Mark Horne’s Reply

Mark Horne has replied to some of my posts on Jeff Meyers here. Aside from calling me a Satanic, non-sanctified, non-academic, non-intellectual, discipline-averting (internet vs. church courts), wickedly insinuating troubler of the PCA, Mark and I appear to be getting along just fine. Wow. I wonder why he even reads my blog at all, sometimes, if he thinks I’m that dumb. But, of course, name-calling is not logical argumentation. He simply asks people to compare Meyers and my statements, claiming that I have no answer. I wonder where Mark learned logic. He doesn’t seem to be demonstrating very much logic here. Jeff responded on my blog saying that he believed in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness (though not in the IAOC). I said I believed him. Evidently, Mark is not willing to extend credibility to such statements. But Mark did not answer the argument concerning Meyers’s statement on the mechanics of justification (how Christ’s death and our justification are related). That remains utterly unanswered. Furthermore, my point about imputation was that some FV’ers do not believe in imputation. Jeff’s statement allows them free reign, whatever he himself believes.

Point 23 is a non-answer, since Mark confuses the term “conditional.” He thinks that he can make covenantal election unconditional simply by affirming God’s sovereignty. But since God’s sovereignty can include sovereignty over the conditionality in the covenant, he hasn’t answered the point.

Regarding 25 and 26, I can only say that I am not willing to steal the committee’s own thunder. I have a perfectly good explanation for the Wilson misquotation. But a committee member specifically directed me not to explain it, so that it can be explained on the floor of GA. So, once again, Mark’s assumptions get him into trouble, and GA will certainly vindicate me on this point.

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288 Comments

  1. anneivy said,

    May 29, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    “Aside from calling me a Satanic, non-sanctified, non-academic, non-intellectual, discipline-averting (internet vs. church courts), wickedly insinuating troubler of the PCA, Mark and I appear to be getting along just fine.”

    LOL!

    :-D

  2. Tim Wilder said,

    May 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    It is interesting that over the holiday weekend on Doug Wilson’s blog James Jordan said that the participants to the Federal Vision “Conversation” were never committed to the Westminster standards beyond what they had in common with the Three Forms of Unity.

    I wonder which version is true, Jordan’s or that of the “Conversation” partners in the PCA who have been claiming full subscription to the Westminster standards.

  3. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Wow! Add Mark Horne’s insultts to Doug Wilson’s insults to the MARS faculty and I believe you have a slight violation on the FV side of the ninth commandment. Oh, I forgot… the 9th commandment has been redefined as only applying to those who disagree with the FV – who, by the way, have yet to identify themselves as such.

  4. barlow said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Why do they want to explain the misquotation on the floor of GA? I mean, there is one hour to talk about this thing; to take a few minutes to explain something like this is just weird. Why shouldn’t they just say online, right now “we were sloppy and we made a mistake and corrected it before the version with the line numbers was prepared” ? Because it isn’t a misquotation, it is a selective quotation that is then misinterpreted.

  5. May 29, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Thankfully the PCA broadcasts their GA on the net, so we can all watch it.

    Us poor schlubs in the URC aren’t as high-tech as you folks, and our poor website is as fancy as a mule-drawn carriage on the information superhighway. No webcasts for us – although our upcoming Synod minutes will be available in .pdf format eventually, I’m sure.

  6. Vern Crisler said,

    May 29, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Re: Jim Jordan, at:

    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/author/jbjordan

    has a few things to say about the Federal Vision.

    But Jordan’s discussions reminds me of something Ben Franklin said of John Adams:

    “I was persuaded that Mr. Adams meant well for his country, was always an honest man, and often a wise one, but sometimes and in some ways absolutely out of his senses.”

    Cordially,

    Vern

  7. Stewart said,

    May 29, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    “I wonder where Mark learned logic.”

    Lane, isn’t this a form of name calling?

  8. Stewart said,

    May 29, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Oh, and isn’t constantly placing posts about Mark in a category called “Heresy” a form of name calling? Yeah, his anger is so is unreasonable.

  9. Stewart said,

    May 29, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    “Why do they want to explain the misquotation on the floor of GA? I mean, there is one hour to talk about this thing; to take a few minutes to explain something like this is just weird.”

    The reason why they won’t explain it before GA is because this is a political gotcha game of the highest order; it has been from the beginning. This is just a chance for sectarian glory seekers like Lane to have their ego stroked. When this FV thing is all over, I wonder what person or group will be the next target of Lane’s propaganda machine. Lane can’t live without the glory of theological combat.

  10. Tim Wilder said,

    May 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Stewart says:
    “sn’t this a form of name calling?”
    “isn’t constantly placing posts about Mark in a category called “Heresy” a form of name calling?”

    He also says:

    “This is just a chance for sectarian glory seekers like Lane to have their ego stroked.”

    Which, I suppose, isn’t a form of name calling, as Federal Visionaries are above the rules that they apply to others.

  11. Stewart said,

    May 29, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    It isn’t if it’s true. Also, I’m not a pastor who has taken vows, unlike Lane.

  12. May 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Stewart,

    I disagree with your assessment. I don’t think those opposed to the Federal Vision being promulgated within the PCA have been driven by political and worldly motivations; I don’t think Lane or others opposed to the Federal Vision are sectarian glory seekers; I don’t think we have been motivated by needing our egos stroked; I don’t think our efforts have been attempts to manipulate with propaganda; and I do think Lane and others critical of the FV being promulgated within the PCA can live quite joyfully without the “glory of theological combat.”

    Of course, it is possible that I may be wrong (I don’t know my own heart perfectly, nor anyone else’s), and your assessment may be right (you may know my heart and Lane’s heart better than we do–by the way, have we ever met?), but I’m not going to argue with you about it (nor call down God’s judgment upon you, as some FV men are wont to do–i.e. “God will vindicate Lane from you on Judgment Day”). God rules placidly from heaven. All is well, because of His mercy.

    Grace and Peace to you, in excellent and refreshing measure.

  13. anneivy said,

    May 29, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    “It isn’t if it’s true.”

    Stewart, I swear, you’re so cute I could just eat you with a spoon. ;^)

    IOW, name-calling is prohibited….unless, of course, the name-caller believes it’s true.

    Well, that should certainly clear up the problem of name-calling PDQ.

  14. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 29, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Lane, where did you learn logic?

  15. May 29, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Um, maybe there’s been sinful actions and attitudes by virtuslly everyone engaged in this debate? Maybe everyone should take a vow of silence for a day, breathe deeply, lift weights, chase their kids, and then come back to this in a slightly more san frame of mind, forgiven and forgiving.

    DC

  16. May 29, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    ‘Sane’, that is.

    DC

  17. Evan Donovan said,

    May 29, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    I agree with David. But I do have to say that waiting till GA to explain the (unintentional?) mistake in the earlier draft of the report doesn’t make sense.

    You have only *one hour* to decide whether these people are heretics? That is outrageous. I can see why they feel aggrieved. The Synod of Dordt devoted more than an hour’s time to the Remonstrants, I believe (and they were clearly in error, whereas the FV men are disputably so).

  18. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Todd,
    You said in an earlier blog a while back that you did not hold the views of the FV/NPP, yet in all your comments you defend those who hold those views. Why?

    The Bible says that we cannot serve two masters. We will love the one and despise the other. Which views do you love? The views expressed by the PCA committee and the MARS faculty? Or, the views expressed by Doug Wilson, Jeff Meyers, and Mark Horne? Which views do you despise?

    I have not seen you once in all the comments, defend Lane or any others who support the views of the committee. What are we to conclude from your comments?

  19. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Todd,
    You mentioned in an earlier blog post a while back that you were not an FV advocate. But, in all your comments you appear to be defending those views. Why?

    Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters; we will love the one and despise the other. Which views do you love? Which views do you despise?

    Not once have I read any of your comments in defense of Lane and his views. What then are we to conclude about your position?

  20. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Sorry for the repeat, Todd. My first comment did not seem to go through, so I tried again. You can answer either one or both!

  21. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 29, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Neil, you’re free to conclude whatever you want. I’ve always described my own take on FV issues as “open, but cautious.” I’d probably say the same about the TR take on these issues. I’m sure that won’t satisfy you, but, as you said, I can only serve one master. I don’t believe that the Lord requires me to side completely with any specific party in these debates.

  22. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 29, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    I always like reading Joel Garver’s material. Here is the beginning of his interaction with the PCA report:

    http://sacradoctrina.blogspot.com/2007/05/pca-report-on-nppfv.html

    http://sacradoctrina.blogspot.com/2007/05/pca-report-on-nppfv-some-positives.html

  23. William Hill said,

    May 29, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Lane,

    Give me a break with the name calling because neither you or many others associated with the TR/anti-FV group has been inncocent in this regard. Sure, Mark was wrong to say what he said (and he said just that on his blog by the way). There has been many people behaving quite badly throughout this whole mess and for that many need to get on their face and repent for it.

    Frankly, I am tired of it. It does nothing for the debate of the issue and only weakens the arguments. We are all prone to this kind of nonsense and we all need to be on our guard as to what we pound out on our keyboards. We are, after all, accountable for everything we say regardless if it is on a blog,discussion forum or face to face. It is all the same to a watching God.

  24. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 29, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    I’m also very interested in the areas in which the FV and NPP critics disagree among themselves, such as concerning Gaffin’s exposition of the future aspect of justification and judgment according to works. I’m reminded of this issue as I read Gaffin’s chapter in the new WTS faculty (partial!) book, Justified in Christ. I suspect that many FV critics would react negatively to Gaffin’s approach there.

    I’ve also noticed that critics are saying quite different things about the relationship between union with Christ and imputation.

    None of these disagreements invalidate the TR, anti-FV cause, of course. They are simply interesting to observe.

  25. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    I guess I must have taken the same logic course as Lane because I really don’t know what you mean by an “open, but cautious” take on FV issues. What about the FV are you open to, and what exactly are you cautious of? (Sorry for the dangling prepositions).

  26. NHarper said,

    May 29, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Thanks, Todd, for your reference. That helps me some.
    So, you would agree that there is no such thing as a non-elect believer in the visible church, since an individual person would either be in the flesh or in the Spirit – a believer or an unbeliever? You have either tares or wheat as the Bible illustrates, but not a half tare or a half wheat as suggested by the term non-elect believer?

    I am not sure I understand what you mean in your last sentence about union with Christ and imputation not being redundant. Could you point me to another comment or clarify it for me? Thanks!

  27. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 6:46 am

    I don’t like the term “non-elect believer” very much. But “non-elect covenant member” is different–this term focuses on their status as members of the visible church, the family and household of God.

    Imputation as redundant because of union with Christ is a reference to a famous (infamous) line by Rich Lusk.

  28. david said,

    May 30, 2007 at 7:47 am

    NH Harper -

    You apply Jesus’ teaching ‘you can’t serve two masters’ (a reference to mammon of the Lord) to where one is on FV issues?

    And you think the problem reading and understanding the Bible is with the FV guys?

    My brother, this is exactly the kind of rhetoric that needs to stop.

    Lane,

    my thanks again for hosting so much discussion and making such lengthy contributions to the same. The conversation has sadly degenerated into sand box scuffles between the childish – all in the name of Christ – and it just isn’t something I can continue to watch, much less take an active part in.

    All,

    Relax and turn down the volume of invective.

    If this whole approach doesn’t change we shall have to change the initials from PCA to UFC.

    David

  29. pduggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Doesn’t decretal election have “human requirements” in some fashion, like the person has to hear the Gospel? God always ordains the means whereby salvation is applied to the elect.

    Further, does the fact that a male Israelite at the time of David has to have his parent circumcise him for him to be in covenant NOT mean that God chose that Israelite to be in covenant unconditionally?

  30. pduggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Doesn’t decretal election have human requirements in some fashion, like the person has to hear the Gospel? God always ordains the means whereby salvation is applied to the elect.

    Further, does the fact that a male Israelite at the time of David has to have his parent circumcise him for him to be in covenant NOT mean that God chose that Israelite to be in covenant unconditionally?

  31. Tim Wilder said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:54 am

    Re: # 27

    The problem with terms like “condition”, “ground”, “basis” and “requirement” is that they are weasel words. The Shepherd, the FV etc. likes to use them ambiguously to cover up big differences between orthodoxy and their views, or shifts in meaning in the course of an argument.

    The terms ought not to be allowed without stating the nature of the condition, the type of ground (a favorite trick of Shepherd’s), or which basis. Scholastic theology has developed precise terminology to keep the meaning clear. This has brought scholastic theology into contempt among “Biblical theology” practitioners and others who traffic in ambiguity and confusion.

    It seems that in many seminaries today students are not taught to think clearly, but are just initiated into the latest Biblical theology fads. That seems to be one of the traits of Covenant Seminary, for example.

    Suppose we define a cat as a four legged animal with a tail, among other traits. Now, whenever a cat eats fish it necessarily does so with a tail, as that is the definition of a cat. Someone, on the basis of the definition, could truthfully say a tail is necessary for a cat to eat fish, and is a condition of fish eating. This could then be used as the excuse for saying that there is nothing wrong with a theory that the cat eats fish with its tail. How could it be otherwise if the tail is necessary for a cat to eat fish?

    Silly as this sounds, it is the same logical move that Mark Horne makes when he quotes Scholastics about works being necessary to justification, and then claims that this supports Shepherds theology by a role of works in justification.

    The problem seems to be that Horne, never having learned logic, and having gone to a seminary that doesn’t teach theology, does not understanding what he is reading when he picks up a theology book.

  32. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Anne, I suppose you and Lane both get your thrills by jumping on the internet to slander pastors in good standing. Some people just get a thrill out of controversy I suppose. You and Lane are like peas and carrots. The sad thing is that there are reputations at stake, and many of the pastors being slandered by Lane have families to feed. While Lane makes jokes about how angry these other pastors are at him, the church continues to split. To you it’s just a hobby, but to the pastors being hurt by Lane’s slander, it is dead serious.

    There is one thing that is beyond dispute in this whole thing: LANE HAS SLANDERED PASTORS IN GOOD STANDING IN HIS OWN DENOMINATION. This may not mean anything to you, but it should to Lane. He took vows, and he has no right to slander other pastors. Until they are convicted of heresy, he should stop molesting their reputations. He knows what he is doing is wrong, but since his other sectarian buddies keep slapping him on his back in support, he doesn’t want to stop.

  33. Tim Wilder said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:07 am

    “Some people just get a thrill out of controversy I suppose.” “The sad thing is that there are reputations at stake”

    And some people, calling themselves “Stewart”, are cowards who post anonymously, so as not to have to take responsibility for their statements about others. “Stewart” wants to make sure that his reputation is not at stake in what he says.

  34. May 30, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Stewart,

    Thanks for not addressing that last post to me, but I don’t think Anne or Lane are going to argue with you either. I would imagine they also disagree with you, but I don’t think they are going to argue with you. You might want to heed David’s advice above.

    Peace.

  35. magma2 said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Todd writes:
    I don’t like the term “non-elect believer” very much. But “non-elect covenant member” is different–this term focuses on their status as members of the visible church, the family and household of God.

    There is no such thing as a “non-elect covenant member” and all baptized persons aren’t in “union with Christ” as these false teachers claim. It is the elect alone who are members of Christ, and through him, partakers of the Covenant of Grace. WCF 8:

    “The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven for all those whom the Father has given unto him.

    Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof, were communicated unto the elect . . . .”

    LC:Q. 31 With whom was the Covenant of Grace made? A. The Covenant of Grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

    These citations can be multiplied repeatedly. Nowhere will you find any mention of a covenant made with the non-elect in the Confession.

