John Flavel and Union with Christ

Rev. William R. Edwards speaks about John Flavel and union with Christ. Edwards has written an article titled “John Flavel on the Priority of Union with Christ: Further Historical Perspective on the Structure of Reformed Soteriology” in Volume 74 (2012) of the Westminster Theological Journal. In the article, Edwards demonstrates several interesting 17th c. formulations of the doctrine of union with Christ. In doing so, Edwards brings his findings into present discussion on the subject.

Rev. Edwards graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1999 and went into Reformed University Fellowship where he became the campus minister of University of Georgia. Rev. Edwards is church planter at Mercy Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Forest, Virginia, which is just outside of Lynchburg.


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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 or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Mark G

7 years ago

Thanks for this program. This along with paper sheds significant light on the discussion. I enjoyed the sketch of John Flavel’s theology of union with Christ, perticularly the relationships between hypostatic union, mystical union and communion.

I wonder how this relates to the idea that believers participate in some way in the intratriniatarian love between the Father and the Son. I have not read Billings book but it seems to me that such an idea would have to be contained within such a structure and not outside of it.

I hope this program and the paper moves the “debate” forward in a positive way. It seems to put to rest the trash talk regarding Gaffin’s teaching being something new and foreign to reformed theology; e.g., “Gaffin School” and “New Perspective on Calvin.”

David Morgan

7 years ago

There’s some discussion of the same article in the latest Office Hours, which may be of interest:

http://wscal.edu/resource-center/resource/beyond-calvin-fesko (it starts at about 36 or 37 minutes, although some of what’s said makes more sense if you’ve listened to the whole thing)

Rupert, REC

7 years ago

Too bad we don’t listen to Richard Muller concerning the Occasionalism and Enlightenment capitulation seen in Jonathan Edwards. We would be able to recover Reformed causality and you all might begin understanding Union with Christ. Just a thought. See Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics and Muller’s recent lecture on Edwards and his forthcoming book on Calvin and Union. Decimates Garcia, Tipton, Gaffin, et al I hear.

We might end the parochial central dogma theories and the inbreeding at WTS with its sub-par biblicism which it calls biblical theology.

Jeff Waddington

7 years ago


Tu quoque!

How about you also do your homework. As far as I know no one here affirms occasionalism. Nice try though. Besides, while I hold Muller in high esteem I do not treat him like the latest writer of the Bible and reserve the right to disagree with his assessment of things.

Thanks for your channeling…

Mark G

7 years ago


7 years ago

During the show ya’ll mentioned a general bibliography on the Union with Christ controversy. Are you still planning to post that?



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