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."
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
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.
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.
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...
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.
7. FV is not revivalistic; it focuses on the church, and it promotes
a churchly piety.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How has Bill handled the non FV guests?
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).Um, let's see... (facetious hat on)
Covenant Radio guests:
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.
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.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
So the only way for Judas to have done anything was to have been united to Christ in the same way a believer is?
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*.