Episode: How has the church's understanding of salvation grown and shifted over time? What are common misunderstandings that Catholics and Protestants have about salvation? How has this impacted the church? And what is the future of justification as that connects to ecumenical efforts? Eminent church historian Alister McGrath (University of Oxford) has been research and writing about the history of salvation in the church for over 40 years. In light of his freshly revised monograph, Iustitia Dei, McGrath leads us on a tour of the history of the Christian doctrine. Co-hosted by Matthew W. Bates.

The Book: Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (4th ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020). The Christian doctrine of justification is of immense interest to historians and theologians ,and continues to be of major importance in modern ecumenical discussions. The present work appeared in its first edition in 1986, and rapidly became the leading reference work on the subject. Its many acclaimed features include a detailed assessment of the semantic background of the concept in the Ancient Near East, a thorough examination of the doctrine of the medieval period, and an especially careful analysis of its development during the critical years of the sixteenth century. The substantially rewritten fourth edition thoroughly updates the work, responding to the latest developments in scholarly literature and user feedback. It will remain an essential resource for all concerned with the development of Christian doctrine, the history of the Reformation debates on the identity of Christianity, and modern discussions between Protestants and Roman Catholics over the nature of salvation. (Publisher’s description).

Guest: Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford; Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion; Fellow of Harris Manchester College. He is the author of many books, including Narrative Apologetics (2019); Inventing the Universe (2015); Deep Magic, Dragons and Talking Mice (2015); C. S. Lewis: A Life (2013); Luther's Theology of the Cross (1985); and The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation (1987).

OnScript's Review: Alister McGrath's field-defining treatment of the history of the doctrine of justification, Iustitia Dei, has been extensively rewritten, enriched, and brought up to date in this 4th edition. It remains the single best resource for accurately understanding how Christian salvation has been conceptualized down through the ages. It is difficult to imagine it ever being surpassed. -- Matthew W. Bates, author of Salvation by Allegiance Alone; associate professor of theology, Quincy University

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