Foreword (Morton H. Smith)

My former student, Dewey Roberts, has written a great book for us and the whole Church in sounding a needed warning of the insidious dangers of the Federal Vision. The Federal Vision is wrongly viewed by many people within the PCA as an acceptable interpretation of the gospel that represents little cause for concern despite the fact that it is a legalistic system that is contradictory to the Scriptures and the Reformed Standards. Too many ministers and Christians within the PCA or other reformed denominations are unaware of the deep inroads that have been made by this erroneous system within the body of Christ. Error thrives under the cloak of darkness unless it is vigorously opposed  by courageous voices that raise the flag of warning for God’s people. Truth is for the purpose of godliness and error/heresy is always destructive of true piety. The author of this book, therefore, is to be commended for plumbing the depths of the theological errors of the Federal Vision and exposing those errors by the light of truth for all to see. This is a book that is both timely and a necessary warning against those errors. It should be read by all who are concerned with the purity of the gospel. And the sooner the better.

In the first half of the twentieth century, J. Gresham Machen raised his voice of protest against the liberalism/modernism of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (the old Northern Presbyterian Church) with the result that he himself was excommunicated from that body despite his unquestioned orthodoxy. A different approach was taken by ministers and elders in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (the old Southern Presbyterian Church). The PCUS decided to tolerate liberalism/modernism within their body through a gentleman’s agreement that they hoped would preserve the peace. They sacrificed truth for the sake of a false peace. While heresy grew much more rapidly in the PCUSA than the PCUS, it nonetheless eroded the evangelical foundations of the latter body and her gold became dim. Thus, the Federal Vision cannot be tolerated within any reformed or evangelical denomination without causing irreparable damage to that body. Thankfully, this book provides us with the information to properly assess the Federal Vision and the ammunition to defend the gospel against the errors of that system. The author has dug down deep into the system of the Federal Vision in order to let the gospel shine more clearly in contrast with it. His work represents careful research into original source material both by the Federal Vision proponents and the greatest minds in the history of the Church.

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MortonHSmith2Dr. Morton H. Smith, Bachelor of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia (1952) and the Doctor of Theology from the Free University of Amsterdam (1962). In his ministerial career, he served as pastor of the Springfield and Roller churches in Sykesville, Maryland (1954); as professor at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1954-1963); as a guest lecturer at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1963-1964); as the first professor and one of the founders of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi (1964-1979); as a member of the committee that paved the way for the founding of the Presbyterian Church in America; as the first Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America (1973-1988);  as a founder, professor, and dean of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina (1987-2014). He is the author of Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology, How is the Gold Become Dim, Harmony of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, Commentary on the PCA Book of Church Order, Systematic Theology, Reformed Evangelism, Testimony, The Subscription Debate: Studies in Southern Presbyterian Polity, The Case for Full Subscription to the Westminster Standards in the Presbyterian Church in America; and a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Christianity, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, Interpreting God’s Word Today, and Reformed Theology in America.