Posted by: reformedmusings | August 8, 2007

Joint FV Statement – Creeds and Confessions

Dr. Clark treated the joint statement’s section on covenants separate from the previous sections. Green Baggins and I combined it in a grouping on hermeneutics. Dr. Clark’s separate treatment is excellent and should not be missed.

While I cannot add much value to Dr. Clark’s treatment on the subject, I do want to reinforce one point. The joint statement says:

We deny that confessional commitments in any way require us to avoid using the categories and terms of Scripture, even when the confessional use of such words is necessarily more narrow and circumscribed. We deny that creedal or systematic understandings of scriptural truth can ever be given a place of parity with Scripture, or primacy over Scripture. In line with this, we continue to honor and hold to the creeds of the ancient Church and the confessions of the reformational Church

This goes back to the question of hermaneutics, which is why Green Baggins and I treated it there. But I want to particularly point out the last sentence above. “In line with this…” opens the barn door for the horses to romp. The statement basically negates over 400 years of Reformed scholarship. But how, you ask? All they said is what we all say in the Reformed world about Scriptures being the only rule for faith and practice with the Standards subordinate to them, right? Not exactly…they definitely aren’t Hertz.

Again it goes back to their hermeneutic. If the Federal Vision folks meant the above paragraph in the grammatico-historical hermeneutic tradition of Calvin, the Divines, etc., there would be no argument. But what they mean in plain context with the rest of the joint statement and their copious, previous writings is totally different.

What they are saying is that they will honor and hold the creeds and confessions “in line with…” their mythical framework of the “objective covenant” overlaid on Scripture. That framework has been explicitly declared out of accord with the Standards by 7 orthodox, confessional, Reformed denominations so far. Since the Westminster Confession and PCA Book of Church Order state that the Confession “contains the system of doctrine taught in Holy Scripture,” it follows that the Federal Vision framework is out of accord with Scripture itself. Therefore, the above excerpt from the joint statement means nothing like how it appears at a cursory glance.

So I warn the gentle reader once again: you cannot read the Joint Federal Vision Statement apart from the signers’ previous writings and statements. They are masters at literary prestidigitation – what you see isn’t usually what you get. Caveat emptor.

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