The Federal Vision, Chapter 5, James B. Jordan.

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Dan...., Feb 19, 2005.

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  1. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Having heard so much here about the Auburn/Federal Vision contraversy, I decided to get a copy of the book, The Federal Vision and read it from the horses' mouths and see what all the fuss is about...

    I just finished reading chapter 5 this evening. The title of James B. Jordan's chapter is:

    Merit Verses Maturity: What did Jesus Do for Us?

    I am shocked, to say the least. I expected what I found in the first four chapters of the book. There is plenty of info on the web that discusses the F.V.'s views on the covenant, the church, election, and the loss thereof ("If they [the elect] later reject the Savior, they are no longer elect - they...lose their elect standing", F.V. pg. 58), the sacraments, etc....

    I wasn't expecting Chapter 5.

    I was hoping that some of you who have read the book can help me to make sure I understand this position. Here is what I'm getting out of this chapter:

    1. He doesn't approve of the "Covenant of Works", because Adam could never have merited eternal life. He may have received eternal/glorified life as a gift of grace, contingent upon obedience,but he could never have become worthy of eternal/glorified life.

    2. He believes that God would have allowed Adam to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil once he had reached maturity. In eating of the Tree prior to reaching maturity Adam usurped kingship before it was granted to him. Had Adam fully matured by continued faithfulness, he would have been allowed to eat of the Tree. Once he ate of the tree, he would have died, just as God said, but God would have resurrected him to a more glorious life.

    3. He believes that, even if Adam had not sinned, the Second Person of the God-head would still have become incarnate and would still have died. The Bride (though also sinless) would also need to experience death at the Tree of Knowlege (pg. 188) and would then have experienced the Second Ressurection.

    4. He denies that the work of Christ merited the glorification of Himself and His Bride ("The language [merits of Christ], however, has the subtle effect of creating the idea that Jesus in His life on earth somehow earned or merited by works His translation into glory. We have seen, however, that such a notion is quite foreign both to the Adamic Covenant and to the rest of the Old Testament." F.V., pg 192).

    - He can't be serious???

    Is this guy alone on this, or is this the majority position of the F.V.?

    Also, concerning Adam being allowed to lawfully eat of the Tree of Knowledge had he persevered, is this something the F.V. guys dreamed up, or has this been the position of anyone else in history?

    [Edited on 2-20-2005 by Dan....]
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Others in the federal vision deny a Covenant of Works, but I don't think they take it as far as Jordan does. Ralph Smith, rightly or wrongly, denotes several positions within the FV.
  3. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Jordan is a vertiable fountain of errors.

    Dan, take a look at the footnotes in the other chapters, especially Lusk's. You won't see many quotes of Calvin or the Reformers, but tons of Jordan and Leithart.

    Here's a shorter essay on the same subject by Jordan:

    Such stuff is drivel that poses for "striking new insights." :barfy:
  4. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Yes, unfortunately he is.

    When you mess up the ATTRIBUTES of God (i.e. the Law), everything goes caput! :banghead:

    That is why they just do not understand the Bible.
  5. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks guys. Thanks Fred for posting a summary article.

    I re-read the chapter again tonight and came up with a list of the following 10 errors inconsistent with Reformed Orthodoxy taught in this chapter alone (I wouldn't be surprised if I missed more errors):

    1. Denies "Covenant of Works" because eternal life cannot be merited by obedience. pg. 153

    2. Christ provides maturity, not merit. pg. 155

    3. God would have allowed Adam to lawfully partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. pgs 160,165,174,175,180,186,187,188,189

    4. Death is not necessarily the result of sin. pg. 160

    5. Adam had already died and had been resurrected to a fuller life before breaking the law of God (in the "deep sleep" in which Eve was taken from his rib). pg. 160

    6. Had Adam lawfully eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, he would die, but God would have raised him to a more glorious life. pgs. 164-165,174,175,180,186,187.

    7. Even if Adam not fallen, Christ still would have been incarnated and would have died (via Tree of Knowledge) to bring His bride to final glorification. pgs 184-188.

