General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America Update: Federal Vision Study Report
NEWS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
JUNE 14, 2007
35th PCA GA Approves Recommendations of Federal Vision Study Report
MEMPHIS, TENN â€“ The 35TH General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, meeting in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, June 13, approved the recommendations of its Interim Committee on Federal Vision.
After the committee made its report, a motion was made to postpone taking action on the recommendations at this GA, to add two new members to the committee, and to direct the committee to include more exegesis of relevant biblical passages in its report. This motion failed. After further debate the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve the recommendations.
The recommendations included the following:
1. That the General Assembly commends to Ruling and Teaching Elders and their congregations this report of the Ad Interim Committee on NPP, AAT and FV for careful consideration and study.
2. That the General Assembly reminds the Church, its officers and congregations of the provisions of BCO 29-1 and 39-3 which assert that the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, while â€œsubordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word of God,â€ have been adopted by the PCA â€œas standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.â€
3. That the General Assembly recommends the declarations in this report as a faithful exposition of the Westminster Standards, and further reminds those ruling and teaching elders whose views are out of accord with our Standards of their obligation to make known to their courts any differences in their views.
4. That the General Assembly reminds the Sessions and Presbyteries of the PCA that it is their duty â€œto exercise care over those subject to their authorityâ€ and â€œto condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Churchâ€ (BCO 31-2; 13-9f).
Recommendation 3 dealt with nine declarations proposed by the study committee. It asked the General Assembly to recommend that the declarations in the report be considered a faithful exposition of the Westminster Standards. The declarations are:
In light of the controversy surrounding the NPP and FV, and after many months of careful study, the committee unanimously makes the following declarations:
1. The view that rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the Westminster Standards (i.e., views which do not merely take issue with the terminology, but the essence of the first/second covenant framework) is contrary to those Standards.
2. The view that an individual is â€œelectâ€ by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this â€œelectionâ€ includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his â€œelectionâ€ if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
3. The view that Christ does not stand as a representative head whose perfect obedience and satisfaction is imputed to individuals who believe in him is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
4. The view that strikes the language of â€œmeritâ€ from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christâ€™s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
5. The view that â€œunion with Christâ€ renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christâ€™s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
6. The view that water baptism effects a â€œcovenantal unionâ€ with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christâ€™s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
7. The view that one can be â€œunited to Christâ€ and not receive all the benefits of Christâ€™s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christâ€™s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called â€œfinal verdict of justificationâ€ is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
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