Tough Questions with K. Scott Oliphint
In the recent issue of Credo Magazine, “Justification: The Doctrine On Which the Church Stands or Falls,” we had K. Scott Oliphint join us to participate in “Tough Questions.” Oliphint is Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary and the author of Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith.
Oliphint was asked, “I am not sure what to think about justification by faith alone. What Bible passages should I read?” Here was his answer:
Romans 4:1-15 – This is a clear and classic text on the righteousness imputed to us, through faith. It is noteworthy that the paradigm for this righteousness through faith is Abraham, an Old Testament saint.
Galatians 3:1-14 – As with Romans, here is another biblical text that presents a clear contrast between that which the law brings and that which is given through faith.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – Here Paul makes note of the “Great Exchange.” Christ became what he was not (sin) so that we might become what we are not (righteousness).
Philippians 3:9 – Paul makes a concise contrast between that which comes by the law, and that which comes by faith.
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Justification: The Doctrine on which the Church Stands or Falls
While we could point to many different factors that led the sixteenth century Protestant Reformers to break from Rome, perhaps one that would be at the very top of the list is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. For Luther and Calvin, this doctrine is the very hinge on which the Christian religion turns. In part this is because sola fide is what sets Protestants apart. While every other religion puts something of man into the equation, Protestantism removes man’s works from the justification formula altogether. Therefore, the “sola” in sola fide makes all the difference in the world.
With over 2,000 years of church history in our rear view mirror, it appears that sola fide is a doctrine that comes under discussion in every generation. Our generation is no exception. Much dialogue continues over the New Perspective on Paul, Protestant and Catholic statements of agreement, and the relationship between justification and the Christian life. In this issue I am proud to welcome some of the finest thinkers on the subject in order to better understand what Scripture says about how sinners can be made right with a holy God.
Contributors include Thomas Schreiner, Michael Allen, Michael Horton, Philip Ryken, J.V. Fesko, Matthew Barrett, Korey Maas, Guy Waters, Brian Vickers, Fred Zaspel, and many others.