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Introduction

So a gent named Brandon Adams recently tackled the whole Federal Vision thing as it relates to some of our Reformed Baptist friends. It is clear from how he writes that he means and intends well, and is trying hard to get it right, but unfortunately he is stymied in this admirable effort by what I like to call “paradigm bumper cars.”

My friend and colleague Toby Sumpter responded to his piece, and Brandon’s good will can be seen in the fact that he is willing to engage in a real discussion in the comments section of Toby’s blog. I will leave the comments section open on this post in case he wants to do the same.

Consider this an exercise where I discover that I still have some Federal Vision gum on my shoe.

Wrong-footed by Scott Clark

Brandon, and I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him Brandon, begins by noting how unreliable Scott Clark is. He mentions how Clark blocked him online years ago, and how it should be apparent that Brandon is not writing as a Clark fanboy.

But then Brandon asks this question: “But does that mean everything [Clark] says is wrong?” This is just tremendous irony because this is his lead-in to Clark’s summary of the Federal Vision, a summary in which (as regards me) he gets everything wrong. Here it is:

  1. There is no covenant of works before the fall. The covenant of grace was established before the fall and continues after the fall.
  2. The conditions of the covenant with Adam are the conditions for Christians: faithfulness.
  3. Because there is no distinction between those who are in “the covenant” only externally those who are also in the covenant internally, at baptism every baptized person is endowed with all that we need to persevere and retain what we have been given.
  4. Those who cooperate sufficiently with grace will finally persevere and shall have been elected.
  5. It is possible for those who were truly united to Christ to fall away (apostatize).

Now I don’t believe that Clark gets everything wrong throughout the entire course of his life. But here, as it regards me and my doctrine, he is 0 for 5. I repudiate all five of these tenets. All five. And yet Clark would identify me as one of the chief Federal Vision villains. It is apparent that Clark either does not know what the Federal Vision is, or what I believe, or quite possibly both.

So remember that Brandon introduced this 0-for-5 venture with the question of whether Clark gets everything wrong, right before a citation in which he gets everything wrong.

I interrupt this discussion to wonder out loud how on earth a seminary professor at a respected and established seminary can get away with being so sloppy and so careless and so loose. So thunderingly wrong. And I get that there are probably political reasons and personal relationships and other complicating factors that might prevent the honchoes at Westminster West from just telling Clark to put a sock in it. But I think the seminary needs to come up with something. I mean, this is getting embarrassing. Something like telling Clark that he must either debate someone on these issues publicly (and I would do it in a hot minute) OR he must pipe down. Either Clark must defend his thesis like an actual scholar OR he must put his thesis where the monkey put the nuts. They don’t have to phrase it that way, of course.

So that you don’t have to guess . . .

  1. I don’t like the name covenant of works because I believe it is misleading, but I do believe that God made a covenant with Adam in the garden, and that it was a different covenant from the one He made with us in Christ. I am not a monocovenantalist. I believe there have been two covenants made with man, one before the fall and another one after. For the prelapsarian covenant, I prefer the name covenant of life (which the Westminster Confession also uses), or the covenant of creation.
  2. The conditions laid down for the two covenants are different. Adam was told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we are told to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. These are different conditions.
  3. There is an absolute distinction between those who are in Christ externally and those who are in Him internally, that is, those who have the root of the matter in them. I believe that it is pernicious and false to say that at baptism each member of the covenant has been given all that he needs in order to persevere. If a covenant member is unregenerate he has nothing of what he needs to persevere.
  4. There is no “shall have been elected” stuff. God elected His own from before the foundation of the world, and the number of the decretally elect was settled before any of us were born, and the number of the elect cannot be increased or diminished. The elect do persevere in holiness, but they persevere because they are elect. They are not elect because they persevere.
  5. It is not possible for those who are truly united to Christ to fall away. Only the elect are truly united to Christ, and none of the elect can fall away. There is such a thing as a connection to Christ that can be lost, but this is the connection to the visible church, the visible covenant, the external body of Christ. It is a genuine connection (see John 15 and Romans 11), but it is not the same efficacious union with Christ that the elect are given at regeneration. It is qualitatively different.

