Faith as Allegiance

We believe in salvation by faith alone. But what does “faith” mean? Matthew Bates throws down the gauntlet and says the term, bibilcally defined, means “allegiance.” [Read more…]

Justification Re-Imagined (NT Wright)

For NT Wright the whole “Paul project” is to learn to see Paul as carrying Israel’s Story but seeing that Story being reworked, revised and reimagined in Christ and in the Spirit … and hence, too, what is meant by justification. There are some debates amongst evangelicals today — like is justification before union or [Read More…]

Two Strong Book Recommendations

So many books cross my desk that it’s not even remotely possible to blog about them nor is it fair, most of the time, to provide a kind of “Books Received” list at the end of each week or month. Every book that crosses my desk … I give a good look to see if [Read More…]

(A) Reformed View of the New Perspective

The clash was inevitable, but the clash has too often taken place under terms and categories that unfairly describe the other side. The traditionally Reformed have a stake in framing Paul’s gospel as justification by faith, and behind that they traditionally understand the problem to be humans who strive to establish themselves before God. A [Read More…]

Karl Barth Undermined Justification

The worldview of justification, which includes that God is just and the judge, that humans are sinful, and that in Christ alone God declares humans “right with God,” is undermined by the theologies of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Karl Barth. So contends Alan Spence in his sketch of the history of the idea in his new [Read More…]

Justification among the Liberals

No one really speaks for liberals; liberalism is so diverse no one represents it all. Except F.D.E. Schleiermacher, the father of liberal theology. In a world coming of age, or moving from one age to another, Schleiermacher, raised among the Moravian Pietists of Germany’s Lutheran church, sought to communicate the Christian faith in a way [Read More…]

Good Friday Thoughts on Justification

The apostle Paul connects justification to the death of Jesus in Romans 3:21-26 and to the resurrection in Romans 4:25 (texts after the jump). It is Good Friday, the day Christians ponder the death of Christ and the redemption we find in the gloom of Christ’s death on the cross. Alan J. Spence sketches Calvin’s [Read More…]

At the Core of the Evangelical Gospel

Behind almost all evangelical evangelism, and I have spelled this out in The King Jesus Gospel, is Martin Luther’s understanding of justification by faith. While American evangelicalism has lots of influences that shape and reshape what this movement is, behind it all stands the Reformation, and at the core of the Reformation is Luther’s belief [Read More…]

Protestant Critique of Catholic

It’s been going on for almost 400 years now. Luther unleashed an understanding of the gospel and of justification in a way that criticized the Catholic understanding. It could be said, however, that Luther pushed Augustine against Aquinas, but that would not be entirely accurate. Regardless, Alan J. Spence, in his new book (Justification: A [Read More…]

It All Goes Back to One Guy

Christian theology in the West all goes back to Augustine. Even when theology today is not completely shaped by Augustine, and even when it diverges from him (as it often does), it gets its framework from Augustine. Which means Augustine gets blamed often, and many times wrongly. I once read a manuscript by an author [Read More…]