An Imaginary Conversation?

Posted by Reed DePace

Wes White has an excellent follow up post to a recent post on an imaginary conversation between a member of an FV congregation and an FV pastor. In this post, Wes provides the beginnings of the documentation that his imaginary conversation is not so imaginary.

As one of my driving concerns in this whole discussion continues to be the effect of the FV on the average Christian, I am grateful for Wes’ work. I urge all who are FV sympathetic to not simply read the proof of the imaginary conversation that Wes provides, but put yourselves in the shoes of the laymen sitting under this.

I am even more convinced that the FV is harmful to a Christian’s relationship with Christ.

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57 Comments

  1. Kurt Scharping said,

    March 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Wow! Now that is a mutilated gospel.

  2. Keedai Kim said,

    March 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Very informative. Thanks for linking this.

  3. Steven Carr said,

    March 17, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    It is rather enlightening to note that Pastor Wes has been accused of misrepresenting FV ministers, which is the reason why he provided the quotations. The quotations are nicely cited and clear enough for anyone to see that these men do not have a leg to stand on.

  4. Andrew said,

    March 18, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Reed,

    I am really baffled by this. I understand what Wes says. I don’t think the FV can give anyway that we can distinguish between decretally elect and covenantly elect, even for myself, so ‘future’ assurance is not possible. I think he makes a good point.

    But then in the comments section he gives a series of quotations from D. Wilson. As far as I can see they are all utterly orthodox (except perhaps the last, a quaotation of a quotation), affirm justification by faith alone, and make it clear that the aliveness of faith is never the grounds for justication. To me, not FV, a clearer demonstration of Wilson’s orthodoxy would be hard to come across. Yet Wes seems to think that it proves his arguement. So though I have serious questions over the FV, I think they may well have a point when they say they are being misunderstood.

  5. Wes White said,

    March 19, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Andrew,

    Andrew,

    I can understand why you say that. For a long time I thought those types of quotes were orthodox as well. However, when you examine them closely, you will see that they are actually totally out of accord with the Biblical idea of faith alone because they include obedience in the instrument of faith. This is something that the Reformed Church has never done. Perhaps these posts will help:

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/02/are-sinners-justified-by-obedient-faith_18.html

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/02/more-on-justification-by-faithfulness.html

  6. Reed Here said,

    March 19, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Andrew: for many years I scratched my head at friends who were so upset over Norman Shepherd’s views, as in those expounded by him in The Call of Grace. They sounded perfectly biblical.

    Then I paid a little closer attention to the discussion around those perfectly biblical statements (i.e., the mass of the content before and after them). It is in this fuller context that Dr. Shepherd spells out what he means by “faithfulness”. It is here in my opinion that subtle equivocation and theological shifting takes place – with the result that the statements may be worded biblically, but they are defined (context) unbiblically.

    This is a foundational issue with the whole FV scheme. I was paying attention to the movement since it’s public beginnings in 2002. From late 2003 I was involved with folks who had first hand connections to it. It was not until right before I started blogging here (I forget, sometime in ’06 I think) that I was persuaded of it’s problematic nature.

    Wilson and company will say and affirm the biblical position. Often this is equivocated on in their further comments about this position. And as it has responded to its criticism, I think the FV has begun to move toward an affirmation and maintaining of the biblical position, and seeking to maintain a dual, separate track position that is not biblical. Yet as applied, the separateness of these positions disappear and they are functionally one – a greater confusion in my mind.

    Thus, one can read a bare statement from an FV proponent and it will sound biblical. Yet the devil is in the details. There one see that things are not as rosey as one first believed.

    I take your question with sincerity and believe you may very well be where I was. The FV is now proposing two different messages at the same time, one biblically consistent and one not. With a little work one will see that these positions are actually wedded together so that even the biblical one is marred. This is a normal pattern for theological error.

  7. Reed Here said,

    March 19, 2010 at 6:51 am

    For anyone who thinks Wes’ imaginary conversation is inaccurate, please pick one (your best one) exchange and demonstrate why he’s inaccurate.