    It is not ritual baptism that makes us partakers of the benefits, nor authorized representatives of the Christian church, nor our covenantal faithfulness, but the Holy Spirit alone, who applies them to us by faith alone.

    Q. 59 Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?

    A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ has purchased it; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the Gospel.

    Imputation as redundant because of union with Christ is a reference to a famous (infamous) line by Rich Lusk.

    It not so much redundant as it is irrelevant in their religion. That’s the point. I’m just continually amazed how many so-called “Reformed” men, particularly teachers, can be so easily duped into thinking their religion is the Christian one.

    I am glad you’re no fan of their scheme at this point, but this is no small thing. Of course men like Meyers say it is a “second order theological formulation.” Reminds me of the old liberals who argued that the Virgin birth and inerrancy were debatable “second order theological formulations.” These new liberals are no different, except they’re better at fooling people into thinking they’re actually “conservatives.”

    I am also encouraged that you even seem to recognize Gaffin as the main sponsors of this error. Most do not . For whatever reason Gaffin’s central contribution to the development of these false doctrines and decades long defense of men like Shepherd and Kinnaird seems to either go unnoticed or is simply excused by most FV critics. I think this too is a serious mistake and there is nothing worse than when someone underestimates their enemies or even fails to recognize them.

  36. magma2 said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:25 am

    There is one thing that is beyond dispute in this whole thing: LANE HAS SLANDERED PASTORS IN GOOD STANDING IN HIS OWN DENOMINATION. This may not mean anything to you, but it should to Lane. He took vows, and he has no right to slander other pastors.

    Hogwash. I’ve waded through all of Lane’s responses and he has not libeled (not slandered) anyone. He has interacted with what these Neo-Liberals have written faithfully and accurately. If you’re so concerned about reputations and church standing, perhaps you should save your bluster for Horne’s blog where he calls Lane “satanic” for exposing the vacuousness of ALL of Meyers “arguments.”

  37. Sean Gerety said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Not sure why I logged in with a user name (magma2) rather than my real name (Sean Gerety). Apologies to Lane for not identifying myself clearly, since I noticed his blog was attacked over the weekend.

  38. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:26 am

    That’s all right, now, Sean, since no one can now comment who doesn’t have a previously approved comment. Since you obviously have had a previously approved comment, then it doesn’t matter whether you use a screen name or your real name (although, of course, I prefer real names).

  39. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:31 am

    “Hogwash. I’ve waded through all of Lane’s responses and he has not libeled (not slandered) anyone.”

    Sean, all of Lane’s responses to FV stuff are placed under the category of “heresy.” This is slander. Some of these pastors are in good standing his own denomination. He should be ashamed.

  40. May 30, 2007 at 10:37 am

    [...] are “necessary” to salvation “as means” to an end, that is like saying a tail is necessary to a cat eating fish?  The writer is correct, I don’t understand his “logic” at all.  I’ll [...]

  41. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Stewart, you need to shut up. First of all, *not* all of my FV responses are listed under the category of “heresy.” For instance, none of the review of DW’s RINE is listed under that category. Second of all, the question of whether something is heresy is the whole question under dispute. It is my contention that the FV falls outside the boundaries of the WS. That is what I mean in this instance by the word “heresy.” I am thereby making no judgment on the eternal state of their souls. You may think it slander. But you cannot prove that outside the church courts. We have been over the definition of heresy before, and you seem to have a rather sieve-like memory about such discussion. By this definition of “heresy,” our Baptist brothers would be heretics. In the sense in which I am using it, it is synonymous with the term “heterodox.” So, just shut up, Stewart.

  42. Andrew Duggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Re #30/31
    Paul,

    What about elect infants dying in infancy, or in utero? Effectual Calling is the domain of the Holy Spirit, working how He sees fit.

  43. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Thanks Sean for your clarification. Todd, you wrote that you do not like the term “non-elect believer”. Does that mean that you think that term is wrong and misleading? Or, it is okay, but you personally do not prefer to use it?

    Also, in light of Sean’s comment #37, could you define or describe the status of a “non-elect covenant member”? What would be this person’s relationship to Christ?

    After reading several comments I get the impression that there are two salvation packages that Christ offers to those in the visible church. There is the deluxe package where Christ offers complete salvation to the elect covenant members with all the benefits including perseverance. Then there is the discount package that is offered to the non-elect covenant members in the visible church. This package offers all the benefits of salvation except for perseverance. Is this your understanding of a non-elect covenant member? Can a NECM ever cross over to ECM if perhaps he adds his own perseverance to the package?

    Concerning the reputation of others: What about the reputation of Christ? He who keeps his life shall lose it; he who loses his life shall find it. Christ made himself of no reputation.

  44. Sean Gerety said,

    May 30, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Sean, all of Lane’s responses to FV stuff are placed under the category of “heresy.” This is slander. Some of these pastors are in good standing his own denomination. He should be ashamed.

    I’m hard pressed to see what else their religion can be called? But that hardly qualifies as libel (fyi – slander is making false statements about a person orally, libel is written).

    FWIW I think the PCA report did an excellent job in illustrating that what these men teach is a completely different system of doctrine which they’ve imposed on Scripture and have tried desperately to bend the Confession to fit their paradigm. If the report has erred it was by asserting that such men who would teach these doctrines are “brothers.” In case you didn’t notice, we’re dealing with two mutually exclusive systems of doctrines and schemes of salvation. If exposing this teaching makes you uncomfortable or you think it somehow uncharitable or whatever else, then I think that’s your problem. Slander or libel would require a demonstration that Lane has intentionally defamed any of these men, Meyers in particular.

  45. pduggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Andrew:

    What of Israelite babies dying before circumcision? Would their fathers and mothers worried about them missing the calling of God to be Israel?

    I’ll grant though, that that would form an exceptional circumstance, and that generally, God ordains that the elect will be saved because humans will speak the words of the gospel to them. And I’d say, unlike Morton Smith, that the elect infants are still saved by the seed of faith they possess.

    Do you have thoughts on my second paragraph, where I ask about the unconditional covenant election of davidic Israelites.

  46. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Sean,

    Lane has called pastors in good standing in his own denomination heretics. However, none of these men have been convicted of heresy. Lane doesn’t have the authority to do that. Lane is correct; it is a church court issue. The process is already underway, and until a church court convicts these men, he needs to shut down the propaganda machine. Is he prepared to apologize to his fellow ministers if they are never convicted? That is a possibility.

    If a fellow church member accuses me of stealing from the offering plate, and goes to the elders to start an investigation, he should let the process work and refrain from smearing my reputation until the elders make a ruling. What happens if the elders were to come back and say I was not stealing? Well, if my accuser had spent hours of his life bloging about how much of a thief I was on his blog, he would owe me an apology for sinning against me.

  47. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    So, Stewart, you *do* have the authority to call me a glory-seeking sectarian? Sectarianism is just as much of a sin as heresy is. So, with what authority do you call me a sectarian who is out for his own glory? Isn’t that something that should be decided by the church court?

    If you look carefully, Stewart, you will find out that I have critiqued public documents. Public documents may be publicly critiqued. And you don’t see Wilkins leaving on my say-so anyway. I am not throwing Wilkins out. I am simply encouraging the PCA to see what is so blindingly obvious to the critics of the FV. So, the charge of circumventing the judicial procedures simply does not stick.

    If the GA and the denomination as a whole does not convict the FV of heresy, which to me is rather obvious, I will consider leaving the PCA, since the mark of church discipline will no longer exist at the denominational level, if they can’t even reject obvious heresies. But I am confident that the report will pass, and that the SJC will continue to do its work.

  48. Andrew Duggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Paul, What about girls? Or was salvation for only males? I doubt believers worried about that. I doubt those sacrificed to Molech did either, even if the father was circumcised. Worry is antithetical to faith.

    As for y our second paragraph, It seems to me you are asking for a determination to be made about the secret counsel of God based on His works of Providence, or did I misunderstand you?

  49. Todd said,

    May 30, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    ” Todd, you wrote that you do not like the term “non-elect believer”. Does that mean that you think that term is wrong and misleading? Or, it is okay, but you personally do not prefer to use it?”

    It’s okay, I guess. It’s no more troubling to me than other terms that have a better Reformed pedigree, like temporary faith, etc. It’s a category that certain passages of the Bible force us to deal with.

    “Also, in light of Sean’s comment #37, could you define or describe the status of a “non-elect covenant member”? What would be this person’s relationship to Christ?”

    They are members of the household and family of God, since baptism is solemn admission to the visible church.

    “Can a NECM ever cross over to ECM if perhaps he adds his own perseverance to the package?”

    Of course not. That is nonsense. Non-elect is non-elect.

  50. Todd said,

    May 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    “By this definition of “heresy,” our Baptist brothers would be heretics.”

    Lane, what is the historical precedent for this use of the term “heretic”?

  51. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    “So, Stewart, you *do* have the authority to call me a glory-seeking sectarian? Sectarianism is just as much of a sin as heresy is. So, with what authority do you call me a sectarian who is out for his own glory? Isn’t that something that should be decided by the church court?”

    Lane, not all things that are sinful are necessarily illegal. Look, if you want to spend 12 hours a day pretending like your a scholar and acting out some kind of fantasy in which you are a modern-day Martin Luther fighting the forces of evil, go right ahead. But I’ve will let you know that your not as smart as the guys you’re critiquing, and the only reason why you’ve gotten as much attention as you have is because your loudest.

    “So, the charge of circumventing the judicial procedures simply does not stick.”
    I didn’t say you were circumventing anything. But I am saying that you don’t care about it. There is a process and it is working. But you continue your propaganda campaign like they’ve already been tried and convicted.

    “If the GA and the denomination as a whole does not convict the FV of heresy, which to me is rather obvious, I will consider leaving the PCA, since the mark of church discipline will no longer exist at the denominational level, if they can’t even reject obvious heresies.”

    Yeah, I guess the mark of a true church is one that agrees with you. And I’ll take this to mean that you would not apologize about the reputations you’ve smeared.

  52. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Stewart, since you didn’t answer, I won’t either.

  53. anneivy said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Is “heresy” restricted to the level of grand-scale, “this is unchristian”?

    I’ve thought…though I might be wrong…that “heresy” can also pertain to a particular denomination, without reference to “Christianity”, per se. IOW, a belief that would be “heretical” for a Southern Baptist wouldn’t be for a Methodist, etc.

    Isn’t there such a thing as denominational-level heresy? Meaning a particular doctrine doesn’t fit within the denomination’s doctrinal parameter?

  54. Tim Wilder said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    Re: 48

    “If the GA and the denomination as a whole does not convict the FV of heresy, which to me is rather obvious, I will consider leaving the PCA, since the mark of church discipline will no longer exist at the denominational level, if they can’t even reject obvious heresies.”

    If the PCA is not able to deal with the problem of the FV theology, it will not be able to deal with the Emergent Conversation people, when they use the same methods to infiltrate the PCA though the Evangelical wing. Its coming.

  55. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Stewart, I believe this blog belongs to Lane. If you don’t like what he has to say, go somewhere else. No one is forcing you to read his blog. He has a right to his opinions on his own blog. As an ordained minister, it is Lane’s solemn duty to defend the faith. He is doing his job in a very effective way by reaching out to concerned Christians via the information superhigway.

    This accusation of slander, which Lane pointed out is not the correct word, seems to be the sick mantra of the Federal Vision. Is that your only defense? It’s getting pretty old and lame, Stewart – can’t you guys come up with a new fight song? We only have about two weeks before the GA.

    Todd,
    It’s okay, I guess? Thanks for a definitive answer.
    You just repeated yourself in defining a NECM. As a member of the household of God, what are the benefits of a non-elect covenant member? What is his relationship to Christ – not to the church – but to Christ? Justification? sanctification, what? When the minister declares forgiveness to the corporate body, isn’t he in a sense lying to the NECM?

  56. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks, NHarper. I loved your last question, there. It is a powerful one.

  57. May 30, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I love how FV folks are always reminding us that so-and-so is “a minister in good standing.” Yes, well the subject of this debate is whether they SHOULD be in good standing.

    Let’s say that church courts clear some of these folks. That means nothing more than that they won’t be defrocked. But, similarly, O.J. Simpson was legally acquitted, and likewise he didn’t have to go to jail. But that doesn’t mean I have to invite O.J. over for dinner simply because a court failed in its duty. That doesn’t even mean I am not at liberty to call him a “murderer.” I think the logic works the same for undeposed heretics.

    Anyway, is there really anyone here who doesn’t know what’s going to happen anyway? FV is going to get exiled from NAPARC churches to the CREC, where we know full well no meaningful court exists at all (the most their CO allows is the removal of a church for gross dishonesty in subscription) and “he’s a minister in good standing” will have less and less meaning.

  58. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Stewart, what would you have done in the Briggs trial?

  59. Todd said,

    May 30, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    “It’s okay, I guess? Thanks for a definitive answer.”

    Sure. Neil, what is your opinion of the term “temporary faith”? Helpful? Misleading? Damnable heresy?

    “As a member of the household of God, what are the benefits of a non-elect covenant member? What is his relationship to Christ – not to the church – but to Christ? Justification? sanctification, what?”

    Hebrews 10:29 says yes about “sanctification,” but he’s obviously using the language differently than Reformed theology does. Justification? No.

    “When the minister declares forgiveness to the corporate body, isn’t he in a sense lying to the NECM?”

    The minister is no more lying to the congregation than the apostle Paul is when he ways things about the congregation as a whole. The declaration of forgiveness goes out to the whole congregation as an offer, a promise to be received by faith, or rejected in unbelief.

  60. Todd said,

    May 30, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Here’s the best stuff I’ve read on temporary faith, etc.:

    http://sacradoctrina.blogspot.com/2006/08/apostasy-perseverance-and-theological.html

    I’d be interested to hear what you think of it all, Neil.

  61. Jenny F said,

    May 30, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    If a fellow church member accuses me of stealing from the offering plate, and goes to the elders to start an investigation, he should let the process work and refrain from smearing my reputation until the elders make a ruling. What happens if the elders were to come back and say I was not stealing? Well, if my accuser had spent hours of his life bloging about how much of a thief I was on his blog, he would owe me an apology for sinning against me.

    I don’t really agree with that analogy. Just because the elders say you are not stealing doesn’t mean you weren’t. For example, you can be found “not guilty” in a court of law but that doesn’t mean you are innocent. There just wasn’t enough evidence to convict. Lane has every right to blog about the FV if he believes it to be against Biblical teachings- before or after a “court” verdict.

  62. Jenny F said,

    May 30, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    David- I didn’t even read 58. before I posted. Grreat points!
    Great minds think alike.

  63. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Todd,
    What does my opinion of “temporary faith” have to do with anything?

    Let me try to understand what you are saying. A NECM has sanctification without justification? How is that possible? If sanctification is the process of becoming transformed to the image of Christ, how can a NECM be transformed without first having the penalty of his sins paid for and having them removed by Christ? He hasn’t even gotten to the starting block of sanctification. He is dead in his sin. How can you transform and sanctify a corpse?

    The promise of forgiveness of sins is offered to the whole congregation. It is offered to two groups of people which you say are those who receive it by faith and those who reject it in unbelief. If the NECM do not have justification, then do they fall into the category of those who reject forgiveness in unbelief? Then where does the sanctification part come in for the NECM who reject forgiveness because of unbelief?

  64. pduggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Two words, NHarper.

    “Federal Sanctity”

  65. pduggan said,

    May 30, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Federal sanctity

  66. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    “A NECM has sanctification without justification? How is that possible? If sanctification is the process of becoming transformed to the image of Christ, how can a NECM be transformed without first having the penalty of his sins paid for and having them removed by Christ?”

