Talk:Justification (theology)/Archive 1

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Hey, first time poster here (please forgive if I'm violating some format for talk pages). I do not feel that this article is entirely NPOV. Justification appears to be presented here in a way that advocates a Calvinistic perspective. At least that's the overwhelming impression I received after reading the article. The article acknowledges that the doctrine of justification is disputed, but fails to articulate the nature of any position other than that of a Calvinist. I am not accusing the author of deliberately violating Wikipedia's NPOV policies, but as I understand them, they seem to hold that if disagreement generally exists about a topic, the different points of view should be spelled out in the article. I do not know if the intention of the author was simply to use the Calvinist perspective as an example, rather than to endorse the Calvinist position. At the very least I believe the Catholic and non-Calvinist Protestant perspectives on this issue be given the same amount of treatment as the the Calvinist view. If I had more theological training, I would feel qualified to add these positions myself. Again, I could be wrong, but as a "passerby" on this article, I felt that it overtly advocates a Calvinist viewpoint.

Yes, that it does. That's apparently because a Calvinist has written the Calvinism sections, and few others have contributed. My understanding also is that the Eastern Orthodox churches do not use the concept of justification, and that should be mentioned if it isn't already. Smerdis of Tlön 02:14, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

How would we go about flagging this as disputed?

To do that, you would need to add the {{disputed}} tag to the article in chief. I would question whether that's necessary here; the article notes the POV chiefly stated as Calvinist, and to restore balance would mean to write the corresponding Roman Catholic and non-Calvinist presentations. I don't believe that the dispute comes from whether the Calvinist section correctly describes Calvinism. Smerdis of Tlön 16:43, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Does that matter though? The fact that the article kind of admits that it's not NPOV doesn't change the fact that it's not NPOV. If I wrote an article about Taiwan that was obviously biased in favor of Taiwanese independence and admitted that I was being biased that wouldn't make it okay. Wikipedia's policies on this matter clearly indicate that if a topic is controversial or disputed, the different points of view should be discussed. This article makes plain that a dispute exists and only presents one side of the dispute. While the author does a good job of describing (and endorsing) the Calvinist position, this article is not about Calvinism, it is about justification. The Calvinist position on the issue is just one slice of the issue, and at the very least the article is incomplete. Maybe the author was thinking that he or she would plug in the Calvinist perspective and wait for someone else to come by and fill in the rest, but I for one wouldn't write an article about a disputed or controversial topic if I only knew one side's position on the issue.


The introduction shows a familiarity with other POVs. The question is whether the author could give a truly fair hearing. It would make sense from someone else to do the other sections. So, I added two sections and hopefully someone from the respective POVs can fill in the text. If noone shows up, I could give it a shot but I come from the same perspective as the original author. -- Rich Blinne 1 December 2004, 00:53 (UTC)

Attempt at Addressing NPOV Issue

I added the Roman Catholic doctrine from the Catholic Encyclopedia. I couldn't find anything in the Calvinist section that I believe an Arminian would object to, so I relabeled the section as Protestant. Any Arminians disagree with my assessment? Does this address the NPOV issue?

Perhaps a section on attempts to bridge the gap between Protestants and Catholics should be added (e.g. Evangelicals and Catholics Together). -- Rich Blinne 1 December 2004, 16:08 (UTC)

I took off the flag I put on the article. RichBlinne is right, in my opinion. I just wish the author had been a little more forthcoming about his/her inability to cover more perspectives adequately. While the article originally did mention other POVs, it didn't come anywhere near giving them an equal billing with the Calvinist one. I feel that the edits made thus far represent a substantial improvement.

