I am settling on a thesis that Satan co-opted the Federal Vision right where it could have had constructive promise. Note of course that I fully reject FV. Still, many of their perspectives on liturgy (to the degree they can be squared with the RPW) and Old Testament theology allowed one to reject Modernity, avoid postmodernity, and begin to offer a constructive Protestantism. And then everything went to Hades. And I don’t think that is coincidental.
So, this leads me to begin my “Merry Protestantism” project. One doesn’t need to accept Leithart’s “End of Protestantism” thesis, but he does have a point that we really haven’t seen a truly constructive Reformed theology. Bucer came close. We have lived off of previous negations–and theologies built upon negations and apophaticisms do not long last.
And this leads to the point of the post: I do not think it is helpful to oppose various political systems merely by acknowledging them as “the bad guys.” Most thinking conservative Christians have probably by now come to the realization that the Republican Party had been pimping them (and probably literally sometimes, given Washington sex scandals) for votes. This leads to several (ultimately doomed) alternatives: the Ron/Rand Paul movement and various 3rd parties. Having drunk deeply of Reformation politics, both of these are dead-ends.
Some Orthodox friends of mine have suggested a return to monarchy. I actually like that idea. I’m not entirely sure how it will get off the ground in America, but it’s no less Quixotic than voting 3rd Party.
Liturgy as Political Theology
This is where the FV actually had real potential. They saw that liturgy–and at its most basic that word simply means an order of worship–was the enacting of another narrative, one which proclaimed Yahweh-in-Messiah as Lord over the nations. The Lord’s Feast could even be seen as a new economics: it pointed (signs!) towards the ultimate Kingdom feast that broke down the barriers yet still retained otherness and difference. And if this is all that the Moscow-Canon Press writers would have said, well and good. Unfortunately, the FV is now plutonium and these themes really can’t be handled today.
Typology as Theology on the Attack
As a premillennialist I am a bit wary of excessive typologies. Normally they run something like, “Well, John is using figurative language and that is a typology so this means premillennialism is false.” All that may well be true, but that’s a lazy argument (though it might get you tenure at a seminary). Still, seeing literary patterns in Scripture allows one to do biblical theology on a new front. Had David Dorsey’s book on the Old Testament been written 200 years earlier, the Documentary Hypothesis would have never gotten off the ground (maybe that accounts for some of the academy’s anger towards Dorsey’s work).