Presbyterians Together

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by NaphtaliPress, May 10, 2006.

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  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I hadn't seen notice of this on PB yet, but I just saw reference on the Warfield list to a paper circulating for signatures within PCA circles calling for charity and tolerence for FV adherents.
    See below and discussion here.
  2. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    You are asking people to sign this?
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    No, I don't think he is, Scott.

    You can see a response by (if I recall) Rick Phillips on the Ref21 blog. Check it out.
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    No. Folks should not sign it. See the links for some commentary for why it is a bad thing.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    fYI. Here is some commentary my pastor made on the document.

    --- In [email protected], "Richard Bacon" <[email protected]> wrote:

    Working off Dan Landis' propaganda list (which he extracted from
    "Presbyterians and Presbyterians Together" alias "Come into my parlor, said
    the spider to the fly..."):

    Wanna take the propaganda techniques to the next level? My remarks are the ones without question marks.

    ? how we interpret the biblical doctrine of creation as to chronology,
    timing, and process

    So what exactly is left -- maybe 6 days maybe not. We're sure somebody
    sometime created something, though.

    ? how we apply the regulative principle of worship practically to worship
    style and order, frequency of communion, the church year, and the like

    A better way of stating this is whether or not we believe the regulative
    principle of worship.

    ? how we translate scriptural teaching on the Jewish Sabbath into a new
    covenant understanding of resting upon Christ and celebrating the Lord's Day

    NB: It is the Jewish Sabbath (not God's Sabbath?) that we must translate. No
    mention of the fourth commandment?

    ? how we construe and implement biblical principles of church polity in
    accordance with our respective church orders

    Interesting considering this is supposed to be about Presbyterians and
    Presbyterians. Though I did note that at least one of the signers was not a

    ? how we characterize the pre-lapsarian covenant, particularly as to
    probation, grace, merit, and reward, and its relationship to and distinction
    from the covenant of grace

    Again, it is not "covenant of life" or "covenant of works" but "the
    pre-lapsarian covenant." This assumes that works and grace are the same,
    reward and gift are the same, merit of Adam vs. merit of the second Adam are
    the same.

    ? whether we regard sacraments truly to offer Christ and whether, when
    effectual, they confer grace instrumentally or are only occasions for the
    imparting or promise of grace

    No mention of "when effection" is (like in the believer for example) nor
    what the supposed difference is (if any) between conferring instrumentally
    and working by themselves.

    ? how we interpret and enact biblical teaching on worthy participation in
    the Lord's Supper

    This is simply a plea for paedocommunion.

    ? the way we apply Scriptural teaching on election to the lived experience
    of God's people as the church visible

    This is an attempt to redefine the invisible and visible church

    Dan, I do not disagree with your analysis at all. I'm simply suggesting that
    the document itself is for the purpose of providing "wiggle room" so those
    who do not believe our confessional documents can pretend that they do.

    Dr. Richard Bacon, Pastor
    Faith Presbyterian Church Reformed
    Mesquite, TX
    "Lameness is an impediment to the leg but not to the will." ~ Epictetus

    --- End forwarded message ---
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Are the links to Reformation 21's blog working for anyone? I copied and pasted them even and I get nowhere.

    This subject is what I am studying right now. Also if you guys can fill me in on this Pre-lapsarian doctrine. It seems to be something that is being developed so that teachers can justify the teaching that a regenerate person can fall from grace or become apostate. After all that is what Adam did. Right? Just my humble opinion Maybe this is a topic for another Thread.

    [Edited on 5-10-2006 by puritancovenanter]
  7. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    See how insidious this plague is...........
  8. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    What I dont understand is what is so innovative about FV as opposed to Reformed Theology in general?

    Are they trying to reform Reformed Theology??

  9. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    There is nothing innovative, it is all old rejected theological movements given air time again.

    They're trying to redefine and reform Reformed theology. They think Semper Reformanda means always changing and redefining, not always reforming from the Roman Catholic Church.
  10. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

  11. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    When you ask how the FV is trying to "reform" (revise would be a better verb) Reformed theology, are you being genuine or facetious?

