Saturday, January 08, 2005

Time Line

Perhaps before we discuss the details we should look at the time line of the recent controversy. There was a controversy back when Norman Shepherd taught at Westminster, but that had long since been forgotten. This new round of controversy appears to have a broader scope, and involves a larger cast of characters. Of course the New Perspectives on Paul, a biblical theology movement, also has roots that go back to the 70’s. We will get to the NPP, but this timeline will only cover the recent events. I do apologize that I do not have the exact dates for all the events.

2000 – Norman Shepherd publishes his book Call of Grace.

June 2002 – Auburn Ave. Presbyterian Church held its Pastor’s Conference. The speakers were Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins, Steve Schlissel, and John Barach. Apparently Norman Shepherd was scheduled, but was unable to make it.

June 22, 2002 – The Covenant Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States sent out resolutions condemning the teaching of these four men at the conference. It should be noted that none of the pastors who were speaking are members of this denomination.

July 2002 – The church of all four of these pastors respond with a denial of the label ‘heresy’ to the teachings of their pastors. They also all complain of not being contacted first by the Covenant Presbytery.

July 17, 2002 – Andrew Sandlin weighs in with a couple of different articles that do not specifically support the ‘Auburn Four’, but do attack the RPCUS Resolutions.

Late 2002 – Doug Wilson takes his view to print with the release of “Reformed” is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant. This book generated a great deal of controversy.

March 2002 - July 2003 - Elder John O. Kinnaird placed on trial for teaching the New Perspectives on Paul. This former moderator of the OPC General Assemble faced a trial, and the original guilty verdict was over turned by the GA, if I am not mistaken, John Robbins covers this topic.

2003 – Auburn Ave. had another Pastor’s Conference with the same speakers. This time they also included a group of speakers who were against the Federal Vision as it was now being called. These speakers included Joseph Pipa, Morton Smith, Carl Robbins, and R.C. Sproul Jr.

April 28, 2003 – “Christian Renewal” Magazine ran an interview with the four speakers of the Auburn Conferences. Later the same magazine would run an interview with others who opposed the new Federal Vision.

2003 – J. Ligon Duncan and Douglas Kelly weigh in against the New Perspectives on Paul. The PCA discussion board carries an open debate concerning the New Perspectives on Paul. The debate was by no means one sided as the depth of the division in the PCA is revealed.

2003 – Canon Press publishes Peter Leithart’s Against Christianity.

2004 – The Trinity Foundation publishes a response to Doug Wilson’s book. This book authored by John Robbins and Sean Gerety called, Not Reformed At All opens a new round of vitriolic debates.

May 2004 – The Reformed Church in the United States unanimously votes to pass a statement condemning the teachings of Norman Shepherd.

2004 - Federal Vision, a book of articles edited by Steve Wilkins, enters circulation. The book includes not only the original four speakers, but has articles from James Jordan, Peter Leithart, Rich Lusk, and Mark Horne.

2004 – Also sees the publication of a symposium held at Knox Theological Seminary, Federal Vision: Pros and Cons. This book has 7 pro articles and 7 con articles over the Federal Vision.

Late 2004 – A book comes out critiquing the New Perspectives on Paul. This book was backed by J. Ligon Duncan.

January 2005 – N.T. Wright and Richard Gaffin speak at the Auburn Ave. Pastors Conference.

Which brings us up to date. So now we shall go through and examine the aspects of this debate. It should be fun, entertaining, and educational for us all.

By the way, if anyone has specific dates or more that should be added, let me know. I will add them into the timeline.


Anonymous said...

You might want to include the OPC trial of Elder John O. Kinnaird: March, 2002 - July, 2003. The charge concerned the elder's teaching of justification by faith and works (by which it was his view of "final justification"). He was a former moderator of the GA and an OPC officer who had been involved in the POP's committee to review the first charge brought against Norman Shepherd (the one that was dismissed because the seminary asked the POP to rule the evidence out of order) and had been a vigorous support of NP for many years. Wanda

Lee said...

Consider it done. That is important and I had forgotten that one.