Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 06:4 (Fall 1997)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Great Exchange: Justification by Faith Alone in the Light of Recent Thought, Philip H. Eveson. Bromley, Kent: Day One Publications (1996). 227 pages, paper, $7.99. (Available in the United States from Reformation & Revival Ministries, $15.00, plus shipping)

Authentic evangelicalism always seeks to bring every aspect of its theology to the bar of Holy Scripture. The Protestant Reformation can be explained theologically only in terms of this great principle. Luther’s conscience that was captive to the Word of God and that caused him to defy Emperor and Pope was but the forerunner of a spiritual attitude that would distinguish a host of successors. Accumulated tradition, however venerable, must always yield to the Word. In one sense, therefore, it need neither surprise nor disturb us to discover that even so central a doctrine as justification by faith alone is being scrutinized afresh by a wide range of scholars with a view to establishing what the Bible really teaches on the subject. If Protestantism in general has got it wrong then the sooner the matter is rectified the better! Since this particular doctrine can hardly be labelled peripheral it follows that if we are in error here then the indictment against the Protestant case generally must assume devastating proportions. Revisionists within and critics without have been arguing for some years that this doctrine, as hammered out on the anvil of theological controversy four centuries and more ago and persistently maintained since by those who claim to be the heirs of the Reformers, is now in need of radical reappraisal and restatement. Philip Eveson’s book is a studied response to this challenge.

The first section tackles the biblical evidence and shows clearly how in both Old and New Testaments justification by faith alone is at the heart of what Eveson calls “God’s saving plan.” Naturally he deals extensively with the Pauline material, showing that the central themes that constitute this doctrine in the apostle’s thinking are fairly and accurately stated in the classic Protestant formulations of justification. The section closes with a linguistic examination of the dikaioó and s-d-q word groups. He shows that while the demonstrative meaning is undoubtedly present and indeed is the necessary meaning for texts such as Luke 10:29 and Matthew 11:19 (and probably James 2:24) it is the declaratory sense that predominates.

Fundamentally this book is polemical in the best sense of that word. It is concerned to engage in a fair and reasoned critique of those views with whi...

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