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Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by greenbaggins, Jan 17, 2017.
Wilson has posted something distancing himself from the Federal Vision. My response is here.
It's just him being clever again. He hasn't rejected FV. Wilson states: "This statement represents a change in what I will call what I believe. It does not represent any substantial shift or sea change in the content of what I believe."
When he repents of his errors and joins a solid church body and places himself under elder oversight, and then begins apologizing to all of the people he has hurt, then maybe I'll buy it.
It is to be taken with a skip-load of salt.
There's no link in the first "here" of your post linking to Doug's post.
Rich, not sure what you mean. I checked the links both in the PB post and on the GB, and they all work.
Oh, now I see what you mean. I have fixed it.
It worked for me too; but very slow loading.
It's interesting, for sure.
I think folks will want to see what he has to say about justification, since that's such a gospel-centric issue where his views have been questioned. But in general, it's good when a man confesses he should have been quicker to listen to criticism, should have been slower to defend questionable views just because he felt his home camp threatened, and needs to seek forgiveness and write with more clarity. The church would be better off if more believers, myself included, did this more readily.
Rather than assume something slippery is going on, I'd like to assume repentance is going on, as it ought to be in all of us. This is not because I admire or despise Wilson, but because I have confidence in Christ, and repentance is one of those things Christ works in his church.
I never thought I'd post that I agreed with what he said, but I'll fully subscribe to his statements:
1. He is still in communion with people who can't affirm the WCF on justification. He has not broken with them.
2. He is still Pope of his non-denomination.
3. He is still unordained.
4. The very structure of the CREC makes challenging DW impossible.
5. He has only rejected the name "Federal Vision." He has made clear in my quotation in post #2 that he still affirms the key teachings.
6. He has said he would still sign off on the FV Joint Statement.
Good assessing rebuttal, Rev. Keister. It would be good for all of Protestantism for Mr. Wilson to repent fully.....may that happen yet.
While agreeing with Jacob that he still needs to distance himself from the movement other ways, I am willing to extend some charity; by that I mean, essentially, we'll see what happens.
I know it looks like I am being uncharitable (I probably am), but I have reasons for a healthy "hermeneutics of suspicion." I think Evan knows why, but if any are curious they can PM/email me. And it goes beyond theology.
One of the things that I find most unappealing about Doug Wilson is his constant desire to appear clever in everything he writes. He cannot simply write a heartfelt and serious retraction. It has to come across as clever - for someone to applaud the way he turns a phrase. I can be clever but I don't try to turn a phrase when I'm trying to be contrite.
He makes some good points about how unfair some men in the FV trajectory have been treated. I would never lump myself into the category of really serious thinkers whose knowledg of things Reformed needs to be widely read and respected, but I could see at the time how the idiosyncracies of some Reformed critics of the FV made it difficult for the FV adherents to hear valid criticism.
That said, when you step outside of the theological tradition of the Reformed faith and try to be novel you invite this kind of backlash. There's a reason why ordination vows require us to study the peace and purity of the Church. We don't take vows to study how we might innovate and prove to the Church how much we know and then complain that the Church just doesn't "get us" and complain about the way we were treated. I think Wilson still suffers from the illusion that his particular views (however unnamed) or Leithart's views have no real consequence. He notes (approvingly) of himself that he feels no need to hurl charges at Leithart. Well that's nice. It's because he cares more about his "rights" to theological novelty in some sort of pseudo-Presbyterian ecclesiology that insulates him from real accountability.
Best thing I ever heard from a truly pious and wise Pastor on the subject of exceptions was to correct the notion that our exceptions to the Confession somehow belong to us. It's common for ministers and elders to treat their exceptions as so much "academic freedom" but our exceptions belong to the Church. We don't confess a Confession as individuals but as a Church and there are far too many troublers of the peace and purity of the Church who think the other way around. They have Doug Wilson as a prime example of this theological approach.
I remain a non-fan. Even if Wilson truly projected Westminsterian theology, his arrogance would belie that the theology has moved from the head to the heart to the hands.
I could be wrong but, having read Wilson's statement, it seems to me that he wants to keep the things he likes about the federal vision, but call it something else? Or carve out his own version of the FV from the larger movement? Hard to tell with ol' Slippery Doug.
Does anyone else get infuriated reading this man's writings?
Forget the content for a minute... he simply dances around the point for what had to be like, 50 paragraphs!
And he's barely said anything!!!
The bridge to Rome/Constantinople that Wilson, Leithart and the FV erected should drive said men to their knees for repentance. To my knowledge I am the only person who came to the Gospel from Rome through NPP/FV/AA. I remember reading these guys in the early to mid 2000s and saying to myself, "is this Protestantism? Really? It sounds Catholic to me!" Not to mention all of their ridiculous AA/FV mini-Mes and their grating, pretentious sounding blogs with Latin names. So sad were those misguided young (usually) men. Fortunately, I didn't stop there and went on to read men who valued and cherished the doctrines of grace. By God's grace I left Rome, repented, believed and shortly found a biblical church and the PB. SDG
Of course I hope there is some genuine repentance, if not in the future, but I don't see reason to believe it is present from his blog post. As I understand and others have noted, he simply wants to distance himself from the name. So?
Ugh, the whole thing is so sad. If I could quote my husband's (David Gadbois) comment on Lane's blog...
"What makes me sad about this whole business, stretching back 15 years now to the 2002 Auburn Avenue Conference, is the destructive divisiveness it has caused within the reformed churches, the churches that have been broken apart, churches leaving their denominations, massive failures of church discipline to correct/expel FV adherents, the apostates to Rome it created, the MASSIVE amount of time, energy, and resources of Christ’s church that were diverted to address these errors (time we could have been reaching the lost, evangelizing, church planting, etc.).
