The Preface

Apparently, this Federal Vision statement is going to be printed in hard copy in Credenda/Agenda. So says Doug Wilson. It is being given out early because of Jordan’s reference to this document in a letter he sent to Christian Renewal.

That is by way of background to this document. Now, we will examine the preface. The preface makes several important claims. The document claims that the views it espouses are not in conflict with either the 3FU or the WS. Of course, this is not a new claim on the part of the FV. However, for them to say that if we understand it to be in conflict with these confessional documents means that we have misunderstood the document is an example of assuming that which needs to be proved. They don’t say this explicitly. I hope they do not mean it. Always, for those who have taken vows to uphold the standards of the church, their teachings need to be demonstrated to be in conformity with the standards. So, the FV will forgive us, I’m sure, if we do not take them at their word, but instead examine the document to see if it is compatible with the standards. This is not an unreasonable undertaking. And, contrary to what some FV proponents say, we the critics are not automatically assuming them to be out of accord with the standards. Members in good standing of presbyteries are assumed to be in accord with the standards until they prove otherwise. This is the approach I will take here.  

Secondly, the document limits its own scope to certain issues that are a significant part of the FV discussion. In other words, this document should not be understood to be an exhaustive dealing with all the various books, articles, etc. Furthermore, we should not understand this document to be an official confession of faith. The provisional nature of the document is clear from the document itself (“at this stage of the conversation,” “given our circumstances”). These statements are the views of these men at this time on these issues, and we should interpret the document with this in mind.

Thirdly, this document is presented in a spirit of teachableness. The document explicitly says that the authors desire to be teachable, and are willing to stand corrected. They desire to state their views as clearly as they can in order to facilitate further conversation, as it includes discussion of possible ambiguities and errors. One should certainly laud such a statement. The desire to be teachable is rather important in this whole discussion. I fear that too many on both sides have not exhibited much of a teachable spirit. I certainly include myself in such an indictment. Humility seems the correct (and only!) path to me here, and I think the Bible would agree. So, I am going to take them at their word here. I am not going to assume that past behavior dictates future response. If I did, I would not have excessively good reason to deem FV authors teachable. Be that as it may, I think believing this statement of humility on their part is the best way forward.

Update: this post was written independently of Scott Clark’s points, available here. He has some thoughtful points that deserve careful consideration.

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91 Comments

  1. Tim Wilder said,

    July 31, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    “The document claims that the views it espouses are not in conflict with either the 3FU or the WS. Of course, this is not a new claim on the part of the FV.”

    James Jordan said on Wilson’s blog some time back that neither he nor the other participants in the “Federal Vision conversation” hold to the Westminster Confession. So, “3FU or the WS” means 3FU, if Jordan is to be believed.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    July 31, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    True, that’s Jordan’s position. However, Meyers, Horne, Wilkins, and Leithart would certainly all claim that their views are in accord with the WS.

  3. Tim Wilder said,

    July 31, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    That’s Jordan’s position about the others in the “conversation” with him. After fifteen years are we to suppose that he does not know what they believe? It looks to me that he has outed the ones claiming to hold the WC.

  4. A. Dollahite said,

    July 31, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Tim W.,

    It would be helpful if you provided the specific reference at Blog and Mablog where Jordan said that “other participants in the the ‘Federal Vision conversation'” do not hold to the WCF. Thanks.

  5. Tim Wilder said,

    July 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    “It would be helpful if you provided the specific reference at Blog and Mablog”

    It would be equally helpful if you provided it.

  6. A. Dollahite said,

    July 31, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Tim W.,

    Apparently I’m missing something here. You started this thread claiming,

    James Jordan said on Wilson’s blog some time back that neither he nor the other participants in the “Federal Vision conversation” hold to the Westminster Confession.

    I’m just trying to track this statement down. If I could have provided the reference, I wouldn’t have asked you for it. So, I’ll ask again (seriously), where can I find evidence of your claim?

  7. Tim Wilder said,

    July 31, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    “I’m just trying to track this statement down.”

    So track it down. It is just as easy for you to go through Jordan’s posts on the Wilson blog as for me.

    It is part of the modus operandi of the Federal Vision to assign endless tasks to those who criticize them. But I don’t feel like doing your work for you.

  8. July 31, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Tim W.,

    Pardon me, but your reply’s to A. Dollahite are belligerent, to say the least. What kind of person throws out a claim and then refuses to substantiate it, and then tries to bully those who make the reasonable request that he does so into doing his work for them?

    Wilson writes about a dozen posts a day and all you give us is a reference to a comment made “some time back.” You are the one here who made the claim. You are the one here who has any clue on where to even begin to look. Why don’t you do us all the favor and respectfully source your claim, sir?

  9. Vern Crisler said,

    July 31, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    The place to start might be the following:

    ——-
    (2) Yes, I say you men have read a modern notion of merit thinking back into the Confessions, a notion that is not there. Now, I boldly and blatantly say that the Westminster Standards are fully of baloney on this matter: The “distance” between God and man? What Vantillian creationist can talk that way? The promise was the Tree of Life. Hardly. God did such a crummy job of creation that He now has to “condescend” to enter into a covenant with us? This is scholastic theology at its worst, and we Vantillians left it behind long ago. So, yes, I certainly don’t agree with how you chaps have set it out. But (and now I have to stop again).

    James B. Jordan – 5/21/2007 9:55:01 AM
    —————————
    See: “Theologians Are From MARS” thread on
    Wilson’s blog (in the archives).

    Vern

  10. Tim Wilder said,

    July 31, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Re: 8

    Actually, that is another point. That quote is where Jordan shows that as a modernist he cannot take seriously the type of covenant thinking that held sway between the 12th century renaissance and the Enlightenment. Post-Enlightenment, Jordan (following Van Til) has to think of the relation between God and creation in different terms.

  11. July 31, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Vern,

    Jordan says “on this matter.”

  12. jared said,

    July 31, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Tim,

    Way to exude the spirit of Christ, there, brother. Though, I suppose you’re right on board there with what R. Scott Clark has said in Lane’s link from this post. Let’s bring down those terrorists, er, I mean gospel-wreckers! Hoorah!

    A. Dollahite,

    There actually isn’t an easy way to search through the comments section of Wilson’s blog. I sifted through just the Auburn Avenue Stuff posts for this year and while Jordan has commented on multiple occassions (here, here, here, and here), I don’t recall him ever saying what Tim has claimed he said. I’ll run through the comments on those posts again and see if I can find it.

  13. Vern Crisler said,

    July 31, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Tim,

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame Van Til for Jim Jordan’s unique notions. FV’s unclarity does not really seem to have anything to do with Van Til’s concept of paradox. The latter has to do with our epistemological limitations as receivers of revelation, whereas FV is a churchly concept. It about the “sociology” of the church (as Jordan titled one of his books).

    Hello Doug,

    As I said, it is a place to “start”–not necessarily to finish. :-)

    Vern

  14. Dave H said,

    July 31, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Unfortunately, Doc Clark’s “points” continue to display his immaturity, total lack of ability at conflict resolution, and inability to show any humility (as Lane has attempted here). For the sake of unity in the Church, I predict that S. Clark’s fall is coming soon because the pride-factor is already way out there in the lead.

