Posted by: reformedmusings | December 31, 2007

Batting Practice

Dr. R. Scott Clark over at Heidelblog wrote an excellent analysis of a current debate over at GreenBagginses. That discussion is up to 234 comments as I write this. Dr. Clark’s post is a must-read, as he clearly lays out the difference between Federal Vision exegesis and orthodox Reformed exegesis. As usual, Dr. Clark nails the target. Here’s a short exerpt:

Jesus says in John 16:1 that he warned the disciples about all these things (in ch. 15) to keep them from falling away. The FV says, “Aha, there it is! He wouldn’t have said “fall away” if it wasn’t a real possibility and only those who are united can fall away.” Not so fast. Yes, falling away is a real possibility to those in the visible assembly. That’s why such warnings are issued here and in Hebrews 6 and 10. This is the distinction between the administration of the covenant of grace and its substance. We all participate in the administration but we don’t all participate in its substance. The warnings are part of the administration of the covenant of grace.

When our Lord spoke he knew who and what Judas was. He knew that they too would be sorely tempted to fall away, but the Spirit uses means, he uses the Gospel to strengthen his people in times of temptation, to enable them to resist.

The beauty of the confessional Reformed understanding of these discourses is that it reads them in the light of passages such as Rom 2:28 and Rom 9 and 1 John 2:9 We know that reprobates (e.g. Judas) may be part of the covenant of grace outwardly but never inwardly. We know that Esau was never elect, never united to Christ, and never adopted, even though he was an outward member of the covenant of grace.

Go read the rest.

While we’re at it, catch For Those Just Tuning In: What is Federal Vision? by Dr. Clark. Some have asked for a one-paragraph summary of Federal Vision. I don’t think that such a thing is possible, given the spinning and jiving from the Federal Vision crowd. Dr. Clark does a great job in one blog post, at least, and provides some good background history to go with it.

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