Why Some Are Attracted to the Federal Vision?

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WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree with 95% of what he said.

I also believe in Justification by Faith alone, the imputed righteousness of Christ, that Westminster is the greatest Confession of Faith in the Church's history apart from the ecumenical Creeds (although not PERFECT, no theology this side of glory is or can be), that profession of faith must precede Communion (but not a doctoral dissertation of the faith), that there are 3 Covenants (the Covenant of Life, the Covenant of Redemption, and the Covenant of Grace), and that faith alone makes the sacraments efficacious in any way.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
One of the Warfildeans posted a recent seminary graduate's explanation of why he is FV; it must be somewhere but all I have is the Warfield version. I'll only post a link since the text is not attributed.
Why Some Are Attracted to the Federal Vision?

I know exactly where this was copied from because Jon Barlow was responding to ME here:

http://www.barlowfarms.com/sensusplenior.php?blogid=1&the_post=1867737

Find post 84.

I've been dialoguing with him and had pointed him to the two recent threads about the FV. I was tied up all day and hadn't been able to respond with all the things he wrote. One thing I appreciate, however, is that he was man enough to distinguish himself rather than mixing terms.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Jon Barlow's whining about people commenting publicly on his public comments not withstanding:

1. FV brings back apostasy. It says to church members, "the warnings
in scripture are for you, and though you are with us now, Judas
seemed to be too; repent and believe the gospel every day."

The only way to have apostasy is to obliterate the internal/external distinction.

This is the same sort of realism that the Reformation rejected. It's the same sort of realism that says, "the only way for God to say of us, 'righteous' is if we are actually, intrinsically, righteous by Spirit-wrought sanctity. This is the same realism that says the "is" of the institution means "becomes."

So there is now no distinction between "of" and "not of" us? They went out from us, because they WERE of us? In what MSS does one find this reading?

Yes, Judas seemed to be in! That's we've been saying for centuries, but he wasn't IN the covenant of grace in any substantial way. Why is is this so blinking hard to understand? He seemed to be in because he was really a hypocrite and he wasn't ever actually united to Christ except in a formal, outward way.

2. FV brings back the sacraments. Squint hard at everything Scott
Clark has written about the sacraments, and you still basically have
a symbolic view of them. They are just nice pictures and are neither
real promises nor real occasions for the Holy Spirit to deal with
people.

This is galling. I don't even know where to begin with this one. Jon, when you squint, try reading what I write. My name isn't spelled ZWINGLI.

Believers eat the body and blood of Christ. It's not a funeral. Full stop.

Christ brings to reality everything promised in baptism for every elect person through faith alone.

Baptism isn't communion. Christ gave two sacraments to do two different things.

Why is this difficult?

If I'm a Zwinglian then Barlow is a Baptist who can't tell the difference between initiation and renewal.

3. FV brings children and the disabled back into the family meal at
Jesus' table. Like it or not, the anti-FV guys have wrapped covenant
communion into this debate, and they believe that being able to
perform a certain kind of cognitive act is sine qua non for right
participation in the supper. Most of the FV guys disagree.

This is really appalling and demands an apology. We exclude the disabled? Where has he been attending church? Not in any confessional congregation that I know!

The bible says "discerning." Whatever the context, whether it refers to the congregation or the risen, proper, natural body of Christ (- so no the Belgic Confession is Zwinglian?) on which we feed truly by the Spirit (the correct interpretation). That's a cognitive act.

4. FV strikes a note that has not been struck in the tradition for a
long time. I guarantee that I could adapt some writings by
Westminster divines into modern language, publish them, and then be
accused of departing from the tradition.

Maybe there's a reason why some of these notes haven't been struck? They're sour? They're off key? They don't belong in the music.

The idea that this lot has rediscovered the "Federal Vision" is arrogant beyond belief. What do these people actually know about the tradition? I see precious little evidence of any serious work in the tradition among them.

5. FV rejects the Klinean approach to the Covenant of Works. Thank
goodness you're asking about apostasy finally, because that is more
central to the heart of FV. Since the critics get to define FV
however they choose, the debate started with the idea that FV
believes in salvation by works, then it moved to the idea that the FV
rejects the covenant of works, and now we're finally to election here
at the 11th hour...

