Justification: The Catholic-Protestant Argument over Justification


Norman Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, with Elliot Miller

Article ID:



Jul 31, 2022


Apr 9, 2009

The following is an excerpt from article DC170-5 from the Christian Research Journal. The full article can be viewed by following the link below the excerpt.

Justification- A Summary The Protestant Reformers recovered the biblical view of forensic justification, that a person is legally declared righteous by God on the basis of faith alone. In so doing, their principle of “salvation by faith alone” gave a more biblical specificity to the common Augustinian view of “salvation by grace alone” held by Catholics and Protestants alike. For although Rome has always held the essential belief in salvation by grace, its view of justification – made dogma by the Council of Trent – obscures the pure grace of God, if not at times negating it in practice.

Roman Catholics and evangelicals share a common core of beliefs about salvation. Both camps are greatly indebted to the same church father (Augustine) for their views on this subject. Despite this common heritage, however, the question of how a person is justified before God has always been a fundamental dividing point between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Recently, the Catholic doctrine of justification has become a divisive issue even among evangelicals, as they seek to determine how far they should go in cooperative relations with Catholics.In this conclusion to our series on Roman Catholicism, we will examine both the commonalities and differences between Catholic and Protestant soteriology (beliefs about salvation). We will give special attention to the Protestant Reformation doctrine of forensic (legal) justification, and we will provide a Protestant critique of the official Roman Catholic response to that doctrine, as embodied in the decrees of the sixteenth-century Council of Trent.


The earliest serious threat to Christian faith was Gnosticism. This was not a clearly defined movement but was made up of various subgroups drawn from Hellenistic as well as Oriental sources. One of the central beliefs of Gnosticism was that salvation is the escape from the physical body (which is evil) achieved by special knowledge (gnosis; hence, Gnosticism). The understanding of the body as evil led some gnostics to stress control of the body and its desires (asceticism). Others were libertines, leaving the body to its own devices and passions.The early orthodox theologians and apologists devoted much of their effort to combating Gnosticism. In response to the libertines, the early father Tertullian (A.D. 160-225) focused on the importance of works and righteousness. In so doing he went so far as to say that “the man who performs good works can be said to make God his debtor.”2 This unfortunate affirmation set the stage for centuries to come.The “works-righteousness” concept, which seemed to be so ingenious in combating Gnosticism, was popular for the first 350 years of the church’s history. However, a controversy that would produce a more precise definition of the theological elements involved was needed. This dispute came on the scene with the system of Pelagius, and the Christian thinker to confront it was Augustine of Hippo.3


Augustine (A.D. 354-430) was an intellectual giant. No one has exercised a greater influence over the development of Western Christian thought than the Bishop of Hippo. In dealing with Augustine’s doctrine of justification, it is important to note that his thinking on this vital issue underwent significant development. Early on Augustine stressed the role of the human will in matters of salvation, a view he would later modify in his disputations with the British monk, Pelagius.Pelagius’s theological system taught the total freedom of the human will and denied the doctrine of original sin. After reflecting on Pauline insights, the later Augustine came to the following conclusions: First, the eternal decree of God’s predestination determines man’s election. Second, God’s offer of grace (salvation) is itself a gift (John 6:44a). Third, the human will is completely unable to initiate or attain salvation. This concept squares quite well with the later Reformed doctrine of total depravity. Fourth, the justified sinner does not merely receive the status of sonship, but becomes one. Fifth, God may regenerate a person without causing that one to finally persevere.4 This is basic Calvinism without the perseverance of all the saints.It would be incorrect to say that Augustine held to the concept of forensic justification. Nonetheless, he did maintain that salvation is by God’s grace. That is, no good works precede or merit initial justification (regeneration).Augustine has been regarded as both the last of the church fathers and the first medieval theologian. He marks the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Justification- The Early Medieval Period