  8. TE Stephen Welch said,

    March 19, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I sympathize with the confusion over the quotes particularly from Doug Wilson, but this is why the FV is such a dangerous heresy. I at times have been confused when reading some of this, but when you analize it in light of the Reformed confessions it is error. You can read one quote that sounds orthodox and then read something else that is blatantly anti-confessional. All of them including Doug deny a covenant of works, which is very problematic. Remember who the author of confusion is and any theological position that is confusing is problematic.

  9. Kurt said,

    March 19, 2010 at 7:29 am

    1. Faith is obedient.
    2. Faith is not faithfulness.
    3. Love is not faith.
    4. Faith is not love.
    5. Faith and love are correlative.

    Yes? If not, why?

  10. David Gray said,

    March 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

    >For anyone who thinks Wes’ imaginary conversation is inaccurate, please pick one (your best one) exchange and demonstrate why he’s inaccurate.

    It is fictional. It is supported by a variety of quotes from a variety of sources but I could do something similar with inaccurate results:

    PCA SJC Fiction: We are genuinely Baptists.

    Quote: Insert bit from SJC contradicting the WCF regarding the efficacy of baptism.

    Creating fictional conversations is bad business, even with the best of intentions.

  11. Phil Derksen said,

    March 19, 2010 at 9:25 am

    #10

    “Creating fictional conversations is bad business, even with the best of intentions.”

    Nonsense. Ever heard of a parable? Similar non-literal methods like poetry and even satire are certainly legitimate and useful genres for communicating truth. All Wes has done is demonstrate what some of the logical and necessary implications of the larger FV heresy are, in a very practical way.

  12. Reed Here said,

    March 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    David: what matters is if Wes’ conversation is consistent with the FV. The addition of the quoted material demonstrates that it is. One can demonstrate that quotes are misused. But that is something to be debated, no?

  13. Kurt said,

    March 19, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I guess my comment at #9 does not seem substantive enough to talk about. Hmm. I am just wondering if there are another set of propositions that make sense of this matter. Perhaps this is the wrong thread.

  14. reedhere said,

    March 19, 2010 at 10:56 am

    It may be Kurt that many of us here have engaged in this element of the debate before. Try focusing things bit more and see if you get a nibble.

  15. David Gray said,

    March 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

    >But that is something to be debated, no?

    But why bother when you can actually debate actual FV essays or sermons?

  16. Phil Derksen said,

    March 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    #15

    Once again, because full documental exposition isn’t the only, or always the most effective format for adressing an issue like this – although this approach has certainly been used in the past with various FV documents. Based on the strong reactions from those on both sides of the controversy here, Wes’ practical distillation of the issues has obviously struck very close to home.

  17. Ron Henzel said,

    March 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Phil,

    Amen. I would also note that Wes’s conversational format incisively demonstrates the grave practical and pastoral ramifications of the FV.

    David,

    Why bother complaining about Wes’s conversational format when the actual words at issue in the conversation come from FV essays and/or sermons? Sorry, but it just comes off as whining to me.

  18. March 19, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    An interesting update on this post: Greg Lawrence’s Session has brought charges against TE White for this post.

    You can read about it here:

    http://thehappytr.blogspot.com/2010/03/well-isnt-that-special.html

  19. March 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    You all are making conclusions based on this *imaginary * conversation between a FV pastor and an inquirer. Ever wonder what a true FV pastor would say?

    http://www.federal-vision.com/?p=49

    Blessings,
    Daniel

  20. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    As I just posted over at Wes’ blog, his quote from Leithart on assurance is very problematic. Only a few lines down from Wes’ quote, Leithart says: “it’s important to stress that the Bible teaches we *can* know we are His.” While his discussion of how we can achieve assurance may not please everyone, he certainly does affirm the fact of assurance. But Wes’ selective quotation clearly implies that Leithart rejects assurance. Actually, checking again, it does more than imply it. Wes’ fictional FV pastor says “You really can’t [have assurance].” And the quote from Leithart is the first “proof” that the FV teaches this. Except that Leithart goes on to say that you can. Huh.

