Why Don’t They Get It?

Wilkins’s answer to number 8 is basically an assertion that he doesn’t contradict the Standards. So, the FV guys say that saying what is true of non-elect covenant members is not in contradiction to the Standards. The critics say that the FV guys are contradicting the standards. How can we judge who is correct? Let’s flesh out the question a bit more. In introducing a new idea (that of non-elect covenant member), the FV has taken it in a direction that actually does contradict the Standards.

First of all, it is important to note that Wilkins not only does not repudiate anything in his article in the Federal Vision book, he here actively reaffirms what he wrote there, especially pages 58-61 of that article.

Secondly, his lightly tossing aside the judgment of charity without any argumentation means that he is introducing new teaching (for, on the judgment of charity argument, the non-elect do *not* have justification, sanctification, adoption, or any other ordo salutis benefit) on the basis of something that he cannot prove. If he cannot prove the judgment of charity argument wrong, then his position is not proven. I do hope that it is obvious that if the judgment of charity argument is correct in our reading of Paul, then the FV’s reading of those passages cannot possibly be correct. Here I want to reiterate some of the support for the judgment of charity understanding of Paul. I will do it simply by linking these great words. It is similar to an argument I had with someone about Peter Leithart’s exegesis of Psalms and Prophets. We wound up both saying that Leithart’s exegesis was speculative. If that is the case, then why should I be asked to believe that someone’s interpretation of the WCF, based on speculation, is accurate?

In order for Wilkins’s argument to work, there has to be a rigid boundary between the elect and the non-elect. There cannot be any possibility of one becoming the other. Otherwise, the perseverance of the saints will indeed be compromised. However, that boundary is precisely what is fudged when these benefits are said to be common to both elect and non-elect. Again, it doesn’t matter whether someone says that there are differences between the two. The fact is that ordo salutis benefits are being ascribed to the non-elect.