Interview of Robert Sungenis by Protestant Dr. Michael Horton on the Topic of Justification

Interview of Robert Sungenis by Protestant Dr. Michael Horton on the Topic of Justification

Venue: The White Horse Inn, a Protestant radio show broadcasted to over 50 stations nationwide, which includes a bi-monthly magazine titled Modern Reformation.

Comments by Robert Sungenis:
In this interview, Dr. Horton inquiries, once again, into the Catholic understanding of Justification – how a person is justified before God from his sins so that he can go to heaven. Twelve years ago, Dr. Horton, along with his colleagues Robert Godfrey and Ken Rosenblatt, had a debate against Robert Sungenis, Patrick Madrid (now editor of Envoy magazine) and William Marshner (professor at Christendom College). Since that time, there has been no movement from either side in modifying their position on Justification.

In the September/October issue of Modern Reformation, Horton devotes the whole magazine to promoting the Protestant Reformed beliefs of Justification, and does so mainly by castigating any understanding of Justification that does not adhere to the “faith alone” formula that he and his colleagues believe. His radio program, The White Horse Inn, devoted itself exclusively to the subject of Justification the whole month of September and into October.

Dr. Horton presently teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. Westminster Seminary is the leading breeding ground for all things believed from the Calvinistic persuasion. It is the seminary from which I graduated in 1984 and which subsequently put me in the unique position of knowing their beliefs from the inside out.

After the interview (which was conducted in the summer of 2007), I sent Dr. Horton my book Not By Faith Alone. I critique Dr. Horton and his views about a dozen times in the book (e.g., pages xli, 195, 360, 405, 439, 461, 574, 589, 593, 596, 598, 602, 628), along with all his other Calvinistic academic colleagues, such as John Murry, Richard Gaffin, R. C. Sproul, Robert Godfrey, Alister McGrath, Roger Wagner, et al.


  1. Hi Robert, in your book you argue that Paul’s “works of law” extends beyond ceremonial law to any good works performed under our own power, i.e., by our own nature. I’m not sure I understand the difference between 2 people who feed the hungry, where one does so by his own power and the other by grace. Both acted charitably. How are we supposed to distinguish between the 2 actions/behaviors that appear identical?

    Does NBFA address this?

    Finally, I anticipate your response being something like: one has the Spirit of God and the other person does not, or one is in a “state of grace” and the other is not. If I am correct, then what happens to the (nonCatholic) Christian who feeds the hungry out of love for God, but is not in a “state of grace”?


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