    I ask because there has been a lot of discussion of the FV and its distinctives on this board and having posted 4,900 times I guess you might have seen some the discussions.

  12. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    The document is now online here.

    There are some surprising signatures. When I saw the first list, I noticed John Armstrong right away. He's not a Presbyterian, at least not to my knowledge. Last I knew he, he was an ordained Baptist minister attending College Church in Wheaton. Now I read (whether reliably, I can't say) that he's seeking ordination in the RCA!

    On the "quotes" page one signatory writes:

    Okay, this is true. There have been useless fights, but if one surveys a list of Presbyterian arguments over the last century, most of them have centered around some pretty important ideas. Personally I think that the debate over the length of the days is fruitless, since we'll never know empirically how long the days were and, in my view, Scripture doesn't say unequivocally, and it's doesn't change our doctrine or affect the system of doctrine.

    Still, I understand that it seems to some/many that questioning 6-24 creation calls the perspicuity of Scripture into question. Defenders of 6-24 creation have a right to ask non-6-24 types to explain and defend themselves. In my view, that was done a long time ago. We can continue to discuss it, but it shouldn't be a matter of discipline, but the Clark/Van Til case was, from the pov of the VT folk, about the Creator/creature distinction. That's one of the most central doctrines in Reformed and Protestant theology. That was a nasty fight at the time, but it was and remains an important argument.

    These two arguments illustrate the difference between the important and the essential. The Clark argument touched on a Reformed essential, whether the human intellect, at some point, intersects with the divine. Whether there really is a Creator/creature distinction.

    The theonomy argument was/is important. That's about hermeneutics, the nature of redemptive history, Christian freedom, civil life etc. As a result, many of us have been forced to think through their ethics and views of the relations between church and state and the two kingdoms etc. The ends don't justify the means, but the theonomists caught the rest of us being lazy and intellectually flabby.

    The same is true of the Shepherd/FV/covenant moralism argument. Shepherd's views developed and flourished because we were not being faithful to our confession. We brought it on ourselves. At the same time we were being told (literally) "we all know what we think about the gospel" Shepherd was fundamentally revising Reformed covenant theology and soteriology. How many of us now "get" law and gospel who might otherwise never have been driven to find out about it without this controversy.

    Again, nothing is more important in Scripture, in our confession, or in our mission than the gospel. How anyone can suggest that there is room in our churches for two sides in this argument is beyond me.

    Paedocommunion, closely related to the above, again, arose because we were not being faithful to our confession. Had we all a full-bodied confessional theology of the sacraments, and covenant theology, we could probably have prevented this one, but many/most of us didn't. Many of us are/were quasi-Zwinglian or even quasi-Baptist (sorry fellows) in our view of the sacraments. If we don't understand the distinction between initiation and renewal, folks are bound to start moving toward paedocommunion. When folks discover that there are alternatives to Zwingli and the Baptist view, and they aren't confessional, then of course they're going to look into paedocommunion.

    The same is true of the RPW. I wasn't taught it well or clearly. I wasn't made to get to grips, really, with Q 96 of the HC or BC 7 or the Westminster Standards. We just assumed 25 years ago that we could sing revival tunes and be Reformed so long as we were predestinarian. Now people assume they can sing, in stated services, "Shine Jesus Shine" so long as they are predestinarian. So we're having an argument about the RPW because we've been lazy. We've taken a 100 year vacation from our confession and it shows.

    PPT, however, seems to be saying in effect, "sit down and be quiet." There is room for all sides on these (then they list a series of) issues.

    Is there room in confessional Presbyterianism for denial of the Creator/creature distinction and affirmation of it? Denial of justification sola gratia, sola fide and affirmation of it? Denial and affirmation of paedocommunion? Really? Denial of the RPW and affirmation of it?

    Our confessions don't speak clearly to these issues? There is a formal affirmation of the confessions in PPT but in substance aren't they denying the their reality and authority in adjudicating such issues?

