The Doctrine of Justification: An Outline of Its History in the Church and of Its Exposition from Scripture

Buchanan, James

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Recommendations: James Buchanan's Doctrine of Justification is the classic work on this cardinal doctrine by which a church stands or falls. After lucidly covering the historical development of the doctrine through the Old Testament, the apostolic age, the scholastic divines, the Reformation and Counter Reformation, and in the Church of England, Buchanan expounds the doctrine itself by covering the scriptural meaning of the term, its relation to the law and justice of God, its relation to the mediatorial work of Christ, its relation to grace and works, and more. The chapter on justification in relation to the work of the Holy Spirit is alone worth the price of the book. Throughout, Buchanan systematizes the doctrine of justification in an orthodox Reformed manner that is fully reliable, is consistent with all the doctrines of grace, and is still relevant to the burning issues of our day, such as the New Perspective. A new introduction by Dr. Gerald Bilkes on the New Perspective is also a great help. If you can only afford to read one book on justification, read this definitive work. - Joel R. Beeke

The doctrine of justification by faith is like Atlas: it bears a world on its shoulders, the entire evangelical knowledge of saving grace ... This is still the best text book on the subject, from the standpoint of the classic covenant theology. - J. I. Packer

Justification is, perhaps surprisingly, perhaps not, a point of contention within the evangelical, Protestant world in our own day, but so many evangelical ministers and students lack a knowledge of the historical and theological content and categories necessary to engage the discussion helpfully. Buchanan to the rescue. This magisterial nineteenth century treatment remains a standard. Indeed, you'll be surprised at the present applicability of Buchanan's assessments. Yes, in the century since Buchanan wrote, we've learned a lot of helpful, biblical things about the shape and stuff of justification. But Buchanan cannot be bypassed. Read and learn at the feet of a master. - Ligon Duncan

At the present stage of the justification debate, Buchanan would be a very wholesome remedy against unfair representations. He is absolutely masterful on the subject. - Roger Nicole

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