Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Reformed critique of Lutheran theology

This essay by Geerhardus Vos briefly criticizes Lutheran theology from a Reformed biblical-theological perspective. Does it accurately represent the theology it critiques? How well supported are the article's conclusions?

Does Vos's order of salvation agree with that of the Westminster Confession? While his order may seem reasonable philosophically, it was hard not to think the Lutheran order that he criticized (taken causally, not temporally) looked more biblical. Also, do his criticisms of Lutherans regarding election apply to the monergistic, Augustinian soteriology of the Lutheran confessions, which clearly teach unconditional election?

comparison between Reformed and Lutheran soteriology

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

From where is this essay of Vos' taken?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005  
DRB said...

The essay on biblicaltheology.org is from the book The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos: Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation (pp. 234ff), according to a 5/4/05 post on the (unofficial) OPC Yahoo Group.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005  
DRB said...

This article by Gaffin addresses the issue raised:

'Subsequent, post-Reformation theology, in this regard, represents something of a shading of Calvin. ... But a prevailing tendency down to the present has been to be preoccupied with the various benefits of Christ’s work, and their interrelations — logical, causal, and sometimes even temporal, ordo in this sense — so that while Christ himself is certainly there, the danger is that he fades, more or less, into the background, and where to put union with Christ — spiritual, mystical union-in the ordo salutis remains something of a conundrum. Ironically, the better the biblical doctrine is understood — union as an all-encompassing reality that resists being correlated as one benefit among others, like a link in a chain — the more clearly this conundrum surfaces. This is the case particularly within the Reformed tradition. Lutheran theology senses no problem here, since union is put after justification, as one of its attendant benefits, an “effect” or “fruit” or “result” of justification. ... Then we come to answer 69 [of the Larger Catechism of the Westminter Standards], which, in addressing “the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ,” speaks of “their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.“ ... We may conclude, then, that in the Westminster Standards the heart of the application of salvation, underlying all further consideration of ordo salutis questions, is being united to Christ by Spirit-worked faith, a union providing for multiple other benefits, without any one benefit either being confused with or existing separately from the others. This is essentially Calvin’s “ordo salutis,” though not as clearly elaborated as one might wish.'

Thus, Gaffin agreed with his teacher Vos that union precedes justification. In the essay of the original post, Vos went so far as to make faith follow union. A confessional Lutheran might counter with John 1:12-13 and Gal. 3:26-27.

Friday, June 17, 2005  
DRB said...

The monologue is continued here:

Order of salvation: Roman, Lutheran, or Reformed?

Saturday, December 10, 2005  

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