PCA Study Report on Federal Vision

If you’ve heard of “Federal Vision, which is synonymous with “Auburn Avenue Theology,” this committee from the PCA:

Committee Members:

TE Paul Fowler, Chairman

TE Grover Gunn, Secretary

TE Ligon Duncan

TE Sean Lucas

RE Robert Mattes

RE William Mueller

RE John White.has done you a favor. They have carefully described Federal Vision, along with summarizing the New Perspective on Paul. In addition, they have compared Federal Vision and the New Perspective to the Westminster Confession of Faith. You can read the whole thing here.

Perhaps best of all–this is so rare in our day, they actually tell you what they think about the whole thing: “The fourth section sets forth nine features of NPP and FV teaching that the committee finds to be contrary to the Westminster Standards.”

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  1. Jim
    We are once again told by Doug Wilson over on his blog that the PCA report, like the OPC report, like the book by Guy Waters ‘The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology’, like the book Scott Clark edited for the faculty of Westminster seminary Calif., and like the book ‘By Faith Alone ‘ that I co-edited with Guy Waters- is guility of MISUNDERSTANDING their position(s). Since the Federal Visionist writtings are crystal clear and they understand one another perfectly well -this failure to grasp their meaning must be tracable to some obvious defeciency on all our part.

  2. As an elder in the PCA for the past 24 years, and one who has attended many presbytery meetings and General Assemblies, I can firmly say that I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the study committee was set up with the particular membership to bring about a desired conclusion. Historically, when a study committee has been set up, both proponents and opponents formed part of the committee. See the study committees on Creation, Women in the Military, Paedocommunion, to name a few. Look at results of study committees and note that there were both majority and minority reports. What does that tell you? Not everybody was in agreement. They knew that would be the case going into their study but the desire was to see two sides work together to try and reach a consensus through honest theological interaction, not just with writings and blog shoutings but with real people who could put forth cogent answerable thoughts and questions. This was not done here. One has to ask why? When I mentioned to one of the members of the church where I serve as a ruling elder that a committee had been formed by the PCA to “study” Federal Vision and NPP etc. and that they had finished their work, his first question to me seem reasonable. He asked who made up the committee and if there were those who were “for” and “against” so as to adequately study and discuss the matters at hand. When I told him that only opponents were on the committee (and I might add some of those proponents had already made their opinions quite well known in published writings and internet dialog) his gut response was “then the study committee was a sham. How can you have divergent theological views being espoused in a denomination, set up a study committee to actually study and dialog and only have one side represented?” My question indeed. I must admit that I am a presuppositionalist, but this kind of presupposition concerning my mother church I did not want to hold. At least a little window dressing to include a “token” FV proponent might have given more credibility to the committee. Certainly this committee’s report will do nothing to dissuade FV proponents that this is more a matter of a “witchhunt” with a forgone conclusion then a serious attempt to deal with the issues. Four presbyteries have already dealt with FV proponents and while they agree that they have disagreements with some of the FV musings, all have clearly made it known that the men under question are within the bounds of orthodoxy and Westminster. In all sincerity, why not have proponents on the committee? There are certainly men who are articulate, members in good standing in their respective presbyteries who could have adequately represented the position. The notable absence of such men was a great disservice to both the committee and the assembly at large. Are we viewed as men with such a lack of ability to follow theological arguments that we must be spoon fed the “appropriate” line and no more? This type of action demonstrates a great lack of trust and confidence in the elders’ ability to actually do the work of “Bereans”. It is also a lack of faith in the Holy Spirit’s ability to rightly persuade men. We have been treated like children whose “parents” must do the thinking for them.

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