The medieval period (the “Middle Ages”) is commonly dated from Augustine (or slightly later) to the 1500s. This period saw the balance of power in the church shift from the East (where Christianity began) to the West or Latin wing of the church.Pelagianism was officially condemned by the church at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) and again at the Second Council of Orange (A.D. 529), which declared that “if anyone says that the grace of God can be bestowed by human invocation, but that the grace itself does not bring it to pass that it be invoked by us, he contradicts Isias the Prophet….[cf. Isa. 65:l]”5 However, this heresy, along with its more moderate relative semi-Pelagianism (also condemned at the Council of Orange),6 keeps recurring in church history. It seems that man’s inclination is toward Pelagianism rather than Augustine’s Pauline emphasis on the grace of God.Leo “the Great,” who was the bishop of Rome from A.D. 440-461, is designated by many non-Catholic historians as the first “pope” in the modern sense. During his era many Roman Catholic dogmas (which may have existed in germ form earlier) solidified: the supreme authority of the Roman bishop in the church, sacramentalism, sacerdotalism (belief in a priesthood), and the change of emphasis in the Eucharistic Feast from celebration to sacrifice, to name a few. These doctrines influenced medieval soteriology in several ways.Justification and the Sacraments. During the medieval period baptism and penance were linked with justification. God’s righteousness was begun (infused) in baptism and continued (perfected) through penance.Although this understanding of the nature and purpose of baptism can be found from the earliest of times, the same is not true of the concept of penance. The idea of confession to a priest for the remission of sin existed in the second century but did not become a widespread practice until the early medieval period.The view that developed was that baptism addresses the problem of original sin; confession cleanses the effect of actual sin. Some theologians of this era took pains to stress that the sacraments were the means God used to mediate grace to man. However, this theological nicety was often lost on the laity who became entangled in a works-righteousness system.The Concept of Merit. Closely related to the sacraments in general is the concept of merit. The term was first used by Tertullian and then fully developed by the Schoolmen in the medieval period. As Alister McGrath points out, “It can be shown that a distinction came to be drawn between the concepts of merit and congruity; while man cannot be said to merit justification by any of his actions, his preparation for justification could be said to make his subsequent justification ‘congruous’ or ‘appropriate.’”7 Unfortunately, as with the sacraments, this distinction did not always filter down to the common folk.

Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm of Canterbury (A.D. 1033-1109) was arguably the most penetrating theological thinker between Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. One of Anselm’s great theological treatises was Cur Deus Homo? (“Why the God-man?”).8 In it he addressed the relationship between the Incarnation and the Atonement and redirected thinking on the nature and purpose of the Atonement that had been in place since the apostolic era.A popular doctrine in the early church was the so-called ransom theory. This understood the Atonement as a deliverance of humanity from the clutches of Satan. Anselm’s contribution to the doctrine of the Atonement is called the satisfaction theory. It understands the Atonement as compensation to the Father rather than Satan. While forensic justification is not explicit in Anselm’s theology, the Reformers later built upon his insights and developed the judicial aspect of salvation that they called justification.

Thomas Aquinas

One figure dominated the late medieval period: Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1225?-1274). Aquinas considered himself Augustinian in his theology, although he preferred to express his philosophical views in Aristotelian terms rather than the Platonic language of Augustine.Like Augustine, Aquinas believed that regeneration occurs at baptism, and that not all the regenerate will persevere (i.e., not all are of the elect). Contrary to a widespread misunderstanding among Protestants, Aquinas believed that because human beings are fallen, humankind is unable to initiate or attain salvation except by the grace of God.9 Indeed, even faith is a gift of God.10Like Augustine and Anselm, Aquinas did not distinguish forensic (declarative) justification and progressive sanctification as did the Reformers. Many contemporary Roman Catholic scholars, however, believe that forensic justification is included in the thinking of these men, at least implicitly.The Augustinianism of Anselm and Aquinas dominated medieval church soteriology (existing in tension with the works orientation of the sacramental system). In light of this it is clear that some basic theological tenets of the coming Reformation are not at irreconcilable odds with the historic church, but are a continuation of it.

