Allen, R. Michael. Justification and the Gospel: Understanding the Contexts and Controversies. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013.
Allen’s book on justification is a careful, informed treatment of justification in light of current controversies. It has a number of strengths: It is defending the orthodox, Reformation position on justification; it lays out a cogent methodology for systematic theology; it interacts skillfully with the entire history of theology from the patristics to the present; it relates justification to union with Christ, the obedience of Christ, Federal theology, sanctification, and the church while still maintaining justification’s uniqueness. A number of weaknesses should also be noted. Allen too often quotes positively and without caveat theologians outside of Protestant orthodoxy such as Barth. He also overquotes certain authors. In one section of the book, he quoted John Webster so often that I thought I should put Allen down and simply read Webster for myself. Finally, his section on the church was explicitly opposed to Baptist ecclesiology. These weaknesses aside, this is a worthwhile book for someone with theological training.