Coming from a dispensational background is hard for some. The tearing asunder of Grace and Law in an unbiblical way is par for that course. It causes a person to interpret the Bible the same way. They pit God’s law against God’s grace. In their view grace can not abound without sin. Reverend Winzer put it this way.
“ One begins to see a metaphysical reworking of the categories of grace and justice in relation to the “covenant of nature.” Instead of a providential dispensation (see Shorter Catechism question 12), the covenant of works is turned into a creational entity which characterises the natural relationship between God and man. Human morality is, in its very essence, made a covenant of works. Grace is only operative where sin abounds.”
On the other front the Federal Vision was blurring Law and Grace. It is not a monolithic group necessarily but there were characteristics that overly blurred the distinctions of Law and Grace making them more like one issue. The Federal Vision believed in an Adamic Covenant. But it was not a Covenant of Works as defined by our Confessional beliefs. It was a Covenant of Grace that was given to Adam and proceeded to become the New Covenant. That is why it is considered to be Monocovenantalism. It is one overarching Covenant including Adam. The Reformed Confessions are Bi-Covenantal believing that there was a Covenant of Works where Adam died and that Covenant was finished. God in his providence ordained that there would be a mediator of a better unfolding covenant with Jesus Christ as the head as Adam was the head of the First failed Covenant. Jesus Christ is the second Adam who fulfilled the the requirements of the first Covenant and paid a ransom for His chosen people.
Dr. R. Scott Clark and his companions wanted to protect the Church from a false gospel that is no gospel at all. They attacked the Federal Vision group rightly but were a pendulum swing too far away from the truth and opposite direction from the FV to be completely effective. Their attack became their cash cow so to speak. It became their pet project to correct everyone’s view of what the gospel is but they themselves were a bit off kilter. They had a Gospel that overemphasized justification by faith alone and divorced the fact that the Gospel was to reconcile man to God both inwardly and outwardly. The Gospel and Union with Christ is has a twofold Grace in Justification and Sanctification.
Their views affected a lot of other teachings also. They affected the doctrines of Christ (views of his Kingship and Kingdom), Soteriology (doctrines concerning salvation) and our Union with Christ.
While I dislike dissention and seeing things torn apart there was a creeping in that is always at our doorstep. Auburn Avenue was only a place in time where things culminated into a merging of various things. Some people think it started with Norman Shepherd and merged with N. T. Wright’s New Paul Perspective. Meredith Kline was a pendulum swing in the opposite direction in reaction to him. Both are fringes that produced problems that took a lot of time away and there are damages on both sides. The one thing that has arisen from the ashes to me is that the Standards have proven to be a place that has produced a reliable guide in truth.
Both sides of the extreme pendulum swings proved to have problems that have been destructive to the souls they heavily influenced. But the strengthening of the Standard’s position has been obvious to many. And I am not Machen’s Warrior Child. I have grown to love the Standards because of this process though. I know many people who have. I actually believe there has been a strengthening that has happened since the disease that both sides have has been exposed. I also believe we are going to need that strengthening because I believe we are headed for harder times.
I hope I am not presuming upon the reader here but the following link is my journey which may help understand what I am saying more clearly. Clark and I went around the table a few times. I openly charged him with his being unconfessional. He evidently didn’t choose to reply to my comment. The OPC Report revealed I was correct in my estimation..