Meredith Kline invented the covenant of works? Hold the phone! No, call Witsius, Wollebius, Polanus, and Olevianus. Tell 'em not to say anything for hundreds of years until MGK writes. Please. This is such a red herring. See this page. Facts boys. Facts.

Herman Witsius (1636-1708).. In the covenant of works there was no mediator: in that of grace, there is the mediator, Christ Jesus....In the covenant of works, the condition of perfect obedience was required, to be performed by man himself, who had consented to it. In that of grace, the same condition is proposed, as to be, or as already performed by a mediator. And this substitution of the person, consists the principal and essential difference of the covenants (The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man, 1677, 2 vol;1.49).

6. FV is not puritanism. You won't see the practical syllogism, and
you won't see the kind of devotional practices emphasized that the
Puritans emphasized because so much of that stuff was directed
towards discerning whether or not one was "truly elect" or the like.
FV says - listen to the scriptures - they were written to real
churches and real congregations that are called "elect ones" -
whether you're decreetally elect or not, the means of your salvation
are the word, prayer, and the sacraments and if you're decreetally
reprobate, the means of your damnation will consist of spurning those
same means. Repent, believe the gospel, and work out your salvation
with fear and trembling - looking inside yourself will give you
nothing. Examine your motives, yes, but turn your eyes to Jesus in
whom all the blessings of God are.

This is another appalling caricature. Jon, I hope you don't write this sort of stuff for your comps. Are you at St Louis U? If so, PLEASE talk to Patrick O'Banion. He can help you. He's one of our grads, so he's actually read the primary and secondary lit on this stuff. We do that at WSC. If my students tried to submit this drivel in a paper I would hand it back and require them to re-write. Our students, however, know better. They know that Kendall has been discredited for years. They know to read Dever. They know to read modern scholarship and not to repeat tired old canards.

7. FV is not revivalistic; it focuses on the church, and it promotes
a churchly piety.

The FV is not the only alternative to revivalism. See Hart, Horton et co. For all my criticisms of the Doctor re revivalism, no one ever accused him of compromising the gospel with moralism.

8. FV is uncomfortable with thinking of "invisible" vs. "visible"
church as if there are two churches. With the Nicene Creed, and
its "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church" the FV guys want to
think of one church of Christ, into which some imposters are embedded
for a time. In fact, my guess is that many FV folks would greatly
prefer the "church militant" vs. "church triumphant" language much
more than the visible vs. invisible. FV doesn't erase the
distinctionh - tares among the wheat. But it does want to
say "believe the promises of the gospel". Your basic PCA baby baptism
these days has become a disclaimer-fest - it is more about what the
baptism *doesn't* mean than what it does. FV brings back God's
promises, and simultaneously doesn't promote presumption. That's why
it has the ring of truth to me.

See the Westminster Confession. You boys can be uncomfortable with catholic Reformed theology all you wish, but you can't do it and be Reformed. If you fellows actually read the Reformed tradition you would know that we don't have to choose between the militant/triumphant distinction and the visible/invisible distinction. They are different categories accounting for related but different truths.

To be perfectly honest, I have had a hard time lately distinguishing
between many of the FV opponents and the Grace Theological Society.
And so I hope this post is clear enough to relate to the thread [on
the Puritan Board] you referenced. I also think that thread focuses
too much on Paul's mode of address, but that this is just one bit of
evidence supporting Wilkins's approach.

To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time distinguishing between the Federal Visionists and the Socinians, the late Remonstrants, and the New Haven Theologians.

The final issue about the forgiveness of sins just illustrates a
peculiar way of speaking. The Bible says plainly that Jesus *is* our
propitiation. God is satisfied with respect to our sins, in the
living, risen Christ, and not in some abstract forgiveness of us. If
there is some sense in which the non-elect are 'in Christ' for a
time, then there is some sense in which they are in 'the
propitiation'. Hope this helps.

So "is" means "unequivocally true of everyone in the covenant community in the same way"?

Great. Thanks for sorting this one out for us.

Tell me again? Why are people attracted this movement?

Gabriel, you're WAY too sharp for this lot.

rsc
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
One more word for Jon:

MULLER.

Please. Your post is really embarrassing or should be. You cannot continue to ignore Christ and the Decree and Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics and After Calvin.

Okay, one more word, well two: Old Side.

