What is the problem with FV?

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Leslie, Apr 16, 2008.

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  1. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    :up: Exactly.

    The FV like to say that "...at least the minister can say objectively to the person that they are at least, right this moment, in union with Christ". Since covenant = union with Christ (though not perseveringly), they can escape all the icky issues of those revivalists.

    I've stated before: the truth is not the polar opposite of a particular error. If we look at the morass of neo-Gnostic "He walks with me and He talks with me, Jesus is my boyfriend that I've invited into my heart" Christianity and conclude, rightly, that it is un-Scriptural, then the solution isn't to look at the error and find the truth by studying the error and saying exactly the opposite of everyting it teaches.

    Just because most Christians (and, sadly, many "Reformed" Christians) boil Christianity down to a personal relationship with Christ doesn't mean there is no personal nature to it. Just because most Christians (and, sadly, many "Reformed" Christians) don't think the Covenant promises require anything of parents and election is a cosmic crapshoot doesn't mean that parents save their kids by their faithful parenting. Just because many Christian parents (and, sadly, many "Reformed" Christians) don't think much of their children's participation in the CoG doesn't mean that we have to treat infants like adults in the Church and shove bread and wine into their mouths before they can even say their parents' names. Just because many Christians (and, sadly, many "Reformed" Christians) treat the Sacraments as bare signs doesn't mean that they have saving power by the working of the works.

    I could go on but I think everybody gets the point.

    Some people simply amaze me that would say: "Ah, well, I only give up perseverance."

    What?! If you understand perseverance, you understand the Gospel. If you think that perseverance is a negotiable aspect of what it means that God is the author and finisher of our faith then the Gospel has not been understood. You're the "dutiful", elder son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son who can't understand how the younger received an inheritance that he didn't deserve.

    I've stated over and over in other criticisms of Arminianism that I cannot conceive of any motivation that a true Christian would give up the absolute certainty of salvation for those who have Evangelical faith to jettison that in favor of a conditional salvation that rests in the shifting sands of man's affections.

    I understand all too well what the FV is. If I thought for a moment that the FV was correct with respect to these isssues of conditional election then I would simply go back to my childhood faith of Roman Catholicism and it's false Gospel. At least they have all the dogmatics worked out rather than being a disjointed movement propogated by a few self-appointed re-interpreters of Reformed Confessions who have a band of angry young Turks that follow them around that quote our Reformed forebears as if the 9th Commandment were never written. Perhaps when the cult of the FV has fully formed they will take time to actually write their dogmatics and find they can just copy the homework of the RCC as they interpreted Augustine since the Middle Ages.
     
  2. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    After coming to a complete understanding of how God saves, (It has all been decided prior to the foundation of the world, we are now just following his perfect plan), perseverance naturally falls into place, it is a given, we can't help but be preserved.

    I know a lot of people who claim to be Calvinists because all they ascribe to is perseverance, but they fail to understand, or believe, how they are preserved.
     
  3. HaigLaw

    HaigLaw Puritan Board Sophomore

    Somehow, this sounds like fatalism to me.

    Otoh, the Confession speaks of God using ordinary means, and sometimes beyond or against ordinary means -- rough paraphrase.

    God's sovereignty is the overarching cause, but our decisions and stumblings are all part of the outworking.

    Does that make sense? :book2:
     
  4. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Fatalism would entail God saving (or hardening) in spite of a proper use (or rejection) of the means of grace. Accordingly, Calvinism does not ignore secondary causes but rather recognizes their true necessity in the bringing to pass of that which God intends.

    Ron
     
  5. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    If one honestly looks at one's "current faithfulness" as the standard, then one will always find flaws in that faithfulness, and see that he is failing to meet God's standard of "covenant faithfulness". We are not saved, nor are we kept, by our "current faithfulness", thanks be to God, because it always, ALWAYS falls short! If I am looking at my own "faithfulness", and since I truly do want to be saved, I'll always be willing to brush little things under the rug here and there, and declare myself, in the main, to be making the grade.

    That, my friend, is called SELF DECEPTION. When "covenant faithfulness" is the standard, you'll either be lying to yourself, and lowering the bar of the expected righteousness of God, or you'll never feel as though you measure up. Either way, you're missing the point - the righteousness of a saved sinner is Christ's righteousness, down to the last penny; 100%. No additives of personal contribution, no "me and Jesus". Christ only - there can be no substitutes.
     
  6. queenknitter

    queenknitter Puritan Board Freshman

    I haven't figured out how to "thank" particular post(er)s yet, so I'll do it the old-fashioned way. Thanks for this thread! It's a very coherent critique, and I appreciate that!

    C
     
  7. HaigLaw

    HaigLaw Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well, thanks to you too. I think you have to post a minimum of 50 or 100 comments before the "thanks" feature pops up and you can thank people with a click. Then there's also a limit of around 5 per day, one of the administrators told me. I've asked, but I don't think these kinds of rules are written down anywhere.

