Faith Without Ethics by S. M. Hutchens

Faith Without Ethics

Not by Faith Alone: A Biblical Study of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification
by Robert A. Sungenis
Santa Barbara, California: Queenship Publishing Co., 1996
(816 pages; $24.95, paper)

reviewed by S. M. Hutchens

John Henry Newman somewhere remarked that it was impossible to be deep in history and remain a Protestant. I would modify his observation to suggest that it is hard to maintain a high view of the integrity of the received canon of Scripture and remain a “good” Protestant. I speak here in particular of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, frequently alleged to be the article upon which the Reformed churches stand or fall. Although I have been a Protestant all my life, I can never remember believing in justification by faith alone, even though it has been taught vigorously in most of the churches I have attended. Gifted by my father with skepticism about preachers’ opinions, when James’s Epistle taught with pristine clarity that “by works is a man justified, and not by faith alone,” even as boy I saw reason to mistrust those who ignored James or treated him strangely to assert what they claimed was Pauline doctrine.

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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