In light of the relative opaqueness of my last post, I thought it would be helpful to add some additional remarks to clarify and expound on some points.
Before I say anything further, it must be stated that while it is probably clear to the reader that, of the two, I prefer the WTS position, which places union with Christ as logically prior to and the cause of all other soteric benefits, over and against the WSC position which argues for, at minimum, justification being the cause of all other soteric benefits, I must stress that there position is not heretical or even sub-orthodox. The men who articulate the WSC position I greatly respect and, to a certain degree, I find their argument persuasive.
A comment from Michael Horton (2011: 708) will serve to illustrate my primary concerns addressed by my previous post:
I am suggesting that we view all the items in the Pauline ordo as constituting one train, running on the same track, with justification as the engine that pulls adoption, new birth, sanctification, and glorification in tow. “Those whom he justified he also glorified” (Ro 8:30). This means that we never leave the forensic domain even when we are addressing other topics in the ordo besides justification proper.
My problem with this statement is that by making justification, as Horton puts it, “the engine that pulls” all other soteric benefits is to abstract justification from the person of Christ therefore depersonalizing it. Justification and indeed all other soteric benefits are unintelligible apart from the person who brings them to us, namely, Christ. Moreover, by placing the “new birth,” or regeneration, as logically subordinate to and caused by justification admits of incoherence, esp. when union with Christ is divided into forensic and renovative categories, which I sought to demonstrate in my prior post.
So, to clarify, it is not that the Reformed ordo intrinsically results in something akin to the Roman Catholic soteriological schema but that when one interprets it in light of the renovative/forensic distinction posited by the WSC position, the result is something close to a Roman Catholic soteriology. Put simply, it is my contention that this distinction, as it relates to union with Christ, undermines the Reformed ordo and therefore a better account of the relationship between union with Christ and the ordo must be offered. Continue reading “A Postlude to ‘Union with Christ – An Analytic Attempt at Understanding’”