Bride’s Baptism Revisited

The next section is on baptism.

On the one hand, this section is much less problematic than, say, Wilkins’s formulations on baptism. On the other hand, the section raises a lot more questions than it answers. For instance, where from Scripture do they justify using the term Regeneration of the entire eschatological age, which is how they seem to be using the term in the first paragraph? They see Regeneration as “that time when the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne.” In the Scriptures, I see new creation (2 Cor 5:21), the “already,” or “now” (places much too numerous to mention). The only place I can think of that talks about the universe and new birth is Romans 8, which clearly places it in the “not yet.” It is certainly an odd use of the term.

Secondly, which aspect of the church is associated with baptism? FV’ers are constantly emphasizing the oneness of the church. But baptism is not undifferentiated. Baptism does not mean that one is a member of the church without qualification. It does mark the person as a member of the church in its visible manifestation (WCF 28.1). Notice the change of language. The FV statement states that baptism engrafts one into Christ. The WCF says that baptism is a sign and seal of his engrafting into Christ. Those are not the same thing one bit. The FV statement erases the distinction between sign and thing signified, whereas the WCF statement does not. To be sure, the FV statement denies “baptismal regeneration” in the normally understood sense of the term (and we can be grateful for that, at least). And, furthermore, we can also be thankful that the statement does not view baptism as a human work, but as God’s pronouncement upon the person. So, I am not negative towards all aspects of this section. In my mind, though, it does not clarify everything that needs clarification.

Update: Jason and Davey have alerted me to the use of παλιγγενεσίᾳ in Matthew 19:28, which certainly does seem to point to this use of the word that the FV statement uses. So, I retract my earlier statement with regard to the lack of biblical usage. However, the criticism still remains that baptism does not initiate one into the new creation. What baptism signifies does do so.

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114 Comments

  1. August 10, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Pastor Keister,

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think that most FV advocates use “the Regeneration” regularly to refer to the coming age — although Matthew 19:28 does use the term (τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ) in this way. My guess is that the authors of the FV document chose the term to help define how their baptismal views can and cannot be said to be “baptismal regeneration,” i.e. it is regenerative in the sense that baptism received in faith gives a taste of the power of the new Creation, and the age to come (Hebrews 6:5; Romans 6:1-6).

  2. greenbaggins said,

    August 10, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Then why use a term like regeneration for that? Why not just say that it is a taste of the powers of the age to come? Why use the term regeneration, which means something else in the minds of most Christians? This is madness, and poor pedagogy.

  3. August 10, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Pastor Keister,

    Perhaps it appears to be poor pedagogy. But if it’s good exegesis

    I know that begs the question, but isn’t that the real issue? The FV statement wasn’t written to the average layman in the pews — it’s aimed at pastors and elders in the Reformed world who probably own at least one Greek lexicon.

    Further, if the Bible refers to the NC as the “Regeneration,” is it really wrong for us to begin to re-learn Biblical terminology because the past few generations of systematics have neglected it? You could argue that FV advocates need to have more Sunday School lessons about these sorts of passages (although I can attest that Dr. Leithart and Pastor Wilson do this very thing on a regular basis). But I’m having trouble seeing how it would be inherently wrong to use language straight out of the Bible.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    August 10, 2007 at 10:53 am

    But where is regeneration so used in the Bible? I haven’t seen it anywhere.

  5. August 10, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Matthew 19:28 (τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ).

  6. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 10, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    What is meant by covenantal loyalty?

    Doug Wilson: “Those who obligate themselves under the terms of the covenant law to live by faith but then defiantly refuse to believe are cut away” … “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” “Reformed Is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant” (134).

    Any comments?

    Dean B

  7. August 10, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    For what it’s worth, Lane, I do see biblical precedent for calling the age to come “the regeneration” as Jesus does in Matt. 19 (palingenesia).

  8. tim prussic said,

    August 10, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Dean, I think loyalty is obedience to the terms of the covenant which is biblical law.

  9. August 10, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    And further, “the regeneration” is presently both already and not yet. The new age has not fully dawned for us, but it has begun for our forerunner who entered the new creation on Easter morning and has sent his Spirit as the down payment of the regeneration for his people.

    I’ll stop now before we get to the question of whether OT saints were “regenerated” (!).

  10. greenbaggins said,

    August 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks, Davey and Jason for alerting me to this use of the word. I have updated the post accordingly.

  11. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Tim

    Agreed.

    However, the terms of the covenant been fulfilled in obedience by the Second Adam. Do we add to it with our covenantal loyalty or is our good works a fruit and evidence of our faith?

    Dean

  12. Robert K. said,

    August 10, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    >”You could argue that FV advocates need to have more Sunday School lessons about these sorts of passages (although I can attest that Dr. Leithart and Pastor Wilson do this very thing on a regular basis).”

    Actually, it’s Leithart and Wilson that need the Sunday school lessons on the basics of Reformed doctrine.

    That Matthew passage refers to new heavens and new earth. Yes, the creation is regenerated like God’s elect are. Even in an already/not yet way as well. There’s a reason muslims live in dead sand. The regeneration of man is effected, when it is, by the Word and the Spirit. Romanists and other denizens of the Kingdom of Death say otherwise.

  13. August 10, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Dean B. — I am astonished that (to my knowledge) this is the first time that passage from RINE has come up in this debate. I noticed it a year or so ago when I read through RINE again for some reason. There is a humiliating typo there — “and because of lack of good works” should read “and not because of lack of good works.” My mistake. The way it reads now would present serious problems.

  14. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 10, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Doug

    Thank you. I agree with it now.

    Dean B

    PS Tell your son in law (LJ) his fellow mule says hi.

  15. Joe Dawson said,

    August 10, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    So, if regeneration is used in understanding the eschatological age (as shown by Stellman and Henreckson, and Wilson didn’t actually mean to say what he did in RINE, and you don’t necessarily disagree with the baptismal stuff, except that the FVers have been unclear, what is there left to say is “wrong” with their statement on Baptism?

  16. greenbaggins said,

    August 10, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    They still ascribe the actual engrafting to baptism, rather than calling baptism a sign and seal of engrafting.

  17. Dave H said,

    August 10, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    RE: 16
    Yeah, that’s why I’m so opposed to the FV and to St. Paul and…. er, um, oh never mind. Scratch that, please.

  18. August 11, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    I think your larger point still stands, Lane: Baptism signifies and seals the recipient’s ingrafting into Christ, but doesn’t accomplish it ex opere operato.

  19. August 11, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Rev. Stellman,

    The FV wouldn’t say that it accomplishes it ex opere operato, but they would say that it still *sometimes* (i.e. in the case of the elect) accomplishes it. But as I’ve said before, I don’t know if it is any better to say that baptism regenerates some of the time than it is to say that it regenerates all of the time. We wouldn’t allow such a view of decisional regeneration, would we?

  20. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    They just want concessions, as if concessions from humans will determine what apostolic biblical doctrine is. Like it’s a human *construct* that just has to be built by words typed and spoken and thought by humans. They don’t know the power of the Gospel (or the Law for that matter). Their only dinstinctive, from the general run of liberals who have done the same (infiltrating churches and denominations and institutions that hold to the truth and defiling them from within), is their degree of shamelessness, and their reluctance to wear liberal colors in public.

  21. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    It’s been said before, maybe by Green Baggins himself, but Green Baggins shouldn’t bother with Doug Wilson. He’s a PR face. He’s the guy who fronts CAIR and says that Islam is a religion of peace after every terrorist innocent or arrest. Wilson is in a position to say anything. The others in the movement don’t have his “American face.” Interact with those guys and the meltdown begins. The CAIR guy will debate you on every show on Fox and CNN and then go on Good Morning America for good measure. You can’t tire him or convince him of anything. That’s not why he exists.

  22. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 11, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    Robert K.
    You are contentious and are not helpful at all. You really ought to stop your reviling accusations.

  23. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Part of the tactic of false teachers’ is to both pretend they are just like everybody else and to demand an environment where they are accepted as normal and anybody who points out the obvious is called names like, oh, I don’t know, “contentious” and “not helpful” and so on.

    And the CAIR spokesman analogy is dead on for Wilson. You can’t tire him, and you can’t get him to come off his talking points. He exists to wear you down by attrition. And to front his odious friends who carry the real death and darkness and bondage.

  24. Mark T. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Sean,

    I encourage you to engage Robert K’s arguments rather than dismiss them. If you can refute his assertions, then you win the day. But by evading them, you confirm the impression that FVers can’t answer an argument.

    Thank you.

  25. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I’m currently going through Olevianus’ Firm Foundation. It gives me the same impressions and feel as Petrus Dathenus’ Pearl of Christian Comfort. These 16th century Calvinists, so on-the-mark, and even with a touch of innocence in their portrayal of the faith, yet robust and lively, they are like a clear mountain stream after encounters with such shallow sophists as so-called ‘Federal Visionists’ and their followers. Part of it is the obvious difference between a high and real valuation of the faith once delivered and a modern day secular academic fool’s mocking of that faith. Also part of it is that 16th century Calvinists lived the faith, and died for it. They knew the seriousness of it from direct experience. This is a theme in Olevianus’ work regarding his Q. and A.s on providence. (Now Wilson will do a blog series on Olevianus appropriating another influence and theologian that would have stared him down and back into the walls of the Vatican where he emanates from to begin with.)

  26. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 11, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Mark,
    Robert makes very few arguments. The bulk of his posting is consumed with judgments and insults. He claims to know the hearts of the ministers on the “FV” side of this debate. he has told us which people he thinks are intentionally evil (those who know better and do not really believe what they are saying) and which people he thinks are just stupid and deceived. He asserts that these ministers don’t have the Holy Spirit, don’t know the power of God or the gospel, are unregenerate, just want to enslave the people, are like muslim terrorists, etc. I stand by my encouragement that he stop this. I would also encourage Rev. Keister to admonish him.
    Blessings,
    Mahaffey

  27. August 11, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    “The CAIR guy will debate you on every show on Fox and CNN and then go on Good Morning America for good measure.”

    Or, rather, the CAIR guy would debate you if defenders of the West would trouble themselves to show up for a debate. Let us carry this offensive analogy all the way out. The FV represents a deathly peril to the Reformed faith in its Olevianian purity. The stench is evil, on a par with the seared consciences of those apologists who shill for terrorism. That’s really bad, isn’t it? And in this situation, who are the champions who will come out and fight with this uncircumcised Philistine? How dare he taunt the armies of the living God? Let us count the critics of the FV who are willing to act as though there were the kind of threat that RobertK describes. Let us count the number of those who are willing and able to hold a real disputation (the way they did back in the days of Olevianus). Why . . . it’s zero!

