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    General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America Update: Federal Vision Study Report

    NEWS FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
    OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
    MEMPHIS, TENN
    JUNE 14, 2007

    35th PCA GA Approves Recommendations of Federal Vision Study Report
    MEMPHIS, TENN – 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 “subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word of God,” have been adopted by the PCA “as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.”

    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 “to exercise care over those subject to their authority” and “to condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church” (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 “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” 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 “merit” from our theological vocabulary so that the claim is made that Christ’s merits are not imputed to his people is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    5. The view that “union with Christ” renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’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 “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’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 “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

    Byfaithonline – The Web Magazine of the PCA
    Make sure to visit www.byfaithonline.com regularly to read articles and news for and about the PCA. To subscribe to the print edition of the Byfaith magazine go to https://giving.christianity.com/donatenow/pca/offers.php.

    Posted by Charles Biggs on June 21, 2007 06:13 PM

    Comments

    So, I'm curious. What happens to the Teaching/Ruling Elders, deacons, etc. who hold to the Federal Vision, NPP doctrines. Will they be disciplined? I'm glad to see the PCA uphold the historic Christian faith.

    Alan, that is what comes next, Lord willing.

    Dear Alan,

    I am thankful that the PCA has upheld the doctrines of the historic Church Catholic as well.

    The only way I can respond specifically to your inquiry is by saying: "we'll see". We will prayerfully await to see how the PCA proceeds from here.

    Blessings!
    Pastor Biggs

    Alan,

    I would like to think that another separate ruling on what should happen to FV/NPP folks wouldn't be necessary, since the language here (contrary to the Westminster Standards) would be grounds enough for removal from office.

    Here's the real question: will the FV guys actually recognize what the committee's report describes as being what they teach? As I understand it, the FV guys deny that what Ligon & co. describe is what they teach & believe. They say that they have been unfairly characatured. What do you all think?

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