Series: Classic Christian Readers (CCR)The Justification Reader
sets out the classic Christian teaching of "salvation by grace through faith." Distinguished theologian Thomas C. Oden, well known for retrieving the riches of church tradition, here gathers together the early Christian sources on the theme of justification.
Ranging broadly through Christian history and across all branches of the church, Oden cites the writings of such major figures as Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom in the East and Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great in the West. Although Oden presents all the relevant historical texts on justification, the book also includes his own insightful explication of the doctrine. His work shows that what these church fathers teach on justification was restated almost verbatim by the sixteenth-century Reformers and can still be confessed in good conscience by Christians from every communion. Thus this volume both provides a compendium of a central belief of the faith and demonstrates its ecumenical potential.
The first volume in a new series, this book will be an important sourcebook for readers from every tradition.
"Oden guides the reader through the early Church Fathers, who, he says, proclaimed a gospel of justification by grace through faith. This Oden describes as the 'consensual' teaching of the Great Tradition, and this little book should provoke both Protestants and Catholics to reconsider their entrenched positions."
John D. Woodbridge
"Rarely does a book appear that is justly designated a 'must-read.' Tom Oden's Justification Reader, however, does qualify as one such book. As if he were a lawyer making a closing argument, Oden here sets forth compelling evidence to sustain a stunning and controversial thesis — that the consensual theology of the church fathers encompassed the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Moreover, Oden unpacks the dramatic ecumenical implications of his findings. Even if Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Evangelical readers disagree with certain aspects of Oden's argument, no one will be able to ignore his bold proposal."
C. FitzSimmons Allison
"Oden here provides important evidence that God did not leave the early church bereft of an eloquent witness to the biblical doctrine of justification. If taken seriously, this book promises to be the occasion of a newly found humility by Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Pentecostal bodies, a humility that is essential to any genuine recovery of Christian unity. This testimony to the patristic fathers on the subjects of grace, faith, and justification should go a long way toward healing the effects of the 'yeast of the Pharisees' that has infected us all."
Norman L. Geisler
"This is a landmark work on a kingpin doctrine by a first-rate scholar who has made a commendable effort to demonstrate doctrinal unity within ecclesiastic plurality."
"For various reasons, says Oden, Protestants (and non-Protestants) have often failed to recognize the Christian consensus on the doctrine of justification that existed long before its sixteenth-century articulation. Even those who dispute his historical claim will at least have to reckon with this work. Intimately familiar with the ancient writings of the church, Oden guides us with a wise and pastoral hand through the consensus that binds genuine evangelicals throughout the centuries. As a result, he offers us the handiest one-volume guided tour of this central Christian teaching available in print. At once edifying and ecumenical."