Justification: Five Views
My thanks to friends at IVP for a review copy.
I started Justification: Five Views yesterday, and I enjoyed the essay "Justification in Historical Perspective" by Paul Rhodes Eddy, James K. Beilby and Stephen E. Enderlein. This chapter is an ambitious attempt to cover a lot of ground, so I wouldn't ever want to be too fussy about what they don't cover. They cram a lot in approximately 50 pages already. Their overview of Pentecostal contributions to the debate was particularly interesting and it is always good to see engagement with my two heroes, Bultmann and Barth.
Having said that, they hedged their bets a bit too much on their reflections on Barth! In a footnote they write:
"Even so, perhaps it says something about the current state of Barth studies that this is the only section of this historical survey about which the authors are nervous to say anything for fear of being shown not just wrong, but pitifully wrong. Then again, we find a small bit of comfort in the fact that no matter what we say here, most likely someone in the Barthian world will come to our defence!" (37 n.96)
I think they hit upon the crucial point at this juncture, however, when they note that, for Barth, Jesus Christ accomplishes the reality of reconciliation with God, and not merely its possibility. Yes! And amen!
As it seems that most have not understood Douglas Campbell's thesis, I was not surprised to find misunderstanding in this overview. They write: "Douglas Campbell, for example, agrees wholeheartedly with the new perspective that the old perspective—which he refers to as the ‘Justification theory’—is ‘a paradigms with multiple flaws’" (63). However, Campbell categorically does not equate the old perspective with “Justification theory”. In fact, as DC puts it in his conclusion: “the solution that I am aiming toward is deeply Protestant if not Lutheran” (The Deliverance of God 934)!
With contributions from Michael S. Horton, Michael F. Bird, James D. G. Dunn, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Gerald O'Collins and Oliver Rafferty, this promises to be an extremely helpful book on a very complicated set of debates.