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The Role of Justification in Contemporary Theology
PAPERBACK; Published: 10/19/2004
ISBN: 978-0-8028-2856-9
216 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 X 9
This is a print on demand book and is therefore non-returnable.

In this significant book Mark C. Mattes critically evaluates the role of justification in the theologies of five leading Protestant thinkers — Eberhard Jüngel, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jürgen Moltmann, Robert W. Jenson, and Oswald Bayer — pointing out their respective strengths and weaknesses and showing how each matches up with Luther's own views.

Offering both an excellent review of recent trends in Christian theology and a powerful analysis of these trends, Mattes points readers to the various ways in which the doctrine of justification has been applied today. Despite the greatness of their thought, Jüngel, Pannenberg, and Moltmann each accommodate the doctrine of justification to goals aligned with secular modernity. Both Jenson and Bayer, on the other hand, construe the doctrine of justification in a nonaccommodating way, thus challenging the secularity of the modern academy. In the end, Mattes argues that Bayer's position is to be preferred as closest to Luther's own, and he shows why it offers the greatest potential for confronting current attempts at self-justification before God.
Dennis Bielfeldt
"Mark Mattes has succeeded in writing a truly confessional book on justification. Instead of allowing justification to become merely a part of a comprehensive systematic theology seeking a 'God's-eye perspective' on reality, Mattes argues that it should form the hub of a confessionally based theology decentering academic construction in favor of the discernment of faith. In his analysis of Jüngel, Pannenberg, Moltmann, and Jenson, Mattes adroitly describes the general trajectories of what goes wrong in Lutheran theology when justification is taken to ground first-order proclamation but not second-order theological reflection. He makes clear throughout that a properly robust view of justification conflicts with much ecumenical ecclesiology currently popular within North American Lutheran circles. This important book deserves to be read by all those interested in the future of Lutheran theology in North America."