Lectures on Justification by John Henry Newman

In “Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification” (1838) John Henry Newman maps out an alternative to the competing claims of justification by faith vs. justification by works.






John Henry Newman (21 February 1801 – 11 August 1890) was an English theologian and poet.

Read our biography of Newman »




Lecture 1. Faith considered as the instrumental cause of justification


In Newman’s day, Anglicans spoke of faith as essential to justification.

But not as the instrument of originally gaining it. Instead, they consider baptism the instrument of our justification.


In contrast, in Newman’s day, the Lutheran movement taught that justification is by faith alone.

This teaching is called “Justification by Faith.” In this view, justification consists of the merits of Jesus Christ being applied to our lives.

But many people hold to “Justification by Faith” alone. They exclude all other aspects of justification. For that reason, Newman says they are in error.

According to the Lutherans, faith is a spiritual principle. It is altogether different from anything we have by nature. It is endued with a divine life and efficacy. It produces a radical change in our soul. It is a trust in Christ’s merits and in them alone for salvation.


In Newman’s day, most Catholics lived as though their justification was earned by their own good works.

This is called “Justification by Obedience.” Or “Justification by Works.” Taken by itself, it is a defective doctrine.

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Lecture 2. Love considered as the Formal Cause of Justification

We will explore this Lecture for February 9.

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Lecture 3. Primary Sense of the Term “Justification”

We will explore this Lecture for February 9.

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NOTE 1. Here are the titles of the 13 lectures:

  1. Faith considered as the Instrumental Cause of Justification
  2. Love considered as the Formal Cause of Justification
  3. Primary Sense of the Term “Justification”
  4. Secondary Senses of the Term “Justification”
  5. Misuse of the Term “Just” or “Righteous”
  6. The Gift of Righteousness
  7. The Characteristics of the Gift of Righteousness
  8. Righteousness viewed as a Gift and as a Quality
  9. Righteousness the Fruit of our Lord’s Resurrection
  10. The Office of Justifying Faith
  11. The Nature of Justifying Faith
  12. Faith viewed relatively to Rites and Works
  13. On Preaching the Gospel


Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

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