    I can assure RobertK (not that he will accept it) that if I believed that the Reformed faith were in the kind of peril he described, I would be running toward the sound of the guns, and not hiding out in closed-circuit listserves talking about it. And I actually believe that the critics of the FV would do the same thing as well. The reason they are not doing this is that their point is not to fight off a threat to the gospel. They don’t believe that there is an actual threat to the gospel. Rather, they believe that there is something that can be represented as “an assault on justification” in their fund-raising letters. Success is measured, not by shutting the mouths of false teachers, which St. Paul requires were the situation as you describe it, but rather by making the donors happy with their rock-ribbed orthodoxy. Fortunately, this can be accomplished by firing your guns into the air, and it is not necessary to come into actual contact with the enemy.

  28. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    Judgments on false teachers. That’s right.

    I don’t need to know their hearts, I can go by what they say and do.

    Benny Hinn is a ‘minister.’

    Generally with false teaching there are the teachers and there are the followers and defenders of the teachers.

    Not like muslim terrorists. I drew a fine analogy between Wilson and the face of CAIR. It’s an excellent analogy. Try debating that guy. You will get the same experience you get engaging Wilson. And they both cover for odious people and ideas.

    You’re not encouraging that I stop this, you’re attempting to influence the blog owner to cleanse the field so the FVists can go back to pretending they are just one of many ‘Reformed’ who ‘hold to the confessions’ while playing your same old game on and on.

    +++

    To deal with false teachers and teachings you have to confront them and not be afraid of them or afraid of hurting their feelings. Most false teachers wouldn’t come anywhere near an internet site of a Reformed Christian, but these FVists have gotten it into themselves that Reformed Christians are soft enough now to be taken by their age-old poison. And in the most brazen fashion. Like robbing a bank next to a police station. They think they can have their way no matter what. They think their cheap sophistry that works on undergraduates in English literature classes can work on Bible-believing Christians who hold to the faith at its most hardcore level, classical Covenant – Federal – Theology. They think they can just ‘say anything’ and appropriate confessions and theologians brazenly and no matter the opposition just pretend nothing is opposing them until the environment is, they hope, so nebulous with garbage language and so tired out with their clownish, trolling, repetition that they take control by attrition.

    Until the return of the King we are taught by the Holy Spirit to expect more and more of these assaults on the truth. And we’re taught to be watchful and to stand our ground.

  29. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 11, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Robert K. said,
    “You’re not encouraging that I stop this, you’re attempting to influence the blog owner to cleanse the field…” Robert, I am encouraging you, in Christ, to stop your reviling insults and your harsh heart-reading judgments. And I am encouraging the blog owner to admonish you and to ban you if you don’t settle down. At the same time, I encourage anyone and everyone to debate the substance of the issues, the definition of the terms and the exegesis of the relevant passages.

    Blessings,
    Mahaffey

  30. Robert K. said,

    August 11, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    According to Doug Wilson countering him with the truth of Reformed doctrine is not debating him. His currency is to make his followers think all the ‘TR’s are scared to debate him because Doug will flash a Wodehouse reference with one hand and undercut them with a presuppositional shiv with the other, all to oohs and ahhs from his chorus. The power of Reformed doctrine, the power of the Word of God, spoken by the power of the Holy Spirit having no place or meaning in this display. Doug wants to have it both ways, he wants the machismo of a Christian who can quote Nietzsche, while having to live off the necessity of parrying thrusts with effeminate pomo parlor sophistry. “Oh, but mon du, I do believe in justification by faith alone! May I have another pinch of crumb cake to go along with my nuancing of what I just said? Yes, such a faithfulness is what our salvation is built upon. Did I say faithfulness? Of course, I skipped ever so wildly to our final justification! It’s dizzying!”

    Macho Doug.

  31. Mark T. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Sean,

    You write,

    Robert makes very few arguments. The bulk of his posting is consumed with judgments and insults. He claims to know the hearts of the ministers on the “FV” side of this debate.

    If you really believe this, then I sincerely ask you to notice that your hero Douglas Wilson has advanced this exact same kind of non-argument in his most recent comment here on Green Baggins, when he wrote:

    I can assure RobertK (not that he will accept it) that if I believed that the Reformed faith were in the kind of peril he described, I would be running toward the sound of the guns, and not hiding out in closed-circuit listserves talking about it. And I actually believe that the critics of the FV would do the same thing as well. The reason they are not doing this is that their point is not to fight off a threat to the gospel. They don’t believe that there is an actual threat to the gospel. Rather, they believe that there is something that can be represented as “an assault on justification” in their fund-raising letters. Success is measured, not by shutting the mouths of false teachers, which St. Paul requires were the situation as you describe it, but rather by making the donors happy with their rock-ribbed orthodoxy. Fortunately, this can be accomplished by firing your guns into the air, and it is not necessary to come into actual contact with the enemy.

    Wilson’s ability to divine the secrets of the anti-FVers astounds me. Indeed, if I didn’t know better I might be tempted to believe that he turns water into wine when he he’s not walking on it. He knows exactly what his opponents believe and he knows exactly why they believe it — MONEY — or as he framed it, “fund-raising letters.” You may disagree, Mr. Mahaffey, but Wilson’s statements appear both judgmental and insulting. And he based his insulting judgment on his inner knowledge of the thoughts and intents of his opponents.

    Can you please explain to me why you tolerate (and even encourage) this kind of reprehensible behavior from a professing minister of the gospel in your own denomination, while attempt to silence others who use equally strong language as your hero when they denounce him?

    Thank you.

  32. August 12, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Should be easy then to shut me up, humiliate me, and send me packing. And all on video tape that Escondido has the right to distribute at will. Why won’t anybody do it? If FV is the threat you say, either they can’t do it, and are therefore not qualified to be shepherds, or they won’t do it, and they are cowards. Or it is not the threat you say, and the reasons for the controversy lie elsewhere.

    Disapproving of wolves on shepherd listserves is not what the Bible requires in situations that you say this is. Is it?

  33. August 12, 2007 at 10:00 am

    DW
    My, oh my Doug, but you seem to be displaying a little bit of ‘aggressive belligerence’. You know, there is a third reason that none of us care to stand next to you on a podeum,beside the fear of catching something contagious from Idaho, and that is this- you have displayed no willingness to ever admit that the collective voices for the Federal Vision have ever been in error. You have heaped contempt on all of your critics and shown nothing but distain for entire Reformed bodies and seminaries who have dared to express their disagreements with you. So you are more than welcomed to continue to hold sway over your shrinking band of followers, but we, and I refer to Guy Waters, Scott Clark and myself, don’t intend to give you a platform for spinning madly in a circle.

  34. Mark T. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Mr. Wilson,

    While I did not address my question to you, I thank you for reiterating my point with your dazzling display of rhetorical dishonesty when you wrote,

    If FV is the threat you say, either they can’t do it, and are therefore not qualified to be shepherds, or they won’t do it, and they are cowards. Or it is not the threat you say, and the reasons for the controversy lie elsewhere.

    This is a false dilemma that will no doubt satisfy your toadies, however, the Scripture gives another option that you neglected to mention. “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition” (Titus 3:10). Several denominations have denounced, and therefore “admonished,” FV as non- and sub-confessional, yet you insist that they debate it with you, outside of their courts, in an arena not subject to church authority or church discipline (much like your denomination, the CREC). Your refusal to recognize the authority of these courts is amazing given the lip service you pay to church hierarchy.

    You also misrepresented the truth when you wrote,

    Disapproving of wolves on shepherd listserves is not what the Bible requires in situations that you say this is.

    The activities taking place on various blogs are much more than mere disapproval because they include an apparent tactical approach to “marking” you. It appears quite clear that you are “marked” men in the sense of Romans 16:17 and, likewise, it appears that you and the FVers are “marking” yourselves by your outrageous behavior. Yes, you are a wolf and, no, this does not obligate anyone to debate you. They should “mark” you, which appears to be in process.

    I agree with Robert that you act in a manner consistent with an ecclesiastical terrorist and I applaud everyone who ignores you because if anyone was foolish enough to debate this subject with you, they would merely encourage your sinful outbursts and lend credibility to you and your cause.

    So, if it’s any consolation, keep telling yourself that you are a very brave man and that everyone who refuses to play your game is a coward. It adorns your doctrine quite well.

    Thank you.

    PS: Sean, please respond to my question.

  35. Carol Kendran said,

    August 12, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    What was the motivation for writing this latest Federal Vision statement? Could it be because these writers and signers sense a threat to their movement – especially with the SJC case against Wilkins looming on the horizon?
    Why write another statement? Won’t it be “misunderstood” just like all the other writings?
    It seems like there was the same kind of FV “nail biting” and caustic comments on the blogs right before the General Assembly last June. Didn’t we have the “30 Reasons Not to Adopt the PCA Study Report”? Another failed attempt.
    And, much earlier we had the “Presbyterians Together” signed by a whole slew of FV proponents. That went over like a lead balloon. If you want to know who holds to the Federal Vision, just check out the signers of that “Let’s be one happy family without the truth” document.
    Wouldn’t it be better for FV proponents to stop writing reports that only confirm their errors in a more public way? Why not hunker down and be quiet for awhile? Rebuild your “victim” image to gain back some much needed sympathy for your cause? Why, you could even work on building up the image of Steve Wilkins as the martyr of gross misunderstanding.

    Jesus was silent before his accusers. If the Federal Vision is true, then why not do the same?

  36. pduggie said,

    August 12, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    What did Jesus’ baptism initiate him into? Not what it “signified” but “it”? Anything?

  37. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    I wrote above you can’t be afraid to hurt false teachers’ feelings because that is a *big* card they play. Drug addicts and criminals throw that card down fast and often as well. Not with other drug addicts and criminals but with family and social services and potential victims. Usually when they are cornered or not in power or losing power.

    It’s also important to recognize that Doug Wilson and the other Federal Visionists don’t need to repent for being confused or ignorant of biblical doctrine at the level Reformed Theology elucidates it (the Spirit is needed to see and understand that), what they do need to repent for, though, is pretending to be something they are not, and for debasing language to affect that they hold to things they don’t hold to. They need to repent for making a putsch on the classic Reformation confessions and catechisms and disingenuously appropriating Reformation and post-Reformation era theologians who would – and did – give them the same treatment Calvin gave Sadoleto.

