The Federal Vision squabbles continue to amaze me. Although I do not like the term 'the Federal Vision guys', it appears that those of us who believe a certain few set of things are getting lumped into a crowd. So, while there is no Federal Vision proper, I suppose I identify, and gladly so, with those men who are now being accused of being 'Federal Vision.' I think right will win out and trust that being Federal Vision will eventually roll into the background as simply those men who are articulating and emphasizing a few important differences in Biblical theology and practice.
The big issues are emphases in Baptism and the Lord's Supper, paedocommunion and the objective covenant. Some of the things we emphasize in these areas are nuances that are not addressed in the great Reformed Confessions. Very few of the so-called Federal Vision men take important exceptions from the Confessions, Westminster or the Three Forms. We believe them, down into the details. The exceptions would be on what we ought to do on the Lord's Day, namely feasting, and not being gloomy, and who ought to take the Lord's Supper, even our small children, because they are saints, too!
I think a lot of this boils down to opposition about paedocommunion. Many of the rest of the issues are red herrings. Our men argue regularly from the Scriptures while many of our opponents have staked out their ground on the confessions. That is just plain wrong.
We do not mind starting with the confessions. We are confessional. Confessions are a good summary of what we beleive the bible to teach. But when two men of the same confession, disagree, it is necessary for them to resort to Scripture. Our men are doing this. Our opponents are not doing it very well. That is curious.
One of my students sometimes makes stupid mistakes. When the dumb mistake is pointed out to him, he digs in his feet. He insists that he does not know the right way to do the problem. He persists in this error, not through ignorance and lack of knowledge, but because of plain old stubborn pride. He does not need the problem explained to him again. It is not a difference of opinion on how to do the problem. He just needs a spanking. No, I don't give him a spanking but I do help him see that he needs one and that is usually enough. If he still persists in his stubborn pride after that, I inform his father. I turn him over to father and he takes care of it.
Sure, I think our opponents are the ones with stubborn pride. They have persisted in their error, false accusations and purposeful misunderstandings. At this point, they have a lot invested in NOT seeing the truth (or simply even our veiw of it) , or even in the WAY the thing has been handled, if not the very issues themselves. To admit wrong now means to give up way to much. But to fail to admit wrong means foolishly holding on to the things one ought to let go.
For one, the accusations of high doctrinal error against such men as Steve Wilkins, Peter Leithart, Douglas Wilson, Rich Lusk, Jeff Myers, James Jordan and the rest of the banditos. Just give it up and admit that it was not as big of a deal as you intially thought. You over reacted, Joe Morecraft, OPC Report, PCA Study Committee, MARS. Admit it and make things right so we can get on to real work.
I am willing to bet that time will prove me out. Although the OPC, and PCA seem like large opposing groups, the voices rattling the loudest swords within them are a small but loud group. They currently have a listening public but the voices of reason, Myers 33 reasons not to accept the PCA Study committee report, will shatter the enthusiasm. Your posturing over the Confessions will be trumped in the light of exegesis. Get out your Bibles. We welcome this. Do you?