    Like I said, Neil: The author of Hebrews is not using the term “sanctified” the way we usually do in Reformed theology.

    We’re talking about a specific verse, right? Hebrews 10:29: “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?”

    What do *you* think the HS means here, Neil?

    I recommend Lane’s treatment of this verse, with some unanswered questions near the end of the comments:

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/01/01/hebrews-1029-and-apostasy/

    Fowler White provides a different kind of reading of this verse and others like it in one of his chapters in the Ft Lauderdale book.

    “What does my opinion of “temporary faith” have to do with anything?”

    Just trying to get to know you, friend. And I’m wondering whether you like it any better than the phrase, “non-elect believer,” which you asked me about.

  67. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    “Stewart, what would you have done in the Briggs trial?”

    Lane, how is that anywhere close to what is going on in the PCA? Briggs wasn’t claiming to be orthodox. The FV men are claiming to be orthodox and in line with the WCF. Now you may not agree that. But, until this fact is established by a court in your denomination, you need to turn off the propaganda machine.

  68. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    “Federal Sanctity”? Is this the latest addition to the FV Dictionary of Redefinitions?? Do I dare ask for scripture backup to explain this term? And, can you give me more than one verse?

    Todd, thanks for the reference. Are you trying to build a whole new theology of NECM on one portion of a verse? And, a portion that when explained in context, rules out your theory?

    The pronoun “he” in vs 29 refers back to vs. 26 to the one who sins willfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth. It refers to those in the OT who rejected the Law, and now those in the NT who are in worse trouble for rejecting the One who can deliver them from the penalty of the Law. I don’t see any sanctified non-elect covenant member in that context. How can a member of the visible church be both sanctified and at the same time reject the knowledge of the truth as well as the Author of the truth. I go back to my previous question. How can a corpse be a sanctified corpse?

  69. William Hill said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    I will tell you what I think grieves our Savior the most in this whole sordid mess: It is that people who name the name of Christ have resorted to name-calling, labeling, name-dropping and all sorts of things that are not becoming of a child of God. Frankly, it really is interesting when the anti-FV people get all upset when the FV people call names (and they should’nt be calling anyone names). It amuses me because the anti-FV people are just as guilty of smearing other people’c characters, reputrations, and other foul things. This sin (yes, it is a sin — GO READ YOUR BIBLE and LESS BLOGS) applies to both parties and the warnings about it applies to both parties.

    Stick to the points in question and leave the name calling out of it. This means stop calling ministers in good standing “heretics” as well as “satanists”.

  70. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Stewart,
    Was Jesus a slanderer when He called the Pharisees a brood of vipers, white-washed tombs, blind guides, wolves in sheep’s clothing etc.? Should He have waited and gone through the church courts to determine the veracity of his name calling?

    What happened to Jesus when he was brought before the “church court”? The one and only sinless man was pronounced guilty and crucified by His own people. Even the civil courts did not find him guilty.

    The Bible repeatedly warns believers about false teachers. We are exhorted to examine their fruit and to flee from them. Isn’t that what Lane is trying to do as a minister? Helping us to examine the fruit, so that we as believers can discern truth from heresy? A true shepherd protects his sheep from wolves. Should he let a few or a lot get eaten up while he waits for some church court to make a decision which may or may not be right?

  71. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Dude, just listen to yourself. Do you even know what it means to be presbyterian? What is it? Do you believe it?

  72. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Here we go again – shall we get out the violins? Same old mantra. These poor defenseless FV folks – helpless victims – oops, I think I just broke a string on my violin!

  73. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I suggest you revise your thesis, Stewart. He indeed claimed that he was in the Reformation heritage, and that he ought to be allowed to stay in the Presbyterian Church. See the following article for a very detailed and thorough account of the Briggs trial:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3803/is_200504/ai_n13643145/pg_1

    The question I want to ask is this: if Briggs had not been ousted, what would be the responsibility of the pastors in the Presbyterian Church? Would it not be to warn their congregations against the errors of Briggs? Stewart, you are operating with an overly narrow definition of church discipline. Church discipline is not limited to court proceedings. It also includes one pastor telling another pastor that he is wrong, and needs to reform his position to be in line with the WS. That is legitimate church discipline. Indeed, it should come before trials, according to Matthew 18. As I said previously, public documents can be publicly critiqued. Therefore, I have not only the right, but the duty, to inform my fellow pastors of their errors when I see them. To do so is the only loving thing to do.

  74. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    “The pronoun “he” in vs 29 refers back to vs. 26 to the one who sins willfully after he has received the knowledge of the truth. It refers to those in the OT who rejected the Law, and now those in the NT who are in worse trouble for rejecting the One who can deliver them from the penalty of the Law. I don’t see any sanctified non-elect covenant member in that context.”

    I agree with everything until the last sentence. In what sense is this man sanctified by the blood of the covenant?

    “the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified”

  75. greenbaggins said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Todd, I haven’t answered 14 yet. I learned logic from my father, who taught formal logic at Covenant College for many years. My father used Copi’s book on logic to teach us, as well as examples from _Symbolic Logic_, by Lewis Carroll (of Alice fame). Yes, I have had formal training in logic.

  76. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Sweet.

  77. Stewart said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Okay, I stand corrected. Thanks for the link.

    However, the problem with your understanding of church discipline is that runs contrary to the very principles of presbyterianism. Where do you get the authority and right to “discipline” a man that was exonerated by his presbytery? If another pastor in another presbytery were calling you an adulterer even though your elders and presbytery investigated and cleared you, what would you do? You took vows. Your denomination has rules in place to protect reputations. You do not have the right to do what is right in your own eyes.

  78. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Todd #75

    Let me guess, he would be an FSNETFCM – a “federally sanctified non-elect temporarily faithful covenant member”?!? Did I get it right? If so, I think I have entered the twilight zone.

  79. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Neil, try a serious answer. In your view, in what sense is the man described in this verse sanctified by the blood of the covenant?

    “the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified”

  80. May 30, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    [...] Pretty ignorant: the children of believers “are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized” (source). Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  81. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    I am serious, Todd. Do you see why the committee is correct in stating that the views of the Federal Vision/NPP have brought confusion into the church? I think that is an understatement.

    I think Lane’s reference to that part of the verse explains it well. By willfully rejecting Christ, a person also willfully regards the covenant of grace as unclean. It is the covenant of grace (established for us through the blood of Jesus – his death on the cross) that sanctifies a person. By rejecting justification (the Son of God), the person has no regard for sanctification (the covenant of grace). Justification, sanctification, and glorification are all the complete work of Christ in the covenant of grace. To reject one is to reject them all. So, Todd, there is no such thing as a sanctified non-elect covenant member.

    Just out of curiosity and do I dare to ask – what in the world is federal sanctity? And, how does this contribute to a person’s salvation?

    And, I have always wondered how the FV deals with John 1:12-13. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born NOT of blood, NOR of the will of the flesh, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, but of GOD.

    How can we presume that our children BORN OF BLOOD are regenerate or for that matter unregenerate? How can we presume anything until they receive Christ and believe in His name?

    How can we presume that our children presented for baptism by the WILL OF MAN are regenerated or not regenerated at the time of their baptism?

    How can we presume that because we are a Christian couple, we can determine by OUR OWN WILL to conceive and give birth to a child of God?

    Isn’t this presumption a violation of Scripture? Abraham fathered two sons – a believer and an unbeliever, Issac fathered twins – a believer and an unbeliever. Eli, a Levitical priest and a man of faith, fathered two unbelieving sons. God chooses His children and gives birth to His own children. We can point them to Christ through our Christian nurture, but we cannot save them. That is God’s work alone – as the Confession states “in His appointed time”.

  82. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Neil, you’re not dealing honestly with this verse. Hebrews tells us that the one who treats the blood of the covenant in this way has nevertheless been sanctified by that blood — “the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified.” Right? In what sense?

    Your answer contradicts what the Bible affirms — “He was sanctified”; Lane’s answer takes this verse seriously.

    You’re being silly about “federal sanctity” — “Is this the latest addition to the FV Dictionary of Redefinitions??” — but this language comes from the Westminster Directory for The Publick Worship of God. About covenant children, it says “that they are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized.”

    Do you agree with this, Neil? That your children are Christians and federally holy, even before baptism?

  83. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 30, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    “God chooses His children and gives birth to His own children. We can point them to Christ through our Christian nurture, but we cannot save them.”

    But shall we treat them as Christians or non-Christians? In covenant with God or strangers? Shall we teach them to pray to God as their Father, or is this too presumptuous?

  84. Sean Gerety said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    As I said previously, public documents can be publicly critiqued. Therefore, I have not only the right, but the duty, to inform my fellow pastors of their errors when I see them. To do so is the only loving thing to do.

    Exactly right! It seems the last resort of FV advocates like the ones whining above is to complain they’re not being treated fairly and blather on with feigned indignation about “name calling” and “good standing.” They couldn’t care less about false teaching.

    Seeing their arguments have been exposed, playing the victim is about all these men have left. It matters little to these men that churches in the PCA are already being split and even in my own little church we’ve experienced a major influx from local FV PCA churches. This cancer has been allowed to grow for too long and frankly it is the elders that are to blame “good standing” or not. At least Lane realizes that and has been speaking out and taking action. More pastors should do the same.

  85. anneivy said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    There’s a significant difference between treating someone as a Christian and molding doctrine so as to make them actual Christians. The FV seems to have taken the “treat them as if they’re regenerated” angle and stretched it out to “okay, since we’re treating ‘em like they’re regenerate, they must in some sense *be* regenerate”.

    No. It’s perfectly permissible to treat them as regenerate while leaving the doctrine in place that says they might not be regenerate at all.

    The FV’s “solving” a non-problem.

    And on another note, just how autonomous are presbyteries supposed to be, anyway? Stewart seems to think that each individual presbytery is its own little Vatican….once a presbytery has pronounced something or someone okay, that’s IT. End of discussion. Move along.

    Except….what if the presbytery itself is a problem? Never mind the FV! Seriously. Forget the FV. I’m still unable to see how an entire presbytery could be rebuked and – if necessary – jettisoned from a denomination if “But the presbytery SAID so!” is taken to be definitive.

    It still seems as if the PCA set itself up for precisely the problems it’s having, what with that “the elder must present himself to the presbytery if he finds himself at odds with the PCA’s system of theology” or however it’s phrased (I’m going on memory, always a scary way to travel) language. If it’s left to the individual to decide whether or not he’s out of step, then no wonder the PCA’s tied up in knots. It was just a matter of time until something like this happened, wasn’t it?

    Trouble is, without a firm doctrinal foundation, the PCA’ll turn into the PCUSA or ECUSA before the cat can lick its whiskers, and considering the enormous doctrinal disparity the FV is demanding be allowed in its supporters’ respective denominations, a firm doctrinal foundation is what’s at stake.

    Never mind whether the FV is heretical or not….that’s immaterial. The trouble is it’s so completely different (in contrast to what its adherents like to claim) from traditional Presbyterian soteriology, that to widen the parameters enough to cover both would mean it’s pretty much Katie-bar-the-door when it comes to doctrine.

    That’s what’s both sad and ironic, y’know? Were the FV to win, they’d rapidly find themselves in a denomination they don’t like, since the tools that might have kept aberrant doctrine out were removed so as to allow the FV to stay.

  86. NHarper said,

    May 30, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    I have yet to get a definition of “federal sanctity” – what is it? I would really like to know. And, how does it contribute to one’s salvation?

    Christian nurture includes prayer, Bible reading, worship both individually and corporately in the church. But, it also includes evangelism – leading our little ones to Christ. And, that is the missing but vital ingredient of the Federal Vision. Because we presume them to be saved at birth or in baptism, we DO NOT EVANGELIZE THEM. Instead, we raise children who presume they are Christians by being born into a Christian home, raised in the church but have never received Christ. We had a young woman in our former church who was taught that her husband was a Christian because she was a Christian. When asked why she thought she was a Christian, her answer was because she was baptized. This poor woman knows nothing about repentance or receiving Christ. THIS IS THE FALSE TEACHING OF THE FEDERAL VISION. Because of our presumption, are we are pointing people to Christ or to hell?

  87. anneivy said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Were I to hazard a guess, Neil, I’d expect “federal sanctity” to mean that since the Church as a whole plays an “improving” role in the world, acting as Christ’s physical presence in it, then the members of the Church who play a part in that improvement (which, presumably, the FV would call “sanctification” of God’s post-resurrection creation) are viewed as participants in that “federal” sanctification.

    I’d also assume they’d say it doesn’t do diddly towards contributing to an individual’s eternal salvation, but at least the reprobate-but-federally-sanctified have helped leave the world a better place than they found it.

  88. Jay Horne said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    NHarper, it seems to me that if the Federal Vision is right (to some degree or another), then what you describe is likely the pitfall that would result as sinful man warped the truth. Presumption on the covenant was a problem in Jesus’ day, and it could be a problem in our day.

    But since when did man’s ability to corrupt something prove that the something was false?

    Setting aside movements and labels, etc. here’s how I approach my children. I loosely follow what the Israelites were told to tell their children at the Passover: God loves you, he’s saved you, you must trust him in all things, you must be loyal to him. From what I know of the FV, I think that approach would also work within its paradigm, and I don’t think it is presumption, nor does it teach an externalized, dead religion.

    And in particular, I believe the Gospel is for all people everywhere, including Christians… we need it down in our bones, and we need it all the time. I can see how you’d be very hostile to the FV if you thought it pulled the Gospel out of how we raise our children, I just don’t think that is a consequence of the FV (or the parts I’ve seen). For me, the stuff I’ve read of Doug Wilson (as one example) has helped me sort out how to bring the Gospel to bear with my children.

  89. Bill Carson said,

    May 30, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    #86 Really hits the nail on the head. The problem is not the splitting of theological hairs regardng ECM/NECM and so on. The problem is that people are getting the message (from the FV people) that if they are baptised and reciting the creed, they are saved. That their children are saved. That’s the message that worries me.

  90. May 31, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Bill, your post makes me wish that I was as simple and elegant as folks like you. Well put!

    Cheers – DG

  91. May 31, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Um…not to imply that you are simple, Bill. :)

  92. May 31, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Harper, FVers are too busy reacting to the Fundamentalist, baptistic, and revivalistic background they came from to realize that their reaction is, well, of the knee-jerk variety, and not from historic Reformed theology. They have no clue that their doctrine of presumptive regeneration of infants (thus denying that children must be evangelized) comes from idiosyncratic strains like Kuyper (19th Century). Instead of joining true Reformed churches, bowing their heads and necks under real Reformed ministers and remain silent under the tutelage of ministers ordained in the Reformed tradition, they simply proclaim themselves “Reformed” and keep on with business as usual (except for, of course, tacking on a liturgical or high-church veneer).

  93. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 6:23 am

    Neil, here are some things I’ve asked you that I’d still love to see you answer:

    In your view, in what sense is the man described in Hebrews 10:29 sanctified by the blood of the covenant?

    Do you agree with Westminster Directory for The Publick Worship of God? That your children are Christians and federally holy, even before baptism?

    Shall we treat our covenant children as Christians or non-Christians? In covenant with God or strangers? Shall we teach them to pray to God as their Father, or is this too presumptuous?

  94. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 6:31 am

    Covenant sanctity: For a definition, I’m happy to paste in Lane’s words on Hebrews 10:29:

    “If it does refer to the apostate, then I would offer this interpretation of it: the sanctifying that is being advocated here is the idea that a person is set apart from the world when he is baptized. He is no longer in the same position as an outright pagan. He is rather identified with the church. … Rather it is the set-apartness that a baptized person enjoys from the world.”