Martin Luther

Born in A.D. 1483 in Eisleben, Germany, of middle class parents, Martin Luther entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt in 1505. The themes of salvation and damnation – which were central to the culture of the day – concerned him greatly. Luther became aware of the presence of sin in his life and the ineffectiveness of penance and the other sacraments provided by the church to bring relief to this situation.In 1511 Luther was transferred from Erfurt to Wittenberg. He lived in the Augustinian cloister and was fortunate to have as his spiritual confessor a godly man – who was also the vicar-general of the monastery – Johannes von Staupitz (1469-1524). Staupitz, aware of the intense spiritual struggles that enveloped his young charge, directed Luther to study Scripture. Luther was graduated Doctor of Theology on October 19, 1512 and commenced teaching theology and biblical studies at Wittenberg on August 16, 1513. It was in the context of his assignment at the university that Luther developed his initial ideas concerning justification by faith.The decisive role in the formulation of Luther’s theology was played by the apostle Paul and Augustinianism. It was shortly after his exegesis of Romans 1:16-17 that Luther concluded that justification is a gift of God, appropriated by faith: “Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.”11The beginning of Martin Luther’s break with Rome has often been identified with his posting of the Ninety-five Theses on the church door at Wittenberg on the eve of All Saints, October 31, 1517. These theses dealt with the penitential system and papal authority, but primarily with the sale of indulgences. With the public display of the Ninety-five Theses the die was cast, the Reformation began, and Christendom changed forever.Indicating how deeply his evangelical (Augustinian) principles influenced his theses, Luther was later to write: “And this is the confidence that Christians have and our real joy of conscience, that by faith our sins become no longer ours but Christ’s upon whom God placed the sins of all of us. He took upon himself our sins….All the righteousness of Christ becomes ours….He spreads his cloak and covers us….”12Before Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation, extrinsic justification, in which a sinner is declared righteous legally, was, at best, a subterranean stream in Christian soteriology. With Luther the situation changed dramatically. However, as Peter Toon notes, “Luther does not employ forensic terms to explain this imputation or alien righteousness. This development will come later, from others.”13 Philipp Melanchthon, Luther’s great systematic theologian, did use legal terminology to describe justification.

John Calvin

Without a doubt, the most important Reformed theology to come out of the Protestant Reformation was that of John Calvin. He was born in Noyon, France on July 10, 1509. Young Calvin studied in Paris, where he was familiar with the writings and theology of Luther. He drew his deepest inspiration, however, from Augustine. Calvin believed that he was doing nothing more than reproducing “that holy man’s own plain and uncompromising teachings.”14Calvin’s theological system begins, as did Augustine’s and Aquinas’s before him, with man’s present condition – one of complete moral corruption. For “even though we grant that God’s image was not totally annihilated and destroyed in man, yet was it so corrupted that whatever remains is a horrible deformity.”15Calvin held that “predestination we call the eternal decree of God, which he has determined in himself, what he would have to become of every individual of mankind.”16 Furthermore, “while the elect receive the grace of adoption by faith, their election does not depend on faith, but is prior in time and order.”17For Calvin, justification “consists in remission of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.”18 Departing at this point from the medieval tradition, Calvin does not see justification as involving an infusion of grace: “Man is not made righteous in justification, but is accepted as righteous, not on account of his own righteousness, but on account of the righteousness of Christ located outside of man.”19What place, then, does good works have in the life of the believer? “To the charge that justification thus understood obviates the need for good works, Calvin’s firm reply is, like Luther’s, that although in no respect can good works become the ground of our holiness, a living faith is never devoid of such works. Thus justification necessarily has its consequence in sanctification.”20

Justification- Common Soteriological Roots

A soteriological survey of both the leading Roman Catholic theologians and Protestant Reformers reveals a number of commonalities. First, both believe salvation is effected through historic, divine intervention. Against Gnosticism, Catholics and Protestants jointly affirm that man is not saved by wisdom, but by God’s action in history in the person of Jesus Christ.Second, both evangelicals and Catholics believe salvation is moral and spiritual. Salvation is related to a deliverance from sin and its consequences.Third, salvation is eschatological for both Catholics and evangelicals. The future perspective is crucial. All that is now known about salvation is preliminary and a foretaste of the fullness, which awaits the completing of the kingdom at the Parousia (physical “presence” or second coming) of the Lord.Fourth, the grace of God is absolutely necessary for salvation. And, initial justification is based on grace alone, apart from all works. Thus, Colin Brown can speak of “the Augustinian orthodoxy of Geneva [Calvin’s home base] and Rome.”21 For both groups, salvation comes as a gift of God to undeserving humanity.It is against the backdrop of this common heritage that the important soteriological differences between Catholics and evangelicals must be viewed. As Harold O. J. Brown put it, “We must not oversimplify and create an artificial and forced consensus between great Christians of the past and present. Yet if one thing stands out when one studies the writings and lives of such men, it is that they knew and served the same Lord, and that they shared one faith and one hope.”22


