Last time I went through the FV Joint Statement, I dealt with paragraphs 5-6 together. A word on the rhetoric of that post: what I mean when I say “in other words” is that this is the consequence of what is being said. I still do think these two paragraphs are the weakest section in the whole document. I really want to ask several questions, however.
Could Doug please explain what “hyper-specialized terminology in the regular teaching and preaching of the Church has the unfortunate effect of confusing the saints?” Especially since it appears he is talking about hyper-specialized terms that have broader biblical usage (“biblical use of the same language”). What is his target here? The terms justification, sanctification, propitiation, expiation? Oh wait, those are biblical terms. Election, predestination, fore-ordination? Oh wait, those are biblical terms, also. Maybe he is talking about the terms that the church has been forced to use because of heresies (such as the Arian heresy). Words like “homoousias,” which can be translated as “of the same essence.” I’m not sure how that term could be confusing, though.
Second question: is such language (let’s talk about the Dordtian use of the term “election,” which might very well be what Doug is talking about) not biblical? Is “good and necessary consequence” a legitimate way of using terms as summaries of biblical teaching? Oftentimes, I think the question comes down to exegesis of such passages as Ephesians 1: is Paul using the term “election” there in what could be described somewhat anachronistically as the Dordtian way, or is it the FV “covenantal election?” Here it is clear that I believe that the FV has not proven their case exegetically AT ALL. I have yet to see a detailed exegetical discussion of why they interpret Ephesians 1 of covenantal election rather than decretal election. Look at the benefits that come from election in Ephesians 1: adoption (vs 5), redemption through Christ’s blood (vs 7), forgiveness of sins (vs 7), obtaining the inheritance (vs 11), the hope in Christ (vs 12), belief in Him (vs 13), and the seal of the Holy Spirit (vv 13-14). These people are true believers, not just covenant members according to the FV definition of covenant. Unless the FV is willing to say that all these benefits are losable, then it seems rather clear that Ephesians 1 is talking about election in the decretal way, not a supposed covenantal way.