AS Lane: Calvin and Trent not far off from each other

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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The discussion of a new translation of Calvin's Insitutes facilitated by ANS Lane jogged my memory of running into this.
Isn't Lane pretty far off this not using the appropriate distinctions that are becoming for a historical theologian?
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
When I saw the heading, I thought you are arguing that you (Trent) was moving closer to Calvin, theologically speaking. That is how the heading reads ;)
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Lane messes up. There is a categorical difference between the reformed and Roman doctrines of justification and they're mutually exclusive. He's right that in the RC view, justification is "from faith alone", but only in that faith is seen as the root from which justifying works procede - not because Christ's atonement is received by faith. This is Augustine's formulation - which is why he always used the phrasing "ex fide" (from faith) and not fide or per fidem (by faith), and it's remained the Roman dogma ever since. That's not anything like Calvin's doctrine. Calvin was not pleased with the developments at Trent. Now it is true that Calvin gave works more of a role in salvation than many modern reformed folks would like. He called them "inferior causes of salvation". The Escondido school especially dislikes that. One of them went so far as to claim that it's a mistranslation and we've all been misreading Calvin these 460 years. A bold claim, and quite illiterate.
 

DTK

Puritan Board Junior
There is a categorical difference between the reformed and Roman doctrines of justification and they're mutually exclusive. He's right that in the RC view, justification is "from faith alone", but only in that faith is seen as the root from which justifying works procede - not because Christ's atonement is received by faith.
Agreed, Rome will profess what they term to be "initial justification" by faith alone (not that they're consistent here with respect to embracing Christ, Whom they seek to parcel out to the "faithful" as if that were possible), but for Rome justification is a process, rather than an act of God's free grace. Augustine's emphasis is on faith "formed by love." Thus to understand Augustine's view, one must distinguish in him "the event of justification" from "the process of justification." For Augustine, the event of justification is the beginning of the process of justification.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Shedd:

"But the Council of Trent resolved justification into sanctification, and in the place of a gratuitous justification and remission of sins through the expiation of the Redeemer, substituted the most subtle form of the doctrine of justification by works that has yet appeared, or that can appear. For the doctors of Trent do not teach, in their canonical statements, that man is justified and accepted at the bar of justice by his external acts of obedience to the moral or the ecclesiastical law. This is, indeed, the doctrine that prevails in the common practice of the Papal Church, but it is not the form in which it appears in the Tridentine canons. According to these, man is justified by an inward and spiritual act which is denominated (editors: called) the act of faith; by a truly divine and holy habit or principle infused by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit.

The ground of the sinner's justification (ed.: according to Trent) is thus a divine and gracious one. God works in the sinful soul to will and to do, and by making it inherently just justifies it. And all this is accomplished through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ; so that, in justification there is a combination of the objective work of Christ with the subjective character of the believer. This statement is the more subtle, because it distinctly refers the infused grace or holiness to God as the author, and thereby seems to preclude the notion of self-righteousness. But it is fundamentally erroneous, because this infused righteousness, or holiness of heart, upon which remission of sins rests in part, is not piaculor (propitiatory). It has in it nothing of the nature of a satisfaction to justice.2 So far forth, therefore, as infused grace in the heart is made a ground and procuring cause of the pardon of sin, the judicial aspects and relations of sin are overlooked, and man is received into the Divine favor without any true and proper expiation of his guilt. The Papal theory of justification, consequently, stands upon the same level in the last analysis with the Socinian, or with any theory that denies the necessity of a satisfaction of justice."
 

Douglas Somerset

Puritan Board Freshman
I have not listened to the Tony Lane lecture but I have read his recent book Regensburg Article 5 on Justification. His main argument is that Romanism was divided on Justification before the Council of Trent, and even at the Council of Trent, and there were strands of Romanism that were apparently very close to Protestantism on the doctrine although further off in other respects of religion. You need some quite subtle distinctions to discuss this subject, but I forget what they are! I will have to look at Lane's book again. You have to recognise these divisions in pre-Tridentine Romanism to understand the course of the Reformation in Scotland, England, France (I think), and Italy (the spirituali).
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I have not listened to the Tony Lane lecture but I have read his recent book Regensburg Article 5 on Justification. His main argument is that Romanism was divided on Justification before the Council of Trent, and even at the Council of Trent, and there were strands of Romanism that were apparently very close to Protestantism on the doctrine although further off in other respects of religion. You need some quite subtle distinctions to discuss this subject, but I forget what they are! I will have to look at Lane's book again. You have to recognise these divisions in pre-Tridentine Romanism to understand the course of the Reformation in Scotland, England, France (I think), and Italy (the spirituali).

That makes sense. McGrath argued something similar in Luther's Theology of the Cross.
 
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