White Horse Inn Modern Reformation

Why Is Justification So Controversial?


Michael Horton

Release date:

January 19, 2020



If justification by grace alone through faith alone is such an important doctrine of Scripture, then why do so many Christians end up denying it? According to Michael Horton, much of this has to do with the mistaken assumption that at its root, Christianity is a kind of therapy. If all we need is renewal or transformation, then justification essentially becomes irrelevant. On this program, we’re airing part three of a four-part series of conference addresses by Michael Horton on the doctrine of justification.


In a therapeutic worldview, sin means dysfunction. And there is no objective standard to tell me what sin is in the first place. In a therapeutic worldview, everything is in me. It’s all indoors. All my authority, all my beliefs, everything that I talk about is about me and my insights. You don’t really have to deny Christianity in a therapeutic worldview. It just doesn’t really matter. It’s just not in the picture to talk about justification.

Michael Horton


“Grace and Mercy of God”

The Grace of God
In the specific language of Scripture the grace of God is the unmerited love of God toward those who have forfeited it, and are by nature under a judgment of condemnation. It is the source of all the spiritual blessings that are bestowed upon unworthy sinners, Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:7-9; Titus 2:11; 3:4-7

The Mercy of God
Another aspect of the love of God is his mercy or tender compassion. It is the love of God toward those who are in misery or distress, irrespective of their desires. It contemplates man as one who is bearing the consequences of sin, and is therefore in a pitiable condition. It is exercised only in harmony with the strictest justice of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ.

(From Louis Berkhof’s Manual of Christian Doctrine, p. 67)

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