Talk:Justification (theology)

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Former good article nominee Justification (theology) was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 3, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Justification (theology):

Nominate for GA status once below criteria are met:

  • Source everything.
  • Aid the primary sources(i.e. direct quotes from the Bible) with secondary ones.
Priority 1 (top)

The chief problem with this article is that it uses an abundance of theological jargon instead of plain English and therefore cannot be understood by a typical Wikipedia visitor. I would go so far as to say that it was written in terminology that is specific to a particular sub-set of the Christian community and does not reflect the impartiality required of Wikipedia articles. Further, it omits human beings from the definition, "God" and "sin" are mentioned, but not the sinner. In the phrase "God's act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin" does not have an object. Who is having his or her guilt removed? Also the phrase "Christ's atoning sacrifice" presupposes a very extensive knowledge of Christian history and theology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:12, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

A central problem for describing "justification" in a neutral way arises when Christian theology is reduced to Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and their doctrines are presented as the only alternatives for understanding it, either as an idea, or as a theological action. Similarly, the English word "justification" has a contentious relationship to the original terms used in the Classical-Hebrew and Ancient-Greek foundational texts. For these reasons, among others, it would be best to write the article as a history of ideas: ideas expressed in especially Classical Hebrew and Ancient Greek (to which we have access through the work of various types of authorities/experts, from philologists and exegetes to church theologians); ideas expressed by various theologians over time; ideas expressed by scholars of religion who analyse the aforementioned ideas altogether.Stjohn316am (talk) 18:46, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Old Testament, Prophets[edit]

The statement "However, the prophets were clear that the sacrifices of themselves did not accomplish cleansing" cites Is. 1:11 and Hos. 8:13. But I don't think the statement truly reflects what is said in those passages. In both cases, I believe it's abundantly clear that the sacrifices aren't being rejected on account of their obsolescence, or because they "accomplish nothing." I believe the sacrifices are rejected by God in those passages on account of Israel's lack of obedience, gratitude, adherence to the Law, etc.

In addition, I think the statement inaccurately attributes this belief that the sacrifices of themselves accomplishing nothing to "the prophets," Isaiah and Hosea far from any type of majority, and also inaccurately describes their stance as "clear."

I don't know what other scriptures can be cited to support any indication that material sacrifices were surrogate, or of themselves accomplished nothing. I don't know how the consensus view of the prophets ought to be described. But this statement truly needs to be removed or profoundly modified by someone who does know these things. Raolyn13 (talk) 19:58, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

The matter above is no longer an issue. Call it  Done Raolyn13 (talk) 19:51, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Justification in the Gospels[edit]

Hi all,

I reverted a paragraph on justification in the gospels. The prior text read

The gospels do not give any extended discourse of Jesus on justification. He does mention the term once, in Luke 18:10-14, but assumes that his listeners know what it means to be "justified." However, justification is a very present sub-text of the gospel accounts. All four Gospel writers (evangelists) portray his teaching, life, death, and resurrection through the lens of our need for righteousness, connected to our need for forgiveness of sins.

That text was modified to read

The gospels do not give any extended discourse of Jesus on justification. He does mention the term once, in Luke 18:10-14. All four Gospel writers portray his teaching, life, death, and resurrection.

which is true, but somewhat vacuous.

I've reverted to the prior text, but if there are POV or other concerns, please feel free to discuss here. jrcagle 20:26, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

The section about justification in early church says that st. paul writes about imputed righteousness in Rom.5

This is followed by the lutheran section which claims that the lutheran belief is about imputed righteousness.

while it is true that lutherans believe in imputed righteousness, there is no reason to conclude that Rom. 5 talks about monergestic, imputed righteousness like the lutherans.

Rom. 5 along with James 2:22 seems to lead to a conclusion of infused righteousness, which is the Catholic position

I have removed the notion of imputed righteousness from the section about early christianity - rewriting it as justification apart from works alone!

