Is “Covenant Membership” A Synonym for “Righteousness”?

That’s what N. T. Wright proposes.  Remarkably, a number of evangelical and Reformed folk seem ready to accept Wright’s re-definition of justification or, in some cases, to downplay the consequences of Wright’s re-definition. Wright says:

“‘Justification’ in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God. It was about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was, in fact, a member of his people. In Sanders’ terms, it was not so much about ‘getting in,’ or indeed about ‘staying in,’ as about ‘how you could tell who was in.’ In standard Christian theological language, it wasn’t so much about soteriology as about ecclesiology; not so much about salvation as about the church.”

…“He is saying, in effect: I, though possessing covenant membership according to the flesh, did not regard that covenant membership as something to exploit; I emptied myself, sharing the death of the Messiah; wherefore God has given me the membership that really counts, in which I too will share the glory of Christ.”

Charles Hill, explains the consequences of replacing “acceptance with God” with “membership in the covenant community.” Read more»

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