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Thread: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

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    FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Greetings to all:

    This thread was created for the purpose of refuting the Federal Vision doctrine which some may or may not know about. That is why it is here posted, to let you know.

    It was also created to look at the rebuttals of those who see this false doctrine for the babble it is. Also, to study here the words of the proponents themselves from the subsequent writings that are public. The names of which appear at the start of the following article.

    This is not a witch/heretic hunt. This is cornering a rat and killing it with regards to false doctrine. Some at present smell a rat, some have not even caught wind of it, but have heard of certain breakings of wind.

    Thus , we will start with this refutation by the "banner of truth" since some here have problems with the Trinity Foundation and the PRC and their use of polemics here.

    If any one else has access to writings of the different proponents to the Federal Vision babble they can be brought here for study.


    Debating the Federal Vision





    A review of The Auburn Avenue Theology, Pros and Cons: Debating the Federal Vision. The Knox Theological Seminary Colloquium on the Federal Vision. Edited by E. Calvin Beisner. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Knox Theological Seminary, 2004. 331 pp. $16.00.

    The talks given at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors' Conference (AAPC) at the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana, raising questions about the orthodox Reformed doctrines of justification by faith alone, the covenants, election, perseverance, and the sacraments, have become well known subsequently throughout the Reformed community. The book we are reviewing here consists of the papers given on these and other related subjects, delivered at a specially called colloquium (hosted by the editor, Dr. F. Calvin Beisner) in Southern Florida during August 2003. The papers were exchanged and discussed, by seven of the Auburn Avenue Theology/Federal Vision proponents and by seven of its critics. The former are John Barach, Peter J. Leithart, Rick Lusk, Steve M. Schlissel, Tom Trouwborst, Steve Wilkins, and Douglas Wilson. The critics of the Federal Vision are Christopher A. Hutchinson, George W. Knight, III, Richard D. Phillips, Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., Carl D. Robbins, Morton H. Smith; and R. Fowler White.

    In a short review of this publication, it is impossible to go into a detailed analysis and criticism of the views expressed by the Federal Visionists on the vital doctrinal matters of the Trinity, the covenants, justification, election, the sacraments, perseverance, and the distinction between the visible and the invisible church. But the conviction of this reviewer is that the "Cons" have won the argument overwhelmingly against the Federal Visionists' position and that the latter are in the most serious danger of departing from Reformed orthodoxy into sacramentalism and even a form of works-righteousness, if indeed this has not already happened despite all their arguments to the contrary.

    The Federal Visionists are reacting to problems in the contemporary American evangelical and Reformed churches, such as the rampant individualism, the neglect of the covenantal objectivity of salvation, an over-emphasized subjectivity in seeking assurance of salvation, the tendency towards antinomianism in some circles, and an inadequate view of the role of the sacraments as signs and seals of salvation.

    Their pastoral concern in these matters is doubtless commendable, but the re-casting of the normal orthodox understanding of certain vital aspects of Biblical and Reformed theology (cf. the Westminster Standards) raises far more serious problems in the end, than the ones which the Federal Visionists claim to have solved.

    For instance, there is an attempt to reformulate the doctrine of the Trinity, to move away from the Reformation commitment to “forensic” justification (by assuming an over-reaction by the Reformers to Rome), to allege that Hellenism and the Enlightenment led to the "scholastic" propositional statements of Reformed doctrine in the Westminster Standards, to read Biblical history as "The Story" involving primarily personal relationships between God and His people (rather than a depository for doctrinal propositions), to deprecate the value of systematic theology, and finally to introduce different views of covenant, faith, baptism, the Lord's Supper, election, regeneration, apostacy, and sacramental efficacy. While it is claimed that all these re-formulations are within the parameters of the orthodox Reformed Faith, this reviewer has been left in no doubt that the Federal Vision is, in the end, contrary to the Westminster Standards. One of the critics, Dr. Joseph Pipa, in his response to Steve Wilkins' paper on "Covenant, Baptism, and Salvation," puts this point concisely in these words: “If I have understood Wilkins in this paper, the Federal Vision is a deviant, unbiblical view of salvation.... the proponents of the Federal Vision hold to a deviant view of the covenant, the active obedience of Christ, the way one receives salvation-justification, the role of baptism in conversion, the relation of the reprobate to Christ and the means of assurance" (p.281).

    There are at least three major causes for concern with regard to the Federal Visionists’ presentations.

    1] The first is methodological errors. As one of the critics has pointed out (p.10), there is a tendency towards faulty hermeneutics and exegesis, implying that all Scriptural terms are always used in the same way (e.g., "baptism" always meaning water baptism), thus abandoning the Reformation principle of the analogy of faith. This same tendency leads to the redefining or ambiguously stating the doctrine of election, regeneration, justification, and adoption, and to a general low regard for any attempt to "systematize" theology.

    2] The second is a loss of Biblical balance in regard to covenant theology. Union with the (visible) church automatically implies union with Christ in the Federal Vision teaching, thus over-objectifying the covenant and failing to distinguish between covenantal union in the visible church from the saving union of the invisible church; and in emphasizing covenantal election, atonement, justification, and adoption at the expense of soteriological election, atonement, justification, and adoption (p. 12). There is an attempt to downplay the confessional distinction between the visible and invisible church and to propose another distinction in its place, the historical and eschatological church!

    3] The third major cause for concern is the unquestionable incipient sacramentalism in the Federalist position. In reading paper after paper in this colloquium, the. reader is left with the conviction that the Federalists impute the efficacy of the thing signified to the sign itself, whether in regard to baptism or the Lord's Supper. The sacraments can communicate blessings apart from faith, and baptism appears to be a converting ordinance. The Federal Vision states that the unbelieving feed upon Christ when they partake of the Lord's Supper, and that a person is given new life by virtue of baptismal union with Christ.

    There appears to be an erroneous view of the doctrine of justification held by the Federalists, with the claim that one cannot understand Paul's teaching on justification apart from dealing with the Gentile problem and that in the. Old Testament the instrument of justification was covenant faithfulness and not simply trusting in the promises of God.. There also appears to be a denial of the role of merit in Christ's work and the imputation of Christ's righteousness in justification.

    In conclusion, this reviewer is convinced that the carefully articulated presentations of the great doctrines of the Reformed and Biblical faith in the Westminster Standards (on election, faith, good works, perseverance, assurance of salvation, the sacraments, etc.) provide still today the effective and truly adequate answer to the problems of the contemporary situation in the Reformed churches. Sadly, the so-called "Federal Vision" is no vision at all in the end, but a "Federal Fog", and that of a most serious nature indeed. One can only agree with the editor of this volume which is being reviewed here, Cal Beisner, when he writes: "Extensive study of their [the Federalists'] oral and written teachings on the special concerns of the Federal Vision convinces me that they have taught, alongside some wonderful truths, some serious errors about covenant theology and its implications for salvation, personal and corporate spirituality and piety, the use and understanding of the sacraments and the conduct of theology and biblical studies in general. Sadly, their mistakes undermine their very laudable goals. Their attempt to assure tender souls who doubt their salvation while they trust in Christ collapses and the poor souls are left more confused than before, because the objectivity of the covenant is inadequate to the task-while the presumptuous, who hear that aspect of their message may be led, inadvertently, to the false assurance of formalism. At the same time, their attempt to destroy the complacency of the presumptuous is in profound danger of promoting a false legalistic notion of works righteousness" (p.306).

