Federal Vision


~As of today, my aunt had her surgery, doing great, the cancer is NOT in her lymph lodes, which is so awesome!

The docs. are doing another test to see if chemo is needed.~


Going off a post from this site,

I’d like to bring up the subject of Federal Vision. {I think I’m against this theory, but have yet to break it down into readable terms, help please}

From Wikipedia

I also have the book ‘Reformed is not Enough”

Maybe I should read that.

From Here:

Proponents of “the Federal Vision” continue to maintain that God’s dealings with his people may be viewed from two basic perspectives: one “decretal” and the other “covenantal.” They consider Reformed theology to operate from the perspective of God’s decree, while the Bible ordinarily operates from the perspective of God’s covenant. Therefore, they favor a restatement of traditional Reformed theology from the perspective of the covenant. By this, FV proponents say, they do not radically modify the substance of Reformed theology.

From Federal Vision.com

And From Paul’s Perspective, opposition of the Federal Vision

If you have time and are interested in sort of thing, please read.

And if you have an opinion or can break it down for me in easy middle-aged home engineer words, tell me!

Blessings, Kristina

Are You Truly Reformed?

A True/False Quiz from the Westminster Confession of Faith

Developed by Douglas Wilson

1. Water baptism is to each baptized individual a sign and seal of his ingrafting into Christ.

2. Water baptism is efficacious in the work of salvation.

3. The work of the Spirit and the word of institution accompanying the sacraments makes any discussion of the efficacy of sacraments irrelevant.

4. Worthy receivers really and indeed feed upon the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Lord’s Supper.

5. Good works are the necessary fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith.

6. A man may expect pardon without grieving for and hating his sins.

7. Resting upon Christ alone for obedience in sanctification is not a principal act of saving faith.

8. Saving faith does not have to believe the entire Bible to be true.

9. The power and ability that Adam had to keep the covenant of works was a gracious gift of God.

10. Communion with God was the grace that Adam fell from when he broke the covenant of works.

Answer Key:

1. T (xxviii.i)

2. T (xxviii.vi)

3. F (xxvii.iii)

4. T (xxix.vii)

5. T (xvi.ii)

6. F (xv.ii-iii)

7. F (xiv.ii)

8. F (xiv.i)

9. T (xix.i)

10. T (vi.ii)

16 responses »

  1. See how quickly you get responses when I’m not sleeping? Sleep is overrated anyway.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Years ago I used to believe there was value in defining what all this stuff means. We have this drive to define our “isms” so they are uniquely better than the other “isms” out there.

    I would be interested to hear whether identifying these things has been helpful, hurtful or neutral in your own walk with God. I haven’t seen the benefit for myself.

  2. Take a walk through this site. Some of the posts are long, but you will have a better understanding in the end.



    It was sooo much easier to come up with fun names when you were just the Pope.

    When I am in church environments and people are saying things like “we need more meat,” (sounds like a certain red-head you may know!) and they think that if they just have God figured out this way or that then everything in their life will be perfect I usually ask one question”

    “How will this deepen your relationship with God?”

    Everything we learn about God can only lead to two places. The first is to a better relationship with him. The second leads to spiritual arrogance.

    It is my concern that much of what I see in the FV v. NPP discussion is more of the I’m right your wrong variety then how to reflect Jesus, and make this place more and more the way he taught.

  3. Agathos,

    I’ll go back to my Pope moniker once I can set up a new user–for some reason WP won’t let me and support was closed until today.

    I agree that learning about God, in general, leads us (typically) to a better relationship with him. I think most of this stuff isn’t really teaching us about God (which I suspectg is what you think as well.)

    But I think there’s another response I have experienced which you don’t mention but is likely:

    Learning the truth about God can lead us to a crisis of faith. Hopefully it eventually leads us to deeper faith, but I have seen the opposite happen as well. In fact one of the greatest dangers of fundamentalism (in my mind) is once it is revealed as false it results in a complete loss of faith for former adherents.

  4. I read Reformed is Not Enough a few years ago, but I still don’t think know that I have a good enough grasp on the issue. I read the PCA’s report as well as a criticism by Michael Horton, but the FV folks insist that those are no good or that they’re missing the point, so I dunno.

    I have a copy of the OPC’s report on Justification as well, and you can borrow it if you’d like (its also probably available online like the PCA’s is).

    As for Wilson’s quiz, I came away feeling like it was a little misleading. For example, Question 4 says – Worthy receivers really and indeed feed upon the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Lord’s Supper. – Answer True.

    It’s probably just me, but the wording of the quiz question seemed to imply a Mass-like ‘Real Presence’ sentiment, while the confession itself simply affirms that Christ’s Blood & Body are spiritually present…

    VII. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

    Anyhow, I think if you want to delve into the FV issue, you’ll need to be ready for a *lot* of reading & both sides claiming that the other is dodging the issue or not adequately representing the arguments. Reading between the two I sometimes wonder if even the FV people know exactly what they’re saying, since so often their defense tends to be “That’s not what I meant…”

  5. Kristina, Hello! Well FV is a sort of middle ground between New Perspective of Paul and the Reformed faith. It’s more subtle but equally undermines the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to sinners. To them, Jesus is declared righteous and because we are covenanted in Him by faith, then we are declared righteous. But we individually do not recieve the imputed rightesouness of Christ. Does this make sense? Its a denial of the personal imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The arguments get subtle and tricky.


