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#54442 - Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:28 AM The Piper debate and FV controversy  
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John_C Offline
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I read the following article this morning, and the writer appears to make some excellent points. Since I don't trust myself completely on such deep theological matters, I wonder what others might think on the merits and faults in the article.

http://theaquilareport.com/piper-debate-federal-vision-controversy/


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#54444 - Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:50 AM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: John_C]  
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goldenoldie Offline
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The writer makes many excellent points. I find the following observation very interesting: "Federal Vision began as a pastoral response to the problem of a lack of assurance among covenant children."

Of course there is no assurance when the sovereignty of God in election is denied as the only arbiter of the Covenant, and of union with Christ. A person is in the Covenant, and stays in it, not because he keeps the law.

Assurance is founded on the divine truth of the promises of salvation (Westminster Conf, 18:2), which are established by God Himself (2 Cor. 1:21).

Tamper with this, and assurance falls apart. Either we trust in Christ alone, or hope that our works will somehow pull us through. There is no middle ground.

Children are certainly capable of looking to Christ, and Him only, for salvation. However, it does take a little maturity to discern the Lord's body—and that is why pedocommunion (favored by many of the Federal Vision persuasion) is a very bad idea.

Why do Presbyterian and Reformed ministers look to Rome for truth?


In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
#54445 - Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:40 AM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: John_C]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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I wanted to mention, in addition to goldenoldie's response, and comment on another criticism of Federal Vision which the author of the article wrote:

Quote
In the realm of the objective covenant, all those baptized are regenerated and justified,...

Most assuredly, this is not a doctrine to be found in Reformed/Calvinist confessions, nor most importantly in Scripture. HOWEVER, what is found to be voiced and practiced in many... too many Reformed/Calvinist churches; mainly paedobaptist churches, is the contrived doctrine of "presumptive regeneration", pertaining to covenant children. I once interviewed a new pastor (to be) who graduated from WTS Philadelphia and studied under and was greatly influenced by Norman Shepherd (a forerunner of Federal Vision). I asked him plainly if he believed that covenant children are in need of hearing the gospel, repent and believe upon Christ for justification. He quickly responded with a resounding, "NO!" So, I followed up with the question, "Then what are covenant children to be taught?" His response was "tell them to be obedient to the covenant." Conviction of sin and guilt and being under the just wrath of God is rarely heard in the modern Reformed churches... there are exceptions of course. Methinks that any lack of assurance among covenant children is mainly due to the fact that they are unregenerate. It is not only the objective, written promises of God in Scripture which brings assurance to the elect who have been genuinely converted by the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself testifies to the true believers soul that they are children of God and have been adopted into God's kingdom. (Rom 8:16; 1Jh 5:10)


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#54448 - Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:54 AM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Anthony C. Offline
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim
I wanted to mention, in addition to goldenoldie's response, and comment on another criticism of Federal Vision which the author of the article wrote:

Quote
In the realm of the objective covenant, all those baptized are regenerated and justified,...

Most assuredly, this is not a doctrine to be found in Reformed/Calvinist confessions, nor most importantly in Scripture. HOWEVER, what is found to be voiced and practiced in many... too many Reformed/Calvinist churches; mainly paedobaptist churches, is the contrived doctrine of "presumptive regeneration", pertaining to covenant children. I once interviewed a new pastor (to be) who graduated from WTS Philadelphia and studied under and was greatly influenced by Norman Shepherd (a forerunner of Federal Vision). I asked him plainly if he believed that covenant children are in need of hearing the gospel, repent and believe upon Christ for justification. He quickly responded with a resounding, "NO!" So, I followed up with the question, "Then what are covenant children to be taught?" His response was "tell them to be obedient to the covenant." Conviction of sin and guilt and being under the just wrath of God is rarely heard in the modern Reformed churches... there are exceptions of course. Methinks that any lack of assurance among covenant children is mainly due to the fact that they are unregenerate. It is not only the objective, written promises of God in Scripture which brings assurance to the elect who have been genuinely converted by the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself testifies to the true believers soul that they are children of God and have been adopted into God's kingdom. (Rom 8:16; 1Jh 5:10)


Sobering ..... But I can't disagree..... Personally, somewhere between the NRC and the OPC there's a place that gets it right in this most vital area....however, not sure where that is.....following your posts there is no denomination that gets it right, even Reformed, in this day and age. As the head of my household, some days I feel like Christian from PP, other days not even close.....

#54449 - Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:11 AM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Anthony C. Offline
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Pilgrim, have you ever read this book? We are studying it in adult SS class.... https://www.amazon.com/Confessing-Christ-Calvin-Knox-Cummings/dp/0934688044
What do you think of it? It does seem to seek to make more than just an objective distinction of our true standing before God via saving faith.... I believe he uses the word 'Consent' ....as even the devils 'believe'

Actually, Cummings uses the term 'Conviction' .....and 'Trust' in conjunction with 'Confession' and 'Sorrow' for sin..... I would prefer to hear these distinctions more from the pulpit, however and see more discernment especially as it relates to the youth.... Confession of faith is encouraged too young I believe .... I agree with the opc pastor that we should not narrow the starting point and seek to receive into the covenant.... However, is (true conviction and) discernment being applied both from the outside and even more importantly, within? Maybe we should be nervous???




Last edited by AJ Castellitto; Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:33 AM.
#54450 - Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:56 AM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: Anthony C.]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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I am vaguely familiar with Calvin Knox Cummings, who came into the OPC in its infancy when orthodoxy meant something special and was committed to objective, absolute truth vs. multi-perspectivalism and the hermeneutic of truth that dominates the OPC today.

