“There is an ongoing debate between the Westminster campuses in California [WSC] and Philadelphia [WTS] as well as among some of their graduates on union with Christ and the ordo salutis, particularly the relationship between justification and sanctification. The difference of opinion has for the most part been cordial, but at times there have been pointed exchanges.”
So writes Dr. John Fesko in Ordained Servant in March 2009. Although there were antecedents, it seems to me that the current debate started in 2007 when Dr. Mark Garcia wrote a critical review of Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry (CJPM) by the WSC faculty. Since Dr. Fesko wrote those words, many more exchanges have taken place. I thought it would be helpful to provide a bibliography, with links where available.
Perhaps the best place to begin is with the overview provided by a Baptist who is not affiliated with either WTS or WSC. He ultimately sides with the WTS school, but the first half of the article is an excellent summary of the debate, at least up to 2013:
Miller, Timothy. “The Debate Over the Ordo Salutis in American Reformed Theology.” DBSJ 18 (2013): 41-66.
The WTS School
I now proceed to provide the literature from both sides, starting with the WTS school of thought founded by Dr. Richard Gaffin.
Gaffin, Jr., Richard B. Resurrection and Redemption: A Study in Paul’s Soteriology. P&R, 1987.
__________. “Biblical Theology and the Westminster Standards.” WTJ 65 (2003): 165-179.
__________. “Union with Christ: Some Biblical and Theological Reflections.” Pages 271-288 in Always Reforming: Explorations in Systematic Theology. Ed. A. T. B. McGowan. IVP, 2006.
__________. By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation. Paternoster, 2006. Second Edition: P&R, 2013.
__________. “Justification and Union with Christ.” Pages 248-269 in A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes. Ed. David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback. P&R, 2008.
__________. “Calvin’s Soteriology: The Structure of the Application of Redemption in Book Three of the Institutes.” Ordained Servant (Nov 2009).
Carpenter, Craig B. “A Question of Union with Christ? Calvin and Trent on Justification.” WTJ 64 (2002): 363-386.
Edwards, William R. “John Flavel on the Priority of Union with Christ: Further Historical Perspective on the Structure of Reformed Soteriology.” WTJ 74 (2012): 33-58.
Evans, William B. Imputation and Impartation: Union with Christ in American Reformed Theology. Wipf and Stock/Paternoster, 2008.
__________. “Three Current Reformed Models of Union with Christ.” Presbyterion 41 (2015): 12-30.
Garcia, Mark. “Imputation and the Christology of Union with Christ: Calvin, Osiander, and the Contemporary Quest for a Reformed Model.” WTJ 68 (2006): 219-251.
__________. Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin’s Theology. Paternoster, 2008.
__________. “Imputation as Attribution: Union with Christ, Reification and Justification as Declarative Word.” IJST 11 (2009): 415-427.
__________. “Debating Justification Productively: A Review Essay.” Review of Justification: Five Views, ed. Beilby and Eddy. SBET 31 (2013): 211-226.
__________. “Union with Christ, the Reformed tradition, and Research: Reading Fesko.” Response to Beyond Calvin, in a series of blog posts dated Dec 2013 through Jan 2014.
Gospel Reformation Network, “12 Affirmations & Denials on the Gospel and Sanctification” (May 2014).
Hunsinger, George. “Justification and Mystical Union with Christ: Where Does Owen Stand?” Pages 199-211 in The Ashgate Research Companion to John Owen’s Theology. Ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Mark Jones. Ashgate, 2012.
Tipton, Lane G. “Union with Christ and Justification.” Pages 35-50 in Justified in Christ: God’s Plan for Us in Justification. Ed. K. Scott Oliphint. Mentor, 2007.
__________. “Inaugural Lecture: Biblical Theology and the Westminster Standards Revisited: Union with Christ and Justification Sola Fide.” WTJ 75 (2013): 1-12.
Waddington, Jeffrey. Review of Union with Christ by Todd Billings; Covenant and Salvation by Michael Horton; and Life in Christ by Mark Garcia. The Confessional Presbyterian 5 (2009): 256-269.
The WSC School
We come now to the WSC school of thought, presented in alphabetical order by each scholar. It is obvious, however, that Dr. Fesko has written by far the most on this topic and is the most prolific critic of Dr. Gaffin and his colleagues.