Was the Old Side not "churchly"? Did they not oppose the Revivalists at every turn? See Marsden's biography of Edwards.

rsc
 

Magma2

Puritan Board Sophomore
Evidently Mr. Barlow doesn’t know when to shut up; http://www.barlowfarms.com/

He writes:
I am less than a year away from completing my Ph.D. in historical theology at a Jesuit University, and if we want to play blame-the-alma-mater, I'd just prefer that you blame that university and not Covenant Seminary.

Fair enough. Makes sense to me.

He also writes:

There is nothing "openly Federal Visionesque" about the church I attend. Each week, my pastor leads us in a sober yet joyous worship service where the scriptures are read and preached faithfully. Pastor Meyers is kind to stick by me in the way he links to some of my posts, but it is unfair to impute any of my active or passive shortcomings to him.

Well, if the Pastor Meyers is the one I found linked to his blog at http://www.jeffreyjmeyers.com/ can there be any wonder why he finds such warm support from his pastor?

On a side note, it was interesting (nauseating) to tool around a little bit around the FV blogosphere. I came across a number of replies from our own William Hill including this one on Jeffery Meyer’s site in defense of Wilkins:

As I stated on a email discussion list recently: Steve and company can do nothing right in their minds. The matter has gone way beyond an examination of the theological issues. It is now squarely in the center of personal reputations, a control for power and the need to be right. Pride is at the heart of this whole thing.

The burden of proof is on the accusers -- the accusers were Central Carolina Presbytery -- and they did not make their case. Of course the SJC may see things differently and I fully expect them to do so given the stacked deck that currently sits on that commission. Frankly, and as a side note, the SJC is not Presbyterian. These man are charged with the theological and judicail activities of the entire General Assembly?? Total bull-honkey if you ask me (and I know, you didn't ask me...)

Covenant Radio (http://www.covenantradio.com) will be dealing with that Memorial offered by Central Carolina on February 15, 2007. Mark Duncan will be our guest and he was present at the examination. In fact, he was one of the more visible speakers and questioners at the exam. It should prove to be quite interesting.

I recall getting into it a bit with Mr. Hill toward the end of my brief stay on Barry Hofsetter’s little discussion list before getting the left foot of fellowship from Barry and the Mods. At the time Mr. Hill who is a virtual neighbor of mine here in Tidewater, presented himself as being quite on the fence concerning the whole FV controversy. He really took me to task for being so boorish, dogmatic and generally mean. While I might still be boorish and dogmatic, certainly not mean ;) it seems Mr. Hill is off that fence.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Sean, I respect your right to your opinion, but I would encourage you not to be so dismissive or insulting of a PCA Pastor in good-standing, such as Rev. Meyers, who is friends with my pastor, and a great man of God. That, you don't have the right to do. Talk about theology all you want, but not Elders in Christ's Church.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Boy howdy! I must be a prophet!!! Clark gets flogged in a blog!!

BTW, this is why I do not Blog.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
Also, Dr. Clark, thanks for your vote of confidence. But, as an aside, there ARE skilled exegetes and theologians among the "FV", pastors who have been pastors in good standing of the PCA and so forth for nearly twice as long as I've been alive!

Yes, there are the seminary students or grads or "internet theologians" that don't quite have the "knack" for serious, researched, polemics, but don't let that be a sweeping generalization at the same time!

More than anything, I would want this whole controversy to be settled through understanding, peacemaking, and charity ... not separation! I think many of the mature pastors and laypeople among the FV movement want this as well, but are somewhat "caught off guard" at the moment because what some of them have been preaching for 20 years is all of a sudden being assaulted by some people, rather than being discussed calmly at Synods or at coffee shops among friends casually.

And I think both the FV proponents and opponents share the blame in this regard. The beginning and continuation of this controversy was not handled well by either side, and that needs to change first and foremost. Then we can discuss the history of Reformed thought and so forth.

Just my thoughts!

Peace all.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
I recall getting into it a bit with Mr. Hill toward the end of my brief stay on Barry Hofsetter’s little discussion list before getting the left foot of fellowship from Barry and the Mods. At the time Mr. Hill who is a virtual neighbor of mine here in Tidewater, presented himself as being quite on the fence concerning the whole FV controversy. He really took me to task for being so boorish, dogmatic and generally mean. While I might still be boorish and dogmatic, certainly not mean ;) it seems Mr. Hill is off that fence.