    We need a concept like covenant sanctity, covenant holiness in order to understand verses like Hebrews 10:29, unless we take Fowler White’s angle. But the Westminst Directory for Worship seems to have 1 Corinthians 7:14 in mind when it says that covenant children are Christians and federally holy:

    “For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

  95. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 6:36 am

    “They have no clue that their doctrine of presumptive regeneration of infants (thus denying that children must be evangelized) comes from idiosyncratic strains like Kuyper (19th Century).”

    This is pretty ignorant, David. Have you read Schenk, The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant?

  96. Tim Wilder said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Re: 86

    “I have yet to get a definition of “federal sanctity” – what is it? I would really like to know. And, how does it contribute to one’s salvation?”

    We already have Lusk’s definition of “federal regeneration”. It is participating in the social life of the church. In other words, you would get invited to to the church socials.

    So “federal sanctity” would be learning good manners, and how to dress up nicely at a social. That is, in a Federal Conversation church it would. In an Emergent Conversation church, federal sanctity is this:

    http://sibboleth.blogspot.com/2007/05/lord-of-rings-pierced-for-us-in-him.html

  97. Tim Wilder said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Re: # 91

    “They have no clue that their doctrine of presumptive regeneration of infants (thus denying that children must be evangelized) comes from idiosyncratic strains like Kuyper (19th Century).”

    I think this misses the point. I am much more used to hearing Shepherd types railing against Kuyper. Kuyper was saying:

    1) Baptism is the sign and seal of the Covenant of Grace
    2) We baptize because we have a credible reason to suppose that the person baptized is in the Covenant of Grace
    3) In the case of infants, the credible reason is that the children of believers are normally regenerate, so in a given case we presume regeneration.

    Schilder rejected that. He said we don’t presume, but rather baptism puts the child into the covenant in some external, objective sense.

    The Federal Vision is an attempt to come up with a theology about how baptism makes people Christians, along the lines of Schilder. But if baptism does not do so in a Lutheran way, by miraculously creating faith, then “Christian” has to be cheapened to fit what they can get away with saying baptism actually does.

  98. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Re: #93…

    This is a wholly different type of “sanctification”, is it not? One that essentially bears no resemblance at all to an individual’s sanctification? Surely an inherent facet of “salvific sanctification” is that it’s a process, with someone’s level of sanctity (i.e. Christlikeness due to spiritual growth via the inworking of the Holy Spirit) increasing and decreasing.

    For the federally/covenantally-sanctified-reprobate, it’s merely a literal matter of fact, true? Like being from Iowa. Maybe one is, or maybe one isn’t, but in either event that and five bucks’ll get you a latté. In the Hebrews’ sense of sanctified, it’s a status similar to traditional, Reformed justification, albeit on a temporal level only and one subject to change through rejecting Christ and His Church.

  99. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:46 am

    “This is a wholly different type of “sanctification”, is it not? One that essentially bears no resemblance at all to an individual’s sanctification?”

    Like I’ve said a couple of times here, Anne: Hebrews 10:29 says yes about “sanctification,” but he’s obviously using the language differently than Reformed theology does.

  100. Tim Wilder said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Re: 88

    “The problem is that people are getting the message (from the FV people) that if they are baptised and reciting the creed, they are saved. That their children are saved. That’s the message that worries me.”

    From time to time the problem builds up and there is a problem of “formalism” where congregations are largely made up of people who go through the motions without faith. Then “special measures” come along to address this, e.g. revivals. These put a big emphasis on awareness of spiritual experiences, decisions, and things like that.

    The FV is against the “special measures”. They are so much so against them, that they want to hold that the problem of formalism against which the special measures are introduced is not a problem but really normal, orthodox Christianity. Orthodoxy is a matter of externals, rituals, chants, recitations, etc. Then they make the charge that if you don’t agree, and try to teach that a true Christian is one who is one inwardly, then you are part of the Gnostic Conversation.

  101. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:05 am

    “Like I’ve said a couple of times here, Anne: Hebrews 10:29 says yes about “sanctification,” but he’s obviously using the language differently than Reformed theology does.”

    Then it’s a pity the FV has a regrettable tendency to speak of “sanctification” without bothering to be very, very clear regarding which type of sanctification they’re talking about, seeing as how the two types are as different as chalk and cheese.

    Very sloppy on the FV’s part, ISTM, and the underlying cause of a lot of confusion.

  102. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Re: #99…

    [appreciatively] Oh my. That’s an excellent observation, Tim.

  103. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:18 am

    The other possibility, of course, is that sloppy, lazy, unsympathetic reading is causing the confusion. Mercy Maud!

    For example, I had to say it three times on this page before it seems to have sunk in:

    60: Hebrews 10:29 says yes about “sanctification,” but he’s obviously using the language differently than Reformed theology does.

    67: Like I said, Neil: The author of Hebrews is not using the term “sanctified” the way we usually do in Reformed theology.

    98: Like I’ve said a couple of times here, Anne: Hebrews 10:29 says yes about “sanctification,” but he’s obviously using the language differently than Reformed theology does.

  104. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:27 am

    Anne, perhaps you could refer us to a specific spot where an FV author is using the term sanctification “without bothering to be very, very clear regarding which type of sanctification they’re talking about.” Without a specific case in front of this, this isn’t a very helpful comment. If it’s true, though…

  105. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:31 am

    A reasonable request, Todd. From the AAPC’s Position Paper, etc.:

    “God, however, mysteriously has chosen to draw some into the covenant community who are not elect unto eternal salvation. These non-elect covenant members are truly brought to Christ, united to Him in the Church by baptism and receive various gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. Corporately, they are part of the chosen, redeemed, Spirit-indwelt people. Sooner or later, however, in the wise counsel of God, these fail to bear fruit and fall away. In some sense, they were really joined to the elect people, really *sanctified* by Christ’s blood, really recipients of new life given by the Holy Spirit. God, however, has chosen not to uphold them in the faith, and all is lost. They break the gracious new covenant they entered into at baptism.”

  106. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:36 am

    It’s the responsibility of the writer/speaker to make clear what he is intending to communicate.

    Being a headmaster of a school, Todd, I’d have expected you to be all over that, rather than throwing the burden upon the reader/listener.

    Seriously, does Covenant Classical permit its students to write so unclearly, and allow as a defense when they’re marked as being in error that they didn’t mean it the way it sounded, and it was the teacher’s responsibility to make certain he understood?

  107. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Okay. Now we’re talking. This paper is merely making a reference to Hebrews 10:29. Is the use of the word “sanctified” here any more problematic than its use in Hebrews 10:29? Should the biblical author have been more careful? Can he be accused of not bothering to be very, very clear regarding which type of sanctification he’s talking about?

  108. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Anne, as a headmaster I know that students can be sloppy writers AND sloppy readers. If a child gets an answer wrong on a reading comprehension test, the writer of the text in question is not often blamed for it. Right?

  109. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Excuse me, Todd. Here is the quote in context:

    “2. Illustrations of this abound in the Scripture: In Jude (5) the Israelites are said to have been “saved” and then destroyed, because they did not persevere. In the preface to the Ten Commandments Israel is addressed as God’s redeemed people. However, many of those who were “redeemed” did not continue trusting their Deliverer and perished. Peter (2 Peter 2) speaks of a similar class of people. Redeemed by Christ, they then deny Him and are destroyed. All of these are given as warnings to new covenant believers lest they follow these examples of apostasy. Paul specifically says the record of the Israelites who failed to persevere and were destroyed was “written for our admonition” in the new covenant era (I Cor. 10:11).

    “Summary: God, in eternity past, elected in Christ a great multitude to salvation. This election was wholly gracious and unconditional, having its source only in the free mercy and good pleasure of God. In the fullness of time, the Father sent His Son to die as the propitiatory substitute for those whom He elected to eternal salvation. The atoning work of the Son is fully sufficient for their salvation and completely accomplished their redemption. The Holy Spirit works in these same chosen ones to apply Christ’s saving work to them and to keep them faithful to the Savior their entire lives. Because of the hardness of their hearts, this work of grace must be, ultimately, irresistible. No one chosen to eternal salvation can be lost, and no non-elect person can attain eternal salvation.

    “God’s eternal decree to gather His elect into a people for His name is worked out in history. Election is in no way a “process” nor is it at all dependent upon our obedience either foreseen or actual, but it does becomes manifest in the administration of Word and Sacrament as one responds to the preached gospel and enters the Church in baptism. Christ is present in His Church by His Spirit to see to it that all His elect ones are brought to faith in Him.

    “God, however, mysteriously has chosen to draw some into the covenant community who are not elect unto eternal salvation. These non-elect covenant members are truly brought to Christ, united to Him in the Church by baptism and receive various gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. Corporately, they are part of the chosen, redeemed, Spirit-indwelt people. Sooner or later, however, in the wise counsel of God, these fail to bear fruit and fall away. In some sense, they were really joined to the elect people, really sanctified by Christ’s blood, really recipients of new life given by the Holy Spirit. God, however, has chosen not to uphold them in the faith, and all is lost. They break the gracious new covenant they entered into at baptism.”

    I’ve been through it now several times yet can find no reference to Hebrews 10:29. Why on earth should I be expected to ASSUME that’s what they’re referring to?

  110. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Covenant Classical holds its students responsible for reading carefully and sympathetically, taking note of context, etc. They miss points when they miss or ignore specific content or context.

  111. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:45 am

    “I’ve been through it now several times yet can find no reference to Hebrews 10:29.”

    Come on, Anne. Is there any other verse in the Bible that speaks of being sanctified by blood?

  112. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:46 am

    “If a child gets an answer wrong on a reading comprehension test, the writer of the text in question is not often blamed for it. Right?”

    Taking my question and turning it inside out and upside down is a clear attempt to evade answering, Todd.

  113. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:48 am

    I love it when people prove my point. This particular bit of FV writing omitted a salient point, thus leading to confusion.

    Good job, Todd. You da man. ;^)

  114. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Hebrews 10:29 is referred to explicitly in point 7 of the AAPC paper. Assuming that a reader will be able to remember that when reading the lanuage of that verse repeated at the end is hardly unreasonable. This really is a reading comprehension issue.

  115. Stewart said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:51 am

    Sean,

    Publicly critiquing documents is one thing, but calling a man a heretic is another. Apparently you and Lane think it’s okay for you to be judge and jury for the entire PCA. And the church splitting you mention is being caused by fire starters like you. A lot of good pastors and their families have been put through hardship just so people like Lane can play the roll of “Defender of the Gospel.” To you and Lane it’s a theological gotcha game, but to the men and families at the other end it’s serious business.

  116. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:53 am

    I don’t think I understand point 112, Anne. (Who’s reponsible for that?) Is the salient point the fact that Hebrews 10:29 is the only place that talks about being sanctified by blood? Or something else?

  117. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:18 am

    I wrote: “If a child gets an answer wrong on a reading comprehension test, the writer of the text in question is not often blamed for it. Right?”

    Anne wrote: “Taking my question and turning it inside out and upside down is a clear attempt to evade answering, Todd.”

    But my claim is that the writers included all they needed to in order to reasonably expect a reader to recognize a reference to Hebrews 10:29. It’s a reading comprehension issue.

    Anne, I’m averaging your grades right now; you can expect your report card on Saturday or Monday.

  118. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:20 am

    That that was a wretchedly sloppy bit of writing, if indeed the AAPC meant “sanctification as set-apart”, seeing as how in that same section of the paper – in fact, in the prior paragraph – traditionally-understood election (as opposed to the “in some sense” election to which the FV is addicted) is talked about. They apparently switch from traditional, commonly-understood definitions to the FV’s “in some sense” definitions without making any effort to distinguish between them.

    Well, other than using Biblical code words such as “really sanctified by Christ’s blood”, which is somehow supposed to tip off anyone reading the paper that they didn’t actually mean REALLY sanctified in the usual, most commonly understood definition of “sanctified”, but instead in the Hebrews 10:29 definition.

    I hope to heaven Covenant Classical is doing a better job teaching its students how to write lucidly than the AAPC is apparently capable of.

  119. Stewart said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:22 am

    I wonder what the PCA Book of Church Order has in mind when they call Children “federally holy.” Is this same as “federal sanctity”?

    “h. That they are **federally holy** before Baptism, and therefore are they
    baptized;”

  120. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:23 am

    I don’t think AAPC should be held responsible for when a reader misses a perfectly clear reference to a specific text. Did you miss point 7, where Heb 10:29 is referred to explicitly?

  121. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I’m eager for CCS to teach kids BOTH to read carefully and to write carefully. Thanks for your prayers, Anne.

  122. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Anne, how about an answer to my question from 115?

  123. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:34 am

    The section of the paper that Anne is complaining about is the summary at the bottom. There are no explicit biblical references at all in the summary; they are, after all, summarizing. They’ve already named their specific texts in the sections above. They are writing for adults!

  124. Andy Gilman said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Lane, regarding “Stewart’s” comments in #114, I’m having trouble understanding your patience here. “Stewart,” anonymously and repeatedly vilifies you, and has nothing intelligent to say, yet you continue to allow him to post. Maybe you know who “Stewart” is, and can hold him accountable.

  125. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Yes, Stewart, my umpteen thousand posts on the FV show beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am treating the matter lightly. Is heresy anything other than a serious business? Stewart, you seem to be dead set against even the possibility that the FV might possibly be wrong. Suppose it is heresy. The thing to do is *not* immediately to bring it to the SJC. The thing to do is for pastors to call attention to these problems within those problematic theologies. If that level of discipline doesn’t work, then we go to the church courts. Discipline is not just excommunication or defrocking. It is also the long conversation that goes on before that point. That conversation has been going on for five whole years now, with many conversation partners. It has gone on in the blogosphere and in print.

    Stewart, you have made your point abundantly clear, and the critics utterly disagree with you. I am not going to convince you, and you are not going to convince me. And I am certainly not going to stop drawing attention to errors. So, if you continue on in this rant, there will be no reply from me. And I would advise other TR’s who read this blog not to respond to Stewart’s broken record, either.

  126. Andy Gilman said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:54 am

    I meant to refer to “Stewart’s” comments in #116, not #114.

  127. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Todd, just because something is said early in a paper doesn’t excuse imprecise, confusing language towards the end.

    If the intent was to preach to the choir, I daresay the AAPC’s paper is fine.

    You’re obviously in the choir, so naturally you think it’s fine.

    If, however, the intent was to explain its position clearly and without confusion to those who are unfamiliar with it, the writer(s) of the paper did a substandard job.

  128. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Anne, why should they make the reference explicit twice in a short paper? It’s the summary! There is nothing imprecise or confusing about it, unless the writer of Hebrews was being imprecise and confusing. They are expecting you to read carefully, and to look back up under point 7 if you’ve forgotten where the language of sanctification by blood came from. It’s a simple process, really.

  129. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Anne, I’m still curious about your answer to my question from 115.

  130. Sean Gerety said,

    May 31, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I have to hand it to the defenders of the so-called “Federal Vision” because they at least understand the political game very well. They are very actively trying to mobilize those in the squishy and uncommitted middle who will most likely decide this fight at the GA.

    I see now on the “Reformed News” blog site (which Chris Coldwell noted is hosted by barlownet), that a group of supposedly “non-FVers” have sent out a “pastoral letter” raising “concerns” about the PCA report. Interestingly, and not surprisingly, most of the letter reads like a regurgitated summation of Meyers’ 30 points. Most of the points in the letter are clearly lifted almost verbatim from Meyers piece. Hardly the organic groundswell of concern the letter purports to be. But, hey, like it or not this is politics.

