For the past two days I have been reading sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995). This exercise was brought on somewhat spontaneously but I suspect it also grows out of my reading two books. First, was N.T. Wright’s Justification which is the former bishop of Durham’s own understanding of what St. Paul means by justification and of course how we are to understand it today. Wright is considered a major contributor on the New Perspective on Paul. Second, was Justification edited by Husbands and Treier. Their book contained a series of essays from a broad spectrum of scholars on the justification issue. My reason for mentioning these reads, both very good and important, is to propose to you that justification is not quite as rigid and definable as it was 50 years ago. There is a vast array of views and understandings of Paul and the concept of justification. If it isn’t obvious yet why this matters for the Catholic Evangelical Divide, the most quoted reason for the separation between these two bodies is certainly “there is a fundamental difference in the understanding of justification.” To be clear, I don’t think it’s as simple as settling on a definition of justification and reuniting the Church–there are other differences. However, are the other differences so severe that they can, without including justification, validate a divided Church of Christ? It is becoming more clear to me that Justification is the largest and most important topic for evangelical and catholic theologians to dialogue. More on this soon. For starters, here are a couple of articles discussing the moving target of justification:
These are just resources to get anyone interested in where this blog is going in its review of Catholic and Evangelical comparisons “up to speed” on the contemporary trends in theological discourse. Stay tuned.