I have long been of the opinion that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is and always has been a 'red herring'. The real crux of the Reformation, and the real disagreement between Catholics and Protestants, lay (and lies) elsewhere entirely.
I first came upon such a theory a long time ago in a letter J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to his son during the War, and was sceptical to say the least. That scepticism took a blow when I read the Council of Trent's statements on justification as a Protestant Evangelical and found, to my great surprise, that there was almost nothing that I (and every other Evangelical I know) did not already agree with. With continued study and thinking, I have eventually come around to the same opinion as Tolkien.
And, it must be said that, once in a while, it is nice to be vindicated in an unfashionable opinion. And it is particularly nice when the person by whom one is vindicated happens to be one of the most scholarly and interesting theologians of our time, and the successor of Peter to boot!
Witness, then, Pope Benedict demonstrating....well, look, just read it, its brilliant!
Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible- by John Polkinghorne, Chapter 9- Other New Testament Writings - Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible– by John Polkinghorne Chapter 9- Other New Testament Writings Polkinghorne notes there are ten other book...
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