The Echo Zoe Interview On The Federal Vision

echozoeThe Federal Vision is still an issue. That should not surprise anyone. Some version of this error has been with us at least since the mid-16th century, when the Protestant doctrine of justification was severely threatened. It became a serious issue in the middle of the 17th century when Richard Baxter taught some aspects of it. It re-appeared most recently in 1974 and has continued to trouble us since. Enough time has passed that people are coming into contact with Reformed theology and with the Federal Vision who do not know what it is, that it has been rejected by the confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches. People are still being catechized into the Federal Vision errors and those errors are transmitted to unsuspecting people and congregations through the internet.

Andy Olson is a layman and long-time blogger and a podcaster and we recently discussed the self-described Federal Vision movement and their theology.

Here’s the interview.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you, Dr. Clark, for this in-depth interview. Would that every Reformed seminary student could hear it!

  2. I know you posted this a few months ago but I recently came across it. Thank you for the interview. Our family was looking for a new church, came across one that seemed so good. As we were looking at joining the church we came across the Federal Vision. We came to see that at first glance there were issues and problems with Federal Vision. The church we liked however wouldn’t answer direct questions (in regards to FV). They gave us every understanding that they were not strictly following Federal Vision teachings. However after a few years we came to see this was not the case. The subtlety was there and we could not nail them down on what Federal Vision is… its like a moving target. Or that is how they would talk to us as well as redefine terms at times. The people there were very loving yet the doctrinal issues coming from the Federal Vision were difficult for us to agree with. We had a very hard time with this whole situation. Is there a way to talk to a pastor who believes in FV but maybe won’t admit it?. Has there been anyone who has believed in FV who has seen the light and turned from it? How can we stop the FV? How can we love those who are in it and share truth with them?

    • Dear Hurt,

      Thanks for this.

      1. You are not alone. Others have experienced similar things. For their safety and for the safety of their families their stories have been removed from the HB but I am in contact and have had contact over the years with several people who’ve fled FV congregations.

      2. After the FV theology & practice was condemned by the confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches in 2007 the the pro-FV folks within the confessional churches (i.e., not in the CREC) went underground. Not everyone is aware, however, that the CREC is pro-FV and, of course, not everyone knows what the FV is.

      3. My experience is that the FV is like pregnancy. It’s binary. Either one is or isn’t. Those who say “I’m not but I have sympathies” usually turn out to be FV. Those who won’t criticize it turn out to be FV. They don’t want to be tagged as FV so they don’t self-identify as FV.

      4. I don’t know of a tactic, if that’s what you’re asking, to deal with a pro-FV pastor who won’t admit he is. The best procedure, I think, is to ask a pastor/elder whether he agrees with the 9 Points adopted by the URCs in 2007. They are brief and clear. If a pastor says that he doesn’t or if he won’t say, that’s probably all you need to know.

      5. Yes, there are ex-federal visionists out there. Here’s the story of one former Federal Visionist:

      http://heidelblog.net/2010/03/it-takes-one-to-know-one/

      6. As to stopping it: the good news is that most of the NAPARC churches have rejected the FV. The URCs (my federation/denomination) rejected it in pieces in 2004, 2007 (in substance) and then finally, comprehensively in 2010. There are great lots of resources on the FV here:

      http://heidelblog.net/category/federal-vision/

      There are books, articles, lectures, podcasts, booklets linked under that category.

      Here is an introduction to the FV:

      http://heidelblog.net/2013/11/for-those-just-tuning-in-what-is-the-federal-vision/

      Here is a resource post:

      http://heidelblog.net/2013/11/striking-at-the-vitals-of-religion-understanding-the-federal-vision-an/

      Here is a booklet that many have found helpful:

      http://wscal.edu/resources/wsc-bookstore/details/baptism-election-and-the-covenant-of-grace

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