    While we recognize that the Westminster Standards should never become an "icon" and that the ecclesia reformata is also subject to the semper reformanda principle ("always being reformed" according to Scripture), the Federal Vision teaching implies a wholesale denial of the Westminster soteriology.

    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    The Banner of Truth--an organization committed to publishing books by the Puritans--doesn't like the very anti-Puritan Federal Vision? Imagine that. Once again the article is unhelpful because it only makes claims, it does not substantiate those claims with quotes. The fact of the matter is that they do not deny the forensic nature of justification and the things that are being complained about in this article with regard to the Trinity are the same things Engelsma teaches on the Trinity.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    One of the proponents of Federal Vision babble is Rev. John Barach of the United Reformed Church. Here are some statements he has issued as of late in discussing clarification of the Federal Vision. It starts with a question which he then answers.

    Any insight from the family here would be appreciated:

    "> 1) In your system how does Christ's active obedience work?

    I have to admit that I don't think in this language; I doubt I've ever
    used the phrase "active obedience" in a sermon in my six years as a
    pastor. So in answering your question, I'll have to translate into
    your language and something may be lost in translation. =)

    There's much that I'd agree with in your quotation from Meredith
    Kline, though there's also much that I'd want to quibble with, too.

    Here's a lengthy stab at an answer: God created Adam holy and
    righteous. Adam could not earn anything from God, nor did God demand
    that Adam attempt to earn anything from Him. But the pre-fall
    situation in Genesis 2 was never intended to be the end.

    I don't care for the language of "probation," which has a certain
    negative sound. Even the language of "test" may not be quite what I'd
    prefer. Adam was not a slave or an employee who had to earn God's
    favour, nor was he created already on probation, as if there was
    something doubtful about him. Rather, the Bible teaches us that Adam
    was the son of God (Luke 3).

    God's desire was for His son to grow up to maturity. Adam was created
    a priest, someone "holy" (i.e., with access to God's presence): Adam
    could come into the Garden to draw near to God. Adam was intended to
    be a king (and in some sense, I suppose we can say that he was a king
    and a prophet, too). But kings need wisdom -- the knowledge of good
    and evil -- in order to reign well, according to Scripture.

    God gave Adam the Tree of Life from which to eat (I doubt he did eat,
    but he was allowed to eat of it). Indeed, God gave all the trees to
    Adam to eat, except one, the TOTKOGAE. But God had PROMISED that He
    would give Adam ALL the trees (therefore including the TOTKOGAE).

    Adam had to wait for God's good timing. More than that, Adam had to
    grow to maturity. He had to withstand the devil's temptation; indeed,
    he should have been willing to lay down his life to fight off the
    devil and protect his bride.

    But instead, the Bible tells us, Adam stood idly by (he was "with
    her") when the dragon tempted his wife. Adam fails to grow to
    maturity. He fails to be a king. And so he loses his sanctuary
    access, too, and is banished from the Garden.

    Israel was to be God's answer to Adam's sin. Out of all the people on
    earth, including many who feared and worshipped the one true God, God
    chose Israel to be His special priestly people. He gave them the Old
    Covenant, with laws that set them apart from the other people. They
    had special privileges but also special responsibilities.

    But the Old Covenant could not take away sins, and therefore Israel's
    sins (as the representative of the world) piled up higher and higher.
    Every year they were symbolically dealt with in the Day of Covering,
    but that itself could not take away sins.

    Israel (and especially her kings) failed to be God's faithful son, the
    son that would pass through death into glorious new life, the son who
    would grow to be mature, the son who would consider others more
    important than himself, even laying down his life for them, the son
    who would be faithful and obedient to his Father even to the point of
    death. Instead, Israel was like Adam.

    Jesus came as the Messiah, the king who represents His people. He did
    what Israel failed to do, what Adam failed to do. He was faithful to
    God, obedient even to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

    His "active obedience" therefore was (1) the _expression of His faith
    in God and His loyalty to God, (2) His ongoing growth to maturity,
    such that Jesus is the only full-grown adult in history, (3) His
    qualification to be the king who lays down His life for His people,
    (4) the perfect righteousness that God requires us to have if we are
    going to stand in His presence, and (5) the faithfulness to God His
    Father that is necessary to pass through death and emerge, triumphant
    over sin and Satan and death, in glorious new life.

    Jesus did obey God, being faithful to Him even to the point of death
    on the cross. He humbled Himself, pouring Himself out in death. And
    in so doing, He perfectly reflected the character of the Father who
    humbles Himself for others, who continually pours Himself out for His
    Son and His Spirit (as they do for Him and for each other).

    And THEREFORE God superexalted Him (to use Paul's term) and GRACED him
    with the name above every name ("LORD") so that every knee would bow
    and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the
    Father (Phil. 2). Interestingly, Paul says BOTH that this exaltation
    is God's response to Jesus' faithful obedience ("therefore") AND that
    this exaltation was a gracious gift (the word Paul uses is related to
    the word CARIS which means "grace").

    That exaltation starts with the resurrection, which was Jesus'
    justification. By and through the resurrection, God was declaring
    Jesus to be righteous ("justifying" him). It's not as if Jesus was
    earning points throughout His life, as if He were playing DonkeyKong;
    rather, He was always God's faithful son, worthy of all glory and
    honour and dominion and power -- and never more so than when He
    perfectly revealed God's glory on the cross (and that worthiness is
    what the 3FU have in mind, I submit, when they speak of Christ's
    "merits," a term Scripture doesn't use).

    The king in Israel represents his people. When David wins a victory
    over Goliath, Israel has won the victory. So, too, with the Messiah:
    Those who are united to Him, "in Him," members of His family, share in
    all that is His.

    So, those who belong to Jesus Christ share in His righteousness, that
    is, in God's verdict on Jesus ("Righteous!"), in Jesus' vindication
    (in spite of our own sins), and in Jesus' status as a righteous and
    faithful son of the Father. This is what we mean in our theological
    jargon by "imputation": what is true of the Messiah is true of us in
    Him, just as what was true of Adam was true of us in him, as his sons
    and daughters.

    Our justification is also the Father's justification, that is, the
    vindication of the Father against all accusations that He is unjust
    and unrighteous and unfaithful to His promises.

    As Paul puts it in Romans 3, apart from the Torah (the Old Covenant
    God established with Israel) God has revealed His righteousness, His
    faithfulness to His covenant. This is not contrary to the Torah and
    the Prophets; rather, this is what the Torah and the Prophets had
    always indicated would happen.

    God's righteousness -- His faithfulness to His covenant and to His
    people -- is revealed through the faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah
    (PISTIS IHSOU CHRISTOU) to all who have faith, both Jews and Gentiles.

    All have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory, but all are
    declared righteous and given the status of righteous people, not
    because they have done something (e.g., becoming Jews) but by God's
    grace through the rescue from enemies and exile ("redemption") that
    takes place in the Messiah Jesus, whom God presented as a
    propitiation, through faith, in his blood.

    In this way, God revealed His righteousness: even though He passed
    over sins in the past, He is righteous; and He is the "righteous-er"
    of those who have faith in Jesus.

