For many I know it would be hard to believe but I do have a influence upon some young Padwan Jedi Knight apprentices of mine. This is a letter from one of my padawans I received last night. It was so good I wanted to post it here for your encouragement. Some people are getting it.
Hello Pastor Bret
A new friend mentioned the Federal Vision to me in passing a couple days ago and tonight while perusing Sermon Audio for a nice sermon to fall asleep to, I came across Brian Schwertley’s critique of the Federal Vision among Christian Reconstructionists. Sounded interesting and I hoped it might explain some things. Then the guy proceeded to bash Kinism and argue against paedo-communion and alarm bells went off in my head. Is Schwertley a Presbyterian Baptist? Because it sounds like it!
It hit me like a sledgehammer how terrible Baptist theology really is during his offhand comment about paedocommunion being wrong. In short, Baptist thinking denies THE ENTIRE REPRESENTATIVE AND COVENANTAL NATURE OF REALITY SET FORTH BY SCRIPTURE! How on earth did it ever become mainstream?!
Infant baptism and paedocommunion are inescapable if a representative covenant of redemption and obedience exists. Man centered humanism has infected modern Reformed salvation doctrine on a bone deep level. It assumes that salvation acts on a purely atomized and personal level and not on a representative-corporate paradigm. And yet the Bible, whenever it speaks of salvation, from Adam to Abraham to David to the Lord Jesus frames it as a representative-familial-national act between God and man!
When a man is saved, it is not in a vacuum but within the context of his God-given purpose as a husband and father. This reestablishes a covenant of grace and law THAT BY DEFINITION includes his family in the father’s representative dispensation of his covenantal duty. Having his children baptized and partaking of communion from their earliest days is nothing but a FAITHful acknowledgement that it is the sovereign grace of God alone that saves and NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CONSCIOUS MIND OF MAN! (Heaven help us! Consistent Baptists must believe that the mentally retarded are beyond salvation!) Not only this, the act of infants taking part in the sacraments puts our necks under the very serious reality that while God generally promises generational salvation, it is up to His sovereign decree and Divine will as to HOW and the EXTENT of that promise. Because as we know, not all covenant children are elect but that in no way does away with the promises and reality of corporate salvation anymore than God’s promise of prosperity to those who keep His law is done away with by the suffering many suffering saints have endured. It’s like Baptists have never read their Bibles! How do they fail to recognize that infant circumcision as the mark of God’s NATIONAL, COVENANTAL salvific ownership AND expectation of righteousness from that covenant member is OBVIOUSLY carried over by infant baptism and communion. Ultimately, Baptists DENY Christ and the very nature of the salvation they are trying to safeguard. Man is made in the image of God and thereby models His nature on that which is communicable – in this case, representative covenants (Being a Baptist actually means you deny sin because if we have to be of conscious maturity to be recognized as believers, then we didn’t fall in Adam because we must be of conscious maturity to partake of Adam’s choice). Further, the Apostle Paul explicitly stated that men in marriage and therefore including their children are modeling the representative relationship between Christ and the Church. If this is the case, then just as the Church had no choice but to acquiesce to salvation and sanctification in their representative; neither do children before their fathers’ God-given faith in generational salvation and the expectancy that they keep His Law. Baptists deny this and in turn deny that it was Christ’s work that saves but our own mature minds acting to receive it.
I apologize for this rant on a subject you know well. But I found I had to get my thoughts out and roar against what seems a terrifying heresy in our midst. If I am wrong on anything, I would welcome your correction. It just seems that Baptists and Brian Schwertley are condemning infants taking part in the sacraments as part of the Federal Vision and they’re wrong. Also, what the sherbert is Federal Vision – exactly? I have been looking it up and it is just endlessly confusing. I get a few things (like denying the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to man) but the precise nature eludes me.
Lastly, it appears to me that Baptists got lost on the way to the mall and drove over a cliff instead. And by the looks of it they are still falling. This is what happens when the familial, kin-based, corporate, flesh and blood nature of salvation gets lost on people and they replace it with an abstract construct divorced from the real life Christ of blood, hearth and family!
Love you Pastor! And if you have time, please let me know if I have got a hold of this properly….
On the whole I think you have this right though I might state some of these matters with a wee bit more precision.
In terms of Schwertly’s criticisms against Kinism they have been thoroughly refuted in a two part response here,
In terms of your question on Federal Vision allow me to say briefly that while Federal Vision did a service for the Church in pointing again back to the implications of Covenant theology Federal Vision over-corrected and ended up in the opposite ditch of heresy as the ditch of heresy their arch-opponents (R2K) were laying. In all the cross fire of the R2K vs. FV battler R2K tried to besmirch Theonomy with the brush of FV.
Here are a few links that explain why Federal Vision is heretical.
I have waged an unrelenting war against Federal Vision as well as R2K since I started this blog. The two errors deserve each other. They are to our modern setting what Eutychianism, (also known as Real Monophysitism) and Nestorianism were to each other in that early Church battle royal. R2K and FV are mirror errors as I explain elsewhere on this blog.
However, I want to say again here, that one thing FV got right was taking us back to covenantal categories with teeth. Indeed, the kind of teeth that you note in this letter my Padawan.
Interestingly enough most of the Reformed world declaim against paedocommunion, while generally speaking FV gets that one right. Scripture and less importantly logic dictates if we are going to bring children to the baptismal font we should be bringing them to the table. First generation Reformed Theologian Wolfgang Musculus agrees,
(1) Those who possess the thing signified also have a right to the sign
(2) Children who can receive the grace of regeneration (as is evident from Baptism) can also be nurtured in their spiritual lives without their knowledge.
(3) Christ is the Savior of the whole church, including the children, and feeds and refreshes all of its members.
(4) The demand for self-examination (I Cor. 11:26-29) is not intended by the apostle as a universal requirement.
W. Musculus – Loci Communes
First Generation Reformer
Remember that it is often the case that two errors fighting each other can both be wrong and can both get some things right. Federal Vision and R2K are arch enemies. We desire to be in neither camp, choosing instead to watch and eat popcorn while their war rages. Of course the occasional Bronx cheer for both sides is always in order.
Keep up your training Padawan. You are coming along nicely.
The Jedi Knights will prevail against the dark forces on all sides.
Your Master Jedi,
Obi Wan McAtee