  38. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Actually, they need to repent for a lot more that the above as well. Teaching rot in the temple and doing it as consciously mischievous fools. Targeting seminaries, churches, denominations that still, to greater degree than anywhere else, hold to apostolic biblical doctrine. The devil doesn’t care about groups and individuals who already hold to false doctrine. He targets those who hold to the truth. They need to repent for introducing – or for turbo-charging – the garbage sophistry of the shallow, demonic, secular academy into doctrinal and theological debate, and doing it as if they’re ninjas nobody can see. They need to repent for the fact that to be able to defile the truth as they have they’ve had to have been given enough knowledge and understanding of that truth to be able to do that.

  39. Mark T. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    It’s interesting that whenever they get pinned, such as when Lane nailed Wilson on Warfield or when I nailed Mahaffey this morning, they not only don’t give answers but they don’t even acknowledge the point. But when they think they have an opportunity to gain traction, they jump on it in a heartbeat, oftentimes massaging a few words or misrepresenting a position to score one for the FV. Of course, the irony is that even though Wilson fervently claims he wants someone to debate him, he consistently refuses to answer the hard questions, most likely because the answer would cut him the wrong way. In my mind, this undermines his sincerity and indicates that he’s probably more interested in sharing the stage with a Reformed hitter for disingenuous reasons.

  40. A. Dollahite said,

    August 12, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Gary,

    RE. #33…

    That was funny. Thanks for the chuckle. Doug was demonstrating ‘aggressive belligerence.’ Is this the kind of belligerence that describes other Christians as Islamic terrorists and other denominations as prostitutes and whores? No wait, that’s your friend Scott Clark.

    If someone were to demonstrate with evidence that your claim, “You [Doug Wilson] have heaped contempt on all of your critics and shown nothing but distain (sic) for entire Reformed bodies and seminaries who have dared to express their disagreements with you,” was false, would you own up to it?

    What’s painfully obvious every time you even begin to talk about Wilson is ***YOUR*** disdain for the man. Show me the last time your wrote something positive about Doug. From what I gather, your hostility to him is because Wilson somehow disrespected your friend Guy Waters by pointing out glaring errors in Waters’ work on the FV. I’d invite anyone unfamiliar to the debate to go and actually read Wilson’s critique of Waters’ work and see for themselves just what happened.

    You (and apparently Waters and Clark) want to make a huge deal about how terrible the FV is, but run away every time a real debate is offered. Waters goes off to Baptist radio programs. Clark turns off his blog comments. And you stick to blog comments. Wilson has been offering to debate this for a long time, and nothing but refusal from his critics…. the one exception being a Reformed Baptist back in 2004. When called on your running away you cloak it under the excuse, we don’t want to allow others to see just how crazy Doug supposedly is. Now that’s funny. You want to have your cake and eat it too. On the one hand, the FV is lead by brilliant deceiving wolves that everyone must be made aware of and denominations must defrock immediately; on the other hand, the FV is lead by moonbats who would just spin circles around a bat on stage during public debate. Seems to me like if you had any courage you’d start putting your public mouths where your private hidden keyboards are so willing to go. At least Lane has the intestinal fortitude to have some measure of an exchange. I respect him for that despite our disagreements.

  41. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    >”That was funny. Thanks for the chuckle. Doug was demonstrating ‘aggressive belligerence.’ Is this the kind of belligerence that describes other Christians as Islamic terrorists and other denominations as prostitutes and whores? No wait, that’s your friend Scott Clark.”

    I think what was being observed was Wilson’s fake smile muscles shaking a little bit at the corners.

    >”If someone were to demonstrate with evidence that your claim, “You [Doug Wilson] have heaped contempt on all of your critics and shown nothing but distain (sic) for entire Reformed bodies and seminaries who have dared to express their disagreements with you,” was false, would you own up to it?”

    Evidence? In this day and age? Look what evidence did for the families of O.J.’s victims. Who believes evidence?

    >”What’s painfully obvious every time you even begin to talk about Wilson is ***YOUR*** disdain for the man. Show me the last time your [sic, ha ha] wrote something positive about Doug.”

    If you say Doug has a nice beard he and his followers take it as meaning you willingly polish the toenails of the Beast along with them.

    >”From what I gather, your hostility to him is because Wilson somehow disrespected your friend Guy Waters by pointing out glaring errors in Waters’ work on the FV.”

    (When did ‘disrespect’ become a verb? somebody?) I notice you say glaring errors in Waters’ “work on the FV”… Of course, Waters should have just consulted the old standard FEDERAL VISION DOCTRINE of 1656 by Augustus Jacobus Theologius.

    >”I’d invite anyone unfamiliar to the debate to go and actually read Wilson’s critique of Waters’ work and see for themselves just what happened.”

    Yes, read Wilson’s take and get the truth.

    >”You (and apparently Waters and Clark) want to make a huge deal about how terrible the FV is, but run away every time a real debate is offered. Waters goes off to Baptist radio programs. Clark turns off his blog comments. And you stick to blog comments. Wilson has been offering to debate this for a long time, and nothing but refusal from his critics…. the one exception being a Reformed Baptist back in 2004. When called on your running away you cloak it under the excuse, we don’t want to allow others to see just how crazy Doug supposedly is.”

    The protection of Doug’s psychological state from public exposure is high on the agenda for R. Scott Clark.

    >”Now that’s funny. You want to have your cake and eat it too. On the one hand, the FV is lead by brilliant deceiving wolves that everyone must be made aware of and denominations must defrock immediately;”

    Reminds me of the Guinness boys in that commercial: “We’ll confuse them with pomo rhetoric we’ve absorbed from college and university!” “Brilliant!”

    >”on the other hand, the FV is lead by moonbats who would just spin circles around a bat on stage during public debate.”

    Yes, this makes sense. Even when he is intentionally belittling himself for rhetorical purposes he STILL has to belittle his opposition more. He can’t help himself!

    >”Seems to me like if you had any courage you’d start putting your public mouths where your private hidden keyboards are so willing to go. At least Lane has the intestinal fortitude to have some measure of an exchange. I respect him for that despite our disagreements.”

    Yes, stop showing us up with argumentation in print and allow us to play games with language in person. Cowards!

    Calvin wouldn’t debate you either. You don’t even rise to the level of the comedic Cardinal Sadolet… Sadolet at least had the honesty not to pretend he wasn’t Roman Catholic at heart…

  42. Michael Saville said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Lane, how much of this stuff are you willing to put up with on your blog?

  43. pduggie said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes, they’ll know we are christians by our love.

    Adam failed to obey God’s command, and lost the promised gift of an inheritance

    Jesus obeyed his father, and received the promised inheritance.

  44. Christopher said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    It is a real shame that this blog, which is normally a good resource to see the interaction between these two sides, has degenerated so drastically in the comments sections of otherwise fruitful posts.

  45. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    Well, allow me to elucidate what is happening. Wilson has been provoked out of his cave. Fake smile turned a bit into something else. When there are Christians present who won’t allow you to play the Alice-in-Wonderland game that you are “brothers in good standing” etc., etc. you get a bit anxious. And in a Reformed environment when you joyfully debase language, language meant to deliver the saving message of God’s special Revelation, you are not “brothers in good standing.” Appealing to Green Baggins who calls you heretics (however narrowly he has defined it it is still ‘heretic’) to “do something” about us is a bit amusing.

  46. Mark T. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    It just occurred to me that Wilson’s comment here projects the same tone and spirit of the taunt in Revelation 13:4, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” How appropriate for a man who compared himself to Goliath and who named his blog after the Prince of Gog from the land of Magog. I agree with Michael Saville that Lane should not put up with this.

  47. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 9:04 pm

    These recent appeals, by the way, is the inevitable “victim card” being thrown down by the false teachers. As mentioned above, you can’t be afraid to hurt the feelings of false teachers. They will play the victim fast and hard. Remember their motive and demands havn’t changed. Notice no repentance in their words.

  48. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    I had a drug addict sister, and I was the last of the family members to have contact with her. The others had given up (for good reasons). Whenever I would see her start to show signs of maybe being better and changing I’d say to my other siblings, with genuine hope, “Hey, she seems to be changing and getting better.” The first thing my other siblings would say is: “Has she apologized for her past behaviour?” And I’d have to say, “No.” And sure enough, what I thought was possibly a change turned out to be nothing and the drug addict was back to her old wicked ways.

    If no *repentance* is shown – genuine repentance – don’t expect anything different from people. The actions of these people calling themselves Federal Vision are deeply wicked actions. They are debasing language in the service of pulling people away from the truth of God’s Word. They have to be insidious because they have chosen to work from within camps and environments that hold to the truth. Unlike other bad-doctrine groups who come at you from the outside, more legitimately – wrong, but at least honest – these FVists have to be treated with a different approach. This back and forth – “We’re making an effort to understand you” – just fuels them. Do them a favor and let them know bluntly that what they are engaging in is wallowing in a slime pit of sin.

    I’m appealing to people who are maybe more easily swayed by the FVists playing the victim. You have to see how damaging the FVists intended program is to apostolic biblical truth. It is nothing less than Romanist in intent. And if you don’t know why that is not good…as the Chinese proverb has it: may you never be blessed with living in ‘interesting’ times. I.e. you havn’t seen what Romanists and other followers of the Beast do when they have the power to do it. And you don’t know what they are able to take away from you. And you don’t know what the reformers fought to overcome and succeeded in overcoming. Actually, look at Islam today. Imagine living in the midst of such deranged, anti-Christian beliefs and activities. That was ‘Christendom’ prior to the Reformation. Maybe it made more heroes of the faith, but our job is to spread the Word not court the Beast.

  49. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Accuse me of dominating the thread, I don’t care. KBs don’t mean as much to me as some people.

    Reformed Theology is important to me because it was simply responsible for my conversion. I read the Bible, I was regenerated by the Spirit, but I wasn’t yet converted until I knew what the Bible itself calls sound doctrine. Teachers are usually necessary to get this. Not everybody can read Romans and see the whole picture all by ourselves. I am grateful that Reformed doctrine was available to be found.

    I’ve said this before, but I don’t think Reformed theologians and Reformed Christians in general realize that a major role they play is to protect and keep alive the flame of apostolic biblical doctrine. I mean I don’t think they appreciate the fact that this is what they are doing. Just because numbers are low in Reformed churches doesn’t mean influence is low. God works with a remnant, and doesn’t bother with numbers. He rebuked David for counting his soldiers before a battle.

