"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

For those Just Tuning in: What is the Federal Vision?

In 2007, R. Scott Clark, history professor at Westminster Seminary California pens a piece on the origins and character of what has come to be known as "Federal Vision" or "Auburn Avenue" Theology. This is an excellent primer on one of the most serious threats to the Gospel in the Reformed community:

For Those Just Tuning In: What is the Federal Vision?

In talk radio the host is supposed to “re-set” the show at regular intervals. He is to remind listeners to which show they are listening and on what network or station. One reason why the host does this is because some listeners are just tuning in. Some people are “just tuning in,” as it were, to the Federal Vision (FV) controversy and this might be a good time to re-set the show.

The FV is 33-year old movement that originated, at least in this episode, with the Rev Mr Norman Shepherd who was then teaching systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). In 1974 he defined faith, in the act of justification, to be “faith and works.” It was not that, in justification, faith is “receiving and resting” and works are evidence and thus a sort of vindicatory justification of the claim that one believes. Nothing so nuanced or Reformed. Rather, he flatly claimed that there are two parts to faith in justification. When that created a predictable uproar, he modified his language to “faithfulness.” At the same time he, and others, was about revising covenant theology. In baptism, he wrote, we are all united to Christ and receive the benefits of Christ temporarily and conditionally. What is the condition of retaining them? Faithfulness!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Vows of a PCA Minister

1. Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of
God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?

2. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and
the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of
doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further
promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with
any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you
will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery
the change which has taken place in your views since the
assumption of this ordination vow?

3. Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of
the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the
general principles of Biblical polity?

4. Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?

5. Have you been induced, as far as you know your own heart,
to seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God and a
sincere desire to promote His glory in the Gospel of His Son?

6. Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the
truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace and unity of
the Church, whatever persecution or opposition may arise
unto you on that account?

7. Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all
your duties as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, whether
personal or relational, private or public; and to endeavor by the
grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your
manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before the
flock of which God shall make you overseer?

8. Are you now willing to take the charge of this church,
agreeable to your declaration when accepting their call?
And do you, relying upon God for strength, promise to
discharge to it the duties of a pastor?