What is the relationship between faith and works in justification? Recently someone pointed me to this post: Faith Without Works is Dead — John Murray, which I forwarded to several people. Dr. Richard B Gaffin was reminded of something he had written some time ago. He forwarded it to me and gave me permission to post it here. If you prefer a pdf copy, click on Calvin on Ez. 18, 17.
Calvin on Ezekiel 18:14-17 Justification, Faith and Works
Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise:  he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife,  does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,  withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. (ESV)
A passage from Calvin’s commentary on Ezekiel 18:14-17 has the distinction of being among the last, perhaps the last, of his comments on the relationship among justification, faith and works (progressive sanctification*), having apparently been written shortly before his death in 1564. Also, it is perhaps as pointed as Continue reading
One kingdom? Two kingdoms? How are the kingdom and the church related? Such questions bounce around in books, exchanges of articles, and blog posts. I was recently reminded of a foundational, very helpful work: The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church, by Geerhardus Vos (P&R Publishing, reprinted 1972).
In a side discussion during a committee meeting a few weeks ago Richard B. Gaffin quoted the late Ned B. Stonehouse as telling his students, “Every minister of the gospel ought to read Vos’ The Kingdom and the Church once a year.” Although I have read the little book (about 100 pages) a couple of times, and have used it more frequently as the Scripture index has been helpful in finding sections dealing with preaching texts, I was motivated to take Stonehouse’s counsel. The advice was Continue reading
A few weeks ago on a week of (mostly) vacation I found time to finish reading this book, which arrived in early June. The publisher’s description is:
Publisher’s Description: In recent decades biblical hermeneutics has been an ever-expanding field of thought and research, with new viewpoints unfolding and debated. The views selected for this volume cohere with a broad center of orthodox interpretation of Scripture. But while they share a common ground and a collection of common tools, their distinctive emphases are at points profound.
In Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views five proponents of differing hermeneutical approaches each describe their approach to interpreting Scripture, put it to work on Matthew 2:13-15, and respond to their dialogue partners. The discussion is introduced and concluded by the editors.
The five views and their essayists are:
Historical-Critical/Grammatical, Craig Blomberg
Literary/Postmodern, F. Scott Spencer
Philosophical/Theological, Merold Westphal
Redemptive-Historical, Richard B. Gaffin Jr.
Canonical, Robert W. Wall
Anyone interested in the ongoing quest to responsibly interpret Christian Scripture for the church will find this a wonderfully informative and constructive dialogue.
Published June 2012
As you gather from above, each author presented his view, then each has a chapter responding to the others, focusing on Matthew 2:13-15 and its use of Hosea 11:1. Given the composition of this forward list, it will come as no surprise that it was the identity of the author of the Redemptive-Historical view that prompted me to purchase and read. I have read his two chapters carefully Continue reading