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Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Oct 5, 2005.
Thought you might like this - its the statement on this issue for the RPCGA:
I really like the RPCGA.
Very well done!
Juat something that interested me: a while back, it was complained by some that the grammatico-historical method of interpretation was somehow more geared towards dispensationalism than covenant theology... I find it interesting that this statement very strongly affirms this method of interpretation.
It's pretty poorly worded. Notice this part:
"forensically (legally) declared, not made, right with God"
I think they mean that people are are not really "made just" but it almost sounds as if they are saying people aren't really reconciled to God in Christ. In other words, the traditional doctrine is not that we aren't "made right with God" it is that we're not "made right."
Other points aren't clearly worded either; it seems rather hastily written. We truly live in a time with great need for great men who can think (and write!) more clearly.
I'm going to agree with Jonathan here that some "perfecting language" could be introduced. I would also like to see some language that states that our union with Christ is not effected by baptism. It would also be good to add to the section on assurance that the believer can have an infallible assurance of his faith by inward graces, not merely baptism.
At the heart of the Federal Vision's error is this rejection of WCF 18.2
Just curious, could you give examples of Reformed people explicitly denying the propositional content of scripture? The only reason I ask: I come from a liberal baptist environment where liberals denied propositional truth en toto (Think Karl Barth). I am just wondering if you could point me to some FV guys doing that. I am not challenging the statement. It seems pretty good to me, alhtough a few things could be explained more, but that's okay.
I believe you can find this in Steve Schissel's works. At AAPC 2002, he went on quite a rant about "propositions".
Overall it was well done and I would like my denomination to adopt something like this.
I had him in mind actually from the Beisner book. But I do recall he caught himself by saying something along the lines "We like propositions. We really do. We find them useful." If he means what I think he means, then all he did was phrase his statement very badly. But if I am wrong and he is advocating something similar to OT scholar G E Wright, then that is something else.
That's another place it is unclear. When you say:
You are repeating the language of the statement which could mean they are concerned about:
1. People who deny certain propositions in scripture (certain bits of propositional content in scripture)
2. People who deny that the scriptures contain propositions
3. People who deny that the scriptures have a single mode of discourse - propositional discourse.
So their statement's lack of precision hampers its usefulness. It isn't clear, exactly, what they are concerned about. Now, we all think we pretty much know what the current issues are, but church statements need to be clear 20 years from now too.
I think that is what I am getting at. I want concrete examples of people in the conservative reformed church doing so. Among other things, it will help me wrestle through a few hermenuetical issues.
Schissel does have a habit of back tracking after he gets caught in one of his rants.
I find the statement hard to follow. It doesn't seem to actually be a statement about the NPP. I mean, the 'whereases' are all to the effect of saying "we really like the WCF".
i.e., 'whereas these unnamed other guys are wrong, we resolve that we like the WCF'
Do you think this is cryptic?
"X" "is contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards. "
That is the last line on every point. The NPP and FV are "contrary to the Bible and the Westminster Standards."
Obviously, if we say that, we are saying "we like the Bible and the WCF" better than the NPP or FV. I would hope everyone says that!
I guess I was looking for something with more detail. Like "whereas these guys say X, and whereas the bible says Y, resolved "these guys are wrong". But the form of the document is instead as i described it. Is it just a preamble to another document with more substance? The title seems to indicate that it is.
It isn't helping me understand the issues very well. As others have pointed out, some of the idiosyncratic definitions of what you should not deviate from or deny are themselves poorly worded, raising the questions if the statement itself is a deviation.
It also seems like the statements as written are things that a great many FV/NPP/AA etc folks would actually deny, or vehemently question the fairness of such a charcaterization of their view. Saying "denying X is terrible" when person Y says "well, I don't deny X" doesn't provide much help.
The paragraph on the covenant of works doesn't mention the main matter under dispute, for instance, whether the covenant was gracious, or whether Adam was supposed to merit salvation/life/whathaveyou under it.
The document seems to talk about a feature of imputation I've never heard before, that the Holy Spirit imputes the righteousness of Christ to the elect. I thought the imputation was a description of what goes on when the father accepts Christ's work on their behalf. Is that anywhere in the WCF?
Why does the document speak of Jesus fulfilling ALL the requirements of divine justice on the cross, when many reformed Christians speak of the sufficiency of the cross for atonement, but not for positive active righteosuness?
The document warns against some things, but not what I think many FV people are actually saying.
What if instead, someone says that baptism imputed Christ's righteousness, resulting in alien righteousness posessed by the baptizand?
This statement, at first glance, reminded me of the Canons of Dordt. They didn't state the propositions they were answering, but stated clearly the Biblical doctrine proposition for proposition. There were five Remonstance points, and five replies. I grew up with the notion that the Five Points of Calvinism were first formulated into those five basic points by the Synod; it could just as easily have been called the Five Points of Dordt. I have to agree with the previous assessment that the statement lacks something in precision, but we have to remember that this statement is a statement to the RPC congregations for their edification, and is worded that way. It draws a line in the sand for their own people.
I think they should add an article about the responsibilities of elders, both ruling and teaching, to be ministers of Christ and His Word; that they have no business using their offices or the pulpit for their non-subscriptive views.
But that's me, riding my hobby horse again.