Now back to Brandon. To summarize, Brandon grants at the outset that Clark is an unreliable guide. But then for some reason he lets Lucy hold the football one more time, just this once, and he finds out that Clark is a supremely unreliable guide. Brandon tries to cover this by linking to a place where he thinks I “walk back” certain things.

But I have been clear on all these things for lo, these many years. I have had a significant pile of things attributed to me which I hotly deny, and then, when my denials start to get through, somebody says, “well, why didn’t you say so?” Or they say that they are glad that I have finally started to repudiate my errors.

I am a Westminsterian Puritan, and have been throughout this entire controversy. There is one significant place (and only one) where I do hold to something which has not been part of the Reformed mainstream (child communion), but even there I am not without company (see Wolfgang Musculus). But this ought not to be a problem for Reformed Baptists—because for them child communion is no bigger reach than paedobaptism is. If they can fellowship with Presbyterians at all, they should not trip over this. If anything, Baptists think those of us who practice child communion are being more consistent on this point.

Another quick point. If I am as Reformed as all get out, which is true enough, then why did I write a book entitled Reformed Is Not Enough? Hmmm? But actually I did not. I wrote a book called “Reformed” Is Not Enough. There is more to being Reformed than to be a soteriological Calvinist and an American evangelical. But in retrospect, I should have been more aware of how easy it was going to be for adversaries and critics to treat those scare quotes as though they were part of the invisible church. But the scare quotes were there for a reason, and it was an important part of my point.

A Brief Word on Norman Shepherd

So here is my connection to Norman Shepherd. I met him once at a conference, briefly, and we chatted amicably for a few minutes. He was scheduled to speak at the first Auburn Avenue conference, but couldn’t make it because of his wife’s health (if I remember correctly). I read Gary North’s defense of him (Westminster’s  Confession) back in 1991, and I read Shepherd’s book Call of Grace in 2001, published by P&R. That’s basically it.

But Brandon simply assumes that I am following Norman Shepherd when I am not. He says, for example, “Wilson follows Shepherd in rejecting” the law/gospel distinction. But I don’t reject the law/gospel distinction. I reject a law/gospel hermeneutic. In the experience of a sinner being converted, I absolutely believe in the law/gospel distinction. The rich young ruler thinks he is hot stuff, and so Jesus puts some bricks of the law into his backpack. Give your wealth to the poor, you who have kept “all” the commandments. He had not kept them all because the covetousness prohibited by the tenth commandment was clearly a hang up for him, a problem that Jesus highlights through what he told him to do. Jesus prepared him to receive the gospel, which I believe he later did—I think that the rich young ruler was John Mark, but discussion of that would take us too far afield.

I grant that this could be confusing, and so great care is needed. Shepherd and I (and others) were talking about some similar questions in Reformed theology that really needed to be discussed. But the fact that we were tackling the same or similar problems does not mean that we came up with the same answers. My answers are definitely not Shepherdian. And I am not a neonomian. I am a Westminster “general equity” theonomist. And I stoutly affirm the doctrine of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Why is this so hard?

And with regard to the covenant of life in the Garden, the condition given to man there was obedience. Don’t eat from the tree. Adam was told to keep the law, but he broke it and his disobedience condemned us all. The second Adam obeyed where the first Adam did not, and he was crucified on a tree. And we are now commanded to eat from that tree. Our food is His broken body. The first covenant was dependent upon the obedience of the first Adam, and he failed. The new covenant is dependent upon the obedience of Christ, and He did not fail. And we participate in the obedience of the second Adam by faith alone.

Someone might say that they have heard me say that the faith that alone appropriates the life and obedience of Jesus Christ is a living faith, and this makes them think I must be trying to smuggle in autonomous human works. But of course it is living faith. It is the faith that God gives to us, and living faith is the only kind of justifying faith that God has ever given. Justifying faith “is no dead faith, but worketh by love” (WCF 11.2). I quote Westminster here instead of Scripture because “Reformed” is clearly not enough.