Hi, I assume that this is Please feel free to log in and join the discussion. The reason that Romans 5 is said to discuss 'imputed righteousness' is that the language of imputation is a straightforward understanding of Romans 5, esp. vv. 13 and 18. The use of 'imputation' in the article is not an attempt to prejudice the discussion in favor of the Lutheran understanding of imputation; the point is merely to say that the language is *used* at this point, which then becomes the basis for the later division between RC and Prot. understandings, which is the overarching organizational theme of the article (as well as the topic sentence of the section on Paul!). jrcagle 14:10, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Polite Request #2[edit]

To Please sign in and discuss changes before you remove valid material and insert tendentious material. If something needs to be changed, that can be accomplished through the usual process. Thanks, jrcagle 19:07, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

The use of the phrase "imputed sin and righteousness" in referring to Paul's writing in Rom. 3 and Rom. 5 is misleading. Whether or not "imputed" is used in the same sense as "imputed righteousness" is referred to in the presentation of Protestant doctrine further down in the article is a moot point - simply because it is definitely misleading to those who would read the article. Such NON-LITERAL quotations from the Bible is not helpful, as is illustrated by the misleading effect in jrcagle's use of "imputed".

Neither is there any reason to imply that Paul writes about imputed sin and imputed righteousness. The word imputed is not to be found in Rom 3, Rom 4 or Rom 5 (unless in spuriously translated Bible translations).

I have reverted back to contents which can be LITERALLY found in the epistles.

One further reason for doing this is to entirely cover the contents of Rom. 3 and Rom 5. (regarding the theology of justification), in contrast to jrcagle's method of covering it by one misleading phrase - namely "imputed sin and righteousnes". This is important for reasons of COMPLETENESS.

The changes I have added are merely what can be LITERALLY traced back in Rom. 3 and Rom. 5 - with no particular interpretations or POV added in. This is important for reasons of NEUTRALITY.

21:48, 6 December 2006 (UTC)krasp

Thanks for your contributions. I appreciate the desire to stick to contents that can literally be found in the epistles; that in fact is the goal of that section. Further discussion is needed on the issue of 'imputed sin', which is literally found in Rom. 5.13 "αχρι γαρ νομου αμαρτια ην εν κοσμω αμαρτια δε ουκ ελλογειται μη οντος νομου"; the word ελλογειται means 'imputed', 'reckoned', 'charged to one's account.' Here are a couple of online sources: [1] and [2]. Even the New American Bible uses the word 'accounted' to translate ελλογειται.
It is important, IMO, to include the issue of ελλογειται in this section because (a) the word is Paul's and (b) it contributes to the later discussion in the Reformation.
A similar thought is relevant to Romans 8.30ff
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ...
This text is literally in the Scriptures, and it is relevant to the later arguments concerning 'eternal security'; therefore, it should be included.
At this point, I think it would be best if we assumed the best of one another, without charges of misleading, and tried to find a way to express the Scriptural data in a way that does not prejudice the issues. jrcagle 19:09, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Seeking consensus[edit]

I agree with the move of the Orthodox section to a point earlier in the article. In fact, the Orthodox section was originally first in the article, but was later moved by an Orthodox contributor. I vote to keep the Orthodox section either as krasp has placed it, or even above the RC section.

On the other hand, I disagree with adding the "Justification in the Bible" header and separating it from the views of the early church. The writings of the apostles were both a legitimate part of early church theology *and* the source for the theology of the patristics. It made a lot of sense to me to include both the Scriptures and the patristics as one section together rather than separating them. Is there a reason not to do so?

krasp's edit to sola fide is problematic

Protestants meanwhile hold tenaciously to the sola fide formula, charging that without it, the Christian is led down a path that is inevitably Pelagian and Judaizing - an untrue allegation considering that the Catholic Church has firmly rejected both Pelagianism and Judaizism.