    > I have heard it said (and not by you
    > specifically) that we remain in the
    > covenant through our obedience. Does
    > our obedience then become an essential
    > ingredient to our justification? (That
    > is where art 24 ties in)

    Faith, not our good works or our obedience, "is the instrument that
    keeps us with [Christ] in the communion of all His benefits" (BC 22).
    But when we speak of faith "we do not speak of an empty faith but
    of what Scripture calls faith working through love" (BC 24). The only
    faith that justifies is a faith working through love, a faith which is
    not a dead faith but a living faith, a faith that drives us to repent
    of our sins (there is no justification without repentance because a
    faith without repentance is dead).

    Justifying faith, in the words of the Westminster Confession, is never
    alone in the person justified (not even at the moment of
    justification) but is always accompanied by all other saving graces
    and virtues and is not a dead faith but a faith working through love.

    As for our status in the New Covenant, the New Covenant like the Old
    calls for a response of faith and can be broken. It's possible for
    people who are genuine members of the New Covenant people of God to
    count the blood of the covenant an unclean thing (Heb. 10).

    God's covenant always has two sides because it involves two parties,
    and therefore by our baptism into Christ we are obliged unto new
    obedience, namely, that we love the one true God, Father, Son, and
    Holy Spirit, that we cling to this one God and trust Him and obey Him,
    that we put to death all that belongs to our old way of life (who we
    were in Adam), etc. -- all the kinds of things we say in the Baptismal
    Form.

    And those -- even those who are in the New Covenant, members of
    Christ's church, baptized into Him -- who do not repent of their sins
    and do not respond to God in the kind of faith that prompts and
    produces obedience will not inherit the kingdom of God. No one who is
    obedient can EARN that inheritance by his obedience: an inheritance
    can't be earned; it's a gift.

    > I would also like to add one last question.
    > 4) If there wasn't a probation (covenant of
    > works) with a hope of glorification at the
    > end, what was the tree of life all about?
    > If Adam already lived in perfect-completeness
    > in Eden in this covenant of favor, what role
    > did the tree of life have?

    I'm a bit confused by this question. It sounds as if you think that
    Adam was denied access to the Tree of Life until he survived a
    probationary period. But the Bible tells us that God gave Adam the
    Tree of Life to eat. Anytime Adam wanted to, he could come into the
    Garden and eat from the Tree of Life.

    What he couldn't eat was the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of
    Good and Evil, even though all the fruit of ALL the trees. For the
    rest of your question, see above.

    Hope this stab at things is helpful. I'm sure there are a lot of
    infelicities here and if I were to write it again I might put some
    things a bit differently."
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Ray:

    Perhaps it would help if you gave some direct comment relating to what you believe the chief problems are. The posting of this is certainly a step forward from your previous posts on this subject. Notice though that some of the things that people are mad at Barach about are the same things people don't like about Hoeksema: denial of the distinction between the active/passive obedience of Christ, denial of the covenant of works. As regards statements regarding the covenant, they are different from my own position and different from the position of the PRC, but the Three Forms of Unity do not articulate a particular view on the covenant. As for the statements on justification, what he says literally fits within the bounds of the confessions. Does he actually mean something different? Perhaps, but the right questions must be asked in order to bring that out. Once that is done then real allegations can be made.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Ray:

    Perhaps it would help if you gave some direct comment relating to what you believe the chief problems are. The posting of this is certainly a step forward from your previous posts on this subject.
    "As for our status in the New Covenant, the New Covenant like the Old
    calls for a response of faith and can be broken. It's possible for
    people who are genuine members of the New Covenant people of God to
    count the blood of the covenant an unclean thing (Heb. 10).

    God's covenant always has two sides because it involves two parties,
    and therefore by our baptism into Christ we are obliged unto new
    obedience, namely, that we love the one true God, Father, Son, and
    Holy Spirit, that we cling to this one God and trust Him and obey Him,
    that we put to death all that belongs to our old way of life (who we
    were in Adam), etc. -- all the kinds of things we say in the Baptismal
    Form.


    ray's response: This statement..... after the well laid out statements before made by Rev. Barach is a gross injustice to how God's everlasting covenant is defined Gen.17/ Gal.3. Notice he mentions that in the new covenant some can break it. That is totally obsurd and a direct assault on the sovereignty of God. Previously Rev. Barach explained well how the elect receive the righteousness of God. Yet in his scheme it is possible that "genuine" members can count the blood of Christ unclean. These are the reprobate, these are not the elect, thus they never, ever had a part in the everlasting covenant of God. This is a blantant assault not only of Scripture, but the 5 points of Calvinism as well.



    And those -- even those who are in the New Covenant, members of
    Christ's church, baptized into Him -- who do not repent of their sins
    and do not respond to God in the kind of faith that prompts and
    produces obedience will not inherit the kingdom of God. No one who is
    obedient can EARN that inheritance by his obedience: an inheritance
    can't be earned; it's a gift.

    ray's response: again folks within the "new" covenant can possibly not repent, not respond and therefore do not inherit the kingdom of God. This is impossible with respect to God's everlasting covenant Gen17/Gal.3. He alone established maintains and sustains it and it is clear it is for Christ and the elect alone. It is unconditional. But notice all the conditions the aforesaid babbler Barach will make in God's everlasting covenant.


    Notice though that some of the things that people are mad at Barach about are the same things people don't like about Hoeksema: denial of the distinction between the active/passive obedience of Christ, denial of the covenant of works.
    Yet Barach does make the distinction when he explains the covenant. He talks of the "new" covenant. It is this new covenant that Barach still deems that the reprobate are included, can break it, and fall away. He contradicts himself. He pays lip service to the sovereignty of God and is babble.

    As regards statements regarding the covenant, they are different from my own position and different from the position of the PRC, but the Three Forms of Unity do not articulate a particular view on the covenant.
    Yet even our reformed confessions are clear that in the "new" covenant are included Christ and the elect.They never , ever speak of the reprobate having place within it. Barach does not. This is outside the reformed confessions and the vain philosophy of his own.

    As for the statements on justification, what he says literally fits within the bounds of the confessions. Does he actually mean something different? Perhaps, but the right questions must be asked in order to bring that out. Once that is done then real allegations can be made.
    I have just touched the tip of the ice berg here Chuck. We shall see how well you can twist and turn the words of these babblers into conformity with Scripture and the reformed confessions. His words and the words of other FV babblers will find them out.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Here again is some more babble from John Barach in his own words.

    John Barach, Baptism and Election

    "But how do you know that promise is really for you and not just for other people in the church, people who've advanced further in their sanctification or who've had some special experience that convinced them of God's love?

    The answer is that you've had the special experience. You've been baptized. All God's salvation - from election to glorification - is found in Christ. And when you were baptized, God promised to unite you to Jesus Christ. That's what it means to be baptized into Christ. You're united to Jesus and all His salvation is for you.

    At baptism, God promises that you're really one of His elect: I will be your God and you will be my child. And God never hands out counterfeit promises. If He made that promise sometimes but not all the time, then you could *never* trust the promise. But God's Word is true and you must trust Him. Doubting your election when God has promised it to you is sin.

    But a promise is not a prediction. God never promises that you will be saved regardless of whether you respond to Him in faith and love. His promise always makes you responsible."



