Posts Tagged ‘justification’

Works Righteousness and Going Nuclear

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 by Dale M. Coulter

Tsarbombe3_thumb

Protestants love to use the phrase “works righteousness” when describing various positions even though they disagree as to what it is and therefore what theological positions support it.

It’s one of those “going nuclear” phrases. Like pushing the red button, it is used to annihilate another position in a single move.

For example, my blog last week about penance got some reactions about it being another form of salvation by works. If you have to do something as part of your repentance then you’re working to gain favor.

There are several misconceptions here beginning with what happens in salvation. Read the rest of this entry »

Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God

Saturday, January 8th, 2011 by Nimi Wariboko

Frank D. Macchia, Justified in the Spirit: Creation, Redemption, and the Triune God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010. x + 345pp. $32.00 paperback.

“To be justified is to participate in the fullness of pneumatic existence, which means the risen and glorified Christ as well as communion of love enjoyed among Father, Son, and Spirit” (14-15). This is the kernel of the book, the beginning and the end. In this one move Frank Macchia (a noted Pentecostal systematic theologian at Vanguard University, California) renders suspect the stereotypical-historic Protestant and Catholic approaches to justification. He renders inadequate, moves pass, and incorporates the Protestant legal, forensic overtones of justification as well as the Catholic emphasis on habitual grace and infused virtues, and then reconciles them within “the Sprit’s embrace and witness” (pp. 293-321). Read the rest of this entry »

Westminster Captivity, “New Calvinists,” and the Spirit

Friday, May 7th, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

Gifts of the Spirit, Pusey House, Oxford

Photo by Lawrence OP

I see that my initial post on a “Westminster Captivity” has raised an eyebrow or two, and also an amen. In addition, this week my Regent colleagues, Richard Kidd and Scott Pryor have entered the discussion with Kidd talking about Reformed roots and Pryor suggesting that I may have a point with respect to forensic justification while at the same time challenging me on the importance of penal substitution.

In this post I wish to renew my invitation to the “New Calvinists” by a brief look at Reformed pneumatology in light of my two concerns: the possibility of being Reformed and charismatic and the possibility of an evangelical core centered upon a theology of conversion. The Reformed readers of my blog rightly intuited that my “beef” is with the way Reformed theology–and by extension evangelicalism–has been co-opted by a particular stream that can cloud its rich diversity. It is most definitely not an assault on Reformed Christianity, but a call not to allow one interpretation of the Reformed faith to define the whole.

The kind of Reformed Christianity I hope the “New Calvinists” will embrace is a particular stream that moves from the early Reformed thinkers to the Puritans and into the present. This does not mean that other streams must be rejected, but that this stream should become the interpretive lens rather than Old Princeton/Westminster (OP/W). Read the rest of this entry »

Do we really need to hang on to justification?

Friday, April 30th, 2010 by Dale M. Coulter

Not too long ago, in his commentary on Galatians,  J. Louis Martin, proposed to change the way the Greek term behind justification is translated to rectification. I think this is an interesting proposal and one we should seriously consider. Here’s why:

Photo courtesy of Juergen Kurlvink

One of the perennial problems with understanding justification is that the English word family does not correspond well to the Greek word family. As anyone who reads the Greek NT soon discovers, all Greek terms connected to justification stem from the same root (dikaiosunē). To convey the meaning in English we rely on two families of terms: justification and righteousness. Justification derives from Latin and is closely connected to justice (justificatio, justificare, justus) while righteousness, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, stems from the Saxon term rihtwis. Rihtwis is a compound term from right and wise that means upright or in a right manner (think about the use of wise in otherwise). The move to two English sets of terms obscures the close connection between righteousness and being set right.

So, maybe it’s time to fix this little mishap and choose an English term that allows one to stay in the same linguistic family. Read the rest of this entry »