Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doug Wilson - Federal Vision

 I know this is old news, but I have been away a while.

Whilst I love Piper, and recommend his book on "The Pleasures of God" as a great book, I have been somewhat concerned in recent years at the state of his wisdom.

He is just a man like the rest of us, but as is my conviction, error and bad discernment need to be exposed.

I have provided here a full post from another site called "God's Hammer" run by Sean Gerety. I may not agree with everything Sean does and says, but I do consider him an important voice of truth and discernment in these dark days.


(Side note: Some of my older readers may remember that I used to post a lot exposing the FV and NPP movements years ago (1998-2004?) at the now defunct "Dialogue Box". I have not really spent any time at this blog addressing these matters.)

John Piper and his Heretical Friends (Revised)

It has just brought to my attention that John Piper has invited Federal Vision pitchman and apologist Doug Wilson to speak at his Desiring God Conference in September.  Not only has Piper previously stated that the heretical and deadly doctrines of Wilson’s Federal Vision IS NOT another Gospel, now he has given FV spokesman Wilson a platform to further advance his FV heresy on unwitting Baptists.  The Judaizers never had it so good.

While as sinful as it is shameful, it is not surprising.  To anyone who has suffered through Piper’s Future Grace (you can read a review of the book here), Piper agrees with the central tenants of the Federal Vision including a denial of the Covenant of Works and a conditional view of grace and the gospel.

World Magazine editor Marvin Olasky (the same magazine that refused to publish Trinity Foundation’s Reformation Statement signed by R.C. Sproul and others)  will be sharing the stage with Wilson and Piper. I should point out that Olasky is (or at least was) an elder in the PCA.  If that’s the case, it is more evidence that the PCA’s committee report on the Federal Vision should be shredded for toilet paper.

For Piper and DG fans, here is a quick recap of Wilson’s theology taken from his book, Reformed is Not Enough, which he wrote to answer the “call to repentance” and heresy charges leveled against him by the  Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS).

First, for Wilson one doesn’t become a Christian by believing the Gospel, but rather becoming a Christian occurs through the waters of baptism.  Wilson writes, “A Christian… is anyone who has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by an authorized representative of the Christian church”  Through the magic waters of baptism Wilson tells us that,  “both the true and false son are brought into the same relation” to Christ.

So what is the determining factor that separates the sheep from the goats? Wilson explains that “faith in the biblical sense is inseparable from faithfulness…. But when we have faith that works its way out in love, which is the only thing that genuine faith can do, *then the condition that God has set for the fulfillment of His promise has been met”* (186-187, emphasis added).

Notice, God’s covenant promise, which of course includes the promise of salvation, is conditional and requires us to meet those conditions before we can receive them.  The conditions Wilson tells us are our own faithfulness and it is a faith that works.

God’s covenant promise is met only through our ongoing covenant faithfulness.  The ones who, through their faithfulness, “meet the condition that God has set for the fulfillment of His promise,” become sheep.

In Wilson’s “objective covenant” in which the sinner meets conditions and fulfills his covenantal obligations, thus qualifying himself for the salvation God has promised,  Wilson confuses works done as the result of sanctification with justification.

In case anyone missed it, or if anyone might be tempted to think that I am mischaracterizing Wilson, he also favorably quotes his fellow FV pastor Rand Booth: “Only faithful covenant membership (i.e., those full of faith in the Savior), receive the covenant blessings, *including the blessings of imputed righteousness” (emphasis added).

The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is the result of being a faithful covenant member.  Wilson states “This is fundamental to the central point of this book.”
For Wilson it is the conditions of salvation that God sets at baptism that become the dividing line between salvation and damnation: “Those who obligate themselves under the terms of the covenant law to live by faith but then defiantly refuse to believe are cut away” (134).

In Wilson’s scheme, “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” (134), and fulfilling the conditions of the covenant occurs by faith and good works.
Wilson rejects the historic Reformed and Biblical view of the Covenant of Grace in which Christ is the Mediator of the covenant and the Savior of his people.

As every Christian should already know, and certainly John Piper ought to know, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not contingent upon our “faithful covenant membership,” but solely upon Christ’s obedience to the will of the Father.

