Federal Vision

Quite a stir, especially in Presbyterian circles, has been caused by the new aberration from Covenant Theology known as The Federal Vision (aka Auburn Avenue Theology, after the church that has mainly promoted it).  Federal Vision (henceforth FV) seems to hold to a form of baptismal regeneration, since babies baptized by ‘an authorized representative’ of a Christian church are considered to be justified and to be recognized as ‘saints’.  Some within this movement, therefore, practise paedocommunion.  For other alleged serious errors see The Trinity Review, number 251, January 2006 (www.trinityfoundation.org), and New Horizons, Feb. 2007.  This new teaching affects many other doctrines such as the Trinity, Covenant, regeneration, etc., and so is regarded by many theologians as heretical.  It is discussed in Guy Prentiss Waters, The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology (Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006).

Speaking of Covenant Theology reminds me of a book of that title by Dr. Peter Golding (Mentor, 2004).  When I read this I made a few comments on the end papers:

A very useful survey.  But it does reveal (1) How late covenant theology was in appearing [17th century], (2) What a huge superstructure has been built upon so slender a foundation [much teaching on covenant theology is sheer speculation], (3) How much covenant theologians disagree among themselves.  The emphasis should not be on “the covenant” as there are many, but on the God of the covenants and the blessings of the NEW covenant.

This leads me to mention New Covenant Theology (henceforth NCT) which also has caused a stir.  With regard to its attitude towards the Mosaic Law, NCT is said to stand somewhere between CT and Dispensationalism.  (See John Piper’s position at http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles).  There is, apparently, a definitive book on NCT by Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel: New Covenant Theology: Description, Definition, Defense, but at £31 from Amazon it is too expensive for me!  Much cheaper (free!) is the comprehensive material on http://solochristo.com/theology/nct.  Also recommended is the set of three lectures on The Distinction of the Covenants by Peter Masters, available from The Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, in both audio and video formats.

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