(the bolded words are krasp's additions). I fully appreciate that the RC church rejects the charges. However, it *is* the case that Protestants make them, and it is also the case that it is impossible to have a full account of charges, responses, and counter-charges in this section. I would vote that either (a) the charges be relativized to 'Catholics charge this about Protestants; Protestants charge that about Catholics', or else (b) the charges and their responses be given a much more systematic treatment. (a) was the way I wrote that section. I'd be happy to move to (b) if there is a great need for it. As krasp writes it, though, the Protesant response is judged as being "untrue", which is impossibly POV. Protestants believe the charges of Pelagianism and Judaizing to be true, despite the firm rejection; Catholics do not. I vote for reversion here.

They charge that the alleged abuses Luther saw were a logical outworking of a Catholic system that includes good works as a necessary condition for justification.

This should not be a matter of controversy requiring the qualifier alleged. All sides agreed at the time and now that there were abuses, which is why the council of Trent spent a lot of effort rectifying those abuses. To give one example, Trent forbade the sale of indulgences. The sale of indulgences is widely agreed to be a real abuse that sparked Luther's walk down the Reformation path.

Your thoughts? jrcagle 20:27, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

A further point for discussion:

The Orthodox see salvation as a process of theosis, in which the individual is united to Christ and the life of Christ is reproduced within him. Thus, in one sense, justification is an aspect of theosis. However, it is also the case that those who are baptized into the church and experience Chrismation are considered to be cleansed of sin [3]. Hence, it is difficult to map the Orthodox concept of justification to the Catholic and Protestant concepts. In the words of one Orthodox Bishop...

was changed to

The Orthodox see salvation as a process of theosis, in which the individual is united to Christ and the life of Christ is reproduced within him. Thus, in one sense, justification is an aspect of theosis. However, it is also the case that those who are baptized into the church and experience Chrismation are considered to be cleansed of sin [4]. Hence, the Orthodox concept of justification cannot be reconciled to Protestant concepts, while it is not considered as being in disagreement to Catholic concepts. In the words of one Orthodox Bishop...

"Cannot be reconciled" is possibly true, but not definitely. I would prefer qualification. OTOH, "Not considered as being in disagreement" is probably false. The Eastern Orthodox doctrine has no doctrine, to my knowledge, of a Final Justification; nor is there any sense in the EO of Christ's merit being granted to overcome the guilt of original sin. It is important for the Eastern church's doctrine of justificfation that people do not inherit the guilt of original sin and therefore have no need to be cleansed of it; this is a central feature of the RC doctrine of justification. [5] [6]

What concerns motivated you to make the change? Perhaps those can be addressed. jrcagle 17:31, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I didn't hear back from you, so I went ahead and made changes. See whether the new version addresses your concerns. jrcagle 20:10, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

2007 Comments[edit]

New perspective[edit]

Should there be a section added regarding the debate around justification and the New Perspective -and Tom Wright? (Be Dave 22:50, 4 March 2007 (UTC))

Definitely, as soon as someone scholarly can figure out precisely what he believes :) jrcagle 00:48, 13 March 2007 (UTC) (Seriously ... yes, he is an important figure in the justification discussion and deserves mention).

Yes, there should.

I have added relevant material to the article on "imputed righteousness." I started there because of a request for contributions. The problem is that very similar additions are needed to righteousness, imputed righteousness, justification, and justification by faith.

The NPP started out as a critique of traditional Protestant understanding 1st Cent Judaism, particularly its supposed legalism. The 4 articles as currently written don't actually have much on that. As the article on NPP correctly observes, the NPP refers to a group of scholars who don't agree with each other in many areas. I'm mostly familiar with Wright. As I understand him, he mostly agrees with the classical Reformed concept of justification as status before God. What he disagrees on is how it is established. The Reformers saw it as a legal decision, where Christ's righteousness was credited to us. Wright believes (correctly, in my view) that this isn't what Paul meant. First, righteousness is itself a status, not a matter of moral or religious perfection. Second, we're justified not by having Christ's moral and religious perfection credited to us, but by the activity of the Holy Spirit, which unites us to Christ, and through which we die to sin and are raised to new life. Of course this concept is not lacking in the Reformers, particularly Calvin.

