Sunday, August 23, 2009

His Piperness and His Wrighteousness

Have started reading Wright's Justification (see a few blogs below). Managed to buy this book at our local conservative Christian bookstore. Honestly, I did ask if Piper's book was there as well, but, no, they had it not. Fortunately, thanks to a commenter below, I have been able to download it, from here. You can too, if you want. It's a 2.23 Mb file.

Well, it's too soon to give a verdict on either book, or a comparison between the two, or whether Gerald Bray's recent Churchman editorial is on the money (also see a few posts below for the link).

But here's the thing. Wright writes like the wind. He is brilliant. Better, BRILLIANT. Such turns of phrase, such intelligent pithy summations of complex issues. It is an exhilarating experience to read Wright at his racy best. Piper writes well but, well, a little pedestrian by comparison to his nemesis.

More soon.


  1. We must be wary of preferring style to substance. St Augustine, in his pre-conversion days, balked at the 'crudeness' of the Bible compared to the classics. The real question is, whose exegesis is correct? Paul Helm (at 'Helm's Deep') has a lot of criticisms of Wright's exegesis, so does Simon Gathercole of Cambridge University (referenced in Piper).
    Personally, I have begun to find Wright's style rather prolix and self-referential, with too many apologetic asides.

  2. Yes, Anonymous, but style not only sells books but makes them readable!

    I shall be keeping an eye on Wright's substance - Piper's too! Already I can see that much turns on some subtle distinctions around 'justification' and 'the doctrine of justification', so that, possibly, I will find that Piper and Wright are SS Piper and HMS Wright, ships passing each other in the night.

    I shall also be keeping an eye on the (already in my reading, emerging) possibility that Wright and Piper do not disagree on substance, but Wright offers a bigger Pauline picture of the theology of salvation.