The buzz in the presbyterian side of the web is back on the Federal Vision. Specifically this post, where James Jordan (a signatory of the Joint Federal Vision Statement) states that the Federal Vision, in so far as his understanding of it goes, is neither Reformed or Presbyterian. From the post:
We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there.
There’s no shortage of discussion and analysis of what this means. Some taking it to be a smoking gun and crying “ah-hah!” while others pointing it out as the views of one person. If you’re keen on the meat of the discussion, take a look at the post & comments over at Greenbaggins.
What’s standing out to me is the line of argumentation I’ve seen put forth by Doug Wilson a couple of times. Essentially – we may not agree with the Reformers on some things, but the Presbyterians (ignorning heretics, like PCUSA folk) are just as guilty. If this is familiar to you as well, maybe it came from this post I wrote last month.
Consider this comment by Wilson:
If the JFVS is as solid as jello because of what one person might do with it, then the same thing can be said of the WCF, what with six days not being six days, what with magistrates being nursing fathers meaning that they are not, what with sacraments exhibiting and conferring what they represent meaning they do no such thing, and plenty more examples if you would like them. I take this opportunity to rise again to invite any FV critic to debate with me . . . oh, never mind.
And again here:
Jim is right that we are paedocommunion and the Reformers by and large were not. That is granted. But contemporary Reformedville, remaining anti-pc, departs from the “whole Reformed tradition” far more than do I. I am much closer to Bucer and Calvin, for example, than are Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, or other worthies. On the point of paedocommunion, they are closer than I.
So Jim’s statement is misleading and wrong, and I wish he would retract it. But I am not angry with him for disagreeing with me any more than I am angry with you guys for disagreeing with the Westminster Confession at so many places. The Lord’s vineyard is a big place.
On the one hand, I think that argument is a little deflective, and easily dismissed. If I agree with Calvin & “The Reformers” on every single issue but one, that’s possibly OK, but really it depends on which one. If the only disagreement is on the whole “Jesus is God” issue, then we have a problem that percentile similarities aren’t going to resolve.
But I think Wilson has a point — our confessional standards say one thing, and we seem pretty comfortable allowing for the opposite to be normative (Days of creation, sabbath observance, etc.). So while I disagree with the problematic view of union with Christ put forth by some FV folks, is there a bit of log removal that needs to be completed before we go off quoting Calvin or the confessions to make our points?