Anyone who has read my posts on this Forum knows that both I have quite a lot of sympathy for several Theologians that are teaching or taught at WTS, and I've never advocated on the theological side of the Federal Vision, quite the opposite. Now that I’ve just read, thanks to Lynnie's post (btw thank you so much for posting it), the great article – report – by Professor Edmund Clowney on Norman Shepherd’s Controversial and Distinctive Theology and I even mailed it to a good dutch friend and reformed brother, Yes, right on this moment, I find this Book, that is creating quite a shockwave troughout the reformed spectrum and blogosphere. Ian Hewitson - Trust and Obey - Norman Shepherd and the Justification Controversy at Westminster Seminary It was just recently published, so I didn’t read it, but it puzzles me to realize its aims: 1st a kind of vindication of Norman Shepherd’s Theology and 2nd a strong censure, to say the least, of those who dismissed him from Westminster Theological Seminary. What is this after all? Anyone read it? Anyone knows? I am in shock! Would not eventually make me so concerned if it didn’t come with the highly transversal endorsements listed below. I got started reading ... and couldn't put it down. I believe [Hewitson's] conclusion to be inescapable." - Revd. G. I. WILLIAMSON; Retired Orthodox Presbyterian Pastor and author "Indispensable ... the best historical account of the controversy to date." - JOHN M. FRAME (less of a surprise on this list) Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary "Full of stunning revelations ... Highly recommended!" - CORNELIS VAN DAM; Professor of Old Testament, Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary "The potential benefits to the clarity of gospel proclamation are immense." - Revd. Professor DONALD MACLEOD; Principal, Free Church College, Edinburgh "I enthusiastically recommend this book ... to all serious theological thinkers." TREMPER LONGMAN; Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary (1980-1998), Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College (1998-present) "From this point forward, only the person who has read Ian Hewitson's study deserves to speak and be heard ... The Ninth Commandment requires nothing less." – NELSON D. KLOOSTERMAN; Ethics consultant and Executive Director, Worldview Resources International From the Review posted by Chris Van Allsburg (he is just a reader I guess, but seems well informed) Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Trust and Obey (Norman Shepherd and the Justification Controversy at Westminister Seminary) Time after time, Shepherd was exonerated from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was never found guilty of error. He was never found guilty of heresy. Ever. In fact, he has to this day to receive a letter of dismissal from WTS. Readers will find this book not a little damning toward those who opposed him. Hewitson even indulges readers with personal interviews and letters of Shepherd's main protractors. Believing that Norman Shepherd is heterodox, unorthodox, or a heretic is impossible after reading this book. That is, unless the evidence is dismissed, disbelieved, or counted as insufficient. But the evidence that Ian Hewitson provides in this tome is overwhelming. First, Hewitson reveals with meticulous detail, the history behind the justification controversy at Westminster Theological Seminary in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The amount of documentation from various meetings (Board of Trustees, Faculty and other committees) is as high and interminable as a WWII pillbox on Omaha beach. Second, Hewitson covers the theological debate in a clear, outlined format that shows exactly what the controversy covered concerning Shepherd's views, namely on covenant, election, baptism, and justification (with a discussion on the phrase, "justification by faith alone"). He shows from Shepherd's own writings, those of the Westminster Standards, and of the Reformers as well, that Shepherd's theological thought was well within the bounds of Reformed orthodoxy, and in fact reflected much of it, including the likes of Calvin, Turretin, Bavinck, and John Murray, Shepherd's predecessor. Hewitson's chief aim in this book is to "rise to the defense of a man [he] h come to believe was being unjustly slandered" (p.15). After reading the story of what happened to Shepherd, and how a few, bold, men opposed him--after reading the account of the witch hunt that went secretly behind the authority of the seminary--after reading the personal letters of those who opposed and supported him, it is difficult to read the book without gasping at the activity of Christian men who sought the destruction of a brother after being exonerated by the seminary countless times. Of course, Hewitson is so fair-minded in his history, and so objective in his retelling, that one reads this story from the perspective of receiving just the facts. But, as John Frame tells in the forward, that fact is this--that after all the controversy, the seminary came to an impasse: Shepherd's opponents were causing a stir that was "injuring the seminary's reputation, enrollment, and financial stability.... There is no way in which the seminary could have silenced Shepherd's critics; it had to choose between Shepherd and them. And so they perpetrated an injustice" (p.11). This book should be read by all. This isn't just playing games with theological skirmishes. Anyone who wants to understand how faith and works correspond to one another will be edified. Most importantly, they should learn from Norman Shepherd what sound, exegetical theology looks like, and they should honor his name.