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Monday, August 22, 2005 

The Historic Doctrine of Justification
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I can remember when it first dawned on me that perhaps not every Christian had become one by asking Jesus into his heart and praying "the sinner's prayer." The thought that I might be doing something new or novel was terrifying to me (so I'm not a typical Gen-Xer. Sue me).

The Reformed have long held to the principle that Scripture teaches humanity has its only hope of salvation in Christ's merits alone; applied by grace alone through faith alone. These comprised three of the five solas of the Reformation (the others being Scripture alone, and God's glory is the only allowed - man receives no credit).

So what if Christians in other eras weren't being justified by faith alone, as we Reformed hold? What if justification by faith was a novelty introduced by the Reformers, who were guilty of reading their own experiences and struggles onto the text of Scripture, and thus coming up with a new doctrine?

This idea has been and is being propounded throughout much of academia and even amongst some churches today. So how would we answer such a question: is the doctrine of justification by faith alone a truth taught by Christians of every generation? The way to answer it is to go back and trudge through the tomes of literature compiled and generated by the early church leaders and fathers. You would need to brush up on your Koine and classical Greek, rehearse your Latin paradigms, and wade in to oceans and seas of parchment and scrolls, paper and books, and look to see what the Early Church was teaching.

Or you could read James Buchanan's The Doctine of Justification: An Outline of Its History in the Church and Its Exposition From Scripture. This marvelous scholar has done a good deal of the work for you. I have reposted here an excerpt from "Lecture III: History of the Doctrine in the Times of the Fathers and Scholastic Divines."

You can get the download here.

That is great to hear, thank you for reading!

That was a VERY interesting one! Seriously interesting.

Thanks for sharing that. It was fun reading it. :-)

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Transplanted from the artic blight of Minnesota to the sunny paradise of SoCal, I am attending school and learning to say "dude." I like to think of myself as equal parts surf rash, Batman, heavy metal, Levinas, poetic license, and reformational. Other than creating blund blogs, I enjoy reading, sporting, and socializing with serious and funny people.
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