What are going to be the key theological issues explored this coming year? If the Australian Church Record (“ACR”) is to be listened to then one might be Justification by Faith Alone. They’ve just published an essay [pdf] by Matt Olliffe, responding to an earlier contribution by Michael Bird which itself was a reply to Olliffe’s original piece [pdf] in the October ACR (still following?!).
Olliffe’s chief concern is that
…it would be good for Protestant NT scholars to be careful about their articulation of Pauline justification by faith and to actually be Protestant, rather than making statements that effectively move them toward a Roman Catholic position.
Lying behind this are the wider questions about what “the gospel” that is being appropriated by faith actually is. The work of N.T. Wright to argue that it is effectively the NT witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has had some influence in moving this debate along (or perhaps shoving it forward in the first place). Part of getting Justification by Faith right is working out what/who we’re trusting in the first place.
Expect this one to expand somewhat in 2015.