Michael F. Bird on N.T. Wright and D.A. Carson

According to Mike Bird, N.T. Wright and D.A. Carson are “The quintessential pastor-theologians.”

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14 Responses to Michael F. Bird on N.T. Wright and D.A. Carson

  1. Craig Benno says:

    Thanks T.C. I enjoyed watching that. Interesting how someone can say they are honestly impacted by two opposing understandings of the gospel.

    • TC says:

      Glad I can contribute. But where did you get the idea of “two opposing understandings of the gospel? I believe both Wright and Carson adhere to the same gospel.

  2. TC says:

    Craig, on that matter, both men are 5-pointers, just framing things a bit differently, but same outcome.

  3. Simon says:

    I don’t think he’d adhere to total depravity, at least in the way it is articulated by modern Reformed theologians and pastors. For Wright, human beings are God’s good creation, though fallen and marred by sin, are capable of turning towards God.

    We can go through them all, but I just cant see Wright framing things in a 5 point list. I think he would back away from such a reduction of soteriology. You see the way 5 pointers think. Just look at the GC website…. “9 ways to the evangelize these people…”, “10 reasons why that…”, “25 ways to overcome sin X..” and so on. This approach to theology and faith is reductionist and unhelpful in my opinion. Who says a list like that is complete and definitive? I can’t see Wright taking this approach to theology or pastoral care. And if you read his stuff, I don’t think you can say that he is on board with the 5 points – and this is part of the reason why his Reformed antagonists criticise him,.

    • TC says:

      Simon, as I said above, NT Wright would frame things differently to avoid confusion, as is the case with a number of contemporary reformed thinkers. But neither should you turn Wright into a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian.

    • T.C I think you are caught up in the clap trap of modern 5 pointers who say all Arminian theology is pelagian or semi pelagian. In fact, true Arminian theology is neither. Roger Olson has taken great pains to address this misnomer.

      Wright differs greatly from the standard 5 pointers in the area of limited atonement and double predestination. He clearly says that Christ died for all, but his saving work is only effectual for those who believe – which is the very thing that Arminian theologians also believe.

      It’s worthy to note that within a reformed historical understanding, Luther, Arminius, Calvin and Cramer (Not to mention the Scotts.) have very different, yet similar distinctive s and all within their own right have a right to be considered “reformed!” .

      • TC says:

        Craig, I do not consider Arminian theology as either Pelagian or semi-Pelagian as other Calvinists do. Yes, I’m familiar with the work on Olson on the matter (an expert, I must add).

        Not all 5-pointers hold to double predestination. Saying “that Christ died for all, but his saving work is only effectual for those who believe” is something that Calvinists having been saying for centuries as well.

        I depends on who is defining “reformed.” ­čśë

  4. Simon says:

    Saying that we can cooperate with Holy Spirit is not Pelagian or Semi Pelagian. The Reformed are not able to interpret the councils. So we reject their labelling of the vast majority of Christendom as having anything to do with Pelagian teachings.

    We are affirming the goodness of creation and particuarly the goodness of human beings. Sin, far from being our in our nature, is foreign to us. But we are trapped in it and can’t escape without Christ and the live-giving Spirit. This is where the Reformed fall over. They react against supposed Pelagianism and embrace something very akin to Gnosticism.

  5. TC says:

    “Cooperation with the Holy Spirit” in Wright? I don’t think so.

    What of this Gnosticism charge?

  6. Simon says:

    Even the Presbyterian theologian Philip Lee wrote a book on Protestant Gnosticism “Against the Protestant Gnostics”. If you read Wright, he explicitly states that much of evangelical piety and theology tends towards Gnosticism.

    Though he might not use the phrase “cooperation with the Holy Spirit”, the idea is right there in his work and his talks. Consider the following clip on hell, where he emphasises the choices humans make (whilst taking down the Reformed doctrine of hell).

  7. TC says:

    Simon, I’m aware of Protestant Gnosticism, if you will, but we’re talking in soteriological terms here. This Protestant Gnosticism that I’m critical of has more to do with the working out of salvation – what it looks like in the life of believers.

    I’m aware of Wright’s view on hell via his Surprised by Hope. See here.

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