    FWIW there should be pastoral letters also sent out concerned with how FV’ers like Meyers and others are attempting to poison the well and confuse the findings of the Committee by raising irrelevant contextual and procedural issues simply because they are unhappy about the report’s conclusions. Basically, I would hope that the defenders of the Committee’s report are also trying to mobilize these folks as well and are not simply assuming because truth is on their side they’ll therefore win this fight.

  131. Stewart said,

    May 31, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    “But, hey, like it or not this is politics.”

    Amen!

  132. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Sean, it is being done, rest assured.

  133. Stewart said,

    May 31, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    “see now on the “Reformed News” blog site (which Chris Coldwell noted is hosted by barlownet), that a group of supposedly “non-FVers” have sent out a “pastoral letter” raising “concerns” about the PCA report.”

    Sean, do you think these PCA pastors are liars? Why do you say “supposedly”? What evidence do you have that shows we should not believe them?

  134. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    “…why should they make the reference explicit twice in a short paper?”

    Because when printed out it’s on a separate page? Because a lot of people are like me, reading things like that in chunks and not as a whole?

    Just because they CAN? Because it would help eliminate maybe a little of the misunderstandings and confusion that the FV claims to want have go away?

    There’s a dandy saying, which I’ve hammered my kids with for years, and I suspect in your years with students you might have quoted it, too:

    Do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always had.

    There’s a truly remarkable similarity and consistency to the “misunderstandings” by those who reject the FV. John Q. and Jane Q. Public read the AAPC’s Position Paper and other FV writings then come away with almost the exact same beliefs as to what the FV teaches. They get the same thing from what they’ve read.

    Now, if the FV honestly doesn’t want to be misunderstood, it has exactly two options, no more and no fewer:

    One, whine, complain, and gripe about the stupidity and intellectual density of John and Jane, demanding The Public pull up its socks and start reading properly.

    Two, sigh, roll their collective eyes, and accept that somehow what’s been written often isn’t communicating what was intended, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to get their message out correctly.

    I regret to say that thus far Option One has been the option of choice by the FV, meaning the misunderstandings and confusion will proceed apace, since it’s a cinch the Great American Public isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    Do what you’ve always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always had.

    Count on it.

  135. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    But Anne, isn’t it you whining, complaining, and griping this time?

    And how about my question in 117 about your comment in 114? Please? Which salient point do you feel the report omitted?

  136. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Todd, you can’t sit there and try to deflect forever. Anne’s got a point here. Instead of trying to poke a hole in it, answer it.

  137. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Lane, in your view, just what is Anne’s point? Thanks for the help.

  138. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    It seems like Anne wants the AAPC paper to hold her hand and keep her from having to remember things more than a paragraph at a time, or from having to flip back a page or two, or from having to think a bit about the specific language — “Sanctified by the blood of Christ? Where does that language appear in Scripture? Who is being referred to there?” But the AAPC paper is for adults with adult attention spans, Christians eager to think the best of their brothers for as long as they can, Bible readers willing to look up a reference, etc.

  139. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    The ‘salient point’ was that you’d asked me to “refer us to a specific spot where an FV author is using the term sanctification ‘without bothering to be very, very clear regarding which type of sanctification they’re talking about.’”

    I did so. You tacitly acknowledged it by saying the way one is supposed to deduce that the AAPC meant one type of sancitification instead of another type (the most commonly understood type, at that) is by reading back/upwards, somehow recognizing the phrase “sanctified by Christ’s blood” to be an allusion to Hebrews 10:29.

    God forbid the writer of that position paper be the one to go the extra mile to be understood and make the POSITION plain. Seeing as how it’s promoted as a POSITION PAPER? Hello? What is the point of issuing a position paper?

    To explain one’s position to those unfamiliar with it, right? So presumably the writer would want to cross every T and dot every i in that effort.

    Except that would be an invalid assumption, since the FV’s happy to leaveeveryone else to do the heavy lifting, though they’re unhappy when the load drops on their foot.

  140. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    “somehow recognizing the phrase “sanctified by Christ’s blood” to be an allusion to Hebrews 10:29.”

    Somehow! It’s so difficult! God forbid Anne having to flip a page and keep her concentration up for more than a minute at a time!

  141. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Don’t think I could have explained it better than Anne just did.

  142. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Todd, you are absolutely infuriating, and for two pins I’d make a couple of phone calls, locate some parents at Covenant Classical, and point ‘em here to read you for themselves.

    I’m nicer’n that, though, so I won’t.

    The FV whines and complains about being misunderstood, I point out a specific area that breeds precisely the misunderstanding being whined and complained about, but then I’m implicitly informed I’m the idiot.

    Gee, thanks.

    I’m going to go away and cool off.

    The FV is IMPOSSIBLE! Utterly! Totally!

    ARGGGHHHH!!!!!!!

  143. Sean Gerety said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Sean, do you think these PCA pastors are liars? Why do you say “supposedly”? What evidence do you have that shows we should not believe them?

    I never said they were liars Stewart. They may not be “FV men,” but it is interesting that their letter merely parrots and lifts almost verbatim arguments and even wording from those who are very much “FV men.” Maybe they’re just what the communists used to call “useful idiots?” Maybe they are FV men and just don’t want to admit it or even know it? Maybe they’re just self-deluded and deceived? It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve met a so-called self-styled “fence-sitter” who always seems to place his bottom squarely on just one side of the fence. Maybe they are truly confused on this issue? Which of course raises the question why these men are even “pastors and elders” in the first place? Maybe they’re more concerned with the personalities involved and believe like one elder mentioned in Paul Elliot’s book, Christianity vs. Neo-Liberalism, that so and so can’t be a heretic after all he’s been moderator at Presbytery or some similar nonsense.

  144. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Todd, you’re missing the point. Anne says it is unclear. I don’t anyone could label her as an uncharitable reader. Nor as a stupid one.

  145. Sean Gerety said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Sean, it is being done, rest assured.

    :-)

  146. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    And before I leave to run errands and chill out, allow me to point out that Jesus said we should be like “little children” and Paul of those called by God “there were not many wise according to the flesh”, so maybe it’s not so blamed unreasonable to expect theologians who claim they are anxious to be understood to assume perhaps they’d better be as clear as possible.

    We’re just not all as smart as you, Todd.

  147. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Anne, most of the parents at CCS want me and the other teachers to be doing with their kids exactly what I’ve been trying to do with you — teaching them to read cafefully, to be careful to read in context, to be careful not to read their own preconceptions into a text, etc. Welcome to class.

  148. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    And to type carefully.

  149. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Anne, feel free to leave this unanswered — I promise not to bug you about it. But how would you answer an Arminian friend who said this to you:

    “If God had wanted me to believe in predestination and election, he would have made it much more clear in the Bible.”

    Is God as the author of the Bible at fault for unclearness whenever it is misinterpreted? Are the human authors at fault?

  150. May 31, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Anne, I hope you get to read this when you get back from your errands. Internet discussions (and Todd’s manner in particular, it seems to me) are usually difficult and awkward in some respect. It is good to be as merciful as possible, as you have been. That being said, I don’t think you are wrong to have grown infuriated by the way you have been treated. You have been overly provoked, it seems to me.

    Todd, as per the refnews site; since you told me you could affirm the nine declarations, you interact with Jon Barlow’s deconstructing of them.

    I’m not trying to be unneccesarily difficult nor provocative, and I know that the fact that we’ve never met probably has a lot to do with this, but I don’t trust you. I don’t trust that you have good intentions. I don’t trust that you mean to positively build up rather than tear down, on this blog or elsewhere.

    By the way, I am not in the least offended if folks who have never met me don’t trust me. Why should they? Because I am “a minister in good standing in the PCA”? Personally, I would need more and better reasons than that to trust someone else, and would think the person that trusts me on that basis alone to be overly naive. It’s nothing personal, and I try not to take it personally if folks who have never met me don’t trust me.

  151. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I’m not offended either. But I’m not sure why you would write what you did “in public.”

  152. May 31, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Hey Todd. I don’t know either.

    But your post does give me the opportunity to make another somewhat random observation/generalization, present parties (you and me) excluded.

    It has been my purely subjective observation that (with a few notable exceptions) those who hold to the FV/NPP, together with its attendant need to present one’s own “covenant faithfulness” prior to glorification on Judgment Day, are especially jealous to guard their reputations (including their “standing” as “ministers in good standing”) before men; whereas (again, with some exceptions) those who are opposed to the FV/NPP scheme of things, trusting in Christ’s imputed righteousness for the whole of their standing and pre-glorification assessment, are remarkably free from concern to guard their own reputations before men.

  153. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    There are plenty of goofballs on all sides of this thing.

  154. May 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    I agree. Let me ask you directly: Do you consider Lane to be one of the “goofballs”? Do you consider me to be one of the “goofballs”?

  155. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    My commitment to positively build up rather than tear down prevents me from naming names.

  156. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Why did I know that Todd was going to avoid the question? Of course, he could have said “no.” But the fact that he wasn’t willing to do that (which is a contradiction of his just-stated belief that he wants to build people up) speaks volumes, I think. What do you think, Jeff?

  157. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    And, of course, Jeff wasn’t asking Todd to name names on the “goofball” side. Rather, he was asking if Todd would be willing to have Jeff and I be “non-goofballs.” You know, it really is fascinating how some people think.

  158. May 31, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    I am going to assume (as I have been all along, actually), that Todd considers both you and me to be “goofballs.” (Though, Todd, I am glad to be corrected! Perhaps post #156 was meant to be funny!) Oh well! At least we have a better idea with whom to interact as we seek to steward the Lord’s time!

  159. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Todd Harris,

    Contact me off list at the address listed at http://www.theparchment.org under the top menu item called “Contact Me”. Thanks!

  160. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    While out and about it occurred to me there might be a method to the FV’s, er, madness. I was puzzling again over how peculiar it is that on the one hand there is a constant drumbeat of complaint from them about having been frequently misunderstood, but inevitably any suggestion of them changing how they write is rejected.

    Odd, I thought. They have stated a goal, i.e. to be understood properly, yet resist any action on their part that might actually help attain it.

    (I have a 20 year old son who behaves the same way, but that’s a tale for another time.)

    Exiting the freeway at Green Oaks Lane it occurred to me “They say they want to be understood, but apparently only on their own terms.”

    Pondered awhile on why they’d be more committed to their own way of writing than to their stated goal of being understood. As I headed down Vickery toward Hulen the interior light went on.

    Um, mine, not the car’s.

    Remembering all that Todd’s been saying, what better way to keep the intellectual riff-raff (such as myself) out of the FV, thus maintaining the movement’s intellectual purity?

    If you don’t understand the FV the way they’ve troubled to explain it, you’re too dang dumb to hang around with them.

    Trouble is, I’m pretty average, on the whole. Never claimed to more than moderate, everyday, common, garden-variety intelligence. I’m basically Everywoman, right down to the ubiquitous B.A. in History. If the FV’s writings aren’t clear to me, there’s a reasonably good chance they’re going to be unclear to a lot of other people.

    Based upon the FV’s troubles in its various denominational affiliations, this would seem to be an accurate assessment, wouldn’t it?

    Therefore, presumably the FV is aimed toward the Really Smart People.

    No wonder I don’t fit in with it. ;^)

  161. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    What you’re pointing out, Anne, is the incipient Gnosticism of the FV. You can’t understand it from the outside. You can only understand it from the inside. Ultimately a very exclusive outlook on life.

  162. May 31, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Amen, Anne. It is no accident that the FV has grown up and spread among those who (over) value education, including some in the “classical Christian education” movement or who assist in producing curriculums for homeschoolers.

    I would like to see a Star Trek parallel universe episode where the FV was actually conceived at a plumber’s convention, and spread around by plumbers all over the country. Or where it was hatched by hairstylists, and got spread around by fashion magazines. What would the FV look like then?

    I know the FV movement is somewhat diverse, and probably not all of them are big time into education, but all of them (according to Doug Wilson) are postmillenialists, so it is not unfair to look for some common soil that gave birth to the movement–excuse me, “conversation.”

    Like you, I will state for the record that I believe I understand the teachings of the FV, and they remain not only erroneous at too many points, but also too confusing for me to consider to be faithful explanations of the Word. And like you, if they consider me too unsophisticated and too uneducated (I speak as a fool here, but will say, my Duke degree and RTS degree and earned doctorate [DMin] from Westminster notwithstanding) to understand them, I am glad to be so considered, as long as they leave the PCA to us rubes.

  163. anneivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Exclusivity seems to be a key component of the FV, that’s true.

    “Incipient Gnosticism”, eh? That’s what I pointed out?

    Darn, I’m smart. ;^)

    Wait!

    I’ve been told I don’t understand the FV’s writings, so I *can’t* be smart.

    Blister it. I’m confused. :^p

  164. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    You people are utterly amazing. I truly wonder how you sleep at all. Further, how do you worship on the Lord’s Day and how do you take the supper knowing full well that you have smeared other Christians? Please do not start down that road of “they are not Christians” because that is not your call to make — frankly, one might wonder this about many on this blog who have written some of the nastiest things I have ever seen about their family members. These sort of comments, name-calling, smear tactics, and just about every evil thing that should not be labeled among God’s people have been said on this blog and elsewhere by BOTH sides. I guess it is kind of a drug for some — call it an internal need to point their long fingers at other people, tell them how bad they are (them, not the issue mind you) and then turn your nose up at them. Goodness people! Where is the love I wonder? Where is the charity? I am willing to bet that over 95 percent of the people commenting here on this blog have not tried one single time to email or call those they oppose to talk with them like mature adults and ask them any kinds of questions. Corporate America behaves better in controversy then some here — at least they hold a meeting with the parties involved in an issue and work to resolve it in an amicable way. These people you oppose are not dead — they are alive and I am sure they would be willing to talk with you about whatever concern you might have. Recently I suggested that course off action to a particular individual and he simply refused to do it. Amazing!

    This issue is WAY past the FV issue — it is now squarely in the center of man’s pride and evil heart. Maybe we all should start considering our own heart and our sin and our own shortcomings (yes, we do have them in case you may have forgot) before we start slamming other people. Sadly, I often don’t take my own advice and it usually works against me.

  165. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    William, a few thoughts in reply. Firstly, it is never wrong to say that someone with aberrant theology is a heretic. It is never an unloving thing to say, if that person has aberrant theology. If you think it is, then you need to prove it from Scripture, not just assert that it is unloving. And I think Jesus has some choice words for those aberrant theologians, the Pharisees. John has choice words for the Gnostics. Jude has choice words for heretics about which he was writing. The biblical example is rather the reverse of what you are suggesting. The reason for this is, from my perspective, calling on the FV to repent is the most loving thing I can do for them. I do not see myself as smearing them in any way, shape, or form, and your saying so doesn’t make it so. Assertion is not argument, William.

    Secondly, you are assuming that detailed personal conversation has not taken place between critics and FV’ers. The Knox colloquium had *thousands* of email exchanges between just such groups.

    Thirdly, even if %95 of the people on this blog had not privately emailed FV’ers, that still doesn’t make what the TR’ers are doing unloving. As I have said ad nauseum, public documents can be publicly critiqued. Let me ask you a counter question. If a heretic publishes his views, how should he be answered? If the church doesn’t want the heresy to spread, then isn’t a public answer the appropriate thing to do? Everything the FV has done is public. Therefore, just about everything the critics are doing is public, too. So, before you accuse me of smearing the FV, you need to step into my shoes and see things from a TR perspective. TR’s think that the FV is heretical. Therefore, our actions, while wrong if the FV is orthodox, *are right if the FV is heretical.* You are prejudging the case the other way, assuming that the FV is orthodox. So, whatever you may say in the future, let it be known now that you are anything but middle of the road.