  21. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Lusk has also said this:

    “At the last day, our works will not have any meritorious value. In that sense, even before the great white judgment throne, we will plead nothing but the blood and resurrection of Jesus. We will place no confidence in anything we have accomplished — even what God has done in us and through us!”

    He repeatedly says that final justification–by which he means the verdict at the final judgment–is “according to” or “in accordance with,” which is essentially the same term used in the WCF: all will “receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.”

    So, in at least two of the cases, Wes has taken one side of the FV representative’s teaching and presented only that. I’m not going to apologize for considering that less than fair and accurate.

  22. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:12 am

    And no one believes that there is justification apart from good works! The question, as has been gone over numerous times here, is the relation good work have to justification. Even saying that good works are necessary to justification is acceptable, when the good works are held to be consequently necessary. That’s what the confession mean when it says that justification “is ever accompanied with all other saving graces…” If there is true justification, then the life that follows will necessarily include good works.

  23. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:22 am

    Furthermore, I don’t see what the problem is with the second quote from Leithart under the assurance section. We don’t look at ourselves and see that we trust–we look to Christ and we trust. One of the great comforts to me in the Reformed tradition, as I came to it out of mainstream Evangelicalism, was the objectivity of God’s work for us. He knows His own and holds them, regardless of how weak their faith feels, how scanty their good works appear, how often they fall and fail, how easily they are beset by depression. The practical syllogism asks us to look at our faith, our love, our works. But those who know their sin may feel as though they don’t have any of those things. The mystical syllogism asks us to look at our feelings of acceptance. But can the elect ever be beset by depression? And when they are, where do they look for assurance? At their own state? But that’s exactly what looks to them so dire–no love, no joy, etc. So, where should they look? At God’s invitation to dine with them and feed *them,* in the Word and at the Table, etc. I just have never seen the issue with placing assurance outside of ourselves.

  24. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Finally, the Wilkins quote is again partial. The first part says: “Whenever you focus on subjective experience as the basis of assurance of salvation, you are ultimately undermining assurance.” This implicitly affirms that assurance is possible and a good thing. If it were impossible, why bother complaining that it can be undermined? I don’t have the full context of Wilkins’ quote, not having the book it comes from…Wes quotes it from the PCA report, so he’s actually quoting a quote, not the source directly. In his written responses (a later, written statement, publicly accessible, so it should be taken as a clearer statement of his position), he says:

    “Our hearts are deceitful and, thus, our assurance cannot be
    grounded upon what we feel or think we discern in the recesses of our souls. Our assurance is founded on Christ Himself and His work and the promises of God revealed in the Scriptures as well as the visible fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives…assurance is grounded upon: believing the promises of God; the ‘inward evidence’ of those graces (which is always manifested outwardly and according to the textual proofs include obedience to God’s commandments; love of the brethren; honest conduct; and godliness); and the witness of the Spirit (Who confirms our faith through the fruit of holiness He produces in our lives).”

    Thus, to cite Wilkins as evidence that the FV says “You really can’t [have assurance]” is not accurate.

  25. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Reed, it seems to me that I have demonstrated that the quotes in that particular section on assurance are in fact misused. The FV does not say “You really can’t have assurance.”

    -Leithart affirms it on the same page that Wes quotes.
    -Wilkins affirms in implicitly in the same brief quote, and explicitly affirmed it later in writing
    -Wilson spends an entire chapter (Ch. 14) laying out proper grounds for assurance.

    So, while some might think that the grounds the FV puts forth for assurance are ineffective, to say that they deny assurance is a gross oversimplification and thus inaccurate.

  26. Andy Gilman said,

    March 20, 2010 at 1:04 am

    In #21 Joshua said ”And no one believes that there is justification apart from good works!”

