Though other factors were present, the doctrine of justification was the primary theological impetus of Martin Luther's conflict with the 16th Century Roman Catholic Church. With it he began a movement that fundamentally reshaped the western hemisphere ecclesiastically, politically, and socially.
In the 21st Century, debate about this doctrine both within and outside of Protestantism continues and was sharply spurred by E.P. Sanders' 1977 book Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Since then many have followed Sanders' work and developed the doctrine more specifically in line with historical research. Others have pursued theological expressions of the doctrine, and still others have challenged the newer views defending the traditional Protestant doctrine of 'justification by faith'.
In Justification: Five Views all of these positions are represented by leading proponents, and then rebutted in detail by those who hold differing views. Michael S. Horton presents the Reformed view, Michael F. Bird the 'progressive Reformed view, James Dunn presents the 'New Perspective', and Veli-Matti Karkkainen presents the view of "participation in God" also known as "theosis". Finally, Gerald O'Collins and Oliver Rafferty present the Roman Catholic view.
Justification, while dealing with an issue of technical doctrine refrains from using overly technical terms and though the information is often complex, is accessible to all readers.
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