Douglas Wilson Challenges R. Scott Clark to a Debate on FV

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by C. M. Sheffield, Jan 14, 2011.

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  1. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    A debate assumes that this the FV is an open question. That's a false premise. It's not an open question.

    In 2004, 2007, and 2010 synods of the URCs in NA rejected the FV doctrine extensively and substantially.

    In 2007 the PCA rejected the FV doctrine extensively and substantially. The OPC GA received a report on justification rejecting the FV. The RCUS has rejected the FV. The RPCNA has rejected the FV.

    Westminster Seminary California, GPTS, MARS have all rejected the FV.

    The debate is over. The time for repentance is at hand.

    If you're new to the question start at my FV/NPP resource page.

    A debate also assumes that two positions are yet unclear and need to be clarified. That is a false premise. The Reformed confession is quite clear. The FV errors have been clearly diagnosed. They articulated those errors themselves in their 2007 statement. This is why Federal Visionists have fled orthodox churches or, as in the case Jeff Myers, repudiated them in order to remain within confessional churches (the Leithart case has yet to be adjudicated).

    So, if the positions are clear and the assemblies and the courts of the churches have decided, what's the point? A stunt? Entertainment? A quest for credibility?
    You can decide for yourself.

    My view of Wilson and his sect is public enough. If you're not familiar with the CREC, start here.
  2. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Great point, Dr. Clark! Debates at this point are not simply pointless, but damaging.
  3. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Nonsense. I think Athanasius and Arius should have gotten together after Nicaea for a series of protracted debates just so we can settle this deity of Christ thing once and for all. All positions have to be heard and all arguments (followed by counter arguments, followed by counter-counter-arguments) must be given the light of day. Such distractions are the meat and potatoes of Christ's church. After all, we all know of that passage in Scripture after Acts 15 where Paul and the Judaizers got together for a series of debates just so every conceivable position could be considered and defended and so the poor Judaizers would be misunderstood.

    Right? That is in Scripture, isn't it? Isn't it?

  4. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner


    Tim, you have a VERY wicked sense of wit!
  5. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    I respectfully disagree Dr. Clark. There are many debates that Reformed and Evangelical scholars engage in with Atheists, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Evolutionists and the list goes on. Certainly no one would say that these issues are "open questions" for Evangelicalism. However, these issues do represent very vocal challenges to the faith we hold dear. While the FV has indeed been addressed through the various courts of the different Reformed churches, it remains a thriving and developing movement. I would view participation in a debate on the matter as not only appropriate, but commendable.
  6. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I think Tim has been taking lesson in McFaddenesque satire.
  7. Curt

    Curt Puritan Board Graduate

    Nobody understands Marxism, either.
  8. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    And nobody understands me.

    Except for DMac. ;)
  9. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. Augustine debated Manichees and Ulfilian Arians publicly. They were not open issues to him. He hoped to gain those who were ignorant or wavering. Doug Wilson is huge in the "I'm leaving fundamentalism" camp. Many of them think he's the poster child of Reformed theology. They need to be exposed to the alternative.
  10. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    It looks like we have two volunteers who wish to challenge Doug Wilson in Scott's place.
  11. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I meant this as no slight against James White. It was mildly frustrating, actually. But Wilson also "debated" (more of an on-air phone discussion) Michael Horton on the FV once as well, and Wilson came out smelling like a rose (you can listen to it here; unfortunately it appears to be no longer free). The man is smooth with his words. Giving him a platform is more likely to confuse and deceive others rather than put him in his place, In my humble opinion.
  12. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Skilled debaters are valuable as persuasion tools. This should not be confused with "proving" the truth. Wilson is a bright and intellectually adroit fellow. I'm sure that Pelagius, Arminius, John Glas, Hitchens, and Dawkins could convince people too.
  13. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I listened once to Wilson debate an atheist (Dan Barker, I believe) and he was quite good at exposing the silliness of the man's position. There was one classic moment during the debate -- Barker complained about "thou shalt not kill" in the Ten Commandments, Wilson pointing out that the Hebrew word was more akin to "murder," etc. Barker then complained that Moses didn't know Hebrew very well or something like that, and Wilson asked him, "Do you think Moses knew Hebrew?" It sort of stopped Barker in his tracks.
  14. Covenant Joel

    Covenant Joel Puritan Board Sophomore

    I haven't heard him debate other than the more recent debates with Christopher Hitchens. To be honest, I thought Wilson came across as a bit weak in his debating skills. He made some points, but they weren't made well, and the force of them was largely missing. So I've been a little bit mystified when everybody talks about how great a debater he is.

