We are saved by faith when we trust that Jesus died for our sins. This is the gospel, or so we are taught. But what is faith? And does this accurately summarize the gospel? Because faith is frequently misunderstood and the climax of the gospel misidentified, the gospel’s full power remains untapped. While offering a fresh proposal for what faith means within a biblical theology of salvation, Matthew Bates presses the church toward a new precision: we are saved solely by allegiance to Jesus the king. Instead of faith alone, Christians must speak about salvation by allegiance alone. The book includes discussion questions for students, pastors, and church groups and a foreword by Scot McKnight.
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In this well-argued book, Matthew Bates recovers a deeper sense of what the act of faith consists of as it is depicted in Scripture. He wisely observes that the story of the rich young ruler in the Synoptic Gospels presumes that salvation depends on certain human actions. How those actions are related to salvation by faith alone is a central question raised by this book and elegantly answered.
—Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame
In this bold, provocative book, Matthew Bates challenges Christians of all traditions to reexamine basic assumptions about the gospel, grace, the nature of salvation, and the meaning of ‘faith.’ His argument for saving faith as embodied, enacted allegiance is rooted in solid scholarship and presented with both zeal for the kingdom and concern for the church. This is a much-needed corrective to many misunderstandings.
—Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary and University
Matthew Bates argues that faith or believing is not mere assent, not easy believism, but covenantal loyalty to the God who saves his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bates forces us to rethink the meaning of faith, the gospel, and works with a view to demonstrating their significance for true Christian discipleship. This will be a controversial book, but perhaps it is the controversy we need!
—Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia
Bates makes a powerful argument that the New Testament writings find their climax in their portrait of Christ as the enthroned king. The right response to this king is not simply trust or intellectual assent but rather wholehearted allegiance. Bates’s reframing of faith, works, and the gospel is a necessary correction to prevalent distortions of Jesus’s gospel. This is an important argument written by a creative, careful, and trustworthy biblical interpreter.
—Joshua Jipp, assistant professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Matthew W. Bates (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is assistant professor of theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. He is the author of The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation and The Birth of the Trinity.