In 2002, a controversy concerning the subjects of justification, regeneration, and conversion (among others) broke out in the Reformed community. It came about as a result of the annual Pastors Conference held at the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in America, in Monroe, LA. The speakers were John Barach, Steve Schlissel, Steve Wilkins and Douglas Wilson.

In 2003, Reverend Michael J. Ericson of the Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, IA wrote a critique of what was subsequently dubbed by some as the “Auburn Avenue Theology” (and others have referred to as the “Federal Vision”, a term used by the conference speakers). His paper was based upon the lectures given by the above speakers at both the 2002 and 2003 Pastor’s Conference.

Much has transpired in the ensuing years with respect to the controversy and those who were involved in it, but Ericson’s paper is still extremely valuable in pointing out the critical issues at stake, and the horrendous errors of those who gave the lectures at those conferences. Ericson also makes a strong defense of experimental religion in his paper, and while it is certainly possible that others have done the same in their discussion of the “Auburn Avenue Theology”, I am unaware of it.

His paper concludes with this: “I trust it is now clear to you that with this new theology another gospel is being presented. Another gospel that is deviant in its teachings about union with Christ, the nature of saving faith, and experimental religion. I give warning to watch out for it and avoid it. May the Lord be pleased to sanctify us by His truth.”

Critique of the Teachings of Barach, Schlissel, Wilkins, and Wilson

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