In Justification and the Gospel R. Michael Allen seeks to move beyond current heated debates on justification, this accessible introduction offers a fresh, alternative approach to a central theological topic.
Allen locates justification within the wider context of the gospel, allowing for more thoughtful engagement with the Bible, historical theology, and the life of the church. Allen considers some of the liveliest recent debates as well as some overlooked connections within the wider orbit of Christian theology. He provides a historically informed, ecumenically minded defense of orthodox theology, analyzing what must be maintained and what should be reconfigured from the vantage point of systematic theology. The book exemplifies the practice of theological interpretation of Scripture and demonstrates justification's relevance for ongoing issues of faith and practice.
Seeking to move beyond current heated debates on justification, this accessible introduction offers a fresh, alternative approach to a central theological topic. Michael Allen locates justification within the wider context of the gospel, allowing for more thoughtful engagement with the Bible, historical theology, and the life of the church. Allen considers some of the liveliest recent debates as well as some overlooked connections within the wider orbit of Christian theology. He provides a historically informed, ecumenically minded defense of orthodox theology, analyzing what must be maintained and what should be reconfigured from the vantage point of systematic theology. The book exemplifies the practice of theological interpretation of Scripture and demonstrates justification's relevance for ongoing issues of faith and practice.
R. Michael Allen (PhD, Wheaton College) is Kennedy Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and dean of the faculty at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is the author of several books, including Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics: An Introduction and Reader, Reformed Theology, and The Christ's Faith: A Dogmatic Account. He also serves as book review editor for the International Journal of Systematic Theology and is ordained in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Justification and the Gospel is theology at its best: disciplined by the instruction of Scripture, attentive to the traditions of Christian thought and practice, filled with discriminating judgments, and eager to explain and commend the gospel of justification.
professor of divinity, University of St. Andrews
Michael Allen provides here a first-rate study of the doctrine of justification construed in the context of Christian theology as a whole. His review of contemporary debates and his awareness of biblical and historical sources are alike impressive. This is a book that challenges and provokes as well as informs.
dean, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University; general editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture
In this important and lively book, R. Michael Allen broadens and deepens contemporary reflection on the doctrine of justification. Allen provides a dogmatic account of justification, attentive to how it relates to other topics in Christian doctrine--including the divine attributes, Trinity, Christology, the church, and the place of participation in God in salvation. In the process, Allen shows how historic catholic and Reformation sources can illuminate a biblical doctrine of justification, moving beyond the caricatures of pre-Enlightenment theologians that have become common in recent debates. Justification and the Gospel is a valuable work that will enlighten, provoke, and edify.
-J. Todd Billings,
Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
In this extremely learned book, Michael Allen performs a dual service for Christian theology. First, by applying the lens of dogmatic analysis to a topic largely dominated by exegetical and ecumenical concern in recent decades, he exposes the shortsightedness of many contemporary approaches and debates and enables us to perceive a more capacious domain of possibilities. Second, by means of compelling argument and well-chosen examples, he demonstrates that historic Protestant teaching regarding God's gracious justification of the ungodly retains its status as a hinge upon which many doctrines turn and a wellspring of theological and spiritual vitality.
associate professor of systematic theology, Reformed Theological Seminary
With a keen eye and deft hand Allen plunges into the ever-changing discussion of the biblical teaching on God's justification of sinners, practicing a truly inter-subdisciplinary examination that draws upon exegetical, historical, and dogmatic studies, addressing contemporary cultures and the life of the church with his insights. Agree or disagree, readers will be challenged to address 'forensic' and 'participatory' views of justification from perspectives gathered from Allen's own Reformed tradition as well as from Luther and a variety of historic and contemporary Lutheran and Roman Catholic theologians. This volume will fire fresh exchanges regarding the nature of the gospel and the definition and application of God's justifying action in Christ Jesus.
professor of systematic theology emeritus, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
When dealing with the explosive topic of justification, fair-minded communication and understanding between theologians, biblical scholars, historians, and practitioners are often hard to find. How rare it can be to find a theologian who not only appreciates the vital significance of justification but also carefully avoids falling into the trap of reducing everything to justification. Allen's study is logically sound, biblically informed, theologically nuanced, and relevant for the life of the church. Amid ongoing debates, we need this book.
-Kelly M. Kapic,
The new debate on justification is getting interesting! Allen provides a lucid scholarly guide to the controversies. He intervenes in the debate on behalf of divine immutability and forensic imputation. He sides with the rendering of the genitive of Galatians 2:20 as the faith/faithfulness of Christ to indicate the Christological ground of the sinner's justification. How little the classic fault lines still apply! How much less can the matter of justification be regarded as passe.
-Paul R. Hinlicky,
Tise Professor of Lutheran Studies, Roanoke College; Docent, Evanjelicka Bohoslovecka Fakulta, Univerzita Komenskeho, Bratislava, Slovakia