ABSTRACT

The doctrine of justification, famously dubbed by Luther as ‘the article by which the church stands or falls’, was no less a controversial doctrine in Owen’s time than it had been at the inception of the Reformation. The primary criticism of Owen on atonement and justification came from Richard Baxter, for whom the issues of antinomianism and its perceived conceptual foundation, eternal justification, were more than just theological games. John Owen’s treatment of justification is a classic example of Reformed Orthodoxy at its best: rooted in the ongoing anti-Pelagian trajectory of Western theology and operating within the established Protestant consensus, Owen yet demonstrates the ways in which that consensus was itself under strain, exegetically, theologically, and socially, in the seventeenth century, and how it was necessary for doctrinal formulation of the doctrine to undergo careful elaboration in order to respond to such. .