Luther said that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is “the article upon which the church stands or falls.” R. C. Sproul follows Luther’s lead in this concise and compelling work. Justified by Faith Alone surveys the main tenets of the doctrine of justification in Roman Catholicism and evangelicalism. Sproul is careful to accurately represent Catholic beliefs and observes that while both traditions agree that faith is necessary for justification, the difference lies in whether faith alone is sufficient. He explores problems with the Catholic doctrine and champions the sole sufficiency of Christ for our salvation. Effective and engaging, Sproul does not shy away from difficult theological terms and ideas, but capably guides readers through this famous doctrinal dispute. To those who decry the doctrines of imputation and justification by faith alone as “legal fiction,” Sproul warns that nothing less than the central message of the gospel is at stake.
“Justification refers to a legal action by God by which he declares a person just in his sight. The Protestant view is often described as ‘forensic justification,’ meaning that justification is a ‘legal declaration’ made by God.” (Page 15)
“However, when evangelicals speak of forensic justification, the phrase is used as a kind of theological shorthand for sola fide, and what is tacit is the assumption that God declares people to be just who in themselves are not just. Rome teaches that God declares people just only when they are in fact just.” (Page 16)
“It is not only that God does what is just, but that he does what is just because he is just. His righteous actions flow out of his righteous character.” (Pages 12–13)
“Imputation refers to that act by which God ‘counts’ or ‘reckons’ us just by legally transferring the righteousness of Christ to our account.” (Page 36)
R. C. Sproul (1939– 2017) was a respected teacher, theologian, pastor. He was the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries where he served as executive editor of Tabletalk magazine.
Sproul held degrees from Westminster College, Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary. He taught at several colleges and seminaries including Reformed Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary. He served as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, in Sanford, Florida. Sproul’s teaching can be heard daily on the ‘Renewing Your Mind’ radio broadcast which plays in over 40 countries.
Sproul wrote over 70 books and articles including the classic The Holiness of God and several theological articles in Tabletalk magazine.