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#36303 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 12:01 AM PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision  
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Theo Offline
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If you have not already seen it, you may find the PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision to be of interest.

Section IV seems to come out strongly against the FV:
Quote
In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:

1. The view that rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the Westminster Standards (i.e., views which do not merely take issue with the terminology, but the essence of the first/second covenant framework) is contrary to those Standards.

2. The view that an individual is “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

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.

4. The view that strikes the language of “merit” from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christ’s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

5. The view that “union with Christ” renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

7. The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.


This report will be presented to this year's General Assembly.

Theo

#36304 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:38 AM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: Theo]  
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Thanks Theo,

How will the GA act upon it this year? That is what I don't understand because overtures to the GA are sent by an individual Presbytery. Then, if the overture is passed; it goes back to the Presbyteries the following year and if 60& or is it two-thirds of the Presbyteries approve then it returns back to the GA the following year for approval. Since this is a denom study, I don't know the process.

I assume bottom line is that it will be referred when examining Elders. I wonder about Louisiana Presbytery which has adopted the FV theologies. Who will oversee them in this matter?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#36305 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:31 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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Theo Offline
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John,

You make some good points. I don't know the procedure for turning "studies" into approved amendments to the BCO, etc; I guess we will learn from how this particular item is handled this year. If I come across anyone else's comments on this question I'll post a link.

Theo

#36306 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:24 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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John,

My gripe is the bureaucracy which, if the process is as you have outlined, will take at least 2 years before this study becomes "law". Of course, it may never get that far either. But in the meantime, the FV heretics are freely preaching and teaching their views in the churches and seminaries. It isn't going to do much good to enact a law to prohibit something where it has already taken place and the damage has already been done. Is this any way to run a denomination? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/igiveup.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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#36307 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:32 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Theo Offline
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John and Pilgrim,

This guy, Rev. Mike Pahls, who apparently was in the PCA at one time, gives an overview of the process in his comments here:

http://www.reformedcatholicism.com/?p=1105#comment-72236

I think the pertinent paragraph is this one:
Quote
In PCA polity there is a difference between a committee and a commission. When the General Assembly assembles a commission, that commission is empowered to act on behalf of the General Assembly. When it assembles a committee (as in this case), the report is presented to the summer meeting General Assembly for study. The recommendations at the end of the document are usually presented as motions to the Assembly which then votes. While the recommendations are normally ratified by the vote, substitute motions can be introduced. Possibilities for this include everything from a mere reception of the report with thanks (in which the report would have no authority at all) to a proposal to amend the Book of Church order to receive the report as an authoritative interpretation of the Westminster Standards.


This would indicate action COULD be taken THIS year.

Theo

#36308 - Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:41 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: Theo]  
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I'm not a Presby so excuse the question, but what is the "F V"--I assume it is "federal vision"--but what is that?


gil
#36309 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:33 AM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: gnarley]  
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Gnarley,

The Report itself--linked at the top of thread--gives a pretty good overview of both of its targets--Federal Vision/FV and New Perspective on Paul/NPP--before reaching its conclusions, and it's not that long a read.


In Christ,
Paul S
#36310 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:38 AM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: Theo]  
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Theo,

Your statement, "This would indicate action COULD be taken THIS year."

In my understanding, action can be taken to send propose changes to BCO regarding FV/NPP back to the Presbyteries for a vote, but it cannot be finalized until next GA (2008). Either 60% or two-thirds of the Presbyteries will need to approve any changes before going back to the GA.

The question if the church bureaucracy is too slow is open for debate. Many times the answer is yes, but sometimes it is best to go slow. What's ironic in this case is that Wilkins wanted to leave the PCA several years ago but some of his strongest critics today persuaded him not to leave.

Last edited by John_C; Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:40 AM.

John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#36311 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:50 AM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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Theo Offline
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John,

Thanks for clarifying that for me--you've been really helpful. I also did not know that about Wilkins; wonder if he would have wound up in the CREC (Doug Wilson's group) if he had not been persuaded to stay.

Theo

#36312 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:22 AM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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Quote
John_C said:
The question if the church bureaucracy is too slow is open for debate. Many times the answer is yes, but sometimes it is best to go slow.

John,

I shouldn't have to say this, but I will. I am NOT an advocate of "quick" action in most situations, although there are those situations where a quick decision is demanded. However, in this particular case, i.e., the matter of NPP/FV &co., this has been going on since the late 1970's. In my thinking, 30+ years for a denomination to act on something which is an attack on the fundamental doctrine of the Church is a wee bit slow. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/igiveup.gif" alt="" />

Of course, even IF, the matter is resolved as Theo suggested where action would be taken this year, that doesn't address the long drawn out process of 1) bringing charges against individuals, 2) setting a date to have their case heard, 3) the inevitable committee that will be formed to study the case, 4) setting a date to hear the committee's report, 5) rendering a verdict and actually disciplining the individuals, and 6) enforcing the sentence/discipline.

