I’ve just started learning about the New Perspectives on Paul and some of N.T. Wright’s views, but haven’t read any books on this topic as of yet; I’ve only read papers and listened to audio lectures. I have finished listening to a 3-hour presentation on this by D.A. Carson, and from what little I’ve learned and heard from D.A. Carson and others so far, to my surprise, and perhaps also to my demise, I find myself agreeing to a limited extent with this New Perspective’s definition of a “Christian”. Perhaps some of this is due to my Lutheran theology (e.g., emphasis on the external Covenant; sacraments; strong church authority; a global ecclesiology)? I don’t know. I do have some reservations to this theology though, especially to that of Federal Vision‘s. “Federal Vision”-types who prescribe to this New Perspective subscribe to a broader definition of what a “Christian” is. A Christian is defined as one who is baptized into Christ and becomes a member of the visible church. Although, this doesn’t mean that all “Christians” go to heaven because there are faithful Christians and faithless Christians. I am surprised that I almost find this definition of “Christian” acceptable because it’s partially true. Scary. What is missing is the element of faith in the believer. Due to my evangelical piety, I am not satisfied with having “Christians” remain as spiritual babes; I will pray and disciple “Christians” that they may grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Is this New Perspective on Paul convincing enough for me to buy into it? I’m only in the learning stage so I’ve yet to find out. What is your opinion on the New Perspective?