Preaching Gospel as Gospel, or Why the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches Need the Reformation

A very recent Twitter conversation reminded me of this series I wrote a year ago. I thought it might be timely to reblog it, particularly given the theme of my paper to be delivered at the Theotokos Institute conference in Wales in late November. I welcome your comments, questions, and criticisms.

Eclectic Orthodoxy

We are all acquainted with the saying attributed to Martin Luther: “Justification by faith alone is the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls.” Although this saying does not appear in Luther’s extant writings, it accurately states his understanding of the matter. As Luther wrote to Johannes Brenz: “For this article is the head and cornerstone that alone begets, nurtures, builds, preserves, and defends the Church of God. Without it, the Church cannot remain standing for a single hour.” It’s an odd assertion on the face of it, because the Reformation formulation of justification is difficult, if not impossible, to find in the writings of the Church Fathers. St Augustine employed the language of justification, but he clearly understood it in transformative terms: grace is imparted, not imputed. And at the Council of Trent the Latin Church basically reaffirmed the Augustinian position. As Alistair McGrath writes: “In brief, then…

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One Response to Preaching Gospel as Gospel, or Why the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches Need the Reformation

  1. (Using rest of my free time for the weekend…)
    In the Evangelical Protestant household I was raised in, it was (is) typical to say that Catholics were caught up in too much Old Testament. I never understood what that meant. What I did remember though was always going up to the pastor at church after having read a section of the Bible–maybe a bit of Matt. 7:21-22–and remembering that I had acted out a lot that week, asking if I could still be saved. Of course, the pastor always just skirted around the transformative message of the Bible. It was as if Jesus could be in you to save you without actually transforming you. I never got that message and it puzzled me as to how they lined it up with the Bible.

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