    :detective:
     
  8. queenknitter

    queenknitter Puritan Board Freshman

    Ah! Gotcha!! I figured it was something like that but still wanted to give a thumbs-up where I could!!

    :)

    C
     
  9. MOSES

    MOSES Puritan Board Freshman


    Do the FV folks really teach that "Covenant faithfullness" depends on the indivdual...or...Do they teach that "Covenant faithfullness" is God's faithfullness to the covenant (and to those individuals in the covenant)?

    Could anyone who has researched these things please provide me a quote or something of an FV teaching "covenant faithfullness" as the individual standard, apart from God's faithfullness to the covenant?

    If the FV really do teach that "covenant keeping", by our own power and strength (apart from God's faitfullness to the covenant) is the standard,
    then the FV is a much bigger problem then I originally thought.
     
  10. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Everything I've read from them says that covenant faithfulness is not the result of one's working on his own to merit his place in the covenant, but is rather dependent upon God's decree of election and perseverance for particular members of the covenant. Those who fall away did partake of the covenant, but were not elected to ultimately persevere. This maintains predestination and the need for God's gift of faith. It does not posit that all members of the covenant are equal before God with respect to his decree, and must work on their own to persevere apart from the grace of God "working in them to will and do according to His good pleasure". If I'm wrong about my understanding of that, I'd like to be shown something to the contrary. I've looked at several sources in writing and in interviews and have not come away with anything other than that understanding.
     
  11. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    I have always found the FV to be quite defensible on a point by point basis, the Bible does use terms in different contexts to mean different things i.e. God chooses (i.e. elects) those to be part of his outward church and he also elects those to be decretely elect to salvation. On each point the FV will generally have a biblical position.

    The problem comes when the FV decides that these different situations are part of a hierarchy and are at least confessionall interchangable, you have a deliberate ambiguity between what is meant when concepts such as salvation or election are being discussed.

    It is on the conflation of different concepts that the the FV builds its theological edifice, and when challanged there will be a retreat to the individual perfectly valid (and even confessional) points and a reluctance to discuss the conflation or confusion between the various individual concepts.
     
  12. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Are we in a time warp? Have the last 8 years not happened? Have the OPC, URCs, and PCA not spoken with one voice on this (not to mention the OCRCs and the RPCGA)?

    Why are we starting from scratch, as if there were no books, articles, and denominational documents on this matter?

    Note to the Mods: I thought the PB had some sort of official position contra the FV and its promulgation on the site? Has there been a policy shift?

    It seems that the law/gospel distinction is up for grabs, so perhaps the FV is back on the table again. If so, I'd like to know about it.
     
  13. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Because it is easier to roll out senselessly repetitive posts than to stop and read those books!
     
  14. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Because it's a lot easier for ministers to be pithy and sarcastic with the laity whom they're supposed to be nourishing and for whom they're supposed to be setting a Christlike example than it is for them to actually talk to us like brothers in Christ who are worth a few minutes of their time and effort. Because it's easy to look down upon the theologically less-educated who aren't able to sit around reading all day on the congregation's dime. Because it's a lot easier to tell people who have already spent some time reading to just read some more than it is to answer difficult questions and have to deal with real concerns of people who are confused or want to learn, and for whom it is more helpful at a certain point to talk to a real person than it is to read a book which only says what is on the page and can't explain itself or answer questions.
     
  15. MOSES

    MOSES Puritan Board Freshman

    If every member of Christ was to simply follow the "official position", then we would all still be in Rome.

    No matter how many "speak in one voice" it still does not make it the voice of God. . . Has this "one voice" became the new infallible head of the Church?

    Personally, I'm curious to learn more about the FV...and yes, as an OPC member I have read the OPC report on Federal Vision.

    Telling the members of your church to "go read" is not good enough in my opinion...

    How about being patient with us slow learners....who are not so hasty in following the "one voice"
     
  16. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    In order to understand the NPP as taught by Wright you need to read his work, plus books by his detractors plus those by commentators who say that his detractors have missed the point. Then you need to read Wright's response to his detractors and their response to the commentators and Wright's response to them............All of which adds up to thousands of pages which take hours to read and digest and are not very cheap to buy. And that is just NTW!!
     
  17. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    As members of a confessional body we are held to the confessional statements of that same Church body. The Church has spoken with one voice saying that FV is heresy and a damnable one at that. You should accept the counsel of your brothers concerning this matter.
     
  18. MOSES

    MOSES Puritan Board Freshman

    I do accept their counsel. That is why I am asking them questions about it, TO LEARN.
     
  19. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Brother, I do not think that your display of resentment is very helpful for advancing your cause. It merely allows all of your fellow posters to jump on the bandwagon and show the sinful attitudes hidden in their hearts against Christ's undershepherds.