  15. July 31, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Dave H.,

    Re #12, will you counsel the same to FV proponents by name who go even further on their blogs and blog comments?

  16. jared said,

    July 31, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    A. Dollahite,

    I couldn’t find any statement like what Tim Wilder “quotes”; I can’t say that I’m surprised. Vern’s quote is the closest thing but even here Jordan is only saying what he thinks and makes no effort to claim that all in the FV share his opinion. It’s possible that Tim is referring to an older comment, but I doubt that.

  17. Jonspach said,

    July 31, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Reformedmusings,

    I’m no proponent of the FV, but regarding #13, even if he didn’t does that automatically nullify # 12’s statement even if it shows or proves to be true?

  18. Dave H said,

    July 31, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    R-Musings
    Observing this from the sidelines, it is quite apparent that this effort by the FV group is a clear overture to both clarify and attempt to bring healing. But Doc Clark would be bored silly if this FV thing blew over. And don’t forget how these attacks all started back in 2002. It began as a one-sided barrage, and continues as such. Sure I’ve seen the FV guys lose it a bit, but they have been on the defense against the dark arts of “Pastors” such as Doc Clark as their hyperbolic misstatements are let loose. I’ve read Doc Clark much, and have heard Doc Clark in person, and he would do well to start to shift his focus more to the Bible. I’ve come to see him as a man who appears to be most comfortable referring to, quoting from, defending and preaching from the confession, any confession. Perhaps his spirit would be touched for the better if he shifted his meditation from man’s word to God’s. And yes, I love the confession. My prayers will continue to be for healing for the reformed camp, and for R.S. Clark specifically.

  19. July 31, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Excuse my typo: “because” should have been “but now I don’t see it because”

  20. Andy Gilman said,

    July 31, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    “One aspect of this quarrel is that we FVC people are functioning with the mindset of the 3FU, and only so much of Westminster as they allow. The Westminster is the first Reformed confession that was written in a context of a conflict, yea war, between two groups of Calvinists. It is, as a result, overly specific in some points. The war between groups of Calvinists continues today, as these exchanges demonstrate.”

    James B. Jordan – 5/26/2007 11:59:17 AM

    http://www.dougwils.com/index.asp?Action=Anchor&CategoryID=1&BlogID=3933&Data=3003#posts

  21. Jon Peters said,

    July 31, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Dave H,

    What do you mean by one-sided?

    Why don’t you stop poking fun of Clark and address what he writes. I know, I know, it’s much easier to just lob bombs than actually engage your opponent. I for one would be happy to read any substantive critique of anything Clark has written if you would be so kind as to produce such a thing. My guess is you cannot; your idea of substance appears to be name calling. Hmm, where have I seen this before?

    Hey Dave, any predictions about me? Just curious. No, I’m a nobody. I have a prediction about you though: All your predictions are wrong.

  22. Dave H said,

    July 31, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Jon

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to “poke fun”. Rather, I have begun to truly believe there is a serious problem with the man and his abilities.

  23. Jon Peters said,

    July 31, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Dave,

    Perhaps I’m a bit slow, but why is Clark singled out for such vitriol by the FV and its defenders? He’s got a sharp wit and definite opinions, but what has he said in particular that makes him so hated? Or did you see him kick a puppy or something?

  24. July 31, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    [...] Vision Statement Analysis – Part 1 As predicted yesterday, Green Baggins and The Heidelblog have started analyzing the May 2007 Federal Vision statement. Both posted [...]

  25. Grover Gunn said,

    August 1, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Here is a statement on Jim Jordan’s church affiliation:

    http://trinvalp.com/?page_id=29

    See also http://www.providencepresbytery.org/members.htm. This appears to be a denomination consisting of three local churches in three different states.

    Grover Gunn

  26. jared said,

    August 1, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Jon Peters,

    Here’s a few nuggets for you:

    1. “Most of the confessional Reformed churches have determined that the FV is nothing but a competing system of doctrine!” – R.S. Clark

    Okay, maybe some of the larger governing bodies have issued “official” statements conerning various aspects of the FV but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most confessional Reformed churches don’t even know the first thing about the FV controversy. Of the 1500 or so churches just in the PCA, how many of them are familiar with it at all? I know that the two I’ve attended most frequently over the past few years haven’t said anything about it from the pulpit or released session minutes since GA’s ruling on the study report. Jon, of those 1500, how many do you think are aware of the controversy? Clark seems to be convinced that not just churches in the PCA, but most in all of Confessional Reformedom are not only aware but have determined that the FV is a competing system of doctrine. I almost sort of envy this fascinating world Clark has created for himself in which the majority of confessional reformed churches are in agreement with him about this.

    2. “Will the PCA signatories really submit to the judgment of their presbyteries or will they flee to the waiting and willing arms of that woman of easy virtue in Moscow?” – R.S. Clark

    Way to go Clark, way to bring the hammer down! Jon, I suppose this is some of that “wit” you were mentioning? Right. Well played, sir. Touche. Did it not occur to Clark that, perhaps, just perhaps, that submitting to the judgment of their presbyteries might require said signatories to “flee to the waiting and willing arms” of another denomination? Isn’t that what the anti-FV people want? At least those in the PCA use “peace and purity” as their excuse for desiring/demanding the exit of FV advocates.

    3. “Try this: “I’m not a terrorist myself but I know where they live, what they believe, that they’re killers, and I think it’s fine.” Harsh comparison? Okay. Try this one: “I know, am eeclesiastically connected to those who corrupt the gospel, and who encourage other folk to corrupt the gospel.” Feel any better about being tolerant and open-minded about the FV?” – R.S. Clark

    So, of the roughly 2.5 billion or so Christians on the face of the planet, only about a million of them are really saved? Or is it just “most of the confessional Reformed churches” aligned with Clark? Okay. Maybe Clark doesn’t believe in the catholicity of the Church (with a big “C”)? No, because that’s confessional and we know he’s strictly confessional. Hmm. Maybe he was reading some anti-Muslim literature right before making this post? No, that’s not quite right either I don’t think… I got it! Clark believes in the Gospel of Westminster rather than the four which were divinely inspired.

    Jon, these three things are just from one post and you honestly have to ask why Clark is singled out? He has done far worse than puppy kicking in this post alone.

  27. Robert K. said,

    August 1, 2007 at 2:28 am

    >”Perhaps I’m a bit slow, but why is Clark singled out for such vitriol by the FV and its defenders? He’s got a sharp wit and definite opinions, but what has he said in particular that makes him so hated? Or did you see him kick a puppy or something?”

