Turretin: Justification Is The “Principal Rampart” Of The Christian Religion

I. As in the chain of salvation justification follows calling (Rom. 8:30) and is everywhere set forth as the primary effect of faith, the topic concerning calling and faith begets the topic concerning justification. This must be handled with the greater care and accuracy as this saving doctrine is of the greatest importance in religion. It is called by Luther “the article of a standing and a falling church” (Articulus stantis, et cadentis Ecclesiae).1 By other Christians, it is termed the characteristic and basis of Christianity—not without reason—the principal rampart of the Christian religion. This being adulterated or subverted, it is impossible to retain purity of doctrine in other places. Hence Satan in every way has endeavored to corrupt this doctrine in all ages, as has been done especially in the papacy. For this reason, it is deservedly placed among the primary causes of our secession from the Roman church and of the Reformation.

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James T. Dennison Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 2 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–1997), 16.1.1 (p. 633).

1 Luther said things like this but in this form, the saying has been traced to the Reformed theologian J. H. Alsted (1618).

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