The Council of Trent, which began its deliberations on June 22, 1546, was the Catholic response to the Reformers. A proper understanding of the Catholic view of justification is not possible apart from an understanding of the decrees of Trent.The Council considered the following questions concerning justification: (1) Is justification only extrinsic (judicial) in nature or is there also an intrinsic (sanctifying) work involved? (2) What is the relationship between faith and good works? (3) Does the human will have an active roll in justification? (4) How are justification and sacraments such as the Eucharist, baptism, and penance related? (5) Can the believer know with certainty that he or she is justified? (6) Can humans incline themselves toward justification, and if so, is this inclination to be understood as meritorious?23On January 9, 1547, the Council participants agreed on a final formula for justification: First, although several Council members recognized an extrinsic element in justification (thereby approaching the Reformers on this point), the consensus view was that “the opinion that a sinner may be justified solely as a matter of reputation or imputation…is rejected.” And so, “justification is thus defined in terms of a man becoming, and not merely being reputed as, righteous…” (emphases added).24Second, in that Trent understands justification in two senses (the second corresponding to the Reformed doctrine of sanctification), good works are required in the second sense as a condition for ultimate justification. Therefore, it is possible and necessary (in this second sense) to keep the law of God.Third, Trent, taking into account original sin, states that sin has affected the human race. Therefore man cannot effect his own salvation, Free will, while not destroyed, is weakened by the Fall. For “if anyone shall say that man’s free will moved and aroused by God does not cooperate by assenting to God who looses and calls…let him be anathema.”25 (It is important to note that “anathema” is a decree of excommunication, not automatic damnation.) So, as one Catholic author put it, “The sinner indeed cooperates with this grace, at least in the sense of not sinfully rejecting it.”26 Of course, most Protestants agree with this. Many Protestants, Calvinists in particular, add quickly (as would Catholic Thomists) that it is God by His grace who brings about this cooperation. But He does this without destroying man’s free choice.Fourth, the subject of the sacraments was addressed at Session VII (March 3, 1547). In order to understand these pronouncements, one must remember that Trent understood justification in two ways – the “first” and “second” phases which Catholic scholars refer to as initial and progressive justification respectively. Baptism is operative in the “first” or “initial” justification, since grace to overcome original sin is “mediated” to us through baptism. Both the Eucharist and penance pertain to the “second” or “progressive” sense of justification, and such justification (i.e., righteousness) is said to be “increased” by participation in these sacraments. There is finally a third or “ultimate” stage of justification by which, providing one had not committed a mortal sin, he or she is allowed into heaven.Fifth, due to the Reformers’ stress on the assurance of salvation, Trent was forced to deal with the subject. McGrath claims that they issued “an explicit condemnation of the Lutheran doctrine of assurance as an assertion contrary to proper Christian humility.”27 However, this explicit condemnation deals with “infallible certainty,” which many Catholic scholars point out is not necessary, if indeed it is possible. In fact, “in many ways Roman [Catholic] dogmatics have pointed out that Rome’s rejection of personal assurance of salvation does not mean the proclamation of a religion of uninterrupted anxiety.”28 For the Roman Catholic “there is an intermediate position between the assurance of faith and doubt. This position is that of moral certainty which excludes any anxiety and despair.”29 Thus, Christians can be said to have relative, not absolute (i.e., infallible), certainty of salvation.Sixth, Trent states that our initial justification must be seen as a “gift.” Thus, it comes as a surprise to many Protestants that Roman Catholics believe that “if anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done…without divine grace through Christ Jesus: let him be anathema.”30 Further, “none of those things which precede justification, whether faith or works, merits the grace of justification. For if it is by grace, it is no more by works; otherwise, as the apostle says, grace is no more grace.”31In this connection it is only fair to point out that when Catholic scholars cite James 2:24 – that “we are justified by works” – they do not mean this initial justification at baptism which comes only by grace. Rather, they are referring to progressive justification (growth in righteousness) which Protestants call sanctification. On the other hand, Trent does assert that works are necessary for salvation in the progressive and eventual senses. For Trent made it dogma that “by his good works the justified man really acquires a claim to supernatural reward from God.”32 And it is precisely here that Catholics and evangelicals disagree.


With all due recognition of the common Augustinian core of salvation by grace, there are some important differences between the Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant views of justification. Unfortunately, the well-intentioned but unsuccessful recent statement, “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” lacked precision in these very areas, speaking of a common belief that “we are justified by grace through faith.”33 What it failed to note, however, is what the Reformation was fought over, namely, that Scripture teaches, and Protestants affirm, that we are saved by grace through faith alone (sola fide). Since this was the heart cry of the Reformation, many evangelicals refuse to sign the statement, believing it would betray the Reformation.

