Thursday, August 07, 2008
Paul and Sola Gratia
Can Paul's theology be summarized as an expression of sola gratia? If faith and obedience are the necessary means or necessary evidences of salvation, is this really by grace alone? Recently Francis Watson has written: ‘The Reformational assumption that Pauline theology is summed up in the phrase sola gratia should be treated with considerable caution’ (Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles, p. 346). In my mind, Paul’s remarks in Gal. 1.15-16 and 1 Cor. 15.8-10 seem to correspond remarkably well with a sola gratia principle indeed. What Watson has undermined is perhaps more akin to a monergism that leaves no room for conversion and obedience as the necessary pre-condition of salvation. The only genuinely form of monergism in this regard is probably some type of universalism. Incidentally, I hope to have a seven page review of Watson's book out soon, it's been a cracking read, easily one of the top five books in Pauline studies in the last ten years.