    Clark is singled out because he has become a focal point on the internet for the teaching of classical covenant theology and to a lesser extent Federal Theology. I.e. he is seen as reviving it in a public way which makes the FVists’ work much harder. (FVists hate R. C. Sproul for similar reasons. Keep in mind FVists as theonomists got started back in the early 70’s when Reformed Theology seemed to have been forgotten, and the time was ripe, the theonomists/proto-FVists etc. thought to redefine it all for the glory of the Beast.) I.e., he – Clark – has been active in bringing back the true teaching of covenant theology in a popularizing way, intended by him or not, but his website(s) are common destinations for people who are coming into a real understanding of covenant/Federal theology. He also, for instance, recognizes Vos, Berkhof, and Kline as representing that classical covenant theology line into the 20th century, all, for various reasons, big enemies to the FVist designs. (Vos embarasses them because FVists have affected to claim the biblical theology side of Reformed theology, but they have to pretend Geerhardus Vos never existed, which is kind of hard to do, and of course one paragraph of Vos makes the entire output of the FVists look like the screenplay of an Adam Sandler movie; Berkhof they just mock, i.e. the FVists are freer to mention his name and mock him openly because they can play off his boring ‘textbook’ reputation and all that, nevertheless they have to mock him because he is so sound and on-the-mark and still influential and is a classical covenant theologian which makes him the natural emeny of the FVists; Kline they hate going back to their theonomy days; but also Kline is a figure they despise because if you put all 148 Federal Visionists in a room full of typewriters they couldn’t collectively come up with a single insight into the history of redemption that matched 1/1000th of what Kline brought to the table, and that kind of vitiates against the FVists’ self-estimate of their intellectual brilliance and so forth).

    Basically the FVists despise anybody who is and anything that is actively on-the-mark with biblical doctrine. Their enemy is sound biblical doctrine. Their enemy is truth.

    Dr. Clark recently speculates on his blog that the FVists really just want to hasten some kind of eschatological program with Constantinian mass baptism rituals and this may sum up all their novel doctrine, but this isn’t the case because if it was they wouldn’t bother with the confessions and the various churches and denominations they’ve been working to defile from within. They wouldn’t NEED to bother with any of that if they just wanted to push a doctrine of mass baptism and salvation by works and so on. The FVists exist to attack and distort and ultimately (in their view) do away with the truth. Yes it’s irrational, but rebellion against God is irrational to the core; always has been, and it won’t go away until the return of the King.

  28. Dave H said,

    August 1, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Robert KKK

    A most interesting spin of the Federal Vision. The FV brothers “hate R.C. Sproul”, “pretend” “mock” “hate” “despise” “defile”, and along with their “mass baptism rituals” “(T)heir enemy is truth.” Do you get this kind of preaching on the Lord’s Day, or do you simply glean this wisdom from the Internet? I think I’ll stick with the wikipedia summary of the FV instead of yours, if you don’t mind.

  29. Jon Peters said,

    August 1, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Jared,

    We’re presbyterian Jared. Clark is correct when he notes that most Reformed churches have come out against the FV–OPC, PCA, RCUS, URC. I don’t think he meant that every individual congregation has come out against it. I also think he referring to the US. Your reading of his post is blinded by your prejudice.

    By the way, can you name a Reformed denomination in this country that has come out in support of the FV? How about a seminary? (oh wait, we’re supposed to despise seminaries, right?)

    Are you denying that ministers and laypeople that are FV are joining the CREC?

    The FV do corrupt the gospel and your point number 3 analysis is incoherent. And why the resort to ad hominem attack?

  30. Tim Wilder said,

    August 1, 2007 at 7:36 am

    Re: # 16.

    Note also that Andy Dollahite was a participant in that particular blog post discussion, although now he is in the “Sorry, I don’t recall.” mode.

  31. Tim Wilder said,

    August 1, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Re: 22

    “Kline is a figure they despise because if you put all 148 Federal Visionists in a room full of typewriters they couldn’t collectively come up with a single insight into the history of redemption that matched 1/1000th of what Kline brought to the table, and that kind of vitiates against the FVists’ self-estimate of their intellectual brilliance and so forth”

    I remember Jordan warmly recommending Kline to me as essential reading (Kingdom Prologue and especially Images of the Spirit). Kline was essential to the development of Federal Vision theology. All the symbolism and ritual starts from his work.

    R.S. Clark can’t stand that Kline is foundational to the Federal Vision. He denies that the Federal Vision has a ritual theology, while at the same time supporting the Covenant Renewal ceremonies.

    The Federal Vision senses Clark’s inconsistency and weakness. They target him because they think he is vulnerable.

    Nor is G. Vos ultimately of much comfort to Westminster West. Vos was run out of Grand Rapids by the same sort of militant infralapsarians who dominate Westminster West. Vos was smart not to fall in with a similar lot in Westminster Philly.

  32. Tim Wilder said,

    August 1, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Re: 23

    “I’ll stick with the wikipedia summary of the FV instead of yours, if you don’t mind.”

    Of course. It is written by Valerie, the Doug Wilson devotee. http://www.kyriosity.com/

  33. Tim Wilder said,

    August 1, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Re: 24

    “We’re presbyterian Jared. Clark is correct when he notes that most Reformed churches have come out against the FV–OPC, PCA, RCUS, URC. I don’t think he meant that every individual congregation has come out against it. I also think he referring to the US. Your reading of his post is blinded by your prejudice.”

    This is actually an interesting point about the Federal Vision. Clark thinks that denominations are churches. The FV thinks of churches as the local bodies, e.g. the church in Antioch, or Rome, etc. The FV isn’t as much high church in an institutional sense as Clark is. The FV is really, “high clergy” not high church.

  34. Dave H said,

    August 1, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Tim –
    Then I’ll stick with my six year old’s description of the FV. Anything would be a more faithful representation.

  35. August 1, 2007 at 10:07 am

    [I posted this last night, but it was eaten, somehow]

    Jon,

    I think the issue is that some FV foes (e.g. Dr. Clark) are approaching the FVers with all the courtesy of the Spanish Inquisition (which no one ever expects). I have no doubt that some FVers (particular those of us who still lack gray hairs) have at times allowed our rhetoric to get away from us. However, I also can say – as someone who has listened to and studied under Pastors Wilson and Leithart for many years – that I have only heard them speak with respect for those who disagree with them (they’ve never accused Dr. Clark of preaching another gospel, or called for his defrockment, for instance). What’s come to be called FV theology (and, btw, I think we lost our chance for openness after this whole discussion acquired a label) is centered primarily around a hermeneutic (see Dr. L’s newest baptism book) and an eschatology (socially expressed through the church and its sacraments). The Reformed tradition has managed to house debates on these very subjects for four hundred years.

    Speaking just for myself, what is so disheartening is that we FVers still hold views that are closer to Geneva than to Wittenburg or Canterbury, and yet we’re being castigated as if we sneak into our closets at night and offer incense up to Tetzel and to Innocent III.

    I guess I’m still hoping that some degree of ecumenism can exist within the Reformed tradition, if nothing else. Do we really need to turn cannibal just yet?

  36. August 1, 2007 at 10:08 am

    [Re-posted after IE deleted this]

    Robert,

    Sadly, I’m afraid your post is exactly the kind of name-calling, vitriolic bluster that I alluded to in my previous comment. I honestly can’t think of any situation in which it would be appropriate to address a Christian brother in this fashion. If you want to disagree (strongly and forcefully), by all means — do so! (Mr. Keister has done so with a good deal of respect.) But you’ve managed to overcook your rhetoric to the point where I don’t recognize any shred of it that resembles what I actually believe. At least interact with FV honestly, if not with decorum.

