The PCA Report states:
The committee also understands that a major concern of the General Assembly at the present time pertains to the views of what has been called Federal Vision (FV) or Auburn Avenue Theology (AAT).
I am not entirely sure if I want to pursue this report any longer. Others have already done a much more articulate job than I can do. However, phrases like “major concern” give me a major concern for this report. I understand this was assigned by the General Assembly and that they chose six men to pursue a noble task of exhorting the PCA’s 330 thousand members on why the Federal Vision is problematic and a major concern; there’s that phrase again. I wonder, however, if this is as great a concern as theonomy was in 1979 in the PCA. Back then, they were a bit more catholic. They were a bit more open to nuances in our tradition–that is, it wasn’t a major concern nor a threat to the well-being of a denomination. Here’s my recommendation for those who read this report: Listen to what the PCA declared about theonomy. Since Federal Visionists are mainly theonomic, and that is exactly what gives precedence for pursuing such noble “reconstruction” of the sacramental theology of the Reformed Church, then listen to how the PCA dealt with this “ignominious group” in 1979:
That no further study on the subject of theonomy be undertaken at the General Assembly level at this time, but that individual Christians, sessions, and presbyteries having particular interest be encouraged to study the subject in a spirit of love, kindness, and patience.
Now, compare this with the preface of the PCA Report on the FV and NPP where the vitals of religion are at stake. As a theonomist, I consider theonomy to be as much a threat to the base of the PCA as Federal Visionism is today, who are by the way, generally theonomic in their orientation. Sometimes I wonder if this is a second attempt to get rid of theonomic types in the Federal Vision, except that Joe Morecraft is a theonomist and he accused FV’ers of being heretical, but again Morecraft is in the RPCUS and they are irrelevant to this PCA discussion. However, Morecraft left the PCA because they told him that theonomy was incompatible with the Confession. But doesn’t the 1979 report “encourage to study the subject (of theonomy) in a spirit of love, kindness, and patience?” My prediction is that even if the report is turned down at the Assembly, the attack will not stop.
The same position paper on theonomy declares following:
That the General Assembly affirm that no particular view of the application of the judicial law for today should be made a basis for orthodoxy or excluded as heresy…
Of course, the only difference between theonomy and Federal Vision is that theonomy has roots in Puritanism. But wait, FV advocates are also saying this is nothing new. Calvin in the 16th century was already using the word “Christian” as synonymous with “baptism in the Triune Name.” ((See Rich Lusk’s article: Calvin on Baptism, Penance, and Absolution)) So, this being the case, will Federal Vision Theology be vindicated? Will it be purged from the fires of heresy and excluded from any charges? Will the Assembly return as they did in 1979 with the verdict not guilty and encourage each congregation to study the subject in a spirit of love? On the other hand, if the General Assembly affirms this report, Federal Visionists will be looked upon as illegal immigrants: you may still be here, in fact, you may even think you’re needed, but you don’t belong here and we are doing every thing within our powers to make sure you leave.