Wilson and the FV family.

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Conner, Sep 11, 2014.

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  1. Conner

    Conner Puritan Board Freshman

    Does anybody else think that Douglas Wilson is a little more balanced than a lot of the other FV proponents (sheperd, leithart)? I don't agree with some of what Wilson teaches in regard to things like presumptive regeneration, paedocommunion, and his limp wristedness in regard to the RCC, but I don't see him advocating a denial of the imputation of Christs active obedience, or ex opera operato baptismal waters, or neonomianism...
     
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    You're not imagining it. It seems to me too that Doug Wilson is less into some of the Federal Vision theological distinctives than are some of the other guys, especially the others who publish their thoughts.
     
  3. Dearly Bought

    Dearly Bought Puritan Board Junior

    Who cares if Wilson himself is more careful with his words? The guy has been more than happy to publish the works of Federal Vision "dark" theologians and promote them. Rich Lusk unequivocally teaches that works are the "obedience of faith" which are an instrument of justification in its "second phase." The proper response is to cry "Wolf!" not invite him to speak at your church and promote each other's books!
     
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    He has come close to backtracking several times (which is good). I don't have the links with me, but he and Jim Jordan disagreed publicly on regeneration.
     
  5. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I agree with you! Wilson got a lot of flack, for instance, last year when he and Peter Leithart debated regeneration on their respective blogs. I have enjoyed Wilson's blog and preaching on various issues. I believe he's wrong on paedobaptism, but I don't believe he is a Gospel-denying heretic.

    http://www.canonwired.com/featured/1669/

    "If we preach the supremacy of God in Christ, and the absolute lordship of that bleeding Christ, and the efficacious work of the Spirit in us who raised Jesus from the dead, then a number of other things will resolve themselves in a multitude of wonderful ways. Those wonderful ways will be seen by a watching world as something they will call good works. We can call them that too, if we want, as Paul makes free to do in Titus. And when unbelievers ask us where these works come from, we need to chuckle and say, 'Where everything does. From Jesus, man.'”

    "Those who insist that apple trees must always produce apples will make the friends of free grace nervous, not because they have anything against apples, but rather because they know the human propensity for manufacturing shiny plastic apples, with the little hooks that make it easy to hang them, like so many Christmas tree ornaments, on our doctrinal and liturgical bramble bushes. But on the other hand, those who insist that true grace always messes up the categories of the ecclesiastical fussers make the friends of true moral order nervous—because there are, after all, numerous warnings (from people like Jesus and Paul, who should have a place in these particular discussions, after all) about those who 'live this way' not inheriting the kingdom. Kind of cold, according to some people, but the wedding banquet is the kind of event you can get thrown out of"
     
  6. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with Byran; you judge a man by the company he keeps and his actions over his words. Wilson may be worse than the whole lot because he wants his bread buttered on both sides.

    So maybe one of them was in favor of it?
     
  8. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Sidestepping, yes. Backtracking, no. He is still giving credence to the blurry terminology adopted by the Joint Federal Vision statement.
     
  9. Conner

    Conner Puritan Board Freshman

    I can't find anything in the Romans 11 olive branch blog that I would disagree with. He is simply pointing out that men who apostasize from the visible church are being described in passages like Romans 11, John 15, Hebrews 6,10,and 12 as actually belonging to something. He is not saying they have the same union with Christ which genuine believers have (defined historically in reformed theology as the mystical union), he seems to be simply recognizing that there are men in the church who have what the WCF calls common operations. He even offers this at the end of the article for the sake of avoiding confusion, "I would be happy for the sake of peace and clarity to never again use “union with Christ” in reference to a non-elect covenant member. But we still need a biblical way to describe them and their relation to Christ, and that description cannot be the opposite of the biblical description. Christ has non-elect branches, and they are _______________ (what?) to Christ.". In what way is this any different than the old outward/inward covenant member distinction.
     
  10. Conner

    Conner Puritan Board Freshman

    I never heard about the debate on regeneration, is it on the web?
     
  11. Dearly Bought

    Dearly Bought Puritan Board Junior

    As usual, all Wilson's apologetic wordplay has apparently done its intended job of hiding in plain sight the words he affirmed in the Joint Federal Vision Statement: "The connection that an apostate had to Christ was not merely external.” As Rev. Winzer accurately put it, there's some fancy sidestepping going on here, but not backtracking.
     
  12. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It wasn't a debate in the sense of Bahnsen v. Stein. When the Biblical Horizon's blog was still updated, Jordan posted a few critical comments on the evangelical view of regeneration. Wilson knew, whatever else may be said of the company one keeps, that such a view is an abandonment of any sort of Protestantism. Furthermore, for all of his problems, Wilson knew that if Jordan were right, then Wilson heroes like Lloyd-Jones et al are necessarily wrong.

    Of course, these are conclusions everyone else came to years ago. I don't see Wilson rejecting the FV official positions any time soon. I suppose he's invested too much.

    For myself, I don't really worry about theological party-lines. I think DW does a great job on apologetics, American history, and fighting Obamunism. I don't go to him to understand covenant and justification. I don't promote him but nor do I hide from his website.
     
  14. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    If a man publishes books by Open Theists, employs Open Theists at his college, asks Open Theists to speak at his conferences, and is close friends with leading Open Theists then it is fair to assume that, whatever he may say to the contrary, that man is probably an Open Theist.

    Change the term "Open Theist" in the above sentence to "Federal Visionist" and you have Doug Wilson.
     
