At long last, the PCA study committee report on the FV is now available for your reading pleasure. I know about 11% of you don't want me to post on the FV any more, but you have to cut me a little slack here...
I am not motivated to exegete this document, but I would like to look at this whole controversy from 50,000 feet again. What we have here is a battle of the Pop-Reformed (PR) wing and a minority of so-called Federal Visionists (FV). You have to begin by understanding the handful of doctrinal distinctives that are important if you want to be in good standing with PR ideology:
- The 5 points of Calvinism (TULIP)
- The solas (Scriptura, Gratia, Fide, Christus, Gloria)
- Forensic justification as disntiguisihed from progressive sanctification
- Covenant theology over-and-against dispensationalism
- The "correct" ordo salutis
- Zwinglian (memorialist / quasi-Baptist) view of the sacraments
- You better know the differences between presuppositional / classical apologetics, conservative views of the creation debate, historical debates about decretal theology (supralapsarianism / infralapsarianism)
- Anti-theonomist in sentiment
Now, a group of FV'ers did a couple of things that the PR guys didn't like. First, the FV guys said the PR list had some problems. And then - and hold your breath for this one. And then, they introduced a couple of new distinctives. First, let's look at the short-list of problems the FV guys had with the PR list:
- The "P" in TULIP needs greater emphasis in our preaching and teaching
- Let's preach the solas without a false law / gospel dichotomy
- Justification has ecclesial aspects (ala NPP / NT Wright)
- Klinenan (merit-based) covenant theology should be rejected in favor of a more filial / Trinitarian paradigm
- The "ordo salutis" should be seen as an explanation of the benefits we have in union with Christ
- A Calvinian understanding of the sacraments should replace Zwinglianism
- Postmillenialism is to be preferred over amillenialism
- Theonomy rules!
Second, here's the new distinctives the FV guys wanted to tack-on to the list:
- Covenant renewal worship - with Eucharist (not preaching) as climax of liturgy
No seriously. That's what this is about. The FV guys came along and said that the PR version of Presbyterian & Reformed theology needed some tweaking. Add to the mix that the FV guys were mostly standing outside the PR institutions and had all the wrong relationships (NT Wright, Norman Shepherd, Greg Bahnsen), and voila - you have a controversy! The PR guys have the institutions and political positions and have been seeking to defend their intellectual credibility in light of this blasphemy. Don't mess with our list! Don't mess! PR good, FV bad. PR good, FV bad. FV will lead to Rome or worse!
Sounds like my PR brothers could use some sect therapy!