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A Question of Union with Christ? Calvin and Trent on Justification

A Question of Union with Christ? Calvin and Trent on Justification

A Question of Union with Christ? Calvin and Trent on

JOBNAME: No Job Name PAGE: 1 SESS: 16 OUTPUT: Thu Sep 11 15:00:17 2003 SUM: 4B2AF09E /cambridge/wts/wtj/fall2002/9ìarpenter Printer: Position pages per crop marks provided. Margins have been adjusted intentionally. WTJ 64 (2002) 363-86 A QUESTION OF UNION WITH CHRIST CALVIN AND TRENT ON JUSTIFICATION CRAIG B. CARPENTER I. Introduction The question ong>ofong> justification is discussed as much today as it was in ong>Calvinong>’s time, especially in connection ong>withong> two matters. One is the recent, unong>ofong>ficial dialogue between Protestant evangelicals ong>andong> Roman Catholics. Two documents, ‘‘Evangelicals ong>andong> Catholics Together’’ (ECT) ong>andong> ‘‘The Gift ong>ofong> Salvation,’’ have made the historic differences on justification between the Church ong>ofong> Rome ong>andong> the churches ong>ofong> the Reformation once again a subject ong>ofong> international discussion. In particular, the joint statement on justification in ‘‘The Gift ong>ofong> Salvation’’ suggested a fair amount ong>ofong> agreement on the doctrine between Roman Catholic dogma ong>andong> Protestant orthodoxy, ong>andong> it did so by curiously leaving some ong>ofong> the most historically contentious issues to be resolved later, notably what is meant by imputation. This prompted some other evangelicals to restate their understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> sola fide in terms that reinforced the disagreement between the two sides, especially as concerns imputation. They focused particularly on the Catholic understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> justification’s relation to sanctification, namely, the order in which they take place (ordo salutis). The legal, forensic character ong>ofong> salvation (imputation ong>ofong> righteousness) must occur, these Protestants insist, prior to the subjective, renovative character ong>ofong> salvation (infusion ong>ofong> righteousness). 1 Craig B. Carpenter is a Ph.D. student in New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. 1 ‘‘Evangelicals ong>andong> Catholics Together: The ong>Christong>ian Mission in the Third Millennium,’’ First Things 43 (May 1994): 15-22; ‘‘The Gift ong>ofong> Salvation,’’ First Things 79 ( January 1998): 20-23. Reformation reactions can be found in Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides ong>andong> Unites Us (ed. J. Armstrong; Chicago: Moody, 1994); ‘‘An Appeal to Fellow Evangelicals: The Alliance ong>ofong> Confessing Evangelicals’ Reply to ‘The Gift ong>ofong> Salvation’,’’ Modern Reformation 7 (September/October 1998): 29-32; R. C. Sproul, Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine ong>ofong> Justification (Grong>andong> Rapids: Baker, 1995); idem, ‘‘What ECT II Ignores: The Inseparable Link between Imputation ong>andong> the Gospel,’’ Modern Reformation 7 (September/October 1998): 24-28; W. Robert Godfrey, ‘‘A Discussion on Justification,’’ The Outlook (February 1999): 5-7; ong>andong>, somewhat differently, Mark Seifrid, ‘‘ ‘The Gift ong>ofong> Salvation’: Its Failure to Address the Crux ong>ofong> Justification,’’ JETS 42 (1999): 679-88. For a broad attempt to define what it means to be ‘‘evangelical’’ in light ong>ofong> the recent Protestant–Catholic dialogue, see ‘‘The Gospel ong>ofong> Jesus ong>Christong>: An Evangelical Celebration,’’ ong>Christong>ianity Today, 14 June 1999, 51-56; for a critical response, see Robert H. Gundry, ‘‘Why I Didn’t Endorse ‘The Gospel ong>ofong> Jesus ong>Christong>: An Evangelical Celebration’ . . . even though I wasn’t asked to,’’ Books ong>andong> Culture ( January/February 2001): 6-9. More generally, see Catholics ong>andong> Evangelicals: Do They Share a Common Future (ed. Thomas P. Rausch; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000). On 363