Hedrick (talk) 19:51, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

There definitely should be indication, if not a fuller discussion, of the ongoing debate in Christian circles in interaction with Dunn over justification. As it stands the article is out of date — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:07, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

ελλογηται[edit] had changed the translation of 'ελλογηται' in Romans 5.13 from 'imputed' to 'inherited.' That translation finds no support in any translation I'm aware of, from the NIV to the NAB. [7][8]. I've changed the translation back to "'imputed' or 'accounted'", reflecting both Protestant and Catholic translations. Any objections? jrcagle 00:55, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Good Article nomination[edit]

Hi guys, just wanted to give you all an FYI that this article has been nominated for "Good Article" status. The nomination is currently on hold as there is a short list of small improvements that I think will push it to the point of being a sincerely "Good Article". You can see and discuss them on the comments page. Folks that have not contributed significantly to the article can see the criteria for a "Good Article" here and can vote on it here. Have a nice day! Nswinton 02:41, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

What is the status here? This article's on hold period has expired. IvoShandor 07:50, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
That's not unusual for GA. It's waiting for someone not involved in the article to remove the hold and decide the nom. --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:39, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, contact them, there is a 160 article backlog at WP:GAC, its time to decide, I'll give it a couple days. IvoShandor 13:48, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Wait a sec, has this article had a review? Who put the hold on it? Hmmm. Holds are for use when articles have had a reviewer come along and review it. When a reviewer finds problems they put the article on hold for 2 to 7 days for the issues to be addressed. If there hasn't been a review take it off hold and wait for one which shouldn't be too long in coming considering how long it has been nominated. IvoShandor 13:55, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
The GA nomination was put on hold less than an hour after nomination by the nominator, who posted a list of concerns on the Comments page. EALacey 14:08, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
The whole process is very informal. From my experience with GA, this is a typical nominee -- almost there, but not quite. I'd put such articles on hold, list concerns as the nominator did in an interesting way and then wait. We often do not take the close date seriously. On the other side, even if the article fails, it can be improved and renominated. So, I wouldn't take any of this seriously beyond an impetus to improve the article. By the way, WikiProject Lutheranism has listed it as a collaboration of the week. So, rather than talk about the nom, how about we just improve the article? --CTSWyneken(talk) 14:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
Regardless, there is a process to it, the article cannot remain on hold indefinitely, I won't fail it, but don't be surprised if someone else does, as the project has picked up a lot more reviewers lately and is attempting to streamline the process. It is frowned upon for anyone who has significantly contributed to an article to review it for GA, just FYI. IvoShandor 06:04, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
(outdenting) I have no problem with you going ahead and failing it or the nominator withdrawing it. It will not change what we do here one way or another. Re: contributors conducting an article rewiew. Of course! That's why I didn't review this article, but rolled up my virtual sleeves and got to work. 8-) --CTSWyneken(talk) 09:59, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and removed the hold. The problem with the hold is that no GA reviewer will pick it up while it's on hold; meanwhile it's aging and could be removed from the nominations list after 7 days. I've left the nomination in place, so someone will probably come along and review it within the next couple of weeks, perhaps sooner. If anyone feels it's not ready, feel free to delete the nomination and resubmit it when you're ready. Mike Christie (talk) 19:12, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Catholic Views[edit]

As I began work on improving the article, I noticed that we quote the Council of Trent quite a bit. In light of Vatican II and the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, plus the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope Benedict XVI, I think we would be in a stronger position if we cite them, and if nuances have changed a bit, add these to the section. --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:16, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

The Council of Trent is definitive on the doctrine of justification. Vatican II added nothing further to our understanding of it. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church references Trent and makes no mention of Vatican II. Fjapinteric (talk) 01:25, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

We need to cut down on the external links some. If possible, we should use the most relevent links as sources, and site them in the notes rather than the external links section. -- Pastordavid 16:37, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

That seems sensible to me. --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:36, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Table of Positions vs. lists[edit]

As I look at the short lists at the end of each "views" section, I wonder if we'd be better off with a table. I'm not particularly good with wiki tables, however. If others agree with me, could someone set up one in a sandbox for us to look at? --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:48, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Orthodox Views[edit]

The section on Orthodox views is short but surprisingly good. I've added one cite to support one of the statements on theosis.

