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H. Henry Meeter Center: Specializing in John Calvin, Calvinism, the Reformation, and Early Modern Studies


"Justification by Works in Reformation Theology"

Anthony N.S. Lane, Professor of Historical Theology at the London School of Theology, London, The United Kingdom

Audio Recording of the lecture


Given on April 11, 2013

On April 11, 2013, Professor Anthony Lane of the London School of Theology challenged popular assumptions that would divide Catholics and Protestants into two camps according to their contrasting understandings of Justification. Professor Lane pointed out that early modern Catholicism did leave room for both faith and works in Justification, through a two-fold process in which the initial Justification is by faith, and the second is the Justification of the godly by their good works. Focusing on Protestant commentaries on the letter of James, Lane also pointed out that the Reformers, including John Calvin, did leave room for works in their understanding of Justification, although Calvin consistently downplayed the value of the works in and of themselves – Reformed believers were to do good works as a necessary sign of salvation, and their otherwise worthless works gained acceptance in God’s eyes because the believers themselves were new creations in Christ.