The Role of Justification in Contemporary Theology
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In this significant book Mark C. Mattes critically evaluates the role of justification in the theologies of five leading Protestant thinkers—Eberhard Jungel, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jurgen Moltmann, Robert W. Jenson, and Oswald Bayer -- pointing out their respective strengths and weaknesses and showing how each matches up with Luther's own views. Offering both an excellent review of recent trends in Christian theology and a powerful analysis of these trends, Mattes points readers to the various ways in which the doctrine of justification has been applied today. Despite the greatness of their thought, Jungel, Pannenberg, and Moltmann each accommodate the doctrine of justification to goals aligned with secular modernity. Both Jenson and Bayer, on the other hand, construe the doctrine of justification in a nonaccommodating way, thus challenging the secularity of the modern academy. In the end, Mattes argues that Bayer's position is to be preferred as closest to Luther's own, and he shows why it offers the greatest potential for confronting current attempts at self-justification before God.