I've hesitated to add more to the section, but will note that Dmitri (1983) describes the Orthodox Church's teachings on how God judges "each individual on the basis of his whole spiritual state, his relationship and attitude to Christ's work of salvation, his acceptance or rejection of Christ's teaching and redeeming grace, and his use or misuse of them." (p. 64) Majoreditor 02:24, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the added cite. Please feel free to add a bit more. If you can give a fuller picture of the way the doctrine is/has been taught, it would be quite useful. We can always spin sections off into their own articles if this one gets overlong. --CTSWyneken(talk) 09:58, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Justification Table Sandbox[edit]

Would anyone object to the following addition right before the table? Incidentally there's a comment that the table lacks a reference. I good one would be McGrath's book "Justicia Dei."

Part of the reason for these differences is a difference in the definition of "justification." Starting with Augustine, the Catholic tradition has understood justification as the entire process by which God forgives and then transforms Christians. Based on their reading of the use of "justification" in Paul's letters, the Reformers took justification to refer specifically to God's forgiveness and acceptance. The term "sanctification" was used to refer to the life-long process of transformation. Thus the Catholic term "justification" effectively includes both what Protestants refer to as "justification" and "sanctification." This difference in definitions can result in confusion, effectively exaggerating the disagreement. However the difference in definitions reflects a difference in substance. In the Protestant concept, justification is a status before God that is entirely the result of God's activity and which continues even when humans sin. Thus using different words for justification and sanctification reflects a distinction between aspects of salvation that are entirely the result of Gods activity, and those which involve human cooperation. The Catholic tradition uses a single term, in part, because it does not recognize a distinction of this type. For the Catholic tradition, while everything originates with God, the entire process of justification requires human cooperation, and serious sin compromises it. [1]

Hedrick (talk) 19:15, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

In line with my proposal to replace all the bullet summaries with a table, I tried my hand at using an HTML table to do the job. Please take a look at it on: User talk:CTSWyneken/Justification Table Sandbox. The text is all fair game and you all are welcome to tweak it. I'm just working on the concept. If everyone likes (or doesn't object anyway) I'll replace all the bullets with it. --CTSWyneken(talk) 13:30, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

I got around and made an example table with the standard wiki syntax, using the first three rows of your sandbox table. Feel free to use/edit/improve it. Awolf002 02:41, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll take a look! --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:11, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I've taken the plunge and moved everything to a table. Please feel free to adjust. This is only a first blush attempt. --CTSWyneken(talk) 14:25, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I tweaked a bit. It now looks pretty good to me. Awolf002 15:27, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I like the table. Thanks for doing that! jrcagle 19:03, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

(undent)I think the table is a rgeat idea, much easier than a seperate list in every section. One little quibble: the last section "Justification & Atonement." I don't know that each tradition can be assigned one single atonement theory. For example: Aulen's Christus Victor (which seems to be meant in the Orthodox section of the table) is drawn explicitly from the Lutheran tradition -- yet many Lutherans would not recognize Christus Victor, instead opting for substitutionary/penal atonement. I would suggest leaving that last section off. -- Pastordavid 19:31, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't have trouble with loosing the column; I just brought it in from the bullets. On the other hand, its almost impossible to generalize for a whole tradition at all. The best we can do in tables is describe the majority and spell out the nuances in the text. But, I'm easy; if no one objects, I delete the column. --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:37, 25 April 2007 (UTC)


The talk page was around 60K, so I archived everything prior to August 2006. If anyone objects, please feel free to revert me - it was just a bit much to scroll through everytime. I also nested the banners. -- Pastordavid 21:28, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Good Article Nomination[edit]

Hello. I would like to review this article. I need to read this article carefully but I have a few comments at the moment:

