05 April 2006

new perspectives and luther

new perspectives and luther

Do you know the story about the Congressman who was asked about his attitude toward whiskey?

He replied, "If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I'm against it...But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I'm for it. This is my position, and I will not compromise."

I get the sense that some advocates of the New Perspectives on Paul might say something similar when asked about their attitude toward Luther:

"If you mean the popularizer of an individualistic introspective consciousness, the man who interpreted Paul as an opponent of self-help merit legalism, and the progentior of 'Lutheran' hermeneutics up through Bultmann, then I'm against him...But if you mean the defender of the Gospel of free grace, the advocate of faith's sole sufficiency for justification, the one who deployed Paul's polemic against ethnic presumption against the ills of his own day, then I'm for him. This is my position, and I will not compromise."