The Justification Landscape

Mark Garcia is pastor at Immanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Coraopolis, PA. He is the author of Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin’s Theology. In this episode, Garcia speaks about the reformed conception of union with Christ and how a reformed soteriology is distinguished from the salient features of the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision. Issues of imputation, covenant, and the forensic and renovative aspects of salvation enter in to this important discussion.


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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

14 Responses

  1. Troy Lizenby

    Very illuminating discussion, contributing much to promote better understanding of the issues involved without resorting to hysterical broad-brush “drive-by theological bombs”.

  2. Over the years I’ve become somewhat bored of discussions of the NP and FV–mostly because I over-studied it. So when I first saw this, I contemplated not listening. But as a faithful follower of RF I tuned in, and I’m really thankful that I did. This is one of the most balanced treatments of the issues that I’ve ever come across. Learned, irenic, constructively critical, godly…thank-you for doing this interview. And thank-you to Dr. Garcia for your gracious spirit and candour.

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  4. I echo everything Steve, Troy & Ian said. When I saw the title I almost didn’t listen, but I’m very glad I did! Pastor Garcia was a terrific guest. Grace and peace.

  5. MikeD

    I enjoyed it thoroughly and appreciate all of the work that you guys do. I must say though, I was bummed to hear 2 Cor 5:21 cited while expressing sympathy with some of the concerns of the Federal Vision in regards to personal holiness and the further purpose of sanctification beyond justification. In mentioning the verse there was even added inflection on the “become” so as to imply an infused personal righteousness, or perhaps non-alien would be more generous. Clearly the verse is speaking of the righteousness of God that comes by way of imputation, even as the Lord of glory did not change in his character at all, but was rather numbered among the transgressors (i.e. the Great Exchange). I realize it’s only one verse, but this verse of so many clearly means one thing and not another. This seems to be one of those verses that we mustn’t budge on. Am I off here? Thanks very much.

    1. Jonathan

      I agree his was an awesome episode. I believe he was trying to get the listener into the mindset of a Federal Vision thinker, and not necessarily giving warrant to their exegesis. In putting the inflection on “become” I think Mark was pointing out how that word can be taken as an ongoing progressive event. That’s at least how I took it.

  6. While I believe that Mark’s point about doing careful scholarship was is of the utmost importance, I would like to go on the record (as a panelist of this show) to express my concern with his tepid comments about the Federal Vision. On the one hand, Mark begins the interview by essentially denying a monolithic system to the FV, and on the other hand, he gives credence to it as a monolithic movement. Unless we are willing to acknowledge the theological nuances and revisions of the FV men with regard to soteriological blessings, we ought not make affirming statements about the movement on the whole.

    Furthermore, in my experience, I have found the Federal Visionists to be less than irenic. Many of the major proponents have had a reactionary spirit. Their revision of historic covenant theology threatens to compromise the Gospel.

    1. When asked if he thought there was a place for FV advocates in Reformed Confessional churches, Garcia splits the question and says it’s important to distinguish between the ‘personal’ issue of interaction between scholars and the ‘corporate’ issue of ecclesiastical decisions. Fine. But he failed to answer the question. It would be nice to hear Garcia say that in light of, for example, OPC decisions that FV advocates in fact do not belong in the OPC.

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