    Of course we do! Read the Belgic Confession of Faith, Articles 22 – 24 for just one example of how reformed people do believe the very thing you cavalierly dismiss.

  27. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 20, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Andy, look at Belgic Article 24 for what I was saying:

    “it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls ‘faith working through love,’ which leads a man to do by himself the works that God has commanded in his Word.”

    This is the consequent necessity I was talking about–as the later analogy in BC 24 about the tree and the fruit. A good tree will necessarily produce good fruit. There is no good tree apart from good fruit. In the same way, a faith which is devoid of good works is not justifying.

    So, I’ll keep saying that there is no justification apart from good works. And I’ll keep defining what I mean by that. And what I mean will remain Reformed and orthodox.

  28. Andy Gilman said,

    March 20, 2010 at 1:28 am

    In #21 Joshua also said “Even saying that good works are necessary to justification is acceptable, when the good works are held to be consequently necessary.”

    That may be true in the alternative FV lexicon where up is down, and where confusion reigns supreme. Good works are “consequently necessary” to justification in the same way that vibrating airwaves are “consequently necessary” to a tree falling in the forest.

    Furthermore, to be consistent with the FV paradigm you will have deny “consequent necessity” with regard to justification and good works, and make everything a “consequent necessity” of “union with Chirst.”

  29. Andy Gilman said,

    March 20, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Re Joshua in #26:

    Yes look at Article for a perfect contradiction of your statement. You said: “And no one believes that there is justification apart from good works!”

    Article 24 says: “For it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works; otherwise they could not be good works, any more than the fruit of a tree can be good before the tree itself is good.”

    Article 22 says: “Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works.”

    Article 23 says: “…as David and Paul teach us, declaring this to be the happiness of man, that God imputes righteousness to him without works.”

    Some translations say “apart from works” instead of “without works.” I can’t think of a more direct contradiction of your assertion.

  30. Paige Britton said,

    March 20, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Joshua (19ff) —

    Hey, I think Reed is out pig-hunting Fri/Sat, so it may be a little while till he can answer your observations.

    I’m wondering about this, though: You wrote,
    While [Leitharts's] discussion of how we can achieve assurance may not please everyone, he certainly does affirm the fact of assurance. But Wes’ selective quotation clearly implies that Leithart rejects assurance.

    It’s certainly difficult to capture a person’s whole theology in selective quotes, either way. But when I re-read the Leithart quotes, I think they confirmed what Wes was getting at — only it might have helped if there had been some editorial commentary from Wes at this point regarding what kind of assurance is being denied/affirmed.

    There seem to be two levels of assurance in view here: one, which the FV deny, which is related to the decretal, elected status of the individual; and two, which the FV affirm and promote, which is related to the covenantal status of the individual. IOW, in the FV system I can have assurance, based, as you said, on the objective work of Christ; only I can’t reason from this assurance that I will be one who perseveres. This is special knowledge that we only get at the end. The FV seem to be promoting assurance only up to a certain point, while the orthodox position teaches that assurance includes the whole package of the ordo, up to glorification (cf. Rom. 8:30), which means the whole flower of the TULIP.

    As I see it, both you and Wes are right — only, the word “assurance” is doing double-duty.

    Thoughts?

  31. March 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Paige,

    Good observations. I will only add that our Confession wisely talks about the possibility of an “infallible assurance,” (of final salvation, not just visible covenant membership), cf. WCF 18.2, something many FVers have plainly rejected in their formulations. Hope you are well!

  32. March 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Joshua Smith,
    he quoted an article that my friend wrote (and I was a contributing editor) on assurance (right below Leightart’s I believe), and the next line after Wes’s quote ends like this: “Nor is this saying that Christians can lose their salvation…”

    Wes is taking things out of context: he’s making the texts he quotes into pretexts for his “imaginary conversation.”

  33. Paige Britton said,

    March 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Hi, Chris!

