Which is more amazing: that so many theologians, churchmen and seminaries, Presbyteries still after years and several colloquia have failed to understand something that is so important that Wilkins et al have felt it necessary to continue to disturb the church over it, or that a half dozen internet theologians really understand the Reformed Confessions better than all these fathers and brothers?
This reminds me of something from a few months ago…
Secondly, as for the “we are misunderstood” plea, this is the refuge of the disingenuous. If one cannot be understood by so large a group of interested people who have devoted so much time to read and interact, it is not likely the fault of the critics. The reality is that the FV side cultivates an obligue approach to theological language and construction that is designed to say one thing and mean another. “We are misunderstood and are being treated uncharitably” is a key tenet of their strategy. (By the way, in light of the FV response to the PCA’s FV/NPP study committee, their pleas for charity have also been exposed as a mere strategy.) Lastly, we do not accept men as in accord with our confessional standards merely because they say that they are. The whole point is that we must examine the doctrine they are teaching and see if it is in accord with our standards. On this basis, the FV and the NPP are rapidly gaining recognition in Reformed and evangelical denominations as out of accord with standards like the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Second point first: Yes when we are talking about PCA ministers in good standing with their presbyteries we do, if we are Presbyterian, accept men as in accord with our confessional standards. When these men are re-examined by their presbyteries in light of scandalous accusations (myself, Leithart, Wilkins) and are exonerated we should all the more do so. The fact that after four years of attempted influence of the jury pool we are only now finding one court case finally occurring, and only through the efforts of a small group of men is itself evidence that the accusations are overblown and preposterous. The make-up of the committee itself shows that Rick and everyone else knows that his targets are well within the bounds of orthodoxy. The president of Covenant Theological Seminary came to far different conclusion than Rick and his activist friends. The main difference I have with Dr. Chappell is that I think the majority of his paper was really devoted to the thought and effect of Norman Shepherd and others who have been labeled as the “FV movement” rather than really “the New Perspective on Paul.” But that makes his actual statements all the more relevant. On the other hand, if one wants purely a view of the New Perspective and Wright, one can listen to the New Perspective on Paul Symposium here:
Not all of these men will agree with various aspects, but they don’t see some great threat and evil that must only be renounced. Listen to these men and compare what they say to Rick Phillips reaction. Quite a difference. Then there is Reggie Kidd He too seems to have a view of the New Perspective closer to that of Rich Lusk than that of Douglas Kelly. Bringing up Douglas Kelly’s piece raises another aspect to this question. I’m not refering to the content (though that was disappointingly and incredibly inaccurate–See Daniel Kirk’s paper and my brief reply to him and Rick), but to the fact that it came out of the blue with ready-made instruments for keeping ministerial candidates out of the PCA who didn’t agree with the Kelly-Duncan offical interpretation of Wright as threat. These questions had little or nothing to do with the Reformed doctrinal standards, but were designed to flag anyone who had read any decent recent Biblical scholarship. “Is the Gospel encapsulated in Romans 1:1-4 or in Romans 1:16-17 (or 3:21-28).” This was the level of discernment mandated when the whole issue of the New Perspective first came to light. There was never any “so large a group of interested people who have devoted so much time to read and interact.” There was a minority bent on making sure the next generation matched their extra-confessional convictions. And using all their influence to accomplish this.
And Greco continues the seemingly all-too-Presbyterian tradition. Peter Leithart is vindicated by his presbytery, all Greco’s targets in the PCA are members in good standing in their presbyteries, and he declares in the face of this that all defense of “FV” is merely “a half dozen internet theologians” who are discounted from the outset of ever being fathers and brothers. These fathers and brothers are family and those are outsiders and strangers. This has never been more than cheerleaders putting the nerds in their place for daring to think they might have something to contribute.