I will respond to Dr. Clark’s post seriatim.
1. This qualification is well-taken. Olevian is his own man, and has many things in his background influencing his theology, of which one of the more important influences is Calvin’s teaching. This seems nuanced enough for anyone.
2. My argument is not really taking this form. I certainly do not mean to imply in the slightest that Clark has misread Olevian, as I am in no position whatsoever to judge on the matter, as Clark points out. All I really want to ask is this question: given Gaffin’s and Garcia’s interpretation of Calvin (not implying that it is true, merely positing that it is out there) as teaching union with Christ containing the duplex gratia, would Dr. Clark say that Olevian’s doctrine of the covenant functions for Olevian in the same way that Gaffin/Garcia say that union functions for Calvin?
3. It might be that Garcia’s answer to this question (and he would be in a better position to answer it: I have not read Venema’s thesis) would be that the entire thesis is really his justification of his differences with Venema’s analysis. I just throw it out there as something I could imagine Garcia saying. I am not implying that he would say it, or that it is necessarily a logical answer to the question.
4. I agree with Clark’s examples that they are examples of anachronism. However, is asking Calvin (historically speaking) about union with Christ and its relationship to justification and sanctification anachronistic? To me, it does not seem so.
5. I can affirm almost everything in what Dr. Clark says here in relationship to the distinction of historical theology and systematic theology. And I am also grateful that he addressed my concern regarding separating the two. I don’t have any problem with saying that HT and ST have distinct methodologies. My concern is that, ultimately speaking, truth is one. And I am (and I think Dr. Clark is also) seeking to honor that. That being said, the goal of HT, that of accurately describing the theology under examination, is not separated from describing any theology accurately, including Scripture’s theology. Is there such a distinction between HT and ST that there is not some overlap? When we come to Scripture, for instance, are we not engaged in accurately describing the theology of Scripture? When it comes to Scripture, HT and ST are both seeking accurately to describe Scripture’s truth. The problem here is that accurate description of a theologian (who is accurate to Scripture!) will also be an accurate description of Scripture. Of course, the methodologies of HT and ST differ. I do not mean to confuse the two. However, value judgments are inevitable. I do not believe that there is such a thing as complete objectivity. Of course there is absolute truth. However, our appropriation of it must be biased, hopefully by the biblical bias. We want to think God’s thoughts after Him, and His thoughts are the only true ones.
6. I don’t believe that I am transmuting “logically” into “temporally.” Let me explain what I mean: it seems to me that justification is grounded on the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. Sanctification is grounded on the righteousness of Christ infused into us. It is the same righteousness, but appropriated differently (although faith is the instrument in both). This is part of the reason why I want to say that they are simul (does Clark agree that Calvin is saying simul?). The infusion is not based on the imputation. Rather, they are simultaneously given (justification in its punctiliar manner, sanctification in its progressive manner). This preserves the distinction between them without saying that they are separated. Now, I would never accuse any of the WSC profs of saying that justification and sanctification are separated (contra the writers of A Faith That Is Never Alone). But it seems to me easier to hold them together if they are given simul. This is not the reason why I hold this belief, but rather a practical ramification of it.
7. In phone conversations with Dr. Gaffin, the way he put it to me was that the doctrine of justification itself is the same among the Reformed and the Lutherans, but that the context of that doctrine in the loci is distinct. I still wonder if rapprochement between WTS and WSC is not possible exactly here: covenant functions for WSC the way union functions for WTS. Both seminaries seem to agree that something holds justification and sanctification together. One says union and the other says covenant. I bet almost anything there is a way to come together on this.
8. Pedagogy does not define the ordo salutis. I agree with that. And it is important to remember. My point is this: if sanctification is logically dependent on justification, then why not treat justification first? Is it not good pedagogy to make the ordo docendi follow the ordo salutis? Does this not happen in almost every systematic theology which we possess? In a sense, we are talking about form and meaning. The form that Calvin’s Institutes takes means something. We know that the final edition of the Institutes was the result of great wrestling in the mind of Calvin to get the order and arrangement correct. That means, that in the mind of Calvin, treating sanctification first was the correct order for pedagogical purposes. Why? It seems to me that the Gaffin/Garcia model here can explain that. I would very much like to see Clark give an explanation for why this is.