Sorry brother, but I have 0% confidence that the PCA is going to deal with this matter and ALL the individuals who are guilty of teaching NPP/FV in a timely and just manner. In fact, IMHO, the damage done by these individuals has been so severe that there will be little possibility of a recovery.

In His grace,


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#36313 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 5:40 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim,

I agree with you totally that the PCA will not deal with this issue quickly enough. IOW, the cat's already out of the bag. The BCO changes, the courts and the trials make it even at best 4-5 year project. Though I do not reject your premise that it started in the late 70s; it has only been out in the open for the last 3-4 years. And still, some Pastors and most RE and congregants are not aware of it. It has been masked under other movements for years. Only when the other movements distanced themselves from it, it became public - so to speak. I'll PM about that as I got some hunches; but I am not in the real know.

So, unless the FV/AAT/NP proponents decide to leave on their own for greener pastures, then it will linger around. Fortunately, it is a small minority pomoting it. They only have control in one Presbytery - Louisiana Presbytery, and some influence in a couple of others.

Does anyone know anything regarding the Missiouri Presbytery study on the subject?


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#36314 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 6:45 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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TheClingingVine Offline
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That's assuming there are changes to the BCO, trials, etc. The OPC received a similar report last summer and so far, from what I understand, not a darn thing has changed. Nothing. All FV'ers in the OPC are still present and accounted for.

It's tricky. If it's truly not on the radar of most PCA members, there will be no great impetus to change the BCO, I wouldn't think. But if it isn't changed, the FV is likely to continue to spread unmolested until it's taken over as the dominant viewpoint.


Anne
#36315 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:55 PM Re: PCA Study Report on the Federal Vision [Re: John_C]  
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Quote
John_C said:
Though I do not reject your premise that it started in the late 70s; it has only been out in the open for the last 3-4 years. And still, some Pastors and most RE and congregants are not aware of it. It has been masked under other movements for years. Only when the other movements distanced themselves from it, it became public - so to speak.

John,

May I respectfully suggest that you are being a bit naive? NPP/FV has been around for nearly 25 years but kept under wraps, so to speak. It has infiltrated many of the Reformed seminaries through its sympathizers, many of whom are professors. Now, you should surely realize that all it takes is one teacher to start things snowballing, e.g., Norman Shepherd at WTS. Each teacher has the potential to influence MANY students who then become pastors who then preach and teach many more within their individual congregations. The average pew-sitter simply accepts what comes from the pulpit and what is taught in Sunday School classes as "gospel truth". And thus, the "virus" spreads unhindered and without a whimper of objection.

NPP/FV is like a cancer and after 25+ years, this cancer has spread throughout the body and IMHO is terminal. The ONLY way one has of eradicating cancer is to catch it at its early stages and deal with it decidedly, e.g., removal by surgery. Thus, I believe anything which comes of these reports, etc., will be far too little and too late. However, all that being said, my confidence rests in the promise given by the Lord Christ, "I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:18) There will always be a remnant which is faithful to God and His infallible Word; the truth Church of Christ and the Living God.

In His grace,


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#36316 - Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:55 PM An interesting quote from Scott Clark's blog.... [Re: Theo]  
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TheClingingVine Offline
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He quoted Martin Downes of Against Heresies:
Quote
During the lunch at the end of the Banner ministers conference I was sat next to a Presbyterian minister from Poland. When I asked him how things were going he said "we are having terrible trouble in our country from something called the Federal Vision." He said it was coming from the internet and asked if I had heard of Doug Wilson and Peter Leithart. He then told me that it was leading to disunity between churches and that he thought it was heresy. The FV influenced churches were becoming more like Roman Catholics he thought....

That's amusing to imagine, isn't it?

"Say, have you ever heard of someone called Doug Wilson?"


Anne
#36317 - Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:55 AM Re: An interesting quote from Scott Clark's blog.... [Re: TheClingingVine]  
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I've been in Reformed circles since 1978 and I never had anyone mentioned Wilson's name. Period.

Only through the internet have I become familiar with the name. Besides the internet, he wrote articles for Ligonier's Tabletalk but I would not have even remember him through those if it weren't for the internet.

IMO, even some of FV's strongest critics are to blame because they were able to let it be masked along with their pet theologies - namely Theonomy. I don't know, maybe Theonomy should be lump with FV as it is just as aberrant.


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
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