    Here is a response to the babble of FV doctrine :
    Andy Webb, Foolish Galatianism (Counsel of Chalcedon, Sept.-Dec. 2002) [html] [pdf]

    This is review of the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors conference by a PCA pastor. Webb concludes:

    "The New Paradigm teaches people to depend upon their baptism for assurance, threatens those united to Christ with the real possibility of apostasy if they fail to meet the demands of the covenant, and consequently teaches them to look to their own faithful "non-meritorious works in order to remain in the Covenant of Grace. This encourages unbelief, nominalism, legalism, and is contrary to the Reformational Solas and, most importantly, the Scriptures. These gentlemen have been given ample time to clarify their message, and it is abundantly clear that their message really is as unorthodox as it sounds."
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Hoeksema's position certainly falls within the bounds of the Reformed confessions, but to claim that his is the only position that is within the bounds is absurd since many of those who authored the confessions would have disagreed with him on various points in regards to the covenant. In fact Q&A 74 of the Heidelberg assumes that the child being baptized is in covenant with God.

    HEI 27:7 - 28:1 Q. 74 Are infants also to be baptized? 8 A. Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant(4) and church of God;(5) and since redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them(6) no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers(7) as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision,(8) instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant.(9) 9 (4) Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39 (5) 1Cor. 7:14; Joel 2:16; Mat. 19:14 (6) Luke 1:14,15; Psa. 22:10; Acts 2:39 (7) Acts 10:47; 1Cor. 12:13; 1Cor 7:14 (8) Gen. 17:14 (9) Col. 2:11,12,13

    Regarding the covenant, the FV folks are really bringing back Calvin's own conception of the covenant in which from the perspective of man the covenant is conditional but from the perspective of God's vantage point it is completely unconditional.

    Here are some quotes from Calvin on Gen. 17:7:

    7.
    And thy seed after thee. There is no doubt that the Lord distinguishes the
    race of Abraham from the rest of the world. We must now see what
    people he intends. Now they are deceived who think that his elect alone
    are here pointed out; and that all the faithful are indiscriminately
    comprehended, from whatever people, according to the flesh, they are
    descended. For, on the contrary, the Scripture declares that the race of
    Abraham, by lineal descent, had been peculiarly accepted by God. And it
    is the evident doctrine of Paul concerning the natural descendants of
    Abraham, that they are holy branches which have proceeded from a holy

    313
    root, (
    <451116>Romans 11:16.) And lest any one should restrict this
    assertion to the shadows of the law, or should evade it by allegory, he
    elsewhere expressly declares, that Christ came to be a minister of the
    circumcision, (
    <451508>Romans 15:8.) Wherefore, nothing is more certain,
    than that God made his covenant with those sons of Abraham who were
    naturally to be born of him. If any one object, that this opinion by no
    means agrees with the former, in which we said that they are reckoned the
    children of Abraham, who being by faith ingrafted into his body, form one
    family; the difference is easily reconciled, by laying down certain distinct
    degrees of adoption, which may be collected from various passages of
    Scripture. In the beginning, antecedently to this covenant, the condition of
    the whole world was one and the same. But as soon as it was said, ‘I will
    be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee,’ the Church was separated
    from other nations; just as in the creation of the world, the light emerged
    out of the darkness. Then the people of Israel was received, as the flock of
    God, into their own fold: the other nations wandered, like wild beasts,
    through mountains, woods, and deserts. Since this dignity, in which the
    sons of Abraham excelled other nations, depended on the word of God
    alone, the gratuitous adoption of God belongs to them all in common. For
    if Paul deprives the Gentiles of God and of eternal life, on the ground of
    their being aliens from the covenant, (
    <490418>Ephesians 4:18,) it follows
    that all Israelites were of the household of the Church, and sons of God,
    and heirs of eternal life. And although it was by the grace of God, and not
    by nature, that they excelled the Gentiles; and although the inheritance at
    the kingdom of God came to them by promise, and not by carnal descent;
    yet they are sometimes said to differ by nature from the rest of the world.
    In the Epistle to the Galatians, (
    <480215>Galatians 2:15), and elsewhere,
    Paul calls them saints ‘by nature,’ because God was willing that his grace
    should descend,
    F404 by a continual succession, to the whole seed. In this
    sense, they who were unbelievers among the Jews, are yet called the
    children of the celestial kingdom by Christ. (
    <400812>Matthew 8:12.) Nor
    does what St Paul says contradict this; namely, that not all who are from
    Abraham are to be esteemed legitimate children; because they are not the
    children of the promise, but only of the flesh. (
    <450908>Romans 9:8.) For
    there, the promise is not taken generally for that outward word, by which
    God conferred his favor as well upon the reprobate as upon the elect; but
    must be restricted to that efficacious calling, which he inwardly seals by

    314
    his Spirit. And that this is the case, is proved without difficulty; for the
    promise by which the Lord had adopted them all as children, was common
    to all: and in that promise, it cannot be denied, that eternal salvation was
    offered to all. What, therefore, can be the meaning of Paul, when he denies
    that certain persons have any right to be reckoned among children, except
    that he is no longer reasoning about the externally offered grace, but about
    that of which only the elect effectually partake? Here, then, a twofold
    class of sons presents itself to us, in the Church; for since the whole body
    of the people is gathered together into the fold of God, by one and the
    same voice, all without exception, are in this respects accounted children;
    the name of the Church is applicable in common to them all: but in the
    innermost sanctuary of God, none others are reckoned the sons of God,
    than they in whom the promise is ratified by faith. And although this
    difference flows from the fountain of gratuitous election, whence also faith
    itself springs; yet, since the counsel of God is in itself hidden from us, we
    therefore distinguish the true from the spurious children, by the respective
    marks of faith and of unbelief. This method and dispensation continued
    even to the promulgation of the gospel; but then the middle wall was
    broken down, (
    <490214>Ephesians 2:14,) and God made the Gentiles equal
    to the natural descendants of Abraham. That was the renovation of the
    world, by which they, who had before been strangers, began to be called
    sons. Yet whenever a comparison is made between Jews and Gentiles, the
    inheritance of life is assigned to the former, as lawfully belonging to them;
    but to the latter, it is said to be adventitious. Meanwhile, the oracle was
    fulfilled in which God promises that Abraham should be the father of
    many nations. For whereas previously, the natural sons of Abraham were
    succeeded by their descendants in continual succession, and the
    benediction, which began with him, flowed down to his children; the
    coming of Christ, by inverting the original order, introduced into his family
    those who before were separated from his seed: at length the Jews were
    cast out, (except that a hidden seed of the election remained among them,)
    in order that the rest might be saved. It was necessary that these things
    concerning the seed of Abraham should once be stated, that they may
    open to us an easy introduction to what follows.

    On Psalm 132:12:


    This may serve to show in what sense the covenant was not
    conditional; but as there were other things which were accessories to the
    covenant,
    fe132 a condition was appended, to the effect that God would
    bless them if they obeyed his commandments.

    On Hosea 5:7:


    He says that
    they had acted perfidiously with God, for they had violated
    his covenant. We must bear in mind what I have said before of the mutual
    faith which God stipulates with us, when he binds himself to us. God then
    covenants with us on this condition, that he will be our Father and
    Husband; but he requires from us such obedience as a son ought to render
    to his father; he requires from us that chastity which a wife owes to her
    husband. The Prophet now charges the people with unfaithfulness,
    because they had despised the true God, and prostituted themselves to
    idols.

