Monica wrote this article on a theological perspective on justification called "The New Perspective." She is currently attending seminary and is involved with missions work in Europe. Upon graduation she hopes to continue serving in ministry or work as a teacher in the Christian education system.
While this assertion has some evidence in the writings from Second Temple Judaism, scholars have also found enough evidence against it to argue that it was not a universal understanding of the Jewish faith. Also, a number of concerns have been raised concerning Sanders' information and the conclusions he drew in his work. While there are certainly some things to be gleaned from the idea of “covenantal nomism”, the system is not comprehensive, nor should it be treated as such.
An interesting aspect to the New Perspective debate is the subjective nature of the discussion. From the New Perspective side there are sweeping generalizations and broadly negative assertions, mostly aimed at Martin Luther, modern evangelicalism, and theological authors like John Piper. On the other side, the New Perspective promoters have been mocked as poor scholars and vilified as heretics. While both sides clearly have allowed human emotions to interfere with academic pursuit, it is apparent why. On one hand, the pseudo-pietistic tradition of modern American evangelicalism needs correction, and on the other hand the New Perspective is suggesting that important soteriological vocabulary and doctrine be rejected.
Beyond the personality driven side of the debate, there are real disagreements that fuel the combative nature of the discussion. The New Perspective has an academic and scholarly background which gives it traction. The proponents encourage careful study of Paul's historical context, and there is definitely a danger to assuming that Paul does not need to be contextualized. This and other valid points from the New Perspective camp makes it a formidable movement, because much of what they suggest is valuable. However, the theological baby is thrown out with the bathwater, and their search for the historical context of Paul has led them to place focus on ethnic boundary markers, the inclusion of the Gentiles, and to redefine “righteousness” and reject doctrines like double imputation.
Probably the most explosive rejection is that of the concept of double imputation. As Wright describes it, it is the difference between a verdict of “not guilty” versus one of “innocent”. Based on his understanding of God's righteousness, he sees no need for Christ's obedience to be imputed to the believer. Instead, God simply wipes the slate clean based on sin imputed to Jesus at the cross. Wright views the “righteousness of God” language in Romans as speaking to God's covenant faithfulness, His guarantee to fulfill what He promised to Abraham. This contradicts the traditional view of God's righteousness. A summary might be that Wright sees righteousness as faithfulness, the Old Perspective sees righteousness as holiness. To say that we are made “the righteousness of God” according to the old view, means we are counted as holy despite our sin; for Wright it means we are counted faithful to the covenant despite Israel's failure to bless the nations.
Arguably most of what Wright argues for can be answered in a more comprehensive view of the covenants. Abraham and Moses were different people, and the covenants associated with them played different roles in redemptive history. By combining the two and effectively downsizing the Mosaic covenant, Wright has lost a major purpose of the Law: to reflect the holiness of God. The Law was not an arbitrary list of requirements to keep Israel special or to designate them as the light God would use in the world. Instead, the Law pointed to God's perfection, humanity's imperfection, and the coming resolution of that in the Messiah. The Law set God's standards. It is not enough for His people to be pronounced neutral, they need something outside of them to meet the standard for them, and then have that obedience designated to them, on their behalf. Paul was definitely concerned about unity of the Body, and the integration of the Gentiles. But what made that integration possible was that everyone is found righteous—right with God—through Christ; not any other way.
Wright offers a number of valuable points of discussion. There is a trend in modern evangelicalism that verges on ignoring the historical context of the Bible in favor of pragmatic strategy and prioritizes the individual over the body as a whole. For his work on that front Wright deserves commendation. But in his crusade, Wright ignores entire swaths of the faith who are also working to fix this problem. In fact, much of what Wright has to say of value is also being said by many in the Reformed camp, including emphasis on the one story plot line of Scripture, and the importance of covenant. The very desire to place Paul in his appropriate historical context is a worthwhile venture, but the conclusions the New Perspective has drawn from this endeavor are faulty. By putting “ethnic boundary markers” and Paul's concern for the incoming Gentiles as the primary focus of the justification discussion is to miss the mark.
Image From: J.R. Briggs
 From Gathercole, Where is Boasting: “Jewish “soteriology” was based both on divine election and on final salvation by works...and that a number of Jewish groups express the belief that they would be vindicated on the basis of their works.” (33) and, “we have seen that the Jewish people are represented in certain traditions in Second Temple Judaism as a pious, holy, and obedient nation. This national self-praise also translates to the individual level” (193)
 Neusner, “Sanders' Paul and the Jewish People” (416)
 While there are many places of disagreement among the three New Perspective contributors previously mentioned and traditional evangelical theology (particularly Reformed Evangelicalism), the focus will be on N. T. Wright. Sanders and Dunn pose less of a threat because they do not necessarily identify themselves with orthodox Christianity as Wright does.
 Wright, Justification (233)