So here are some quick thoughts on ETS. Sorry for taking so long to get around to this.
The three plenary speakers were excellent. I thought Tom Schreiner did a marvelous job defending the traditional Reformation understanding of justification against N. T. Wright. He was gracious but forceful and pretty much dismantled N. T. Wright's position.
N. T. Wright was his usual witty self. But he did not impress me with his defensiveness and constant references to how he has been unfairly criticized on blogs or in hearsay reports of oral criticism muttered by faculty at a certain Southern Seminary. Scholars interact with published criticisms, not things heard through the grapevine. I would have had more respect for him if he had taken the high road of Schreiner and simply stuck to the arguments rather then mucking about in the ad hominem stuff, e.g., telling his critics to "get a life."
One comment N. T. Wright made was quite enlightening -- and here I paraphrase from memory. He dismissed as "medieval" the view that humans lack righteousness, but, oh, Jesus has a bunch of extra righteousness lying around, so, here, take some of his and get the righteousness you need to go to heaven. This is all derived from the medieval mistranslation of "the righteousness of God" as iustitia Dei. (Compare his statement that it is "a Latin irrelevance" in What Saint Paul Really Said, p. 103).
Of course, that is a caricuture of the Reformation view, but the fact that he can be so dismissive and casual about his rejection of it is troubling. In my view, the heart of the matter rests on the question: Does God require perfect righteousness in order to admit anyone into heaven? Wright seems to be saying No to that question. The Pauline and Reformation understanding of the gospel says Yes -- and since none of us have that righteousness, God has graciously provided it in Christ. Not by "the righteousness of the law" (i.e., inherent righteousness) but by "the righteousness of faith" (iustitia aliena).
My paper critiquing the view that "the righteousness of God" is a cipher for "God's covenant faithfulness" went well. It was in one of the breakout sessions with maybe 15 people in attendance. Of course, no one important was there, as expected, but I enjoyed the time and felt that those present did as well.
Oh, one last morsel. In another breakout session, Mark Seifrid said that N. T. Wright's theology is not evangelical. That got everyone's attention. What he meant by that is that for Wright, faith is merely the badge of membership in the people of God. For Paul, the NT generally, and the Reformers, faith is the empty hand, the receptive instrument, by which we rest upon and receive the righteousness of Christ. In my view, any position which takes that precious reality and turns it into something as cold as "the badge of membership in the people of God" distorts the gospel and cannot be called evangelical.
[Correction and retraction 12/10/10: I originally wrote, "Mark Seifrid said that N. T. Wright is not an evangelical." Dr. Seifrid wrote, via his colleague Dr. Jim Hamilton, to say, "I didn't say that Tom Wright is not an evangelical. I said that his theology is not evangelical." I want to apologize for misrepresenting Dr. Seifrid. I also would like to apologize to N. T. Wright. I wasn't attempting to judge N. T. Wright's spiritual state or personal relationship with Christ. So I have also rephrased my last sentence to reflect that.]
I am reminded of this remark by Calvin in the section on justification: "It is, indeed, an easy matter for these indolent rabbis to carry on such discussions sitting in their soft chairs under the shade, but when the supreme Judge shall sit on his tribunal, all these blustering dogmas will behoove to disappear. This, this I say, was the true question: not what we can fable and talk in schools and corners, but what ground of defense we can produce at his judgment seat" (Institutes III.xiv.15).