- Series: Classic Christian Readers
- Paperback: 163 pages
- Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (July 29, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802839665
- ISBN-13: 978-0802839664
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Justification Reader (Classic Christian Readers) Paperback – July 29, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Oden sets himself the task of demonstrating that during the first five centuries of the Church there existed a clear consenual teaching on justification that looked very much like the teaching of the Reformers. Unfortunately, I do not believe that he has accomplished his task. Specifically, I am not persuaded that he has shown that the imputation of righteousness is a consensual patristic understanding.
My big disappointment is that this book is so very Protestant. Oden ends up quoting Reformation and Protestant sources almost as much as he cites the Fathers. It's as if he could not make up his mind as to what he wanted this book to be.
Oden presents a good summary of the Reformation understanding of justification, with which I find myself in strong personal concurrence. But I wanted to hear the voice of the Fathers interpreted on their own terms, not filtered through Reformation conceptuality and distinctions. Can one really say that St. Augustine held the same view on justification as Luther, when the former understood justification/sanctification as a process? Can one say that the Eastern Fathers understood justification as an imputation of righteousness, when they understood salvation as our incorporation into the risen humanity of Christ, as theosis? I'm trying to keep an open mind. Indeed, I want to be persuaded that Oden's interpretation is true. I just don't think he has made his case yet.
So I do not think that Oden has accomplished the goal that he explicitly sets out for himself. And so I am disappointed. On the other hand, I am grateful and delighted to have before me now the patristic texts that he does cite. I suspect that many of them have been ignored by everyone, whether Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant.Read more ›
who are "gun shy" regarding the Early Church. Read
this work, and I believe you will be more willing to
actually pursue other studies in the realm of the
doctrine of the Early Church.
Many evangelicals fear the teachings of the Early
Church. In my experience this is due to a class of people
who claim to represent the "historic church" and
who use the the claim of following in the footsteps
of the fathers as a bludgeon to pummel evangelicals into submission.
Usually these are former evangelicals themselves who
have the new found zeal of former smokers. Such folks
are now on a crusade to save the world from tobacco.
These former evangelicals end up end up ridiculing
everything in their evangelical heritage in an almost
But even these zealots have a good point.
To be quite honest, the Protestant Reformers in the
Reformed, Anglican, and Lutheran camps were dedicated
students of the Early Church and believed themselves to
be restoring the primitive Christian teaching.
Their followers in the modern era have distorted
the teachings of these reformers (and the scriptures)
with a modern proof text mentality that takes some
verses as "gospel" while shunning "inconvenient"
As a minister who has been blessed to be raised
in the evangelical church and who has now found a home
in the historic reformed church, yes, the New Testament church I
was always encouraged to seek, I say you will value this
book.Read more ›
Many of the fathers spoke wonderfully regarding grace and how we are saved by grace. Sometimes they were merely parroting the words of the apostle Paul, but that is certainly not always the case. It was not until the Pelagian heresy arose in the West that the fathers spoke ever more cautiously about how important the grace of God is to our salvation. In that sense there is doctrinal development in the early church as heresies compelled the Church to speak ever more clearly about hot topics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Systematic theological book that deserves a place in anyone's personal theological library. His paleo-orthodox approach is a wonderful reminder to keep in mind the thoughts of... Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by rick evans
In the spirit of doctrinal ecumenism by a converted Methodist theologian, Oden attempts to build a case that - contra McGrath - a basic doctrinal consensus does exist in the early... Read morePublished on June 29, 2010 by Scophocles
This book demonstrates that given a sufficiently large collection of writings (eg the 160 volumes of early church writings), it is possible to find plenty of small snippets in them... Read morePublished on July 10, 2009 by Andrew
In many ways I respect what Thomas Oden is trying to do here. In this book Oden proposes that if Catholics and Protestants are to find common ground, they should go beyond the 16th... Read morePublished on April 10, 2008 by Jordan B. Cooper
I was excited to read this short book when I bought it a few days ago. I do believe that Dr. Oden clearly communicates his underlying goal: ecumenicalism. Read morePublished on January 28, 2008 by William R. Turner
On page 1 of his introduction, Oden says, "As a former addict of fad theology, I have now come home to ancient ecumenical Christianity. Read morePublished on December 11, 2007 by Lance M. Gowen
Other reviewers of this fine book have been critical for what this reviewer feels is unfair reasons. Read morePublished on July 20, 2004 by rodboomboom