    Additionally, he participated in a round table/debate on eschatology a while ago, and honestly, while I felt like he did have some good points, I thought he was absolutely destroyed by Sam Storms and Jim Hamilton. He spent too much time trying to be cute or clever that he ended up sounding like someone who couldn't actually make a serious point.
  15. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior

    This is my beef with Wilson as a debator also. It doesn't seem like he really takes the opportunity seriously. But then again I have limited exposure to him so I could be missing the big picture.
  16. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    I would like to see Carl Trueman debate Doug Wilson... both have that personality thing going for them that you just can't help but like.
  17. proregno

    proregno Puritan Board Freshman

    Dr. vanDrunen did debate dr. Schreiner on baptism (see here), but I do not think the baptism issue is an 'open' question for both gentleman. I therefore think a debate would be fine. If dr. Clark do not want to face 'Goliath', who will it be ? :um:

    BTW, a debate between 2K vs R2K would also help to clarify this issue, except if WCF chapter 23 and BC art.36 already settled the issue ?
  18. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    You don't have to read much of Wilson to see that he's all about entertainment and publicity. If you doubt that statement, try reading his stuff in Credenda Agenda or his blog posts during the Louisiana Presbytery trials. Yes, he's a smooth talker and fast thinker on his feet, but that doesn't mean that what he says concerning FV is even remotely true. The list of eloquent, smooth talking teachers of error runs long in history. Has theology been reduced to reality TV now? Should Snookie moderate?

    Dr. Clark is absolutely right. FV has been written about from both sides ad nauseum. At least seven orthodox Reformed denominations as well as a bunch of seminaries and presbyteries have rejected Federal Vision theology and produced reports as a result. There's nothing left to debate, only church court cases to finish. Dr. Clark provides an excellent index of reports, papers, and books on the subject. I highly recommend them to anyone interested.

    In the meantime, God expects us to redeem our time wisely. Dr. Clark and the rest of us have serious work to accomplish to advance the kingdom for God's glory. Let's be about His business and leave the entertainment and smooth talking to network TV and used car lots.
  19. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that Doug Wilson is all about entertainment and publicity but I do think that's what make him appealing to many. I used to enjoy reading him in Tabletalk and read some of his books when I was younger but I increasingly found his style to be sort of predictable. I think he relishes poking people in the eye using his wit. Where the Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to aspire to live quiet and peacable lives, Doug Wilson seems to encourage the opposite. When you read his books about education, for instance, he revels in the opportunities he has to point out to government officials how foolish they are. Whatever serious insights he has are always laced with an attempt to be witty and that wit is often very cutting in terms of criticism of others. Quiet, humble, preferring to honor others, and peaceable are not things that would immediately come to mind when you think of Doug Wilson. If he's like that in his personal life then it does not come out in his public interactions.
  20. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    While the PCA and OPC have condemned FV and the theologians on the Puritanboard understand it is heretical, I, as a simple lay-person, don't understand the FV, can't articulate why it is heretical, and don't know to be cautious and/or discriminating when exposed to it. I'd love to see/hear a debate between experts.
  21. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    I highly recommend The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros & Cons - Debating the Federal Vision edited by Dr. Cal Beisner. It takes the form of a debate where each participant on each side wrote a paper and someone on the other side critiqued it. Everyone writes their own words - direct from the source. You'll learn far more from that written exchange than from a reality-TV circus with or without Snookie.
  22. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    What have you read on the FV?

    Have you read the stuff linked at the FV Resource page?

    Westminster Seminary California

    The churches have rejected the FV because it turns the good news (Christ's work FOR sinners, the benefits of which are received through resting in and receiving Christ) into bad news. They say that we are temporarily, conditionally united to Christ, elect, justified, etc by baptism. They say that we retain these baptism by grace AND cooperation with grace (works). R C Sproul Jr has rightly said that this doctrine is a denial of the perseverance of the saints. It's a denial of justification by grace alone through faith alone. It's a corruption of the gospel.

    There it is in a paragraph.

    All this has been documented at great length in numerous publications.
  23. E Nomine

    E Nomine Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Dr. Clark and Elder Mattes. I haven't read anything regarding the FV recently. I read several papers and pages from the Internet a couple of years ago. I will look into the Pros & Cons book edited by Dr. Beisner. I have not prioritized exploring the FV and NPP.
  24. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

  25. ServantsHeart

    ServantsHeart Puritan Board Freshman

    I most surely agree Tim, I heard a Debate between a Reformed Baptist Pastor and a professional Church Of Christ Debater,this is all this man does is Debate around the world. He was polished,skilled and had an Army of support personel. I was so discusted after it I swore I would never go to another one which concerned the Church Of Christ and its Doctrine of Salvation or Baptism if you will. My Brother was Humble and showed great respect for the issue and his fellow Debater. The opposit was true of this fellow, my flesh nearly got the best of me sitting there as I mused how I might do harm to this fellow like trip him when he walks by and watch him land on his pride & arrogance. But I decided to pray for the poor soul instead.
  26. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    I would make it a priority for anyone who wants to debate Doug Wilson on this subject to require Mr. Wilson to clearly define what he means by "Federal Vision"? And, what is specifically "Federal" about it.

    Both would be necessary in order to have a rational debate on the subject. Until this happens debate on the subject would be vain at best.


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