  • It seems to me that the lead satisfies the requirements of WP:LEAD. But please double check to make sure that it satisfies "The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any. Many users read only the lead, so it should be self-contained and cover the main points. It should not "tease" the reader by hinting at important information that will appear later in the article. It should contain up to four paragraphs, should be carefully sourced as appropriate, and should be written in a clear, accessible style so as to invite a reading of the full article."
  • More impotantly, this article uses primary sources(direct quotes from Bible) as reference. This is perfectly okay when an scholar writes articles but it is usually discouraged to use primary sources directly as references in wikipedia because it can get close to WP:OR. Let me explain the reason: There are thousands of verses in the Bible and all these verses should be viewed together, interpreted together in their context. Only an scholar who has a comperhensive knowledge of the bible can quote some verses to show a point. Even then, Christians and Jews use the same hebrew bible but interpret it differently. Therefore we need secondary sources for statements: According to scholar X, Y is true. I have noticed that this is very important. Sometimes we may understand biblical verses in a way they were not originally understood. We have different translations etc etc. So, would you please add references from secondary sources (Wikipedia:No_original_research#Primary.2C_secondary.2C_and_tertiary_sources). Thanks --Aminz 23:24, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the review! I can see your point on the Scripture verses, although I don't know if I'd take it quite that far. After all, pulling together a certain set of quotes from a variety of sources could be seen as the same thing. Who are we to interpret what these scholars say? (or as I've seen in other articles, that they are scholars... 8-) ) Still, it would be helpful to have scholarly opinion added. This is especially true since, not so much the list of Scriptures, but the interpretation of them can be seen as a POV... --CTSWyneken(talk) 10:42, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Good point CTSWyneken. According to the wikipedia policy: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is whether material is attributable to a reliable published source, not whether we think it is true." - We can write various notable views some of which may be wrong; but that's wikipedia. All we need here is to add new references in addition to the original references to the article. The first reference for example is great:"Fred. W. Danker, ... (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000)[The works published by university presses are more reliable than others]. I think Britannica Encyclopedia, Catholic Encyclopedia, etc etc are easy-to-use sources. Cheers, --Aminz 21:02, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. In order to follow policies like WP:V, WP:NOR, we must find the best review articles/publications for each discussed item. What will be more difficult is to reach WP:NPOV, which depends heavily on what views are notable and which are held by the majority or minority. I for one do not pretend to know that. We will need clear, verifiable attributions to sort this part out. Awolf002 21:10, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I don't see how this can pass the GA criteria. There is a glaring ommission regarding the status of Gentiles - how does the relationship between Jews and Gentiles fit in with justification? There is no evidence that any editor of this page is familiar with recent theological developments in this area. Many people will come here hoping for an explanation of the New Perspective on Paul discussion concerning justification. I really hope someone can step up and put the necessary work into this article, as well as the one on the NPP. StAnselm 13:51, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
If that is what you feel is most important for this article, please feel free to jump in and help to expand the article's coverage of that aspect of justification. Pastor David (Review) 14:44, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. Please be bold! Please do me a favor, though, and cite sources. We've already got a bit of work to do to document what's here... --CTSWyneken(talk) 20:45, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

I went ahead and defaced the article with fact tags and clarification tags which I felt may be necessary :P --Aminz 01:38, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

As a note, this article has minimal chance at GA with the reliance on the primary source, the Bible. This is original research unless it has been published by a reliable secondary source. It isn't up to editors at Wikipedia to interpret the Bible and then publish our interpretations. Verifiability not truth. While it is not up to use to interpret scholars, we can judge the reliability of sources by the amount of editorial oversight. In general so called scholarly sources have intense amounts of peer scrutiny before anything is published in their pages. We can rely on this published information to compose an article. While the assertions may indeed be true simply referencing them to the relevant passages in the Bible will not do. IvoShandor 10:30, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Likely that you know this, just making sure. : ) IvoShandor 10:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, this was one of the two reasons that this article didn't pass GA at the moment. --Aminz 10:37, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
While I agree that we should add scholarly citations here, it concerns me that folks are ready to consider scripture citations as original research. We summarize other sources and cite them. How is this any different? I could argue that summarizing reliable sources is intepreting them as well. Scripture citations are necessary to direct a user to what the article is referring to, especially when it provides a direct quote or close paraphrase.
The issue that the Original Research policy was intended to combat was one of neutral point of view. So, I believe, where there is little disagreement in scholarly circles on the meaning of a passage, there is no reason why it can't be cited. --CTSWyneken(talk) 11:30, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I can see your point but I think it shouldn't be very hard for someone familiar with the literature to find sources for these statements. --Aminz 11:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
In theory, yes. In practice, mind-numbingly painstaking and tedious. Each source will make its own points, and, while they will be similar to what we have, no one is going to make all of the points or use the same set of passages or say things the same way, even if they are in harmony with each other. What you are asking for is a horrendous amount of work. --CTSWyneken(talk) 14:25, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


