Reviews - What do customers think about Federalism and the Westminster Tradition: Reformed Orthodoxy at the Crossroads?
Excellent Collection of Critical Essays in the Old Princeton Tradition Mar 24, 2010
Reformed theologian Mark W. Karlberg is a man of strong convictions and certainly one who doesn't cower from calling out those he has a spat, or in many cases, an all-out brawl, with. However, I highly commend him for his faithfulness to his scriptural convictions and always find his essays in historical Reformed orthodoxy (American Presbyterianism, OPC variety) extremely engaging and constructive.
Karlberg is most well-known for his continuance of the Old Princeton, (Meredith) Klinean theology which maintains the two-covenant system of the Covenant of Works (or Creation, as some would say) and Covenant of Grace, while understanding the Mosaic economy as a temporal reinstatement of the Covenant of Works within the overarching Covenant of Grace period. This understanding, which is highly-debated in Covenant theology circles today, was the more classical understanding within the broader Reformed tradition from Berkhof, Bavinck, Owen, Turretin, and Charles Hodge to name a few.
However, famous Westminster systematician John Murray brought a somewhat revisionist attitude to the traditional way, and though not completely leaving traditional formulations, led many others into a completely revisionist model. Karlberg spends the majority of his time critiquing these disciples of Murray, who he labels the "Revisionist School." The school is primarily made up of Norman Shepherd (dismissed from Westminster Seminary in 1981 for teaching outside the Westminster Confession of Faith), Richard Gaffin (Emeritus Professor of Systematics, Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia), and (though less engaged) Carl Trueman, Lane Tipton, Sinclair Ferguson, A.T.B. McGowan, and others who have followed this line of thought, commonly called "monocoventalists" for their blurring of the two covenants into a single covenant of grace. This breaks what Karlberg calls, "the distinctive Protestant Reformation Law/Gospel antithesis." His book "Gospel Grace" highlights these debates in much greater detail.
The book is brief at just over 150 pages, and the collection of essays and reviews is excellent. Whatever side of the debate you fall on, this book of previously published articles by Dr. Karlberg is a must read to accurately understand the disputes at hand within current Reformed systematics.