RhesusmanRhesusman 2 December 2004, 12:22 (UTC)

Actually the Arminian view of justification does differ from the Calvinist one. There is also a third perspective on justification from N T Wright. I think the section labeled Protestant Doctrine of Justification should be relabled either Calvinist Doctrine of Justification or Reformed Doctrine of Justification and sections added for Arminian Doctrine of Justification and then a section on N T Wright. Is it ok to create these new sections blank and then fill them in later, when I have time? --CardassianScot 12:35, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

It seems to me that the article has grown into a monstrous mess and desperately needs some trimming and clarification. The Arminian viewpoint certainly is different from the Calvinist perspective; most of the article seems very Roman to me. The article seems to need a major restructuring...we need a "do over"! KHM03 18:42, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)

1998 Joint Declaration

It seems to me that the following excerpt form the NY Times (discussing Cardinal Ratzinger's past work) should be looked up and included in some form on this page. *Supposedly* it re-unites/reconciles the Protestant and R Catholic viewpoints: "...And yet one of his less known decisions was a 1998 joint declaration by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation affirming that the two churches had found common ground on the issue of "justification," the means by which a human being is made worthy of salvation; that dispute drove Martin Luther to set off the Protestant Reformation more than 500 years ago. At the time, many of Cardinal Ratzinger's critics suspected that he would sabotage the declaration. Instead, the Cardinal, a longtime admirer of Martin Luther, was instrumental in rescuing an agreement when it was on the verge of collapse, according to John L. Allen Jr., a journalist for The National Catholic Reporter who wrote a 2001 biography of Cardinal Ratzinger. The signing took place on Oct. 31, 1999, the anniversary of the day Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg...." -- 23:07, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Yes, and it is a very well known document among Catholics and Lutherans. I have created a stub article about it. See Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. Furthermore, the material from the 1903 Catholic Encyclopedia does not adequately express the highly nuanced position expressed by the Pontifical Council in the JDDF, which is a more authoritative source.-- 19:41, 28 July 2005 (UTC)


As a Catholic, I have added a few simple presentations of the Catholic understanding to the Catholic section without removing the dense 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia article. I tried to keep these as nonpolemical as possible, unlike the current Protestant section. I've added some Catholic and Orthodox external links and book recommendations, and the external links now include the Lutheran/Catholic "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" mentioned above. Someone still needs to do some serious work on the Protestant section, though, because it doesn't do justice to different Protestant theologies of justification. Johnaugus

I feel that both the Catholic and the Protestant sections need work. The Protestant section needs a great deal of clarification, and the Catholic section needs a major trim. This page is on my "to do" list, but I may not get to it for a while. KHM03 10:54, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Not only does this entire article need work - it needs a fresh start. The RC section seems far too combative where it ought to spend time on simply laying out the RC teaching, and the Protestant section is hopelessly muddled, especially as there is a great deal of dispute among Protestants as to what justification is all about --- there are many who stand in the same area of the field with Rome, finding Justification and Sanctification to be part of the same ball of wax, while others (esp. Lutherans) would take issue (to put it mildly) with the common Protestant understanding. Such disputes desperately need to be ironed out. --Rekleov 13:34, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If the Catholic section needs shortening, I will remove the old Catholic Encyclopedia article and provide only a link to it. It is full of jargon that is only helpful to professional theologians. I will also remove most of the references to Protestantism in the rest of the Catholic section. But someone desperately needs to rework the Protestant section. It is non-representative of different Protestants and contains several offensive attacks on the Catholic position. Johnaugus

I think your edits would be helpful. I and likely others will work on the Protestant section (although, as I stated previously, that might be a little while); it is important that the Protestant perspective(s) on justification stand on their own and are not reliant upon criticism of Rome. I'll get to it! KHM03 21:31, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Regarding the "criticism of Rome," I've sincerely tried to do the same in the Catholic section: presenting the Catholic view for what it is with as little reference to Protestant views as possible. There is still a brief section on "the problem of sola fide," but its primary purpose is to express the Catholic understanding of sola fide given the obvious controversy, and I've tried to make it less polemical while retaining a true expression of concern. If you have recommendations on that, I welcome them here. Best wishes with the Protestant section! Finally, a note on terminology in the Catholic section: Though the term "Roman Catholic" is common, even in Catholic circles, many Catholics are offended by the term because it arose from attempts to belittle and degrade Catholicism. Eastern Catholics also tend to find it offensive. So I do not recommend using the term "Roman Catholic." Johnaugus