    Fun to encounter you here. Yep, we’re all well. :)

    Thanks for the WCF reference: …how could assurance assure, if it’s anything but infallible and complete? (Rhetorical question. Now go work on the sermon. :)

    pb

  34. Steven Carr said,

    March 22, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Daniel F,

    Have you noticed that no one is listening to you. Could it be that no one really takes you seriously? I saw your little video with Doug Wilson. Sorry, but that video proves nothing. Wilson has done enough writing and speaking to damn him and the FV, and no little video that tries to sound orthodox can erase what has already been written and spoken.

  35. David Gray said,

    March 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    >Wilson has done enough writing and speaking to damn him and the FV

    You should exercise more care with your words.

  36. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Rev. Carr,

    Thank you for your accurate, if very frank terminology. As they say, severe illnesses generally demand severe remedies.

  37. March 22, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Daniel went public with that criticism of my post without ever calling me to make sure that he understood what I was saying.

  38. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    C’mon Wes. Your expectation of reciprical fairness is simply ridiculous. After all, they are THE FEDERAL VISION, and you’re not.

  39. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Rev. Carr,

    Let me also put it another way. Thank you for taking up your staff and “whacking” the wolves, rather than politely suggesting that they stop gnawing on the lambs.

  40. David Gray said,

    March 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    >Thank you for your accurate, if very frank terminology. As they say, severe illnesses generally demand severe remedies.

    I hope he understands that he is taking a stand against the PCA GA. As are you implicitly.

  41. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    David,

    Enlighten me, as specifiically as possible please.

  42. David Gray said,

    March 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    >Enlighten me, as specifiically as possible please.

    The GA approved the report which classified the FV advocates as brothers in Christ. So talk of damnation is at odds with the GA.

  43. Ron Henzel said,

    March 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Phil,

    Did you really intend to use the word “damn” in the eternal condemnation sense? I didn’t take it that way.

  44. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Ron,

    I didn’t specifically use the term in question, Rev. Carr did. However, I strongly supported his doing so in this circumstance. And yes, I certainly took him as using it in a more immediate sense than necessarily denoting eternal condemnation.

    David,

    I of course can only speak for myself in this matter.

    All sin, even when it is committed by a true Christian, is, apart from the forgiveness that we have in Christ, damnable. It is so damning that the perfectly innocent Lamb of God had to suffer an unspeakably horrific death, in order to atone for the sins committed by his people.

    With all due respect to the GA approved report, I must say that in good conscience I personally deem the FV to be heretical, and thus sinful in many ways. As such I think it is self-damning, since it perverts the true, biblical Gospel, as has historically been confessed by orthodox Reformed churches.

    By necessary extension, I would say that spreading such sinful untruths as I believe are contained in the FV, is certainly a damnable action. I truly hope that people who do so will come to realize their errors, and repent of them. I am wholly content to leave the final fate and judgement of those who ultimately persist in spreading such untruths in God’s infallable hands.

  45. Steven Carr said,

    March 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    @David Gray #35: I deny the common misunderstanding of the word damn.

    @Phil Derksen: I’m not Rev. Carr. Please don’t mistake me for my dad. I’m just little ol’ Steve Carr, man of no consequence. I don’t speak for Rev. Carr in any way. BTW you rock. I thought I’d just throw that out there.

  46. Phil Derksen said,

    March 22, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Rev. in the making Carr,

    My deepest appologies for the mix-up. I had heard a number of good things about a Rev. Carr, and assumed you were him. Now I realize that you are the Carr (or Truck, as one allagorist termed your family) who is not quite yet a Rev. – but I have also heard your name mentioned in complimentary terms.

  47. March 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Pastor White, I actually did go to you – I commented on those posts saying that your video was a distortion of what the FV says. I even gave examples. You didn’t listen – in fact, you told me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Fair enough, so I went to a FV pastor and asked him since you wouldn’t. Turns out it was you who didn’t know what you were talking about when it came to what a FV pastor would say. I was thinking of actually calling you before I posted those first comments, but went ahead with the comments instead.

