Skip to main content

Evangelical Theological Society Stirs up Views on “Justification by Faith”

December 3, 2010

A delegation of professors and students from Biola University joined more than 2,400 people in Atlanta from Nov. 17-19 for one of the biggest theological events of the year: the 62nd annual Evangelical Theological Society conference.

The conference, led by Biola professor Clint Arnold, who also serves as president-elect of the Evangelical Theological Society, was an opportunity for theologians and students to focus on the doctrine of justification, which has been the source of growing debate in recent years. In his role as chairman, Arnold — a professor of New Testament at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology — moderated a highly anticipated discussion of the doctrine of justification between scholars Thomas R. Schreiner, Frank Thielman and N.T. Wright.

“Thirty years have now elapsed since ‘The New Perspective on Paul’ emerged and challenged the Lutheran and Reformed understandings of justification and a host of related doctrines,” Arnold wrote in the conference’s program. “Some have argued that the newer views have compromised the integrity of the gospel. Advocates of the New Perspective, however, claim that their views more accurately reflect the teaching of the Bible and, specifically, Paul’s teaching on justification.”

The event was an opportunity to understand various positions on the doctrine more fully, he said.

“To have an opportunity where we could sit down together and really hash out the differences — there was something very satisfying about that,” Arnold said. “It made me feel like we need more times like that when Christians disagree with each other — to really speak the truth in love and grapple with these things together.”

Among the attendees at this year’s conference were a number of Biola University students and faculty members, including Biola’s recently installed provost and senior vice president, David Nystrom. Over the course of the three-day event, more than 30 Biola professors and students took part in panel discussions and presented papers on topics ranging from historical theology to the Rapture to science and the Bible.

Biola’s contributors included:

  • Alan Gomes, moderator of discussion of Christian History and Thought Since 1500
  • Alan Hultberg, panelist on Three Views of the Rapture
  • Allen Yeh, “Tokyo, Edinburgh, Cape Town, Boston: Four Conferences on Four Continents, Celebrating the Centenary of the Edinburgh 1910 World Missionary Conference”; moderator of discussion of world Christianity
  • Andy Draycott, “The Politics of Hearing: Teaching Christians to Hear for a Missionary Theology of Preaching As Public Speech”
  • Barey Carey, “Consequences of Acquiescing to Naturalism in Science: Implications for History and Theology”
  • Clinton E. Arnold, moderator of discussion on justification
  • Dave Sidnam, “Evolutionary Algorithms and Evolution”
  • David A. Horner, “Too Good Not to Be True: A Call to Moral Apologetics”
  • Fred Sanders, “Eternal Processions, Temporal Missions, and Full Salvation: The Trinitarian Horizon of Evangelical Soteriology”
  • Garrett DeWeese, “St. Paul, Second Adam, and Theistic Evolution”
  • Greg Peters, moderator of discussion of Asian-American ecclesiologies
  • J.P. Moreland, “Graham Oppy on the Argument from Consciousness”
  • Jason Benjamin Oakes, “The Task of Evangelical Philosophical Theology in Light of Analytical Theology”
  • Jason McMartin, “Reassessing the Biblical Case for Anthropological Dualism: A Response to Joel Green”
  • John A. Bloom, “Is There Science in the Bible?”
  • John H. Coe, “Spiritual Consolation and Desolation: Evangelical Musings on Dark Nights of the Soul”; “Temptations in Reading Spiritual Classics”; moderator of discussion of spiritual formation/sanctification
  • Jonathan Lunde, “Review of Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King”
  • Kenneth Berding, “Who Searches Hearts and What Does He Know in Romans 8:27?”
  • Kevin E. Lawson, “Learning the Faith in England in the Late Middle Ages”
  • Kevin Wong, “The Simultaneous Omniscience and Ignorance of Jesus Christ”; moderator of Evangelical Philosophical Society session
  • Moyer Hubbard “Kept Safe Through Childbearing: Maternal Mortality and Justication by Faith in 1 Tim. 2:15”
  • Rick Langer, “Points of Unease with the Spiritual Formation Movement”
  • Rob Price, “Divine Obedience and the Trinity of Revelation in Barth”
  • Robert Saucy, “Is Christ the Fulfillment of National Israel’s Prophesies? Yes and No!”
  • Scott Smith, “Relationships, Murphy, & the Turn to Physicalism—A Critical Examination”
  • Steve L. Porter, “Why Read Spiritual Classics? Three Theological Rationales for the Practice of Spiritual Reading”; moderator of discussion of spiritual formation/sanctification
  • Thomas Finley, “A Fresh Look at the Aramaic of Daniel”
  • Thomas J. Sappington, “Reexamining Common Assumptions Regarding Demonic Influence and the Ministry of Deliverance in the Synoptic Gospels”
  • Victor Rhee, moderator of discussion on Asian/Asian-American Theology

William Lane Craig, “Van Inwagen on God and Other Uncreated Beings”; moderator of Evangelical Philosophical Society session

Following ETS, the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society occurred Nov. 18-20 in Marietta, Ga., at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church with 1,800 attendees. Many Biola professors and graduates presented at EPS with large representation and support from Biola’s M.A. in Christian Apologetics program.

Written by Jessicah Gist, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at