Posted by: reformedmusings | August 22, 2007

A Federal Vision Oops

I was amused to see that James Jordan, one of the signers of the Joint Federal Vision Statement, wrote an interesting letter to Christian Renewal magazine, which you see proudly posted and recommended here. Jordan was responding to something that a Mr. Beach wrote in Christian Renewal about the Federal Vision. While responding to what Jordan considers a factual error in Beach’s article, he takes the time to slam some of the denominations and seminaries who have come out against Federal Vision, especially the RCUS, and repeat some old FV claims about its opponents. In doing so, Jordan does exactly what he claims Federal Vision opponents have done while making a whopper of a factual error himself. Lee has posted a rebuttal to Jordan’s hypocrisy in his aptly-named post Two Edged Sword. (HT: Green Baggins) Outstanding job by Lee in all three of the points he makes. Don’t miss it.

Of course, the errors that Lee points out aren’t the only ones in Jordan’s letter. Jordan still claims that there isn’t and wasn’t any such movement as Federal Vision. There were thrust together by rolling tides of fate, I suppose. While not all Federal Visionists agree on all points, as the PCA study report points out, they have quoted each other approvingly, recommended a young seminary student’s article about the “movement” at the PCA’s 34th General Assembly and online, participated in conferences together dedicated to the subject, collaborated together on a book called “The Federal Vision,” wrote hosts of blog entries about it, and now have published the Joint Federal Vision Statement together. Even a cursory reading of their stuff shows great similarity, to put it charitably. But…there’s no such thing as a Federal Vision movement. Move along folks, nothing to see here…

Jordan points out that not all FVers are paedo-communionists. OK, so what? Paedo-communion appears prominently as its own section in the joint statement (my comments on it here). If there were such a thing as an “objective covenant” with reprobates “united to Christ” and sharing “some” saving graces at least temporarily and in “some sense,” then paedo-communion naturally falls out of the equation as a consequence. That’s not to say that all paedo-communionists are Federal Vision supporters, far from it. But it’s hard to see how Federal Visionists can be consistent and not be paedo-communionists. Maybe a few just don’t see that yet.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Jordan drags out the old saw of how Federal Visionists affirm the Standards:

We all (whoever we are) stand squarely with Dort and Westminster. We stand squarely in the Reformed tradition, which teaches that the God who ordains the ends (eternal election in this case) also ordains the means (in some cases, temporary faith and election).

Temporary faith and election? Where are those in orthodox Reformed history or the Standards? Somehow, seven denominations and several seminaries have found concrete areas, including “temporary faith and election,” where Federal Vision positions are contrary to the Westminster Standards and Three Forms of Unity, and how their non-reformed hermeneutics produce…big surprise coming…non-reformed results. In addition to all those denomination reports and statements, Green Baggins, Dr. R. Scott Clark, Jason Stellman, I and others have pointed out in detail where the joint statement violates both sets of standards. Oh, but they affirm them.

In the end, Jordan again tries to pit the Westminster Standards against the Three Forms of Unity:

These people have repeatedly said that Presbyterians who like the Federal Vision ideas should leave the Presbyterian church and join a Continental Reformed body.

Does he mean a Continental Reformed body like the RCUS or URC? Oops, they also condemned Federal Vision as erroneous. So in fact, denominations from both Reformed standards have declared Federal Vision to be in error. Perhaps Jordan missed that bit of news, or maybe he was thinking of a different continent. Antarctica, perhaps?

It looks to me like Jordan has committed the same kind of factual errors, though in greater number and extent, as those he criticizes. Hence the title of this post. I could follow Jordan’s lead and say that I find such behavior appalling, but I’ve spent too much time on the blogs now to expect differently.

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