Saved by ‘Allegiance’ Alone? On a New Attempt to Revise the Reformation

Thomas Schreiner | March 3, 2017

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting the Ninety-five Theses in the city of Wittenberg. One question that arises is whether the five solas—which rightly capture some of the major theological emphases of the Reformation—should be nuanced after 500 years of reflection and study.

Matthew Bates, a gifted young scholar who teaches at Quincy University, thinks that an adjustment would be salutary, suggesting we revise “faith alone” and reformulate with the slogan “allegiance alone.” As those who believe in Scripture alone, we should be open to reforming and sharpening what we have held in the past, and Bates challenges us to look at the Bible anew.

Allegiance and the Gospel 

In this new book, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King, Bates considers afresh the nature of salvation and the gospel. He argues “faith” and “belief” aren’t always the best terms to translate pistis and pisteuō in the New Testament. Instead, with regard to salvation it would be better to speak of allegiance to Jesus as King, so that faith has the idea of fidelity. The advantage of allegiance is that it includes the idea that good works are necessary for final salvation. Bates rightly maintains…

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