Shepherd and Murray

Ian Hewitson’s book is a fascinating, detailed account of the situation as it unfolded in the Shepherd trial. One footnote that appears on page 50 concerns a letter from Stanford Reid to Arthur Kuschke on July 22, 1977, where he writes:

…Norman lacks theological insight…he has a strong tendency towards a legalism which also affected John Murray (FT.130).

Reid asserts that Shepherd has a tendency believed to be similar to one of the fathers of Presbyterianism. Since Murray is considered to be a paradigm of Reformed orthodoxy, then why was the treatment of Shepherd so severe, since Shepherd claimed to be following in the footsteps of Murray (Murray, of course, appointed Shepherd to take his place at WTS)? Perhaps the answer lies in an observation made by Hewitson on page 37 that there was already prior to Shepherd’s trial a “judicial atmosphere.” This atmosphere emerged from a previous debate over Professor Knudsen’s philosophical methodology. It was during the Knudsen controversy (see pgs. 35-37) that the controversy over the doctrine of justification began at WTS. It appears Hewitson was correct that the Shepherd controversy did not occur in a vacuum (35).

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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