Posted by: reformedmusings | August 1, 2007

Federal Vision Statement Analysis – Part 1

As predicted yesterday, Green Baggins and The Heidelblog have started analyzing the May 2007 Federal Vision statement. Both posted comments on the preface. I hadn’t planned on starting there, but will throw in a few quick thoughts on it. From the statement:

Many of us who have signed this statement are also confessionally bound to the Three Forms of Unity or to the Westminster Confession of Faith. The following brief statement therefore should be understood as being in harmony with those other confessional commitments, a supplement to them, and not an example of generating another system of doctrine.

I feel obligated to point out that the PCA, OPC, RCUS, RPCNA, URC, BPC, OCRC, WSC, MARS, etc. (see the reports linked on the right sidebar), have all found Federal Vision theology out of accord with their respective standards, whether the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity. Of course, James Jordan wrote (5/26/07 11:59:17 AM, or search on “3FU”) (HT: Andy Gilman):

One aspect of this quarrel is that we FVC people are functioning with the mindset of the 3FU, and only so much of Westminster as they allow.

So which is it really? The RCUS and URC, to name two 3FU denominations, declared that FV is out of accord with the Three Forms, and the PCA, BPC, and RPCNA, to name three Westminster denominations on the other hand, declared that FV is out of accord with the Westminster Standards. The Federal Visionists have no where to run except the CREC, the home denomination of Federal Vision.

An interesting comment towards the end of the preface said of the authors/signers of the FV statement:

We have no desire to present a “moving target,” but we do want to be teachable, willing to stand corrected, or to refine our formulations as critics point out ambiguties [sic], confusions, or errors.

I don’t know. Green Baggins is taking that teachable statement at face value, Dr. Clark apparently not so much. I can’t say that I have heard of all the signatories, but of those whom I have read on the blogs or seen in print, I don’t see any willingness to change or be corrected. Quite the contrary. I haven’t seen many PCA officers adhering to Federal Vision theology taking the correction of 95-98% of the 35th PCA General Assembly. Certainly not the big names. Don’t take my word for it, read their blogs and comments on other blogs. Talk is cheap, electrons are virtually free, but actions tell the real story.

The most recent exercise in “teachability” looks more like defensive publishing. A few leading Federal Vision proponents who wrote old TableTalk articles are republishing them on their sites. Some articles date back over 10 years. It looks to me like they are trying to gain some credibility from these old articles because TableTalk is so respected in the Reformed community.

Looking at this “coincidental” movement to republish old articles, one might observe that theologians may write useful things in some areas but be in error in others. For example, N.T. Wright, although way outside orthodoxy with his New Perspective on Paul, has written some excellent material on the historicity of Christ and the New Testament. Just because some Federal Visionists have written useful things at times, perhaps even many times, doesn’t exonerate their Federal Vision views. Could this just be a bit of misdirection from the fact that those Federal Vision views have been declared out of accord with every Reformed standard by a host of orthodox, confessional Reformed denomination?

We therefore ask others to accept that the following represents our honest convictions at this stage of the conversation.

Conversation? Without demonstrated teachability, there is no conversation, only a sales pitch. Read the reports at the links on the right sidebar. The “conversation” is over in most all orthodox, confessional Reformed denominations. Federal Vision has been uniformly declared out of accord with both the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity. In this light, the new FV Statement changes nothing.



  1. […] 1st, 2007 at 11:13 am (Federal Vision) Clark, Stellman, and Mattes have all started their reviews of the FV document, and they are already ahead of me. I don’t […]


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