I do so believe that Mormonism in some way should be included on the article list, since I think mormonism itslef I think could have a say in this and I notice it doesn't include it enthier and such. So then, help it put it on there then. -Jana —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Lead 'graph[edit]

The 'graph is incoherant as to both topic and meaning.

  1. The title is "Justification", but what is the topic? We follow a convention that tries hard to avoid titles that aren't nouns, especially by converting verbs to gerunds (e.g. "climb" for the noun, but the verb "climb" to "climbing. Am i mistaken in thinking an at least equally accurate long title for this article could be "Christian accounts of how, when humans are or become justified, that is so"? If so, "Justification" has been chosen as the title in part because we don't like overly long titles any more than ones that are verbs, and in part bcz that 5-syllable word has become a catch-word in theology -- but not bcz "justifying" or "justify" are less relevant or even less central terms to the topic. But since "justification" suggests extra effort by a writer, made because "justifying" wouldn't do, and since the 'graph launches from there into several inflections of one Koine term, i think we need to be clearer than usual about the direct relevance of at least those three words.
  2. Justification is discussed in the Universalist passage using a different definition -- i would guess "Justification is the state of a human being in a righteous relationship to God", which slightly but importantly expands the existing one. (Or perhaps -- the divine action being so crucial to so many Christian points of view -- it's worth stating the Univ. version (in the same or next sentence) as an exception to a very broad pattern; i don't see the details as crucial as long as the lead 'graph doesn't falsely describe the scope of the article.) This may take more serious research: do Univ. theologians actually use "justification" or "justify", or do they avoid the term -- or recognize the concept but dismiss its relevance, bcz they agree with the current lead's dictdef in imputing an action to "justification"?
  3. The pseudo-etymology is so bad, and (tho useful when done right) so far from being necessary, that i've removed it to here: doing it, this far from right, is worse than leaving it out until we've got it right. More specifically:
    1. I think Koine follows a wider pattern of lacking this silly use of "to" as part of the infinitive (you can't create a split infinitive in Latin or German). If δικαιόω means "to declare..." in the sense that it is an un-inflected verb, we should say that, and avoid any confusion that it may simply serve as a noun "to declare...", along the lines of "the act of one who declares...."
    2. "Justification" is from δικαιόω at most in the sense that it translates a Latin term that translates the Greek one, and i suspect only in the sense that the "root noun δίκαιος,-α,-ον [meaning] righteous[ness]" (emphasis added) is produced by a syntactic transformation on δικαιόω.
    3. We must be clear that δικαιόω does not appear in the OT: Perhaps the false statement that it does is supposed to be shorthand for saying that a word reasonably translated that way appears in the Hebrew scriptures; more interestingly, it may mean it's used in the Septuagint, which means that it's a valuable hint (by being the consensus of a large body of the most scholarly practicing Jews of their time, as to the best translation of a Hebrew term -- or several of them -- into Koine) about its proper connotations. The truth has to be determined, and then stated clearly in place of the misleading mush.
    4. Yes, it's possible to do Christian theology without considering the quintessentially Hebrew meanings of the Jewish theological terms that appear in the X'tian scriptures, just as it's possible to devoutly read the Bible when you only understand English and you wouldn't read (anything you'd consider describing as) "a translation" but only "the real Bible"; we do need to speak up for that PoV. But we also need to speak up for the (still Christian) PoV that there's an inescapable foundation, fully expressible between Hebrew and Aramaic, to Christian theology -- and we deny that PoV by discussing the Koine without the least mention of the Hebrew. (And any relevant Aramaic wouldn't be such a bad idea, but i gather there are no Gospel uses of the term.)
    5. Of course, to accomplish those 4 points, you have to move that passage out of the lead 'graph. That would have been a good idea anyway, even if the Koine were all that needed discussion. But i don't think it has to leave the lead sec'n.
    It is thus that for now i have removed (for functional replacement by a separate graph) the portion i show in green from the previous lead 'graph:
    In Christian theology, justification is God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God. Justification, from the Greek δικαιόω (dikaioō), "to declare/make righteous", is a word occurring in the books of Romans, Galatians, Titus, and James, among other places; the root noun δίκαιος,-α,-ον righteous occurs throughout both Old and New Testaments.<ref>Fred. W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 4th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) especially the entry "δικαιοω." </ref> The concept of justification occurs also in many Old and New Testament books.

