The issue of justification by faith alone is batted around a lot these days, given the influence of the New Perspective(s) on Paul exposed by folks like N.T. Wright, who develop their theology from scholars such as E.P. Sanders and James D.G. Dunn. But there’s another movement that seems to dovetail with the New Perspective(s) on Paul (NPP), but receive less press. It is called the Federal Vision, and it can be found within the ranks of some Presbyterian churches. Speaking of which, Pastor Doug Wilson has been debating with Westminster Professor Scott Clark for sometime now over at the Heidelblog. The issue is the connection between covenant theology, justification, and pastoral ministry.
Which got me thinking about a new book edited by Gary Johnson and Guy Waters. Released by Crossway, By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification addresses the various ways the doctrine of justification has been interpreted in recent years, and then tackles the pastoral concerns presented by NPP and Federal Vision. Contributors include David Wells, Rick Phillips, David Gordon, Al Mohler and others. It sounds quite good. This is the first book of this sort that I’ve seen which specifically treats Federal Vision as a movement.
Here’s a link to the Foreword and Introduction. Here are the blurbs:
“If you have been unsettled or impressed by the arguments of the New Perspectives or the Federal Vision—this book is for you. By Faith Alone is a serious and substantial rejoinder to the new viewpoints on justification, imputation, covenant theology, and more.”
J. Ligon Duncan III, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi; President, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals; Adjunct Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary
“The twin pillars of historic Protestantism—the authority of the Bible and justification by faith alone—have been under attack since the beginning of the Reformation. But the recent assault on justification by the New Perspective on Paul and by the Federal Vision is particularly pernicious, cloaked as it is in apparent scholarship and piety. This important book defends the historic Reformation doctrine with better scholarship and more profound piety.”
W. Robert Godfrey, President and Professor of Church History, Westminster Seminary California
“In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther boldly declared that the doctrine of justification is the article by which the church stands or falls. In the twenty-first century, many churches have not stood their ground but have fallen prey to the voices of those who have offered new perspectives on an ancient, biblical doctrine. I am thankful the Lord has raised up faithful men to provide the people of God with a clear, biblical perspective on this most precious doctrine.”
Burk Parsons, Editor, Tabletalk magazine; Minister of Congregational Life, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida