Doug Douma Reviews Can The Presbyterian Church In America Be Saved?

canthepreschurchDoug Douma, author of The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark, has reviewed my little book on some of the troubles in the PCA.  One small caveat is that Douma notes that one PCA church he is familiar with has left to join the Bible Presbyterian Church because “several of [the FV men] are still in good standing in the PCA poisoning congregations with their heresies.”  Then in the next paragraph, he observes the FV cancer may well be in remission as “one rarely hears of a Federal Visionist today.”

The problem is this radio silence may not be indicative of remission at all but rather resignation and acceptance. People are just tired of fighting a battle that has already been lost and to which the courts in the PCA have closed the door to any possible remedy.  It could also be that this fight has given the FV such a bad name that few will admit they are FV.  That explains why even Doug Wilson has been trying to distance himself from the name while retaining its central doctrines since it is hurting enrollment in his schools. As Wilson explains dollars speak:

Say that a student in their classical Christian school decides to come to New St. Andrews, and some concerned folks in the church start wondering aloud whether that is entirely wise, because they heard that they teach something out there called “federal vision,” and while they do not know what it is exactly, it sounds dubious. Our friend can now, without getting into the weeds, simply say no, that’s not true. This is not evasion because the concerns were pretty nebulous to begin with, and the answer addresses it at that same level. What do they teach there? We are Reformed evangelicals in the historic Westminster tradition.

Of course, despite his protests, neither Wilson, the CREC, nor his hotbed of heresy New St. Andrews is “evangelicals in the historic Westminster tradition.”  While it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows him, Wilson lies.

Instead of remission, all that was accomplished was to drive these men further underground and in some cases, like the above, to simply try to reinvent themselves while never repenting of anything (see Besides, we see many of the same aberrant doctrines resurfacing in men like John Piper even though I don’t think anyone would call him a Federal Visionist.

You can read Douma’s review here: Review of “Can The Presbyterian Church In America be saved?” by Sean Gerety

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6 Comments on “Doug Douma Reviews Can The Presbyterian Church In America Be Saved?”

  1. Hugh McCann Says:

    In remission, or quietly metastasizing?

  2. This is just the latest in a whole series of murkiness. FV does not even rise to the level of heresy. If you cannot figure out what in the world these guys are trying to say, how can you even know it is heretical. At least the heretics say what they mean. I have been reading about FV for years and have never been able to figure out what in the world they are saying or trying to say.


  3. douglasdouma Says:


    If you have not already done so, you might read David Engelsma’s “Federal Vision, Heresy at the Root.” Though the Federal Visionists often speak unclearly, it is clear that they promote a conditional covenant, and that should be recognized as heresy by any Calvinist.


  4. In a sense that is true, but it also seems that they are trying to get assurance of salvation by various wrong ways. I don’t know — I am about to give up on them unless they clearly say exactly what they mean and mean what they say.

  5. Eric Says:

    “I have been reading about FV for years and have never been able to figure out what in the world they are saying or trying to say.”

    Teaching confusion is as insidious as teaching heresy; neither advances or delivers the faith of God to the elect. One might as well speak in a foreign language, ignorance remains…no light to dispel darkness.

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Forrest, I don’t think it is really that confusing at all. If someone were to say we are made elect by baptism, and reprobate by failing to fulfill the (unspecified) conditions of the objective covenant, wouldn’t you consider that person a heretic advancing a scheme of salvation opposed to simple belief in the gospel of Christ alone? Do you think election and reprobation are conditional and revocable? I’m guessing you don’t, but the FV men do. And, to be clear what Wilson and the other FV men mean by the “objective covenant’ is to replace election and regeneration, which are invisible, with ritual baptism which is visible; and faith which is invisible with works which are visible; and “final salvation” is granted or withheld, according to one’s visible obedience. For example, Wilson states in his Reformed is Not Enough, “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” (134). Or to put it another way, fulfilling the conditions of the covenant occurs by faith and good works. Seems clear to me.

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