Brandon thinks that my enthusiastic support of the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s active obedience is an inconsistency in my theology, but it is actually an inconsistency with what Brandon has erroneously assumed to be my theology.

Last Little Bit

All the citations that Brandon produces show that he really has read extensively in what I have written on these things, and he is laboring hard to get it right. But I believe that it is also clear that he has come to the project with a set of paradigm blinders on, and this makes him an unreliable guide. This prevents him from seeing what is obviously there. He does want to get it right, but he has missed by a mile.

And that is why he comes to such a harsh conclusion, one that is not justified by the record at all.

“At best, Wilson is thoroughly confused on the gospel, having been deceived by Shepherd’s false teaching. At worst, he is a wolf ‘speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.’”

Keep your eye on the ball. I believe that this FV issue continues to be an issue because of the doctrinal downgrade entailed in wokeness that is currently swamping Reformed evangelicalism in general. It is a distraction. I am one of the few voices raised in effective opposition to all of that woke foolishness, and so these canards are being resurrected again in order to dampen any thoughts that any of you might have about the propriety of following me into battle.

You know, the actual battle.

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Jeramy Free
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Jeramy Free

Thanks for engaging in this. Very helpful.
I appreciate Brandon’s body of work. I agree he’s well-read on these subjects. He sniffed the Solo cup that’s getting poured. However, you rightly point out that he’s (probably) drunk the RSC, et al. koolaid.

On a related subject. James White says he wants to debate you again.
DO IT. *insert Senator Palpatine gif*

George T Luke
Guest
George T Luke

This is amazing hahaha.
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Ryan Gregory
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Ryan Gregory

Fancy seeing you here brother

Owen Edwards
Guest
Owen Edwards

I rather wonder if the rich young ruler isn’t Nicodemus. They’re closely parallelled stories. Of course, Nicodemus does convert.

Jared Pine
Guest
Jared Pine

In your list of books you have read and their one-Word reviews, Westminster Escondido’s book on justification was on the list and you didn’t give it a positive review. I’m curious if the negative review was because you disagree with their doctrine of justification or because you thought it was a strawman argument.

Scott
Guest
Scott

As a PCA member, every time our church has an infant baptism, the pastor spends 5 minutes explaining to the congregation what baptism is NOT, and then he baptizes the infant without ever saying what it IS, which makes the whole thing a bit depressing and empty and silly. I recognize that baptism is not the only issue in FV, but to point 3, above, when I read anything FV-related and then think of the WCF (“The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this… Read more »

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

That’s one of many reasons I left the PCA. Baptisms drove me crazy–and they got worse in when the FV controversy was peaking–like a 10-minute disclaimer approved by a PCA lawyer was necessary. A nice high-church Anglican baptism was so refreshing to see after I left.

Jane
Member

But thankfully, neither such sacrament-gutting nor FV paranoia were ever universal in the PCA. I don’t know how common a more measured, sacramental (dare I say confessional?) view ever was, but those people were always going to be less noisy than the RSC contingent.

Brandon Adams
Guest

There is such a thing as a connection to Christ that can be lost, but this is the connection to the visible church, the visible covenant, the external body of Christ.

Doug, for my own clarification, do you believe in an invisible covenant in distinction from the visible covenant you mention here?

(This was not the focus of my post, I am merely trying to make sure that I do in fact understand you correctly on this point. I will engage the more substantial points in subsequent comments.)

Nick Duncan
Guest
Nick Duncan

I could be wrong, and I’m sure he will speak for himself, but it seems Doug is referencing the visible covenant community given the context. The term is in a list with “visible church” and “external body of Christ”. He’s distinguishing between the visible community of professing believers and the invisible, actual group of believers that only God knows.

