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John Henry Newman on Justification

Note: John Henry Newman's work on the topic is called the Lectures on Justification (which can be bought for quite a steal of 6 dollars on the link above), a helpful secondary source on the relationship between Newman's work and the Reformational understanding on justification is Christ Castaldo's Justified in Christ: The Doctrines of Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Henry Newman and Their Ecumenical Implications


It is said that Justification is the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae, that is, the article on which the church stands or falls. This was one of the areas where the Reformational heat of polemical warfare focused on. In popular circles today it is said that "Roman Catholics believe in faith+works, while protestants believe in faith alone." In Newman's Lectures on Justification, we see that this is a vast oversimplification on the points of division. Through Newman, we see that the differences are fewer than each side would like to admit. This is seen in the fact that Newman's third edition of the work which was reprinted in 1874 (the original lectures in 1838) shows very little editing from his original edition, although he had been a Roman Catholic for almost three decades. This article seeks to give a basic outline of the main focuses of Newman's doctrine of justification, and then I will contrast Newman's doctrine and the Reformational understanding of justification.