    But this is why false teachers would love to debase the language of Reformed Theology. It is the Great Prize for false teachers.

  50. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 12, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Mark,
    I’m just now reading your questions.
    1.) Did you really expect me to respond between 8:28AM and 7:03PM on Sunday? Been kind of busy, what with worshipping God and fellowshipping with the saints and all.

    2.) Doug Wilson is not my hero. He does not have any cool superpowers that I am aware of. He will only become my hero If one of the following conditions is met:
    a.) Through some lab experiment at NSA (gone awry) he gains the ability to fly, or turn invisible or shoot laser beams from his eyes (or something else with an equivalent coolness factor – some hokey power like being able to see through wood doesn’t count.
    b.) He finds some alien artifact that gives him one of the aforementioned powers (or if we find out he was born on another planet – but then he would have some explaining to do as to why his superpowers didn’t show up until his fifties).
    c.) He gets his own comic book.

    3.) Doug Wilson and Robert K. don’t sound anything alike. Wilson is arguing one specific point: Elders must be able to refute the gainsayer or “be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict”. Paul withstood Peter to his face for he was to be blamed. Wilson has been named as the leader, or one of the main leaders of the “FV movement”. He has offered to debate any anti-FV leader under almost any circumstances (verbal/written/blog debate limited to him and an anti-FV leader, whatever). Elders who are yelling that FV is heresy should be willing to debate him. I don’t think that it was helpful for Wilson to make the implication that the people that won’t debate him must be liars, cowards, or sheisters (alas! a Wisonite lackey has criticized Fearless Leader; if you hear no more from me I am in a shallow grave or perhaps the CREC will only revoke my internet privileges).
    There may be other reasons, but I agree with Wilson that the rationale given for not debating him makes no sense. For example, Johnson’s reason above is that Wilson doesn’t disagree with other FVists. Wilson affirms IAoC, not all FVists do (Wilson just does’t think that Ursinus or Shepherd are heretics -he acts like the Westminster divines instead).
    OK I’m bored with this. Can we talk about baptism now? I want to know if Rev. Keister thinks that someone is sanctified by their baptism.
    Blessings,
    Mahaffey

  51. Robert K. said,

    August 12, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Not to inflate the FVers in their own minds any more than they already do, but did Calvin debate Servatus? Calvin counseled Servatus. He refuted Servatus. In writing publically and privately. I’m not aware he debated him in person, unless some of that occured at the trial. Let’s assume no face to face debate occured. What would Calvin had gained from it? He knew what Servatus believed and taught based on Servatus’ own words and writings. It was garbage. Servatus had everything to gain in being connected to Calvin in any way. He actually dogged him for decades (just as FVists/Theonomists have dogged Reformed Theology for decades). Certainly Servatus had everything to gain in a direct, public, fact-to-face debate. Everything to gain for vain show and profit for his false teaching. Calvin did his duty by refuting Servatus’ teaching, carefully and methodically in writing.

    You want a vain show that can only help your false doctrine.

    Why don’t you humble yourself to the Word and the Spirit and come out of the cult you’re apparently flirting with if not emerged in?

  52. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 12:06 am

    >”(Wilson just does’t think that Ursinus or Shepherd are heretics -he acts like the Westminster divines instead).”

    Look how empty you are. Look how unserious you are. This is troll language. Ursinus penned the Heidelberg Catechism and a commentary on it Berkhof lists with Calvin’s Institutes as the two most magisterial works of the 16th century. Norman Shepherd is a vain contemporary professor whose fame solely derives from the fact that in an institution known for teaching Reformed doctrine he said he didn’t agree with its main tenet. Wow. What a revolutionary. What a contribution. Then you say Wilson is more in line with the Westminster divines than somebody who actually holds to what the Westminster divines held to.

    This is pathetic. If you were screwing with God’s truth you’d be the equivalent of an internet forum devoted to American Idol.

  53. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Yeah: if you weren’t screwing with God’s truth, genius…

  54. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Servatus was a Benedectine friar that died around 860 AD, how could Calvin have debated him?

    Calvin did debate and refute Servetus in writing for a couple of years (1546-1548).
    1.) Wilson is no Servetus.
    2.) Clark (Waters etc.) is no John Calvin
    3.) Wilson is not demanding a public debate (although elders ought to be able to refute the gainsayers to their face). He has offered to take part in written debates as well.

    But supposedly this whole debate is over justification right? And over who are the heirs of the reformation right? So, what would Martin Luther do? What were the 95 theses?

    At least in part, they were an invitation to debate the theology of justification.

  55. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:44 am

    “Look how empty you are. Look how unserious you are. This is troll language.”
    Robert, what does this even mean? It just sounds goofy. Please use normal words and sentences.
    “This is pathetic. If you were screwing with God’s truth you’d be the equivalent of an internet forum devoted to American Idol.”
    Huh? How can I be the equivalent of an internet forum? And besides, I don’t watch American Idol, it is innane and it probably conflicts with something on the Sci-Fi channel.
    My point was that even though Wilson affirms the IAoC he does not label as heretics those who believe that the IPoC is sufficient. He treats Shepherd the same way the Westmister divines treated Twisse, Vines and Gattaker.

  56. Sean Mahaffey said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:57 am

    But now back to baptism. Rev. Keister, you said, “Notice the change of language. The FV statement states that baptism engrafts one into Christ. The WCF says that baptism is a sign and seal of his engrafting into Christ. Those are not the same thing one bit.”
    If baptism is a sign and seal of the recepient’s engrafting into Christ then is the recepient united with Christ? I’m not asking if baptism changes the heart or if everyone who is baptized has a changed heart, I’m just asking if they are engrafted into Christ. Are they united to Christ and His church? If they fall away later have they fallen away from anything, or are you saying that they just never really were there? Does baptism sanctify (set apart)?
    Blessings,
    mahaffey

  57. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 4:51 am

    Sean, I’ve never remembered the Servetus spelling because frankly I don’t care about him or his story.

    The rest of your responses are typically empty mixed with the FV distinctive of disingenuous bewilderment.

  58. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 13, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Sean

    “Is someone sanctified by their baptism.>

    I believe the answer is YES.

    What does sanctified by their baptism mean? From Strong:
    hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo); to make holy, i.e. (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: KJV – hallow, be holy, sanctify.

    The idea of sanctified is really to “set apart”. Baptism is a sign and seal that they are set apart engrafted into the COG. Is there a broad and narrow way of speaking about the COG? I believe the answer is yes again.

    Rom 2:28 “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

    I think you understand this idea from post 55; however, I think you look at the COG as an all or nothing and there can not be a broad or narrow way of speaking about the COG.

    I have no problem saying they are set apart into the COG, but what I mean and what the FV means are two different things.

    When you say they are “united to Christ and His church” do you intend to mean united to his invisible church? If that is what you mean then I disagree. The FVists do not even go this far as to say that baptism infallible united a person to the invisible church.

    How do I become “united to Christ” via baptism? Here is where the FV really gets themselves into hot water. How do I become united to Christ without faith or is faith given at baptism?

    I think you asked a bad question when you said is someone sanctified by their baptism? I think the better question is in what way is someone sanctified by their baptism? When it is asked this way then you can have a person set apart without being united to Christ but to His visible body (church).

    I hope this helps.

    Dean Bekkering

  59. August 13, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Andy D.
    More than anyone else I hold Doug Wilson personally responsible for chaos created by the FV. He was the one person who could have curtailed the fallout from the Auburn Ave . Conference that spawn this whole thing- and anyone who thinks that Wilson does not have that kind of clout in those circles has their head buried in the sand. As a result schism and division have followed in the wake of the FV and entire denominations have been affected acrossed the Reformed landscape- and despite their claim in this most recent effort to assuage their growing army of critics, I personally don’t see any openness to being corrected.They are as defiant as ever. Finally, I do not share your assessment of Wilson’s response to Waters any more than I do Wilson’s ridiculous take on Warfield’s position on the sacraments as “refried gnosticism”.

  60. Christopher said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Dean,

    I think you are right to want to specify a broad and narrow conception of the CoG and I think the twin senses of the CoG have been readily affirmed by both sides.

    I can’t speak for Sean but I would like to take a stab at answering your questions:

    I don’t think anyone is affirming that baptism unites a man to Christ in that they are united to the invisible church, one for one (though in the case of the elect, they very well may be). A man, though, is united to Christ in the same way a branch is united to a tree through grafting, the analogy Paul employs in Romans 11. While these branches are in a position of privilege, they are strongly warned against boasting because they can be cut off just as easily as the natural branches that were pruned to make way for them in the first place.

    Union with Christ, strictly speaking, does not necessarily require faith. Notice that in Romans 6, where there is strong union language, this is attributed to baptism and the word “faith” does not appear once. This is not to say that individual justification does not require faith, not at all. Union with Christ does not necessarily always entail individual justification either.

    //”I think the better question is in what way is someone sanctified by their //baptism? When it is asked this way then you can have a person set apart //without being united to Christ but to His visible body (church).”

    This is an interesting way of stating it, and when you put it this way, I can see why there would be confusion. I think what the FV is trying to do is retain a way of speaking that the Bible uses. I think we would agree that many words used in the Bible have come to have a more technical, refined theological meaning than they did when Paul (and others) used them. For example, I would not want to be in the position of having to explain what it means to have a visible body and an invisible body. I believe that this distinction, which is implicit in the wording you supply, is probably more confusing than to simply say that baptism unites a man to Christ and obligates him to live under His rule. If the man does not do this, and transgresses the covenant, he may be cut out of Christ, just as the branches are cut out of the olive tree and burned.

    To be clear: If I understand the distinction you are making, I agree with it in principle. If “Christ” is to be understood as “the realm of the eternally, individually elect,” then I would *not* say that baptism unites us to “Christ” necessarily. But I do not want to be restricted to that understanding.

  61. Mark T. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:15 am

    Thank you, Sean, for replying to my question; however, you did not answer my question. I applaud you for your ability to dismiss my inquiry with your failed attempt at humor and I commend you for evading my question. You are a very good disciple of your master, though you lack his skill.

    I called Wilson your “hero” because you ignored his presumed ability to read the hearts of those who won’t debate him while you endeavored to silence Robert, after you alleged that he claimed to read hearts.

