Monday, April 30, 2007



I just noticed that the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) finished their study report on the Federal Vision, Auburn Avenue Theology, and New Perspectives on Paul. I was delighted to see that the committee declared that these ideas were out of accord with the Westminster Standards.

However, the report said something which I was surprised to see:

"The committee also affirms that we view NPP and FV proponents in the PCA as brothers in Christ. Thus, we take their published statements and writings seriously."

As I mentioned, I was surprised to see this. This raises a lot of questions in my mind. Many of these men are denying the imputation of Christ's active obedience, but more than that, many of them are denying justification by faith alone. (They do not like the term "alone" when it comes to justification.) Many of them speak as Shepherd does, openly affirming a "final justification" and a present justification by "faithfulness."

You can read the PCA Committee Report by clicking on this link:,,PTID323422CHID664014CIID2326076,00.html

I was furthermore surprised to see that Ligon Duncan was on the committee, yet he considers them brothers.

This raises another question: Are we to consider Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox our brothers too?

Is not justification by faith alone the article on which the church stands or falls?

It is time to start asking ourselves these tough questions.

Readers, what do you think?


Readers, please comment on the following questions:

(1) Do you think we should consider proponents of the FV and NPP our brothers in Christ? Why or why not?

(2) If you answered "yes" to question 1, then do you think we should consider Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox our brothers?

(3) If you answered "yes" to question 1, then what is the gospel? What does it mean that in the gospel a "righteousness from God" is revealed? What is the "righteousness of God"?

(I know what I believe; just curious as to what you believe. It seems like many Reformed folks are afraid to come out and say what they think on this. I couldn't get an answer from Guy Waters even, and he wrote a book critiquing the FV, and another critiquing the NPP.)


Josh Brisby said...


The link doesn't work, but you can go to and find it there.

--Josh Brisby

Josh's Loving Wife, aka Angela Brisby said...

(1) No.
(2) No. Because...
(3) The Gospel is the "good news" exactly is it good news to have to keep myself in the covenant by my so-called good works, let alone having to work to get myself in the covenant to begin with? No, my good works, however scarce they are, are filthy rags. And in case any of your readers are post called -Rejoicing Over the Gospel- deals with this very issue.

Josh Brisby said...


Will you marry me? :0)


Josh's Loving Wife, aka Angela Brisby said...

Sure, why not!

John Harley said...

As an elder in the PCA for the past 24 years, and one who has attended many presbytery meetings and General Assemblies, I can firmly say that I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the study committee was set up with the particular membership to bring about a desired conclusion. Historically, when a study committee has been set up, both proponents and opponents formed part of the committee. See the study committees on Creation, Women in the Military, Paedocommunion, to name a few. Look at results of study committees and note that there were both majority and minority reports. What does that tell you? Not everybody was in agreement. They knew that would be the case going into their study but the desire was to see two sides work together to try and reach a consensus through honest theological interaction, not just with writings and blog shoutings but with real people who could put forth cogent answerable thoughts and questions. This was not done here. One has to ask why? When I mentioned to one of the members of the church where I serve as a ruling elder that a committee had been formed by the PCA to “study” Federal Vision and NPP etc. and that they had finished their work, his first question to me seem reasonable. He asked who made up the committee and if there were those who were “for” and “against” so as to adequately study and discuss the matters at hand. When I told him that only opponents were on the committee (and I might add some of those proponents had already made their opinions quite well known in published writings and internet dialog) his gut response was “then the study committee was a sham. How can you have divergent theological views being espoused in a denomination, set up a study committee to actually study and dialog and only have one side represented?” My question indeed. I must admit that I am a presuppositionalist, but this kind of presupposition concerning my mother church I did not want to hold. At least a little window dressing to include a “token” FV proponent might have given more credibility to the committee. Certainly this committee’s report will do nothing to dissuade FV proponents that this is more a matter of a “witchhunt” with a forgone conclusion then a serious attempt to deal with the issues. Four presbyteries have already dealt with FV proponents and while they agree that they have disagreements with some of the FV musings, all have clearly made it known that the men under question are within the bounds of orthodoxy and Westminster. In all sincerity, why not have proponents on the committee? There are certainly men who are articulate, members in good standing in their respective presbyteries who could have adequately represented the position. The notable absence of such men was a great disservice to both the committee and the assembly at large. Are we viewed as men with such a lack of ability to follow theological arguments that we must be spoon fed the “appropriate” line and no more? This type of action demonstrates a great lack of trust and confidence the elders’ ability to actually do the work of “Bereans”. It is also a lack of faith in the Holy Spirit’s ability to rightly persuade men. We have been treated like children whose “parents” must do the thinking for them.

Josh Brisby said...


Very interesting take. I had never considered that before. Thanks for your input.

Welcome to The Reformed Oasis!