6 of 20 Federal Vision Errors Derived from Flattening the Covenants of Works and Grace
At the 73rd General Assembly in 2007 of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Committee to Study the Doctrine of Justification issued a “Report on Justification,” saying in the conclusion,
The Committee believes that the following points that are held by some one or the other advocates of FV [Federal Vision] are out of accord with Scripture and our doctrinal standards.
Then it lists 20 errors (all emphasis added). Note the bolded points are very similar, even identical, to views being promoted by some in Reformed circles even at this very moment. Rev. Dr. Alan D. Strange, an OPC Minister and Professor at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, writes a commentary on these 20 errors in “Understanding the Federal Vision.” The following are the 20 Federal Vision errors listed in the Report:
1. Pitting Scripture and Confession against each other.
2. Regarding the enterprise of systematic theology as inherently rationalistic.
3. A mono-covenantalism that sees one covenant, originating in the intra-Trinitarian fellowship, into which man is invited, thus flattening the concept of covenant and denying the distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.
4. Election as primarily corporate and eclipsed by covenant.
5. Seeing covenant as only conditional.
6. A denial of the covenant of works and of the fact that Adam was in a relationship with God that was legal as well as filial.
7. A denial of a covenant of grace distinct from the covenant of works.
8. A denial that the law given in Eden is the same as that more fully published at Mt. Sinai and that it requires perfect obedience.
9. Viewing righteousness as relational, not moral.
10. A failure to make clear the difference between our faith and Christ’s.
11. A denial of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ in our justification.
12. Defining justification exclusively as the forgiveness of sins.
13. The reduction of justification to Gentile inclusion.
14. Including works (by use of “faithfulness,” “obedience,” etc.) in the very definition of faith.
15. Failing to affirm an infallible perseverance and the indefectibility of grace.
16. Teaching baptismal regeneration.
17. Denying the validity of the concept of the invisible church.
18. An overly objectified sacramental efficacy that downplays the need for faith and that tends toward an ex opere operato [automatically effective] view of the sacraments.
19. Teaching paedocommunion.
20. Ecclesiology that eclipses and swallows up soteriology.