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Question and Answer

Laymen and the Justification Report


One of the recommendations of the special committee convened to study the biblical and confessional doctrine on the issue of justification was that presbyteries, sessions, and pastors be proactive in addressing the NPP (New Perspectives on Paul) and FV (Federal Vision) issues (Recommendation 2, p. 89 of the Committee report). As a member of the congregation, what am I able to do in order to insure this happens in a timely and edifying manner?

Another recommendation was that the OPC denominational magazine, New Horizons, publish popular critiques of NPP and FV (Recommendation 3.b.4, again on p. 89 of the Committee report). What progress has been made on that?


Greetings in the Name of our Lord! Thank you for your pair of questions for us. Let me answer the second one first. The February 2007 issue of New Horizons was in fact dedicated to the doctrine of justification, giving popular critiques of the FV and the NPP. Included in that issue of the magazine (which can be found online here are the following articles:

"Justification: What the Debate Is All About" by David M. VanDrunen
"Justified Now and Forever" by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.


"Getting the Gospel Right" by Cornelis P. Venema


"Understanding the 'Federal Vision'" by Alan D. Strange


"A Review Article: Paul for Everyone, by [N.T.] Wright" by J. V. Fesko

David M. VanDrunen, an OP (Orthodox Presbyterian) minister, teaches at Westminster Seminary, California. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., an OP minister, teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Cornelis P. Venema teaches theology at (and is president of) Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Alan D. Strange, an OP minister, teaches at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. J.V. Fesko is pastor of Geneva OPC in Woodstock, Georgia.

The justification report is available online in PDF format here. In addition, the Christian Education Committee has published the Assembly's report in pamphlet form. That pamphlet can be ordered online here.

The recommendation to which you refer in your first question stands as such—a recommendation. Though the General Assembly commended the paper to the church for study, it did not (and cannot) mandate such. And, even in churches addressing the issues as recommended, no particular mechanism was specified or suggested.

Some churches may choose to address the issues directly by sermons or by special conferences, others may choose to simply make applications at particular points; in yet other churches, the matter may be ignored. I can only encourage you to speak to your elders and to your pastor asking them to make clear and pointed warnings against the serious errors in these views. You might make greater head-way with them if you, having studied the FV and NPP report, ask them to address particular problems. Specific requests receive specific answers, while general requests receive general ones.

Thank you again for your questions, and for your concern for the Gospel.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

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You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

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