I don’t know about you but I don’t often read the foreword to a book in great detail. In the case of "Pierced For Our Transgressions" I decided to make an exception. Firstly, because John Piper is clearly a hero of Conservative Evangelicals and therefore what he has to say will be treated as important by them, secondly it seems to be a concise summary of many of the arguments so can hopefully provide a quick way in, thirdly it will of course also be interesting to see how consistent the picture is between John and the authors.
I’ll begin this with a confession. Parts of this foreword grate with me. The first paragraph is a good example:
Out of the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day had risen teachers of the
law who did not know what the law meant. Jesus found himself saying
things like ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not
understand these things?’ ( John 3:10 ESV). Some of the teachers had
lost all sense of biblical proportion, ‘straining out a gnat and
swallowing a camel!’ (Matt 23:24 ESV). And as they lost their bearings,
they came under Jesus’ most serious charge: ‘You have made void the
word of God’ (Matt 15:6 ESV).
Total 82 words, 30 of them taken from Bible. My perception (and what grates with me) is the lack of context and the way texts from different places are pieced together to construct sentences. These are not even whole sentences from the Bible. After all taking this technique just a little further I can create any sentence I like from words in the Bible. Clearly to suggest that John Piper is doing such a thing would be grossly unfair. It does however suggest an approach for me in working through the foreword.
That approach will start in my next post when I start reviewing the context of each snippet of Scripture that is used in the foreword, are they all clearly about Penal Substitution or are my misgivings about this approach justified?