05 September 2001

34 theses on justification

Mark and Jay Horne's Theologia website has now made Norm Shepherd's "34 Theses on Justification" available.

I can remember the "Shepherd Controversy" pretty well from when I was in late elementary school. I know I didn't understand the details of it at the time and was confused by how theologically-minded men of good will whom I respected (Dick Gaffin, Jack Miller, etc.) could fall on both sides of the issue. As the years passed, however, I did read and study Shepherd's writings and listen to all the tapes I could borrow from Westminster Seminary's library.

In the end, I've come down on the side of Shepherd, though I do wonder if he worded things as well as he might have or in as irenic a way as he could have. After all, he really wasn't saying anything substantially different than what many other Reformed theologians were saying (especially Dutch ones). Still, the acrimony that continues to be perpetuated over the issues Shepherd raised and the apparent lack of understanding on the part of many of his critics makes me wonder if the outcome would have ever been any different.