Micah Burke
Guest

The only place Doug mentions “invisible covenant” directly is in “Reformed” Is Not Enough, pg 139 “We like to pretend that the New Testament is filled with automatic covenant blessings, but the only way to maintain this illusion is to come up with an *invisible covenant* that no one can point to to in such a way to prove us wrong. We like to pretend that this is a point of distinction between the old and new covenants, whereas in fact it is one of the place where the New Testament draws parallels, with solemn warning. In this respect the… Read more »

BY
Guest
BY

The TR hangup with the “NRU” hangup over the title Covenant of Works has never made sense to me. Did anyone light their hair on fire when O. Palmer Robertson argued, “To speak of a covenant of ‘works in contrast with a covenant of ‘grace’ appears to suggest that grace was not operative in the covenant of works. As a matter of fact, the totality of God’s relationship with man is a matter of grace.” “The terms ‘covenant of creation’ and ‘covenant of redemption’ [i.e., covenant of grace] may serve much more appropriately as categorizations of God’s bond with man… Read more »

Slabbert
Guest

Hello By, can you please give the source of OPR’s quote, I presume it is somewhere in his ‘Christ of the Covenants’ book? Thanks.

Was John Murray not also against the “covenant of works” or at least against the term? PRCA also against CoW and they as ANTI-FV as one can get. Schilder also against CoW but I think his covenant idea could be more in line with FV’s views.

Which means you’ve got good/bad guys on both sides about CoW within the reformed/presbyterian tradition?

Question to Doug: so what is the ‘actual battle’?

BY
Guest
BY

Yes, Christ of the Covenants, pp. 54-57 discuss the Covenant of Works language. And just to re-iterate, Robertson’s concern was with the language of the title, not the concept. Sounds like you’re more knowledgeable than me on who else opposes that title (and perhaps the concept?) within the Presbyterian camp. Personally, I think “Covenant of Creation” is at least as misleading, since it seems to signify nothing more than the bonds that exist between a created thing and its Creator. But this is not a covenant, this is simply the duties of nature to its creator—a covenant “sits on top”… Read more »

john k
Guest
john k

I think the Confession has a valid point about the distance between Creator and creature being so great, that any creaturely benefit in their relationship must involve condescension on God’s part. I do wonder whether God’s wisdom is not impugned by saying that man as created by God was unable to fulfill the second half of his chief end. I don’t have OPR’s book handy, but your summary looks like he is addressing that issue.

Christopher Redwine
Guest
Christopher Redwine

At least in his catechisms, Ursinus only seems to have used the term *covenant of nature*: Larger Catechism Q.36 What is the difference between the law and the gospel? A. The law contains the covenant of nature established by God with man in creation; that means, it is known by man from nature, it requires perfect obedience of us to God, and it promises eternal life to those who keep it but threatens eternal punishment to those who do not. The gospel, however, contains the covenant of grace; that means, although it exists, it is not known at all from… Read more »

Slabbert
Guest

In die Three Forms of Unity (Dordt Standards) from the Dutch Reformed Tradition, one will not find, at least I did not find, the term ‘covenant of works’, some maybe would say you get the concept in BC art. 14, “… For he transgressed the commandment of life which he had received; by his sin he broke away from God, who was his true life…” You get the following terms in the TFU: ‘covenant’ ‘covenant of grace’ ‘old and new covenant’. But yes, you do get the ‘covenant of works’ and ‘covenant of grace’ scheme in many Dutch Reformed theologians… Read more »

BY
Guest
BY

The LBCF also does not use the phrase, while the concept is undoubtedly there.

I have no difficulties with the republication issue, because I disagree that the Old Covenant was itself the covenant of grace, and administration in the temporal outworking of the covenant of redemption.

Christopher Redwine
Guest
Christopher Redwine

Not only is the concept taught throughout the 2LBCF, but the exact phrase is indeed present as well (see 19.6 & especially 20.1). Also, see Q&A 16 in the Baptist Catechism.

