Finally Available!

At long last, this book on Calvin’s soteriology is out. This is a very controversial book, touching at issues that divide Westminster East from Westminster West. Very important reading.


  1. Weston said,

    April 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I bet Jesus is looking down from Heaven saying, “You know what my Kingdom really needs is a little more cleavage between Westminster West and Westminster East.”

  2. greenbaggins said,

    April 18, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Weston, are you pasting the book because of that? These issues need to be discussed precisely so that the breach may be healed! May this book spur on that discussion.

  3. tim prussic said,

    April 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I’m passing up cuz it’s stinkin’ 50 bucks! Paternoster publishes some wonderful stuff, but you gotta give up your kid’s braces to get it. It’s like that set of Edwards from Yale: Priced for… libraries ONLY.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    April 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    The price is very high, I will grant you that.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    April 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    WTS will match prices with any major internet seller, and I noticed that Buy dot com is selling it for $30 (although it is out of stock currently).

  6. thomasgoodwin said,

    April 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    They raised the price. Initially it was under $30, but since Lane brought attention to the controversial nature of the book, they upped it ;)

    Can’t wait to get my teeth into it … I am looking forward to the reviews, esp. from out West.

  7. April 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    His lectures (Garcia’s) on the subject are online at the Lynnwood OPC website. The link is on my blog. I have only listened to two of them but they are very good and somewhat defensive towards the WTS-West accusations.(Such as central dogma in Calvin and disregarding justification as logically prior to sanctification in the ordo-salutis etc..)

    I can’t wait to read his book.

  8. jooooooossh said,

    April 19, 2008 at 2:20 am


    I’m not too familiar with the division between Westminster West and Westminster East. I tried google-ing for something substantial and all I found was this:

    Click to access Karlberg.pdf

    The paper undoubtedly sides with Westminster West, but I was wondering whether you think Karlberg’s assessment of the division is fair.


  9. ReformedSinner (DC) said,

    April 19, 2008 at 3:00 am

    Two words: totally unfair. His citations are mostly secondary sources and many of his propositions are more subjective assertions than objective arguments. I have wrote a response to this article a long time ago, and I really don’t want to spend more on it again as I think it’s not a worthy article.

  10. David Kear said,

    April 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Is there, for those of us not in the Westminster loop, a brief summary of the East/West points of division available anywhere?


  11. thomasgoodwin said,

    April 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm


    I had a long discussion of this issue at my blog. This below is from a friend of mine who edited Horton’s book and so can give you a summary (BTW, I don’t necessarily agree with the following):

    “The GROUND of applied redemption (justification by declaration and imputation) needs to be clearly distinguished from the covenantal CONTEXT (participatory union with Christ) within which this redemption is worked out. Gaffin’s position collapses the two, or rather folds the former into the latter, making justification one aspect of the center of union with Christ. The problem lies in that the ground is now obscured, and the reason for this is not that Gaffin is a bad interpreter of Paul, but that Gaffin is not accounting for the scriptural recognition of the declarative Word of God as ontically primary—as constitutive—in his work of recreation, announced to us by the Father because of the imputed righteousness of Christ for us. Founded upon this immovable footing, our union with Christ as our head and communion with one another as his members is the covenantal context within which we are ushered into the life of the age to come by the Holy Spirit among and within us.

    In contrast, Gaffin quotes one of Edwards’ philosophical presuppositions approvingly on this point. This maxim neatly summarizes, it seems to me, a key assumption of this position: “What is real in the union between Christ and his people, is the foundation for what is legal; that is, it is something that is really in them, and between them, uniting them, that is the ground of the suitableness of their being accounted as one by the Judge.” This real foundation, according to Edwards, is the “relation” of justifying faith. Gaffin, of course, like Edwards, does not want to undermine the “synthetic character” of justification; it is still of the ungodly, and it is Christ’s “resurrection-approved righteousness” rather than our own personal righteousness which is the ground of justification.

