In light of this insight and the fact that I will be sitting on a panel in Ft. Wayne on the issue of Reformation and modern views of justification, I have been thinking about the basis of both medieval Catholicism and Liberal Protestantism's view of justification. What I think that I would suggest is that both take their cue from their foundation ontological claims, claims that are in fact in conflict with the ecstatic nature of being that I previously described.
Notably, Catholicism operates from the perspective of substance ontology. Substance ontology is in and of itself not bad. At its most basic level substance ontology merely claims that there is an inner reality to things that makes them what they are and that our language can realistically (or critically realistically) portray this fact to us. The difficulty comes when such discourse becomes to reified, which happens in Catholic thought. When this is the case, the self is conceived has being made up of qualities internal to it and therefore can only be what it is coram Deo if those predicates are actualized within it. Hence, Aquinas insisted that God cannot love sinners. Why? Because God is goodness itself and if he doesn't find a certain number of qualities within the sinner that prompts his love, he's incapable of loving the sinner because of his fundamental qualities as God. Granted, God will help the creature acquire these qualities, but that is mercy and not love.
Liberal Protestantism has the same difficulty. It should be noted that due to the influence of Pietism, Liberal Protestant largely operated with a similar understanding of justification as moral regeneration that Catholics do. Nevertheless, in contrast to Catholicism, for Liberal Protestants, the accent was always on the meaningfulness of certain forms of theological knowledge. This arose because of certain shifts in philosophy during the early modern period.
After Decartes, modern philosophy understood the ontic structure of the human (and reality in general) not on the basis of the category of substance but rather on the basis of the duality of matter (which Decartes described as "extension") and consciousness. To make a long story short, if the self is defined by its consciousness, then it is essentially centered in itself, rather than ecstatic. In other words, if I am defined by my consciousness then I am a defined by a particular faculty found within me. That being the case, for reconciliation to be something real for me as a person or as Forde puts it "actual," it must therefore be an event in my own consciousness. If the content of reconciliation is defined as "the Son of God dying for me 2,000 years ago" then it cannot be an event within my own consciousness, and thereby becomes an abstraction. If it is described as my own experience of reconciliation, then it can be real. Now, with the experience of reconciliation necessarily comes moral regeneration. This is a logical consequence of the assumption stated above, because if reconciliation is an experience then it must be the overcoming of the barrier of sin. If the barrier was not overcome on the cross, then it must be overcome inside the the person, and, da--da-da!= justification automatically becomes moral regeneration.