    Isn't their list misleading in that it groups together issues that really aren't matters of division and matters that really are?

    Doesn't PPT suggest that what really matters is "mission" and not "theology"?

    Well, what is our mission?

    Who gets to define that mission?

    Who gets to say what is important and what isn't?

    Who gets to say what makes us Reformed and what doesn't?

    Who gets to say what Biblical and Reformed worship is?

    I thought that's why we HAVE confessions?

    If they don't adjudicate issues this fundamental to theology, piety, and praxis, then they must be broken, but no such judgment has been made by any of our assemblies, so far as I know.

    How isn't this latitudinarianism?

    What are we going to say to the people whom we reach? The gospel is "either trust in Christ for justification" or "you've been united to Christ by your baptism and you can keep what you've been given by trusting and obeying"?

    These are not the same gospel messages. As the show says, "one of these things is not like the other...." I think even Kermit the Frog could figure out this one.

    How are we going to teach the "reached" to worship God? Are there 500 different versions of the RPW and if not, don't our confessions speak to this?


    [Edited on 5-13-2006 by R. Scott Clark]
  13. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    These are very good points that Dr. Clark has made.

    It seems history is again repeating itself. The Church has always seemed to be reactive versus proactive in regards to brewing contraversies. With the advent of the internet, contraversial opinions can now spread like wildfire.

    We all need to pray for the church as these contraversies come to a head.
  14. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry :( Dr Clark I have not kept up to date on the FV issues. I wasnt being facitous or rude in anyway. Didnt mean to cause offense I generally dont join in on all the theological discussions here. Im just now coming around to wondering what this FV is all about. My apologies.
  15. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    I am just genuinely curious thats all. From my little observation's.
  16. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    No need to apologize, it's not always possible to read tone in these posts.

    There are probably dozens of threads, but searching I found this one.
    Here's another.

    More links


    a lecture here.

    It's a start.

    I'm sure others can provide many other links. Try the "Paul Page."

    You can search "federal vision" for yourself.

    Read Guy Waters' new book from P&R. See the Cal Beisner ed book.


  17. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    Very good points Dr. Clark. Like I said to you in my u2u. Now reading thorugh what you said I see now how important the confessions are and how urgently it is needed to not be theologically lazy in this regard so that these clever deceptions dont creep in the door. :candle:
  18. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  19. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    "There are some surprising signatures."

    Like John Frame?
  20. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Why is that surprising?
  21. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    And no offence taken by the quasi baptist comment. We are not Paedo's and believe differently about who is in Covenant with God. At least we know where we stand. And we are not trying to confuse the language.

    Here are more than a few of my two cents.

    This is going to be an emotional Rant. So please bare with me.

    One thing that bothers me is that this is the way liberalism acts. I think being loving and patient is very important. I also think that some of the teachings in the FV are very troublesome. I definitely have problems with NPP definitions and the FV's view of the COW. These two systems which seem to interlap somewhat are in denominations that are finding some lines blurred and teachings confused. Another troubling thing is that the FV proponents are not all in agreement on their various teachings. That is making things hard to discern also. There are concerns. Some have been voiced very pointedly. Others are hit and miss. This stuff is just causing to much division in my opinion. And the scriptures do address the issue of being divisive. In my humble opinion...Those who have the views that are being found divisive should leave and go somewhere else if they don't want to recant and repent. So that they will not cause confusion and division. They can discover their truth and write and defend it where it will not be so hotly contested.

    Our Nation is being challenged on everyside to conform to other nations of the world. Ungodly people are striving to have their views crammed down our throats, telling us we should be more christian. Their definition of us being more Christian is that we should be more receptive and accepting toward them. Be it known that they don't want the Holy Bible's views to be accepted as truth though. In my humble opinion that is what has been happening in the Church for years. Just look at the denominations that have lost their confessionalism. Look at the Churches that no longer hold to a right view of Scripture any longer. They want to claim to be Christian but not allow the Bible to speak. I believe that is how the downward spiral starts. Are we starting the downward spiral here?

