Faith Working by Love

Calvin was therefore right to say that “no other faith justifies ‘but faith working through love’ [Gal. 5:6]. But it does not take its power to justify from that working of love.” This second sentence is more important and needs to be stressed. Turretin makes the same point in the passage cited above when he says that “[faith] alone concurs to the act of justification,” and “The coexistence of love in him who is justified is not denied; but the coefficiency or cooperation in justification is denied.” To say that faith working through love justifies does not mean for Paul, or Calvin, or Turretin, or Shepherd that works become the ground or instrument of justification. Godfrey, however, thinks that it does, because he cannot see works as functioning in any other away than as the ground or instrument of justification. For him, and contrary to Turretin, coexistence implies, even requires coefficiency. This is a basic mistake that Godfrey makes. That is hwy he cannot really agree with Calvin or Turretin, because from his perspective Calvin and Turretin are mixing a toxic cocktail of faith plus works for justification.  –Norm Shepherd, “Faith and Faithfulness” in A Faith That Is Never Alone, ed. by P. Andrew Sandlin

If you want to understand the disagreement among those claiming to uphold the Protestant understanding of faith and works, A Faith That Is Never Alone is an outstanding resource. It’s a response to Covenant, Justification and Pastoral Ministry put out by the staff of Westminster Seminary California, and although it will run you twenty-five clams, you will have a well-rounded understanding of the southwestern Reformed who are far more Lutheran in their understanding of justification than anything else, and seemingly as equally suspicious of anyone else as Luther tended to be. Sandlin’s brief preface helpfully touches on various movements in the recent past–the Lordship Salvation controversy of the 70’s and 80’s, the Law and Gospel divided sparked by Daniel P. Fuller of Fuller Seminary, the Shepherd Controversy, New Perspective on Paul and Federal Vision–and how they relate to this volume. The whole thing is very good and some of the essays simply outstanding.

1 Comment Faith Working by Love

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