    Tony Reinke, TSS

  6. I’m not too read up on FV. I’ve been meaning to read the PCA report, really. But I’ve been otherwise occupied.

    It is important to understand who we relate to God. From what I do gather, the FV guys tend to over objectify the covenant. For instance… the typical Baptist will see baptism as a sign of their faith. FV tends to see it as a sign to believe, an objective picture of the gospel.

    In Romans 4 we see that for Abraham circumcision was a sign of the faith he had, and for his children a sign for the faith they must have. So there are both subjective and objective elements. People being people, we tend to go to extremes- either totally objective or totally subjective.

    Keep in mind, I haven’t really read much about it (I’ve read more on the NPP) though I read Reformed is not Enough. No specific things come to mind, but the general sense was that Wilson was overly objective.

    Though the WCF focuses on decrees (decretal), the evidence of the decree is a lively, saving faith. The FV tends to look at whether or not you are a Christian based on the covenant- covenant faithfulness. They are nearly sacerdotal (salvation via sacraments).

    Again, not an expert on this… but like Tony says, we need to keep our focus on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness by faith alone.

  7. A quiz from WHOM on true Reformedness? A quiz from WHOM on adherance to the WCF? You’re killin’ me.

    But I do love the guy, don’t get me wrong. (Used to think he walked on water, but it’s been a while.) Still, redefining terms means redefining whole systems. It’s fascinating, but frankly, I don’t have that much reading time. And I kinda like what the Westminster divines said anyway.

    I have a lot of FV friends. I love ’em all dearly. Honestly, they, and not my own church, taught me what the covenant was all about… and then they proceeded to fall off the “skinny branches” (an old Wilsonian term for his own developing theology, haha; they didn’t jump off the S.S. Moscow in quite enough time). I’ll admit I can parse out more Catholicism than Auburnism for you, mostly because, for the sake of the friendships, we don’t go there.

    But let’s just say that a goodly bunch are now on the road to Rome. Literally. (Well, okay, not literally; they’re going more Eastern than Western.) But it’s troubling even to Ashley, who, you know, listens to way too much EWTN radio!

    Anyway, happy reading. I’m happy to let you do it for me! 😀

  8. re quiz #8
    guess i lost my salvation the day i discerned the conflicting typos in some of the OT tallies of same event recorded in different books

    or was it when i read through my strongs to discover many egregious translational errors brought on by the culture in which particular versions were translated?

    or was it when i discovered some translators used entirely different texts as a material base?

    well slap my hind parts and call me heathen!

  9. Kevin,
    im not quite sure if its an ‘ism’ yet, it hasnt caught on very well.
    when i first started on my journey, i soaked in a lot of stuff, just to find out what i wasnt. i based things against scripture, not my churches reformed theology. i guess i agree with reformed theology because of their focus on scripture and Gods sovereignty. so am i a calvinist, i agree with his findings in the bible as opposed to armenianism. so am i a fundie, becuz i believe scripture is Gods word to his people. my head reels with too much theology and other peoples definition of what the bible says.
    this federal vision attracted my attention becuz i have read alot of doug wilsons books, have see him in action and a lot of reformed people ‘like/agree with’ him. but this vision of his seems a bit out of wack, and his dealings with people who dont see it like he does is not the nicest. i read somewhere God didnt give us the bible to help know Him, he gave us His word for us to be able to deal with people, here on earth. or i would say, to obey Him, to accomplish the chief end of man. {didn’t read it from kevin}
    i havent looked at that site yet. yes, spiritual arrogance, thats what i see with FV. we can never figure God out, i think He is laughing at us right now, always trying to figure out what the heck He is doing {His will for our lives} when you say people are asking for more meat, is that in sermons and bible studies?
    Should we suggest they go out and study for themselves if they so desire it? ah, but we are like sheep, wanting to be led around to the greenest field…
    Wilsons quiz is misleading, he is swaying it to match the FV. he is implying real presence of the table. i’ve read that elsewhere. it just gets too confusing to read all of it, there is so much just on the internet. I was just wondering if reading ‘reformed is not enough’ would be good enough for me to get a picture of what he is talking about. i’d like to be able to defend my opinion, if needed, about the main points of the issue. right now, i’m not agreeing with it.
    thank you so much for commenting. it is subtle and tricky and wilson uses way too many words for me. it equally undermines as what, the NPP? and is this saying that we are declared righteous because we have faith in Him? do we have to be in a covenant of some sort to be imputed with Christs righteousness? so say, im not in a church, but i have faith, im not imputed with Christs righteousness? see, i guess i just dont get it.
    thanks for coming over, so they say we have to keep the covenants of the bible to be saved. it does appear to me they are nearly sacerdotal, and that places salvation in our hands, which goes against reformed theology. right?
    Total Tranny,
    thank you for your sweet comment. she is not a christian and im struggling right now with how to talk to her, she has already told me she wants no part of even talking to me about Jesus. so i sit here and wonder, not wanting to offend and not knowing what i can do for her. knowing she is going thru something horrible, wanting to be with her, but knowing i can’t really be ‘in her shoes’. i dont know if you can relate to that or not. but thanks for the commenting.
    yeah no kidding, from whom?!?! its a little slanted, don’t get too upset, i wanted to see if anyone noticed….and you did. 🙂 You get an A today!
    its like, who would want to go back to rome? its like saying, who would really want to go back to their sinning, evil ways, before Christ drug them out of the mire. { i would say that anyways} it seems like its always comes back to works righteousness. because we want to make self God.
    now i need to look up the new perpective on/for Paul. i wont read much more, i guess im not getting too many people who can break it down for little old me. its all too confusing for me, and i have a home engineering job to do 🙂 love you, wheres my yarn and how is the car/boy?

