Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Response to "Justification: Five Views"

A response I have written to the book "Justification: Five views" has been published by Logia. It can be found online here.


Steve Bricker said...

I also was disappointed that Justification: Five Views left out the Lutheran view—big mistake by the editor. Thank you for the response. It articulated the position of the contributors and showed how the Lutheran position gives a more robust and complete understanding for all of the Christian experience bothe here and hereafter.

Matthew said...


Thanks for your article.

I have a question:

The Reformed, specifically in reference to Arminian Theology, are insistant that regeneration preceeds faith. (If not temporally, then certainly logically). They say this is necessary because of the sinner's spiritual deadness. In your article, you seem to place regeneration as an ontological result of imputation and faith. Does this not make faith preceed regeneration, especially if regeneration is assumed under the category of justification? If so, how can this be, seeing that the Reformed claim that it is regeneration that is needed in order to have faith? (And us Lutherans would admit that faith is a gift).



Jordan Cooper said...


I don't think that the giving of faith and regeneration are necessarily identical concepts. Lutherans have sometimes spoken of it as such, but have at other times confessed regeneration as the result of justification. This doesn't result in synergism. Faith is a divine gift of the Spirit who justifies and regenerates. What the Reformed mean when they say that regeneration precedes faith is essentially correct. What the semi-Pelagian means by faith producing regeneration is not that faith is a gift of the Spirit which brings new life, but that man must make a conscious free-will decision to be regenerated. This I whole heartedly reject.

Martin Yee said...

Hi Jordan,

Thanks for this great article. It is very well written and thought provoking. Good work.

Just a couple of questions:
1. Have you compared your legal-ontic justification ideas with that of Athanasius. His view of Christ as word, wisdom and power of God to bring us back to His own image and Athanasius' ideas of Christ's natures ties in pretty well with your ontic idea.
2. Does your the legal-ontic justification view square with that of LCMS' objective justification as explained by Marquat? I think the orthodox scholastic Lutheranism sees the object of faith as justification by Christ's merits. When Christ died on the Cross and rose again he justified whole of humanity. Faith is seen as reception of it. The material cause of our salvation is Christ's work for us, the formal cause is faith.

Your view seems to be a fusion of the Finnish Lutheran and orthodox scholastic Lutheran views.

Just some thoughts.

Jordan Cooper said...


I have thought a lot about Athanasius' soteriology and it has certainly been influential in my own thinking. My own personal study is much more focused on Patristics and Luther than the issues that I tend to spend most of my time writing about here.

No, I don't buy the "objective justification" approach of the Waltherian school. It's an invention of the 19th century, not a reflection of Reformation teaching. To talk about everyone being justified prior to faith is confusing and unhelpful language.

You are correct to say that my approach is a mixture of the Finnish school and orthodox Lutheranism. I think that the Finnish school has some valuable insights into Luther which can be applied to a Confessionally robust approach to justification. Orthodoxy did err in over-forensicizing the gospel, though the essence of their approach is still correct and helpful.