A few weeks ago an editor from the Christian Science Monitor emailed to ask if I would consider writing an opinion piece on the doctrine of justification. This sounded unusual to say the least. First of all, why was he asking me? (Because a friend of mine passed along my name I found out). Second, why do they want an article on justification? I’m not sure exactly where they were coming from, but the editor I worked with was very knowledgeable about the Piper-Wright debate and very interested in helping CSM readers understand why the doctrine matters (he was also very kind and professional).
With the broohaha over the Manhattan Declaration it bears repeating what I hope is obvious from this article: I believe the doctrine of justification crucial for the church and, actually, for the world too. It is also worth pointing out that it is possible to write for a mainstream publication from an explicitly evangelical perspective. I imagine some magazines and papers might balk at an opinion piece that is too Christian, but in my experience when someone wants your opinion they want your opinion, no matter what it is, as long as you aren’t completely rude about it.
The piece is titled: “The Protestant debate over justification: Here I stand.” The subtitle pretty much sums up the gist: “Ignorance about how we get right with God has weakened the church. We must reassert that we’re saved by faith alone.”
Here’s my conclusion:
Much of the impotence of American churches is tied to a profound ignorance and apathy about justification. Our people live in a fog of guilt. Or just as bad, they think being a better person is all God requires. Even a cursory look at church history in the past few hundred years shows that the church is at its best and most vibrant when justification through faith alone is heard from her pulpits and clearly articulated by her most prominent spokesmen.
After so much time and so many controversies, there are still plenty of Protestants be they Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, or Pentecostal who still believe justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. I guess I’m one of them.
You can read the whole thing here.