    Therefore, once again, I ask you to explain why you try to silence those who criticize the lone FV champion (Robert is correct; as Wilson goes, so goes this controversy; if Wilson disappeared, the rest of you would put a sock in it real quick) for “reviling” when Wilson called all those who won’t debate him “liars, cowards, or sheisters” (your words).

    Now, I realize that you’re bored and that we’re all here to keep you amused, however, I would appreciate it if you had the decency to account for your double standard. After that, we may address your ludicrous take on Titus 1:9.

    Thank you.

  62. Vern Crisler said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t all of this on Lane’s blog already a “public debate” with Wilson? What has Lane been doing all this time if not debating the issues with FVism in general or with Wilson’s FVism-lite in particular?
    I’d have no problem debating Wilson or anyone else, as long as I knew what their position was, which is not always easy to discern.
    Vern

  63. Mark T. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Gary,

    The FVers are open to being corrected in a non-decretal sense.

  64. rich said,

    August 13, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Regarding Wilson’s statements:

    “… if I believed that the Reformed faith were in the kind of peril he described, I would be running toward the sound of the guns, and not hiding out in closed-circuit listserves talking about it. And I actually believe that the critics of the FV would do the same thing as well. The reason they are not doing this is that their point is not to fight off a threat to the gospel. They don’t believe that there is an actual threat to the gospel.”

    -I attended a conference on the FV in Greenville, SC at Woodruff Rd. Pres (Guy Waters, Dr. Joey Pipa, and Calvin Beisner were the speakers), and this is a point about which I was confused by some of the speakers. The FV was denounced as ‘the Galatianist heresy’ and specifically, a denial of justification by faith alone. However, almost immediately afterward, the speaker said that the FV men were brothers in Christ, but that their teaching should be done in a different denomination b/c it was in conflict with the standards. Given their exegesis of Galatians (which I agree with), it seems to me we can make only one of three conclusions:
    1.) They are wrong to merely push the FV men to a different denomination. The FV’s denial of justification by faith alone signals that they have been cut off from Christ, and therefore, they should not be considered as brothers in Christ. The push for them merely to leave the denomination for the peace of the church should be scrapped in favor of proving their doctrine to be satanic heresy, akin to that of the Galatians (i.e. “shutting the mouths of false teachers”).
    2.) They are wrong to say that the FV’s heresy rises to the level of justification by faith+works. This is not as serious as the Galatian heresy. Here, the FV’s doctrine could still be seen as in contradiction with the standards, but calling these men Judaizers would be sinful, and therefore, these anti-FV men should repent publicly of these statements, and allow the FV table-fellowship.
    3.) They are confused. The two positions are irreconcileable, and though the anti-FV folk are very disturbed about what it sounds like FV people are saying, they’re not quite sure enough about their position to follow through with the obvious ramifications. If so, these anti-FV men should heed the advice of Richard Baxter here, and be careful:

    “We must learn to distinguish between certainties and uncertainties, necessaries and unnecessaries, catholic verities and private opinions; and to lay the stress of the Church’s peace upon the former, not upon the latter. We must avoid the common confusion of speaking of those who make no difference between verbal and real errors, and hate that ‘madness formerly among theologians,’ who tear their brethren as heretics, before they understand them. And we must learn to see the true state of controversies, and reduce them to the very point where the difference lieth, and not make them seem greater than they are.”

    I for one think that some folks in the FV have followed Shepherd and Wright into what appears to me to be almost precisely the Galatian heresy. I don’t think that this is everyone, though, and I think that this is the source of some of the confusion. But you can ignore this last paragraph, and I think my points are still valid.

  65. Sean Gerety said,

    August 13, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Doug Wilson writes:
    Dean B. — I am astonished that (to my knowledge) this is the first time that passage from RINE has come up in this debate. I noticed it a year or so ago when I read through RINE again for some reason. There is a humiliating typo there — “and because of lack of good works” should read “and not because of lack of good works.” My mistake. The way it reads now would present serious problems.

    You claiming to be astonished is astonishing.

    In our reply to RINE Dr. Robbins and I cited and commented on this exact passage and nowhere in your review of our book did you once claim your statement was a “humiliating typo.” You took no responsibility for it at all and instead attacked your critics. Not only that, I recently cited this very passage in RINE again here and you made absolutely no mention of any “typo” at all, much less a “humiliating typo,” but instead ridiculed me for not understanding the fundamentals of the faith.

    Could it be that this “humiliating typo” is really just an embarrassing assertion which you are now just trying to excuse?

    So are your words in RINE a serious problem or not? It seems to me that your original wording which you just realized was in serious error (in spite of your critics bringing this very passage to your attention in the past and on more than one occasion) comports very well with your notion of a conditional covenant which is entered into at baptism and where ongoing faithfulness to “the demands of the covenant” is a prerequisite to “final justification.” Are you going to correct these “serious problems” as well? FWIW I don’t think calling your whole book a typo will work.

    So, how are you planning to warn your many readers of RINE about this serious problem and all those who have bought into and have defended the works righteousness you so clearly taught in RINE even as a result of this “typo”?

  66. August 13, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Sean
    I brought this to Doug’s attention shortly after the book RINE came out and got no response.

  67. Sean Gerety said,

    August 13, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I brought this to Doug’s attention shortly after the book RINE came out and got no response.

    I admit it is all a little too convenient for him to suddenly recognize this error now, but assuming it is really a “humiliating typo” as Wilson claims, what is he going to do about it? Writing a little blog comment is hardly enough to correct such a “serious problem.”

    Seems to me he owes ALL of his readers, not to mention ALL of his many critics, a serious apology and that’s just for starters. I don’t see how he can blame us for believing what he wrote, but I don’t see how the absence of this one quote substantially alters the works righteousness taught throughout RINE?

    OTOH, it will certainly make it more difficult for his critics to use this particularly glaring affirmation of works righteousness which he now says is the result of a “typo.” But if he’s not going to do anything about it and somehow thinks his note above is enough to put things to rest and will not take significant steps to correct this problem, then I would suggest the record stands. In that case this is just more of Wilson’s smoke and mirrors.

  68. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 13, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Christopher

    Faith is understood in the context. Rom 5:1

    If you want to use Rom 6 to define Union with Christ then what do you do with Rom 6:5 “If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” How do I get united with Christ in death (Rom 6:3) how do I get un-united to Him in His resurrection?

    This whole idea of individual justification and corporate justification is confusing and is much harder to understand than the visible and invisible church.

    In corporate justification I am legally declared innocent by God on account of grace alone, by my non-faith, in Christ alone, but Christ is going to disown me in His resurrection because I was not individually united to Him in faith alone. This statement does not make any sense.

    A better way of looking at is I am joined into His visible body (the church) in baptism but I need faith to be United to Christ.

  69. Sean Gerety said,

    August 13, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    FWIW, he should begin by pulling all copies of RINE off the shelves of every bookstore and supplier that has his book IMMEDIATELY and take down the pdf copy he has on the web. Canon press should issue an immediate recall and provide full refunds for the books plus return shipping to all those suppliers, churches and individuals who bought the book.

    Like Wilson said this is a serious problem, but he says he “noticed it a year” so what has he done about it? Talk is cheap, but it appears he’sin no rush to do anything about it, not to mention the souls he’s damaged and destroyed by his sloppiness. Just saying “my mistake” isn’t enough.

  70. Christopher said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Dean, I didn’t mean that the twin aspects of justification are less confusing, but I would rather retain the ability to address the congregation as those justified in Christ as Paul does than try to explain to someone which church he is a member of. For the record, I don’t think the visible/invisible distinction is bad, I just thhnk it can be improved. As for Rom. 6, I am not sure I understand the objection. What do you mean by un-united?

  71. Dean Bekkering said,

    August 13, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Christopher

    I believe you are reading Rom 6 differently than I am.

    Rom 6:3 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

    Who where baptized into Christ Jesus? Everyone who was baptized or all the eternally elect? I think you interpret the passage to mean all who were baptized.

    If ALL were baptized into His death vs 3 then are ALL going to be raised in His likeness in the resurrection vs 5?

    I hope this helps explains what I mean by un-unified.

    Dean Bekkering

  72. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    On the typo I hear echoes of Charles Barkley saying he was misquoted in his autobiography.

  73. tim prussic said,

    August 13, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    This whole idea of individual justification and corporate justification is confusing and is much harder to understand than the visible and invisible church. – Dean

    Dean, I think I agree, but the problem is that v/iv church deals with one thing and covenant another. V church IS the covenant body in (any given) time (mixed as to eternal election), while the IV church is the company of ONLY the elect. The V church, in history, works covenantally – folks are grafted in and cut out of the covenant (maybe that’s the confusing part). The whole purpose in the grafting in/cutting out process is eventually to have the elect and only the elect standing in the last day. That’s when (as Pastor Doug Wilson’s argued) the invisible church will be fully visible (and without spot or blemish).

    So, it’s not that you get to use the v/iv church distinction OR the covenatal grafting in/cutting out one, we must use them both.

  74. A. Dollahite said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Gary,

    RE. #59 – We clearly disagree on a number of issues, and I’m not sure we’ll get very far in this forum. I do think it’s interesting that “more than anyone else [you] hold Doug Wilson personally responsible for chaos created by the FV,” simply because it was the RPCUS report that dropped the “May God have mercy on your souls” bomb before any responsible dialogue about the issues between disagreeing parties had taken place. People start yelling fire in a crowded movie theater, and before you know it panic spreads. Other reports start popping up all over the country with little to no direct interaction with people associated with the FV. For example, if the timeline about the MVP report is correct (to your knowledge, has there been any objection to the timeline as found on the FV website?), it’s just plain embarrassing what has passed as in-depth study. Even in the recent PCA report not a single phone call was made to discuss issues with FV people. That smells like rotten fish to me.

    You may not like much of what he says, but it’s a fact Doug Wilson and others weren’t out there anathematizing other ministers as heretics. At this point let’s just agree to let interested parties read both sides of the issue if there is never going to be someone with enough courage to have a verbal debate with Wilson. Read Waters’ review, and then read Wilson’s response to see for yourself if he’s got a right to point out serious errors in the criticisms, or if he has his undies in a bunch over something imagined.

  75. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    >”You may not like much of what he says, but it’s a fact Doug Wilson and others weren’t out there anathematizing other ministers as heretics.”

    This sentence obviously disingenuously implies equality or commonality between the parties. Benny Hinn hasn’t anathematized any Reformed ministers either, to my knowledge.

