FV's historical claims?

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jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I have been studying this subject latley and I noticed that the FV guys make the claim that the modern reformed churches have been tainted, or something like that, by the great awakening style individualistic subjective like theology. They also claim to be going back and recovering the "true" pre-awakining reformed legacy. I don't believe either on of these claims but my question is this: Which reformed theologians are they refering to?
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
It's a rather nebulous claim, but basically anyone who does not claim that the rite of baptism effects some sort of union with Christ is a southern Presbyterian infected with revivalistic piety, according to the FV. Mark Horne would even go so far as to say that if you don't claim that baptism effects some kind of union with Christ, then you are not Reformed. It's a pretty broad swipe at southern Presbyterianism, and even some northern Presbyterians as well, given that none of the Reformed fathers, northern or southern, think this way. The FV here is over-reacting to pietism.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
My favorite is when they take what Bullinger said speaking of baptism

"That each part retaineth their natures distinguished, without communicating or mingling of properties, it is to be seen hereby; that many be partakers of the sign, and yet are barred from the thing signified."

and use it to prove Bullinger didn't distinguish between the sign and the thing signified.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
James you can mark Pastor K's blog and check it out every couple days. It's a good place to see FV claims and their refutations. Some are really crazy. They make the claims, and quote people, but more often than not those they quote say the exact opposite. I've noticed that many FV people are good, sincere Christians who don't have academic backgrounds, and tend to repeat what they've heard from charismatic leaders in the movement without having the wherewithal to check out the facts for themselves. Pastor Wilkins plagiarism for instance is a great example of a really nice man with great pastoral gifts who has gotten in over his head.

Green Baggins
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Half truth: Joey Pipa (and other prominent critics of the Federal Vision) have admitted that a large portion of modern American Reformed theology (and churches) has been influenced by pietism. But not one of the FV critics has admitted (nor has it been proved) that the Federal Vision is recovering Reformed theology. The better critics thus state that the Federal Vision movement has rightly criticized some of our pietistic tendencies yet, at the same time, have made the cure worse than the disease.

As far as the understanding of those who make such claims, it all depends on what part of the spectrum one is in the FV camp. From my experience and reading you can be:

1) genuinely Reformed but not able or willing to see that FV has tendencies that contradict Reformed theology
2) genuinely confused thus mixing elements of Reformed and Semi-Pelagian theologies
3) genuinely bold in their contradiction of Reformed theology (especially with their theology of baptism)
4) genuinely on the road to Rome
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks ya'll. So I guess my initial reaction when I read that claim was that it was a rather bold claim without geniune historical backing. I just didn't want to assert it without consulting my brothers and sisters on here about it. I know that the claim was wrong but I just didn't know where or why they made this claim. To recover something is to get it from somewhere, you can't recover anything from nowhere.

Do they pick somewhat obscure on the edge reformed theologians to attempt to back up their claim?
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Do they pick somewhat obscure on the edge reformed theologians to attempt to back up their claim?
Not necessarily; they have quoted several prominent Reformed figures. So, as always, it is best to read the quote yourself in context and then go on to explore the error from there. One example might be helpful:

Claim: Calvin says (citation inserted here) that we are saved by Christ's blood alone. He does not reference Christ's active obedience here so it is not necessary to hold to Christ's active obedience to maintain a Reformed view of justification. Holding to Christ's passive obedience is sufficient.

Analysis: In the context Calvin is refuting Romanism which wants to add to Christ's once for all sacrifice by positing the necessity of the re-offering of Christ in the mass, or some other work done by man (penance etc.) to add to the work of Christ. He does not mean to say that the only thing given to us in justification is the remission of sins but rather that Christ's blood alone saves when it comes to the option: 1) Christ's blood OR 2) Christ's blood and man's good works. Furthermore, other passages in Calvin's works clearly support the idea that he held to and defended the active obedience of Christ imputed to sinners in justification.

Conclusion: Such an approach (something similar to one I read by a FV supporter) is just sloppy scholarship.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
James,

Their claims are fairly easily refuted by referring to the Confessions themselves, which are the real marker of what Reformed Theology has historically held concerning Ecclesiology and Soteriology.

As Rev Kok notes, there is some truth to the claim that some modern Reformed Churches have departed from Reformed orthodoxy on the corporate nature of salvation but the solution is not the FV but a return to Confessional orthodoxy.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I agree that the confessions a good place to go to refute their claims, I just wondered that if they make historical claims that are obviously wrong than we can stack historical arguments against them as well.
 
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