Posted by: reformedmusings | September 30, 2007

Shocking Federal Vision Posts

I thought that I’d seen the peak of the Federal Vision nonsense in the “discussion” over at De Regno Christi when I posted previously here and here. I thought that nothing was being added to the copious writings of the Federal Visionists. Boy, was I wrong.

First, Mark over at Federal Schism has some additional observations on the constant flip-flop of the existence of a Federal Vision “movement” or not. This isn’t a case of the FVers disagreeing between themselves, but changing their mind across their own posts. Mark also notes that William Chellis caught Jordan in a logical inconsistency. Don’t miss Dr. Mike Kear’s comment, it’s priceless. For a humorous send-off of Federal Vision “logic”, catch the comments here. If you haven’t followed some of the Federal Vision argumentation on the blogs, then you may not get the humor at first.

Second, Jim Jordan wrote this unbelievable paragraph:

I can say that Jesus died “for” everyone alive in the world at present, for He is the Hilasterion, the Ark-Cover, which is the Firmament between heaven and earth. He is the New Sky. God sees all the world through Him and His blood/death. I can freely say to any person, “God loves you and Jesus died for you.” That’s 100% true. It’s clearly taught in Lev. 16, for anyone acquainted with the Levitical imagery (which I freely admit takes some time to learn; at least it’s taken me many years!). And it’s in Romans 3. Of course, if a person dies without faith, then he moves out from this world, out from under the New Sky, and is lost. But as long as he’s here, he benefits from Jesus’ death, which took place up in the air between heaven and earth and put blood on the four corners of the earth, covering it.

Many years, indeed! Up until now, Federal Vision credited the non-regenerate in the visible church with full but temporary union with Christ. Now they’ve granted Christ’s saving benefits to everyone alive, not just the visible church. What’s that called, “covenantal universalism”? If you think that I took this entire paragraph out of context, by all means, read the rest of his post. Jordan goes on to read the minds and motivations of people who died 400 years ago, and does so in a novel way. Oh, that we were all so gifted.

Leviticus 16, of course, lays out the rituals for the Day of Atonement, rituals finally and forever fulfilled by Jesus. Is Jordan suggesting that Aaron atoned for the sins of the Canaanites, Hittites, and all the rest of the ‘-ites’ on the Day of Atonement? Gosh, I thought that God ordered Israel to utterly destroy them all. This is worse than utter nonsense from the one whose friends call him the godfather of Federal Vision.

But Jordan wasn’t alone in his meltdown. Jeff Meyers, a PCA teaching elder in Missouri Presbytery, had his own version (IAOC = imputation of the active obedience of Christ):

I will deny the IAOC with gusto as long as people keep insisting on binding my conscience with such a formulation. You see, I confess and embrace the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 20 “Of Christian Liberty, and the Liberty of Conscience.” I believe that God alone is Lord of my conscience and has left it free from the doctrines and the commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to his Word; or beside it, in matters of faith, or worship.

You ask me what I gain by denying the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Not much theologically. I just don’t think such a formulation is helpful and adequately summarizes the Biblical data. I certainly don’t think that the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone requires such a formulation. That’s all. I’m not sure why a denial of the IOAOC is inexorably linked with Shepherd’s project.

The real reason I deny it is because I’m being told that I must affirm it even though I do not find it in the Westminster Standards or in the Bible.

Translation: I will deny a basic tenet of the Reformed faith because I can. That sounds more like a child’s tantrum than theology. But in true Federal Vision form, Mark Horne, Meyer’s companion TE in Missouri, applauds the tantrum:

The entire post is beautiful.  The post is freedom.

Would it be too much to point out that there’s lots of freedom available over in the CREC, with no waiting? Oops, I forgot that I’m not your presbytery. On the other hand, Dr. Hart is also shocked and points out the irony of Meyer’s and Horne’s position:

But I have to admit I’m stunned that the debate over active obedience comes down to freedom of conscience. Isn’t a tad odd to cite the doctrines and commandments of men (WCF 20) to proclaim liberty from the doctrines and commandments of men? I would have also thought that concerns for the unity and peace of the church might keep one from insisting on his own interpretation as opposed to those of his brothers in the church.

And a PCA TE cannot find imputation in the Standards? The rest of us have no trouble find it explicitly stated in WCF 11.1:

Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. [my emphasis]

WLC 71:

Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?

A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet in as much as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace. [my emphasis]

and WSC 33:

Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone. [my emphasis]

All of these have numerous Scripture proofs underlying them. Note that Christ’s righteousness is defined in WCF 11.1 as including both His active and passive obedience, then that definition is carried into the catechisms. I know that’s obvious, but Federal Visionists like to redefine Christ righteousness as only his passive obedience (satisfaction). And most FVers deny that anything at all is imputed to the elect. However, the PCA’s Nine Declarations reiterate:

3. The view that Christ does not stand as a representative head whose perfect obedience and satisfaction is imputed to individuals who believe in him is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

Seems pretty clear to me. Jordan maintains no credentials anywhere so isn’t accountable to anyone, but Meyer and Horne certainly are in the PCA. Well, at least they’re supposed to be.

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