  37. Weston said,

    August 1, 2007 at 11:57 am

    What an incredible waste of time these internet blog conversations between FV haters and FV lovers are.

  38. Jon Peters said,

    August 1, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Davey,

    I am hearing a lot lately about how the FV aren’t accusing the critics of heresy or calling for their deforcking. So what? It’s not the critics who are “supplementing” Reformed orthodoxy. This is where you FV guys just won’t understand becuase you think you’re orthodox, but there are vast numbers of people, from scholars to pastors to lay people, who believe fervently that you have not only abandoned Calvinism and historic Reformed theology but are compromising the gospel of free grace. How can I, if I believe such things, not call for the dismissal of this element from the Reformed churches? That’s what Clark is doing. I’m sure he’s sorry that his words are not tender and fluffy enough for the sensitive FVers out there. Paul was not so sensitive to the Galatians who were also abandoning the faith for another gospel.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve not been a huge fan of WSC in the past. I’m not Klinean and think that some of this hyper-Vosian stuff is antinomian. But I read CJPM and was greatly blessed by MOST of it. I also read Guy Waters and liked MOST of it. I don’t think Clark or any other Reformed person is looking for a homegenous church. We can disagree on many things, but we should not and cannot disagree on the gospel of the free grace of Christ. Clark is ably defending such and I for one hope he continues to ruffle FV feathers.

  39. Jon Peters said,

    August 1, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Weston,

    Don’t read ‘em then.

  40. Jenny F said,

    August 1, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    “Of the 1500 or so churches just in the PCA, how many of them are familiar with it at all? I know that the two I’ve attended most frequently over the past few years haven’t said anything about it from the pulpit or released session minutes since GA’s ruling on the study report.”

    I would venture a guess that MOST PCA pulpits and sessions know what is going on (and have a firm opinion) but they are waiting for the presbyteries to take action. And I know of at least one presbytery that is getting ready to take action. I don’t think it is the place of the pulpit to espouse why the FV is corrupt.

  41. jared said,

    August 1, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Jon Peters,

    Since when did Presbyterianism have a quaram on confessional Reformed theology? I’m not disputing that the majority of denominations have come out officially against many aspects of FV (or their understanding of those aspects at any rate), but that isn’t what Clark says, now is it. You completely missed the point of the nuggets I tossed at you. How difficult, really, would it have been for Clark to note that most denominations have come out against FV rather than claiming most churches? Also, is it really most Reformed denominations? PCA and OPC are the two biggest and there’s a few smaller denominations that have published official positions against FV, but how many Reformed denominations are there in just the U.S.? If there’s only 10 and 4-6 have published statements against the FV then Clark, under this interpretation of his words, is more or less accurate.

    However, even if it weren’t the case that the majority of confessional Reformed denominations are speaking out against the FV, the few that have (along with those seminaries that have) cannot just be glossed over. Why would their be such “outrage” in the FV community if they weren’t taking the accusations seriously and if the accusations weren’t, in some sense for a number of advocates, accurrate? I seem to recall Doug Wilson addressing every official statement that has come out and showing that his “version” of FV actually isn’t what these statements are speaking against. In a very real sense these statements are supposed to be reflective of every church bound by those respective governing authorites. In this vein Clark is right and this, in turn, is something that I appreciate about the PCA’s (my denomination) report: the PCA isn’t saying that FV/NPP is a “competing” system of doctrine even though some of her members are. Clark, here, is singled out because he has been most vocal in saying that confessional Reformed churches unequivocally reject FV teaching and this is simply not true. Bombastic and not true, not really the sort of combination you want to have in a “mouthpiece” for your “cause”, especially if you’re claiming the Spirit of Christ.

    Can I name one Reformed denomination that supports the FV? Sure, the CREC. I am not knowledgeable enough about the number of Reformed denominations or their official positions on FV to say whether or not there are any more. I would say the PCA does as well as long as the FV advocate falls within the parameters set by the adopted declarations. I’ve also heard that the PCA’s seminary isn’t very much so anti-FV either and having graduated from the PCA’s college, I can say the same of it as well. Are their other Reformed seminaries that might be FV-friendly? Maybe, but here again I am not knowledgeable enough to speak with any sort of certainty.

    You ask me “Are you denying that ministers and laypeople that are FV are joining the CREC?” Not at all. Why would I deny that? What reason would I have for denying that? I do deny that ministers and laypeople are fleeing “to the waiting and willing arms of that woman of easy virtue in Moscow”. I think they are, for the most part, leaving because that’s what their presbyeries have asked them to do. Or they aren’t waiting and are taking the intiative to leave; I do not think they are doing this to escape the wrath of the Westminster Standards. I also imagine that those who are leaving (or will leave) will continue to hold the Standards in high regard with much respect for the place, and influence, it has had in Reformed theology. Why does there need to be hostility here? I can understand it coming from those who don’t know better (like Robert K. above and those of his ilk, some of whom post here too), but from someone who is supposed to be educated and a mature leader? I’m certainly not opposed to being blunt but there is a difference between being blunt and being outright disrespectful.

    My point in number three and your reaction to it is exactly the problem with the way Clark is handling this controversy. Certainly the PCA’s report doesn’t demonstrate the FV teaches a different gospel, and I don’t believe any of the other reports do either; this is mere assertion on your (and Clark’s) part. Where’s the substance of this assertion? If the FV teaches a different gospel, then do the Lutherans? What about the Methodists? The Baptists? Luther wants to throw out the book of James and we call him a hero of the faith. Leithart wants us take a closer look at what the practical implications of covenant baptism are and we call him a heretic? Again, this is one of the reasons I’m thankful to be in the PCA, at least we are mature as a denomination…

  42. jared said,

    August 1, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Jenny F,

    Just seems like a naieve view to me.

  43. jared said,

    August 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Jon Peters,

    Have you actually read the statement linked by Lane in this entry?

    We affirm we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Faith alone is the hand which is given to us by God so that we may receive the offered grace of God. Justification is God’s forensic declaration that we are counted as righteous, with our sins forgiven, for the sake of Jesus Christ alone.”

    How is this a different gospel from the one that you preach/teach/share? What part of this affirmation do you disagree with?

  44. Vern Crisler said,

    August 1, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Re: #31

    Hi Tim,

    You said: “I remember Jordan warmly recommending Kline to me as essential reading (Kingdom Prologue and especially Images of the Spirit). Kline was essential to the development of Federal Vision theology.”

    Hmm, isn’t this a bit of a stretch? After all, Kline opposed conditionalism, and was a fierce critic of theonomy. I don’t recall him supporting ritualism.

    I do agree, however, that his speculative symbolic interpretations influenced Jordan’s even more speculative symbolic interpretations. It seems to me, however, that symbolic interpretation is an accidental, rather than essential, feature of the Federal Vision model. I also oppose Kline’s correlation of the Mosaic covenant with Hittite treaties, a silly bit of speculation if there ever was one.

