Browsing Tag


Book Review

Book Review: Faith in the Son of God

May 19, 2023

Originally published: “Kevin McFadden, Faith in the Son of God: The Place of Christ- Oriented Faith within Pauline Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021),” in Presbyterion 47, no.2 (Fall 2021): 181-82.

If you spend any time around New Testament scholarship, you will inevitably bump into the πίστις Χριστοῦ debate (or, with the preponderance of writings, you may slam into it!). Two thousand years later, much ink is being spilled on the Apostle Paul, and one of the primary debates is surrounding how to translate this short Greek phrase. In his latest book, Faith in the Son of God: The Place of Christ-Oriented Faith within Pauline Theology, Kevin W. McFadden, Associate Professor of New Testament at Cairn University, defends the historical approach of translation, rendering the phrase “faith in Christ.” Through careful exegesis of the debated eight πίστις Χριστοῦ phrases, an analysis of broader ways to engage the debate, and a robust understanding of Pauline theology as a whole, McFadden presents a commendable piece of scholarship that opponents of the historical view must reckon with. 

For those unfamiliar with the πίστις Χριστοῦ debate, a majority of English speaking scholars now advocate for a translation that renders the phrase as “faithfulness of Christ,” rather than “faith in Christ.” Perhaps you are wondering if it even matters? Is not the faithfulness of Christ and our faith in Christ both important? Can Greek grammar and Pauline theology advocate for both views? While McFadden would agree, he would also argue strongly for the historical view, noting that “this debate is significant because of the relationship of these eight phrases to Paul’s entire theology and especially his view of justification and salvation (and thus, by implication, our view of salvation)” (24). Therefore, a proper understanding of the πίστις Χριστοῦ is not merely a matter of grammar, but of theological precision that has huge implications for our understanding of justification, salvation, and even the gospel itself. 

Continue Reading…