Darryl’s questions about relational v. forensic point to one dimension of the FV discussion that we haven’t talked about, the effort to think through our theology on thoroughly Trinitarian premises.
The basic question is: If the ultimately reality over the universe is a communion of Divine Persons, what does that say about the character of the universe itself, about human beings, and about God’s relation to creation and human beings?
In raising this question, I’m not implying that anyone on the other side denies the Trinity, or that the Reformed tradition is non-Trinitarian. But the doctrine of the Trinity has not had a central role in theology since the 17th century. (Philip Dixon’s Nice and Hot Disputes describes the decline of Trinitarian thinking in 17th-century English theology, and William Platcher has also studied this.) In the last century, there has been a Trinitarian revival, of course, and the FV has been partly an effort to apply some of the insights of recent Trinitarian theology within the Reformed tradition.
I’m not drawing any specific conclusions here. To say we’re interested in discussing a “Trinitarian soteriology” doesn’t by itself answer questions about relational v. forensic, and certainly does not cancel forensic categories. I’m only describing one of our motivations.
For those who are unfamiliar with this discussion, Ralph Smith’s books are an excellent place to start.