In 1980, Daniel P. Fuller published Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum seeking to lay siege to both the Dispensational tradition in which he had been raised and covenant theology as he understood it. This work provoked strong responses from some within the orthodox Presbyterian and Reformed world. Two of those responses appeared in 1982 and 1983. O. Palmer Robertson replied to Fuller in 1982, in “Daniel P. Fuller’s Gospel and Law: Contrast or Continuum: A Review Article W. Robert Godfrey replied the next year with “Back to Basics: A Response to the Robertson-Fuller Dialogue.” These essays appeared in the wake of what turned out to be the first phase (1974–1981) the long controversy over the soteriology of Norman Shepherd. The second phase would become known as the so-called “Federal Vision” controversy after the name the young proponents of Shepherd’s soteriology gave to their theology and movement. Both Godfrey and Robertson were directly involved in the Shepherd controversy and opposed him. More recently Denny Burk has critiqued Fuller’s soteriology as incompatible with that of the Reformation.
These articles are of interest in the current controversy because Daniel Fuller played a formative role in the theology of John Piper. This is not to say that there are no differences. In 1983 Fuller himself critiqued Piper for moving in more Protestant direction on justification. Nevertheless, despite Piper’s adoption of imputation and justification sola fide in the first-stage of salvation, he remains wedded to Fuller for his two-stage soteriology and for his doctrine that final salvation (as if there is such a thing) through faith and works.