Yelling At My Windshield, Part Three

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In his talk on “Justification Under Fire,” Dr. Baugh works through three positions. First he takes on the New Perspective. Then he moves on to Norman Shepherd. And third he addresses the Federal Vision, which he regards as having adopted and advanced the positions of Shepherd.

When he gets to (as the Victorians would have put it) the present writer, this is how his argument proceeds:

1. After a few brief comments, read quote from Wilson;

2. Allow time for laughter from audience;

3. Move on.

This is not to say that Dr. Baugh is not advancing his position by this means. Far from it. In his brief comments, he does not argue exegetically or theologically, but he does an admirable job in how he contextualizes what he reads. But unfortunately, that context is entirely of his own manufacturing.

For example, he read one quote from the special issue of Credenda entitled A Pauline Take on the New Perspective [click here to see for yourself], which said that amillennial crypto-Lutherans and revivalistic Reformed fundamentalists had drifted from their confessional roots, and this is why they were opposed to the New Perspective. Ho, ho, ho from the audience, and contemporary scholarship then advanced to the next point.

The problem with this is that Dr. Baugh neglected to mention that this issue of Credenda was my critique of the New Perspective, that according to his definition of the NP I am not among them, and that the basic arguments he advanced against the NP I fully share and argued for in that issue (which he appears to have read). But no one listening to this tape as an introduction to the controversy could possibly have gathered any of this.

What are we to make of it? This is a classic example of misrepresenting an opponent by means of nothing but true statements. If one of my students were to write home, “Dear Mom, Had a great day in class today. Mr. Wilson came in sober,” the fact that everything written was true will not prevent Mom from coming to false conclusions.

So one conclusion of ours should be that Westminster West is not to be trusted for an accurate assessment of the various positions in this controversy. Someone down there apparently bought a spray can of Careful-Distinctions-B-Gone.

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