04 October 2015

Book Review: Faith Alone

Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification (2015, Zondervan) by Thomas Schreiner is an informative, readable introduction to sola fide, the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

In the opening section, Schreiner explores the history of sola fide. He establishes the importance of the doctrine not with the reformers, but with the early church fathers, 1500 years prior. After a brief sketch of this earlier history, he spends a considerable amount of time on the reformers. He dedicated a chapter each to Luther and Calvin before exploring the Council of Trent, later reformers, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley. This overview led to some surprises particularly in regards to Richard Baxter and John Wesley.

In the second section, he moved in earnest into exploring the theology of sola fide including human sin, faith alone, God's saving righteousness. Chapter 9 which deals with the interpretation of the phrase pistis Iesou Christou and whether it should be interpreted "faith of Jesus Christ" versus "faith in Jesus Christ", was interesting and important. He later concluded section two with traditional topics such as imputation and the forensic implications.

The final section deals with contemporary issues including the Roman Catholic Church, Francis Beckwith's departure from evangelicalism, and NT Wright's New Perspective on Paul. I was particularly interested in the chapter regarding Beckwith and Schreiner's response.

On the whole, this is a great introductory text to the doctrine of faith alone. This volume has whetted my appetite for the rest of the 5 solas series.

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