Studying the Federal Vision

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
With the increasing relevance of Federal Vision theology in the issues facing the visible Reformed community, including a particular current relevance to the PCA, I want to be better able to articulate and present the issues so as to be able to both further understand them myself as well as help others understand the importance of what is at hand. I have already read and listened to a few responses from soundly confessional sources, such as Waters' audio presentation and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery report.

My question is, in what order would those of you who have read works by the Federal Vision authors recommend reading such works? The Federal Vision edited by Wilkins first? Wilson's "Reformed" Is Not Enough first? Shepherd's The Call of Grace?

Also, while there are obviously similarities and differences, just how much relevance does Wright's work and the New Perspectives on Paul have to the plethora of Federal Vision and Auburn Avenue teachings? Would understanding the former be of exceptional help in understanding the latter?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
With the increasing relevance of Federal Vision theology in the issues facing the visible Reformed community, including a particular current relevance to the PCA, I want to be better able to articulate and present the issues so as to be able to both further understand them myself as well as help others understand the importance of what is at hand. I have already read and listened to a few responses from soundly confessional sources, such as Waters' audio presentation and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery report.

My question is, in what order would those of you who have read works by the Federal Vision authors recommend reading such works? The Federal Vision edited by Wilkins first? Wilson's "Reformed" Is Not Enough first? Shepherd's The Call of Grace?

Also, while there are obviously similarities and differences, just how much relevance does Wright's work and the New Perspectives on Paul have to the plethora of Federal Vision and Auburn Avenue teachings? Would understanding the former be of exceptional help in understanding the latter?

Shephard's Call of Grace can be read in a single afternoon. I guess in some ways it really doesn't matter which you read first. Also, check the back chapter of Wilson's book for a good (albeit too short) critique of NPP. I have actually used that chapter with a good deal of effectiveness in silencing a few proponents of NPP, or at least making them see that their arguments really aren't that good.

Ironically, I have found NT Wright to make clearer statements on justification than some of the FV have.
 

openairboy

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
With the increasing relevance of Federal Vision theology in the issues facing the visible Reformed community, including a particular current relevance to the PCA, I want to be better able to articulate and present the issues so as to be able to both further understand them myself as well as help others understand the importance of what is at hand. I have already read and listened to a few responses from soundly confessional sources, such as Waters' audio presentation and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery report.

My question is, in what order would those of you who have read works by the Federal Vision authors recommend reading such works? The Federal Vision edited by Wilkins first? Wilson's "Reformed" Is Not Enough first? Shepherd's The Call of Grace?

Also, while there are obviously similarities and differences, just how much relevance does Wright's work and the New Perspectives on Paul have to the plethora of Federal Vision and Auburn Avenue teachings? Would understanding the former be of exceptional help in understanding the latter?

I think you would want to go back to the original lectures from the Auburn Ave. conference in '02 (or was it '03?). These are available on-line at sermonaudio.com. Knock Shepherd's book out in an afternoon, then get into "Reformed is Not Enough", then "Federal Vision" ed. by Wilkin's. I choose that order, b/c it goes from simple to more complex. Not that FV is complex, but the different authors make some chapters better than others.

The Pros and Cons book is also worth reading.

openairboy
 

smallbeans

Puritan Board Freshman
Take this for what it's worth, but as a college student, Chris, I wonder if your time might not be better spent studying other things. I know that when I was in college, the "hot" topic was theonomy, and I wish I had back all the hours I spent reading in the materials surrounding that debate. I wish that I had more carefully digested the philosophy readings for my classes, that I had made more use of the free time built into college life to study harder in my field (I was a Philosophy and political science major), that I had memorized the English Bible or read all the great books or something. I think young men are especially prone to get interested in controversy; we are all warriors to some extent, so it is a natural impulse. But this controversy is ephemeral, even though it touches on very important matters, and there will be no end to the clarifications and counter arguments with regard to this thing. I think it would be better to make it through Schaff's church history or through the works of Jane Austen or the poetry of Frost or through Edwards' Miscellanies this summer than it would be to spend time reading about a controversy that has as many faces as a hydra in a hall of mirrors. Get Edwards' Miscellanies (all of the Yale volumes) through interlibrary loan and you'll find so much stimulating reading that it will feel like a letdown to read the clashing voices of this present controversy. I think I counted nearly a dozen entries on the topic of justification alone, and there are tons about baptism.
 

wsw201

Puritan Board Senior
Chris,

I would go with Keith's suggestion. But definately read the Pros and Cons book. And even though you can read Call to Grace in a afternoon, take your time with it. It is a pivotal book. I had to read it three or four times before it really sank in that he was actually saying what he was saying.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I agree with Wayne and Keith. Having a working knowledge of the issues (reading Pro and Con, etc) is probably a good idea. If FV is really as small and uninfluential and located only in Blogdom, as people on PB have made it out to be, then we really have very little to worry about.

BTW: STudy Theonomy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(sorry, I had to be partisan there:)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
In addition to the books recommended, I would also recommend Guy Waters book, The New Perspectives on Justification. I think it is a good introduction to the NPP and it's history, with a critique from the traditional Reformed view. There's also a chapter exploring the commonality with Shepard but I haven't made it that far in the book yet. So far it's great.

Regarding Shepard's book, I took a few days to work my way through it, trying to understand him, and pencilled in many comments when I did finally understand him. But be careful. He is very subtle, and he redefines so many words.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Ligon Duncan concludes, unless you have a "need to know" spend your time on something else (though this is really directed toward the man in the pew):
One question that ought to be asked is who should read this book, or anything else for that matter on the Federal Vision? Well, obviously ministers and professors need at least some passing acquaintance with the issue if they are to be of help to folks struggling with these topics. This volume provides, for that purpose, a good one-stop resource. When Guy Waters´ Covenant Theology Improved? (P&R, forthcoming) appears later this year it will furnish a nice companion to this compilation. Ministerial students too will benefit from hearing both sides in their own words. However, material on the Federal Vision is not something that I would recommend to congregants (unless there is some special circumstance). Better that the laity feed upon healthy food and more edifying subjects.

Review: The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros and Cons: Debating the Federal Vision. The Knox Theological Seminary Colloquium on the Federal Vision. Edited by E. Calvin Beisner. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Knox Theological Seminary, 2004. 331 pp. $16.00. Reviewed by J. Ligon Duncan III, Ph.D. From The Confessional Presbyterian (2005) 1.183. Get your copy at http://www.cpjournal.com :)
 

AdamM

Puritan Board Freshman
For what it's worth, on the book front, there is also a work coming out by the faculty of Westminster West and Dr. Cornel Venema, President of Mid-America Reformed Seminary also has book in the pipeline. I think both will be outstanding.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by AdamM
For what it's worth, on the book front, there is also a work coming out by the faculty of Westminster West and Dr. Cornel Venema, President of Mid-America Reformed Seminary also has book in the pipeline. I think both will be outstanding.

http://tinyurl.com/axo77
 
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