John Preston on Faith, Works, and Double Justification

Continuing with the series on future justification(s), I would like to now give a slightly different perspective. I don’t think it is wholly at odds with Diodati or Pictet (later writers could combine the perspectives without much trouble), but it certainly reads James differently. Rather than appealing to two different types of justification, an initial and a final, this perspective understands justification to always be by faith alone, but it insists that the faith is itself a working faith. Later types of justification are opportunities to justify the first justification, or to prove that the faith was true faith.

One representative of this type of reading would be John Preston. There have been some critics of Preston lately who would say that he’s out of the mainstream of the Reformed tradition, but I think this is false. The work which I had access to of his was a posthumous publication put out by Richard Sibbes and John Davenport. Thomas Goodwin also printed Preston’s work. So however one may choose to criticize Preston, it is historically the case that Puritan mainstays looked up to him with respect and admiration. Regarding English Reformed and Westminsterian theology, Preston is a legitimate father in the faith.

Now to the subject at hand. Continue reading