I wanted to share this with you. I read this just this morning in the Preface to N.T. Wright’s Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision and thought it was excellent.

“Second, the question is about the means of salvation, how it is accomplished. Here John Piper, and the tradition he represents, have said that salvation is accomplished by the sovereign grace of God, operating through the death of Jesus Christ in our place and on our behalf, and appropriated through faith alone. Absolutely. I agree a hundred percent. There is not one syllable of that summary that I would complain about. But there is something missing—or rather, someone mission. Where is the Holy Spirit? In some of the great Reformed theologians, not least John Calvin himself, the work of the Spirit is every bit as important as the work of the Son. But you can’t simply add the Spirit on at the end of the equation and hope it will still have the the same shape.”

N.T. Wright, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Downers Grove: IVP, 2009. Kindle Edition.


Matt Ayars

President of Wesley Biblical Seminary


Chris Geyer · April 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Matt, you say that “John Piper, and the tradition that he represents…” are crystal clear on substitutionary atonement. Then you go on to say traditionally they have clear on the importance of the Holy Spirit in the economy of salvation. I agree. It is not an addendum. It has consistently been maintained in the Reformed tradition that the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work to his people (John 14:16-17,26; Acts 1:8). That is fundamental to an understanding of Reformed soteriology.

    matthaiti · April 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Hey Chris! I didn’t say that, N.T. Wright did. 🙂 This is quote from his book Justification. You should really read it.

Chris Geyer · April 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I have read it. I like N.T. Wright, I have met him and have had a personal conversation with him. I greatly appreciate his writings. His book on the resurrection is the best treatment of the subject in print. I just think he is unhelpfully unclear on the topic of justification – but I will save those comments for your other blog entry on Against Piper, Part II.

    matthaiti · April 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hey buddy! So glad you’ve read it. What about it do you find unhelpful and unclear? This is interesting in that I find his take extremely helpful and clear. Reading him has brought clarity for me on certain dimensions of Pauline thought that I’ve desperately needed.

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