Companion to the Current
John W. Robbins
The Trinity Foundation
Reviewed by Louis De Boer, Editor, American Presbyterian Press
As the title indicates, this book is a companion volume to O. Palmer Robertson’s book, "The Current Justification Controversy." It serves that function for two reasons. First of all, the second half of the book provides many of the key documents involved in the Shepherd case. This is probably, although quite interesting, the least profitable part of the book. The real value of this volume is that it updates the controversy to the present, exposing the current set of theological termites, who, having followed in Shepherd’s wake, are continuing to subvert the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Reformed circles.
These include apologists for neo-orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism (which historically has held, as confirmed by the Council of Trent, to justification by faith plus works. These apologists actually have the nerve to assert that the Reformers got this wrong!); the New Perspective on Paul (which insists that Paul was not contending for justification by faith alone against the legalistic works religion of first-century Judaism and asserts that we have all misunderstood Paul); Christian Reconstructionism (which with its emphasis on the law has consistently supported Shepherd and his successors); and the misnamed "Biblical Theology" of Daniel Fuller and John Piper (which denies the covenant of works and its fulfillment for the elect by Jesus Christ and insists that believers have to fill up that measure with their own good works).
Another value of this work is that Robbins does not hesitate to name the names that are spearheading this movement. The list of Neolegalists that he mentions includes Peter Leithart, Steven Schlissel, Steven Wilkins, John Kinnaird, Gary North, Douglas Wilson, and many others. To understand the current state of this controversy, where the battle lines are drawn, who is on which side, and who is refusing to take sides, this book is invaluable.