Well, if you've listened to any of the programs on Covenant Radio, you'll recognize that neither of the hosts (despite what they say) is on the fence with regard to FV. There is a clear commitment to essentially all the points that FV folks typically bring up - and no amount of saying "we aren't taking any position" can make it true that there isn't a position that they both hold. Don't know if any of you listened to the program with Wilkins on it, but it was softball after softball... and if true "investigative reporting" were going on, I'd think there would be a different feel to those programs.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
As to the question posed by the thread title.... my twocent answer:

because it's got all the old attractions of ROME.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Todd,
How has Bill handled the non FV guests?
Don't know if any of you listened to the program with Wilkins on it, but it was softball after softball... and if true "investigative reporting" were going on, I'd think there would be a different feel to those programs.
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Todd,
How has Bill handled the non FV guests?

Um, let's see... (facetious hat on)

Covenant Radio guests:

Gregg Strawbridge (11/14, 12/28) FV
Rich Lusk (11/21) FV
Steve Wilkins (11/29) FV
Don Preston (12/7) FV? (full preterist, anyway)
Jeff Meyers (12/14) FV
Steve Schlissel (12/20) FV
Andrew Sandlin (1/4) not really FV, but FV-friendly

upcoming:

Sam Frost (1/20) no clue who he is
Doug Wilson (1/25) FV
Tim Gallant (2/1) FV
RJ Gore (2/8) ? though he's quite anti-RPW As far as I know
Mark Duncan (2/15) non-FV

So to answer your question, Chris: I don't know. Unless I'm mistaken, they've not had any non-FV
folks on yet, really.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Um, let's see... (facetious hat on)

Covenant Radio guests:
snip
upcoming:

Sam Frost (1/20) no clue who he is
Doug Wilson (1/25) FV
Tim Gallant (2/1) FV
RJ Gore (2/8) ? though he's quite anti-RPW As far as I know
Mark Duncan (2/15) non-FV

So to answer your question, Chris: I don't know. Unless I'm mistaken, they've not had any non-FV
folks on yet, really.
Well Todd, I guess it will be interesting to see how Duncan fairs.;) I sent a PM to Bill suggesting some show prep via The Confessional Presbyterian for the Gore interview (who rejects the RPW so that is pretty anti in my book;)).
 

Ravens

Puritan Board Sophomore
As far as I recall, I've never posted on this topic before. I hesitate to, simply because I'm simply a church member, and am not as informed on these issues as others on here. But laypersons do form opinions, so I suppose elders and what not might be semi-interested to know what "the little people" were thinking (hence 85% of the posts on this board).

:D

Regardless: One thing I've wondered as all this has taken place, is how many of these older FV advocates, pastors, elders, etc., come from confessionally strict backgrounds. I could be easily mistaken, but it seems that not many do. If anything, it seems that many come from the PCA, OPC, etc.

I don't know what significance that has, but I wonder if there is meaning tucked away there. From the impression I get (and obviously there's not an exhaustive survey on these issues), F.V. advocates also tend to be a little "looser" on the RPW, whether its EP or even something most should agree on, "images in worship."

All in all, in a lay-person's opinion, I think most of it is a spin-job. Study and piety is hard. And often in true spirituality, God leaves you in very dry places for seasons. Studying theology requires effort, and we don't always understand things as quickly as we'd like. The FV seems to "circumvent" clear, rigorous thought, with appeals to "misunderstandings", etc. Also, there's a lot more loaded words in their discourse... i.e., "covenantal" and "incarnational" becoming "larger than life" and taking in an indefinable semantic field.

I'm just blathering, in a rush to get to work. Regardless, to summarize, many of the younger adherents seem to be taken by the spin, and by the eloquence and wit of the pastors and elders who promote FV. But heathens and heretics are normally craftier at language than the orthodox. I think Luther said that Erasmus carried around dung on fine vessels of gold and silver, or something to that effect. And most of the older adherents seem to be those who never really came out of a strictly confessional, 1646 style background to begin with. So maybe their dissastisfaction is more with "broadly Reformed evangelicalism" more than the historic Reformation.

Regardless, I'm thankful for the "harsh" dealings with it, and they probably haven't been harsh enough. Its ironic that half of the time we criticize the PCA and OPC for being too loose when it comes to Reformation truth, and when they take a couple years to make an action on something as fundamental as justification, all of a sudden we are rushing to judgment, and not acting in a brotherly manner.