  166. Stewart said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Lane, the PCA won’t consider it heresy until a PCA court says it is heresy. So, every time you call one of your fellow PCA minsters that you are smearing them. Call it wrong. Call it aberrant. But don’t call a fellow minster a heretic until your denomination calls him that. You don’t have that authority.

  167. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    For the pecking order, I cannot be counted in William’s 95%, as I’ve friends who are most assuredly FV-friendly.

    We’ve finally just pretty much agreed not to discuss That Topic, since it’s obviously a matter of I say poh-TAY-toh and they say poh-TAH-toh.

    Lane’s blog is my FV-debating fix.

  168. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Lane,

    The problem is that you are not Jesus or one of the apostles. You are not inspired with the Holy Spirit in the sense they were when they penned their letters. Second, you say you are a presbyterian yet you clearly deny it by your actions. If you want to call a teaching heretical (and of course, you must then prove it) then that is one thing. When you start smearing other people (and when I say “you” I mean ANYONE who does) then you cross the line.

    The Knox colloquium was, at least, cordial in their dealings with the subject matter. Furthermore, even the PCA Study Committee Report called these men “brothers” (and I know that irriatates some here) which then allows for avenues of conversation. However, this does not remove the mandate from the Bible that one study a matter carefully before rendering a decision. It is one thing to debate the mindset of John Calvin and those scholars from our church past however it is one thing to ascribe positions to men who are still alive and of whom we can readily contact and clear the air of possible confusion. So, my encouragement to many would be to call or write those men you THINK you understand and ask the kinds of questions that have been asked and asserted here. Allow them to answer for themselves. I know that much of what they have said is in writing but people often change their views over time (we have all done that) and perhaps what they said in 2002 is not where they stand today given more time to study and meditate on the Scriptures. Matthew 18 has much to offer in regards to this. Though the passage is mostly about offense the practical idea of discussion with the goal of resolution is in view here.

    And, by the way, as a self-expressed TR you are out of accords with the established position of the PCA on this matter. Good faith subscription is the rule of order in the PCA and until that changes you will always be outside looking in. This point you raise only reinforces my concern that there is an agenda of sorts to get Total Subscriptionism into the PCA. Well, to be honest, I would oppose that very move on many fronts (too many to list here). Now some would say that makes me a “liberal”. I cannot control how people might react to that. However, I will say that the TR position brings its own kind of turmoil to the Church, in my opinion.

    All I want to make clear is that regardless of the tenacity of which we debate we still have biblical responsibilities to be honorable in our words as well as charitable in our conversations. Yes, Lane, these men you believe to be wrong are still ministers in good standing in the PCA and until such time as they are defrocked or declared heretics that is the way it remains. This raises another point: Just because one is not in agreement with the Confession does not make them heretics. Much of the argument against the FV position centers on this issue mostly (but not completely). Again, caution most be the rule of order since this kind of sectarian philosophy means that many of our Bapstist brothers, etc are also not Chrisitans.

  169. Anne Ivy said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Stewart, were the PCA to officially put the kibosh on the FV and deem it heresy (at least so far as the PCA is concerned), will you abide by that decision, either saying “Well, darn it all…looks like I was wrong” or else find another denominational home?

    Assuming you’re PCA, which I can’t recall.

    From what I can tell, a lot of PCA pastors are willing to go to the wire over this, so that if the PCA should put its, er, imprimatur on the FV (in a manner of speaking), they’ll leave the PCA.

  170. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Anne,

    I will answer for myself. First, I do not see the PCA making this a matter of their constitutional documents (but I may be very wrong). I do not have any plans to leave the PCA after such time as this is sorted out. Now, the turnabout question is also fair: “will those in the PCA who are anti-FV remain in the PCA if they do not out and out decalare it to be heretical?”

  171. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    William, my not being Jesus or the apostles is utterly and completely irrelevant here, unless you want to argue that they provide no example whatsoever for how to treat heretics. My point is this: the Pharisees were in good standing in their community. They had not been convicted of heresy, and yet Jesus condemned them in the sharpest of tones. Is Jesus antithetical to Presbyterianism? Irrelevant, William. And, unless you are going to bring judicial charges against me for defamation of character, then it is inconsistent for you to say that I am not allowed to cry “heresy” but you are allowed to cry “libeller.” Utterly inconsistent. Very un-Presbyterian. Why aren’t you emailing me privately to understand my position? William, look through the 52 or so posts on Federal Vision I have written, where I have examined almost every verse of importance in the debate, addressed the FV writings ad nauseum. And this is almost nothing compared to the mountains of comments and hashing out that has occurred on this blog. I believe that I am in a position to say that I have studied the issues, and have found the FV outside the bounds. And by the way, I have been concentrating on the issues and the teaching. And you have utterly failed to acknowledge my distinction in the definition of the word “heresy.” You find it. I am not going to find it for you. So, unless you have anything more to add to the discussion, and you don’t want to appear to be a broken record, you can close this conversation out.

  172. Andy Gilman said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    In #165 William Hill said:

    “These sort of comments, name-calling, smear tactics, and just about every evil thing that should not be labeled among God’s people have been said on this blog and elsewhere by BOTH sides.”

    Maybe I don’t get around enough William, but I’ve never seen you go after the FV folks on their blogs. You are clearly right in saying that you can find many examples of name-calling and smear tactics on the FV side, but do you ever reprimand those folks in the same way that you offer repeated admonishments here on Lane’s blog?

    You say “I truly wonder how you sleep at all. Further, how do you worship on the Lord’s Day and how do you take the supper knowing full well that you have smeared other Christians?”

    Isn’t that just an example of name-calling?

    You say “Sadly, I often don’t take my own advice…”

    In post #165 you have advised peace, love and charity, in words which convey wrath, accusation and malice.

  173. greenbaggins said,

    May 31, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Yes, William, how about taking Mark Horne to task for calling me Satanic? You don’t think that tops anything I’ve said? I wouldn’t call any of the FV advocates Satanic. And I have no hesitation in calling the FV PCA guys brothers. I think it is quite possible for someone to be saved, and yet teach wrong doctrine. It has happened all the time in church history.

  174. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    “I think it is quite possible for someone to be saved, and yet teach wrong doctrine. It has happened all the time in church history.”

    But what is the historical precedent for using the word “heresy” for this?

  175. May 31, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    BTW, I missed this from Todd: “This is pretty ignorant, David. Have you read Schenk, The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant?”

    Todd, I don’t simply mean the belief that “the children of believers are normally regenerate.” But, rather, the more specific idea that we baptize on the basis of this presumption.

    Tim Wilder: I think we agree, but isn’t the irony that FV has wandered into this old Dutch conversation and, not really knowing what they are doing, picked up elements of Kuyper as well as Schilder? So now, for FV, all of their babies are regenerate (indeed, can have paedofaith!), can take communion, and don’t even need to be taught the gospel and respond w/ a profession of faith (flat-out apostacy being the only defeater), while simultaneously picking up on Schilder’s undifferentiated covenant.

    FVers would probably keel over from indignation if they knew what Calvin required of prospective communicant children (see the Geneva Catechism for Communion Catechumens). This is, to say the least, quite a bit more than the FVer who prods their two year old to nod their head when asked if they love Jesus. My guess is that Calvin would probably affirm that children of believers are normally regenerate, but his practice clearly was not “presumptive” in the case of individuals.

  176. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Warfield: No man can read the heart. As a consequence, it follows that no one, however rich his manifestation of Christian graces, is baptized on the basis of infallible knowledge of his relation to Christ. All baptism is inevitably administered on the basis not of knowledge but of presumption. And if we must baptize on presumption, the whole principle is yielded; and it would seem that we must baptize all whom we may fairly presume to be members of Christ’s body. In this state of the case, it is surely impracticable to assert that there can be but one ground on which a fair presumption of inclusion in Christ’s body can be erected, namely, personal profession of faith. Assuredly a human profession is no more solid basis to build upon than a divine promise. So soon, therefore, as it is fairly apprehended that we baptize on presumption and not on knowledge, it is inevitable that we shall baptize all those for whom we may, on any grounds, fairly cherish a good presumption that they belong to God’s people — and this surely includes the infant children of believers, concerning the favor of God to whom there exist many precious promises on which pious parents, Baptists as fully as others, rest in devout faith.

  177. May 31, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Todd, it is hard to tell what, precisely, is being presumed without more context, other than a “good presumption that they belong to God’s people”

  178. Todd R. Harris said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Sure. Here’s the whole essay:

    http://www.mbrem.com/baptism/babybap.htm

    But the FV guys specifically distance themselves from Kuyper, as Tim has said.

  179. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Lane,

    I recieved the answer from you that I expected. It is amzing to me how blind some can be even when confronted with the truth.

    By the way, I did not have to go after Makr Horne for his comments because he posted an apology for making them on his own blog. Why beat a guy when he is down. Also, you now have moved into motive ascription since you apparently did not read my comments carefully. I clearly state that EVERYONE involved (FV or anti-FV) have behaved badly…

    Is there any way for one to win this thing? Not as far as I am concerned. This issue has damaged the Church in ways far grater than what you think…

  180. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Andy,

    If you truly believe my comments were filled with wrath and malice you need to go back and re-read my comments and while you are doing so remove the apparent bias from your own mind. My comments were offered from a genuine heart that deeply desires this name-calling to end on both sides. If you choose to read more into it than what I have clearly stated I cannot help that. However, I did weigh what I said carefully and believe them to be in accordance with what God has told us to do as we interact with other brothers we do not agree with.

    Furthermore, how is it “name-calling” to state plainly that we ought to weigh carefully what we say and who we offend (or possibly offend) before we partake of the Table? The table represents a unity between brothers and sisters in the body. We are partaking of one Lord and Savior — together — as brothers and sisters (family members). It is not “name-calling” to caution people to consider this very real fact before we partake of the Table. Is it possible that some of your opponents are offended by the things said here (and elsewhere)? If so, you have a duty to talk with them about it just as the offended has a duty to tell you if they were, in fact, offended. Yet, what I see by some (not all) is a lack of humility and patience as well as a gross lack of charity and forbearance. Goodness man! What if our holy God treated you like this while you were still an enemy? What would happen if he treated everyone like this (which would certainly be His option as God) while they were still enemies of Him? Thankfully God reached out to us while we were still haters of Him. He waited for us, changed our sorry hearts and brought us to Himself.

    Do I always act in charity towards my neighbor? My enemy? No. Is it sin? Yes. Can one discuss the issue without crossing the line into areas that ought to be foreign to God’s people? Most certainly. Is it a challenge at times? Most definitely? My words are not just for the reader they are also aimed at the guy writing them. May God help us all to be more patient and act in a forbearing way towards those we disagree with (sometimes strongly) in these issues.

  181. William Hill said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    “William, my not being Jesus or the apostles is utterly and completely irrelevant here, unless you want to argue that they provide no example whatsoever for how to treat heretics.”

    Lane,

    With all due respect it is not irrelvent. It is quite to the point since Jesus spoke with a knowledge of the heart of the Pharisees. This is something you cannot do at all. Of course there is an example of how to treat heretics but that is not the issue. You presume that the FV guys are heretics and that is not a call you have been given to make. In otherwords, you have found them guilty before a trial. They are not heretics until such time as it is PROVEN before a CHURCH COURT that they are indeed such. Now you may believe they are or think they are or hold to it personally but that, alone, does not make it an iron clad fact. Your opinion is well known and has been well documented but, again, does not make it so. When and if the PCA decides that men like Meyers, Horne, Wilkins and others are heretics we can deal with that issue at that time. Until that time they are your brothers and deserve to be treated in the same way you would want them to treat you over various issues. They, in turn, have a responsibility to treat you the same way even though they oppose you.

    For the record, I have already stated that one can call the FV heresy if they so choose but you (that is, anyone who actually does) cannot smear men in good standing at the same time and also call yourself a Presbyterian. It is inconsistent. As a TE you can go to GA and vote how you think the vote needs to go and leave it at that. However, to say they are, in your opinion, heretics and say so as if it has been set in concrete is a different matter. You leave no room for discussion, change or any other thing to happen when you maintain this attitude.

  182. Tim Wilder said,

    May 31, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Re: 176:

    “I think we agree, but isn’t the irony that FV has wandered into this old Dutch conversation and, not really knowing what they are doing, picked up elements of Kuyper as well as Schilder? So now, for FV, all of their babies are regenerate (indeed, can have paedofaith!), can take communion, and don’t even need to be taught the gospel and respond w/ a profession of faith (flat-out apostacy being the only defeater), while simultaneously picking up on Schilder’s undifferentiated covenant.”

    Shepherd, Jordan, and others were big readers of Schilder. Whether they really understand him is another question. There are people in the Netherlands who are appalled and want to rescue Schilder from the FV. For that matter, there are people in the Liberated Church who are appalled at what the Canadian Reformed have done with Schilder.

    My own suspicion is that there were inconsistencies in Schilder, and what we are seeing is one side of Schilder being given free rein. One interesting thing is that in Russia, the churches that were influenced by the PCA are now Federal Vision and have joined the CREC, whereas the churches that are associated with the Liberated Churches of the Netherlands are anti-Federal Vision.

  183. Tim Wilder said,

    May 31, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Re: 182:

    Willliam sez:

    “It is quite to the point since Jesus spoke with a knowledge of the heart of the Pharisees. This is something you cannot do at all. Of course there is an example of how to treat heretics but that is not the issue. You presume that the FV guys are heretics and that is not a call you have been given to make. In otherwords, you have found them guilty before a trial. They are not heretics until such time as it is PROVEN before a CHURCH COURT that they are indeed such. Now you may believe they are or think they are or hold to it personally but that, alone, does not make it an iron clad fact.”

    Does the church court know the heart? Is what a church court rules thereby an iron clad fact?

    It looks to me that an attitude underling much Federal Vision blog ranting is an inclination toward the divinization of the church institutions. It really is, as someone recently pointed out to me, the Ecclesial Vision, not the Federal Vision.

  184. Kevin said,

    June 1, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Good point Tim. I would add that the FV will take this line right up and until one of their own is deemed heretical by a presbytery and defrocked. Then we will hear more belly-aching about how unfair and political the church courts are. And how hopeless the PCA is as a reformed denomination (as Wilson has argued for many years).

    William, I find it endlessly diverting to hear FVers rail about how Reformed is not enough and about what they consider to be every mistake in Calvin, Hodge, Dabney, etc., and then when TRs return fire they whine and moan as you have done. In general, I do agree that it would be best to avoid the “h”-word. But still, if you’re going to take pot shots at the Reformed why get bent when they occasionally return fire? Jordan just unleashed a series of rants that blisters every reformed person who did not follow his own personal pilgrimage from theonomy to FV and that rails in particular against anyone who is not postmillenial. And I could go on and on naming FV leaders who blast their self-created opponents.

    I think that at the back of you comments is an implicit belief, very common nowadays, that opposition to someone else’s public position is a violation of the ninth commandment (as argued extensively on Wilson’s blog). This is merely self-serving nonsense. Pick any page at random in RINE and tell me who is being critiqued by Wilson in his complaints about modern “reformed theology.” If you can’t say who he means, then Wilson is likely creating straw men with his criticisms. If you can say, then has he violated the ninth commandment, despite not naming names (as he alleges regarding the MARS report)? Again, the point is that your criticisms are hopelessly inconsistent with the FV practice of criticizing modern reformed theology.

  185. William Hill said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:26 am

    It really is too bad, Kevin, that all you got from my remarks is that I am “whining and moaning”. It was hardly that.

