A Critique of James White on Justification

A Critique of James White on Justification March 2, 2016

Don’t worry, I have not suddenly abandoned sola fide, but on today’s program I discussed some problems with James White’s recent comments on the doctrine of justification in Genesis 12-15. White purports that Abraham was not justified until the covenant cutting ceremony of Genesis 15 in light of his interpretation of Romans 4. I take him to task on several of these points, and demonstrate that justification does not have to be spoken of as only a past-tense reality. This outlines one of the differences between a Lutheran view and many contemporary Reformed perspectives on justification.

Listen to the program here.

A couple quick things to note regarding the program:

  • At one point, I accidentally referred to a lecture by Steve Paulson, went I meant to say “Steve Lawson.” These are two figures with very different theological perspectives.
  • Second, I know that there will be criticism regarding my comment that Reformed Christians do not believe that justification frames the Christian’s life before God. I do not mean to imply that traditional Calvinism denies sola fide, or promotes the idea that eschatological justification is based on works. What I am referring to is the fact that in the Reformed tradition, one can differentiate between different kinds of love that God has for the Christian based on sanctification, as well as the contention of some that good works are “necessary for salvation.” However one wants to frame it, there is a clear difference between the centrality of justification in the Lutheran perspective on the Christian life coram Deo, and that of the Reformed tradition. I also recognize that perspectives on this issue differ among Reformed theologians. After giving the program a listen before posting, I realized that I was extremely unclear on this point.
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