I dunno. I think this thing will dissipate in and of itself, and become more of a fringe type thing under the leadership of a few charismatic personalities. In the end it will wither due to its own internal confusion and lack of virility.

JMO
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Dr. Clark, I am someone whom the FV ideas have a strong appeal. So here are a few honest searching questions.

Yes, Judas seemed to be in! That's we've been saying for centuries, but he wasn't IN the covenant of grace in any substantial way. Why is is this so blinking hard to understand? He seemed to be in because he was really a hypocrite and he wasn't ever actually united to Christ except in a formal, outward way.

I thought Judas did perform works of grace:

Mark 3:14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach
Mark 3:15 and have authority to cast out demons.
Mark 3:16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
Mark 3:17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder);
Mark 3:18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
Mark 3:19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
Mat 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Mat 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
Mat 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'
Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Is the "fruit" spoken of here more acts of mercy and marks of godly character than things like supernatural phenomenon ? Can we take this to mean that one can exorcise demons in the name of Christ and not be "in" Christ ? God would then be actively expelling the demonic spirit from an individual, by the means of an apostate believer.

By Judas receiving covenant blessings, does not that simply mean the inner fellowship of the twelve ? Like having the parables explained to him with the others even though he was apostate.

John 15:2 Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 15:12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.


Every brach "IN" Christ.
Already CLEAN.
ABIDE, or REMAIN . .

What is the cleansing received by the word that they should abide in ?
Is that not a supernatural grace ?

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
Hebrews 6:6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

I am not trying to argue. I really do not see what is at stake here regarding apostasy ? Did Judas indeed forfeit the taste of the heavenly gift, and "Partake" of the Spirit as Hebrews 6 indicates ?
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Mark,

So the only way for Judas to have done anything was to have been united to Christ in the same way a believer is?

rsc
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Mark,

Read the long selection I quoted from Owen above. He deals specifically, and exhaustively, with the differences between gifts of the Spirit (Judas) and graces from the Spirit (the other 11)
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
So, Gabe,

The gospel isn't at stake? I mean, if the gospel is at stake, if the FV is teaching justification through our condign and congruent merit (even if they don't know it) and faith in the act of justification has been re-defined to mean "trust and cooperation with grace," if "guilt, grace, and gratitude" is out because it's now "antinomian" then how is it a time for peace?

Patience? This has been going on for 30 years. Look what patience hath wrought. Instead of cutting the head off of this monster thirty years ago, nice guys let it fester. The Phila Presbytery of the OPC dismissed Norm before the charges could be heard and so he went to the CRC. The CRC conservatives were happy to have Norm. He opposed women in office. He corrupted the gospel, but he opposed women in office, so they overlooked the gospel thing. So he taught the same course at MARS that got him dismissed from WTS. They taped it and John Barach listened to the tapes. Now we have a whole new generation of students who knew not P E Hughes or Godfrey or any of the stalwarts who defended the gospel against Norm's moralizing. Add a dash of Schilder and a healthy dose of Tom Wright's covenant nomism and presto: Covenant Moralism disguised as Reformed theology.

Arguably, it was this attitude that created this crisis. People were nice and pleasant and now there are FedVis offspring everywhere. What has being nice got us?

Was the Synod of Dort nice to the Remonstrants? No. They threw them out of their pulpits (and in some cases, out of the country - I might be a theocrat temporarily ). When they were nice and let them back in the Remonstrants eventually ruined the HK necessitating the Afscheiding in the 19th century.

This is not a matter for talk over tea. That's been done. You're a young man, I understand. You want every one to get along, but I'm a pastor. I have parishioners who are jeopardized by this stuff. I see you being sucked into and it breaks my heart. I get emails from folk who never hear the gospel anymore. All they hear is law: "cooperate with grace," "keep what you've been given in your baptism." Gabe, I've heard it with my own ears. I've had FV folk tell me that Esau really was elect, in the same way Jacob was, but he lost it because he didn't obey.

The time for peace is past. Peace is for folks of good will who are genuinely searching and willing to have serious, informed, conversations. Peace is not for folk who are willfully seducing the sheep. How peaceful was Paul with Peter when Peter refused to eat with Gentiles? Paul accused him of denying the gospel. On your terms, wasn't Paul a little harsh?

This is a time for separation. We need to separate the Federal Visionists from our churches. If confusion about the gospel, the covenants, and the sacraments is not a cause for separation, then what is?

