and ask for his will on earth as it is in heaven.” Disciples of Messiah have that hope and that mission.

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  4. Thanks for putting this discussion in the public domain.
    I do think that you mis-represented Wright in the discussion of ‘exile’. Wright stresses that the ‘exile’ is not geographic. The discussion seems to suggets he that it is. Wright may be unwise to use the word ‘exile’ as it does sound gepgraphic,. However he does explain otherwise.

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