With The Presbycast On The Federal Vision

PresbycastThe self-described “Federal Vision” has been with us, in its most recent incarnation, since about 1974, when Norman Shepherd began to teach that we are justified through faith and works. That’s right. A professor of theology, in an ostensibly confessional school, openly taught justification through faith and works. Further and even more remarkably, most of the faculty either agreed with him or defended his right to teach that doctrine and even more remarkably it took 7 years for the board to finally dismiss him for teaching this doctrine. Again, quite remarkably, his presbytery was unable to convict him of contradicting God’s Word (see the entire book of Galatians) and he escaped their jurisdiction before charges could be laid against him a second time. Over time he began to speak of justification through faithfulness and he taught the very same course in another Reformed seminary, who recorded it so that students in later years might be influenced by his teaching. They were. Those students and others began, in the early 2000s, to call their theology the “Federal Vision” theology because they were going to provide us with a thorough-going covenant theology instead of the half-baked covenant theology of Calvin, Ursinus, Olevianus, Polanus, Perkins, Ames, the Synod of Dort, and the Westminster Assembly, to name only a few.  The roots of the FV theology, however, are as ancient as Pelagius (late 4th century–early 5th) and the medieval fear that if salvation is truly free that people will not have sufficient incentive to be good.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation it’s a good time to re-consider one of the more significant (and continuing threats) to the biblical gospel of salvation sola gratia, sola fide.

Here is the episode. It’s also available on iTunes.

Here is the archival version.

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