    8. Christ did not merit eternal glorified life for Himself or for His bride. pgs. 192-193.

    9. Applies Luke 17:10, "We are unworthy slaves" to Jesus Christ. pg. 193.

    10. Denies the imputation of the active obedience of Christ to His elect. pg. 194.

    [Edited on 2-20-2005 by Dan....]
  6. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    The complaint against the terminology of merit on the part of the FV men is (as they would refer to some of us elsewhere) subconfessional, as can be seen in the expression of the Westminster Standards below.
    Thus, it is at the very least the invoking of a double-standard when they accuse others of being subconfessional.

    In a public release of Pastor Wilson’s examination before his CRE Presbytery, one can see how he misapplies a quote from Calvin as though it supports his rejection of the idea of merit being applicable to Christ’s work...
    But when you examine the the quote he cites from Calvin in its context, Calvin is rejecting the idea of the merit of “work righteousness,” not the idea of merit in application to Christ’s person and work...
    In fact, elsewhere Calvin affirms the language of merit as applicable to Christ’s person and work...
    This is a specific example of how Calvin is often misused by them.

  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for those Calvin quotes David. Calvin indeed is so misused.
  8. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    These guys will get all over you for using "Scripture proofs" to make a point. Its tooo sysytematic! The Bible should not be used as a collection of propositions, so they say. But don't they love to use Calvin, Turretin, or anyone else that they can take out of context as their own "Scripture Proof"!
  9. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Dear Wayne,

    I too have been accused of “proof-texting” from both Holy Scripture and John Calvin by men of this persuasion. Now, I understand that proof texts can and are used wrongly on occasions. But I also recall that we have an excellent precedent for this practice in the Lord Jesus Himself, who on one occasion offered three proof-texts to the Devil who in turn was thus defeated into retreat. Isn’t it interesting that even the Devil himself is not nearly so fastidious as our post modernist friends?

  10. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    That's really what it comes down to isn't, postmodernism.
  11. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Or perhaps a neo-mediavel-scholasticism?
  13. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    What is the non-presbyterian view of the CoW? How would a Lutheran/Baptist/Methodist approach this doctrine?
  15. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    Don't feel alone. Been there and am still doing that. :banghead:
  16. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    The Lutherans generally reject it, prefering "law" but sometimes they will define "law" the same way we would CoW. The Bapsists are scattered between the Calvinists and Arminians. The Methodists the same as the Baptists.

    Read Berkof. There's generally two views, the Reformed, and the Arminian, if they hold to any view at all. The arminian argues the covenant was completely abrogated after Adam's fall. The Reformed argue that the CoW is still in effect, though not as a means of eternal life to individual sinners.
  17. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore


    You lost me on referring to FV people as "postmodern"...could you elaborate a little? I think i have a different definition/understanding of pomo.
    I always equated it with a fundamental adherence to absolute relativism, arbitrary ethics and humanism to the max.
  18. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    While not specifically Federal Vision, I believe it will be helpful for you to see (without even any need for comment) how postmodernism is described and treated by the Reformed Catholicism blog:

    Let me know what you think when you are done.
  19. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Fred.

    I have to get out of this computer lab (here at school) and my computer at home bit the dust last week so it might be a while before i can reply.
  20. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    No problem.
  21. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Just a bump to see if Christopher has a response. I was reminded by the new Jordan thread.
  22. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    No ('sorry Fred...) ...I haven't yet gotten to reading those articles as I've been totally swamped with school work. I printed them out and they're sitting on a desk at home...but I have to wait till I get a breather from this crazy schedule (which probably won't be till the end of this semester).

    I truly intend on understanding this issue though as my understanding is very weak here and I see these guy's names pop up frequently...and it helps me to hammer out and define my own understanding of theology -which is always for the better.

    Please accept my apologies...I will respond in time. thanks again.
  23. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    I hear you well -- I have the same problems. No hurry, I was just reminded because of the other thread.
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