OK, I’m getting the message loud and clear: massive confusion over-load in blog land. Perhaps this isn’t even the medium in which to attempt to address these things, I don’t know. In talking with folks in channel and in person I am coming to the conclusion that I am obviously incapable of expressing point #1 on the topic of the myriad of issues regarding justification and imputation. I take full responsibility and apologize if I have engendered confusion through a lack of clarity.
Just a couple things as I have little time this weekend: the most common source of confusion comes from people assuming that there is some coherent, consistent “group” out there against whom I am writing or reacting. Wrong. The sudden appearance in print and dialogue of a multitude of variations on a theme is creating quite a large amount of confusion, to be sure. You have conservative denials of elements of what we thought we all agreed on, and you have non-conservative denials as well. Sometimes the conclusions look the same so people tend to commit a logical fallacy and assume that since the conclusions are similar the belief systems that spawned them must be the same. Wrong. Doesn’t work that way. Further, we face the problem of being exact: some are denying imputation en toto, some are denying only the active obedience of Christ in His incarnate life is part of the righteousness imputed to the believer. Some of what I have said might be relevant to the entirety of a group’s views at one point, but not another. Please, do not read into my words anything that is not there to begin with. If I’m reviewing Seifrid, I’m not reviewing Wright. What I say about one may be relevant to the other, or it may not. But a lot of the confusion is coming from assuming that what I say about viewpoint K is relevant to viewpoint T as well, etc.
So let me take some time to back up and define not only the different views (everyone wants to throw everything into one big pot, and that just doesn’t work here), but define terms as well. Evidently that is another major area of confusion. Then maybe we can at the very least express our own position and why we believe it.
One last comment. I am not going to rush this. We have a major conference coming up in November, but even then, that will not be the last word. I truly believe this sudden onslaught of divergent opinions will, in the end, be good, even if it is difficult to work through now. If we take a “long-term” view, we can see that the constant call to examine one’s faith (often prompted by such controversies) results in a deepening of understanding when we hold firmly to God’s revealed truth in the process. So let’s resist two of the common themes of our modern culture: first, the rush to deal with everything in a nanosecond, resulting in what might be best called “microwave theology,” and secondly, to use Dr. Bahnsen’s phrase, let us avoid the spirit that seeks detente rather than antithesis. Balance is always key.