  15. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    What I have enjoyed since coming to the Reformed Faith is the clarity that it brings. I never hear, in Reformed Circles - "this is what I really mean; no, you don't really understand what we are saying by ...". That rings true to me, that from a Biblical Perspective that we serve a God who is not a God of Confusion. Even if some things are hard to grasp and need to be handled with care (Trinity, Hypostatic Union, Predestination, etc.), does not mean that they cannot be stated clearly. Sure, we might argue over Infant Baptism, Church Government, etc. - but there is still clarity in opposing viewpoints.

    When reading NPP and FV sources, I get the opposite of that clarity. It is like nailing jello to the wall. No one seems to 'get' them, they cry. I never recommend anything by Doug Wilson, given the company he has chosen to keep. Many denominations, including, but not limited to: the OPC, PCA, and RPCNA have soundly rejected the theology that Doug Wilson associates himself with, and that's where I rest - on the counsel of those churches.

    If men like John Piper are the gateway to Reformed Theology, then I fear that men like Doug Wilson are a gateway into the world of Paedocommunion, Federal Vision, etc. The paedocommunion thing bothers me as well, because many of the men who I know who are lured to Doug Wilson initially are due to his writing on matters of the family. I try to steer them towards Beeke, and others who we know for certain are orthodox :)
     
  16. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    When having lunch with the young FV pastor, I asked him his thoughts on baptismal regeneration. He said he believed there was an efficacy in baptism and then added "but what does one really mean by 'regeneration' anyway?"

    I just don't understand why they insist on being "reformed" and then redefining the entire system. I could wish they would just cut themselves off entirely!
     
  17. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    *Moderation*

    Stick to the topic at hand. Use documented sources. And do not make accusatory statements against Gospel Ministers without cause.
     
  18. Conner

    Conner Puritan Board Freshman

    Was that directed at me and the post that was deleted? In what manner is asking if John Piper should also be avoided because of his association with heretical federal visionists an accusatory statement against a gospel minister? In what manner is it a deviation from the topic of this thread? For a documented source see "a discussion of eschatology" engaged by Piper, Wilson, Hamilton, and Storms. See also their interaction with each other on their respective websites/blogs. See Pipers allowing Wilson to join him in public conference on more than one occasion. See Piper inviting Wilson to "Calvin in the theater of God". My apology for not providing documented sources. There you are.
     
  19. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    MODERATION NOTE: Conner, please do not chafe at moderation. Bristling does not become any of us. And, it "ain't easy" deciding when to intervene if you think a snowball has begun to roll down a hill and may be picking up steam. Sometimes you catch the problem too late and it is a disaster; sometimes you may try to stop it earlier than is necessary.
     
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    http://www.desiringgod.org/conference-messages/panel-discussion--5
    And it gets even more problematic when Piper invites Wilson to speak at his conference. Maybe one gateway leads to another gateway?
     
  21. AndyS

    AndyS Puritan Board Freshman

    Wilson is almost certainly the most talented/gifted of the FV theologians. That being the case, he is probably just better at speaking/writing in ways that are more likely to give the appearance of smoothing over the rough edges of FV. That's just my take.
     
  22. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    One thing that I think is crucial for understanding the Federal Visionists is recognizing that they all hold to mutually inconsistent doctrines. For instance, they all embrace the five points of Calvinism, including the perseverance of the saints. At the same time, they affirm that someone can be united to Christ and share in all his benefits, and then fall away and be eternally damned.

    They explain away their inconsistencies with one word: paradox. As long as they are doing this, they cannot be trusted. They will affirm orthodoxy, all the while holding to doctrines that contradict that same orthodoxy.
     
  23. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    As Randy said, I used to think Wilson was ok on justification. I now believe that no longer. It was talking to Scott Clark on the issues of the law-gospel distinction that made me change my mind. Now, I think it is possible to not hold to the law-gospel hermeneutic and still be orthodox. However, when one adds into the mix the other distinctives of Wilson's theology, you wind up with a denial of JBFA, even while he appears to affirm it. Wilson wrote most of the joint statement himself, by the way.
     
  24. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    :up:
     
  25. KGP

    KGP Puritan Board Freshman

    That was good, thanks for the chuckle :)
     
  26. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    He wrote most of it? Then he is more FV than I thought! :)
     
  27. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    I must agree with these brothers herein who wish to take what some of you regard as too hard a stand with respect to DW.

    Because his rhetoric is milder than a Jordan and he does not take all the positions of a Lusk or a Leithart does not mean that all is well. I appreciate the dialog that Lane had with him and I also agree with the position that Lane came to with respect to him in conversation with Scott Clark.

    I was a primary author of the FV section in the OPC Report on NPP and FV. I not only stand by all that we said there, I am more firm in it than ever. It's not something that needs to be revisited in my view. I am not saying that all the men that espouse some form of FV depart from the gospel entirely (I think some of them do), but I don't think that any of them are properly confessional or Reformed. Period. Most of the members of NAPARC have officially said so (the ARP, OPC, PCA, RCUS, RPCNA, URCNA at least) and it seems unproductive to keep revisiting it.

    If the point is that DW may be profitably consulted in this or that, so may Origen, Abelard, Aquinas, Occam, Schleiermacher, Ritschl, Barth, or Wright, just to toss off some names, but only by those who are firmly rooted in the faith and can see their errors along with their insight. I would not recommend any of those cited as reliable men even as I would not recommend the FV men as reliable men, certainly not as Reformed men. The churches have looked at their teaching and found them, in several key places herein cited (and a number not cited) not to be confessional and Reformed. I am not, as I said above, inclined to find it profitable perpetually to revisit such a determination.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  28. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    You can add the ARP to that list Dr. Strange.
     
  29. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry, dear brother, to have left them off. I should have checked that over more carefully. I am not sure of any members who may have adopted a statement against FV. Perhaps someone could inform with respect to that.

    Peace,
    Alan
     
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