Brandon Adams
Guest

Doug, thank you for responding to my post. I did not rely on Clark for my analysis. I quoted him simply because he is part of the conversation. If anyone reads my analysis, you can see it does not rely on him. Perhaps it would have been better to simply leave his quote out entirely. It would not have affected the rest of the post if I had. Regarding the distinction between the Adamic Covenant and the Covenant of Grace, I should have been more careful to make a note or qualification about RSC’s statement. I did see in your… Read more »

Tim
Guest
Tim

Thanks for this article, Pastor Doug. My initial impression from what you said is that the WCF doesn’t use the term covenant of works at all. The WCF does use that term in 7:2. However, it was pointed out to me by someone that both the WSC and the WLC use “covenant of life” in speaking of the same thing as “covenant of works;” not meaning to get hung up here on a technicality.

Amanda Wells
Guest
Amanda Wells

Pastor Doug, this might not help your case, but remember that most of these anti-FV people /PCA types don’t celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week. They all have different reasons, but having been a long – term member of Presbyterian churches of both types, I can tell you that it makes a difference in real life. I wear the label Sacerdotalist proudly because my eyes were opened in the breaking of the bread.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Bring incense to your church and have a feint smell of it in your closet all week and you’ll really remember Sunday worship as the highlight of your week.

Nicholas Perkins
Guest
Nicholas Perkins

Pastor Wilson, man, I am proud of you for replying to this. I just read all 208 pages of “Reformed Is Not Enough” yesterday, and although I did not feel comfortable with the, may I say, language used to define certain concepts, I feel you have been unfairly attacked for years for Federal Vision. I agree with you on the agenda, philosophy of those from who the attacks come. Your Amazon Reformed Basics series is very good. Continue to fight the good fight of faith!

Joshua Rewis
Guest
Joshua Rewis

What are some good articles/books on the history of theology regarding paedocommunion? Although I actually want to agree with WCF concerning LS, I’ve found arguments for credocommunion weak tea. I believe those in Reformed community try to hide history of paedocommunion, and make it seem strange and extreme.

chrisleuck
Member
chrisleuck

Pastor Doug, An autobiographical rundown.. Eight years ago I had neck surgery which put me in my chair for a couple weeks. Just before that a friend had given me Joy at the End of the Tether because I was teaching Ecclesiastes, but added something like, “Watch out for Wilson, he’s tricksy.” I read a number of commentaries while teaching but found yours most helpful. Then when I was down after neck surgery I had been hearing other people say you were tricksy (or worse) regarding FV, so during those 2 weeks in my chair I must have read 300… Read more »

Puddleglum
Guest
Puddleglum

Genuinely curious: Has anyone ever seen one of these back-and-forth debates/discussions like this ever end with someone actually relenting and changing his position?

JD
Guest
JD

In the moment not very often. But to be honest that should be the case if the debate is over a topic both parties have thought deeply about. It is more likely that over time and over the course of many debates someone would change their position. In other words this is more like a cricket match than a football game. :)

Jono Brooks
Guest
Jono Brooks

I for one, would VERY much love to hear this discussed live between Doug and Brandon. If not live, then at least in recorded video or audio conversational exchange.

Jeff Singletary
Guest

Perhaps a season 2 episode of Man Rampant?

kyriosity
Member

The woman in the photo is evidently Blanche Monnier, to whom horrible things happened: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanche_Monnier

Jeff Singletary
Guest

That is horrible beyond description.

D
Guest
D

Nobody puts baby in a corner… Or Doug Wilson in an attic.

Steveo
Guest
Steveo

I have been following the Heidleblog for the last year or so, and do not recall Dr. Clark making those exact points in the way you have presented them. I do recall him saying that you never repudiated, but actually affirmed your agreement the joint statement on Federal Vision, and so he made some points about that statement, but they weren’t what you just said. Is that what you’re taking about? It would be helpful if you could post a link to his accusations for those of us who would like to read exactly what people are saying and not… Read more »

Andy Dollahite
Guest
Andy Dollahite
Nate Norris
Guest
Nate Norris

“Jesus prepared him to receive the gospel, which I believe he later did—I think that the rich young ruler was John Mark“

Pastor Doug, I am hoping your would be willing to provide us just a few scraps more on this. You have fleshed out the “Job/Jobab” thing quite compellingly. This is the first I’ve heard you mention this connection. Would love to know your line of reasoning.

