The question that is asked by some Federal Vision proponents is “Can Union with Christ be lost?” This was the latest to come out on a report from The Aquila Report (It can be found here). I think for the laymen this question needs to be re-stated. What type of relationship do the reprobate/elect have with Christ at baptism?
In the article by Rev. Shane Lem (OPC) he addresses the question but I think the FV folks are talking about reprobate leaving and Rev. Lem is responding with the impossibility of the elect losing their union with Christ.
This is an important discussion that I think the FVs would admit that the elect cannot lose their union with Christ. The elect can’t stop being “elect”, that’s why they are called…elect. However it does make sense that the reprobate are not the same. Reprobate are not seen as part of the world. They are part of the covenant community. They also are not elect….otherwise they would be the elect.
Therefore we can rightly understand that they are in the covenant community and therefore they have a union with Christ that is different than a union with Christ that the elect have. Did I just create a different union with Christ? It’s the same Christ, not the same relationship. If the relationship was the same, then there would be no distinction in the groups. But there is a distinction in the groups, therefore the relationships must be different. For clarity’s sake, we label these as a legal union for the reprobate and a vital union for the elect.
WLC 68 is helpful to recall in this conversation.Westminster Larger Catechism Question 68 Q. Are the elect only effectually called? A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called: although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ. Rev. Lane Keister wrote an article about it here. The PCA study committee paper on FV is here. The URCNA study committee on FV is here. The OPC study committee on FV is here.