    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Hoeksema's position certainly falls within the bounds of the Reformed confessions, but to claim that his is the only position that is within the bounds is absurd since many of those who authored the confessions would have disagreed with him on various points in regards to the covenant. In fact Q&A 74 of the Heidelberg assumes that the child being baptized is in covenant with God.

    HEI 27:7 - 28:1 Q. 74 Are infants also to be baptized? 8 A. Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the covenant(4) and church of God;(5) and since redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them(6) no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the Christian church; and be distinguished from the children of unbelievers(7) as was done in the old covenant or testament by circumcision,(8) instead of which baptism is instituted in the new covenant.(9) 9 (4) Gen. 17:7; Acts 2:39 (5) 1Cor. 7:14; Joel 2:16; Mat. 19:14 (6) Luke 1:14,15; Psa. 22:10; Acts 2:39 (7) Acts 10:47; 1Cor. 12:13; 1Cor 7:14 (8) Gen. 17:14 (9) Col. 2:11,12,13
    It is clear enough Chuck who is meant here. It is the elect believer and their elect beleiving seed. It is not meant for all head for head. Are you now going on record in advocating that all head for head are in the covenant of God? Are you advocating that all are redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ? Are you advocating that the Promise of God is for all head for head?


    Regarding the covenant, the FV folks are really bringing back Calvin's own conception of the covenant in which from the perspective of man the covenant is conditional but from the perspective of God's vantage point it is completely unconditional.
    Your comment is as sick as it is disgusting. From the perspective of both God and the elect sinner the covenant is always unconditional. God says live to a dead sinner and that sinner lives. There is nothing conditional from the aspect of man, they are dead to start with.

    Here are some quotes from Calvin on Gen. 17:7:


    On Psalm 132:12:



    On Hosea 5:7:
    I will inter act with your Calvins quotes later on.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    It is clear enough Chuck who is meant here. It is the elect believer and their elect beleiving seed. It is not meant for all head for head. Are you now going on record in advocating that all head for head are in the covenant of God? Are you advocating that all are redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ? Are you advocating that the Promise of God is for all head for head?
    The catechism does not say it is only the elect. The catechism refers to all the children of believers and from reading Ursinus it appears that that is what he meant. Are all in the covenant of God? It depends what you mean by that. The Bible uses very strong language to teach that they are in the covenant of God. But it uses equally strong language to teach that God's covenant is unbreakable. The Bible speaks of the covenant from two different aspects and so it depends what you mean by the question. All are certainly not redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ and the promise is not for everyone head for head.

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    Your comment is as sick as it is disgusting. From the perspective of both God and the elect sinner the covenant is always unconditional. God says live to a dead sinner and that sinner lives. There is nothing conditional from the aspect of man, they are dead to start with.
    What of those who drank from the rock which the Bible says was Christ in the wilderness who God was displeased with?
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Here are some quotes from Ursinus' commentary on Q&A 74 pp. 366ff.:

    "..for all the children of those that believe are included in the covenant, and church of God, unless they exclude themselves. They are, therefore, also disciples of Christ, because they are born in the church, or school of Christ; and hence the Holy Spirit teaches them in a manner adapted to their capacity and age."

    "...God wills that the offspring of the faithful should be included amongst the members of the church, even from the womb."
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    I purchased a book awhile ago called German Calvinism in the Confessional Age: The Covenant Theology of Caspar Olevianus by Lyle D. Bierma. Out of curiosity I was curious as to what Olevianus believed as to the breakability of the covenant. (For those who don't know Olevianus is generally considered to have contributed to the composition of the Heidelburg Catechism). Bierma cites the Latin texts and they appear to back up what he is saying Olevianus taught. I haven't been translating Latin for at least a year now, so I won't torture people with my own translation. Bierma cites Olevianus' Romans commentary and says "Olevianus claims that baptized infants can be "cut out" (excinduntur) of the covenant if they reject its promises upon reaching the age of discretion...This implies that they once were members of the covenant." (102) Bierma notes Olevianus' distinction between general outer adminisration of the covenant promise and the special inner administration of the substance of the promise. In some of Olevianus' writings he seems to say that infants are members of the covenant by virtue of their baptism, in others by virtue of the promise to their believing parents. In at least one instance Olevianus even speaks of children normally being justified in the womb.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Here are some quotes from Calvin on
    7.
    And thy seed after thee. There is no doubt that the Lord distinguishes the
    race of Abraham from the rest of the world. We must now see what
    people he intends. Now they are deceived who think that his elect alone
    are here pointed out; and that all the faithful are indiscriminately
    comprehended, from whatever people, according to the flesh, they are
    descended. For, on the contrary, the Scripture declares that the race of
    Abraham, by lineal descent, had been peculiarly accepted by God. And it
    is the evident doctrine of Paul concerning the natural descendants of
    Abraham, that they are holy branches which have proceeded from a holy


    313
    root, (
    <451116>Romans 11:16.) And lest any one should restrict this
    assertion to the shadows of the law, or should evade it by allegory, he
    elsewhere expressly declares, that Christ came to be a minister of the
    circumcision, (
    <451508>Romans 15:8.) Wherefore, nothing is more certain,
    than that God made his covenant with those sons of Abraham who were
    naturally to be born of him. If any one object, that this opinion by no
    means agrees with the former, in which we said that they are reckoned the
    children of Abraham, who being by faith ingrafted into his body, form one
    family; the difference is easily reconciled, by laying down certain distinct
    degrees of adoption, which may be collected from various passages of
    Scripture. In the beginning, antecedently to this covenant, the condition of
    the whole world was one and the same. But as soon as it was said, ‘I will
    be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee,’ the Church was separated
    from other nations; just as in the creation of the world, the light emerged
    out of the darkness. Then the people of Israel was received, as the flock of
    God, into their own fold: the other nations wandered, like wild beasts,
    through mountains, woods, and deserts. Since this dignity, in which the
    sons of Abraham excelled other nations, depended on the word of God
    alone, the gratuitous adoption of God belongs to them all in common. For
    if Paul deprives the Gentiles of God and of eternal life, on the ground of
    their being aliens from the covenant, (
    <490418>Ephesians 4:18,) it follows
    that all Israelites were of the household of the Church, and sons of God,
    and heirs of eternal life. And although it was by the grace of God, and not
    by nature, that they excelled the Gentiles; and although the inheritance at
    the kingdom of God came to them by promise, and not by carnal descent;
    yet they are sometimes said to differ by nature from the rest of the world.
    In the Epistle to the Galatians, (
    <480215>Galatians 2:15), and elsewhere,
    Paul calls them saints ‘by nature,’ because God was willing that his grace
    should descend,
    F404 by a continual succession, to the whole seed. In this
    sense, they who were unbelievers among the Jews, are yet called the
    children of the celestial kingdom by Christ. (
    <400812>Matthew 8:12.) Nor
    does what St Paul says contradict this; namely, that not all who are from
    Abraham are to be esteemed legitimate children; because they are not the
    children of the promise, but only of the flesh. (
    <450908>Romans 9:8.) For
    there, the promise is not taken generally for that outward word, by which
    God conferred his favor as well upon the reprobate as upon the elect; but
    must be restricted to that efficacious calling, which he inwardly seals by