Maybe the discussion as to whether to refer to the denomination as a whole should be "Catholic Church" or "Roman Catholic Church" is better argued on the page for Roman Catholic Church. Ahh, names! They can be funny. We try and say something with them about our self-image, but often exclude in the process. For instance, I am a United Methodist; I consider myself very "orthodox", ver "catholic"...and also consider my own denomination to be a "Church of God" and "Church of Christ". Oh, the silly things humans do! I wasn't aware, however, that folks find "Roman Catholic" offensive...for me, it is simply a mark of those in the Catholic "movement" (for lack of a better term) who recognize the authority of Rome, and affirm of the traditional Catholic, Thomistic theological system. Why might it be offensive? KHM03 22:01, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I should take that issue to the Roman Catholic Church page. By the way, I understand that United Methodist Church members consider themselves "orthodox" and "catholic," of course! But at least the UMC calls itself the United Methodist Church, a name chosen by United Methodists, rather than everyone calling it by a name created by others in order to belittle it. Yes, names are funny. I think it's best to try to call people by the names they themselves have chosen. Johnaugus

Protestant section

With respect, I tossed out most of the section. It needs a major rewrite to be NPOV, and also contained a lot of inaccuracies. I've left a basic outline which I hope will be easier to work with, while also giving room to discuss variances within Protestantism. No offense or disrespect to previous editors intended...I just felt it was needed in order to perfect the section. KHM03 22:15, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recent edits still look like a mess to me (and pretty NPOV as well). Any thoughts/suggestions? KHM03 20:36, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Printed resources

And do we really need these lengthy lists? Wouldn't it be better to have 3 or 4 good Catholic sources, 3 or 4 good Lutheran, etc.? KHM03 22:29, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Personally, I'm in favor of good resource lists because this is a difficult topic for everyone. If there are lots of complaints, we can whittle them down, but I don't recommend it. Johnaugus

I would just like to see a "user friendly" list of far fewer...but high quality...resources. For example, are all those Catholic books equal in excellence re:the topic at hand? Or are there a few key texts, or resources which explain the perspective particularly effectively? We could list hundreds of fine Protestant books, but wouldn't it be better to just suggest a few of particular excellence, and let the reader continue his or her research from there, rather than burdening the reader with a massive list which leads the reader to exclaim, "Where on earth do I start?" A good compromise might be an external link to a bibliography. KHM03 00:39, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

A bibliography page (for the entire category) may be a great idea. This is a place where the Wikipedia can shine --- as a true encyclopedia, containing as much as possible in a logical form. The longer and better the bibliography, the more we will be of use to people. --Rekleov 13:16, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As a separate page, with a link to it from this "main" page? KHM03 13:19, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sure. It will be easy to maintain and will have a specific function. --Rekleov 13:21, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I like it! Do it! I'm going on a wikiholiday for a week or so, but will gladly look at it and work on it upon my return! KHM03 13:49, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The resources currently listed in the Catholic section are deliberately varied. A layman with no theological training will probably not read the Balthasar and Lubac, but a theologian would need to read those rather than the popular-level works. One of the difficulties with the justification topic is that it is intrinsically related to the Catholic nature/grace controversy. Catholics need to know this (which is why it's in the resources section), though most Protestants do not (which is why it's not in the main body). With regard to Protestant/Catholic differences, many Catholic theologians think the root of the divide is the difference between Nominalist philosophical presuppositions and Realist ones, so some of the books address that. And finally, though "hundreds of fine Protestant books" specifically about justification and nothing else could probably be listed, the same is not true for Catholic books. Most Catholic treatments of justification occur in other contexts (e.g. books about sacramental life, mystical theology, etc.). It is difficult to find Catholic resources about justification and nothing else. (Catholics may be a little more similar to Orthodox in this regard.) So when you do find one, you want to let people know it exists! Johnaugus