    Am I wrong on this?

    Cordially,

    Vern

  45. Jon Peters said,

    August 1, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Jared,

    I read it. What now? I think that they talk out of both sides of their mouths. Affirm all you want, but when mutually exclusive propostions are taught, what am I to say? “Oh that’s okay. Contradiction is a good thing.”

    How about quoting the next paragraph? In my opinion, they take back in the next paragraph what they gave in the first. Their idea of a “living trust” is Shepherdism and a way to smuggle in works as the grounds of our justification.

    Mere assertion that the reports of the OPC and PCA don’t show that another gospel is being taught? You may disagree with my appraisal but it is amply supported by very good, Scriptural argumentation by some very fine men. (No doubt all of which has been “ably” refuted on numerous FV blogs.) It’s certainly not mere assertion. Mere assertion would be if the OPC report only stated “The FV is wrong.” That’s mere assertion. If you choose to disagree with the reports, that’s fine. Disagree away, but to claim I’m making a mere assertion is not true.

    This is not a debate with the Lutherans or Baptists or Methodists. This is a debate in the Reformed community. I certainly care what those groups teach but that is simply not the issue in this debate. The debate is whether the FV (ministers) belong under the Reformed umbrella. I believe that, by in large, they do not.

    Jared, I did not miss the point of the nuggets you tossed my way. I simply don’t agree with your appraisal of them. Fair enough?

  46. August 1, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Re: 33

    I was surprised to find Green Baggins in my blog referrals, so I popped in to see why I might have been linked here. Mr. Wilder, please look more carefully at the history of the Wikipedia FV article. I think you will find that my contributions thereunto have been very minor. Out of ~150 edits to the piece, I have contributed a whopping six, largely of the factual/grammatical variety. I assure you I know far too little about the FV to have ever written anything substantive about it.

    As for the “devotee” label…sure, why not. I hold Mr. Wilson in high regard as someone whose ministry the Lord has used to bless and encourage me tremendously. Of course I tend to think of showing honor and loyalty to godly and gifted men as a good thing. May I assume you do, as well?

  47. Jenny F said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    “Just seems like a naieve view to me”

    And you wonder why the hostility toward the FV. Geez.

    All I said is churches are leaving it up to presbyteries, as is the Presbyterian form of government. After 30 years as a PK in the PCA I would hope to be a little more than naieve. My father will be so disappointed.

  48. Tim Wilder said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Re: 44

    “Hmm, isn’t this a bit of a stretch? After all, Kline opposed conditionalism, and was a fierce critic of theonomy. I don’t recall him supporting ritualism.”

    FV ritualism is putting Kline’s symbolism to work.

  49. August 1, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Pardon me…it was a whopping eight rather than a whopping six.

  50. Jon Peters said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Jenny,

    The FV has a particular talent for spotting what they would consider untoward behavior in anyone that opposes their agenda. On the other hand, they are quite slow to recognize the same in themselves.

  51. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Some questions for a FV advocates

    Quote: The Divine Decrees – “And at some time in the earthly life of each person so chosen, the Holy Spirit brings that person to life, and enables him to persevere in holiness to the end.”

    Question: Does this special regeneration (brings that person to life) differ from the general regeneration that all receive in baptism? How?

    Quote: The Church – “We deny that membership in the Christian Church in history is an infallible indicator or guarantee of final salvation. Those who are faithless to their baptismal obligations incur a stricter judgment because of it.”

    Question: Does our faith(fulness) to our baptism guarantee our final salvation?

    Quote: The Covenant of Life – “We hold further that all such obedience, had it occurred, would have been rendered from a heart of faith alone, in a spirit of loving trust.”

    Question: Does faith alone done in a spirit of loving trust include obedience or is obedience a fruit and evidence of faith?

    Quote: Union with Christ and Imputation – “This means that through Jesus, on our behalf, Israel has finally obeyed God and has been accepted by Him. We affirm not only that Christ is our full obedience, but also that through our union with Him we partake of the benefits of His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement at the right hand of God the Father.”

    Question: Is Israel defined as eternally elect, or is Israel defined as the visible/historic church?

  52. Vern Crisler said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Re #47

    “FV ritualism is putting Kline’s symbolism to work.”

    I suppose this is true. Freewheeling and arbitrary symbolism can be used to support just about anything,
    including FV.

    BTW, Spurgeon has an amusing chapter on unchecked symbolic interpretation in his book *Lectures to My Students*. Also, on how to use, and not to misuse, metaphor and simile. Good reading for anyone who’s interested.

    Vern

  53. Robert K. said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Kline is untouchable to FVism simply for his classical covenant theology (covenant of Works specifically). Of course they don’t want to distance themselves from the most interesting Reformed theologians of the 20th century (Vos and his better students basically), but they are between a rock and a hard place. They don’t mention Vos (unless somebody else brings his name up), as I said, because his very existence as Reformed and as a biblical theologian of the first rank, preeminent to an iconic degree, makes their attempts at BT and their claims to being the true practitioners (and most able practitioners) of BT comical. Vos also makes the FVists claims that the “TR’s” are somehow stodgy and stuck in the past and uninspired a joke.

    FVists are as theologically shallow and delinquently vain as Roman Catholic apologists. They’re just an equation of dumb plus the hyper spiritual pride of young bicycling Mormon boys…

  54. pduggan said,

    August 1, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    “I also oppose Kline’s correlation of the Mosaic covenant with Hittite treaties, a silly bit of speculation if there ever was one.”

    Jordan would agree

  55. pduggan said,

    August 1, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    40: Yes, the *tireless* efforts of MVP sending out their reports to all of the PCA sessions for consideration prior to anything being brought up at GA ensured that ALL the PCA was made aware of the “threat”

  56. Sean Gerety said,

    August 1, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    R. S. Clark wrote:

    Will the PCA signatories really submit to the judgment of their presbyteries or will they flee to the waiting and willing arms of that woman of easy virtue in Moscow?

    LOL :) I think the better questions is: will their presbyteries surrender their solemn obligation to hold these FV men (who they call their brothers) to account and let them leave the PCA and join Moscow in good standing?

    FWIW if they do anything at all I’ll be amazed. I don’t think any PCA pres has the will to take on the likes of Wilkins or Leithart. As far as I can tell, these men are immune from prosecution. Which doesn’t speak well for the PCUSA, I mean PCA.

  57. Jenny F said,

    August 1, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    52:Did Luther send out the 95 theses to each individual priest or did he merely post them on a door?
    Touche.

  58. Jenny F said,

    August 1, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    pduggan: i misinterpreted MVP- should not post last at night. please accept sincerest apologies for sarcasm. :)

  59. jared said,

    August 2, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Jon Peters,

    I’ll quote the whole section for easier reference:

    We affirm we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Faith alone is the hand which is given to us by God so that we may receive the offered grace of God. Justification is God’s forensic declaration that we are counted as righteous, with our sins forgiven, for the sake of Jesus Christ alone.”

