Peter asks in an earlier post how much of FV the folks here contributing have read. It points to a psychological trait that I am still trying to understand, not simply on Peter’s part but in several interactions I’ve had with folks who identify with FV. It is a certain touchiness about being criticized. When attacked, FV’s defense is to claim that it is well represented in the mainstream Reformed tradition. As James Jordan has insinuated, the mainstream (read: PCA and OPC) are really sectarian; FV is mainstream and catholic.
That perception conflicts with other descriptions of FV on this blog. Doug spoke about FV being a conversation among a select group of pastors and theologians. He also wrote about the importance of worship each Sunday and that FV’s ambitions were not much grander than that. Jeff Myers seconded Doug’s motion.
So I’m still trying to figure out FV’s psychology and sense of purpose. The reason FV has attracted so much attention is not because it’s views have been widely promulgated. James Jordan can claim that FV’s views are out there for anyone to read. But while that’s technically true, FV has not pursued an active publishing program in the “mainstream” publishing world. Auburn Ave and Canon Press have published most of the collections or books commonly associated with FV. That means you have to look fairly hard for FV. It also insures that FV will only circulate as it generates controversy, not as it makes proposals in the wider world of Christian publishing.
I don’t point out the in-house character of FV to impugn its character or motives. I am a great advocate of the local and the provincial. I have even been criticized on this blog for conceiving of the Reformed tradition in such a narrow way. But could it be that FV is even narrower than the narrow tradition I have affirmed, that FV has not circulated outside its local habitat in ways sufficient to justify its own claims to inclusion and catholicity? In other words, do FVers need to get out more?
Back in Feb. (“Who Defines ‘Reformed’?”) Peter wrote about the controversy over FV as one between the center and the margins. He ended by speculating whether FV will remain on the margins and be a passing fad, or whether it will create the new center. I for one am still wondering if FV wants to create that center, if it really wants that responsibilty. I don’t think it has acted that way. It seems instead fairly content to work on the margins, but then get upset when the center tells FV it is marginal.
So does FV want to be the center or not? Does it really want to define what Reformed means/is? If FV’s pater familia, James Jordan, says Reformed is third down on the list of his Christian identities, how much is FV invested in Reformed Christianity?