  10. from reformedmusings.wordpress.com
    The Committee would suggest that the FV proponents have in effect provided an alternative hermeneutic for interpreting Scripture. They have done so 1) by concentrating their efforts on the “objectivity” of the covenant, 2) by stressing the “covenantal” efficacy of baptism, 3) by focusing on the undifferentiated membership of the visible church, 4) by holding the view that the “elect” are covenant members who may one day fall from their elect status, and 5) by highlighting the need for persevering faithfulness in order to secure final election.

    good blog, concise, easy to read.

  11. Thank you for you kind words about my blog, krislinatin. I’m glad that you’ve found it helpful. My purpose for creating it was exactly to cut through the pseudo-intellectual fog and help people to see the real issues with FV. Some of its proponents have been very popular because of their unrelated works that have been helpful to folks, so their fans tend not to filter them too carefully at first. However, as you see in the quiz you posted and also in some of the post to which I link, they are trying to rewrite Christian and Reformed history to favor their views. Unfortunately, too many are buying it.

    As a further clarification, all the leading FV proponents are theonomists. I have a post in work explaining the connection and its importance. It’s taking a long time to finish because I want to come across with Christian charity while at the same time saying clearly what needs to be said.

    Keep up the great work, and I’m glad to hear the good news about your aunt!

  12. The yarn is behind my folks’ dining room table (because I’m staying there this week… long story). The car is fine, and da boy is, too. 😉

    This is such a kettle of fish that I could type for hours, so I won’t start. My own “road to Rome” (past tense) is very much tied up in my observations, and that makes for poor polemic. I’ll need to think about it some more.

    Just let me say, if it’s something you want to study, keep an eye on the churches that teach it. It’s like any doctrine: it’s not just terms, it’s systems upon systems, just like classic Reformed theology. That, frankly, is why I haven’t gotten tooooo deep into studying it directly (I don’t need to–they’re not coming up with anything new; I listen to Catholic apologists all day long, and they’re better at it! lol). It’s not just justification, it’s not just sacramentology, it’s their theories behind worship, it’s hermenutics and authority (patristics, etc.).

    I would have made a crappy Catholic, because I was more dabbling in CRECness than anything else (Wilson’s denomination)… but the thing is, you can’t just stop there. I don’t believe their systems are logically water tight until they get to Rome.

    So, some of them are truly headed that way. And in a way, I’m proud of them for being honest.

    When the foundations are destroyed… yeah.

    I said I wasn’t gonna start, right? 😀

  13. K,
    Between Two Worlds has a good post about Calvin and Servetus, drawing from Packer and Piper’s research. They take into account the historical and immediate context as well. You may like it. I’d put the permalink, but… I don’t want akismet to dump this in spam.

    If you don’t know the URL for BTW, there is a link on my sidebar.

  14. Hi krislinatin,

    I just came upon your post following a train of links. I am interested in FV, and think that Bob Mattes will only confuse the issues and slander the people involved to you. This link is a perfect example (http://reformedmusings.wordpress.com/2007/06/22/my-only-wilson-post/#respond). I do not see Christ is this at all. By his own admission in the post Bob is out of control as he struggles (if that is even an appropriate term) with his “ol philly boy.” Please look at this report by Peter Leithart’s (another proponent of the Federal Vision) done by his own presbytery, in order to get a much better handle on what FV is, and what it is not. Here is that link (http://www.federal-vision.com/pdf/pacific_nw_leithart.pdf).

    Thank you for reading this. Take Care,

    Seth Toebben

  15. I am somewhat of an expert and would be happy to answer any of your questions.
    Thanks for the comment and offer of help, Mike. It all seems so overwhelming when I try to read the reports, pro and con, and it seems like Doug has a language of his own. A friend told me ‘federal vision is layers upon layers of systematic theology, unless you lots of time to spend on it, don’t start’ *sigh*
    we’ll see. if i have a question i know where to turn. thanks again. Kristina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s