I was looking over yet another “statement” offered by an ecclesiastical body or group regarding the Auburn Avenue controversy, and I was once again struck by the fact that it is tremendously rare to find a meaningful response simply because no one, evidently, is willing to accurately represent the diversity of opinion expressed by authors loosely identified with the “Federal Vision” viewpoint. As I was reading the list of things supposed affirmed or denied just now, I found that about 30% of what was said would accurately represent Douglas Wilson’s view, but about 70% he has vehemently denied. I guess there are some of the more radical writers who would be accurately identified by some of the statements, but as a group, the list of affirmations and denials was another example of straw-man argumentation.
What really bothers me about the consistency of these misrepresentations is just that the real issues are almost never addressed because so much of the time is spent on both sides making charges and counter-charges and trying to correct misapprehensions and the like. Are the Federal Vision folks at least partly to blame for the confusion? Of course. Sometimes they say things in one context that would indicate a more radical position than they are willing to affirm in a less friendly context. This leads inevitably to confusion. But I have concluded the majority of the “I don’t think you really meant what you just said and even if you did I believe you really mean this” kind of stuff is taking place, for reasons I cannot begin to plumb, on the other side of the fence. I haven’t seen much response to the Wilson debate as yet (and probably won’t until the DVD’s come out, hopefully very soon), but outside of the inevitable few for whom I cannot even pronounce my own name without error or various levels of incompetence or stupidity (i.e., writers for reformedcatholicism.com), I really do not expect to hear the criticism that I misrepresented Wilson’s viewpoints. I refuse to add to the fog bank of confusion that exists already. My desire was to clarify, not confuse.