Posted by: reformedmusings | August 7, 2007

Joint FV Statement – Scripture and Hermeneutics

Wow, I’m really behind the power curve on this discussion. I’ve been building and installing a new computer in the church from parts. I then put together a wireless network so that the pastor can print on the admin office printers and access documents on the admin computer. Haven’t had much time for blogging.

Providentially, others have been taking up the slack. Green Baggins wrote a nice piece in On Scripture, followed up with Hermeneutics. In the comments, the Federal Vision advocates take up their same old mantra that Scripture trumps confessions then drive into the weeds from there. Duh. The WCF says that explicitly, as do the PCA’s Nine Declarations. Nothing new to add there. Don’t miss the comments that follow Lane’s post, as the discussion is becoming quite lively.

Dr. R. Scott Clark has posted an excellent piece on Hermeneutics and Preaching as well over on the Heidelblog. I cannot say is any better, so I won’t try. Jason Stellman also covers this section. The last sentence in the joint statement’s paragraph on preaching is most telling:

For this reason we reject the tendency to privilege the confessional and/or scholastic use of words and phrases over the way the same words and phrases are used in the Bible itself.

This is a red herring if ever there was one, but it “allows” the Federal Vision to redefine the key terms in the confessions to fit their mythical “objective covenant” framework. T. David Gordon, in his essay Reflections on Auburn Avenue (By Faith Alone, Johnson & Waters ed., Crossway. 2006) hit the Federal Vision inconsistency dead on:

One of the profoundest, most glaringly self-contradictory aspects of Auburn theology is its professed intent to employ biblical language biblically (rather than through the lens of the dreaded systematic theology), when in the most central language to the discussion (the biblical use of covenant), they do not use the term as the Bible uses it’ to wit, with a self-conscious recognition of the plurality of the biblical covenants. (page 125)

Gordon’s point is that the Bible rarely uses the phrase “the covenant,” and when it does, it refers to a particular covenant in the immediate context. The example Gordon uses is “the covenant of circumcision” in Acts 7:8. He also points out the Paul never uses the phrase. In contrast, the phrase “the covenants” in the plural is used throughout the Scriptures. As Gordon states:

This indicates that the New Testament authors were not only not mono-covenental in theie general orientation, but that they were not even mono-covenantal regarding the Old Testament (see Rom. 9:4, Eph. 2:12, Gal 4:24).

As I pointed out in Green Baggins’ comments section and as Dr. Clark says in his post, Federal Vision have been declared “out of accord” with both the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity by 7 major, orthodox, confessional, Reformed denominations to far. Their hemaneutical system doesn’t “work.”

Of course, I have a couple of previous post on the Federal Vision hermeneutic here and here. No need to revisit this subject in this post. Bottom line is that the Federal Vision’s mythical “objective covenant” provides the external framework within which they recast and reinterpret Scripture in a markedly different way than orthodox, confessional Reformed theologians have done for over 400 years. It is important to understand this when reading their material, including the new joint statement.



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