Of all the New Testament doctrines mythologized by neo-Protestant theologians, none has fared worse than justification by faith.
One ploy of recent modern theology has been a constant appeal to the majestic Reformation principle of sole fidei in an attempt to divorce Christian belief both from the certainty of objectively revealed truths (in the inspired prophetic-apostolic Scriptures) and from any firm grounding in external historical events (particularly the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ).
To be sure, the Bible’s rejection of salvation by human effort rules out man’s ability to relate himself acceptably to the Living God by the genius of the human mind no less than by the energies of the will and emotions. God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than man’s—higher still than sinful man’s, who cannot achieve divine acceptance whether by intellectual ingenuity or by moral striving.
But the lifeline of the Protestant Reformation was its rediscovery of the Scripture truth that God offers to penitent believers, hopelessly guilty in their strivings to achieve salvation by works, the benefits of Jesus Christ’s mediation on the Cross. God acquits sinners, solely on the ground of a righteousness that he himself provides, a righteousness made known by intelligible divine revelation and embodied in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, a righteousness available to sinful men by faith alone.
But modern theologians have extended the Protestant principle of soteriological justification into a perverse speculative theory of epistemological justification by skepticism. Many neo-Protestant writers contend that the religious-ethical principle of justification solely by faith must be expanded ...1
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