Wilson rejects the law/gospel distinction saying, “law and gospel divisions or grace and works divisions” is “a trap.”   Wilson asserts, contra Scripture, that belief alone in the truths of Scripture and the Gospel saves no one.  “I do not deny the propositional truth the solas refer to, but I do maintain that to limit them to mere propositions is to kill them. Faith without works is dead. The five solas without works are dead too. Propositions without works are dead — even if the propositions are true.”

Of course, Wilson contradict Christ who said “The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).”

And, contrary to works as a requirement or the one thing needful to make faith saving, Jesus said; “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has [right now, not after doing some good works] everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has [already] passed from death to life (John 5:24).”  Wilson is a liar.

As John Robbins points out: “Wilson has things backwards: It is the true words, the propositions, that bring forth good works, not the works that make propositions living. The propositions are living and the source of life, and works are a kind of fruit of that life — a result, an effect of the living propositions. “

As we have seen, for Wilson Christians are saved by fulfilling the conditions of the covenant: “In the historic Protestant view, good works are inseparable from biblical salvation. They are not a condiment  to flavor a “raw” justification [i.e., read “fruit” - SG], but rather are definitionally related to justification…like the terms husband and wife.”

In Wilson’s theology, good works and justification are equals and correlatives, like husband and wife. Justification is not prior to, nor the cause or ground of sanctification and good works, but an equal and corresponding aspect of salvation. He adds;   “No one assumes that every husband will automatically have a successful marriage. Nor should we assume that every Christian will go to Heaven.”

In Wilson’s theology some Christians will go to Hell.

To avoid Hell, salvation requires our ongoing covenantal faithfulness in order to receive what Federal Visionists call “final justification” on the last day.  That’s because, and as we’ve seen in this brief summary, no man is saved by belief alone, but by belief plus works.
Wilson is a Christ denying heretic who has been warmly embraced by John Piper.  Now he will be a featured guest speaker at Piper’s next “Desiring God” conference.

Again, the Judaizers never had it so good.


R W S said...

I know RC Sproul has been a very strong critic of this view , as has Michael Horton. It is a bit perplexing for Piper to have included him considering Piper's view concerning justification. Troubling that is for sure.

Sean Gerety said...

What do you think of Piper's affirmation that God desires the salvation of the reprobate in Desiring God?

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

I am not convinced that Piper's view on Justification is correct but am willing to cut some slack unless proven otherwise.

Having said that, I am so frustrated at the amount of fuzziness regarding the confusion surrounding both justification and sanctification that exists today.

Hi Sean, hope you don't mind me putting up yer stuff here.

As far as your question, anyone familiar with my writings knows my view on that subject, but briefly, one only has to ask what the Biblical definition of "Reprobate" actually means, even a simple dictionary definition will suffice.

Also, one must have a robust doctrine regarding God's decrees otherwise everything makes no sense.

Once that is established, it is painfully obvious that God does not desire the salvation of the rebrobate!

Now, we could then get into the whole "free offer" as taught by Classical reformed men and the newer and misguided "well meant offer" and missaplied "two wills" that is so pervasive these days, but that is a whole other endeavour which I know you are very familiar with Sean.

Nice to hear from you brother.


mKhulu said...

"Wilson is a Christ denying heretic who has been warmly embraced by John Piper."

I believe that the second half of the above quote is true.

Whoa, just a bit on the first half however. I think you may have over-stated the case. Perhaps the essence of Pastor Wilson's theology might be paraphrased thus: "Ever'body talkin' 'bout heaven ain't a goin' there."

Pastor Wilson most assurdely has not rejected Christ, or claimed His glory, or imagined that self-enabled works do anything. Spirit-enabled works certainly do give evidence of true repentance.

I am amazed how the God of everything can use any of us, but He surely does.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Anyone who comes even close to muddying or confusing the Biblical teaching upon "Justification" is well on the way to being a heretic, if not one already.

I have little sympathy for any professing Christian and especially those in authority, to muck about with this teaching.

It is the very linch pin of our precious Gospel, and any who misrepresent the Imputation of the righteousness of Christ as the sole reason for the sinners justification before God are indeed playing with fire.

See recent blog video by RC Sproul that I have just posted.