Justification: Five Views


"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). When Paul wrote these words he seemed confident he had made himself clear.

But for centuries the Pauline doctrine of justification has been a classic point of interpretation and debate in Christian exegesis and theology. And while in recent decades there have been moments of hopeful convergence among the various traditions of the Western church, the fine print ...

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"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1). When Paul wrote these words he seemed confident he had made himself clear.

But for centuries the Pauline doctrine of justification has been a classic point of interpretation and debate in Christian exegesis and theology. And while in recent decades there have been moments of hopeful convergence among the various traditions of the Western church, the fine print often reveals more facets and distinctions than ever before.

This volume focuses on five views of justification and calls on representative proponents to set forth their case and then respond to each other. The five views are:

Traditional Reformed (Michael S. Horton)
Progressive Reformed (Michael F. Bird)
New Perspective (James D. G. Dunn)
Deification, or Theosis (Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen)
Roman Catholic (Gerald O'Collins and Oliver Rafferty)

In addition, editors James Beilby, Paul R. Eddy and Steven E. Enderlein provide an extensive introduction to the issues informing this important debate. This distinguished forum of biblical interpreters and theologians offers a lively and informative engagement with the biblical, historical and contemporary understandings of justification. Justification: Five Views is not only a fascinating probe into Paul's meaning, it is also a case book in theological method.

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Editorial Reviews

Scot McKnight
"Of all the multiple views books, this one was needed most. It is also perhaps the best yet: getting Horton, Dunn, Bird, Kärkkäinen, O'Collins and Rafferty all at the table at the same time under the same roof is both a tour de force and a brilliant example of how their interaction can teach each of us. One word is needed most for the justification debate at work among (mostly) evangelicals, the word listen, and if you listen to the pages of this book you will see examples of not listening and listening. The challenge remains for all of us: will we listen again to the Scriptures to hear what it says about justification? Or will we impose our systems of thought on the Bible?"
Amos Yong
"Beilby and Eddy have raised the bar with regard to this multiple views genre, this time bringing together world-renowned scholars and theologians to engage a very hot topic. Reading Justification: Five Views is like being treated to five books by five masters of their craft, each going deep into the details at times but yet also stepping back to cover the forest ably enough for the less initiated to appreciate what is at stake. A must-read for those interested in the ecumenical implications of the doctrine of justification."
Roger E. Olson
"No single volume could possibly cover all Christian views of the doctrine of justification. Justification: Five Views courageously selects five contemporary views and helpfully presents and critiques them. Each view is expounded and defended by a leading proponent and then critiqued by other contributors. Anyone interested in the current discussion about this crucial Christian doctrine must read this book. It sheds more light than heat in an area of theology almost burned over by heated polemics. Of all the 'views' books out there, this is one of the best."
Alister E. McGrath
"A wonderfully useful book. After a superb historical survey of the issues to be debated, five influential approaches to the doctrine of justification by faith are presented and defended by credible and engaging representatives. I can think of no better introduction to these important debates than this outstanding volume."
Kevin P. Emmert
"[T]his volume is well worth reading, and it is appropriate for students and scholars. The editors have done a fabulous job in organizing the material and assembling an all-star lineup. Readers will not be disappointed with this excellent resource."
Joseph Bresnahan
"The strength of this text is realized from the concise and scholarly documentation of each contributor. The reader will greatly benefit by learning the diverse views of justification. Most importantly the text will aid students to better defend their personal position of justification. The editors did achieve their formula for a good multiple-views book: it addresses an important theological issue, the debate is clearly defined, and the conversation represents positions that are distinct from each other."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830839445
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2011
  • Series: Spectrum Multiview Book Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James K. Beilby (Ph.D., Marquette University) is professor of systematic and philosophical theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

His books include Why Bother With Truth? (with David Clark), Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views and The Meaning of the Atonement: Four Views (both with Paul Eddy), Naturalism Defeated?, For Faith and Clarity and Epistemology as Theology. His articles and essays have appeared in such publications as Faith and Philosophy, Philosophia Christi, Religious Studies, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, Sophia and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Paul R. Eddy (Ph.D., Marquette University) is Professor of Theology at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His books include John Hick's Pluralist Philosophy of World Religions (Ashgate), Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology (with G. A. Boyd, Baker) and Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (with James Beilby IVP).

Steven E. Enderlein is associate professor of biblical studies at Bethel University.

Horton (Ph.D., Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and the University of Coventry) is associate professor of historical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. He has also studied at the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg and was a research fellow at Yale University. In addition, he is a past president of Christians United for Reformation, current president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, host of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast and editor of Modern Reformation Magazine. Horton's other works include Made in America: The Shaping of Modern Evangelicalism (1991), Beyond Culture Wars: Is America a Mission Field or a Battlefield? (1994), Where in the World Is the Church? A Christian View of Culture and Your Role in It (1995), We Believe: Recovering the Essentials of the Apostles' Creed (1998), A Better Way (Baker, 2002) and Covenant and Eschatology (Westminster/John Knox, 2002).

Michael F. Bird is lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. Previously he served at Crossway College in Australia and Highland Theological College in Scotland. He is the author of several books, including Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission and The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective, as well as numerous essays, articles and reviews.

James D. G. Dunn was for many years the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. Since his retirement he has been made Emeritus Lightfoot Professor. He is credited with coining the phrase "New Perspective on Paul" during his 1982 Manson Memorial Lecture.

Veli-Matti Karkkainen is professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He has published numerous articles in international journals of theology. His books include Pneumatology (Baker), Christology (Baker), Toward a Pneumatological Theology (UPA), An Introduction to Ecclesiology (InterVarsity Press), Trinity and Religious Pluralism (Ashgate), The Doctrine of God (Baker) and One with God (Liturgical Press).

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Table of Contents

Part One: Introduction
Paul Rhodes Eddy, James K. Beilby and Steven E. Enderlein
1. Justification in Historical Perspective
2. Justification in Contemporary Debate
Part Two: Five Views of Justification
1. Traditional Reformed
Michael S. Horton
Progressive Reformed
New Perspective
Roman Catholic
2. Progressive Reformed
Michael F. Bird
Traditional Reformed
New Perspective
Roman Catholic
3. New Perspective
James D. G. Dunn
Traditional Reformed
Progressive Reformed
Roman Catholic
4. Deification
Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen
Traditional Reformed
Progressive Reformed
New Perspective
Roman Catholic
5. Roman Catholic
Gerald O'Collins S.J. and Oliver P. Rafferty
Traditional Reformed
Progressive Reformed
New Perspective
Author and Subject Index
Scripture Index
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