Interaction with URCNA Report on FV (6): Missing Evidence

I found the Report's section on "Law and Gospel in the Covenant" (pp.15-16) to be peculiar. I doubt whether any FV folk would deny a distinction between law and gospel in terms of justification. All FV folk recognize that the law cannot save and that the gospel does.

What we have here are insinuations and allegations but surprisingly no documentary evidence to suggest that FV folk might be saying what the report alleges they are saying. Given the absence of proof readers of the report should not attach too much weight to the allegations in these paragraphs.

From my recollection of reading FV material the subject of law and gospel was raised in connection with a perceived need to reclaim the Calvinistic view that the law, though condemnatory in terms of justification, is a wonderful source of delight for the redeemed (as in Psalm 119) and that the gospel, though undemanding in terms of justification, makes demands which must be obeyed by the redeemed (e.g., Romans 10:16).

What concerns FV folk, and ought to concern us all, is that law-gospel hermeneutic which categorizes every passage in Scripture in terms of either law or gospel. Law passages are those with imperatives which necessarily drive us to despair. Gospel passages are those with indicatives which promise forgiveness.

Thus, when we hear the command "Do not fear" in the Bible we are supposed to be driven to despair because this command can't be kept and therefore is unduly burdensome. This is a variant of Lutheranism so bizarre Luther himself would object. It's not hard to illustrate the absurdity of this hermeneutic.

Interestingly, the report cites a peculiar view of Norman Shepherd that "works of the law" in Romans refers to "works performed to merit acceptance with God" which I don't believe is shared by any others in the general FV orbit.

It's questionable, in fact, whether Norman Shepherd views himself as FV. He didn't sign the Joint FV Statement (I suspect he wasn't asked because he wasn't thought to be part of the group). I really don't know why Shepherd is lumped with the FV folk in this report, and no explanation is given.

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