  48. March 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    ” As such I think it is self-damning, since it perverts the true, biblical Gospel, as has historically been confessed by orthodox Reformed churches.”

    Phil, following your logic, it would seem that you posit that only a narrow portion of Christendom is saved. I guess you think all Baptists are lost?

    I am constantly amazing at how narrow some Christians can be…

    I grew up on the mission field (MTW missionaries with the PCA in France), and you know what? One of the few other churches that were faithful to the gospel was a Brethren Church. Nope, we didn’t see eye to eye theologically, but we sure enjoyed one another’s fellowship and preaching.

  49. Phil Derksen said,

    March 23, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Daniel,

    You appear to have badly missed my point, once again.

    I tried to make it crystal clear that even “true Christians” can and do commit damnable sins (what other kind of sin is there). I also specifically said that I was considering the term “damn” in a sense other than necessarily denoting eternal condemnation. Why isn’t that plain?

    Personally I believe that even some Roman Catholics are true Christians (elect). Thankfully, God’s saving grace is not limited by man’s inability to embrace 100% truth. At the same time, I think Roman Catholicism as a system is extremely heretical and harmful, and must be opposed.

    I’ll also repeat something else I said: “I am wholly content to leave the final fate and judgment of those who ultimately persist in spreading such untruths in God’s infallible hands.” So please don’t insinuate, as you have, or falsely accuse me of saying that “only a narrow portion of Christendom is saved.” That is a serious, and I think self-evident untruth.

    As I also pointed out to you elsewhere, in terms of the FV itself, no fewer than 7 member churches of the NARPC have carefully studied its alarmingly inventive teachings, and consequently denounced them as being erroneous. Some were even compelled to use the term “heretical.” And yes, upon my own careful reflection and study of the issues, I wholeheartedly agree with the collective conscience of the orthodox Reformed world. In many crucial respects the FV is a system of doctrine that is plainly contrary to what is very clearly taught in Holy Scripture. Thus I believe it is indeed both odious to the Gospel of Christ, and very harmful to His church, and must be dealt with accordingly.

    In a sentence: In all good conscience I am obliged to staunchly oppose the Federal Vision error, which I do, while not presuming to have jurisdiction to judge the eternal fate of those who may hold or spread it, which I don’t.

  50. March 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Phil,
    two things: The PCA (at least – I studied it more since I consider it “my” denomination) has not said that FV is heresy. On the contrary, they are “brothers in Christ.” The question is only whether they are “confessional” to the PCA’s standards (which I think they are). So your opinions (which you are entitled to have) do not reflect the PCA and the general Reformed community.

    Second – am I hearing a plea that I mis-understood you? I thought only FV people could be mis-understood… That’s certainly possible, however. Perhaps I fell into the same ditch that Wes White fell into when trying to extrapolate the logical consequences of your statements (as he did in his “imaginary conversation”, which we now know was erroneous). I’m sorry if that’s the case. I stand corrected. I wish Wes White would too.

  51. Dean B said,

    March 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Daniel

    “The question is only whether they are ‘confessional’ to the PCA’s standards (which I think they are). So your opinions (which you are entitled to have) do not reflect the PCA and the general Reformed community.”

    You are entitled to your opinion as well; however, the system of doctrine taught by the FV is not confessional. This is not my mere opinion. It is an established fact in the denominations representing NAPARC.

    “That’s certainly possible, however. Perhaps I fell into the same ditch that Wes White fell into when trying to extrapolate the logical consequences of your statements (as he did in his “imaginary conversation”, which we now know was erroneous).”

    I think Pastor White understands what is being communicated by the FV better than most. He is not merely extrapolating the logical consequences of what he thinks they are saying, but the logical consequences of what he believed before he repented.

  52. Reed Here said,

    March 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Daniel: you overspeak when you say Wes is wrong. Your “proof” does not deal with the details. It is merely nothing more than a “not ahn! That’s what you are, but what am I.”