Finally, there is the sad business about Wilson himself, who has wasted his own remarkable and uncommon talents on the FV project. He is a Mt. Vesuvius of ideas, prolific and articulate on a level that God gifts to perhaps only a handful of men in a generation. He has, at times, been an effective spokesman for the Christian faith (notably, in various debates) and at one time a helpful spokesman for the reformed faith (remember when he used to hang out with the Ligonier crowd?). Who knows, maybe he could have been something like the next R.C. Sproul- he is certainly in that class as a communicator. But alas he has now wasted a fair chunk of his adult life on this odious and failed theological project. You could have been a contender, Doug."
I am not willing to take what Doug Wilson says here at face value for several reasons, which are basically the same as the ones that Jacob has outlined. Doug has a long history of being slippery and duplicitous in his use of language. All he has said here is that he would like to reject the term "Federal Vision." Why? Probably so that he may continue to teach the same things and more easily deceive the unwary.
The Lord tells us to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, not wolves in wolves' clothing. One thing that I have learned from my time in my former denomination is that open liberals are less dangerous than heretics who appear to be orthodox. The wolf in wolves' clothing is easier to detect, and so at least you know he is a wolf. The wolf in sheep's clothing, by way of contrast, is much better at camouflaging their evil intentions and thus more readily lure their unsuspecting prey.
At the risk of sounding like I'm endorsing Wilson or approving his views (which I am not doing), I thought I might provide some context to what he is saying in his post.
It's sometimes hard for folks with no experience of the Federal Vision circles to understand the distinctions that exist within them. As someone who was a member of a CREC church in my younger and more ignorant days, I can understand where he is coming from.
There are essentially two groups within those circles. The terminology they have used to distinguish them is "FV Dark" and "FV Light." While at first the difference may seem merely external, it is not.
The "FV Dark" folks embrace a lot stranger stuff than white robes. For instance, they embrace James Jordan's interpretive maximalism, which can make any passage of Scripture teach anything you want it to teach. They also tend to embrace the New Perspective on Paul. Further, they deny the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Finally, they tend to distance themselves from labels like Protestantism, preferring a fuzzy ecumenism that embraces all branches of Christianity.
The "FV Light" folks, on the other hand, hold to the more standard historical-grammatical and redemptive-historical hermeneutics, take the traditional Protestant reading of Paul, affirm the imputation of the active obedience of Christ, and view themselves as merely tweaking Reformed Protestantism (not that I agree with their assessment of themselves).
In the FV circles, the "Dark Side" of the Federal Vision has become wildly popular. When I was associated with the CREC, I once attended a Presbytery meeting in which someone asked if an individual who was not present was "FV," to which one responded, "FV Light, I think," which sounded more like, "yeah, sort of." You might say that it is somewhat uncool to not embrace the "Dark Side."
The proportion of "FV Dark" folks to "FV Light" folks has caused people on the outside to sometimes assume that the "Light" folks embrace the distinctives of the "Dark" folks. That is unnecessary confusion that I can understand Mr. Wilson desiring to distance himself from. In his article, he essentially says, Let the FV Dark folks have the term Federal Vision. He doesn't want their views ascribed to him.
That being said, it is clear that Mr. Wilson has not changed his views. He still holds to an erroneous view of justification, as well as several other errors. He has a lot to repent of yet.
There have always been those outside of the FV circles who essentially hold to all of the distinctives of that movement, while avoiding the label. John Frame comes to mind. So it's not surprising that Wilson thinks that he can drop the label and still embrace his views.
I am still waiting for a post from Wilson entitled "Equivocation no more." Until then, this is yet another example of ink being sacrificed upon the altar of obfuscation.
Wilson wrote that Leithart has not gone over to the RC. Is that true? I was under the impression that he has already swum the Tiber.
Thankyou, Tyler, for that background information. Does Doug Wilson properly distinguish the active and passive obedience of Christ? I recall a video where he equates active obedience with Christ's life and passive obedience with His death and resurrection. There was nothing about the preceptive and punitive relation to the law. Are there any publications or media where he makes a proper distinction.
No. Leithart envisions a day when there will be no differences between Prots and Romanists. He even says most of the apologizing needs to be done by Prots. With that said, however, he is still either CREC or PCA. I think he is CREC.
I do not think he has updated his position on that point. I have not seen him make the distinctions you listed, though I only read his blog maybe once a month now.
Unless something has changed very recently, he's CREC. When he moved to Alabama, the PCA there wouldn't let him labor out of bounds in their Presbytery. As I recall, his old Presbytery wouldn't give a satisfactory response to the folks in Alabama, but Leithart finally left the PCA and officially moved to CREC - which he should have done years ago, and which would have avoided causing a lot of pain.
Reminds me a bit of the guy in Monroe, who caused as much pain and disruption in the PCA as he could before he was finally cornered.
I always found his writing style to be his most endearing characteristic. He was always entertaining to read.
I have too though I agree with Rich the man just needs to be clear on this. It's like a politician who gets caught with his pants down. He's sorry that getting caught has broken his family's heart and embarrassed them but he is not really sorry for the adultery itself. With Wilson, it seems the more important the doctrinal issue the cuter he has to be. He's not ambiguous about where he stands on gay marriage, so why must the work of Christ and Justification be 'explained' as to leave such important teaching languishing for clarity. Faux-nuance on the Gospel is a sign of a teacher with a heart for vain philosophies and not souls.
I have written an open letter to Wilson on the blog now.