Thursday, April 26, 2007

PCA Study Report on Federal Vision Theology

As one who has had a friendly relationship with many in the Presbyterian Church in America, having attained my M.Div. at Covenant Theological Seminary and being sincerely appreciative of their involvement in my life, I have been watching with real concern the development of the controversy over Federal Vision theology within that denomination. I am pleased, however, by what I see as very good steps being taken toward responding Biblically and forcefully to this serious error.

As have other pastors of Reformed Baptist churches, I have encountered many Reformed brothers who have been influenced by Federal Vision theology. I have also known many of my Reformed Baptist brothers who have been influenced in one way or another by the writings of Doug Wilson, who is a leading proponent of this aberrant theology. For shuch as these, as well as any others who may be interested in following a good development in this controversy, I recommend reading the Report of Ad Interim Study Committee on Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theologies. Here is the list of Declarations from that document:
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.

I am encouraged by this very positive step in the right direction. I pray that God will protect my PCA brothers from these errors.

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