In order to avoid the perils of Greek philosophy, I’ve been studying the Midrash. I now understand that the proper reading of the Old Testament is mostly allegorical, and sees great importance in angels and theophanies, as well the invisible heavenly realm manifesting itself visibly in the temple cult.
I’m sure this will help boost my conservative status.
Hans Boersma thinks John Owen’s argument on the atonement is founded on incompatible notions. He writes:
On the one hand, Owen insists that it is the covenant of redemption and the death of Christ which give the ius ad rem. On the other hand, he also argues that union with Christ gives the ius ad rem. These two positions are incompatible. It originates from a combination of two irreconcilable thought patterns. He wants to do justice both to the immediacy, the absolute character, of Christ’s benefits- which demands a ius ad rem at the time of Christ’s sacrificial death- and to the fact that “<n>o blessing can be given us for Christ’s sake, unless, in order of nature, Christ be first reckoned unto us.” When, on one occasion, Owen links up the ius ad rem with Christ, this illustrates that he has ultimately not succeeded in separating the ius ad rem from the ius ad re. Having isolated the ius ad rem he is uncertain as to its proper position in the process in justification.
~ A Hot Pepper Corn pg. 107
I think this is basically right. Owen sets the dilemma of Christ’s efficacy in such a stark either/or contrast, that he ought to affirm that the Elect, those purchased by the Covenant of Redemption, were redeemed at the Cross, the place of purchasing. Faith is a sort of by-product of this purchasing.
If Union with Christ is the true location of redemption, then there is room for the moderate position.
I’d love to hear from Matthew on how one is able to be a sacramental, catholic, Owenist.