    We deny that the faith which is the sole instrument of justification can be understood as anything other than the only kind of faith which God gives, which is to say, a living, active and personally loyal faith. Justifying faith encompasses the elements of assent, knowledge and living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer. we deny that faith is ever alone, even at the moment of the effectual call.

    I haven’t read the OPC report so I can’t speak for it; if it is anything like the PCA report then it doesn’t demonstrate FVists teach a different gospel. I’ve read the MARS statement and whatever it is a statement against it isn’t FV as I understand it and it, I can assure you (whatever that is worth), doesn’t demonstrate that FVists teach a different gospel. I know the PCA report doesn’t demonstrate this, otherwise those on the committee wouldn’t have bothered identifying FV and NPP advocates as brothers (I do not believe they were being insincere in this regard, even given their prior disdain for FV/NPP theology). So, at least as far as the PCA report is concerned, your analysis of it concluding with it demonstrating that FV teaches a different gospel is plainly an incorrect analysis/conclusion.

    So, this is not the “justifying faith” that you subscribe to, Jon? Am I to understand that you affirm, then, what they are here denying? It appears to me that this statement affirms that justifying faith is comprised of assensus, notitia and fiducia. Are they incorrect in affirming this? If so, then what is the traditional Reformed conception of justifying faith? Doesn’t the WCF say that “the pinciple acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.”? How is that substantially different from “a living, active and personally loyal faith.”? Doesn’t the WCF (and Scripture, for that matter) say that works “are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their bretheren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, who workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life”? I ask again, what is different about the gospel that you preach? The FV statement on these points is nothing short of a paraphrase of the WCF.

    I realize this isn’t a debate with Lutherans, Baptists, etc.; my point here was that even if FV isn’t Reformed, it doesn’t stand to reason that they preach/teach a different gospel. As to the nuggets, fair enough. Thank you for interacting with me thus far, Jon.

    Jenny F.,

    You say:

    I would venture a guess that MOST PCA pulpits and sessions know what is going on (and have a firm opinion) but they are waiting for the presbyteries to take action.

    I think that is naieve and if, in fact, these ministers and sessions are waiting for presbyteries to take action then they aren’t abiding by the recommendations of the study report to inform their congregations. Again, I’m not knocking the PCA, I quite love and respect my denomination; I just don’t think it’s at that level of awareness yet (and I do mean yet). I wasn’t intending to sound harsh, nor was I intending to offend and/or insult you. I apologize if I have done so.

  60. jared said,

    August 2, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Jon Peters,

    Somehow my paragraphs got switched around. The paragraph after the FV statement quote should swap with the next paragraph.

  61. Sean Gerety said,

    August 2, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Justifying faith encompasses the elements of assent, knowledge and living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer. we deny that faith is ever alone, even at the moment of the effectual call.

    I haven’t read the OPC report so I can’t speak for it; if it is anything like the PCA report then it doesn’t demonstrate FVists teach a different gospel . . . So, this is not the “justifying faith” that you subscribe to, Jon? Am I to understand that you affirm, then, what they are here denying? It appears to me that this statement affirms that justifying faith is comprised of assensus, notitia and fiducia.

    I certainly can’t speak for Jon, but I can say definitively that the above is not Christianity nor is it an expression of the biblical doctrine of justification which is by belief ALONE, plus nothing . . . including but not limited to a “living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer.”

    Since they mentioned maturity, even a child can see that a “living trust” is something that a believer does and what we have before us, under the guise of the tautological traditional and defective definition of faith, is the deceptive smuggling of “evangelical obedience” into the doctrine of justification which the Confession explicitly excludes and rejects. Perhaps the reason you don’t recognize this clever counterfeit Jared is because you are just not that familiar enough with the genuine article?

    FWIW Gordon Clark recognized years ago the gaping hole in the traditional idea of faith defined as assensus, notitia and fiducia and he wrote about it in Faith and Saving Faith. Sadly, churchmen haven’t learned Clark’s important lesson and now these rank heretics who signed this FV proclamation are shoving this defective definition in the face of their critics.

    I will admit that the FV men have put the tautological and meaningless redundancy of “fiducia” as an imagined component of “saving faith” to good use. As the Dougs over at Sreamenda Agenda say, “believing is doing.” Unfortunately for them, and those foolish enough to follow them, it is not. Believing is believing and doing is doing and never the twain shall meet or you end up with the warmed over Romanism these men openly and brazenly advocate and profess.

    When will the leaders of the PCA wake up?

  62. August 2, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Sean: ”the biblical doctrine of justification which is by belief ALONE, plus nothing…”

    Someone once said: “Even the demons believe… Do you want to be shown, , that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works…?”

    Any possibility that systematic language is not the same as the language in the quotation above?

  63. A. Dollahite said,

    August 2, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Tim W.,

    I’m sorry that I haven’t communicated here the past few days. I’m in the Sierra Nevada mtns. with limited access to the internet.

    RE #30 – Yes, I was a participant in a discussion where James Jordan made comments. Did I remember that discussion at the time I wrote my original questions to you on this thread? No. No dirty tricks up my sleeve, promise. But since that discussion has been brought up, did any of the comments there support what you said back at the very beginning of this thread?

    James Jordan said on Wilson’s blog some time back that neither he nor the other participants in the “Federal Vision conversation” hold to the Westminster Confession.

    When this thread began I seriously wondered if Jordan had said such a thing, so I asked an honest question about where to find it. As the thread has continued, and you have consistently been unwilling to provide any real evidence, I wonder if there really is anything to support your claim. I think there is a very obvious answer to that question. So, I’ll ask again (seriously still) – where did Jordan say what you claimed? And this time, either provide the evidence, or retract the statement.

  64. Sean Gerety said,

    August 2, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    No. No possibility at all Davey. But if you want to discuss the theology of demons I really can’t help. However, perhaps you can tell me what exactly the demons James mentioned believed? Looks to me not much more than FV men. It is not something in addition to belief alone which is necessary for sinners to be saved (i.e., read works), rather what saves sinners are the propositions believed.

    Beyond that, Paul said; Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

  65. August 2, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    Perhaps this is the Jordan comment in question?

    “Yes, I say you men have read a modern notion of merit thinking back into the Confessions, a notion that is not there. Now, I boldly and blatantly say that the Westminster Standards are fully of baloney on this matter: The ‘distance’ between God and man? What Vantillian creationist can talk that way? The promise was the Tree of Life. Hardly. God did such a crummy job of creation that He now has to ‘condescend’ to enter into a covenant with us? This is scholastic theology at its worst, and we Vantillians left it behind long ago. So, yes, I certainly don’t agree with how you chaps have set it out. But (and now I have to stop again).”

    It’s one of the 270 responses to this post. Of course he’s expressing disagreement with one point, and only speaking for himself, so “either he nor the other participants in the “Federal Vision conversation” hold to the Westminster Confession” doesn’t fit, but perhaps that was the comment that was interpreted to mean such. This Google search would be most useful for anyone attempting to track down the comment. My eyes glazed over after skimming just one thread….

