Posts in 杨明道 Yang Mingdao
Practical Problems in Pastoral Ministry - Reflections on “Justification” and “Sanctification” in the Reformation

Anthropology is deeply connected to soteriology because it determines the structure, depth, and breadth of soteriology… In an emaciated anthropology, emphasizing justification by faith, or even attempting to construct an entire identity on the doctrine of justification by faith, can very easily reduce soteriology to “justification by faith” while losing the motivation for sanctification. Sanctification becomes merely an adornment or addition to justification, no more than a proof that man has been justified.

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The Comprehensive Soteriology of the Reformers - Reflections on “Justification” and “Sanctification” in the Reformation

The main difference from medieval soteriology is that Luther does not believe in the infusion of grace into the soul of man, by which he is progressively made righteous before finally being justified. Luther believes that by faith, God unites the soul of man with Christ and instills the external righteousness of Christ directly into a man’s life so that he becomes righteous. But Luther does not believe that this alien righteousness of Christ is instilled into man all at once. Rather, it is progressive in nature, continuing throughout a man’s entire life.

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The Middle Ages and the Reformers - Reflections on “Justification” and “Sanctification” in the Reformation

In retrospect, the Reformation is truly a Copernican Revolution in the history of soteriology, a kind of paradigm shift from “geocentrism” to “heliocentrism.” The soteriology of the Roman Catholic church and its corresponding pastoral practices are remarkably cumbersome and complicated, akin to geocentrism, with its focus on us – what kind of person Christ makes me become through God’s grace. The soteriology of the Protestants, on the other hand, is simple and clear, akin to heliocentrism, with its focus on what Christ has done – what kind of person Christ became on my behalf through God’s grace.  

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A Hope-Filled Prayer for Early Rain Covenant Church

Lord, we thank you! May you yourself truly fulfill all these things, and may your own name be lifted high through all these things! Even if they are sentenced to prison, even if they have no way to be set free, even if their wives and children are left by themselves to be scorned, ridiculed, and profaned, but in the end, Christ’s name will be exalted and your glory will be seen by the whole world!

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