"the problem of sola fide"

This section in the Catholic part is woefully inaccurate in its portrayal of the difference between Lutheran and Calvinist understandings. I didn't want to delete the entire section and really hope that someone who understands the Catholic position can redo the section. CSMR 10:50, 18 December 2005 (UTC)


Fresh start

I've attempted to rework this article in order to strike an encyclopedic tone and to remove some of the apologetic from the Catholic and Protestant sections. Please leave a message if I cut a really important point out -- that wasn't my intent! jrcagle 03:53, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Moved Orthodox Section

I moved the Orthodox Christianity section. I'm an Orthodox Christian, and for us, justification is not a major doctrine. Thus, it makes more sense to explain the more traditions for which it is considered more important and then present the Orthodox viewpoint as an overall contrast. Dogface 03:48, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Heh ... thought you might appreciate being first. :-) Seriously, since the overall movement of the article is historical, would it make more sense to talk about "early church" pre-1054, and then have a separate post-1054 Orthodox section at the bottom that says "the Orthodox pretty much agrees with pre-split views"? jrcagle 19:09, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Lutheran Section

I'll work on a thorough revision of the Lutheran section. It's not bad, but I have some resources that will help organize it better. I'll be working at it off line and will watch not to overwrite changes in it that occur between now and then. Does anyone want me to post my thoughts here first before adding it to the article? --CTSWyneken 20:02, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I went ahead and was bold. If I stepped on any toes, I apologize. Feel free to revert and we can discuss it if it is a problem. --CTSWyneken 12:59, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I'll give it a more thorough lookover tomorrow after I get my grades in. For now, I would ask that you restore the bulleted lists; I intentionally provided those for the sake of comparison amongst the different views. Thanks for your help; it's nice to have Luther experts on board! jrcagle 19:07, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
I've put back the bullets, and corrected one that was in error. I'm uneasy with this kind of listing, because I think that it is hard to compare apples to oranges. Lutheran theology of Justification is quite different than that of other Christian traditions. Also, I think it needs some help visually. May I invite an editor from the classical Reformed tradition to take a look? --CTSWyneken 19:36, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps it would be useful to provide some information about how Justification and Sanctification interact in Lutheran theology since other views mix Sanctification and Justification. I had been collecting some notes from Pieper to use on this section, but upon reading what we now have, I think what I was working on was going to be too detailed and too long. Tkleinsc 13:31, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Hmm... I thought I did that. Is there anything in particular you'd like to add? I think we need to keep the whole section as concise as possible, but we certainly can add more. Pieper would make good citation material, but I'd rather steer away from the thick prose.
Also, do you have a copy of Braaten-Jensen? We still have to do the ELCA viewpoint, esp. the JDDJ. Bob --CTSWyneken 18:31, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
After re-reading it, I suppose that one paragraph distinguishes Justification and Sanctification enough. I don't have Braaten-Jenson and I won't really be able to help on the ELCA/JDDJ viewpoint on Justification. Tkleinsc 18:59, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, CTSWyneken. Sorry about the "can" v. "cannot" be lost; I have no idea how I missed that on proofing. Comments:

  • The first paragraph in the Luther and Lutherans section ("'This one firm rock...'") feels odd to me, almost like an advertisement for the view rather than an explanation of it. What would you think about moving that paragraph to a later point? Then the flow could be something like History --> Doctrine --> Implications ('This one firm rock' goes here) --> Summary.
Upon reflection, I think you're actually musing over Luther's own words here. My thought in putting it in is to emphasize that for Luther and Lutherans, justification is the most important, fundemental doctrine of our material principle. As far as the tone goes, very little of Luther's actual words are not in a homiletical voice. What you're reading is his typical style. The difference here is that, while he loved hyperbole, this one is different. He really means that the whole of Christian doctrine "stands or falls" with this one teaching. For him it is the gospel. I'll come back later. It's going to be very busy here this week. In the mean time, Preus, Robert D. "Luther and the Doctrine of Justification" [online]Concordia Theological Quarterly 48 (1984) no. 1:1-15. Available from is a helpful essay. --CTSWyneken 12:50, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
How about this: "“This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification,” insisted Martin Luther, “is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness.” Lutherans tend to follow Luther in this matter. For the Lutheran tradition, the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone for Christ’s sake alone is the material principle upon which all other teachings rest."?
That change in language removes any neutrality objections that I had. jrcagle 17:21, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Sure! And here I thought you were after "Luther insisted." 8-) --CTSWyneken 17:38, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I think it's important to mention Luther's heavy reliance on Augustine. His emphasis on helplessness outside of Christ doesn't make sense otherwise (i.e., it appears as a novel doctrine).
  • It would be great to have a style editor take a whack at it.
  • I agree that lists can oversimplify, but for the reader who is unfamiliar with the issue, a side-by-side comparison can be really helpful. Even though the Orthodox view doesn't really map to the Reformed view very well (because of a different underlying theory of the atonement), it can still be useful to compare and constrast some of the different features of their theories. No?
  • I'm going to add an "early church" section to remove a structural POVism. As it stands, the article appears to claim that the RC church carried on the early church view in toto, which is not really accurate. Having a separate early church section will make it possible to clarify the history in later sections.

jrcagle 03:16, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

My style here is intended more for variety and to make the point that, from Luther on, this doctrine is central for Lutherans.
I want to avoid going into too much detail on the dependence upon Augustine. I'm afraid we'll loose people when we try to explain how Luther differs from him. (VERY slightly, but very importantly for Lutherans. Most people will say, "huh?"
The Early Church section is a good idea, but we have to be careful. It would be quite easy to favor one view over another of what those folk said. After all, Catholics, Reformed, and Lutherans all claim to have the Bible right, and although I, of course, think Lutherans are correct 8-), it is very easy to describe things the way we would like them.
For this whole thing to be comprehensible to a person cruising by. So we need to be careful in how we do this.
Please remember, I also have to find a way to explain what the ELCA thinks and the JDDJ.
Well, good thoughts. I hear the twins coming in from the prom and church calls all too early tomorrow, so I'll come back later. --CTSWyneken 07:26, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Justification losable for Lutherans??

Rekleov, CTSWyneken (and any others who want to chime in),

There has been a bit of reversion going on in the Lutheran bulleted list: justification has gone back and forth between "cannot be lost" and "can be lost." Does that reflect a genuine difference of opinion, or is it simply a confusion?

If the former, let's discuss. If not, I've reverted to "cannot" under my understanding of Luther's view.

Thanks, jrcagle 17:52, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Simply confusion. Lutherans maintain that you can lose your justification (read salvation) by rejecting God's grace and walking away. We see it as a mystery -- like one God in Three Persons, Jesus = Fully God and Fully Man at the Same Time, and a number of other things. How the seeming contradictions fit together we say, literally, "God only knows."
Said simply: If we go to Heaven, it's all God's fault. If we go to Hell, it's all our fault. I can provide quotations if necessary. --CTSWyneken 18:41, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Does that represent Luther's view, Lutherans' views, or both? My understanding from reading Bondage of the Will is that Luther took Augustine's line on predestination. However, I also have understood Lutherans as following Melancthon's view rather than Luther's. If that is the case, then it would seem that justification was considered permanent by Luther, even if not by Lutherans. Thanks, jrcagle 19:20, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
I believe both, but will double check it. I'm not thoroughly familiar with the arguments in BOTW, however. --CTSWyneken 19:25, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