    I am not that familiar with how the United Presbyterians and other groups became PCUSA. I do know that these denominations slowly lost their moorings and now a few denominations that use to be confessional no longer hold to the WCF. Some may want to say they are but the proof is in the pudding.

    Look. I am a credo and I go to a Presbyterian Church. My Pastor knows I am Credo and so do the Elders. I promised to promote the unity of this congregation and not promote my views. If someone has a question about baptism I would send them to the Pastor first. I promised to live in harmony with this church. It is the best thing I have in my area. I don't expect others to conform to my theology concerning baptism.

    Likewise if a person finds themself becoming FV or NPP they should seek unity and harmony a little differently than it has probably been done. If they are causing division, confusion, and disputes to arise, they ought to leave and go where they can work it out without causing problems. Maybe that means that they leave a denomination for another. But they shouldn't expect for a whole denomination to become accomodating just for their particular views.

    Just a side note. Just because something has been historically believed doesn't mean that is has been accepted. And I believe that that is some of the push here by others. Since it has been said Historically it should be okay for us to teach it. That is Bunk.

    I can hear the cries of those who sign this document now. Oh, you didn't sign it? Well you should because you should want to obey Christ and be charitable. Here starts the downward spiral thingy again. You will probably find that the FV/NPP people will be the ones most likely to sign it. Just like you would find those people marching in parades and wanting the illegal immigrants from Mexico to stay in America without being called law breakers are the Illegal immigrants and their friends. Just my humble opinion.

    I don't believe those who oppose the document want or encourage any uncharitable conversation. We all acknowledge the need for charity. So if someone opposes the document it doesn't mean that they are uncharitable or want others to be. To say that would be slanderous and uncharitable.

    This is my rant. :banghead:

    [Edited on 5-13-2006 by puritancovenanter]
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  22. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Because of course he is so anti-FV and he endorsed the greatest paper ever to be written on the subject of the FV by a non-ordained, young man who has no ecclesiastical, theological or ministerial experience.

    Duh. [​IMG]
  23. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    The first line of the document is a lie. I can't believe someone would endorse it without even encouraging a change in the first line.
    That is about all he does in the whole document. Just my humble opinion

    That is Defending the FV/NPP.

    [Edited on 5-13-2006 by puritancovenanter]
  24. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    Not just your opinion. I was talking with someone intimately familiar with the controversy and his remark was, "It is remarkable that for someone who is so "balanced" there is not one criticism of the FV that he finds credible or valuable."
  25. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    (I should add--burned right through irony to sarcasm; the eyes gave it away).
    [Edited on 5-12-2006 by NaphtaliPress]
  26. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    That is a great point. I will have to remember that. And it is true. I laboured over it and found out it didn't discuss issues that were much more important. In my humble opinion No one would come away from that document understanding the problems and concerns of good men.

    For example... In the Covenant of Works Adam didn't inherit life by obedience to the law. He had it solely by grace. (Meaning Unmerited Favor). And this strange new definition in turn points away from how Christ merited our salvation by obeying the law perfectly. It is very weird and problematic to me.

    [Edited on 5-12-2006 by puritancovenanter]
  27. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I agree that this Presbyterians Together thing may seem sweet to the tongue... but it is rotten milk to the stomach.

    Terrible stuff it is.

    Randy, nice to see you again. :)
  28. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Good to see you also. Ben, Pray for me. :banghead::candle:
  29. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Ditto! It makes one wonder if the author of the document is counting on the naiveté or stupidity of his readers, perhaps he's the one being naïve. Moreover, it seems to suggest that those of us who are opposed to the FV/NPP are being uncharitable. I, for one, take exception to that.

    Moreover, if we are Presbyterians, then let's take the matter to our church courts to adjudicate this doctrinal controversy rather than circulate petitions for sympathetic tolerance of something that has become doctrinally divisive. We've read and heard so much from the FV side about conciliar authority, while in practice they argue their case publicly over the internet.


    [Edited on 5-12-2006 by DTK]
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