Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Union with Christ" - Ordained Servant March 2009

The March edition of Ordained Servant is now available online. This month's edition focuses on the topic of the doctrine of union with Christ. I will state up front that this edition is not for the faint of heart. There is a serious exchange between John Fesko and Richard Gaffin concerning the proper reading of John Calvin on the doctrine of union with Christ and the two-fold blessing of justification and sanctification. There is particular interest given to the question of the relationship of justification to sanctification.

The editor states at the beginning that he realizes there is a certain amount of risk in attempting an exchange like this, and so he has sought to "minimize the heat and concentrate on the light." To this end, he assures the reader that "Fesko and Gaffin are engaged in a gentlemanly debate and have each agreed that the other's presentation is fair in its argument and honest in its representation of the other's view."
In the editor's opening article "The Risk of Serious Debate," the reader is encouraged to engage in the discussion despite the risk because in-house debate refines our understanding of scripture and lends clarity to our articulaton of it. In an age where postmodern relativism has created a culture that cannot have rigorous debate and maintain unity and peace, the church should be the place to have serious debate while maintaining our first love. If the OPC cannot do this, then the editor suggests that "our theological tradition is doomed to a kind of fractiousness that will render us truly irrelevant." He closes with some sage and godly wisdom:
Confessional truth, it seems to me, has always been arrived at in just this way, through thoughtful, respectful discussion within the bonds of the trusting and loving fellowship of the visible church. Until an ecclesiastical formulation—or perhaps understanding of what has already been formulated—is arrived at, every ear ought to be open, carefully listening. So let's take the risk of debate together. I have no dog in this fight, just lots of esteemed fathers and brothers in the faith seeking to disciple the nations in the truth of Scripture. Let us commend one another's work for consideration, especially when we disagree.

1 comment:

  1. David, thank you for calling attention to this issue of *Ordained Servant* and to Editor Greg Reynolds' encouragement to discuss these issues in a way that promotes the sharpening of our theology as well as the unity of the church. All participants in the discussion could use our prayers.