This is a time for Reformed Churches who still believe what we confess to begin to apply those confessions to this thorny ecclesiastical problem and make them stick.

If we cannot deal with the Remonstrant/Socinian/Amyraldian crisis of our time, then we should hang up our Genevan robes and go flip burgers somewhere.

Amen! Let us stand guard on the walls of Zion!
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
I can't find my original post (that Bert quotes in part) to edit it - where did it go?

At any event, I should make clear by my reference to MARS that Norm taught there immediately or shortly after leaving Phila (c. 1981) and that they have no sympathy for his views now.

President Venema has published two excellent books repudiating covenant nomism and showing that it is incompatible with the Reformation gospel. Mark Beach just returned from doing a conference in the frozen north on the same topic.

The other edit I would make is that I repent of my remark re: Gabe's possible relations to the FV. I don't know for a fact where he stands and I shouldn't have spoken so at least in public.

rsc
 
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WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
If someone is denying the gospel, they should be handled appropriately. For what it's worth, I do not personally think the handfull of FV proponents I have encountered have done so, although it may be the case that SOME of the less-informed "followers" of the FV *HAVE*.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Mark,

So the only way for Judas to have done anything was to have been united to Christ in the same way a believer is?

rsc

I am not saying Judas was united to Christ the same way John was. And neither is any FV proponent that I know of. But there was a union. I am curious about what that union entails. Obviously it was enough spiritual gift or grace to walk away from and "betray" or deny.

Fred:

I do not see the Owen quote. Am I missing something ?
 

nominalist747

Puritan Board Freshman
Smarts

Dr. Clark, if Gabe has the smarts for which you compliment him, why on earth does he find the FV so much less problematic than you? If you are correct in not only the FV errors, but also in how clear, obvious, and contrary to the gospel they are, it makes no sense for you to think of someone as smart who agrees with 95% of Jon Barlow's post. Just be consistent--as snarky as Gerety is here (he has already called my orthodoxy, intelligence, and honesty into question, when none of my Westminster professors or pastors has ever done so), he at least has that virtue: if you agree with or defend any part of any writing by anyone connected with the FV, he'll blast you as an idiot or a heretic, or probably both, not say "Hey, man, you're smart...but the position you agree with is as wrong and stupid as they get." If Gabe is smart, perhaps the position he agrees with is not that bad or stupid. If the position is as stupid and wrong as you say, then Gabe is hardly smart for agreeing with any of it. You can't have it both ways.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Gabe,

I can't speak to your personal conversations, but I'm talking about leaders of the FV movement and their published work.

The very FV, covenantal nomist, scheme is per se a denial of the gospel. In by grace, stay in by cooperation with grace, is not the gospel. It's the very mess we left behind in the Reformation.

If anyone doubts that's what at stake, read Jon Barlow's latest posts.

Yes, he and they say, "grace," "faith" and "Christ," but where are the solas?

Where is imputation of anything? Lusk says it's out.

Where are Christ's merits? Lusk and Jordan and Barach say: out.

Where is sola fide (defined by the WCF and BC as receiving and rest or resting and relying)? Norm Shepherd says: out.

Where is the imputation of Christ's active obedience? Shepherd says: out.

Where is the distinction between law and gospel? They ALL say: out.

Aren't these established facts?

You really should read CJPM. If you send me your surface address I'll send you one at no cost. [no this is not a global offer, but I don't have Gabriel's email address or phone so this is the only way to contact him]

rsc

If someone is denying the gospel, they should be handled appropriately. For what it's worth, I do not personally think the handfull of FV proponents I have encountered have done so, although it may be the case that SOME of the less-informed "followers" of the FV *HAVE*.
 

nominalist747

Puritan Board Freshman
Judas' union

Mark is right in his 5:40 post. Wilkins, Wilson, & Leithart all say there is a real and qualitative difference between Judas' union with Christ and John's, but that this different kind of union is a still a real one that confers real benefits, and those benefits are in some sense similar to those experienced by believers. This fits well with Matthew 7, and Heb. 6--the grace received by the apostate looks an awful lot like that given to the truly elect, for the time being.

And can I just say again that Wilson at least explicitly affirms the internal/external distinction in the union with Christ? "He is not a Christian who is one outwardly...But he is a Christian who is one inwardly..." (RINE, p. 18)
 
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