In the early portion of the 10-22-04 Dividing Line webcast, our master “stalker”, James, takes a few minutes, yet once again, to cast some disparaging remarks at Dr. Francis J. Beckwith. The following is a selection from the program:
…speaking of apostasy, ummmm, I was reading a brief article by Francis J. Beckwith this morning on his website: The Council of Trent did not deny forensic justification…(2:20ff.)
James goes on to tell us that Dr. Beckwith is “not really like the Pope”, and then, a bit later, informs his listeners that Dr. Beckwith’s interpretation of the 11th canon of the Council of Trent, “is a denial of Roman Catholic teaching on this subject.”
In essence, James is saying that one should not to trust Dr. Beckwith’s assessment, but rather, one should trust a professional, anti-Catholic’s interpretation.
And further, James is also inferring that one should not trust a certain Evangelical scholar, whose specialty happens to be historical theology, because it just so happens that this scholar’s understanding of canon XI is almost identical to that of Dr. Beckwith’s. Note the following:
It is clear that this condemnation [in Canon XI] is aimed against a purely extrinsic conception of justification (in the Catholic sense of the term) — in other words, the view that the Christian life may begin and continue without any transformation or inner renewal of the sinner. In fact, the canon does not censure any magisterial Protestant account of iustificatio hominis, in that the initial (extrinsic) justification of humans is either understood (as with Melanchthon) to be inextricably linked with their subsequent (intrinsic) sanctification, so that the concepts are notionally distinct, but nothing more; or else both the extrinsic justification and intrinsic sanctification of humanity are understood (as with Calvin) to be contiguous dimensions of the union of the believer with Christ. (Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 3rd ed., p. 343.)
[BTW, I had posted this same quote in the combox (HERE) of an earlier thread at the Return to Rome blog.
So, ignore Dr. McGrath, and ignore the monumental document, Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (see THIS THREAD for links to JD and supporting documents)—just trust James’ take on the matter…
Grace and peace,
David (a neophyte “stalker”)