Federal Vision Is Not Dead (It Just Smells Funny)

[God’s Hammer] Those familiar with the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail will remember the scene where Eric Idle is collecting plague consumed dead bodies on a cart while crying out like some old-time peanut vendor or carnival barker; “Bring out your dead!” Hearing the call a man appears carrying an elderly man on his shoulder who protests; “I’m not dead yet. I’m feeling better.” That’s the image I have when I see Federal Visionists like faux “pastor” Doug Wilson reemerge trying to reinvent himself as something other than what he is — a rank Christ-denying, Gospel-destroying first-class heretic, and charlatan.

Some will remember only a couple of years ago when Wilson claimed (falsely, of course) that he was no longer Federal Vision. Thankfully, many observers of Wilson noted that this so-called “mea culpa” and professed rejection of the Federal Vision was just another craftily constructed ruse designed to deceive the gullible and undiscerning. To others, mainly me, it was clear from the language in his original post that the Federal Vision label had perhaps caused more than a few Reformed parents to decide not to send their little Johnnys to Wilson’s New Saint Andrews College. Like most Reformed and Presbyterian elders, I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Pew-On have no idea why the Federal Vision is a bad thing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to little Johnny’s eternal soul … and their wallets.

The unfortunate thing about this is that Wilson’s ruse did work on some who should know better. For example, Calvin Beisner wrote in the comment section of Wilson’s blog post:

I have zero desire to become re-embroiled in the controversies over FV at this time, but I did think it proper to acknowledge what you’ve said here, thank you for what you said about me, and commend you for this step away from FV.

Sadly, Beisner is among the gullible and undiscerning as Wilson didn’t step away from the FV in the slightest and cleverly repented of nothing. Also sad, is that it appears Beisner never profited from John Robbins’ rebuke of his handling of Wilson and other FV men in his article, “Why Heretics Win Battles.” However, since Beisner commented on Wilson’s blog in 2017 some might consider this “old news.” OK, well, what isn’t old news is when last month another member of the “gullible and undiscerning” club, world-famous Baptist debater and apologist James White, interviewed Wilson on the Federal Vision. I’m not going to provide a link to that interview simply because the only version I could find was uploaded to Doug Wilson’s Canon Press YouTube page and I’m sure that page is monetized so that Wilson profits from the number of views he gets.

While I’m not going to comment at any length on that interview right now, I was surprised how White just fed Wilson one softball after another and never once pressed him on any of his responses. It was obvious that White bought Wilson’s claim that he’s just “amber ale” in his Federal Vision as opposed to “oatmeal stout” guys like Pete Leithart and James Jordan even though it is a distinction without a difference. That’s because they’re all part of the same flight of sour beer from the same brewery. It was as if White was completely unfamiliar with the mounds of literature exposing the Federal Vision as a false gospel and modern reworking of the old Pelagian heresy. Regardless, Wilson was clearly happy with the self-serving and marketing value of the interview which is why he featured it on his YouTube page.

I’m happy to say while they are not of the same “rock star” stature in the eyes of some in the P&R world, Baptists or otherwise, there are some who have been sounding the alarm about Wilson’s reemergence into the mainstream Reformed conversation. Men like Tim Shaughnessy and Carlos Montijo at Thorn and Crown Ministries have been raising red flags. Also, PCA Pastor Patrick Hines has a number of new podcasts discussing the Federal Vision specifically with Doug Wilson in mind. I’m thankful that these men recognize that Wilson is easily the most dangerous of the bunch simply because he does a pretty good job of disguising himself as a genuine Reformed pastor who is just the victim of some bad press.

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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Sean Gerety and published at God’s Hammer]

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