    Try taking one, just one element, and show where Wes has understood the FV wrong. Mere assertion that he has is a waste of all our time.

  53. Phil Derksen said,

    March 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Daniel,

    First, lest my own zeal for truth be misinterpreted as something else by yourself or the other readers of this blog, let me clearly say that I bear no personal animosity toward you. By all indications you are a sincere Christian man. Having said that, for all the many reasons that you and I have already gone over, I do think that you, like all who zealously defend the FV, are horribily wrong in your theology and doctrine. Yet in some important respects I do see these as being distinct considerations.

    Again, I tried to make it clear in my post to David (#44) that my personal “rating” of the FV error itself went beyond what was stated in the GA adopted report. So on this particualr point, yes, I do differ somewhat. Thanks for noticing. However, have I ever said that I consider a particular person, or everyone within a particular group to not be “brothers in Christ?” Again, contrary to your hasty insinuation, no I haven’t.

    You, on the other hand, by your own express admission, reject the very sum and substance of what was determined and declared to be important biblical, and accordantly confessional truth by “your denomination.” There might be a slight diffence here. Upon this evidence I would submit that my position is indeed much more reflective of the “general Reformed community,” as you so amorphously choose to term it.

    As for your comment that “I thought only FV people could be mis-understood” – no, Daniel, no, that’s not what orthodox Reformed people have said. What we have repeatedly said is that the FV camp has NO grounds for making that very tiresome claim, as they so consistently do. You all have indeed been heard, reheard, and reheard again, and thus we understand your error very well.

  54. David Gadbois said,

    March 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I do not think there is propriety in making a blanket statement about the credibility of Federal Visionists’ professions of faith one way or the other. I take it on a case-by-case basis.

    If one can’t get at least sola fide right, and *clear*, one does not have a credible profession of faith. I am not willing to admit that such a one is a brother in Christ. Some Federal Visionists are unequivocal in believing in justification by faith alone. Some more or less straightforwardly deny it, mixing in works (Spirit-filled faithfulness) or baptism as instruments of justification along with faith. Others aren’t clear or double-speak.

    It is true that we don’t have to have all of our doctrine right in order to have true saving faith. What matters is that people *practice* sola fide, that is, they trust in Christ alone for their salvation. But if someone denies sola fide by profession, then it is a pretty good indication that they don’t practice sola fide.

  55. Phil Derksen said,

    March 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    BTW,

    Here is self-described “FV leader” Doug Wilson’s sarcastic reaction to “Daniel’s denominations'” SJC decision on Peter Leithart, in the form of parodying Deut. 4:5-9:

    “Behold, I have taught you the BCO, even as the General Assembly hath commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep ye therefore the determinations of the 22 member SJC; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the denominations, which shall hear of all these procedures, and say, “Jeepers,” and run for the tall grass. For what denomination is there so great, who hath rules so nigh unto them, as these procedures that in all things we resort unto them? And what denomination is there so great, that hath convoluted procedures so arcane as they which infesteth the BCO, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy rules diligently, lest thou forget the SJC which meeteth in secret, and hath the authority to whack thee upon the mazzard, lest you forget what thine eyes have seen, and lest the fear of these procedures, from which there be no complaint or appeal (BCO 15-5), depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons, that they might know who to stay on the right side of.”

  56. Scott said,

    March 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    One of the things that has been telling about those who advocate this serious error is their disregard of church authority.

    On the one hand arguing there is not a high enough view of church authority, but showing disrespect of it, even scorn and ridicule of it, and then fleeing from it when it doesn’t go their way.

  57. Steven Carr said,

    March 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Daniel #50, again your video proves nothing. Wilson’s statements on that video and the ones he makes elsewhere simply do not add up. Wes White has provided us with his and others’ quotes. Do you expect me to believe someone who says one thing in one place and another somewhere else? What I would like to see is Wilson not only affirm the orthodox Reform doctrines but also repudiate the erroneous statements he and other FVists have made. That would be a video worth watching.


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