  186. William Hill said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:31 am

    Tim,

    Of course they do not know the heart. However, that is the system of governement we have employed as Presbyterians and there is safety in the multitude of counselors so we run with it the best we can. Do not compare apples and oranges. It is one thing for ONE person to blog repeatedly that so and so is a heretic and another thing all together if a church court convenes and deliberates the matter and then rules on it. As Presbyterians we believe that God uses this system of government to accomplish His will in His Church.

  187. Tim Wilder said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Re: 187

    “As Presbyterians we believe that God uses this system of government to accomplish His will in His Church.”

    When did that start being true? Was it true way back when the Tyler Reconstructionists (now the Federal Vision) had their battles with the local PCA presbytery? Were these FV guys outside of God’s will even then?

    What about when someone resigns from office rather than face charges in prebytery? Are you saying that such a person does not trust in God, since the presbytery does God’s will?

  188. Sean Gerety said,

    June 1, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Tim writes:
    It looks to me that an attitude underling much Federal Vision blog ranting is an inclination toward the divinization of the church institutions. It really is, as someone recently pointed out to me, the Ecclesial Vision, not the Federal Vision.

    There is a very pronounced ecclesiastic authoritarian streak in the Neo-Liberalism and you hit it on the head Tim ;) The LA Pres exonerated Wilkins, does it therefore follow that what the man teachers is not heretical? Also, to be clear, not all heretical teachings rises to the same level (or falls to the same depth). The seriousness of the FV, which the PCA report makes transparent, is that the FV asserts a completely different scheme of salvation and system of doctrine than the one taught in the Confession. IMO this is exactly why these Neo-Liberals are busy waving the “good faith subscription” flag in order to permit them to refashion the Confession in their vision with impunity. As Presbyterians haven’t we been through this all before (even if virtually all of us are too young to have actually been alive during that fight)?

    Also, all this name calling discussion reminded me of a piece by Dr. Robbins, The Virtue of Name-Calling [http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=8]. I think he also makes Lane’s point above:

    “Just as Matthew 7:1 does not prohibit accurate judging and Matthew 5:34-37 do not prohibit legitimate swearing, neither does Matthew 5:22 prohibit accurate name-calling. It is not name-calling per se that is proscribed, but inaccurate name-calling. Jesus, John, and Paul used names accurately and achieved a specific purpose: telling the truth.

    Name-calling, accurately done, is not only not a sin, it is a virtue. It is identifying a person for what he is, and this cannot be done except by doing it. Anyone who studies the examples quoted here or any of the many other examples in the Bible will find that the name is used in conjunction with stated reasons for using it. The reasons constitute an argument, and the name is a conclusion. Those who deny that Jesus came in the flesh are antichrists and liars. Those who deny the resurrection are fools, and so on. The reluctance to call names is a type of reluctance to draw valid conclusions from the evidence; it is an attempt to “curb logic” . . . .”

  189. Stewart said,

    June 1, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Sean, it figures that you would be a fan of John Robbins. That explains a lot.

  190. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 9:36 am

    William, help me out here. Where did Mark apologize, specifically? And has he revised the offensive portion of his blog?

  191. Sean Gerety said,

    June 1, 2007 at 10:15 am

    How is that relevant Stewart? Dr. Robbins has been sounding the alarm about the rise of Neo-Liberalism for more than a decade and has been attacked and reviled for doing so. I do think Dr. Robbins dedication to exposing the serious errors which you seem to embrace and defend is commendable. I admire Dr. Clark and have profited greatly from his work too. Big deal.

  192. Stewart said,

    June 1, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Sean, the fact that I would have to explain it to you says even more.

  193. Tim Wilder said,

    June 1, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Re: 169

    William Hill points his long finger and says:

    “And, by the way, as a self-expressed TR you are out of accords with the established position of the PCA on this matter.”

    So the new FV line is that just in case you are confessional, then you are not confessional.

  194. Sean Gerety said,

    June 1, 2007 at 10:54 am

    LOL :) OK Stewart. Seems to be par for the course for you.

  195. Jenny F said,

    June 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Lane- Will we see a post regarding the recent letter from the 10 pastors?

  196. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Yes, I’m planning on doing that tomorrow. It may have to be more than one post.

  197. Jenny F said,

    June 1, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Is this a FV document? I’ve read what it’s “about” but there seems to be alot of FV supports who have signed it.

    http://www.presbyterianstogether.org/petition/index.php

  198. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    No, PPT is a document that wants charity in theological discourse. The document thinks that there should be latitude in the PCA and other Reformed denoms in talking about things like the Covenant of works, paedo-communion, etc. If someone signs it, then they are committed to the “umbrella” view of Reformed theology. I will not touch that document with a ten-foot pole, although it is not an FV document.

  199. June 1, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    William Hill said “It is one thing for ONE person to blog repeatedly that so and so is a heretic and another thing all together if a church court convenes and deliberates the matter and then rules on it.”

    But I think we’d all agree with you on that. They are two different things, but that doesn’t make the former wrong or immoral. There is a necessary place, indeed, for both. No one is getting defrocked on Lane’s say-so, but ministers as well as Lane’s flock are receiving a needed warning.

    I sense that the disturbing hidden premise behind all of this is the idea that a heretic is someone the church courts have proclaimed is a heretic, rather than the church courts recognizing that someone is a heretic. The Ecclesial Vision indeed.

    Sorry, but O.J. Simpson is a murderer despite the fact that this was not legally recognized. O.J.’s acquittal doesn’t mean I have to invite him over for dinner, nor are we obligated to receive undeposed heretics into our pulpits.

  200. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Amen, David. Very well put.

  201. Stewart said,

    June 1, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    “But I think we’d all agree with you on that. They are two different things, but that doesn’t make the former wrong or immoral. There is a necessary place, indeed, for both.

    Yes, you’re right. But there is also a necessary *time* for both. No one is saying you can’t criticizes and warn people about theology you feel is in wrong. You just need to hold on to the h-bomb until your denomination actually makes that call. This is not about *if* you can use the word heresy but *when.*

  202. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    So, Stewart, if the PCA passes the report, then I am authorized to use the “h-bomb” word to describe the FV advocates? Does the denomination define truth?

  203. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 1, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    The report doesn’t use the word heresy, does it?

  204. greenbaggins said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    It says “out of accord with the WS.” In the way I’ve been using the term, it is perfectly synonymous with the word “heresy.”

  205. William Hill said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    “a needed warning” based on WHO’s say so? Lane’s? So he is nmow the resident expert on this issue? Who is right? Who is wrong? For every theological you can present I can present one for the other side.

    Nope…your argument does not fly at all. Lane is a presbyterian and the Curch courts have the say in this matter. Lane can express his opinion and so can anyone else but that is all it is. Second, Lane is not free to call people heretics or smear members in good standing. Sorry, regardless of what you may assert when one continues to do this they are in sin. What is most disturbing is that people cannot see this.

    Oh, for the record, I have already brought one letter to a session for this kind of activity so I believe in the process.

  206. William Hill said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    “It says “out of accord with the WS.” In the way I’ve been using the term, it is perfectly synonymous with the word “heresy.””

    You cannot be serious!? Well, there you have it folks. You are a heretic if you do not subscribe to the Confession (or at least some interpretation of it — you know, the one that is in vogue now).

    Goodness!

  207. David McCrory said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    I agree, the finding of heresy is a ecumenical declaration, not a personal opinion. I’d prefer the use of hetrodoxy. The difference I see is between damnation or just bad theology, respectively.

  208. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    “It says “out of accord with the WS.” In the way I’ve been using the term, it is perfectly synonymous with the word “heresy.””

    But is there any historical precedent for using the word “heresy” for this? This is like the fourth time I’ve asked this. If I’ve missed the answer, please forgive me and point the way.

  209. Anne Ivy said,

    June 1, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Maybe Lane means “heresy *in some sense*”, and he’s teasing out nuances in the term that hadn’t been needed until now.

    Lane, Lane, Lane….borrowing semantic tricks from the FV?

    Tsk.

    ;-)

  210. Sean Gerety said,

    June 1, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    David writes:
    I think we’d all agree with you on that. They are two different things, but that doesn’t make the former wrong or immoral. There is a necessary place, indeed, for both. No one is getting defrocked on Lane’s say-so, but ministers as well as Lane’s flock are receiving a needed warning.

    An excellent and evidently much needed point, even if it has fallen on some very deaf ears. While I would certainly recommend Stewart and others study the Robbins’ piece cited above, The Virtue of Name-Calling, I think for Stewart’s sake one good Robbins quote deserves another since he provides even more important and basic lessons some here still need to learn. (And since the gross misapplication of Mathew 18 has already been advanced above by FV agitators on this blog, this one is for you Stewart):

    “Sandlin libels this author by accusing him of making “a career of vilifying good Christians,” and failing to quote even a single example, let alone a careerful, of such alleged vilification of “good Christians.” Thus, Sandlin libels by falsely accusing others of libel, and he has the audacity to say he is being charitable in doing so. This has been the modus operandi of the Gospel’s adversaries for millennia–at least since King Ahab accused Elijah of being a “troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18). But more important than Sandlin’s several statements maligning those defending the faith are his defenses of Neolegalism:

    There is an unsettling fundamentalist strain at work that seems convinced that fidelity to the Faith is impossible if one is not badgering or anathematizing other good Christians (as Barach, Schlissel, Wilkins and Wilson truly are): “There must always be enemies in the Church, and if we can’t find them, we’ll invent them.”

    Here we see Sandlin’s antipathy to “fundamentalism,” not because it truncates the faith (it is Sandlin who truncates the faith, as we shall see presently), but precisely because it is obedient to the Scriptural injunction to contend earnestly for the faith. Had he lived in the 1920s and 1930s and taken the same attitude, Sandlin would have opposed J. Gresham Machen, who also was accused by his adversaries of having a fundamentalist streak and badgering “good Christians,” accusing “ministers in good standing” in the Presbyterian Church.

    Further, Sandlin implicitly accuses the RPCUS in general and Joe Morecraft in particular of lying by “inventing” enemies in the church. Sandlin opines that Barach, Schlissel, Wilkins, and Wilson “truly are good Christians,” without even attempting to refute a single one of the charges of doctrinal error leveled against those men by the RPCUS statement. Apparently we are supposed to believe Sandlin because he says so.

    Then Sandlin raises an objection that has become the stock-in-trade of those who want to escape correction for publicly teaching doctrinal errors: “More importantly, what about the requirements in Matthew 18 first to confront an erring brother privately?” The fact that Sandlin asked this question shows that he does not understand what Matthew 18 says. The Neolegalists have not sinned privately against specific church members, but publicly teach grave doctrinal error, garbling the Gospel that belongs to Jesus Christ. They are to be dealt with as Paul dealt with Peter for a lesser offense: “I opposed him to his face….before them all” (Galatians 2:11-14). In acting as it did, the RPCUS was obeying the many commands to guard the flock, to reprove and rebuke, and to contend earnestly for the faith. In Matthew 18, private confrontation is required in cases of private sin; the public teaching of heresy need not be first confronted privately. But as a matter of fact, the letter I just quoted in its entirety, sent by three Elders of Midway Presbyterian Church to Steve Schlissel, is precisely the kind of private rebuke that Sandlin erroneously thinks is necessary. After receiving it, Schlissel did not repent of his errors, but continued to teach them publicly. Unlike Peter, who repented after Paul’s public rebuke, the Neolegalists have not repented, but have hardened their hearts against the Gospel.

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=112

  211. greenbaggins said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:11 am

    William, you seem completely to have missed the point spoken about earlier: a person can be a heretic whether the church courts declare it or not. The church courts declared Machen a heretic. Was he? If the church determines it, then Machen being defrocked was the right thing to have happen. William, you are forgetting your church history here. The church of Rome declared Luther and Calvin to be heretics. Were they? And how does one determine whether a church has the right to defrock someone? As I have said, you are not going to convince me on this one.

    Todd, let me work on that one for a bit.

  212. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:27 am

    “Maybe Lane means “heresy *in some sense*”, and he’s teasing out nuances in the term that hadn’t been needed until now.”

    Seriously! Anne is reading my mind. This time, Lane is the one using an important theological term in an new, innovative, unfamiliar way, leading to misunderstanding.

    “Todd, let me work on that one for a bit.”

    Cool. “He’s a heretic but he’s my brother in Christ.” Did the Reformers ever talk like that?

  213. anneivy said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:28 am

    From the POV of their squaring with RC doctrine, Luther and Calvin were heretics in the RC theological system. If a theological system holds to doctrines A, B, and C, and one of its adherents instead denies B and substitutes P, that person is a heretic in relation to that particular theological system.

    However, that does not necessarily presume the person is a heretic WRT the overarching Christian theological system, since it’s almost guaranteed no denomination has everything right, meaning a person could be a heretic in relation to their denomination’s theological system, such as Luther and Calvin, but not in relation to Christianity as a whole.

    ISTM most of the time the critics of the FV, when and if they apply the term “heresy” to the FV, mean it in its more limited use, i.e. in relation to the traditional Reformed theological system, rather than the overarching Christian theological system.

    The FV’s adherents seem to be tone deaf in this area, however, insisting there is precisely ONE valid use of the word “heresy”, which is actually pretty darn amusing and highly ironic, considering the FV’s addiction to flexible definitions.

  214. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:29 am

    “The church courts declared Machen a heretic.”

    Really? Was heretic the word used?

  215. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:34 am

    “ISTM most of the time the critics of the FV, when and if they apply the term “heresy” to the FV, mean it in its more limited use”

    But how far back can this limited use of the word be found in history?

    “The FV’s adherents seem to be tone deaf in this area, however, insisting there is precisely ONE valid use of the word “heresy”, which is actually pretty darn amusing and highly ironic, considering the FV’s addiction to flexible definitions.”

    But the irony is reversible, as you noted in 214. Now it’s a TR blogger insisting on the right to use a loaded theological term in an unfamiliar way.

  216. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 9:55 am

    And the FV claim, of course, is that the less-familiar ways they use words like sanctified and regeneration reflect the way the Bible itself sometimes uses those words.

    In the FV context, the word heresy was used by Joey Pipa at the 2003 (right?) AAPC conference. But Pipa retracted the comment after being encouraged to do so by Wilson. I think. If my memory of this is faulty, I’d welcome a more accurate account.

  217. anneivy said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:44 am

    It can’t be as unfamiliar as all that if I was aware of that way of using “heresy”, though.

    Either the limited-range use is weird, strange, and unfamiliar, in which case I wouldn’t be knowing it, or else it’s *not* weird, strange, or unfamiliar, which explains why I recognized it right off the bat.

  218. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:56 am

    OK. I’m still eager to see the oldest limited-range use of the term that you or Lane can come up with. Your argument — “If it sounds right to me, it must have good historical precedent” — isn’t very effective on its own.

  219. anneivy said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Maybe Lane wants to take the trouble, though I doubt it. What a foolish waste of time that’d be!

    As for the “If it sounds right to me, it must have good historical precedent” business, that’s largely how the FV sounds to everyone else, ye ken.

    Look, you want to hold onto “heresy” meaning exclusively “Then YOU ain’t no Christian!”, be my guest. If that makes you happy…though why it would I cannot imagine, but then why does *any* FV’er think as he or she does?….then wallow in hurt indignation and have yourself a time.

    Wallowing in hurt indignation appears to be reaching the level of an Olympic sport in FV circles, after all.

    Must be wearing, always assuming everyone else is Out To Git Ya.

  220. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Wow, Anne. Showing that you’re using and understanding a word in a historically-accurate way is a waste of time? I trust that Lane doesn’t feel that way at all. After all, isn’t it the responsibility of the writer/speaker to make clear what he is intending to communicate?

