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By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification Paperback

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By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification + The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology: A Comparative Analysis + Justification And The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review And Response
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581348401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581348408
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"If you have been unsettled or impressed by the arguments of the New Perspectives or the Federal Vision-this book is for you. By Faith Alone is a serious and substantial rejoinder to the new viewpoints on justification, imputation, covenant theology, and more."
J. Ligon Duncan III, Chancellor and John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

"The twin pillars of historic Protestantism-the authority of the Bible and justification by faith alone-have been under attack since the beginning of the Reformation. But the recent assault on justification by the New Perspective on Paul and by the Federal Vision is particularly pernicious, cloaked as it is in apparent scholarship and piety. This important book defends the historic Reformation doctrine with better scholarship and more profound piety."
W. Robert Godfrey, President and Professor of Church History, Westminster Seminary California

"In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther boldly declared that the doctrine of justification is the article by which the church stands or falls. In the twenty-first century, many churches have not stood their ground but have fallen prey to the voices of those who have offered new perspectives on an ancient, biblical doctrine. I am thankful the Lord has raised up faithful men to provide the people of God with a clear, biblical perspective on this most precious doctrine."
Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine

About the Author

Gary L. W. Johnson is adjunct professor at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Arizona and have four children.

Guy P. Waters is assistant professor of biblical studies at Belhaven College. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Mississippi and have two children.

David F. Wells (PhD, University of Manchester) is the Distinguished Senior Research Professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  In addition to serving as academic dean of its Charlotte campus, Wells has also been a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and is involved in ministry in Africa.  He is the author of numerous articles and books, including a series that was initiated by a Pew grant exploring the nature of Christian faith in the contemporary, modernized world. 

R. Albert Mohler Jr. (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the ninth president of Southern Seminary and as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology. Considered a leader among American evangelicals by Time and Christianity Today magazines, Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio program for the Salem Radio Network and also writes a popular daily commentary on moral, cultural, and theological issues. Both can be accessed at

Richard D. Phillips is senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He chairs the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and coedits the Reformed Expository Commentary. He has also written numerous books on the Bible, theology, and Christian living.

David VanDrunen is Robert B. Strimple associate professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics, Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, California.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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It is much more comprehensive and has been the most important book I've read on the issue.
Brian G Hedges
This is a book of scholarly papers by theologians with a traditional Reformed understanding of the doctrine of justification.
S. E. Paynter
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the New Perspective on Paul.
J. Nichols

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Brian G Hedges on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very thought-provoking series of theological essays engaging the contemporary challenges to the historic Reformed understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Any book of this sort, with multiple contributors, is bound to be somewhat uneven in quality - but this is one of the better books of this sort that I've seen.

Here is the table of contents, interspersed with my brief comments.

1. What did Saint Paul Really Say? N. T. Wright and the New Perspective(s) on Paul - Cornelis P. Venema

2. Observations on N. T. Wright's Biblical Theology with Special Consideration of the "Faithfulness of God" - T. David Gordon

These first two chapters engage the writings of N. T. Wright, who is probably the highest profile proponent of the New Perspective on Paul (and is also one of the most renowned contemporary Jesus scholars). Their critiques of Wright are very, very insightful and should be seriously considered. Everything really does seem to fall on Wright's embrace of a certain way of reading Second Temple Judaism (as non-legalistic) and his interpretation of the phrase "dikaiosune theou" as "the covenant faithfulness of God" instead of "the righteousness of God." This second question is adequately challanged in the second chapter of this book.

3. A Justification of Imputed Righteousness - Richard D. Phillips

4. The Foundational Term for Christian Salvation: Imputation - C. F. Allison

These two chapters address the recent controversies surrounding the doctrine of imputation.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Stark on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a book of essays - nine in all (ten, if you count the introduction by Guy Waters) - responding to recent challenges to the historic Reformed understanding of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, concentrating on the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision, but also engaging the classic Arminian position and Mormonism.

As might be expected from a book that consists of essays by various authors, the book is a little uneven. Some essays seem to be written with the interested lay person in mind, and others assume much more prior knowledge on the part of the reader. In addition, since the essays were originally intended to stand alone, there is a fair bit of repetition of ideas and arguments.

That means there were essays I enjoyed reading, those that were beyond me, and those I just wasn't interested in. The first two essays engage the writings of N. T. Wright. While I found the explanations and arguments in these two chapters very interesting, I don't think I know enough about the issues to judge them. I also enjoyed several essays defending imputed righteousness and the active obedience of Christ, because this is a doctrine that seems to come up in discussions occasionally, and it was helpful to see it defended from scripture. The essays related to the Auburn Avenue or Federal Vision controversy were mostly beyond me. I'm not Presbyterian, and I don't know enough about the issues to even understand the essays.

If you are like me, and a bit of a novice on these issues, you might need a little more background knowledge before you would find this book completely useful, but if you are up on these things, my uneducated guess is that you'll find this to be a valuable book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacques Schoeman on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
'There are those who see in this the passing of historical orthodoxy, and this is something that they mourn.' David F Wells, Foreword

David F Wells sets off to trace the origin of the smoking gun, delivering an introduction that is unputdownable. Making shrewd observations and weaving the intricacies of the post-modern attempt at upending the Reformation principle, By Faith Alone, he persuasively engineers the scope of the book. The incumbent attention to scriptural detail that follows is sure to secure the Reformation position in Scripture alone, thereby placing it beyond all doubt.

NT Wright is in the cross-hairs. The bishop of Durham, the home of strange sightings, has epitomized the latitudinarian spirit of the age. His writings are popular, thought-provoking and unconventional, yet sorely lacking a biblical approach to propitiation, imputation and justification. Ecclesiology, or the 'Sitz Im Leben', or cultural setting, is frequently seen to take precedence in his folklore of the unfolding covenants and God's renewed grace. Following the literary success of Guy Prentiss Waters' Justification & The New Perspectives On Paul: A Review & Response a renewed commitment to 'sola fide' is the best remedy.

Cornelis P Venema opens fire by challenging the obscure parentage of the New Perspective on Paul: James Dunn and EP Sanders, who substantiated a hypothesis of an intricate legalistic community in Second Temple Judaism fundamentally based on post-modern form-critical scholarship. Yet is it not just Pelagianism cloaked in a new garb? Is Paul not too clear on his position?
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