New Paragraph in Lutheran Section

An anonymous user introduced this into the Lutheran section:

However, in the past thirty years research on Luther has advanced new conclusions. The "New Finnish Interpretation of Luther," advanced by University of Helsinki professor Tuomo Mannermaa among others, observes a more mystical stream of thought within Luther's writings. His writing makes clear that there is a distinction between Luther's thought and the more systematic, sometimes crypto-Calvinist writings of Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Chemnitz, and more importantly, Friedrich Schleiermacher. Here, Luther's theory of atonement begins with nods toward the Christus Victor model predominant in Eastern Orthodoxy. Luther's soteriology is thereafter modeled on a process of salvation that, while making a distinction between instantaneous justification and the process of sanctification, involves a mystical union through Christ truly present in the faith and in the Eucharist. It is very much akin to theosis.

There are a few reasons why I don't think it belongs.

1 -- It is uncited, but this can be fixed. 2 -- This is about what Lutherans believe and have believed. Luther is here only to introduce this. I know very few Lutherans who can understand much less agree with this paragraph. 3 -- Luther's words very clearly do not express salvation as a process. I can quote them, and endless dogmatians on that one, if needed. 4 -- If this paragraph goes anywhere, it should be on the Luther page.

Unless there are objections, therefore, I'll leave the paragraph here. If we put it back, I would ask that the author cite his sources and include the "old" view of Luther that Mannermaa departs from. --CTSWyneken 00:00, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Hmm... I just read:

Mannermaa, Tuomo. "The Doctrine of Justification and Christology Chapter A, Section One of The Christ Present in Faith" [online]Concordia Theological Quarterly 64 (2000) no. 3:206-239. Available from [online Version) I do not find anything like the above in it. Does anybody else? --CTSWyneken 00:25, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Mannermaa & co. miss the forest for the trees. While there are some passages from Luther's writings (almost none from the confessional documents in which he had a hand) that support their thesis, these are not generally representative of the larger body of Luther's work, and are pretty much cherry-picked from here, and here, and now there, paying little attention to the textual and temporal context of the works quoted. Mentioning Mannermaa's thesis might not be bad; what is here, however, is inaccurate, and on more than one level: Chemnitz as crypto-Calvinist? Really? If you want to read more, check out the Jenson/Braaten-edited work that Eerdmans put out a few years back, as well as Marquart's review of the Finnish view of Luther that also appeared in the CTQ. (btw, added a colon to mark off the quoted paragraph above] --Rekleov 03:57, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Also, this is the Lutheran section, not the Luther section. That makes a difference as to what ought to be presented. --Rekleov 04:02, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Let me interject here that this section *was* originally the "Luther and Lutherans" section, and that was deliberate. It was my intent to take a historical perspective as a device to avoid the heavily POV approach of the article that preceded this one. I would prefer to keep Luther's views at the top of this paragraph, and then Lutheran views (if different -- e.g., ELCA) at the bottom, so that the history of ideas can be clear to the reader. That is also the reason that I would like to have Augustine's influence on Luther mentioned, as it is a clear and discernable connecting link in the history.
To a non-Lutheran such as me, the added P appears to be inside baseball; I don't even really understand it (although I'll check the link you provided, Bob). jrcagle 19:31, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem is I don't understand it either. 8-) The article I linked to is much clearer. It examines the role of the Jesus in receiving all the sins of the world and the role of the child of God in receiving all the righteousness of Christ. The paragraph seems to suggest that Luther believed, according to Mannermaa, or so it says, that salvation is a process. If all I've seen of Luther on this subject, it is far from the truth.
That being said, I'm not a historian of systematics, so I'm not entirely clear what Augustine said about Justification, much less its influence on Luther. Do you have a paper you could point me to on this one? --CTSWyneken 20:37, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

"Forensic" v. "Merely Forensic"

One paragraph at the top formerly read thus:

