Ask Doug: What do you mean by “Evangelical”?

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Doug Wilson said:

"Fundamentalism is sort of a fighting faith, but they believed in the same doctrines. Evengelicals were fundamentalists who held to the same faith, but they didn't want to be quite as shrill."

You start with a movement, which becomes a business, which eventually turns into a racket . . . I think evangelicalism, post-1970, has essentially turned into a racket."

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

I don't think I would be consulting Doug Wilson about what it means to be an evangelical. Maybe he has the gospel, I am not totally sure he doesn't, but he sure confuses it.

Shaynus's picture

josh p wrote:

I don't think I would be consulting Doug Wilson about what it means to be an evangelical. Maybe he has the gospel, I am not totally sure he doesn't, but he sure confuses it.

 

Really? As someone who has listened to almost all of his sermons in the past few years, I find this comment to be near slanderous. Yes I know he has some issues with the federal vision, but he in no way confuses the gospel. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Maybe he has the gospel, I am not totally sure he doesn't, but he sure confuses it

Document your claims or back off.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

josh p wrote:

It's not slander. I believe Federal Vision confuses the gospel.


Josh,

Let me add that the Federal Vision view of the Gospel is considered heresy by more than a handful of orthodox Reformed groups and certainly beyond. Though you do not use this term clearly others go this far in their conviction. And of course this error is identified as a flagship position of Wilson.

There is a great deal of online material available in terms of robust rebuttals presenting FV's errors for those given to research and discovery instead of huffing and puffing and being upset that one would dare assert such a thing as if the material does not exist and is not available in volume. The late John W. Robbins (The Trinity Foundation) stunningly rebuked the FV error, citing its flaws and providing the theological remedy.

Greg Linscott's picture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Vision

Among other things, FV would affirm a concept of baptismal regeneration, "sanctifying effects" of communion (resulting in an insistence of practicing paedocommunion), and a  capability for someone to have been "under the covenant" yet ultimately end up in Hell:

God has decreed from the foundation of the world all that comes to pass, including who would be saved and lost for all eternity. Included in his decree, however, is that some persons, not destined for final salvation, would be drawn to Christ and to his people for a time. These people, for a season, enjoy real blessings, purchased for them by Christ’s cross and applied to them by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament. ... They may be said to be reconciled to God, adopted, granted new life, etc. But in the end, they fail to persevere, and because they fall away, they go to hell.

Link

 

I enjoy reading Douglas Wilson as much as anyone, but Josh P. has a point.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

josh p's picture

I am at work Tyler but if the above is not enough I can add some when I get home. Even the PCA has ruled that it's view of justification is unorthodox. So has the OPC.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I shall look into it. Thanks.

If anybody says Doug Wilson confuses the Gospel, then you are charging that he is a borderline, if not outright, false teacher. This is a serious charge which deserves substantiation. I am not in the same theological camp as Doug Wilson, but I have never considered him un-orthodox and had not run into anybody who did. I'll take a look and get back with my thoughts later this evening.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

I probably should have given more detail but I assumed that people knew enough about FV to see where I was coming from. I don't think saying that  to confuse the gospel is necessary a charge of heresy. A person can believe and teach the gospel but present it poorly at times to where it comes across incorrectly. I believe that this undergirds most of the Lordship debate. Some of it's most vocal opponents are reacting to some of Lordship's more imprecise gospel definitions.

 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Three solid resources on the FV error:

Federal Vision: Heresy at the Root (David J. Engelsma is professor emeritus of theology at the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches in Grandville, Michigan)

The Federal Vision / Auburn Ave. Heresy (the late Dr. John W. Robbins - YouTube)

Why Heretics Win Battles (the late Dr. John W. Robbins)

From the Why Heretics Win Battles essay:

Wilson imagines – he has a great imagination, which is why he is such an atrocious theologian – that Acts 2:39 promises salvation to the children of believers, but here is what the verse says: “For the promise [of the Holy Spirit] is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” There are three recipients of the promise: “you,” “your children,” and “all who are afar off.” All three groups receive the same promise; children are not singled out for any special promises. So “all who are afar off” have the same promise of the Spirit as “your children.” Furthermore, the last clause of the verse, “as many as the Lord our God will call,” modifies and limits all three referents: “you, your children, and all who are afar off.” Therefore, the promise of the Holy Spirit is made only to the elect, not to all of Peter’s audience, nor to all their children, nor to all who are afar off, but only to as many as the Lord our God will call from all three groups. The promise is not to all that Peter addressed, nor to all their children (let alone to Wilson’s children), nor to all afar off, but only to the elect. The Jewish-pagan notion that salvation is received by genetic or ritual endowment (Wilson vacillates between two erroneous and conflicting opinions, that children of believers are born Christians, and that they are made Christians by baptism) is denied repeatedly by Scripture.

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

FV looks very odd indeed . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Shaynus's picture

FV is a logical continuation of the paedobaptist view in my opinion. Paedocommunion (which he also teaches) is a logical outgrowth of the bad teaching of paedobaptism. Shouldn't we expect that improper views of baptism will have consequences? Yet historically there have been fundamentalist Presbyterians and Methodists and we accepted them. I really don't think the FV confuses the gospel as much as it does church life. Again, I've listened to almost every sermon from Doug Wilson in the last few years (he's on a small rotation of a diverse number of pastors I listen to every week) and the FV simply doesn't come up that often, and the gospel does all the time. 

josh p's picture

Shaynus, you are of course entitled to your own opinion but I think you have this exactly backwards. Rather than Wilson's FV being an outgrowth of paedobaptism, I would say that his version of paedobaptism stems from his view of FV. I would never accuse a paedobaptist (in the covenantal theologian sense of the word) of confusing the gospel. What Wilson does is different though. You could say that he has a Federal Vision hermeneutic. He interprets scripture often times through the grid of federal vision. If you have not had the chance read Hodge on paedobaptism and see where they differ. While you are at it read Hodge on justification and see where the standard covenantal theologian and Wilson differ on one of the most central doctrines to the gospel of Christ.

Have you read his book Federal Husband? In it he makes the case that the husband is responsible for the sins of his wife (which in his view includes failing to do the dishes) since he is the "federal head" of the home. The inconsistency of this view is readily apparent when he explains how to deal with this. If she does it once the husband asks her for forgiveness since he failed to lead her properly. The second time he goes to the elders and has them talk to HER. So which is it? Is it his fault or hers?

The above example a basically trivial example (when compared to his other doctrinal aberrations) to show how he reads scripture with FV glasses on.

If the article was Douglass Wilson on the author of Hebrews or something like that I would not have even chimed in but when a guy that believes in a form of baptismal regeneration is telling us what an evangelical is I think we need to examine it closely.

And just to make this clear I don't think anyone is raising an issue because Wilson is a Presbyterian. I might have misunderstood what you were saying when you brought that up but I am half way through a Machen book right now and I almost went to a conference at Western Reformed Seminary tonight. The issue is that the fundamentalist Presbyterians you spoke of have even deemed Wilson a heretic.