    314
    his Spirit. And that this is the case, is proved without difficulty; for the
    promise by which the Lord had adopted them all as children, was common
    to all: and in that promise, it cannot be denied, that eternal salvation was
    offered to all. What, therefore, can be the meaning of Paul, when he denies
    that certain persons have any right to be reckoned among children, except
    that he is no longer reasoning about the externally offered grace, but about
    that of which only the elect effectually partake? Here, then, a twofold
    class of sons presents itself to us, in the Church; for since the whole body
    of the people is gathered together into the fold of God, by one and the
    same voice, all without exception, are in this respects accounted children;
    the name of the Church is applicable in common to them all: but in the
    innermost sanctuary of God, none others are reckoned the sons of God,
    than they in whom the promise is ratified by faith. And although this
    difference flows from the fountain of gratuitous election, whence also faith
    itself springs; yet, since the counsel of God is in itself hidden from us, we
    therefore distinguish the true from the spurious children, by the respective
    marks of faith and of unbelief. This method and dispensation continued
    even to the promulgation of the gospel; but then the middle wall was
    broken down, (
    <490214>Ephesians 2:14,) and God made the Gentiles equal
    to the natural descendants of Abraham. That was the renovation of the
    world, by which they, who had before been strangers, began to be called
    sons. Yet whenever a comparison is made between Jews and Gentiles, the
    inheritance of life is assigned to the former, as lawfully belonging to them;
    but to the latter, it is said to be adventitious. Meanwhile, the oracle was
    fulfilled in which God promises that Abraham should be the father of
    many nations. For whereas previously, the natural sons of Abraham were
    succeeded by their descendants in continual succession, and the
    benediction, which began with him, flowed down to his children; the
    coming of Christ, by inverting the original order, introduced into his family
    those who before were separated from his seed: at length the Jews were
    cast out, (except that a hidden seed of the election remained among them,)
    in order that the rest might be saved. It was necessary that these things
    concerning the seed of Abraham should once be stated, that they may
    open to us an easy introduction to what follows.


    Calvin here speaks of God's grace and His promise to be for all. I ask , who are the all? Calvin surely would contradict himself if his meaning is for all the physical seed of Abraham. One does not have to look far (Galatians 3) as to whom grace and the promise is given. It is to to the elect in Christ, the spiritual seed. He states that it is in his comments on the later verses 19 and 20 as follows.

    " And I will establish my covenant with him. He confines the spiritual covenant to one family, in order that Abraham may hence learn to hope for the blessing before promised; for since he had framed for himself a false hope, not founded on the word of God, it was necessary that this false hope should first be dislodged from his heart, in order that he might now the more fully rely upon the heavenly oracles, anal might fix the anchor of his faith, which before had wavered in a fallacious imagination, on the firm truth of God. He calls the covenant everlasting, in the sense which we have previously explained. He then declares that it shall not be bound to one person only, but shall be common to his whole race, that it may, by continual succession, descend to his posterity. Yet it may seem absurd, that God should command Ishmael, whom he deprives of his grace, to be circumcised. I answer; although the Lord constitutes Isaac the firstborn and the head, from whom he intends the covenant of salvation to flow, he still does not entirely exclude Ishmael, but rather, in adopting the whole family of Abraham, joins Ishmael to his brother Isaac as an inferior member, until Ishmael cut himself off from his father's house, and his brother's society. Therefore his circumcision was not useless, until he apostatized from the covenant: for although it was not deposited with him, he might, nevertheless, participate in it, with his brother Isaac. In short, the Lord intends nothing else, by these words, than that Isaac should be the legitimate heir of the promised benediction.20. And as for Ishmael. He here more clearly discriminates between the two sons of Abraham. For in promising to the one wealth, dignity, and other things pertaining to the present life, he proves him to be a son according to the flesh. But he makes a special covenant with Isaac, which rises above the world and this frail life: not for the sake of cutting Ishmael off from the hope of eternal life, but in order to teach him that salvation is to be sought from the race of Isaac, where it really dwells. We infers however, from this passage, that the holy fathers were by no means kept down to earth, by the promises of God, but rather were borne upwards to heaven. For God liberally and profusely promises to Ishmael whatever is desirable with respect to this earthly life: and yet He accounts as nothing all the gifts He confers on him, in comparison with the covenant which was to be established in Isaac. It therefore follow, that neither wealth, nor power, nor any other temporal gift, is promised to the sons of the Spirit, but an eternal blessing, which is possessed only by hope, in this world. Therefore, however we may now abound in delights, and in all good things, our happiness is still transient, unless by faith we penetrate into the celestial kingdom of God, where a greater and higher blessing is laid up for us.
    It is however asked, whether Abraham had respect only to this earthly life when he prayed for his son? For this the Lord seems to intimate, when he declares that he had granted what Abraham asked, and yet only mentions the things we have recorded. But it was not God's design to fulfill the whole wish of Abraham on this point; only he makes it plain that he would have some respect to Ishmael, for whom Abraham had entreated; so as to show that the fathers prayer had not been in vain. For he meant to testify that he embraced Abraham with such love, that, for his sake, he had respect to his whole race, and dignified it with peculiar benefits."

    It is also striking that Calvin does not comment on verse 21. The Lord yet again confirms to us just who His covenant is with. Calvin it seems in verse 7 , does not want the Lord's everlasting covenant to be only with the elect, but he contradicts himself if that is what he is trying to advocate in the later verses of this chapter, and also his reference texts to Romans in his comments on verse 7. This grace and the promises of God are indeed specific to the elect , a point Calvin himself states time and again in his commentary.





    This may serve to show in what sense the covenant was not
    conditional; but as there were other things which were accessories to the
    covenant,
    fe132 a condition was appended, to the effect that God would
    bless them if they obeyed his commandments.



    The everlasting covenant of God is indeed unconditional. The ability to obey the commands of God is the gift of God to the elect child in Christ who wholly satisfied for the sins of disobedience amongst the elect. The elect have part in the everlasting covenant because of Christ, the promised seed.

    The reprobate disobey the commands and Christ does not satisfy ,nor was it His intention to satisfy for their disobedience. They never had part in the the everlasting covenant.

    On Hosea 5:7:



    He says that
    they had acted perfidiously with God, for they had violated
    his covenant. We must bear in mind what I have said before of the mutual
    faith which God stipulates with us, when he binds himself to us. God then
    covenants with us on this condition, that he will be our Father and
    Husband; but he requires from us such obedience as a son ought to render
    to his father; he requires from us that chastity which a wife owes to her
    husband. The Prophet now charges the people with unfaithfulness,
    because they had despised the true God, and prostituted themselves to
    idols
    It is obvious that man, of his own , has no ability whatsoever to have the obedience and chastity God requires unless He Himself preforms this within the creature. Apart from God , the sinner remains dead. The Lord preformed this through his begotten Son, the elect's Lord. Thus the covenant is unconditional. That which the Lord requires , that He also preforms. God binds Himself to the grace , faith , assurance, and promise of the the covenant and He will surely make it come to pass. He has said so, His Word is sure and without fail.
    The Lord's everlasting covenant is His. He is the one who establishes it, maintains it, and sustains it. There never is any condition to the covenant of God that man must preform and can preform of himself. That is impossible for a dead in sins and trespasses creature. Yet the Lord in sending Christ, the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the world wholly satisfied for these sins of disobedience to the Lord's covenant. It is because of Him that the elect child is in covenant fellowship with the Triune God. It is unbreakable. The sinner by nature is a breaker of covenants , not this one. They first must have part in it, and the wicked reprobate never have had a part in the everlasting covenant of God.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The catechism does not say it is only the elect. The catechism refers to all the children of believers and from reading Ursinus it appears that that is what he meant.
    Then by all means Chuck please explain the definition of a "believer".

