I enjoy Piper both at a theologian as well as a teacher. He has a knack for going deep but remaining accessible and all the while remaining utterly humble.
It's also safe to say, Piper espouses a theology of which I am very comfortable and familiar with. The surprises I get from Piper have been only to serve a deeper understanding of my own faith, not a challenge to it. So it's not surprising he appeals to me.
Recently I have been hearing more and more about N.T. Wright as a theologian, most notable for his work on the Pauline letters.
N.T. Wright seems a fair bit less accessible to me so far than Piper but he clearly has some divergent views of most of Christendom in terms of his views on Justification. I am not sure if this is my misunderstanding of him or indeed is what the New Perspective on Paul is all about.
I feel like it's best if I read his works directly and form my own opinion, but I am a bit intimidated by reading volumes that are 1,700 pages long!
It seems that Piper and Wright have been in disagreement. Piper wrote a book in direct response to some of N.T. Wright's work. Wright in response to this wrote an even longer book but it's not clear if he is directly responding to Piper or just expanding on his earlier ideas.
Piper on N.T. Wright and an introduction to his book, The Future of Justification (free download):
Here is an interview with N.T. Wright where he partially responds to Piper's book:
Just watching those two segments between the two, my immediate reaction is that Piper seems more genuine in seeking the Truth and having dialogue while N.T. Wright comes across as arrogant and proud.
I recognize that this are very small slices of a much larger debate but my immediate reaction is to be turned off by Wright and what seems like a lack of humility.
I am anxious to read this interview as well as the previous two interviews linked in this article.
I do want to dive more deeply into understanding the differences between these two men on the topic of Justification and try to stay open minded despite my biases for Piper and against Wright.
I just read through the interview I had mentioned previously and there are many good things that I fully embrace that were said by Wright.
In fact, from what I have read of Piper and other Reformed theologians, I think they would agree, not disagree as Wright says they do and would several times.
I now must read Piper's book for myself to see exactly what he says. I seriously doubt Piper would suggest we read Paul as if he were born in the 17th century.
I am starting to quickly get the sense that Wright and Piper, or at least the commentators on this debate are conflating things and there might not be all that much difference at all between the two and in the case where they are disagreeing in their own words, it seems like they might be talking past each other or misunderstanding one another.
"Sweeping statements about world views in first-century Judaism are precarious."
So in the interview (video) posted earlier Wright dismisses Piper rather flippantly. I am just now reading the chapter where Piper is delineating in a very nuanced and articulate manner, the dangers of using extra-biblical sources that are much less studied to then interpret Scripture itself.
He is absolutely not dismissing the idea of attempting to understand historical context and world views of the day, but is highlighting the dangers of putting these sources on the same, if not more important footing that Scripture itself.