Check out the new Convergence Church Network! 

Visit and join the mailing list.

Enjoying God Blog

I’m happy to announce the publication of what I believe will be the definitive treatment of justification for years to come. It is now available for purchase at Amazon or at the Crossway Books website. It is titled:

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls: Justification in Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Pastoral Perspective, edited by Matthew Barrett.

Foreword by D. A. Carson

I was honored and privileged to contribute to this volume. My chapter is titled: The Ground on Which We Stand: The Necessity of Justification for Pastoral Ministry.

This is a huge volume, 912 pages! It is rich and detailed in every way.

Many factors contributed to the Protestant Reformation, but one of the most significant was the debate over the doctrine of justification by faith alone. In fact, Martin Luther argued that justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls. This comprehensive volume of 26 essays from a host of scholars explores the doctrine of justification from the lenses of history, the Bible, theology, and pastoral practice—revealing the enduring significance of this pillar of Protestant theology.


“The tide is definitely turning. No longer can it be taken for granted that the New Perspective has the last word on the ‘chief article.’ With essays by specialists in various fields, this volume is a wonderful defense of the gospel, and I heartily recommend it.”

Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Justification (New Studies in Dogmatics)


“A thoughtful, thorough, and important set of essays on the current ‘state of the union’ on the perennial issue of justification by faith. The introductory essay by Matthew Barrett is worth the price of admission itself—outlining in detail the wide range of biblical-theological issues at stake in the current discussions about the nature of justification, now forty years on from the advent of the New Perspective on Paul. It is hard to imagine a single volume covering virtually every single aspect of the controversy surrounding Protestant—and, to a lesser extent, Roman Catholic—scholarship on the doctrine, but this large collection of essays comes very close. This volume reflects well a core conviction throughout Reformed Protestantism that the Word must be heard afresh in every generation, most especially because it is the Word of Life. This book also takes seriously and graciously the voices of opposition. If you want to dive deep into the doctrine of justification, this volume ought to be at the top of your list.”

Richard Lints, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls is a sterling contribution to a biblically informed, theologically deep, historically sensitive, and pastorally astute engagement with the doctrine of justification by faith alone—sola fide. Controversies past and present relating to the doctrine are deftly explored, whether it is the Council of Trent on view or the New Perspective on Paul or the apocalyptic reading of Paul. An invaluable resource and stimulus to careful thought about a crucial doctrine provided by a galaxy of eminently able scholars.”

Graham A. Cole, Dean, Vice President of Education, and Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author, He Who Gives Life and The God Who Became Human

Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
Foreword (D. A. Carson)
The Foolishness of Justification
(Matthew Barrett)
Part One
Justification in Biblical Perspective
1. “He Believed the Lord”
The Pedigree of Justification in the Pentateuch
(Stephen Dempster)
2. Singing and Living Justification by Faith Alone
The Psalms and the Wisdom Literature
(Allan Harman)
3. Salvation Is the Lord’s
Prophetic Perspectives
(Willem VanGemeren)
4. Setting the Record Straight
Second Temple Judaism and Works Righteousness
(Robert J. Cara)
5. What Does Justification Have to Do with the Gospels?
(Brian Vickers)
6. The Righteous God Righteously Righteouses the Unrighteous
Justification according to Romans
(Andrew David Naselli)
7. By Grace You Have Been Saved through Faith
Justification in the Pauline Epistles
(Brandon Crowe)
8. An Epistle of Straw?
Reconciling James and Paul
(Dan McCartney)
9. The New Quest for Paul
A Critique of the New Perspective on Paul
(Timo Laato)
10. What’s Next?
Justification after the New Perspective
(David A. Shaw)
Part Two
Justification in Theological Perspective
11. “Behold, the Lamb of God”
Theology Proper and the Inseparability of Penal-Substitutionary Atonement from Forensic Justification and Imputation
(Stephen J. Wellum)
12. Raised for Our Justification
The Christological, Covenantal, Forensic, and Eschatological Contours of an Ambiguous Relationship
(Matthew Barrett)
13. The Theology of Justification by Faith
The Theological Case for Sola Fide
(Mark Thompson)
14. The Passive and Active Obedience of Christ
Retrieving a Biblical Distinction
(Brandon Crowe)
15. A Contested Union
Union with Christ and the Justification Debate
(David VanDrunen)
16. Faith Works
Properly Understanding the Relationship between Justification and Sanctification
(R. Lucas Stamps)
17. Justification, the Law, and the New Covenant
(Jason Meyer)
Part Three
Justification in Church History
18. Reformation Invention or Historic Orthodoxy?
Justification in the Fathers
(Gerald Bray)
19. The Evolution of Justification
Justification in the Medieval Traditions
(Nick Needham)
20. Can This Bird Fly?
The Reformation as Reaction to the Via Moderna’s Covenantal, Voluntarist Justification Theology
(Matthew Barrett)
21. The First and Chief Article
Luther’s Discovery of Sola Fide and Its Controversial Reception in Lutheranism
(Korey Maas)
22. The Ground of Religion
Justification according to the Reformed Tradition
(J. V. Fesko)
23. Not by Faith Alone?
An Analysis of the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification from Trent to the Joint Declaration
(Leonardo De Chirico)
24. The Eclipse of Justification
Justification during the Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment Eras
(Bruce P. Baugus)
Part Four
Justification in Pastoral Practice
25. Justification and Conversion
Attractions and Repulsions to Rome
(Chris Castaldo)
26. The Ground on Which We Stand
The Necessity of Justification for Pastoral Ministry
(Sam Storms)
General Index
Scripture Index


Write a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.