Friday, April 07, 2006

Tom Right?

N. T. Wright, with his advocacy of a “New Perspective on Paul” and women bishops is a controversial figure. Its heartening to note that in the Spring 2006 edition of Churchman, he repeatedly identifies himself as a conservative evangelical:

When faced with a text [such as 1 Timothy 2] bristling with exegetical problems
(not least with words that don’t occur elsewhere in early Christian literature)
my primary duty, as a good conservative evangelical who believes in the
God-givenness of Scripture, is to proceed with caution and to obey the
Reformation principle of not expounding one passage of Scripture in such a way
as to set it against others.

Replying to Gerald Bray’s previous editorial, Wright says:

The article then turns a corner and asks for parallel structures and evangelical
bishops, citing the present Bishop of Lewes [Wallace Benn] as the only one who
can be called ‘a genuinely conservative Evangelical’. Let me first register an
objection, already implicit in what I’ve said, to the hijacking of the latter
phrase. When Dr. Bray and I were young the phrase ‘conservative evangelical’ was
defined in terms of certain beliefs, particularly the inspiration and authority
of Scripture and a certain view of the atonement. Since I haven’t changed my
views on either of those topics, why should I now find the phrase used in such a
way as to exclude me?

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