Pondering this some more, I can see entirely where the confusion arises.
And there's more
"Confusing this 'union with Christ' with visible membership in the body of Christ through outward profession or sacramental expression is a serious error and endangers our church's faithful testimony to the Gospel essential of justification by faith alone." (lines 24-27, page 2214, of PCA on FV).
The force of the argument seems to be that we must not give the sacraments to those who are not elect. But the only way to avoid this, with no risk of false positives, is to give the sacraments to nobody at all. It's back to God's secret counsel again.
But the NT clearly does not say that we don't treat anyone as elect for risk of getting it wrong. At this point, covenantal objectivity is one way to go, and there have been others suggested. But if it is paramount to avoid treating someone who is not decretally elect as though they were, we're stuck with a null church.
I’m really struggling reading the report by the PCA on the Federal Vision. I know that many others have already posted their views on this report, but the misunderstandings in it are so fundamental it’s hard to keep quiet.
2 pleas so far
1. Please realise that there is a difference between saying
This will delight some of you.
I got an e-mail from the good people at the good book company yesterday. IVP are already reprinting Pierced for our Transgressions - the superb looking new defence of the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. Not read it yet - my copy is on order - awaiting reprinting!
After only a month that really is good going!
I can think of two reasons for this. Either of them means that the need for a reprint delights me. It might be that the book is selling outstandingly well. Or it might be that IVP were overly pessimistic in the size of print run they commissioned, and the pessimism has been exposed. Either way - top news that Mike, Steve and Sachy's hard work is enjoying a wide distribution. "It can't be written," some said. Well it has, and the hot cakes are going fast!
A risky thing to claim – that we should expect to fight and lose.
Numbers 14: The people are judged for what? Deciding the enemies are too mighty to be beaten.
That was then. Since then the enemy has been beaten. Dare we risk angering the Lord in a similar way?
Isn’t penal sub lovely.
Lev 9:24: “And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”
I’ve got so tired of hearing people, who find irresistible appeal in Open Theism, citing Mark 7:24-30 that it’s time to say something. The appeal is made without consideration to: (i) the Chalcedonian need not to confuse Christ’s two natures, and (ii) the dynamics of human relationships that are playing out. The claim is: Here is an example of God changing his mind.
Enjoyed listening to the first Doug Wilson session on post-millenialism from the AAPC the other day.
Reluctant to post too much of what he said – better for you to listen to it really.
Before I post anything of his content, I feel I ought to say. Pastor Wilson, before deciding that we Brits can’t pronounce “strawberry” or “controversy”, please: What is “R-millenialism”?
No theological axe to grind at all here - it's actually in the Science section of the New York Times. But a quite helpful article on free will, determinism, responsibility and randomness is to be found here.
(The NYT tends to charge for its online content, so I can't vouch for how long the article will stay freely accessible).
Nice touches include the old chocolate illustration, and the observation that the only two alternatives are some kind of causality and randomness. I also like the argument that a being who didn't have freedom of indifference will inevitably perceive that they do - in other words spontaneity will look like indifference.
God is not mentioned. A lot of effort is expended arguing that taking away our notion of free will doesn't lead to nihilism. How liberating, instead, to be able observe that we do not have total libertarian freedom, but that this is because the loving, simple, holy, just, wise, joyful, sufficient God is the one to whom, and for whom, and in whom we exist.
OK, it doesn’t fit the tune, but it does fit the sentiment.
Joel Green, NICNT Luke, page 137:
In the light of the cosmic scope of the Isaianic Messianic hope Luke keeps alluding to in chapter 2, and in the light of the references to Gentiles we’ve already had this far in Luke:
This means that the expression ‘those whom he favors’ cannot be limited in application to Israel only. Rather, shalom for Israel is tied up with shalom for the cosmos. Hence, although ‘whom he favors’ is an affirmation of gracious election on God’s part, that graciousness extends to humanity. It should not be read in an exclusive sense – that is, not peace only to a select group whom he favors – but in an inclusive way: In the birth of this child, God’s mercy has fallen on the world.