    Are all in the covenant of God? It depends what you mean by that.
    It depends? What does the Lord say about His everlasting covenant? Who does the Lord say is "in" the everlasting covenant of God? Who is His promise directed to and does God make vain promises like man when they make covenants? To whom belongs this everlasting covenant?


    The Bible uses very strong language to teach that they are in the covenant of God. But it uses equally strong language to teach that God's covenant is unbreakable. The Bible speaks of the covenant from two different aspects and so it depends what you mean by the question. All are certainly not redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ and the promise is not for everyone head for head.
    Is it not true that sinners disobey God commands? For whom did Christ satisfy for the disobedience to the commands of God? The two different aspects you speak of are sustained and maintained by God Himself. Man of his own cannot so much as move let alone preform the commands of the covenant. You rightly see that Christ is the one who preforms this. Now will you advocate that man has the ability , regardless of what God states regarding His everlasting covenant , to break it. What kind of assurance and comfort can one have if that is the case?




    What of those who drank from the rock which the Bible says was Christ in the wilderness who God was displeased with?
    Is God not displeased with the sinners sin? Is that not what the Lord Jesus came to satisfy for? Was His purpose to satisfy for the sins of all head for head throughout history, let alone in the wilderness? What in your scheme gives equal honor and glory to God apart from what I ask you?
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    Here are some quotes from Ursinus' commentary on Q&A 74 pp. 366ff.:

    "..for all the children of those that believe are included in the covenant, and church of God, unless they exclude themselves. They are, therefore, also disciples of Christ, because they are born in the church, or school of Christ; and hence the Holy Spirit teaches them in a manner adapted to their capacity and age."

    "...God wills that the offspring of the faithful should be included amongst the members of the church, even from the womb."
    Then it is obvious that Ursinus wrongly equates the Lord's everlasting covenant with the visible church. "all" the children of believers in the visible church are "not" elect.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    I purchased a book awhile ago called German Calvinism in the Confessional Age: The Covenant Theology of Caspar Olevianus by Lyle D. Bierma. Out of curiosity I was curious as to what Olevianus believed as to the breakability of the covenant. (For those who don't know Olevianus is generally considered to have contributed to the composition of the Heidelburg Catechism). Bierma cites the Latin texts and they appear to back up what he is saying Olevianus taught. I haven't been translating Latin for at least a year now, so I won't torture people with my own translation. Bierma cites Olevianus' Romans commentary and says "Olevianus claims that baptized infants can be "cut out" (excinduntur) of the covenant if they reject its promises upon reaching the age of discretion...This implies that they once were members of the covenant." (102) Bierma notes Olevianus' distinction between general outer adminisration of the covenant promise and the special inner administration of the substance of the promise. In some of Olevianus' writings he seems to say that infants are members of the covenant by virtue of their baptism, in others by virtue of the promise to their believing parents. In at least one instance Olevianus even speaks of children normally being justified in the womb.
    Disobey the commands of God , a baptised child can and surely does. Breaking the everlasting covenant of God ... impossible. Baptism is the outward "sign" of membership in the visible church. The "seal" of baptism is within the elect in Christ,and is the work of the Lord and they are truly members of the everlasting covenant of God.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Here are more babbling statements by another Federal Vision Babbler:

    Peter Leithart, Baptism is Baptism (Credenda/Agenda 16-3)

    "How can we affirm a strong view of baptism without implying that all the baptized are saved and without implying that the water is a magic potion? I propose that we answer those questions in terms of three axioms: 1. When the New Testament writers use the word "baptism," they mean the water rite we call baptism. 2. When the New Testament writers call the church the "body of Christ," they mean that the church is the body of Christ. 3. Apostasy is possible."

    Peter Leithart, Baptism Now Saves You (Credenda/Agenda 16-2)

    "Peter crowns this trend with the statement that "baptism now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21). The qualification that Peter introduces ("not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience") does not, as often thought, diminish the efficacy that he attributes to baptism. It is not as if Peter says "baptism now saves you" and then adds, as a slight nuance, "but baptism doesn't really save you." On the contrary, the clause enhances the efficacy. This qualification makes no sense if Peter is merely contrasting baptism to a daily bath: Would anyone be tempted to believe that baptism was a bath to remove dirt? If not, why does Peter make the point?"

    Peter Leithart, Sacraments are Rituals (Credenda/Agenda 16-1)

    "So. If sacraments are not "means of grace," or "signs," or "symbols," what are they? In some respects, they are in a category all their own. In fact, it is not entirely helpful to talk about baptism and the Supper under the single category of "sacraments." Still, if I have to pick a general category that covers both, I would pick "ritual." I have several reasons."

    Peter Leithart, Baptism and the "Real Me" (Credenda/Agenda 14-5)

    "Because they were joined to Christ by baptism, the Roman Christians were to "consider [them]selves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). To use the modern jargon, Paul taught that a Christian's "self-image" is grounded in and shaped by the fact of his baptism. But is this really true? Does the "self-image" that comes from baptism match reality, or was Paul playing a game of "let's pretend?"

    Peter Leithart, Baptism and the Church

    "None of this means that baptism guarantees eternal salvation. One consecrated as a saint may renounce God's claim on him; one can be cut off from the people whom the Lord regards as covenant-keepers, and entire churches may be snuffed out, cut from the vine. But those who live out of their baptism, faithful to the Lord in His Body, may be assured they are sanctified and justified."

    Peter Leithart, Sacramental efficacy

    "For many centuries, there has been an unwarranted narrowing of the purposes and intentions of the sacraments. The sacraments have come to be seen purely in relation to individual salvation. But the sacraments have multiple purposes and intentions. In terms of individual salvation, they cannot be said to operate "automatically," but this is not all that is going on in the sacraments. Conferring grace to individual members of the Church is not the only end for which the sacraments were instituted."

    Peter Leithart, Daddy, Why Was I Excommunicated?

    "Though one hesitates to raise what has been a divisive issue, it is not an issue that can be ignored. Belief in paedocommunion is not, to be sure, in any sense a test of orthodoxy. But its significance for the system of Reformed doctrine is vast. It is plausible to argue that many of the tensions that have arisen in Reformed theology are crystallized by, if they do not actually arise from, the traditional antipaedocommunion position. I do not believe that paedocommunion implies any discarding of the foundational doctrines of the Reformed faith, but it does certainly imply a recasting and refinement, a further reformation of Reformed theology."

    Peter Leithart, The Politics of Baptism (First Things 68 (December 1996): 5-6.)

    "Baptismal water was the universal solvent not only of traditional religious distinctions within Judaism but also of the foundation stones on which the ancient city rested; for the church, it was the sole initiation and was not confined to a single family, clan, race, or social class. Everyone within the watery walls of this city participates in the rites and shares in the sancta; holy things are for holy people, but all the baptized are saints."
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Does one have to be in covenant with God for sin to be an offense? Is sin only recognized, because of their part of covenant?


