"Our motivation is pastoral: to bring the people in the pew in contact with the language God chose to use in the Bible."
-James Jordan, summing up the Federal Vision [click below to read the rest of his commentary]
“FV can be summarized this way: God is not interested in ideas but in people, so the goal of all theology is pastoral theology, transforming and maturing people. To that end, the rhetoric chosen by the Spirit is the best rhetoric and our goal needs to be to connect God's people with God's own word as fully as possible. We believe this by faith.
Now, with that description in mind, we find that there are loads of passages in the Bible that pop-Calvinism either ignores or has blacked out with magic marker. The Bible provides more than one rhetoric about apostates. A leopard does not change his spots and a dog returns to his vomit. Pop-Calvinism is happy with these. It's not happy with "denying the Lord who bought them" or "grieving/quenching the Spirit" or "abide in the vine/olive tree" or all the warnings in Hebrews. They aren't happy with "arise and be baptized and wash away your sins." Now, we FVers have committed the crime of trying to give full weight to these passages and affirm them heartily as God's perfect word to us. We believe people need to hear these passages as well as others. We certainly aren't harping on these passages, but since this has upset some people, the impression has been given that we are harping on them. We've never denied the 5 points or any other aspect of decretal theology. But we have sought to recover Biblical language as the best way to transform people. The Holy Spirit works with the Bible; He does not work with the Westminster Confession.
[Regarding] sola fide, I'd like to make the point that in the Bible and in the Reformed confessions faith is not pitted against good works, but against sight. The Reformation was a rejection of sight (relics, pictures, statues, bread & wine) in favor of faith. It's we FV guys who have preached and written on Ecclesiastes on faith versus sight. The notion that there is some "system of doctrine" in the Bible and in the WCF which we have in a box is SIGHT not faith, and reduces confession to ideology.”