As to my first two points, i don't think those shortcomings will be improved by even temporary removal, and i hope this will start some collaborative process on them.
--Jerzyt 07:55, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Recent edits by Theology10101‎[edit]

Personally I think the recent change by the above editor adds nothing to this article and uses inappropriate language. I treated it as vandalism given the absence of any engagement on the talk page but have reached a 3RR limit. The same author is making similar edits elsewhere.

Either way I propose that the article revert to the lede before that edit. Any other opinions? --Snowded TALK 11:37, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

The Structure of this Article[edit]

I think this article would be significantly improved by a new structure. My intuition is that a division along the lines of biblical studies / (historical) systematics would be best. This is already the case to some extent, but perhaps the following would have the additional advantage of leading quickly to the NPP debate, which many wikireaders are interested in. Sections which are not yet significant could be mere paragraphs:

1. Biblical Studies 1.1 OT 1.2 NT (Gospels / Paul) 1.3 Recent Research (say from 19th C) 1.3.1 The history-of-religions school 1.3.2 Bultmann and Käsemann 1.3.3 The New Perspective Stendahl, Sanders & Räisänen Dunn, Wright Reformed responses to the new perspective

Explanation: Here the new aspect is gathering all the NPP bits and bobs together and treating it for what it is: a theme of biblical studies research. Putting the research into its larger context is helpful, as well as differentiating the different strands of the NPP, along with the reformed critic from some evangelical pastors and scholars.

2. History of the Doctrine 2.1 Early Church 2.2 Middle Ages 2.3 Reformation 2.3.1 Protestant Reformers 2.3.2 The Counter-Reformation 2.4 Protestant Orthodoxy 2.4.1 Lutheranism 2.4.2 Calvinism 2.5 Enlightenment criticism 2.6 Kulturprotestantismus 2.8 Recent research - see Biblical studies above!

Explanation: History gives the modern debates the context they need. In the existing article, history is largely subsumed in the "comparison of traditions" - putting the reformation developments on a par with Emanuel Swedenborg!

3. Denominational positions 3.1 Eastern Orthodoxy 3.2 Anglicanism 3.3 Methodism 3.4 Swedenborg church 3.5 A Comparison of Traditions

Explanation: These particular traditions don't belong in a broad-brush-stroke history of the doctrine. Giving, say, Methodism the same weight as the classical confessions is misleading. That's not a slight - just a measure of influence. Therefore these things separately in part 3. The nifty chart of traditions would fit nicely here.

These are my suggestions for the structure. Please respond - do you think this would be better? Egoeimisam (talk) 15:31, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Biblical References: Old Testament[edit]

Right now, the paragraph on the Old Testament background to justification is fairly slim. I would like to expand it by citing and commenting on relevant OT passages: Gen 15:6; Deut 6:25; 25:1; Isa 53:11; Dan 12:3.

Kyledi (talk) 19:48, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Mcgrath, Alister E. Reformation Thought: An Introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993, p 106