Sunday, September 18, 2011

Federal Vision Baptists?

Since John Piper's invitation of FV heretic Douglas Wilson, the idea is floated about that FV is merely an extension of Presbyterian view of the covenant. It is thus deemed inconceivable that there are Federal Vision Baptists, but the reality is there are Baptist churches in the CREC denomination, the flagship of the Federal Vision.

Is the Federal Vision REALLY just something that stems from the Presbyterian and Reformed view of the covenant? Those who think so do not either realize (1) the essence of the Federal Vision error, or (2) the covenantal theology embraced by the Particular and Reformed Baptists.

The essence of the FV error is not their view of the application of the Covenant. The essence of the FV error is in their dialectic between covenant and decree, and between the visible and invisible church. In other words, nothing in the FV has anything with regards to the application of baptism to infants. It is thus theoretically possible to believe in FV and still be a baptist, since believing that people can be covenantally elect while being able to fall away has nothing to do with infant baptism at all.

Secondly, those who do so do not realize that Particular and Reformed baptists can and do embrace Covenant Theology in a modified form. The major difference of course is that they believe that the sign of the covenant of baptism is to not to be applied to infant because infants do not profess faith. In other respects however, there is much similarity.

One could very well believe in everything in the Joint FV Profession and still believe that Infants should not be baptized because they do not exercise faith. Noticeable absent after all in the Joint FV Profession is anything mentioned regarding Infant Baptism.

Baptists such as John Piper should not therefore be playing around with fire. To think that this is a "Presbyterian" issue is naive. I don't think we want to wait for FV to infiltrate and subvert many Baptist churches before they start to realize that there is a problem at hand.

6 comments:

Committed Christian said...

I was not aware that Federal Vision could be a Baptist issue, but your post made it clear that it can be. Interesting...

PuritanReformed said...

@Committed:

indeed, I can see no reason why it cannot be.

Brandon said...

Hi Daniel, I think there needs to be a little more nuance in discussing this issue. Piper passes off FV as just a presbyterian error because he shares similar views of "final justification" and wishes to comfort himself by diminishing the seriousness of FV's critics.

Can you direct me to where I can find the baptist churches that are part of CREC? There are an odd handful of "family integrated" churches that are baptist, but have bizarre and unique (read: not representative of Reformed Baptist) covenantal views. They are also strongly postmillenial and I believe they are FV friendly as well.

I bring this up only because I think your representation of baptist covenant theology is liable to create more confusion than light in this instance. For example, it is not true that John Piper holds to similar covenantal views as FV, just without the infants. Piper rejects covenant theology. Thus the elements of FV infecting baptist churches doesn't necessarily have anything to do with covenant theology, which means that it's not really FV as a system that these baptist churches are adopting - merely some aspects of it.

But in the end, I agree with you that credobaptists must be on guard just as much as paedobaptists against faulty views of the gospel.

PuritanReformed said...

@Brandon:

it is true that Piper's theology on the covenants is not orthodox. And I was not trying to tar all Particular/Reformed Baptist churches. I do realize that they do embrace their own brand of Covenant Theology. The main point I was driving at is that if Baptists think that the FV is not a problem, they could very well be sucked in when they embrace the "Covenant Theology" of the FV while still remaining a baptist. After all, if FV is "just a Presbyterian issue," then as long as one does not embrace infant baptism, one may think that he is not a FVist even though he embraces everything else they believe in.

I do realize that Piper is not FV. He wouldn't be able to come up with FV if he wanted to anyway, since he is not a Covenant Theologian. The danger therefore is very much for Baptist Covenant Theologians since FV after all is a distortion of Covenant Theology.

I have been trying to find those FV baptist churches too. I only have evidence that the CREC admit that they do accept Baptist churches as members, and other rumors which are however not validated.

Caleb Land said...

There is at least one, Christ Covenant in Enterprise, OR. At least they list the London Confession in their creeds, don't know why a not Baptist church would do that.

http://www.christcovenantwallowa.com/index.htm

PuritanReformed said...

@Caleb Land:

thanks.