Thursday, October 03, 2013

Ominous Omen: Norman Shepherd

The Federal Vision did not drop out of the sky. Rather, when we peer back into time, we see the seeds of the Federal Vision already in the Shepherd Controversy. Once shrouded because of denominational politicking, the Shepherd Controversy has been revealed to the world through O. Palmer Robertson's book The Current Justification Controversy (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2003). Here are some choice quotes written by Norman Shepherd in 1978 at the height of the controversy, from his Thirty-Four Theses on Justification in Relation to Faith, Repentance, and Good Works:

20. The Pauline affirmation in Roman 2:13, “the doers of the Law will be justified,” is not to be understood hypothetically in the sense that there are no persons who fall into that class, but in the sense that faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ will be justified (Compared Luke 8:21; James 1:22-25)

21. The exclusive ground of justification of the believer in the state of justification is the righteousness of Christ, but his obedience, which is simply the perseverance of the saints in the way of truth and righteousness, is necessary to his continuing in a state of justification (Heb. 3:6, 14)

22. The righteousness of Jesus Christ ever remains the exclusive ground of the believer’s justification, but the personal godliness of the believer is also necessary for his justification in the judgment of the last day (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46; Heb. 12:14)

23. Because faith which is not obedience faith is dead faith, and because repentance is necessary for the pardon of sin included in justification, and because abiding in Christ by keeping his commandments (John 15:5, 10; 1 John 3:13, 24) are all necessary for continuing in the state of justification, good works, works done from true faith, according to the law of God, and for his glory, being the new obedience wrought by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer united to Christ, though not the ground of his justification, are nevertheless necessary for salvation from eternal condemnation and therefore for justification (Rom. 6:16, 22; Gal. 6:7-9)


Larry said...

There are two volumes in the title you mention, and I think the analysis in volume 2 is very good. Vol 1 is more of an ephemeris, and 2 the analysis. Lord bless for taking a stand on the stuff that people nowadays in some of my circles say "how is that wrong?"

Daniel C said...


the Companion to the Current Justification Controversy is written by John Robbins, and I don't agree with all of Robbins' analysis