    This typical FV language is the language of a psychologically ‘off’ guy who talks to and about a girl he has no relationship with as if he has a relationship with her.

    “Are you going straight home after work?”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Tell your mother I have no problem with you having lunch with her.”

    “You don’t know my mother, and it’s none of your business what she or I do.”

    Translation:

    “I’m troubled by the language in WCF 7. I think we can work with it though for now, but we should consider changing it at some point.”

    “And you are?”

    “I’m not yet convinced we need to restate WCF 28, because I’m convinced, for now, that my initial concern can be smoothed over. I’m still able to be won over on that.”

    “OK, sir. You live around here?”

  76. Robert K. said,

    August 13, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Here’s why false doctrine is dangerous and needs to be confronted: not for what it can do to those who already have been awakened and come to know the truth, but for those yet to come to the truth. Think of yourself prior to being effectually called and regenerated and converted by sound doctrine. Imagine if that sound doctrine was so debased that it couldn’t be recognized. The Roman Catholics went a step farther and kept the Word of God itself away from people. FVists know they can’t do this, but they know language *can* be debased. They’ve done it in secular academia, in popular culture, in political discourse, and very effectively. So they know it can be done with biblical truth, i.e. Reformed Theology.

  77. Christopher said,

    August 14, 2007 at 8:32 am

    That sounds like my “conversion” to Reformed Theology experience, only backwards. I was hit with the “5 Points” which are fine as far as they go. And while this solved one of my “problem passages” (Romans 9), it ended up creating a whole slew of new problem passages (Hebrews 6, for example). It wasn’t until someone took me aside and showed me that Calvinist soteriology is half the picture; the other half is robust, Reformed Covenantalism. And hey, all of a sudden, no more problem passages.

    Then people come along and start saying that what I believe is actually against the confession I got it out of, which is weird. Then, further down the road, I find that these same people have huge mens’ rallies and invite Baptist speakers, they do joint blogs with Baptists and when they make their one and only radio appearance against what I believe, it’s on a Baptist radio show. Then, in reading discussions about the issue between the sides, I find that when the critics argue, they sound a lot like Baptists I’ve spoken with.

    These little things give me something of a different conclusion regarding who’s betraying Presbyterianism.

  78. Sean Gerety said,

    August 14, 2007 at 8:41 am

    FVists know they can’t do this, but they know language *can* be debased. They’ve done it in secular academia, in popular culture, in political discourse, and very effectively.

    This is exactly right and is why the prattle on about “covenatally elect” vs. “decretally elect” or “covenatally justified” and “eschatologically justified” and the list goes on as do their bobbing and weaving behind endless equivocations.

  79. Christopher said,

    August 14, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Exactly. Because in reality, Paul used “elect” and “justified” as technical theological terms with one precise meaning. In fact, not many people know this, but if you turn to the back of your Trinity Hymnal, there is actually an expository dictionary, divinely inspired by God, which defines all these words as used by Paul. It comes under the heading “Westminster Confession of Faith.”

  80. August 14, 2007 at 10:31 am

    And while this solved one of my “problem passages” (Romans 9), it ended up creating a whole slew of new problem passages (Hebrews 6, for example).

    Christopher,

    I’m not sure what the issue was. Reformed theologians had no problems handling Hebrews 6 for 400 years before NPP or FV came on the scene. You wouldn’t have had to dig very deep to find orthodox, confessional, Reformed answers. OTOH, FV causes problems with a host of Scriptures that are easily handled, indeed foundational, in Reformed theology including Romans 8 and Philippians 1:6. I don’t see how that was helpful.

  81. Mark T. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 10:43 am

    A. Dollahite,

    Your argument assumes that denominational courts have a responsibility to interview other denomination’s heretics before declaring them heretics, which is ridiculous. The RPCUS had no standing to interview Wilson before declaring him guilty of teaching heresy any more than I have standing to call you to account for your false premise before declaring your argument absurd.

    Furthermore, if the RPCUS had tried to conduct a trial of the Monroe Four, they would have acted beyond their jurisdiction and made themselves a laughingstock. Certainly, Wilson and the others would have thumbed their noses at the RPCUS (as they did anyway), if they tried to do things your way.

  82. August 14, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Reading through this thread and way too many other places, my impression of the bulk of the FV critics is this:

    Prior to PCA GA: “We will, we will, rock you.”

    Since: “Another one bites the dust.”

    And people wonder why I am so reluctant to buy the TR critiques of the FV. Echoes of Freddie Mercury are hardly edifying and actually cast the anti-FV case in a horrible pale, imo. Robert K is a pathetic embarrassment, so I write him off as an outlier. But outside of Rev. Keister, who is it that commends the anti-FV case to those not already convinced that the FV is an heretical cesspool? Certainly no one I am reading.

    Brothers, if this is what Reformed dialogue looks like – and I fear that this is the norm – then we should be ashamed and should immediately repent with sackcloth and about five tons of ashes. Acting like raging heathens hardly commends the Gospel, no matter how diligent we are to cross our theological “t’s” and dot our doctrinal “i’s.”

  83. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Yeah, Sean, imagine theology being done with fine distinctions … what have we come to?!? I think YOU’RE playing word games by pretending not to understand simple distinctions. “Covenantal election and decretal election… how will we even unwrap such mind-boggling equivication?!?” There are much finer distinctions far closer to the heart of the Christian faith than covenantal/decretal election. This is not to say that men don’t hide behind distinctions and worthless talk, but your comment above (#78) seem unfair and, frankly, simplistic.

    Christopher, my story sound a good deal like yours. I’m not out and out FV, but I’ve learned a lot about the functioning of temporal covenants that’s helped a bunch with problem passages.

    I’m still quite willing to discuss issues that may surface, but I find too much ego and name calling on both sides to do much good. The current state, ISTM, of the Reformed churches seems to over-emphasize the purity of the church and to under-emphasize the unity of it. That mentality always produces schism in the body of Christ.

  84. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Mark T., the RPCUS did make themselves a laughingstock. READY! FIRE! AIM! never looks good. Further, I think Wilson’s shown himself to be quite willing to talk. He does call a spade a spade, but he’s seems happy to work with reasonable people. The sectarian mentality tends to lack reason, charity, and other things necessary for discussion.

  85. Christopher said,

    August 14, 2007 at 11:41 am

    reformedmusings,

    I did not mean to imply that FV (I have no interest in NPP) holds the exclusive interpretation of Hebrews 6. I was recounting my own experience and “journey.” When I first came around to Calvinism is was on the weight of the 5 Points alone. I think you can easily understand how someone who has only the 5 Points and his Bible would stumble over Hebrews 6. It’s just that in my case, the folks that I went to for answers gave me what we now call the Federal Vision (though this was before 2002). In other words, FV is just good old fashioned Reformed Theology as I’ve always understood it and I’ve never seen anything in the 400 year history of the Reformed World that indicates that what I learned is anything other than that.

    When I caught wind of the controversy, I couldn’t imagine what the objections could be and thought the critics were coming out of left field. I still think that.

    tim,

    I didn’t used to want to label myself FV because of the apparent stigma. But the more I delved into the controversy, the more I realized that I couldn’t escape the label. It is what I had always believed. Whatever the case, I too have found that understanding the covenantal context of Scripture makes the whole thing much easier to see as a whole.

  86. Mark T. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Tim,

    It’s safe to say that the Reformed world has vindicated the RPCUS, despite you parroting Wilson’s favorite line, and you, like A. Dollahite, assume the RPCUS had standing to put him on trial, when they did not.

    Further, you claim that Wilson is “quite willing to talk,” but you ignore his relentless contumacy throughout this controversy, which has helped polarize the “sectarian mentality” that you decry. In fact, a real denomination would have canned him quicker than you can say “serrated,” for his contumacy.

    But, I ask, why would anyone talk to a man who resorts to habitual misrepresentations and abusive ad homs whenever he gets pinned? The sooner the Christian Church puts him out, the better: “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease” (Prov. 22:10).

  87. August 14, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    In other words, FV is just good old fashioned Reformed Theology as I’ve always understood it and I’ve never seen anything in the 400 year history of the Reformed World that indicates that what I learned is anything other than that.

    Christopher – I understand what you say about the 5-points-only conversion. Even given that, 7 prominent, orthodox, confessional, Reformed denominations respectfully disagree by overwhelming majorities with your quoted statement above. Only a tiny number of FV proponents think that they are consistent with 400 years of Reformed scholarship. That leads many to wonder about the teachability they tout in their joint statement. When 95-98% of one’s brothers consider them in error, isn’t it time to rethink one’s position?

  88. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Regarding covenant, I agree, Christopher. There are some other issues that some of the FV guys have been wrong on (justification confusion, denial of the COW, denying the validity of systematic theology, and other stuff). That’s why I don’t call myself FV.

  89. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    reformedmusings:

    Its way too broad to simply say that 7 reformed denoms “reject the FV”.

    It is still unclear, for example, exactly WHAT of the PCAs 9 points anyone in the FV would have any difficulty with, or would not be able to affirm.

    The PCA debate showed that the end of the day was “vote for this to affirm you believe justification by faith alone, and that you accept that men are accused of not believing in it and need to be warned”

    The Supreme Court decided Roe Vs Wade, and Dred Scott, but lots of people point out how the reasonings are flawed or not to the point. No, the PCA report is nowhere near as bad or damaging. Its actually pretty good.

    But I’m not swayed by “look at all the signers” when what is signed is kinda nebulous and critcizable.

  90. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    reformedmusings:

    its also hard to credit your response to what I think Christopher was saying.

    He’s talking about exegesis of Hebrews 6.

    The PCA report was severely lacking in exegetical or scriptural argumentation, and that was supposed to be a good feature of it, since the committee was only asked to tell us what the confessions say.

    We still have to live with Hebrews 6, and the PCA has not “rejected” particular exegeses of that or other texts.

  91. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Mark T.,

    Wilson is RIGHT, so I repeat him. Your silly attempt to discredit the notion by calling it parroting is plain for all to see. At heart, your comment is a slighly veiled ad hominem – you know, that nasty little trick of which you accuse Pastor Wilson. I suppose that’s plain enough for all to see, too. The RPCUS had access to pens, paper, telephones, email, etc. to ask questions, refine ideas, you know, engage in humble Christian scholarship. Because they didn’t go that route, the RPCUS’s reputation is widely besmirched even if study groups (stacked or otherwise) have found less-than-savory ideas among the FV proponents. You may not see it, but the RPCUS is far from vindicated.
    Also, I’ve read into my post #84 something that’s not there. I’ve not assumed the RPCUS had “standing to put him on trial.” That’s another obvious tactic: read a false assumption into my comment and then attack the false assumption. Also, quite plain for all to see.