Clark, R. Scott. Caspar Olevian and the Substance of the Covenant: The Double Benefit of Christ. Reformation Heritage Books, 2008.
Clark, R. Scott, ed. Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry: Essays by the Faculty of Westminster Seminary California (=CJPM). P&R, 2007.
Fesko, John. “Calvin on Justification and Recent Misinterpretations of His View.” MJT 16 (2005): 83-114.
__________. “A More Perfect Union? Justification and Union with Christ.” MR 16/3 (2007): 32-35, 38.
__________. “Paul on Justification and Final Judgment.” Ordained Servant (Oct 2007): 66-72.
__________. Justification: Understanding the Classic Reformed Doctrine. P&R, 2008.
__________. “John Owen on Union with Christ and Justification.” Themelios 37.1 (2012): 7-19.
__________. “Vos and Berkhof on Union with Christ and Justification.” CTJ 47 (2012): 50-71.
__________. “Union with Christ: A Review Article.” Review of Union with Christ by Robert Letham and Union with Christ by Todd Billings. Ordained Servant (Oct 2012).
__________. Beyond Calvin: Union with Christ and Justification in Early Modern Reformed Theology (1517—1700). RHT 20. V&R, 2012.
__________. “Romans 8:29-30 and the Question of the Ordo Salutis.” JRT 8 (2014): 35-60.
__________. The Covenant of Redemption: Origins, Development, and Reception. RHT 35. V&R, 2016.
__________. The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption. Mentor, 2016.
__________. “Reformed Orthodoxy on Imputation. Active and Passive Justification.” Perichoresis 14 (2016): 61-80.
__________. “Union with Christ and Reformed Orthodoxy: Calvin vs. the Calvinists?” Ordained Servant (Jan 2017).
Horton, Michael. Covenant and Salvation: Union with Christ. WJK, 2007.
__________. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Zondervan, 2011. (Chapter 18: Union with Christ)
__________. “Traditional Reformed View.” Pages 83-111 in Justification: Five Views. Ed. James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy. IVP, 2011.
__________. “Calvin’s Theology of Union with Christ and the Double Grace: Modern Reception and Contemporary Possibilities.” Pages 72-94 in Calvin’s Theology and Its Reception. Ed. Todd Billings and John Hesselink. WJK, 2012.
Support for the WSC position
Herman Bavinck, A. A. Hodge, and John Owen cannot be considered members of the WSC school, obviously, since they pre-date the debate, yet they clearly provide support for the same basic position. I find these three items to be incredibly helpful in the clarity they bring to these issues, especially the important distinction between active (or objective) and passive (or subjective) justification.
Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics. Ed. John Bolt. Trans. John Vriend. Baker, 2008. (See 3.523, 583, 591; 4.214-22)
Hodge, A. A. “The Ordo Salutis.” The Princeton Review 54 (1878): 304-21.
Mason, Matthew W. “John Owen’s Doctrine of Union with Christ in Relation to His Contributions to 17th Century Debates Concerning Eternal Justification.” Ecclesia Reformanda 1 (2009): 46-69.
Muller, Richard A. “Union with Christ and the Ordo Salutis: Reflections on Developments in Early Modern Reformed Thought.” Pages 202-243 in Calvin and the Reformed Tradition: On the Work of Christ and the Order of Salvation. Baker, 2012.
Here are the main exchanges that I have found. After the overview by Timothy Miller, these exchanges provide an excellent entry point into the debate.
Garcia, “No Reformed Theology of Justification?” Review of CJPM. Ordained Servant (Oct 2007).
Godfrey and VanDrunen, “Response to Garcia’s Review of CJPM.” Ordained Servant (Dec 2007).
Fesko, “Sanctification and Union with Christ: A Reformed Perspective.” EQ 82 (2010): 197-214.
Cunningham, “Definitive Sanctification: A Response to John Fesko.” EQ 84 (2012): 234-252.
Tipton’s critique of Horton, Christ the Center, Episode 200 (10/28/2011)
Horton’s response, Christ the Center, Episode 207 (12/16/2011)
Tipton and Horton conversation, Christ the Center, Episode 213 (1/20/2012)