    It is not the responsibility of I, nor of any other minister, to hold your hand. If I had repeated requests to discuss a common issue, regarding which there had already been much good material recently written, I would surely direct my parishioners to those resources without expecting them to take offense. Worse, is to state that I must be some slothful, bureaucratic hog who is sinfully soaking up whatever theological trivia that interests me "on the congregations dime". Funny, but I had always thought that the congregation's money was a gift from God just as much as were His ministers.... I guess the people now own exclusive rights to them both.

    We are busy with a lot of work in a lot of different areas, including putting hours of study into sermons in order to accomplish the fulfillment of your said desire to be nourished. Nourishment comes through hearing and understanding the proclamation of Christ's Word, not through hanging upon detail after detail of the latest theological argument, and becoming a disputational voyeur. I do not think that it is the "right of the laity" to spend their time in theological wrangling/posting when they should be fulfilling their many other God-given responsibilities such as furthering their vocation, their family's welfare, and the like. The reaction which you display is merely indicative of a democratized Christianity that believes there really is very little difference between the role of the minister, and that of the "every member minister".

    Again, if you are really interested in sorting things out, do what I had to do (mind you, on my own time in the midst of a heavy seminary schedule - most of these books were not included in our course reading assignments), and pick up a book and read. If you cannot commit to that discipline, then I do not think that anything a minister could tell you will really be of very much long term help. We are not here to tickle your collective ears with simple statements soon forgotten.
     
  20. MOSES

    MOSES Puritan Board Freshman

    Sounds like a good policy.

    Just curious why you brought it up though on this thread...Who is promulgating the FV on this thread. I thought this was a place to learn about its errors. How can we learn without using the word FV. Is Federal Vision a vulgar word that can't be spoken?
     
  21. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior


    If I remember my Church history correctly, those who initiated the break from Rome were predominantly the theologians and former priests of the Church, not the laity. In fact, if I remember rightly, the only thing that mass movements of laity accomplished during the Reformation were mob riots, and ill conceived military actions against figures of authority.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  22. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I seriously doubt that any FV proponent would say that our covenant faithfulness depends solely upon our own efforts. Even Rome wouldn't say that.

    The problem relates to how our covenant faithfulness contributes or is an essential part of our justification. Many of the FV proponents, for example, cite Norman Shepherd as their model or standard: justified by a (repentant, living, active) faith alone. But if faith actually includes repentance and works, 'by faith alone' has been emptied of all its meaning and we have brought works in by the back door.

    Ironically then, the slogan of the Reformation becomes, in Steve Schlissel's words, a theological shibboleth.
     
  23. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Scott: I don't read that anyone is promoting Federal Vision in this thread. The original author was asking questions about something that is new to her. It may also be new to many of our members who have not yet encountered it or are still new to the Reformed faith.
     
  24. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    MODERATOR VOICE ON

    Okay this thread will probably derail very quickly if nothing is done so I am stepping in. Keep your comments on topic or else leave the thread alone. If not I will have to delete your post and possibly cite an infraction.

    In addition, let's not attribute motives to anyone. If people have questions let them ask, and if you don't like the questions then let someone else do the answering.

    MODERATOR VOICE OFF
     
  25. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If we do not adopt Gordon Clark's definition of faith, and maintain that it is merely knowledge and assent, while doing away with trust, how is it wrong to say that faith is characterized by (fill in the blank with something more than assent to propositions)? The normal formulation, as I understand it, is trust (knowledge, assent, trust). Gordon Clark says that this is the first step towards introducing works into the picture, but it appears that most of the Reformed community does not see it this way. I guess I don't see what the difference is between saying that we are justified by a repentant/living/active/trusting faith and saying "we are justified by faith a lone, but not by a faith that is alone." Or, to say it in James' terms, "faith without works is dead." Isn't this something about which we all agree?
     
  26. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I disagree with Gordon Clark: he is wrong.

    But if faith is characterized as being (even in part) obedient to the law in the act of justification then sola fide is no longer sola fide.

    Please read my post again to see what I was getting at.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2008
  27. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't mean to be smart-aleck (and I am NOT FV), but I can't help but ask:

    Which church? The Western church? The Eastern church? The Church universal? Or maybe the Reformed Church all over the world? Or just in America?
     
  28. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Has not every Reformed church in the USA, except for the CREC, condemned the FV?

    However, you raise a good point about multi-denominationalism wrecking the authority of the church. As Protestants we should be the TRUE Western Catholics, not ecclesiastical freelancers.
     
  29. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Also it should be noted that the church could speak with much more authority against the FV (and other things) if it was established (i.e. if the establishment principle was upheld).
     
  30. Stephen

    Stephen Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, so why does this issue keep coming up? There are so many threads on this issue and I am not sure the original question has been answered.
     
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