Justification- The Biblical Basis for Forensic Justification

In order to appreciate the significant contribution of the Reformers it is necessary to examine the biblical background of the term justification. As we will see, there are solid biblical grounds for the Protestant doctrine of forensic justification.The background for the doctrine of forensic justification (as with other New Testament doctrines as well) is found in the Old Testament. Concerning the Hebrew word hitsdiq, usually rendered “justify,” more often than not it is “used in a forensic or legal sense, as meaning, not ‘to make just or righteous,’ but ‘to declare judicially that one is in harmony with the law.’”34 George Eldon Ladd notes that “he is righteous who is judged to be in the right (Ex. 23:7; Deut. 25:1); i.e., who in judgment through acquittal thus stands in a right relationship with God.”35Turning to the New Testament, the Greek verb translated “to justify” is dikaioó. This word is used by Paul in a forensic or legal sense; the sinner is declared to be righteous (cf. Rom. 3-4). As Anthony Hoekema observes, “The opposite of condemnation, however, is not ‘making righteous’ but ‘declaring righteous.’” Therefore, by dikaioó, Paul means the “legal imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner.”36When a person is justified, God pronounces that one acquitted – in advance of the final judgment. Therefore, “the resulting righteousness is not ethical perfection; it is ‘sinlessness’ in the sense that God no longer counts a man’s sin against him (II Cor. 5:19).”37 Thus we find in the New Testament that “justification is the declarative act of God by which, on the basis of the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning death, he pronounces believers to have fulfilled all of the requirements of the law which pertain to them” (emphasis in original).38

Justification- The Incompatibility of Grace and Merit

Much criticism of the Catholic view of justification revolves around the concept of merit that was elevated by Trent to the status of infallible dogma. While Catholics wish to remind us that the whole doctrine of merit should be viewed in the context of grace,39 they overlook the fact that Scripture teaches that grace and meritorious works are mutually exclusive (e.g., Rom. 11:6).The New Testament clearly speaks against obtaining salvation (whether justification or sanctification) as a “reward” (i.e., wage) for work done. For the Scriptures insist that gifts cannot be worked for; only wages can (Rom. 4:4-5). Grace means unmerited favor, and reward based on works is merited. Hence, grace and works are no more coherent than is an unmerited merit!

Justification- Eternal Life Is a Gift That Cannot Be Merited

The Council of Trent declared clearly that to “those who work well ‘unto the end’ [Matt. 10:22], and who trust in God, life eternal is to be proposed, both as a grace mercifully promised to the sons of God through Christ Jesus, ‘and as a recompense’ which is…to be faithfully given to their good works and merit.”40 By contrast, the Bible declares clearly and emphatically that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).Further, in direct opposition to the Catholic position, the Bible guarantees eternal life is a present possession of those who believe. Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my words and believes in the one who sent me has [present tense] eternal life and will not come into condemnation, but is [right now] passed from death to life.” This same truth is repeated over and over in Scripture (e.g., John 3:36; 1 John 5:13). But according to the Roman Catholic view, one must await a final justification at death to know whether he or she has eternal life and will not see God’s condemnation.In the entire Gospel of John only one condition is laid down for obtaining eternal life – belief (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 20:31, etc.). If salvation were not by faith alone, then the whole message of John would be deceptive, stating that there is only one condition for salvation when there are two: faith plus works. Indeed, John states explicitly that the only “work” necessary for salvation is to believe (John 6:29). There is simply nothing else to do for our salvation. Jesus did it all (John 19:31).It is true that all who are saved by God’s grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9) will be rewarded for their works for Christ (1 Cor. 3:11ff.; 2 Cor. 5:10). These rewards for service, however, have nothing to do with whether we will be in heaven, but only have to do with what status we will have there. As Jesus said, some of the saved will reign over ten cities and others over five (Luke 19:17, 19). But all believers will be in His kingdom.

