Saturday, February 16, 2013

Evangelical Justification: My Initial Thoughts


This was a very good exercise to help gather my thoughts and figure out what it is I want to hone in on as I study the rest of the church. I think it really has to do with the relationship of justification and sanctification. Is justification instantaneous? What do we do with passages like 1 Peter 1:9 that speak about salvation being at the end of a believers life? Or the beautiful imagery that Paul uses of running the race to obtain the prize? 

The Evangelical doctrine of justification


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The first piece I read on the topic was JI Packer’s article “Sola Fide: The Reformed Doctrine of Justification.” I had heard that this was a classic article that many Evangelicals referred to when discussing justification. I also consulted “Sanctification and Justification: A Unity of Distinctions” by Andrew V. Snider, Wayne Grudem’s systematic theology, Theissen’s Lectures in Systematic Theology, and finally, the classic Arminian systematic theology by Miley. 

It wasn’t until I read Miley’s section on justification that I realized that Evangelicals don’t exactly have a unified perspective on justification.

My Journey into the History of Justification

This semester I have been blessed with the opportunity to deeply examine the doctrine of justification throughout the centuries of the Church. This will prove to be a heavy task I am sure, and I assume that I will not even begin to scratch the surface by the end of my 14 weeks. Lord willing, I will be blogging about it each week. You can find the links to each post at the bottom.

The plan is to first start with an overview of the traditional Evangelical understanding of justification, then read some Apostolic Fathers, Origen and his legacy on the Eastern and Oriental churches, spend four weeks on Augustine and his contemporaries, hit Aquinas and his era, along with his legacy on the Catholicism of Luther’s day, and finally end with Luther and the Reformers. I am planning on reading a little bit of secondary sources, then hitting mainly the primary sources.

There are many reasons as to why I am doing this.