    As far as you assessment of Wilson, maybe you’re right. Maybe he’s creating strife, but there are plenty who could be charged with that on both sides. No?

  92. August 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    pduggan,

    It is still unclear, for example, exactly WHAT of the PCAs 9 points anyone in the FV would have any difficulty with, or would not be able to affirm.

    I and others have pointed out a few of those areas on our blogs based on their clear statements, including the current joint statement, but not by name. The individual specifics are ultimately up to their presbyteries. FVers in the CREC are home free, of course. The Divine Decrees section violates 4/9 of the PCA declarations all by itself. Please see http://reformedmusings.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/joint-fv-statement-divine-decrees/#more-50

    The PCA debate showed that the end of the day was “vote for this to affirm you believe justification by faith alone, and that you accept that men are accused of not believing in it and need to be warned”

    Two quick thoughts:

    1) I was at the 35th GA the entire week and had many conversations with people whom I had never met before. I even had some extended lunch conversations with some. FWIW, while I met some with concerns, I didn’t encounter anyone with a superficial view of the issue. I think that your words disparage the wisdom and knowledge of your church officers, as well as their prayerful consideration of the issues involved. Remember that the report was available and publicized 2 months before the Assembly, and Jeff Meyers mailed a copy of his “30 Reasons” to every single Session as best I can tell. The commissioners had plenty of time and information from which to draw in making their decisions. I understand, though, that FV proponents find it convenient to ignore the inconvenient facts in evidence.

    2) As for justification by faith alone, I think that some FVers (but not all) do indeed deny that in their writings if not in so many words. Those who deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and claiming a “final justification” base on the works of covenant faithfulness, to name just two issues, deny sola fide. As the old hymn says “My hope is based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

    The Supreme Court decided Roe Vs Wade, and Dred Scott, but lots of people point out how the reasonings are flawed or not to the point.

    That was just nine people in a secular political process. There’s no comparison between that court and an orthodox, Reformed ecclesiastical body that submits to our Triune God in prayer and humility.

    No, the PCA report is nowhere near as bad or damaging. Its actually pretty good.

    Thank you for your kind words about the report.

  93. August 14, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    pduggan,

    The PCA report was severely lacking in exegetical or scriptural argumentation, and that was supposed to be a good feature of it, since the committee was only asked to tell us what the confessions say.

    The necessary exegesis was done 350 years ago by the Divines. That was mentioned at least twice during the GA debate.

    My response to Christopher wasn’t that the PCA report exegeted Heb 6, but that many orthodox, confessional, Reformed scholars had done so over the last 400 years. I apologize if I wasn’t clear on that. I personally don’t find living with Heb 6 particularly difficult, and it certainly won’t cause me to abandon classic Reformed theology in favor of a mythical “objective covenant.”

  94. Mark T. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Tim,

    First, not all ad homs are fallacious, so when I said that Wilson resorts to habitual misrepresentations, I point to two men in this very thread who caught him in a fabrication (see comments 65 and 66). So my ad hom simply noted his well-deserved record for dishonesty to counter your argument that “he seems happy to work with reasonable people.” Obviously, he didn’t seem happy to work with Sean Gerety or Gary Johnson, contra your statement. As for Wilson’s abusive ad homs, if you don’t see them then I cannot open your eyes.

    Second, when a court interviews witnesses — whether by pens, paper, telephones, email, etc. — they do so as a court to arrive at conclusion, or a verdict. It’s called a trial. The RPCUS had no standing to subpoena these men to answer charges of heresy, and to act otherwise, as you do, displays extraordinary ignorance. I suggest that you stop laughing at the RPCUS and read a little church polity (and a little less Wilson).

    Third, there may be strife coming from the anti-FV side, but I don’t see it. I see people like you using loaded phrases, such as “stacked study groups,” to poison the well rather than “engage in humble Christian scholarship,” as you put it. I stand by my citation of Proverbs. I have never witnessed such disdain for authority as I see coming out Moscow, the birthplace of FV, and I am confident that the moment Wilson disappears, all of his toadies will perish for lack of vision Federal.

  95. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Ok, i looked.

    “There is no individual or group in the Covenant of Grace who are “not elect in the decretal sense.””

    We’ve been over this before. It would seem possible to speak of children in the covenant of grace in some sense. Its rather mainstream to do so. Growing up in vanilla OPC circles before professing faith, I was called a “Covenant Child” What covenant?

    “Scripture knows no other category of the elect other than those elect before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).”

    That’s HIGHLY disputed. See the recent discussion of Calvin’s use of “common election”. See the fact that Calvin explains decretal election by first going through all the other kinds of election. See the way in which lots of Calvinists were taught Calvinism by first establishing that God ‘elected” the nation of Israel “unconditionally”.. When you say stuff like this, it feels like NEW teaching that doesn’t fit with the old.

    Or Romans 11:28: “as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers”

    ” Note bene: It does not even make sense to say that folks are “elect in the decretal sense” because there is no other sense in which to be elect.”

    That’s what’s in dispute.

    Now you could claim the confessions use election only in a decretal sense. But the Bible doesn’t.

    And declaration 2 reads to me to be saying that you can’t say that anyone has an election that includes real ordo saludis benefits that you can loose. Nobody says that and the FV statement doesn’t.

  96. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Y’know what would be interesting?

    If the whole discussion could be re-wround to 2001.

    And then someone could say

    “Y’know, I’m intereacting alot with Lutherans (Since I’m listening to White Horse Inn and attending the Philadelphia Conference on Reformation Theology and reading Gene Veith”)

    It occurs to me that Lutherans take a pretty dim view of our “logical” argumentation for Limited Atonement and the impossibility of any kind of real apostasy. They like to just look at the bible and claim that we’re so consumed with human logic that we avoid difficult passages of scripture.

    I’m wondering that, what with the PCA being a non-strict subscription church, if there were ways we could do better at acknowledging that some of their texts actually DO function the way they claim they do, while still affirming our confessional standards. Some way of doing better with ecumenical dialogue. We need to stand for the gospel with Lutherans, don’t we? And we do believe in the Free Offer: which is what they get at with their doctrine of Objective Justification

    Why, look at this recent Boice festscrift on worship! See how Rick Phillips is affirming that the Lutheran view of baptismal regeneration doesn’t end up in some kind of theological mosntrosity for Lutherans because of their careful qualifications? Lets see more of that!”

    But the toothpaste is out of the tube….

  97. August 14, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    RE: #96

    Had FV proponents presented their ideas for review privately, then properly through their church courts for consideration, things may well have gone without the strife. Instead, they chose to publish their every passing thought on the Internet before the court of public opinion. That rarely turns out well for anyone in the long run. They got their 15 minutes of fame, but the price to peace and purity of the Church of Jesus Christ has already been too high IMO.

    The toothpaste is all over the mirror.

  98. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    that’s a very revealing remark

  99. August 14, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    What is?

  100. pduggan said,

    August 14, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    That opponents of the FV took the use of the internet by FV men as a reason to increase the strife in dealing with it.

  101. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Mark T.,

    You’re quite correct that not all ad hom arguments are fallacious. But, once again, that’s not what I was saying. They’re very often used as a ploy to AVOID the argument, which is exactly how you employed yours.

    Hmmm… What in the heck are you talking about?! I’ve never even implied that the RPCUS had ecclesiastical jurisdiction, that was something you read into something I wrote. What I am saying is that I think they went off half-cocked and defamed ministers of the gospel. I think they looked and still look bad for it. I have some significant quibbles with some FV men, but I STILL think they looked real bad. They didn’t seem to do much in the way of fair-minded inquiry, they just blasted.

    I think that speaks for itself.


    Oh, ye of weak constitution!

    That last part was kinda witty and I appreciate that. The content of the statement, however, reveals some impressive ignorance of the roots of the so-called Federal Vision. Honestly.. we’ve been talking about some possiblilites with reference to Reconstructionism, Van Til, Schilder, and other things/people. I say that the roots extend through a good bit of Reformed scholasticism to that great Federal Visionary of Geneva. :) (That was supposed to be funny, but I’m not joking.) To say that Moscow is the birthplace of FV really betrays that you have some homework to do.

  102. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    My Italics were accidental… I don’t even know how to do ’em. In fact… that whole post is messed up. I’ll try to fix it and post it again. DANG IT!

  103. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Mark T.,

    You’re quite correct that not all ad hom arguments are fallacious. But, once again, that’s not what I was saying. They’re very often used as a ploy to AVOID the argument, which is exactly how you employed yours.

    Hmmm… What in the heck are you talking about?! I’ve never even implied that the RPCUS had ecclesiastical jurisdiction, that was something you read into something I wrote. What I am saying is that I think they went off half-cocked and defamed ministers of the gospel. I think they looked and still look bad for it. I have some significant quibbles with some FV men, but I STILL think they looked real bad. They didn’t seem to do much in the way of fair-minded inquiry, they just blasted.

    I think that speaks for itself.

    Oh, ye of weak constitution!

    That last part was kinda witty and I appreciate that. The content of the statement, however, reveals some impressive ignorance of the roots of the so-called Federal Vision. Honestly.. we’ve been talking about some possiblilites with reference to Reconstructionism, Van Til, Schilder, and other things/people. I say that the roots extend through a good bit of Reformed scholasticism to that great Federal Visionary of Geneva. :) (That was supposed to be funny, but I’m not joking.) To say that Moscow is the birthplace of FV really betrays that you have some homework to do.

  104. August 14, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Umm, that’s not what I said. I said that FV advocates caused strife by taking to the Internet to publish their every passing thought rather than work in a scholarly manner within established ecclesiastical channels.

  105. Mark T. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Tim,

    First, please show what argument I avoided and I will address it.

    Second, you are correct that you “never even implied that the RPCUS had ecclesiastical jurisdiction”; you simply condemned them as laughingstocks for not asserting jurisdiction over men of other denominations and subpoenaing them as witnesses before condemning their public teaching as heresy. I apologize for reading too much into your statements but my point remains: they issued a “resolution” condemning the teaching as heresy because they had no standing to do anything else.