Justification- Christians Work from Salvation, Not for It

Put in traditional terms, Catholicism fails to recognize the important difference between working for salvation and working from salvation. We do not work in order to receive salvation; rather, we work because we have already received it. God works salvation in us by justification and we work it out in sanctification (Phil. 2:12-13). But neither justification nor sanctification can be merited by works; they are given by grace.Despite the fact that the Catholic understanding of salvation does not logically eliminate forensic justification, nevertheless, it does obscure it. For when one fails to make a clear distinction between forensic justification and practical sanctification, then the good works Catholics believe are needed for sanctification tend to obscure the fact that works are not needed for justification.Of course, good works are necessary in the Christian life. But Protestants have solved the problem in a much more biblical and balanced way. They insist that while we are saved by faith alone, nevertheless, the faith that saves us is not alone. It inevitably produces good works. That is, we are saved by faith but for works. Works are not a condition of justification but they are a consequence of it. Thus, someone who is truly saved will manifest good works. If there are no good works present, then there is no reason to believe that true saving faith is present either.As James said, “Faith without works is dead.” Such faith cannot save. “Can [mere intellectual] faith save him?” Only the kind of faith that produces good works can save. So, we are not saved (i.e., do not receive eternal life) by works, but we are saved by the kind of faith that produces good works.

Justification- Preserving the Pure Doctrine of Grace

We conclude by noting that Protestants, following the clear biblical distinction between forensic justification and practical sanctification, make the way of salvation much clearer and preserve the doctrine of grace (which Catholics also claim) in a much purer form. For once believers know they have right standing before God (=are justified) by faith alone apart from works, then their minds are not cluttered with works they must perform in order to know all their sins are forgiven (past, present, and future) and they are on their way to heaven.While Catholicism acknowledges that there is an initial act of justification (which some even admit includes a forensic act), nevertheless, it also maintains that one must work to faithfully avoid mortal sin in order to achieve final justification before God. Thus, works are ultimately necessary for salvation. But this is contrary to the biblical teaching that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, based on Christ alone. And, despite Catholic protest to the contrary, this is not conducive to the assurance of salvation by which we “know…[we] have eternal life” (1 John 5:13), and by which we are connected to God by His inseparable love (Rom. 8:1, 36-39).


1This material is taken from a forthcoming book by Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences (Baker, 1995), as extensively edited by Elliot Miller.2Tertullian, De paenitentia 2; 1.323.44-6.3An excellent historical analysis of this period can be found in Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, vol. l (Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1986), 1-23. 4Augustine, City of God 10.8.5Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, trans. Roy J. Deferrari from the 30th edition of Henry Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1957), “Grace” Can. 3.176., p. 76.6Semi-Pelagianism held that man cooperated with God by ordinarily taking the first steps toward salvation. 7McGrath, 110. 8Or “Why God Became Man?” The Library of Christian Classics, vol. X, ed. and trans. Eugene R. Fairweather (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1951).9See, e.g., Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, 2a2ae. 2, 4, in The Basic Writings of Thomas Aquinas, ed. Anton C. Pegis (New York: Random House, 1944), 1079.10Aquinas, 2a2ae. 2, 6, ad 1.11Cited by R. H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville: Abington, 1978), 65. 12Martin Luther, Explanations of the Ninety-five Theses, published August 1518.13Peter Toon, Justification and Sanctification (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1983), 58. 14Bernard M. G. Reardon, Religious Thought in the Reformation (London: Longman, 1981), 190.15John Calvin, Institutes, III, I xv, 4.16Ibid., 2, i.17J. K. S. Reid, trans., Calvin: Theological Treatises, vol. 22, The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954), article 5.18Calvin, 2I, xi, 2.19Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1986), 36.20Reardon, 196.21Colin Brown, Christianity and Western Thought, vol. 1 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 165.22Harold O. J. Brown, The Protest of a Troubled Protestant (New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1969), 107.23McGrath, 69.24Ibid., 72. The words “solely” and “merely” in these quotes indicate that Trent did not reject forensic justification as such. 25Denzinger, 814, 258. 26H. George Anderson, Justification by Faith (Minneapolis: Augsburg Press, 1985), 34.27McGrath, vol. 2, 78.28Gerrit C. Berkouwer, The Conflict with Rome (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1958), 114.29Bernhard Bartmann, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik, II, 109. Quoted in Ibid., 115.30“Trent,” see Denzinger, 811, p. 258. 31Ibid., ch. 8, 801, 252.32Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, 1960), 264.33“Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium,” final draft (29 March 1994). 34Anthony A. Hoekema, Saved by Grace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 154.35George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 440.36Hoekema, 154.37Ladd, 446. 38Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1986), 956. 39See Avery Dulles, S. J., in Anderson, 274.40Denzinger, 809, p. 257.

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