Brandon Adams
Guest

Doug, I’m sorry for the delay in more interaction. With regards to the Covenant of Works, would eternal life have been a reward for perfect obedience to the law, or would it have been a gracious gift received through faith alone?

Steveo
Guest
Steveo

I will answer what Doug would say if he were a bicovenantalist: If God condescends to bind Himself to a covenant yes that part is grace, but once the covenant is established and if it is fulfilled, God’s rewarding the terms of the covenant is just simple justice. “God, in this covenant, merely shows what right he has over man. But man, upon his accepting the covenant, and performing the condition, does acquire some right to demand of God the promise. For God has, by his promises, made himself a debtor to man. Or, to speak in a manner more… Read more »

David Kinner
Member
David Kinner

I would suggest reading Merit and Moses. A lot of people don’t like speaking of Adam meriting things, because man cannot in his nature merit anything from God. As you saud there’s a sense we may speak of God being a debtor to man, by condescending in covenant. Properly speaking however, man still doesn’t truly merit eternal life from God, if he fulfills the covenant of works. Christ being God however, does strictly merit eternal life for his elect, because Christ himself can merit before God as a perfect mediator between God and man, by virtue of his divibity, because… Read more »

Steveo
Guest
Steveo

Well, only Adam or Christ could have, because the rest of mankind has the imputation of Adam’s sin to us. Adam’s situation was unique. I think there’s also a lot of people that want to bring soterological (doctrine of salvation) concepts and language into that protological (doctrine of first things), where there was no need of justification. Protology to eschatology (doctrine of last things) is at a different level than soterology. Adam did not need redemption. In the covenant of works the majority view throughout Reformed history has been that Adam could have attained consummation (eschatological life). That it was… Read more »

Steveo
Guest
Steveo

Here is Thomas Boston’s commentary from the Marrow of Modern Divinity: “The law of the Ten Commandments, being the natural law, was written on Adam’s heart at his creation; while it was not yet either the Law of Works, or the Law of Christ, in the sense in which these terms are used in Scripture and by our author. But after man was created and put into the garden, this natural law, having made man liable to fall away from God, a threat of eternal death in case of disobedience, also had a promise of eternal life annexed to it… Read more »

Brandon Adams
Guest

Doug, I had a chance to watch the video and this question was not specifically addressed. Would you mind answering it to clarify? With regards to the Covenant of Works, would eternal life have been a reward for perfect obedience to the law, or would it have been a gracious gift received through faith alone?

Brandon Adams
Guest

Or do you believe it would have been both a gracious gift received through faith alone and a reward earned for perfect obedience to the law?

Brandon Adams
Guest

Thank you for the reply. So the offer of eternal life was gracious (voluntary condescension), but if Adam had perfectly obeyed the law, eternal life would have been a reward due to him by justice and not a gracious gift. Do you agree?

Brandon Adams
Guest

If I have understood you correctly, what you have said here is what is denied by the Joint Federal Vision Statement: We affirm that Adam was in a covenant of life with the triune God in the Garden of Eden, in which arrangement Adam was required to obey God completely, from the heart. We hold further that all such obedience, had it occurred, would have been rendered from a heart of faith alone, in a spirit of loving trust. Adam was created to progress from immature glory to mature glory, but that glorification too would have been a gift of… Read more »

Brandon Adams
Guest

Thanks, but adding “autonomous” would not really address the main problem. The JFVS says that eternal life would have been a gift. A gift is the contrary of something earned. Eternal life could not have been both a gift and something earned. You must choose one or the other. That’s why the JFVS denies it was something earned (“in any way a payment for work rendered” a la Rom 4:4).

sloppyedwards
Member

I don’t really have a dog in this FV argument, I’m just trying to understand the different positions. So don’t take this as me defending FV… I’m not sure I understand the assertion that a gift is mutually exclusive with something earned. If I were to tell my son, “I will give you a brand new car if you mow the yard,” is the car a gift or something earned? His mowing of the yard is certainly not worthy of deserving a car, so I would think it is considered a gift. However, he does have to “earn” the car… Read more »

Brandon Adams
Guest

Once God made a promise upon certain conditions being fulfilled, if those conditions were then fulfilled, then providing what was promised would be a matter of justice.

