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:
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!
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