link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e339/mongrelhorde/favicon.jpg" /> <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d18785001\x26blogName\x3dMongrel+Horde:++Just+Plain+Mutts!\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://mongrelhorde.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://mongrelhorde.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d1067759869111460181', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More Thoughts on the Federal Vision Train Wreck



You may have noticed that Westminster Seminary California has released a book critical of the Federal Vision and New Perspective on Paul, edited by R. Scott Clark. The book, Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry came out, officially, just last week.

Curiously, on the 8th - that's Monday - of this week Andrew Sandlin's organization, the Center for Cultural Leadership, announced that they would be publishing a book, edited by Sandlin, in response to the Westminster West's book, tentatively called A Faith That Is Never Alone: A Response to the Faculty of Westminster Seminary California. The contributors to this response include John Armstrong, John Frame, Don Garlington, Mark Horne, Sandlin himself, and Norman Shepherd. This is curious, because I'm not sure how and why you would plan on writing a book and announce it to the world when the book you are responding to was released only days ago. As a matter of fact, I just got my copy in the mail today.

This is desperation, and a transparently knee-jerk reaction on the part of the Federal Visionists. The Federal Vision has been in hot water lately in various ecclesiastical forums, so I suppose they have to kick out something -anything- to throw a wet blanket on the influential H-Bomb that Dr. Clark's book promises to be in Reformed circles. 'Clark & Company must be wrong, so we're going to prove it to everyone (as soon as we know what they actually wrote, anyway).'

Now, I suppose it is possible that Sandlin and his contributors all got their copies of Clark's book ahead of me, had time to read the thing, and formulate initial objections to the arguments contained therein, which would justify throwing together a response book (or, rather, announcing the intention to) so quickly. But, barring the authors having access to early copies of Clark's book, I highly doubt it.

Also, notice the strange title of their book - A Faith That Is Never Alone. Now, most polemical books usually contain titles or subtitles that actually give you an idea of the primary thesis of a book or lets you know what idea is being opposed in the book; the pivotal issue of antithesis and disagreement. But if all the Federal Vision was saying is that "faith is never alone", well, we wouldn't be having this debate at all. Certainly, the critics of the Federal Vision do not imply anything other than that we are saved by a faith that is never alone. So this misrepresents the issue from the get-go. It will either end up shooting at straw men or else ignore the real point of controversy.

For all of this, I have lost a few notches of respect for all of the contributors to this childishly reactionary project. Although, to be honest, only John Frame was "in the black" in my book to begin with. If he thinks that his multi-perspectival theology can be waved over the Federal Vision like a magic wand to make it OK, he is wrong.

Ligon Duncan comments:

Kind of reminds one of the good ole days when Gary North was cranking out "responses" to Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia volumes!

[UPDATE] - Dr. Clark linked to this post, and Robin helpfully reminds us of a pertinent admonition from Scripture in Clark's combox:

Proverbs 18:12-13

Before destruction a man's heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.




Also, for updates and critiques of the Federal Vision controversy, especially as Wilkins' presbytery will be reporting to the Standing Judicial Commission later this month, be sure to keep stopping by Green Baggin's (Lane Keister, a PCA minister) blog. He is at the forefront in the blogosphere, in my opinion, in handing out confessional and scripture-rich spankings to all manner of FV wonkiness and Tom Foolery.



Category: Theoblogia

3 Comments:

  • David, what's the relationship between the new WSC book and the conference on justification they held a year or two ago? Is it roughly the same content?

    By Blogger Todd, at 7:27 PM  

  • "This is desperation, and a transparently knee-jerk reaction on the part of the Federal Visionists. The Federal Vision has been in hot water lately in various ecclesiastical forums, so I suppose they have to kick out something -anything- to throw a wet blanket on the influential H-Bomb that Dr. Clark's book promises to be in Reformed circles."

    Who is "they"? Which of the authors of this work are in ecclesiastical hot water? Or do you sense that this was orchestrated pretty high up?

    "It will either end up shooting at straw men or else ignore the real point of controversy."

    This comment made me laugh. In the middle of wondering how these guys know what's in the WSC book, you seem to be quite comfortable writing a prophetic review of the Sandlin book.

    By Blogger Todd, at 8:06 PM  

  • "Who is "they"? Which of the authors of this work are in ecclesiastical hot water? Or do you sense that this was orchestrated pretty high up?"

    Another false dichotomy, Todd. There is no orchestration necessary when various folks just want to protect their own movement, and those associated with it.

    "This comment made me laugh. In the middle of wondering how these guys know what's in the WSC book, you seem to be quite comfortable writing a prophetic review of the Sandlin book."

    Well, I guess I am making a bit of an assumption in this - namely that the title of the book has some sort of relation to the content of the book. Pardon me, Todd.

    By Blogger David Gadbois, at 2:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home