What Scripture leads you to this conclusion?

Brandon Adams
Guest

That’s an odd reference. Deut 32:4 simply says that God acts justly. But God also acts mercifully and graciously. What we are discussing is whether eternal life given to Adam would have been an act of justice (earned) or an act of grace (gift). Deut 32:4 doesn’t answer that question. Do you have any other passages from Scripture that lead you to the conclusion that Adam would have earned eternal life as a matter of justice by his perfect obedience? The WCF points to Gal 3:10, 12 and Rom 10:5 to establish this point, but you believe the WCF misinterpreted… Read more »

Brandon Adams
Guest

had Adam obeyed, he would have done so by continuing to trust God and His word over against the serpent’s lies. And if had continued to trust in that way, it would have been what God had ordained for him, and Adam would have thanked the Lord afterward.

What Scripture leads you to this conclusion?

Brandon Adams
Guest

and Adam would have thanked the Lord afterward.

Is this something you see explicitly in Scripture, or is it a conclusion arrived at by necessary consequence from the fact that Adam would have trusted God?

steveo
Guest
steveo

If the works of the two Adams are in parallel, and the first Adam was in a gracious covenant, then it goes that Christ was also in a gracious covenant. and could not have merited eternal life, but just been given it as a gracious gift for his perfect obedience and sacrifice. That just sounds strange. The larger catechism Q/A 55 speaks of how Christ makes intercession for us: “Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven, in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth” Clearly they’re stuck on the idea… Read more »

Blair A
Guest
Blair A

I think it’s unfortunate that any time the FV label comes up, Mr Wilson feels the need to resort to ad hominem attacks. My favorite paragraph was the last one: “I believe that this FV issue continues to be an issue because of the doctrinal downgrade entailed in wokeness that is currently swamping Reformed evangelicalism in general. It is a distraction. I am one of the few voices raised in effective opposition to all of that woke foolishness…“ Similarly, I listened to the interview with James White today, hoping you’d clarify your positions and immediately, I was put off by… Read more »

Steveg
Guest
Steveg

Heard part of the interview by James White where Doug went through his view of covenant. Basically he says there are two covenants that are both gracious. He calls the one made with Adam the covenant of life, because he says that you have to have faith and be thankful to God for gracious covenants. So apparently there’s no covenant of works, because it was not God promising “if you complete this work I will do that”. So here is the hole in that view. Was it gracious for Christ? As the second Adam, Christ fulfilled the covenant of works,… Read more »

Seth
Guest
Seth

Doug,

Can you explain or reference where you have explained what you mean when you say that you accept the law/gospel distinction, but you reject the law/gospel hermeneutic?

Derek Vester
Guest
Derek Vester

“I will leave the comments section open on this post in case he wants to do the same.”

I’m really hoping that you will answer Brandon Adam’s question below (from two days ago). It is a question that many of us have and would really help us to understand your position more precisely. Thanks!

Brandon Adams
Guest

Doug, in your video with White (and elsewhere) you say that we are justified through faith alone plus nothing. Where do you find that in Scripture?

Brandon Adams
Guest

Doug, the JFVS says We hold further that all such obedience, had it occurred, would have been rendered from a heart of faith alone, in a spirit of loving trust. Adam was created to progress from immature glory to mature glory, but that glorification too would have been a gift of grace, received by faith alone. It also says We affirm we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. Faith alone is the hand which is given to us by God so that we may receive the offered grace of God. Does the phrase “faith alone” mean the same… Read more »

Re: Sumpter, White, & Wilson on "Federal Vision Baptists?" – Contrast
Guest

[…] the concerns but now they do. Toby Sumpter and Doug Wilson both responded on their blogs (here and here). Doug Wilson and James White also posted a video discussion response to my post. I am thankful for […]

Dan Elmendorf
Guest
Dan Elmendorf

Excellent.