This blog is devoted to discussing the pursuit of eternal life.
Discussion and participation by readers is desired,
but contributions should correlate to the book,
The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology
of Perseverance & Assurance

Thomas R. Schreiner
& Ardel B. Caneday

Friday, March 09, 2007

TRSBU, Not Read or, Not Understood By Some Readers?

Particular Redemption, The New Perspective, and More with John Piper (and Bruce Ware!)
By: Dr. John Piper 3/1/2007

John Piper offers his thoughts on the New Perspective and other prominent topics today. He also briefly interacts with Bruce Ware on the extent of the atonement.

At 108:20 a question is asked of John Piper concerning my beliefs that justification is fundamentally eschatological in orientation. Given the response, one may reasonably wonder if he has read The Race Set Before Us. It seems quite reasonable, given Mark Dever's question, that he has likely not read The Race Set Before Us.


What do I mean when I say that justification is fundamentally eschatological? What do I mean when I say that justification fundamentally derives its character from the Last Day?

For answers, look here and here.

Briefly put, justification is fundamentally eschatological or fundamentally derives its character from the Last Day because justification is fundamentally and inherently forensic in nature. Justification has to do with judgment. Justification is God's verdict of "not guilty," "acquitted," and "declared righteous" from God's judgment seat in the Last Day. Must we wait until the Last Day to hear God's verdict? Of course not. Why not? This is because God's Son, has brought forward God's verdict of judgment from the Last Day into this Present Evil Age. This is the good news, that God has already rendered his Last Day judgment over everyone who is in Christ Jesus. Likewise, as justification is already issued to all who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1), so also, condemnation, God's Last Day verdict over all who do not believe in Jesus Christ, is already spoken over them, too (John 3:18).

Think of the court room. There is no waiting for God's verdict. God's verdict is in. The verdict is in because God has issued his Last Day verdict of judment in Jesus Christ. This is what the gospel, the good news, is about; it is God's Last Day verdict announced already in the proclamation of Jesus Christ.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God (John 3:17-21).

Does this subvert assurance? No! Absolutely not! Rather, belief in Jesus Christ is inseparable from and integral to assurance that when I stand to be judged in the Last Day, I shall stand acquitted. Already, I am confident and assured that I shall stand acquitted in the Last Day.


Andy Naselli said...

Dr. Caneday, I listened to the Dever-Piper interview, but I haven't read your book yet (though I've read some reviews of it). Would you mind briefly responding to the interview?

Andy Naselli said...

Thanks for answering my question by expanding your post above, Dr. Caneday. That's helpful.

Burns said...

I think that one of the problems is that when a premil like Pipes hears "eschatological," he automatically thinks of the future instead of realizing that we are already in an eschatological age.

Anonymous said...

To Burns,

Piper is quite conversant with the current trends in biblical studies, particularly in New Testament Study. I don't think Piper construes eschatology as you proposed. Piper has a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Munich. Therefore, he is aware about the dual aspect of justification and other related issues.

Burns said...

Uh, yeah I know. I attended his church for 4 years. That wasn't what I was trying to say. I meant that his premillenialism is biasing the way he uses the term eschatological. I'm sure he's read Vos before.

abcaneday said...

Celucien & Burns,

I think that there is something quite correct about what Burns is saying. "Eschatology" and "eschatological" are terms that are altogether too much restricted for many people by the way they conceive of systematic theological categories.

Celucien, you are also undoubtedly correct that John Piper is aware of the work of men such as Oscar Cullman. Nevertheless, he is not particularly inclined to accept what you call "the dual aspect of justification and other related issues." This is precisely what he resists in favor of viewing justification in past terms which is the characteristically restrictive presentation of "justification" by systematic theologians who tend to fail to account for "the dual apsect of justification" as presented in Scripture.

Nick said...


Can you explain your thoughts on imputation? Would you be more in agreement with Piper or Wright on this issue?

abcaneday said...


I plan to respond to your question. I have simply not had time to offer a sufficiently full response.

Joey Thulcandra said...

I was reminded by a brother this morning that imputation runs two directions: Adam to us, and Christ to us.

So is Adam's unrighteousness counted as mine, until Christ's righteousness comes to be mine?

abcaneday said...


Theologically, concerning imputation I am definitely in greater agreement with John Piper than I am with N. T. Wright. In my estimation, some of what N. T. Wright says in opposition to imputation is silly, e.g., his rejection of "imputation of righteousness" by objecting that "righteousness" cannot be likened to some kind of "gas." Such an argument, it seems to me, exhibits a failure to understand what theologians and Christians mean by "imputation."

My greater agreement with John Piper, however, has qualifications just as any of my agreements with N. T. Wright. I think that John's theological affirmations on the matter are essentially right, but some of his exegetical and biblical argumentation attempts to find support from wrong passages. It is the age-old problem of right doctrine but wrong passage. But this is a problem that we regularly have, and we daily live with it. Right? This is why we can all endorse a theological affirmation but still have disagreements and discussions among ourselves concerning exegetical and biblical support for the various elements of our theolgogical affirmations. Hence, we all continue to learn and grow in understanding until we all attain unto the full stature of Christ.

Nick said...

Thank you so much for this response. It means a lot! P.S. I just ordered TRSBU from! Can't wait to read it.

Nick said...


I am doing a sermon/lesson on Justification at my church on April 22. I want it to be fairly basic but I want to discuss the essential elements of the doctrine. I was thinking about beginning with a discussion of God's Holiness and Justice. Do you have any good mp3's or anything that you could recommend? If not that's cool!

abcaneday said...


I posted a response to your query on the blog entry from early in August with a follow-up comment here.