(old) The relationship between justification and religious law: whether justification is merely "forensic", a legal declaration that a sinner is now righteous before God for Christ's sake, or something more;

The paragraph at the top now reads thus after MonkeeSage's edit:

(new) The relationship between justification and religious law: whether justification is "forensic", a legal declaration that a sinner is now righteous before God for Christ's sake, or "constitutive", an actual change in the sinner;

The change to "constituitive" makes good sense. I would prefer the language "change in the nature of the sinner" rather than "actual change in the sinner", since the word actual is ambiguous theologically (is it a real change or a change in actions? -- cf. usage of actual sin in the Westminster Confession) *and* because Protestant forensic justification *is* a real change in the sinner: the sinner is no longer subject to God's wrath and is at peace with God.

I would vote against the change from "merely forensic" to "forensic", for the following reason: Some Roman Catholic theologians take Trent to mean forensic + constituitive, others reject forensic language entirely. All RCs however insist that justification is not "merely forensic." See RC source [1] and non-RC source [2], and compare to | Trent 6th Session, chap. 7.

The paragraph

(old) * The relationship of justification to sanctification, the process whereby sinners become more righteous and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live lives more pleasing to God ...

was edited to remove the mores, thus:

(new) * The relationship of justification to sanctification, the process whereby sinners become righteous and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live lives pleasing to God ...

I don't understand the import of that change. It appears to deny that sanctification is an ongoing process, which almost all agree to.

Adding propitiation was a good and necessary addition. Thanks!

jrcagle 20:22, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Jrcagle: Good points. On the first issue I was just careless and basing my edits mainly on catholic apologists like Keating and Matatics (who have an obvious reason to focus on only the constitutive aspect), rather than actual catechetical and canon literature. On the second point, I was trying to create an ambiguity between definitive/initial sanctification (i.e., regeneration), progressive sanctification, and final sanctification (i.e., glorification), as "more" could be taken as only including the latter two, while the former is just as important (to many Protestants) to distinguish from justification (in terms of the ground and material cause) as the latter two. I thought that leaving "process" would allow the statement to encompass all three "kinds" of sanctification, while still conveying that it is not merely a single point-in-time event. If there is a better way to do it, I have no objections at all. » MonkeeSage « 00:53, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

One More Thought

The addition "they also claim that James 2:24 refers to "showing" one's justification before men (v. 18, i.e., "declarative justification"), not actual justification before God." is a pretty typical Protestant solution to the James problem, but it is not the only one offered.

Another typical solution, slightly different from the one above from the Wikiarticle, is to take "you see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone" to mean that one is justified before God by a faith that, after the moment of justification, leads to works, which you can see and use as post-facto evidence of justification. See [3].

The only difference between the two statements is the indirect object of "justified" - to (or before) whom? In the first, it appears to read "justified before men" (which is the approach here: [4]). In the second, it reads "justified before God" (which you see, because of the works). In both cases, the works validate the salvation before men, but the sense of justification is different.

end of nitpick. :-)

jrcagle 20:43, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Imprecision is the bane of theology, and the boone of a thousand misunderstandings, heh. ;) Feel free to rework as needed; I mainly wanted to just get the that particular conflict represented, as it is a fairly common point of debate between Cathlics and Protestants. I don't think you're nitpicking, BTW, I think you have a good point and it should be represented in the article. » MonkeeSage « 00:53, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
See if you like the current version. jrcagle 12:23, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

POV gentle reminder

On 12 July 2006 between 11:04 and 11:47PM, an anonymous user at modified the justification article by copy-pasting the list of Catholic justification characteristics into the early church justification characteristics.

While such a change might be welcome to those who consider Catholic doctrine to accurately represent the doctrine of the early church, it is not acceptable on Wiki for the following reasons:

  • Such a change is POV
  • Such a change is undocumented

If there needs to be discussion about including the change, please do so here. Until the case is made, that particular item will be deleted.

jrcagle 20:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)