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Justification if the “main hinge on which religion turns.”

Justification is the “main hinge on which religion turns.” (Calvin, Institutes 3.11.1.)


Valentius Loescher, a 17th century Lutheran, insisted, Iustificatio est articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae.  (articulus: article, point, crisis, division, hinge {thumb})

Most religions repudiate this articulus formally (e.g., Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses); most church folk repudiate it informally – i.e., operatively.

Those who would never repudiate it formally are often found repudiating it subtly and thereby fall into one or another form of self-justification insofar as

we are justified by our grasp of the doctrine of justification

by our ability to articulate the doctrine in private or public

by faith as the substance of our justification

by “grace” and “works” in that grace by provides an outer framework

whose inner content is our achievement

by (in modernity with its psychological preoccupation and its emphasis on    ego- strength, etc.) our awareness that “we need do nothing to be accepted.”

In other words, modernity tends to abstract justification from its rootage in