Friday, February 1, 2008

No One Gets Us

Last November at the PCA’s general assembly, the PCA passed the Ad Interim Study Committee’s paper on the Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theologies. This paper, in essence, rejected the views of the Federal Vision, in all its forms, and the New Perspectives on Paul.

Since this paper came out those who are in the Federal Vision (FV) have set their guns against this document. They have leveled many charges against the paper and the Study Committee: the committee was stacked, they misrepresented our views, they did not contact us to get clarification or to see if we really held to the views they said we did.

This last charge is one I would like to discuss because to my mind it is the weakest of the charges, yet it is the one I hear most often. First, why does the Study Committee need to contact you about your views? As Steve Wilkins put it in his resent letter addressing why this Church (Auburn Ave. Presbyterian Church) left the PCA, “the PCA Study Committee, which had judged me to be out of accord with our confessional standards without asking for clarification or for a response on my part…” I do not understand why the committee needed to speak with those who are apart of the FV. They have written a book, many blogs and/or lectures on these issues. Are their writings that unclear? Are their lectures so muddy that a person cannot listen to them and understand their position on a given point? It seems, at times, as if the FVers are saying that you cannot understand a person’s views unless you speak to them. If this is the case, then we can know nothing about anyone’s views that is passed. This is simply untrue. I can, for example, read Calvin and know what he thought about a certain issue. I do not need to call him up on the phone and talk to him to clarify his views. Now, if I did not understand Calvin it would be good to seek clarity. So to, the Study Committee could, if they so desired, have spoken with those men who they were writing about, but there is no moral or intellectual necessity that they do so.

Secondly, it does seem that the FVers think, maybe subconsciously, that they are unclear. The reason I say this is two fold: first, because they want everyone to speak to them for clarity and second, to my knowledge, there is not a single FVer who states that a person on the other side understands their view. In other words, according to the FVers, they are the only ones who understand their position. To disagree with them is, in essence, to not understand them. This is most unfortunate. Writing and lectures are the best way to get your point across clearly and preciously. But the FVers seem to be unable to get their whole system out there for public view in a clear manner. The reason for this, I fear, is that their system is contradictory. That is, the Federal Vision, as a whole, has internal inconsistencies. This is most obvious by their views of a quasi baptismal regeneration and their understanding of justification by faith alone.

Regardless of the consistency of the Federal Vision, this charge that the PCA Study Committee needed to contact these men needs to be dropped. This is simply rhetoric that takes away from the main issues of the truthfulness and confessionalness of the Federal Vision.

2 comments:

  1. 1 Timothy 6 - 3If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree withthe sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

    20O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," 21for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

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  2. Maybe this question could at least be posed to those who hold to the Federal Vision: of those who disagree with you, who understands you? I don't know the answer to that, but maybe if they can't name any names it will cause them to think about it.

    Here's a thought: if your opponents (who want to understand you) don't get your position, then how can you expect your own church members to be edified by your views?

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