In less than half a year, we will be approaching the 500th anniversary of Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, which is traditionally regarded as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

As we approach that time, it is important to remember why the Reformation happened. Ultimately, it was about the question of how we can be made right before God, a question that has to do with the doctrine of Justification. Roman Catholics and Protestants answered that question in radical and irreconcilable ways, and this has been understood for the past five hundred years. However, in recent decades, some have questioned whether the differences were all that radical.

This essay, “Why Justification Still Matters,” is a look at recent attempts to bridge the gap between the two understandings of Justification, and why, despite recent ecumenical statements on the doctrine, the fundamental differences still remain. Appended to this essay is a short defense of the Reformation principle of Justification through faith alone (Sola Fide), answering objections laid against it by Roman Catholic apologists.