Biblical Judgments and Theological Concepts: Toward a Defense of Imputed Righteousness

Bibliographic Information: 

Barrett, Jordan. "Biblical Judgments and Theological Concepts: Toward a Defense of Imputed Righteousness." Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 32 (2014): 152–169.


The doctrine of the positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness has been a source of comfort to some and frustration to others. On the one hand, the belief that we have been “clothed” with Christ’s righteousness before God has brought great peace to many. On the other hand, critics argue that imputed righteousness is foreign to or forced upon the biblical text. Understandably, most critics seek after a “biblical” view and believe that imputation language eventually falls short of representing what Scripture teaches. But can the imputed righteousness of Christ truly be a legitimate expression of biblical ideas and yet not be explicitly found in Scripture? My answer is “yes,” and in this essay I demonstrate that imputed righteousness is a suitable theological concept that faithfully represents and corresponds to the judgments Paul makes with regard to justification. I first evaluate the views of three opponents and three proponents. Next, I employ David Yeago’s argument regarding concepts and judgments in relation to homoousios (i.e. how this Greek term expresses biblical judgments without actually being found in Scripture) and demonstrate how Yeago’s distinction can be fruitfully applied to the question of imputed righteousness in Scripture and theology. Here, I also present what I see is the biblical judgment of “reckoned righteousness” and how the concept of imputed righteousness faithfully expresses this view. The conclusion draws out the implications of my argument and suggest some additional ways forward.

Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology
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