  66. Dave H said,

    August 2, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Sean, so if I read you correctly, it is what MAN chooses to believe in his stage in life that saves him, and not God who does the saving, apart from man’s best efforts?

  67. Sean Gerety said,

    August 3, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Amazing Dave H.

  68. Tim Wilder said,

    August 3, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Re: # 62

    “And this time, either provide the evidence, or retract the statement.”

    Unfortunately for you and your fantasy world, Jordan has now gone far beyond that.

    “I can add that at RTS and WTS in the 1970s, virtually nobody believed in the covenant of works. There was one student who did and who liked to argue it with everybody. Everybody else took “exception” that that part of the WCF. The few who were willing to retain the phrase wanted to qualify it and say that they preferred “covenant of life” or something else. That’s just a fact. Call me a liar if you want, but you only show your ignorance if you don’t know this.”

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/the-trinity-and-postmillenialism/

    It is now not just the FV participants who don’t hold the Westminster Confession, but the entire body of faculty, staff and students at Westminster and Reformed seminaries in the 1970s, with the exception of a single student.

    And you would hold that the FV boys later took up the Westminster Confession in the teeth of their own theology! You guys are out of the closet now and can’t get back in!

  69. jared said,

    August 3, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Sean Gerety,

    What, then, do you do with the WCF chapter on works which makes the connection between works and genuine faith as a matter of necessity? I’ve not read a single Reformed theologian who has forwarded a concept of faith that doesn’t include works (you know, sort of that whole Jamesian thing). Try doing a word study on emunah sometime and learning about the biblical conception of faith as it is expressed in the WCF and paraphrased in the FV statement. You might find that believing, in the biblical sense, necessitates doing; as the Reformed tradition has taught for centuries.

  70. pduggan said,

    August 3, 2007 at 10:43 am

    “It is now not just the FV participants who don’t hold the Westminster Confession, but the entire body of faculty, staff and students at Westminster and Reformed seminaries in the 1970s, with the exception of a single student.”

    Tim, you’re the one who first said that
    “The Federal Vision is the legitimate firstborn child of the OPC, and its deviant theologies that have been tolerated throughout the entire existence of the denomination.”

  71. Tim Wilder said,

    August 3, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Re: 69

    “Tim, you’re the one who first said that”

    And your point is?

  72. Sean Gerety said,

    August 4, 2007 at 9:46 am

    Jared writes:
    What, then, do you do with the WCF chapter on works which makes the connection between works and genuine faith as a matter of necessity?

    I don’t do anything. Works done as the fruit of genuine belief have nothing whatsoever to do with justification AT ANY TIME. The Romanish manure about initial and final justification — and their complete failure to understand James or the WCF — is just that, manure (and I’m sure there is a more appropriate and colorful words that can be used, but you get the picture ;)

    I’ve not read a single Reformed theologian who has forwarded a concept of faith that doesn’t include works (you know, sort of that whole Jamesian thing).

    Then you’ve been reading the wrong Reformed theologians. FWIW Steve Wilkins, Peter Leithart, Norm Shepherd and Doug Wilson are not Reformed theologians. They’re not Reformed at all. However, I see you’ve learned how to build a straw man just like the rest of the men you eagerly follow and defend. Our works — even the best of them — play no role whatsoever in the salvation of sinners. Now Jesus’ works do, which is why FV false teachers like PCA pastor Jeff Meyers think Christ’s active obedience in justification is “debatable.” If you don’t understand and believe that Jared, then you’re well the road to damnation along with the rest of these men.

    It is amazing at this late date that justification and saving faith has to be explained to self-styled “Reformed” men. Pathetic.

    If you want to include your “good works” as a necessary ingredient in what makes faith “saving” with the rest of these false teachers, go right ahead Jared.

    BTW Jared, are you a church officer in the PCA?

  73. Robert K. said,

    August 4, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    And why is this a matter of salvation/damnation? Because when you still think your own works can save you, or have *any* part in saving you you’ve yet to *die to the law* and be *reborn in Christ.* You still are internally in rebellion. Your self-will trumps God’s will. And this just simply means you’ve yet to be regenerated by the Word and the Spirit (which is good knowledge to have). Hence it being about salvation/damnation. I.e., it’s not merely about intellectual understanding of a concept or concepts; it’s about being unable to accept God’s plan and still being in rebellion to your Creator and his Kingdom. And if you think this is all nonsense, when it is explained to you, that is just in keeping with a person who has yet to be regenerated by the Word and the Spirit. Biblical doctrine when accepted internally reorientates you from acting from rebellious self-will to acting from God’s will. Vanity to faith. Worldly pride to repentance. The FVists like the Romanists have spiritual pride and a sneering contempt for God’s doctrine and plan. They are still in rebellion to God. We debate the doctrine, which if fine, the the underlying foundation that makes the doctrine something of real consequence is regeneration and lack thereof. Bad doctrine though attempts to skew doctrine so that regeneration, or what effects it, is kept out of the picture and man is exalted. The Word and the Spirit effect regeneration. Bad doctrine wants you to think man and ritual does it. The Romanists went so far as to outlaw the Word of God and burn anybody who attempted to bring it to God’s people. FVists know they can’t do that (for now), so they concentrate on pushing ritual and clericalism in place of the Word and the Spirit. They are man-centered, and it is a basic doctrine of the man-centered that man is in control of his own salvation.

  74. jared said,

    August 6, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Sean Gerety,

    You say:

    If you want to include your “good works” as a necessary ingredient in what makes faith “saving” with the rest of these false teachers, go right ahead Jared.

    No one is saying this at all. What I (and the entire Reformed tradition) want to do is include works as a necessary ingredient in a saving faith. Our works certainly don’t make faith saving, God does and only God does. But saving faith necessarily produces works. In other words, a works-less faith is not the faith of Sola Fide; not according to the Confession or, more importantly, according to Scripture. I think I’ll take the “false teacher’s” word found in the Confession and the Scripture (and Calvin) over yours in this regard.

    Oh, and I’m not a church officer or anything, just a regular ole member.

  75. Sean Gerety said,

    August 6, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    I think I’ll take the “false teacher’s” word found in the Confession and the Scripture (and Calvin) over yours in this regard.

    Nowhere do either the Scriptures, the Confession or even Calvin conflate or confuse works done in sanctification with justification which is be mere faith alone. Yet, the FV men “deny that faith is ever alone, even at the moment of the effectual call.”

    Don’t know why this is complicated for you Jared? The FV men deny Sola Fide as clearly as it can be denied.

  76. jared said,

    August 6, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Sean Gerety,

    Justifying faith is, with rare exception (e.g. the thief on the cross), never alone. Faith alone justifies but a faith that is alone is not genuine faith. You’re right, this isn’t that complicated so I’m not sure why you don’t seem to get it.

