He who hears the shema drinks the shekar!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Roman Catholic weighs in on the Federal Vision....

Many of us who are concerned by some of what we are hearing out of 'Federal Vision' circles are routinely accused of trying to press their theological formulations to their logical conclusions. They would prefer we simply deal with what they are saying, not with whatever theological consequences are judged to result from them.

The difficulty with that line of argumentation stems from the fact that theology always has consequences. In fact, even the Federal Vision advocates understand that, as they 'critique' the current state of affairs in Reformed & Presbyterian circles. They routinely do more than simply state what their opposition says; rather, they press their opponents to their logical conclusions based largely on their own presupposed conclusions.

In other words, the FV understands the Van Tillian 'transcendental' critique all too well when they are are the one on the offensive. The problem is they don't like it when that same sort of 'transcendental' critique is done to them!

I have refrained from saying too much here about the Federal Vision, largely because there are plenty of other blogs you can visit if you want 'the latest and greatest' rancor hot off the press.

But I make an exception this time. Someone this morning forwarded me a link for one Taylor Marshall's blog site. Marshall is a Westminster East-trained, ex-PCA, ex-Episcopal, Roman Catholic convert.

Why bring up Marshall? Much has been made about Scott Hahn's departure from the Reformed faith to Rome being attributed to (in his own words!) the theology of Norman Shepherd in the past, with many arguing that Hahn is just an aberration and not true to Shepherd's theological trajectory.

But here we have another. Marshall is the latest installment of that slide from the Reformed faith to the Roman Catholic church. But more to the point, I think he understands what is at stake in the Federal Vision debates in a way I find myself concurring with. Hey, see, I can agree with a thorough-going Roman Catholic after all, even if I don't agree with his being drawn to something 'robustly Biblical'! Marshall concludes:

Ultimately, I think that younger Presbyterians will gravitate toward what the Federal Vision offers. Many will sink their teeth into it and many will find it wanting. Many will discover that the Catholic Church is their true home, and many will discover her in a great moment of joy. This Federal Vision is really only a peek into the keyhole of the Catholic Church. The Federal Visionist has a vision of the beautiful things inside, but they have not yet appreciated the warmth of a true home.

Click here for the entire article.

His description under 'What is the Federal Vision?' is remarkably accurate. Notice Marshall concludes that it has much more in common with Roman Catholic theology than traditional Reformed theology. Notice that Marshall understands exactly why the 'Presbyterian establishment' would be up in arms about it's theology.

Marshall is right about the recent draw that many Presbyterians have towards the FV. And many of those individuals will quickly find out: 'What the Federal Vision does, the Roman Catholic Church does much better.'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a balanced and fair assessment--of a Catholic, no less. Thanks for your post.

Fr. J.