As you doubtless know, I believe I stand in that "somewhere between" area. I'm a modern Puritan, one could say I guess. I firmly embrace experimental Christianity vs. easy believism and fluff evangelism and I firmly believe that those truly called by God through the sovereign and secret work of the spirit will not only experience conviction of sin and guilt but a certain knowledge of God's inexorable holiness which brings them to Christ. That coming to Christ also draws the now child of God out of this world into the kingdom of God where holiness is sought and loved which is defined by Scripture as is all of life (Rom 12:2). And, perhaps the most important is that not only is the true believer's life is more and more transformed into the image of Christ as they partake of His divine nature (2Pet 1:4) but that this new life in Christ (Jh 10:10) is expressed in true spiritual worship of God (Ps 51:17, 66:18; Isa 57:15; Matt 15:8,9; 2Cor 1:12; Heb 12:28 Jh 4:23,24). ALL who truly come to Christ and cling to Him to so because of the work of the Spirit in them working regeneration; conviction of sin/sinfulness and creating in them true saving faith and infallibly drawing them to Christ. God has no grand children (children of believers). ALL are born under the just judgement and wrath of God and need to repent and believe upon Christ by God's efficacious grace. I agree with you that the quest to "get people saved" has brought about some disastrous and shallow practices in the church in recent times. And as I have too many times expressed over many years, these type of heretical doctrines and practices have nearly destroyed the visible church for the result is churches being filled with and led by unregenerate sinners who are assured they are Christians. Corinth has been revived in the modern church, IMO and it is in dire need of reformation and cleansing from within (Mk 11:17; 1Pet 4:17).

Lastly, I recommend to those who aren't afraid of reading things that requires effort Jonathan Edwards treatise on the requirements for church membership. It's about 60+ pages, which when you are done feels like 1200 pages giggle. But it is meat that speaks truth which brings growth not only to one's mind but to one's soul. Edwards was ousted because of his biblical understanding of what a true Christian was and how important it was to maintain membership in the church was for believers only, as best as we are given to discern. The standards of church membership today are minimal at best and a "credible confession of faith" has been changed to the point that it no longer exists. Note how a member here unabashedly took pride in the fact that the church of which he was a member allows those who embrace semi-Pelagianism (and who knows what other damnable heresy(s)) to be communicate members. rolleyes2


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#54451 - Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:28 PM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Anthony C. Offline
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim

Lastly, I recommend to those who aren't afraid of reading things that requires effort Jonathan Edwards treatise on the requirements for church membership. It's about 60+ pages, which when you are done feels like 1200 pages giggle. But it is meat that speaks truth which brings growth not only to one's mind but to one's soul. Edwards was ousted because of his biblical understanding of what a true Christian was and how important it was to maintain membership in the church was for believers only, as best as we are given to discern. The standards of church membership today are minimal at best and a "credible confession of faith" has been changed to the point that it no longer exists.


Interesting,but the whole experiential / experimental thing feels somewhat mystical.....don't get me wrong, where our heart lies there we will be....but to quantify it ...at different stages of maturity, etc.... I think the opc pastor seeks to let the Word lead.... I just get caught up in the depth of faith..... How much conviction and devotion and the fruit of faith.....it seems hard to fully quantify.... What about the disabled child with little intellectual understanding?

#54452 - Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:35 PM Re: The Piper debate and FV controversy [Re: Anthony C.]  
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Pilgrim Offline
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Pilgrim  Offline

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Originally Posted by AJ Castellitto
Interesting,but the whole experiential / experimental thing feels somewhat mystical.....don't get me wrong, where our heart lies there we will be....but to quantify it ...at different stages of maturity, etc.... I think the opc pastor seeks to let the Word lead.... I just get caught up in the depth of faith..... How much conviction and devotion and the fruit of faith.....it seems hard to fully quantify.... What about the disabled child with little intellectual understanding?

1. Quantification is hard to nail down to be sure. Acts 2 gives a good indication and example how these things are expressed... Acts 2:37 "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" There are a number of such examples in both the O.T. and N.T where the Spirit of God came upon a sinner and gave them a new heart (regeneration) and they are all very similar. NONE saw one good thing within themselves, no good thought, no good deed; nothing that would commend them to God in order to receive mercy nor grace. Sure, such humbling, conviction and felt guilt can be feigned, which you in particular have witnessed in your past dealings in the NRC. Now, whatever the magnitude of conviction and guilt and a genuine understanding of one's need of Christ in order to be forgiven of their sins and to be reconciled to God (something rarely ever mentioned in our day), that increases throughout a saint's life. Look at Paul who exclaimed, Rom 7:18 "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing:..." As we grow in grace, the Spirit reveals more and more our personal sinfulness and weakness of faith which drives us more and more to love and rest on Christ in all things.

Originally Posted by AJ Castellitto
What about the disabled child with little intellectual understanding?

What about such a child? Is a lack of academic brilliance a hindrance to the Spirit to regeneration a sinner... any sinner? This is not to say that the Spirit doesn't work apart from means. nope We know Romans 8:29-30 (KJV) "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." ALL whom the Father has given to Christ WILL come to Christ and He will not lose one. Typically, this question is asked of such children and infants who die in infancy. The Westminster divines were given much wisdom in their answer to this question when they wrote WCF 10:1-3:

Quote
I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call,[1] by His Word and Spirit,[2] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[3] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[4] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;[5] renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[6] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[7] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.[8]

II. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man,[9] who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,[10] he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.[11]

III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,[12] who works when, and where, and how He pleases:[13] so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.[14]


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