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Hi Dr. Irons,

Thank you for this informative series. Has there been a response from the WTS to the arguments you make here? (book, articles etc)


A response to me specifically? I'm not aware of it. But you can read the WTS response to the arguments in general.

See Dr. Tipton's inaugural address, which includes a critique of the distinction between active and passive justification (specifically Berkhof's advocacy of it): http://faculty.wts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2013-BTandWestminster.pdf.

See also the bibliography I put together here with references to both sides of the argument, including exchanges like the one between Dr. Tipton and Dr. Horton on the Christ the Center podcast: https://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/2017/06/justification-and-union-with-christ-bibliography.html


Thank you for the links. I had your series in mind as well as the arguments from Hodge/Bavinck on imputation more specifically.

Dr. Tipton raises an interesting point when countering Berkhof. He starts off with a quote by John Murray: "Justification does not consist In that which is reflected in our consciousness; it consists in the divine act of acquittal and acceptance. And it is precisely this that is by faith".

Then he (Tipton) draws out a first implication of Murray's statement:

"First, if we want to locate the judicial ground for the believer's union with Christ, we do not need to look to the forensic benefit of the believer's justification. Rather we need to look to the past-historical work of Christ, crucified and raised..." (cites Rom 4:25 and 1 Tim 3:16)

Can you share some thoughts on the above? I may have missed it in the 13 parts, but I don't think you addressed this when you laid out your exegetical basis for active justification via Romans 5:8-10? It seems like a reasonable alternative to Hodge's idea of a faith-less imputation of righteousness as the ground of regeneration.

Thank you.

P.S: I am not affiliated with either WTS or WSC.


I appreciate that Dr. Tipton wants to argue that God grants the gift of regeneration/effectual calling/faith to the elect person on the judicial or legal ground of the past-historical work of Christ, that is, on the basis of the merit of Christ. He is not far from the truth. I would only ask that he reflect on the logical implication of what he is conceding. He is conceding that before God grants the gift of regeneration/faith to an elect person, God is viewing that person as righteous for the sake of Christ. He is viewing that person not as federally represented by the first Adam but as federally represented by Christ the second Adam. But to view a person as righteous in federal union with Christ is the same thing as imputation. There is no difference between saying federal union precedes and is the cause of regeneration and saying imputation precedes and is the cause of regeneration.

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