I want to offer a few summary thoughts on the Federal Vision following to a great extent Douglas Wilson’s two lectures delivered in the UK. You can purchase the audio here. These posts can be read in two minutes or less. They are basic and should offer a helpful introduction to the topic. I have written a few papers on the topic of Covenant and Election and hope to post them in the future.
Douglas Wilson’s first talk is on the Federal Vision: Conception and Misconceptions. Wilson begins by making a case for why these lectures are necessary. It appears that the UK version of the FV debate is now taking place. Though it is a seven year debate in the US, it is only fresh and new in the UK; thus, answering and clarifying questions concerning the FV is crucial at this stage.
Wilson remarks concerning controversies that “God expects us to be good stewards of everything He entrusts to us, and this includes our disputes.” Hence, the question we should ask in this debate is: “How can we conduct ourselves so that the cause of the gospel is not hindered in the UK or anywhere else?”
We need to understand what the issues actually are. We cannot deny that there are legitimate differences being articulated in the Federal Vision. For instance, no one can deny that Paedocommunion is a uniquely FV emphasis in contrast to traditional Reformed understanding. On the other hand, there are as Wilson calls it “diversionary issues,” which are not issues at all. These are issues that are thrown out there and associated with the FV, but are simply not at the heart of FV thinking. These issues take us away from the real and substantive matters in dispute.