    I always believed the new covenant was made with Christ and not with man. Perhaps I am off. And His headship of the elect. not directly with each individual elect.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Ray:

    You wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    Calvin here speaks of God's grace and His promise to be for all. I ask , who are the all? Calvin surely would contradict himself if his meaning is for all the physical seed of Abraham. One does not have to look far (Galatians 3) as to whom grace and the promise is given. It is to to the elect in Christ, the spiritual seed. He states that it is in his comments on the later verses 19 and 20 as follows.
    Calvin wrote right at the beginning:

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin
    There is no doubt that the Lord distinguishes the
    race of Abraham from the rest of the world. We must now see what
    people he intends. Now they are deceived who think that his elect alone
    are here pointed out....
    Calvin says you are deceived. I'm still studying the matter on the issue of the covenant and am not prepared to state if you are deceived or not on the issue of what the covenant is and does. What I do think is pretty clear is that your belief about the covenant contradicts what Calvin teaches. And that's okay. Just say, "Calvin is wrong!" There's no shame in that. Calvin was not infallible. But there is shame in trying to make people say what you wish they said.

    Notice even what Calvin says in the passage you brought up:

    Yet it may seem absurd, that God should command Ishmael, whom he deprives of his grace, to be circumcised. I answer; although the Lord constitutes Isaac the firstborn and the head, from whom he intends the covenant of salvation to flow, he still does not entirely exclude Ishmael, but rather, in adopting the whole family of Abraham, joins Ishmael to his brother Isaac as an inferior member, until Ishmael cut himself off from his father's house, and his brother's society. Therefore his circumcision was not useless, until he apostatized from the covenant: for although it was not deposited with him, he might, nevertheless, participate in it, with his brother Isaac.
    Calvin speaks of Ishmael apostacizing from the covenant. This language is very similar to things that the FV folks say. Ishmael is said to have cut himself off from the covenant after once being part of the covenant.

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    Calvin it seems in verse 7 , does not want the Lord's everlasting covenant to be only with the elect, but he contradicts himself if that is what he is trying to advocate in the later verses of this chapter, and also his reference texts to Romans in his comments on verse 7.
    I'm still trying to decipher exactly how Calvin understood "the everlasting covenant."

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    The everlasting covenant of God is indeed unconditional. The ability to obey the commands of God is the gift of God to the elect child in Christ who wholly satisfied for the sins of disobedience amongst the elect. The elect have part in the everlasting covenant because of Christ, the promised seed.

    The reprobate disobey the commands and Christ does not satisfy ,nor was it His intention to satisfy for their disobedience. They never had part in the the everlasting covenant.
    That may very well be but Calvin is saying that blessings of the covenant are conditioned upon obedience.

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    It is obvious that man, of his own , has no ability whatsoever to have the obedience and chastity God requires unless He Himself preforms this within the creature. Apart from God , the sinner remains dead. The Lord preformed this through his begotten Son, the elect's Lord. Thus the covenant is unconditional. That which the Lord requires , that He also preforms. God binds Himself to the grace , faith , assurance, and promise of the the covenant and He will surely make it come to pass. He has said so, His Word is sure and without fail.
    The Lord's everlasting covenant is His. He is the one who establishes it, maintains it, and sustains it. There never is any condition to the covenant of God that man must preform and can preform of himself. That is impossible for a dead in sins and trespasses creature. Yet the Lord in sending Christ, the Lamb slain from before the foundations of the world wholly satisfied for these sins of disobedience to the Lord's covenant. It is because of Him that the elect child is in covenant fellowship with the Triune God. It is unbreakable. The sinner by nature is a breaker of covenants , not this one. They first must have part in it, and the wicked reprobate never have had a part in the everlasting covenant of God.
    In the above you seem to be equating election and covenant as does the PRC. I think it is pretty clear from reading Calvin that Calvin did not. He saw the covenant and election as related but not as the exact same thing and he saw that God elected people from eternity and that God covenanted with people but that some of the people whom God covenanted with were not of God's elect. Again, I'm still studying the issue of the relationship between covenant and election. I received my copy of The Federal Vision in the mail today and I expect to find some, maybe many problems with it. I'll post a critique of it here when I'm done. Due to the request of those immigrating to the states, the PRC took an official stand on the covenant. Because of that stand it seems that many within the PRC view those who hold to a different position on the covenant than they do as being heretical and outside of the confessions. My only point in all of this is that a person doesn't have to hold to the position of the PRC on the covenant in order to be within the bounds of the confessions. It seems that due to the equation of covenant with election, when those within the PRC read of a person who teaches some kind of conditional covenant, they think that the person is teaching conditional election and assume that the person is on the road to Rome.

    Some within the FV seem to advocate some kind of conditional election because they believe it is Scriptural to do so. However, what they mean by "election" is not the same as what Reformed dogmaticians have meant by "election" and so those who act like they are are engaging in equivocation. I do think there are problems with this use of election but they make it very clear that they believe that God has elected who will be saved from eternity and that these people will really be saved.

    Quote Originally Posted by wb
    The catechism does not say it is only the elect. The catechism refers to all the children of believers and from reading Ursinus it appears that that is what he meant.
    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    Then by all means Chuck please explain the definition of a "believer".
    I take the catechism to be referring to true believers in the visible church. But the catechism refers to ALL children of believers as being in covenant with God not just all believers who are children whose parents are believers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ray
    Then it is obvious that Ursinus wrongly equates the Lord's everlasting covenant with the visible church. "all" the children of believers in the visible church are "not" elect.
    I'm glad to see you admit your disagreement with Ursinus. But if doctrinal positions are taken which claim not to be new confessions but an affirmation of what the confessions already teach on a given topic, how can they be proper explanations if those who wrote the confessions would not be able to subscribe to the document which is supposed to be the proper interpretation of what they themselves wrote? (sorry for the long run-on sentence)
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by lionovjudah
    Does one have to be in covenant with God for sin to be an offense?
    Sin is an offense regardless if one is in covenant fellowship with God or not. God determined that Christ would satisfy for the sins of His chosen people with whom He delights in and is in fellowship with.

    Is sin only recognized, because of their part of covenant?
    Sin is recognized as disobedience to the law of God. The 10 commandments are the law of the covenant. The reprobate are quilty sinners for whom Christ does not satisfy for. Thus they have , from the beginning , no place in the covenant fellowship with God. They do break the commands of the covenant, but since they have no part in the covenant relationship with God they can never be able to break His covenant.




    I always believed the new covenant was made with Christ and not with man. Perhaps I am off. And His headship of the elect. not directly with each individual elect.
    It is only because of the perfect satisfaction and atonement of Christ that the elect enjoy and will enjoy for eternity the everlasting covenant of fellowship with the Triune God. As Galatians 3 states "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" so yes it was made with Christ, then further in Galatians 3 , "And if ye be Christ's , then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Thus the elect are "in Christ" .

    This term "in Christ" has been so wretchedly twisted by those advocating Federal Vision as to now mean that both elect and reprobate are "in Christ"
    This is heretical babble according to the Word of God.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Paul says, "Sin is not imputed where there is no law" (Romans 5:13). John says, "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).

    If sin is imputed to the reprobate, not atoned for, then does it not fit that they are in covenant in some aspect since sin cannot be imputed apart from Law/covenant?

    I am just thinking out loud here
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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