  77. Robert K. said,

    August 6, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    It comes down to regeneration. The proud unregenerate can’t grasp biblical doctrine. They’ve not yet died to the law. They can’t see that post-regeneration the law is no longer a chain about one’s neck but emanates from the heart. For the FVist and the Romanist and the Mormon and other proud unregenerate they cling to the Beast and demand others do the same. They’re the same charming fellows who murdered Calvinists in the scores of thousands. Regenerate Christians are a threat to their Satanic Kingdom inspired illusions and demands. Regenerate Christians fear only God, that alone makes Romanists and FVists want to plant the stakes and stoke up the flames…

  78. tim prussic said,

    August 6, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    bobby k., I murder Calvinists as a hobby. It’s not so much cuz I’m in league with Satan and the Mormons. I just like the sound of their squealing and sizzling.
    Boo Hooo Hooo Haaa Haaaa !!! Come to the dark side, bobby, COME…

    At least you recognize that we’re charming… My buddy, the Pope, and I really appreciate that.

  79. August 7, 2007 at 7:27 am

    To Messrs. Wilder and Keister,

    I have recently been accused, by someone who ought to know me better, of being the “primary writer” for the FV article on Wikipedia and using it as my personal soapbox to promote the cause. This is the only place where I can imagine my friend got the idea. As it is quite false and unsubstantiated (as a very simple glance at the FV article’s history will show), I would greatly appreciate a retraction from Mr. Wilder of his statement here about me (#32) and/or a deletion of the comment by Mr. Keister.

    Aside from a few random comments on Doug Wilson’s blog (where I usually just skip the FV threads because they are long and boring and over my head and FV is not my hobby horse or consuming passion), the only thing I can recall publicly saying about the FV is this brief post from my blog: “Doug Wilson once explained the spectrum of FVers with a metaphor. He said guys like Rich Lusk are FV stout, while he himself is FV amber ale. I think I’m somewhere in the range of FV root beer.” How I got myself on anybody’s radar, much less in anybody’s crosshairs, re this issue is rather bewildering to me. As for my contributions to the Wikipedia article, I looked it up in hope of learning something, and copyedited it because it was in desperate need of copyediting. I don’t deserve to be slandered for that.

  80. pduggan said,

    August 7, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Robert K writes

    “They can’t see that post-regeneration the law is no longer a chain about one’s neck but emanates from the heart.”

    Say what? We come to faith by first having our hearts changed to keep the law from the heart? That’s the FIRST step of salvation?

    Lane, have you determined yet what constitutes “name calling”? Does “murdered” “cling to the beast” “satanic” or “perambulating sack of pestilence” “goons” and “snakes”

  81. greenbaggins said,

    August 7, 2007 at 10:52 am

    Tim, it does appear that someone with the screen name of ChosenOne66 wrote the article on Federal Vision in Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Federal_Vision&dir=prev&action=history

    Look at the very bottom entry. I don’t know who that is. Does anyone know who that is?

  82. greenbaggins said,

    August 7, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Paul, I will not pretend to complete neutrality on this issue. Call it unfair if you want. Jesus did not shrink from calling false teachers all sorts of perfectly applicable and true names (brood of vipers, white-washed tombs, etc.). Name-calling is really a peripheral issue here. I am sick to death of even talking about it. I am calling a moratorium on the issue of talking about name-calling. I exhort all participants to be moderate in their use of language. Name-calling will not convince anyone of their error, but will only put people on the defensive.

  83. Tim Wilder said,

    August 7, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Re: 81

    It is also vastly different from the current version.

    The one identifiable writer in the revision discussion until the recent appearance of Jack Brooks , and the most prominent one, is Kyriosity. Also a longstanding member of the FV blog network.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Federal_Vision

    Kyriosity makes this comment, for example:

    “I have taken the liberty of editing the “Origins” and “Controversy” sections quite a bit in an attempt to tone down the drama and let the facts speak for themselves.”

    On your blog she says:

    “Out of ~150 edits to the piece, I have contributed a whopping six, largely of the factual/grammatical variety. I assure you I know far too little about the FV to have ever written anything substantive about it.”

    What is this distinction between facts and substance that lets her write one without writing the other?

  84. greenbaggins said,

    August 7, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Those are good points, Tim. What have you to say, Valerie?

  85. Brian Kimmel said,

    August 7, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Here’s the differences between the revision immediately prior to Valerie editing the Wikipedia article and her last edit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Federal_Vision&diff=99340428&oldid=95035441

    You can see exactly what changes she made. You should also compare to the full current version to see that there’s a good amount that she didn’t write or edit.

  86. Anne Ivy said,

    August 7, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    She said the edits were mostly of the copyediting variety, such as grammar.

    I’ve known Valerie for years. If she says she just tided up the grammar, then that’s what she did.

    Truth is I was surprised beyond measure when I read that she’d written the FV entry for Wikipedia. VALERIE? You’re kidding! =8^o

    Not at all the sort of thing she’d be likely to do.

  87. pduggan said,

    August 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Its pretty hard to have a discussion, lane, when one says something like

    “Hey, don’t you think the bible says X”

    or “don’t you think the confession says Y”

    ans someone replies

    “well, you would think that because you’re an unregenerate snake”

  88. August 8, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Mr. Wilder and Mr. Keister, please look at my edits to see for yourself whether they are substantive:

    Edits 1-6

    Edit 7

    Edit 8 (There’s an example of a factual edit.)

    You can also examine the whole history of the article here. Yes, after over 150 edits, any article probably would be vastly different from its original version.

    And please read through my comments on the discussion page, as well, rather than quoting half a thought. I did not attempt to alter the facts in that section as they were presented, but a) neither did I insert any additional factual information, and b) I questioned the neutrality of what was presented.

    Yes, I’ve said a bit more on the discussion page, but the discussion page is not the article, so that fact does not support your point.

    As for being “a longstanding member of the FV blog network,” there obviously isn’t any such formal network, so I assume you mean that I read some FVers’ blogs, and some FVers read my blog. Well, I also read some anti-FVers’ blogs (such as my friend Anne’s…thank you, dear sister, for your comment here!), so I suppose you could also count me a longstanding member of the anti-FV blog network, too. But whatever blog network I’m in, it has no bearing on the simple fact that I am not the primary author of the Wikipedia article or even a significant contributor to it.

    I continue to be flummoxed, Mr.Wilder, as to why you’ve got me in your crosshairs. I assure you that in the FV controversy, there is no bigger, fatter nobody than I — no one less worthy of your attention. I again request that you retract your inaccurate statement re my authorship of the article. Thank you.

    In Jesus,

    ~Valerie

  89. August 8, 2007 at 1:34 am

    Argh…please forgive the formatting gaffe!

  90. August 9, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    I guess I should stop expecting a response….

  91. kyriosity said,

    December 11, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Update: Four months later, I’ve started making some substantive edits. Woo-hoo! Let’s see…so far I’ve committed the crimes of expanding the section on FV criticisms and hacking out a bunch of pro-FV supporting quotes. So what’ll it be? The rack? The stake? The electric chair?

    Seriously (not that anyone’s likely to see this comment) I hope my edits will make the article more acceptable to FV opponents and to Wikipedia standard-keepers (and that’s the category in which I count myself). If anybody should have cause to fuss at me, it would be the pro-FVers, since I’m deleting gobs of quotes and links on their side, and more of the same sort of edits are in store as I find time.


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