    Third, Wilson gave birth to FV whether you like it or not. It was nowhere until Wilson grabbed the microphone and called attention to himself. All the cross references to men who may have held a similar position to this or that are red herrings; they are not the same as FV. Wilson is a devout recon going back to Rushdooney and the FV is regathering of the recons (sans Sandlin) in the land of Blog and Mablog (or Gog and Magag as you may have it) until its fire comes down from heaven to destroy them.

    There, I too can be witty. But please show me what argument I avoided so that you may remove this charge from my account.

    Thank you.

  106. tim prussic said,

    August 14, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Mark, my original post (#83):

    “Mark T., the RPCUS did make themselves a laughingstock. READY! FIRE! AIM! never looks good. Further, I think Wilson’s shown himself to be quite willing to talk. He does call a spade a spade, but he’s seems happy to work with reasonable people. The sectarian mentality tends to lack reason, charity, and other things necessary for discussion.”

    You responded that I was merely parroting Wilson. That was an ad hominem response to my comment. I think the RPCUS looks REALLY bad. I think they did start slinging mud (and charges of heresy) before they even built a public case (NOT an ecclesiastical one). It’s an issue of PR. They look bad. They made themselves a laughingstock. That’s what I said and you responded with the parrot comment (#86).

    In post #105, you wrote, “you simply condemned them as laughingstocks for not asserting jurisdiction over men of other denominations and subpoenaing them as witnesses before condemning their public teaching as heresy.”

    The thing is, Mark, I’ve done nothing of the kind. Read my posts and you’ll see that I’ve NEVER ONCE MENTIONED ANYTHING about them being laughingstocks because the didn’t excercise jurisdiction that they didn’t have. You’ve read that into my posts from the beginning. As mentioned just above, they’re the laughingstock (or better, not respected) because they were irresponsible with ministers in good standing and went off half-cocked. Now in the end, some of what they perceived as problematic may indeed be, but that’s still no excuse.

  107. Mark T. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Tim,

    Thank you for the clarification. I see that we are writing past one another and I will do my best to not let that happen here.

    First, I asserted that the Reformed world has vindicated the RPCUS because of the overwhelming testimony of one Reformed body after another denouncing FV as non- or sub-confessional. In other words, these denominations have affirmed the RPCUS’s judgment to one degree or another. This was the thrust of my primary argument, however unclear, which you have not acknowledged. My remark about you parroting Wilson was in fact an acknowledgment of his one-line dismissal of the RPCUS’s resolution, which was never an argument; it was a rhetorical device advanced by a man not interested in honest conversation. In your case, it was parroting a non-argument. Regardless, I did not ad hom you. I merely acknowledged the source of your quote.

    Second, the RPCUS issued a resolution condemning the public teaching of the Monroe Four as heresy. The false doctrine advanced by these men took place at a conference for ministers and, as noted, it was a public event. Despite these facts, you condemned the RPCUS for not accessing “pens, paper, telephones, email, etc. to ask questions, refine ideas, you know, engage in humble Christian scholarship.” These facts are true. However, you continually refuse to recognize that the RPCUS had no obligation and no standing “to ask questions” because the point of any questioning would have been a judicial inquiry by a court to determine a verdict in a matter where they lacked jurisdiction. In short, your argument assumes that they should have engaged in Q&A before they issued their resolution, but you refuse to acknowledge that this Q&A was a matter of jurisdictional standing.

    Here’s how your scenario would go: “Hi, my name is Pastor So and So and I would like you to answer these questions for our presbytery because we suspect you of heresy.” At that point, Wilson would say, “Take it to the CREC to whom I account,” who would cover for him as appears to be their purpose in life. Either way, it’s called STANDING and you have obligated the RPCUS to assume a non-existent status to conduct an inquiry before issuing a resolution (with no teeth), even though the heretical teaching was a public event much like Peter’s fall at Antioch.

    Perhaps this will make it easier. You parroted Wilson to dismiss the RPCUS as a laughingstock, but the RPCUS parroted the teaching of the Monroe Four when they passed their resolution. Same difference except that in your case you think it’s acceptable, but in the RPCUS’s case, you hold them to an impossible standard and call them “half cocked” and not respectable.

    Should I not respect you for your half-cocked statements?

  108. Robert K. said,

    August 14, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    >”It’s just that in my case, the folks that I went to for answers gave me what we now call the Federal Vision (though this was before 2002). In other words, FV is just good old fashioned Reformed Theology as I’ve always understood it and I’ve never seen anything in the 400 year history of the Reformed World that indicates that what I learned is anything other than that.”

    Federal Vision is “good old fashioned Reformed Theology” as you’ve “always understood it”?

    This is what cults do. They intercept individuals who are in early stages of searching (this is why much cult recruiting is done on college campuses and parking lots, where there is an abundance of people ‘in flux’ and ready to be picked off). Christopher obviously didn’t know Classical Covenant Theology from Scientology at the point he met FVist influences…

  109. Christopher said,

    August 15, 2007 at 7:24 am

    reformedmusings,

    I am content with the overwhelming witness of Reformed men for the past few hundred years that say, many times over, the same stuff the FV is saying. Wilson just posted a huge block of Calvin quotes that ought to indicate that he would recognize the FV position, if not as his own, then certainly as “within the camp.” We share far more common ground than we are given credit for.

    I also find it illuminating that FV critics call upon the FV proponents to, in essence, throw down their weapons and surrender since they are surrounded by denomination study reports. But at the same time, they do not appear to give any weight to the *actual* ecclesiastical proceedings that have taken place in the matter, in which LA Pres exonerated Steve Wilkins, not once but twice. This should, in my mind, settle the matter of Steve’s orthodoxy beyond question.

  110. August 15, 2007 at 8:21 am

    This recent ‘discovery’ of Calvin’s remarks by those in the FV is very amusing. This is the same bunch that dismissed Calvin on padeocommunion, but now they want to appeal to him. But, as has been the case before ,they are guilty of anachronistic reading of Calvin. He is NOT saying anything remotely similiar to what the FV is saying about the NECM- that they actually possess redemptive benefits such as justification, the forgiveness of sins, adoption ‘temporarily’. If you want to see how Calvin spells this out read his comments in his Romans commentary on ch.9.

  111. August 15, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Christopher,

    An FV proponent once wrote me that I had my Calvin quotes and he had his. The problem is that Calvin’s statements exist, not in isolation, but in the context of his overall theology. Calvin was pretty consistent in his overall theology. That Doug and others can pull Calvin quotes out of the air that seem to support them is cute, but hardly definitive. Keeping those quotes in Calvin’s overall theological context would be quite the trick for FV advocates.

    The presbytery actions that you mention all preceded the 35th GA. Rather than discuss individual cases, let’s look at the general situation. Now that GA has spoken definitively, I believe that these issues will be revisited in the presbyteries. One case is already on appeal to the SJC. Nothing happens overnight, but the positive effect of the GA’s acceptance of the report and its 9 declarations will filter through the PCA over time. I find it regrettable that PCA officers holding to FV will waste the church’s precious resources, which should be spent on spreading the gospel, on grandstanding for an error so declared by an overwhelming vote of their fellow officers. But, that is their right if they choose to exercise it.

  112. tim prussic said,

    August 15, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Mark (re. #107),

    Sorry, I’ve been outta commission for a bit, but I’m back and ready to rock!
    You said, “Regardless, I did not ad hom you. I merely acknowledged the source of your quote.” Right… telling someone they parrot is merely a recognition of source. Sorry, but it’s quite a bit more loaded than all that. However, I’ll forget it.

    Again, “In short, your argument assumes that they should have engaged in Q&A before they issued their resolution, but you refuse to acknowledge that this Q&A was a matter of jurisdictional standing.” I didn’t mean there had to be formal questioning – I understand there really couldn’t have been such. I have said nothing to indicate that. What I’ve tried to indicate is that, instead of coming humbly to the Monroe four and informaly seeking clarification, they flew off the handle. That, along with their lack of immediate evidence and documentation, is the reason that they lost so much face. Rightly so. It was a huge RUSH to judgment that was foolish and they looked foolish. Were there problems in the Monroe Four’s teaching? Possibly, but they STILL look foolish handling it the way they did. Am I making sense? Sure hope so.

    Finally, “Perhaps this will make it easier. You parroted Wilson to dismiss the RPCUS as a laughingstock, but the RPCUS parroted the teaching of the Monroe Four when they passed their resolution. Same difference except that in your case you think it’s acceptable, but in the RPCUS’s case, you hold them to an impossible standard and call them “half cocked” and not respectable.
    Should I not respect you for your half-cocked statements?”
    Hmm… the analysis needs some help. I quoted Pastor Wilson’s phrase. The RPCUS put together a really sad piece (lacking immediate necessary evidence) that was a bomb shell pronounce the souls of the Monroe Four to be in danger of hell. What in the world is the logical connection you’ve tried to make here? Honesly, if I’m half cocked, just running off saying things and condemning minsters in good standing to hell – YEAH, don’t repsect that!

  113. tim prussic said,

    August 15, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    The reality of Calvin’s view of covenant is such that the quasi-baptistic Reformed folk can’t deal with it. I love it when EXTENDED quotations are offered and the retort is: “You can’t just pull those outta thin air.” What a WEAK response, honestly.
    Mr. Johnson (#110), it’s it normal and fine to cite a man when he’s in agreement with my position (at least if I think he is) and disregard him if he’s not? Calvin wrote a lot more than a commentary on Romans, no? If we’re to be an honest Calvin scholars, we’ll have to deal with the passages that make us uncomfortable. We can’t just dismiss a passage and suggest another one for Calvin’s “real” view of a thing. This seems to be what you’ve done in #110. If I’ve misread you, I’ll happily be corrected.

  114. August 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    tim,

    The Calvin quotes in question don’t help FV at all. For example, Calvin’s “they were not all gifted with the Spirit of adoption” flies in the face of their writings that give baptized reprobates adoption as a non-persevered grace. There’s no objective covenant. I’ve quoted Calvin extensively on my blog–long quotes–where he explicitly condemns FV concepts long before Auburn Avenue. I won’t see those quotes on FV blogs anytime soon.

    Again, the quotes in question, though long, in isolation ignore the larger context of Calvin’s writings. Calvin’s “real” view of things is easily discernable from the breadth of his writings and sermons. Help for FV, their mythical “objective covenant”, “baptismal regeneration lite”, “final justification”, etc., ain’t there. And cherry picking quotes won’t make it so.


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