Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Westminster Wednesday: Vos on the Priority of Justification in Mystical Union

Couldn't be more black and white:

"Naturally the problem becomes most accentuated where it touches the center of Paul's teaching. This, we may still insist, is the doctrine of justification. Recent attempts to dislodge it from this position, and to make the mystical aspect of the believer's relation to Christ, as mediated by the Spirit, entirely coordinated with it—so that each of the two covers the entire range of religious experience, and becomes in reality a duplicate of the other in a different sphere—we cannot recognize as correct from the apostle's own point of view. In our opinion Paul consciously and consistently subordinated the mystical aspect of the relation to Christ to the forensic one. Paul's mind was to such an extent forensically oriented that he regarded the entire complex of subjective spiritual changes that take place in the believer and of subjective spiritual blessings enjoyed by the believer as the direct outcome of the forensic work of Christ applied in justification. The mystical is based on the forensic, not the forensic on the mystical" (Geerhardus Vos, The Alleged Legalism in Paul's Doctrine of Justification, The Princeton Theological Review 1:161-179 [1903]).

Francis Turretin basically echoes Vos here.

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