Interaction with URCNA Report on FV (16)

The report insists that the FV folk “teach that all recipients of baptism are savingly incorporated into Christ” (p.33; emphasis mine, BDJ). This is a repeated claim made throughout the report, as the sample of citations below indicates.

  • FV authors resist any distinctions between some within the covenant community who are only “externally” or “apparently” in union with Christ and others who are truly and savingly in union with Christ (p.22; emphasis mine, BDJ).
  • To ascribe to the sacrament by itself the power to effect a saving union with Christ, which imparts all of the benefits of His work as Mediator, including justification, is contrary to the biblical and confessional understanding of the sacrament (p.44; emphasis mine, BDJ).
  • Some authors even use the language of ‘baptismal regeneration’ to underscore the constitutive significance of baptism, not only as a sign and seal of the covenant promise in Christ, but as the instrument that actually effects saving union with Christ and all His benefits (p.55; emphasis mine, BDJ).
  • The sacrament of baptism does not effect the believer’s union with Christ and justification, but is a confirmation of the gospel promise to those who respond to the sacrament in the way of faith. (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 25, 27) (p.61).
Compare these statements with the language of:

  1. The Joint FV Statement: "We affirm that God formally unites a person to Christ and to His covenant people through baptism into the triune Name, and that this baptism obligates such a one to lifelong covenant loyalty to the triune God" (bold emphasis mine, BDJ).
  2. The Summary Statement of the AAPC's Position on Covenant, Baptism and Salvation: "By baptism, one enters into covenantal union with Christ and is offered all his benefits (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:1ff; 2 Cor. 1:20). As Westminster Shorter Catechism #94 states, baptism signifies and seals 'our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace.' Baptism in itself does not, however, guarantee final salvation. What is offered in baptism may not be received because of unbelief. Or, it may only be embraced for a season and later rejected (Matt. 13:20-22; Luke 8:13-14)" (pt.7; emphasis mine, BDJ).
What the URCNA Report repeatedly describes as a "saving" union, the FV Statements describe as "formal" or "covenantal." The authors of the report clearly know that these statements exist; the Joint FV Statement is footnoted on pp.12 and 14, and the Summary Statement of the AAPC's Position is quoted on p.22.

More about baptism in terms of union with Christ to follow

Popular Posts