    The point I am emphasizing is that, in Gaffin’s view, the “real” is the foundation for the legal—even vis à vis declarative justification, the most thoroughly forensic element or aspect of applied redemption. The same supposition is present, as evidenced throughout Gaffin’s work, in defending the notion that participatory union with Christ (the real) must be the foundation for declaratory justification as a benefit of Christ’s accomplished work (the legal).

    But in making God’s declaration of justification dependent upon our existing union with Christ, there is tension between justification as a forensic declaration extra nos and participation as a mystical relation intra nos, especially since the former is claimed as a benefit of the latter.

    Thus, contra his intent, Gaffin’s assumptions become problematic at this very point:
    “If anything, this outlook which makes justification exponential of existential union with the resurrected Christ serves to keep clear what preoccupation with the idea of imputation can easily obscure, namely, that the justification of the ungodly is not arbitrary but according to truth: it is synthetic with respect to the believer only because it is analytic with respect to Christ (as resurrected).” It is illuminating that it is precisely upon this basis Gaffin goes on to argue that it is not “justification by faith but union with the resurrected Christ by faith…[which] is the central motif of Paul’s applied soteriology.”

    What Gaffin assumes is “arbitrary” versus “according to truth,” however, following Edwards, seems to derive much more from a form of philosophical realism than from the stance of the biblical witness. Why must the synthetic declaration of justification with respect to us be grounded ontically in the analytic declaration with respect to Christ in order to be real and true? It appears that philosophical assumptions are at work here which assume that legal-covenantal (imputational) realities are somehow less “real” than participatory ones—not because legal realities aren’t true, but because they must be based upon participation for their veracity.

    But in recreation as in creation , the Creator’s “Let there be” always precedes the creaturely “And there was.” The justifying God is the God who calls things into existence that were not before (Rom 4 passim). In pronouncing us righteous because of Christ’s work on our behalf, God thus brings to pass the reality he announces—it is not the case rather that our participation in Christ by faith therefore motivates God’s declaration. The extrinsic, forensic nature of applied redemption must be recognized as primary, for Paul as for us, rooted in God’s justification of the ungodly on the sole basis of Christ’s imputed righteousness. This imputation and declaration (and its vast ontic consequences), received by faith, is the basis, or ground, or source, or foundation of applied redemption. It is at the very same time, as God’s announcement, the effective word that does what it says—again, declarative justification is as such CONSTITUTIVE.

    Covenantal union is therefore in turn the matrix or context within which God in Christ by his Spirit brings to pass in and among his people the eschatological reality constituted by this pronouncement. Justification is the ground, participation is the context of applied redemption. I really appreciate Gaffin’s work in general, but I believe Horton’s paradigm is a more biblical account.”


  12. Joshua Lim said,

    April 19, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for that.

    Are there any other articles/links you can direct us to for more on this?

  13. April 19, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Have you read the review of Westminster West’s Covenant, Justification and Pastoral Ministry reviewed by Mark Garcia? There is also a Dr. VanDrunen and Dr. Godfrey response as well as Garcia’s final thoughts on the issues.

    Here are the links in order: (Garcia’s Review) (WSC-West Response) (Garcia’s Clarification)

  14. thomasgoodwin said,

    April 19, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    I discussed this issue at my blog.

  15. David Kear said,

    April 19, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Thank you for the link and the excerpt, both are very helpful.

  16. Ben Dahlvang said,

    April 21, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Is it true that Garcia would deny that there was a pan-Protestant doctrine of justification? Some of his comments that drive a wedge between Lutherans and the Reformed on certain issues would seem to lead to such a revisionist statement, but I can’t remember seeing any explicit statements that would pit Luther against Calvin on justification per se. Has any one else seen any? I too am anxious to read this book.

  17. Jim Cassidy said,

    April 21, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Dr. Garcia was offering the book at a nicely reduced price, you may want to contact him personally to see if its still available.

  18. David Sanger said,

    April 22, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    No way! Enough is enough US $44.00 for a paperback book with a snap (eh, that’s “perfect”) binding. Sheesh these publishers will try anything. Either publish it in quantity enough to drive the price down or make it available as a downloadable PDF. Better yet why not offshore your printing & binding to China, re-import to the US and make a killing off the profits (sarcasm).

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