Sunday, February 14, 2010

Federal Vision and Temporary Faith / Temporary Forgiveness

Joshua Moon, pastor of Good Shepherd PCA in Minnetonka, provided (publicly, from the floor of presbytery) a speech in defense of Pastor Lawrence. During the speech he made the following statement: "we are the ones who speak of 'temporary faith'--not pseudo-faith, but faith that is temporary and so, in the end, not effectual for salvation."

On the issue of temporary forgiveness (which he seems to connect with temporary faith), he relies improperly on the parable in Matthew 18 that Rayburn also relied on. So does Jeff Meyers, who ties temporary faith and temporary "justification" together (albeit unclearly). Matthew W. Mason at Biblical Horizons provides a more elaborate explanation (including criticism of the real Francis Turretin) in a post he calls "Temporary Faith is Real Faith."

PCA Pastor (serving in the CREC), and Federal Vision Joint Statement signatory, Peter Leithart contains a similar discussion in his book, Baptized Body (for example, at p. 102). Like Mason, Leithart criticizes the Reformed position taught by the real Francis Turretin.

However, as Leithart himself notes, the rejection of errors at the Council of Dordt included the rejection (canon 7 of the section on Perseverance) of the following group:
Who teach that the faith of those who believe only temporarily does not differ from justifying and saving faith except in duration alone.

For Christ himself in Matthew 13:20ff. and Luke 8:13ff. clearly defines these further differences between temporary and true believers: he says that the former receive the seed on rocky ground, and the latter receive it in good ground, or a good heart; the former have no root, and the latter are firmly rooted; the former have no fruit, and the latter produce fruit in varying measure, with steadfastness, or perseverance.
Yet Joshua Moon's statement was: "we are the ones who speak of 'temporary faith'--not pseudo-faith, but faith that is temporary and so, in the end, not effectual for salvation."

Joshua Moon's speech alleged that the views of PCA Pastor Lawrence (whom he was defending) are not out of accord with the broad Reformed tradition. Before we address other problems in Moon's speech, I'll provide some additional testimony on the subject of temporary faith - and how it is not true faith, but rather a pseudo-faith.

- TurretinFan


Lockheed said...

Just a question, apart from time exposing the fruit. Who but God can tell the difference?

Turretinfan said...


Once we see a more detailed discussion, it should become apparent how a person with this kind of faith could identify it.


Coram Deo said...

TF - I read an interesting article over at Dr. R. Scott Clark's blog recently that basically identified FV as a resurgent variant of old fashioned moralism.

Care to comment on that characterization?

In Christ,

Turretinfan said...

There do sometimes seem to be strains of that in some of the FV teachings on perseverance.

Jordan Srnec said...

Didn't Gordon Clark believe there was no qualitative difference between faith effectual for salvation and any other kind of faith? If so, it would seem that Clark disagreed with the Canons of Dordt on this one. It would also seem that he accepted temporary faith in theory, although nothing would commit him to the belief that there actually was temporary faith with the same content as saving faith. If I'm correct about him, that is.

Turretinfan said...

Clark seemed to like to use a rather unique vocabulary. Your recollection is similar to mine (and consequently, I would disagree with Clark on that point), but I'm hesitant to dogmatically insist that my recollection is correct.