  221. Frank Meints said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:22 am

    “”Look, you want to hold onto “heresy” meaning exclusively “Then YOU ain’t no Christian!”, be my guest. If that makes you happy…though why it would I cannot imagine””

    Actually the reason why is simple: it makes them a victim and may get them sympathy from some quarters….which is important, especially if there is a vote coming up in the PCA regarding the recent report.

    I would guess that some would vote against the report strictly based on the fact that the heresy word has been used.

  222. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Anyway, Lane seems to have accepted the “burden of proof” at the end of 212.

  223. anneivy said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Actually, Todd, after thinking on it some, it does seem that considering how people DO tend to default to the “YOU ain’t no Christian!” meaning of “heresy”, it would indeed be both charitable and prudent for anyone using the term to carefully specify exactly which definition is intended.

    Which is, it cannot be denied, just what I’ve been saying should happen in FV writing WRT the various theological terms they like to shade.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, after all. Fair’s fair.

  224. greenbaggins said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Frank, the words “heresy, heretic, heretics” are nowhere to be found in the report. So if people vote against the report on the basis you suggest, then it is an erroneous reason.

  225. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Anne, thanks.

  226. anneivy said,

    June 2, 2007 at 11:55 am

    You’re quite welcome. ;^)

  227. June 2, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    William Hill said “Nope…your argument does not fly at all. Lane is a presbyterian and the Curch courts have the say in this matter. Lane can express his opinion and so can anyone else but that is all it is. Second, Lane is not free to call people heretics or smear members in good standing. Sorry, regardless of what you may assert when one continues to do this they are in sin. What is most disturbing is that people cannot see this.”

    The fact that “Lane can express his opinion” seems to contradict the “Lane is not free to call people heretics” part. Is it not Lane’s opinion precisely that?

    Anyway, you are just embracing a simple category error to say the “Courts have the say in the matter.” Well, what “say” are you talking about? They have the say as to who is to be defrocked or excommunicated, etc. They do not define what is the truth of the matter, such that any deviation from it is a false “slander.” As a matter of fact, even if someone like Wilkins gets exhonerated that doesn’t mean that other PCA churches must let him into their pulpits, or other presbyteries would be required to accept a transfer or ordination of him or someone with his views.

    Tell me, where in the PCA CO does it require the silence of criticism against ministers who have not yet been defrocked or who have been acquitted?

    And, once again, you wave the magic wand of “minister in good standing.” Well, the the very issue in dispute is whether some ministers should be. Since when do the priveleges of being a “minister in good standing” mean that no one can dispute whether you should be or not?

    Stewart said:”You just need to hold on to the h-bomb until your denomination actually makes that call. This is not about *if* you can use the word heresy but *when.*”

    Well, maybe I’m out of the loop, Stewart, since I’m a URC guy. We certainly don’t have any rule that says that in our Church Order. Maybe you know something about the PCA CO I don’t which says something to this effect?

  228. June 2, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Rev. Lane Kiester,

    As a brother in the denomination, I implore to rename/rethink the category names (ie., “heresy”) for the NPP and FV posts on your blog. Until the matter is determined by GA, your category names are offensive and wrong (to be quite honest). If the GA names these theologies as “heresy,” then you’d be in the right (justified). I took heed to the time you challenged me regarding my categorizing of the Siouxland Presbytery as “stupidity,” and removed it from that category. I’m asking you to do the same. Heresy–for people connected to a denomination–is determined by a larger group that one!

    Rev. Matthew Paul Buccheri

  229. greenbaggins said,

    June 2, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Matthew, I have already defined how I am using the term: heresy in the way I am using it means “out of accord with the WS.” By this definition, almost all other denoms would be heretical. I have never intended to imply that this use of the term “heresy” means also that the men teaching these things are unsaved. You can scour until your eyes bleed, but you will not find it. All I am asking is that people acknowledge how I have been using this term. That is what I mean by it. If you are offended, then it is because you are reading into my words what isn’t there. And you can say that I am wrong, but since I do not believe I am wrong about this, that does not constitute a reason for me to do what you ask. And please spell my name Keister, not Kiester.

  230. June 2, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Lane,

    You don’t get to define “heresy” as you’d like to. Remember, as ministers, we need to be “listener” centered and “reader” centered; NOT “speaker” and “writer” centered. Anyone reading your blog would assume what most of your critics assume. And, as far as your name is concerned, I was taught, “I before E except after C,” and their ain’t no C, therefore, it’s Kiester! ;-)

  231. greenbaggins said,

    June 2, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Well, Matthew, that’s a two-edged sword, since if I cannot have in my own mind a working definition of heresy, then the FV can have no claim to determine that their own work is orthodox, either. It cuts both ways, Matthew. And if the FV cannot determine if their own work is orthodox or not, then there should be no complaining about the makeup of the committee (which I would argue was not biased anyway).

    Being reader-centered is why I have clarified myself several times as to how I am using the word. Do you or do you not acknowledge my use of the word? I don’t define what heresy is, the WS do. That is the standard. And the FV is out of accord with it. If I see that something is out of accord with the WS, then I not only have the right, but the duty to say so. This is holding one another accountable. By what you seem to think, a minister should never be challenged on his theology until it gets to a church court. This is simply not the pattern of Matthew 18, where personal interaction happens first. On this blog, I have now interacted with most FV advocates. Lusk and Wilkins I have not interacted with personally, but that is their choice, not mine. I would be surprised if Wilkins did not know what I have been saying about his theology. Lusk I haven’t addressed nearly as much, since he is no longer PCA. As I have been saying: public document can be publicly critiqued. Do you agree with this last statement?

  232. June 2, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Yes and no! Yes, I agree with the last statement; But, no, when you say the WCF defines heresy. No, in that, we, as a church body, have not understood the WCF to be saying the same thing. Moreover, the paper that will undoubtedly flop on the floor of GA is not the determining factor; neither are you; nor is anyone else. When we, as a body of unified men decide what is and what is not outside the bounds of “our” orthodoxy, then and only then, can we use such a divisive and destructive term. Until then, we should think and pray for the best; not assume and wish for the worst. This is basic Christian life-stuff Lane!

  233. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 2, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Still wondering whether any of the Reformers, etc. used the word heresy the way Lane is using it.

  234. June 2, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Todd,

    When the RCC used it against Luther, they meant it in the way we all understand it; when Calvin et al used it for Servetus, they meant it too (and proved it, with fire!). We’d all use the word for Marcion, the writer of the Gospel of Thomas and Benny Hin. But brothers in our denomination? Hmmmmm…. Using the “H” word in that way could be considered “heresy,” in that, it pushes against unity and is factious. In other words, it’s heretical to wrongly use the word heresy!

  235. Sean Gerety said,

    June 2, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Yes and no! Yes, I agree with the last statement; But, no, when you say the WCF defines heresy. No, in that, we, as a church body, have not understood the WCF to be saying the same thing,

    What kind of double-think is this? Of course FV defenders have not understood the WCF to be saying the same thing and as long as this situation remains the PCA will continue to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on virtually EVERY central doctrine of the faith including the doctrine of justification which Neo-Liberals in the PCA continue to pervert. You and other FV advocates may not like the word “heresy,” but at least per Websters heresy is; a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards. Therefore, when Lane says; “If I see that something is out of accord with the WS, then I not only have the right, but the duty to say so” he is correct.

    Of course I would hope he would also agree that what we’re dealing with here, and what he’s been dealing with in his response to Meyers, is considerably more serious and deadly than some question over believer baptism.

    The problem for you Mr. Buccheri is there are not two schemes of salvation taught in Scripture or in the Confession as men like Meyers would suggest in his 30 points of deception. If the paper “flops” as you predict then what we all will be hearing are the death rattles of a denomination diving headlong into apostasy.

  236. June 2, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Mr. Gerety,

    First, let’s set the record straight (for the record): I am NOT an advocate for the FV! Second, we are a “good faith” subscription denomination! Therefore, ministers, in good faith, adhere to the Standards, and presbyteries decide whether or not their adherence is allowable–not you, not Lane nor some paper that has not been adopted by the denomination. Third, being an alarmist will do you (as well as everyone else) little good! Last, Lane (and yourself) aren’t the arbiters of the Standards as much as you may think so. Our presbyteries, until further notice, are the arbiters. I’m just trying to be a good presbyterian–not a fascist.

  237. Sean Gerety said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    “First, let’s set the record straight (for the record): I am NOT an advocate for the FV!”

    That’s interesting, since on your blog you make some strong accusations against the authors of the Committee report and claim their real purpose in exposing the aberrant and anti-Christian doctrines of the FV/NPP is to bring “strict subscriptionism” in through the back door. Then you warn your readers; “ Let’s not be fooled by this move by the “Far-Right.” Oh my, the “far right” is it? You also assert that the differences between both sides in this controversy has to do with competing and conflicting “narratives”and not crucial doctrines which cut to the heart of the evangelical and Reformed faith. You assert both sides are guilty of “radical false dichotomization” but yet the only ones you name in this regard are Guy Waters and Joey Pipa. Further, you assert “Faith in the person and work of Jesus + No baptism [does not =] Christian” which of course is utter nonsense. Instead, you assert the mutually exclusive schemes of salvation advanced by FV defenders and their opponents are “two sides of the same modernistic-coin.” Give me a break post-modern Rodney King.

    Concerning a paper which evidently is in defense of the doctrine of justification by belief alone (I’ve only just skimmed it), you say you’re “thankful that the PCA is the kind of place that allows each presbytery the freedom to decide matters like these on their own.” Decide what matters? Whether justification is by belief alone? Well, I can’t be sure? Although, what I am sure of is what bothers you about the Siouxland Presbytery Report is their conclusion; “The proponents of these views are outside the system of doctrine of the Westminster standards and do contradict the Scriptural teaching.” It appears there is not much that you think is outside the system of doctrine of the Westminister standards that might upset you. It seems a dedication to the truth of ones convictions, let alone I suppose the truth itself, would be symptomatic of the evils of the “Far-right.”

    So, tell me, what do you think of those who would do away with the doctrine of imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience by belief alone and replace it with some sort of Gaffinesqe existential”union” which extends to nonbelievers via the wet heads of baptism applied by some self-styled priest? Would this in your book constitute a “bad faith” subscription?

  238. Sean Gerety said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Oh, btw the above was just from spending less that five minutes on your blog site. I see you’re even a PCA pastor too. And just to anticipate a likely response to my question above, “yes and no” will not suffice. :)

  239. Andy Gilman said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    Here’s a tidbit from John Owen regarding what he seemed to think was the heresy of Arminianism:

    [BOQ]
    …and never did any of [Satan's] emissaries employ his received talents with more skill and diligence than our Arminians, laboring earnestly, in the first place, to instill some errors that are most plausible, intending chiefly an introduction of them that are more palpable, knowing that if those be for a time suppressed until these be well digested, they will follow of their own accord. Wherefore, I have endeavored to lay open to the view of all some of their foundation-errors, not usually discussed, on which the whole inconsistent superstructure is erected, whereby it will appear how, under a most vain pretense of farthering piety, they have prevaricated against the very grounds of Christianity; wherein,—

    First, I have not observed the same method in handling each particular controversy, but followed such several ways as seemed most convenient to clear the truth and discover their heresies.
    [EOQ]

    The above quote can be found here:

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/JohnOwen/DisplayArminianismPart1.htm

  240. Andy Gilman said,

    June 2, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    The FV outrage about using the so called “H-bomb” to criticize doctrinal error, is almost humorous in light of these blasts from John Owen toward the Arminians!:

    [BOQ]
    SECONDLY, The second end at which the new doctrine of the Arminians aimeth is, to clear human nature from the heavy imputation of being sinful, corrupted, wise to do evil but unable to do good; and so to vindicate unto themselves a power and ability of doing all that good which God can justly require to be done by them in the state wherein they are,—of making themselves differ from others who will not make so good use of the endowments of their natures; that so the first and chiefest part in the work of their salvation may be ascribed unto themselves;—a proud Luciferian endeavor! To this end,—

    First, They deny that doctrine of predestination whereby God is affirmed to have chosen certain men before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy, and obtain everlasting life by the merit of Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace,—any such predestination which may be the fountain and cause of grace or glory, determining the persons, according to God’s good pleasure, on whom they shall be bestowed: for this doctrine would make the special grace of God to be the sole cause of all the good that is in the elect more than[in] the reprobates; would make faith the work and gift of God, with divers other things, which would show their idol to be nothing, of no value. Wherefore, what a corrupt heresy they have substituted into the place hereof see chapter the sixth.

    Secondly, They deny original sin and its demerit; which being rightly understood, would easily demonstrate that, notwithstanding all the labor of the smith, the carpenter, and the painter, yet their idol is of its own nature but an unprofitable block; it will discover not only the impotency of doing good which is in our nature, but show also whence we have it: see chapter the seventh.

    Thirdly, If ye will charge our human nature with a repugnancy to the law of God, they will maintain that it was also in Adam when he was first created, and so comes from God himself: chapter the eighth.

    Fourthly, They deny the efficacy of the merit of the death of Christ;—both that God intended by his death to redeem his church, or to acquire unto himself a holy people; as also, that Christ by his death hath merited and procured for us grace, faith, or righteousness, and power to obey God, in fulfilling the condition of the new covenant. Nay, this were plainly to set up an ark to break their Dagon’s neck; for, “what praise,” say they, “can be due to ourselves for believing, if the blood of Christ hath procured God to bestow faith upon us?” “Increpet to Deus, O Satan!” See chapters nine and ten.

    Fifthly, If Christ will claim such a share in saving of his people, of them that believe in him, they will grant some to have salvation quite without him, that never heard so much as a report of a Savior; and, indeed, in nothing do they advance their idol nearer the throne of God than in this blasphemy: chapter eleven.

    Sixthly, Having thus robbed God, Christ, and his grace, they adorn their idol free-will with many glorious properties no way due unto it: discussed, chapter twelve, where you shall find how, “movet cornicula risum, furtivis nudata coloribus.”

    Seventhly, They do not only claim to their new-made deity a saving power, but also affirm that he is very active and operative in the great work of saving our souls,—
    [EOQ]

  241. William Hill said,

    June 3, 2007 at 3:54 am

    Gerety,

    You could have contacted that PCA minister you just railed against privately. Still have not learned anything huh? No surpirse.

  242. June 3, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Thanks William! I keep forgetting that Lane’s blog is NOT a safe place for discussion. Why do I keep coming back? Masocism I guess…

  243. Sean Gerety said,

    June 3, 2007 at 8:29 am

    “I keep forgetting that Lane’s blog is NOT a safe place for discussion.”

    I see when one makes indefensible and nonsensical statements on their own public blogs they are to be approached in private. Silly Paul, I guess he didn’t realize he was in violation of Matthew 18 when he confronted Peter publicly and to his face for his public and sinful display of hypocrisy.

    When you guys can answer direct questions and tell the difference between apples and oranges let me know. I must say, playing the victim isn’t fooling anyone.

    I think the response to agitators of the heresy of Neo-Liberalism on this blog should be; Let’s not be fooled by this move by the “Far-Left.” LOL! :)

  244. Sean Gerety said,

    June 3, 2007 at 8:34 am

    BTW I read “Saying “Justification by Faith Alone” Isn’t Enough” which is the piece Pastor Buccheri railed against on his blog by J. Wesley White. I have to say it was an excellent piece and it is very interesting to me why anyone would object to it. First rate scholarship. I recommend it to everyone to ponder and digest as they rest in the Lord today. Thank you for brining it to my attention.

  245. JennyF said,

    June 3, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    “You could have contacted that PCA minister you just railed against privately.”

    LOL- you could also post that on Meyer’s blog. Why didn’t HE contact the committee privately regarding his 30 “observations” (and I use the term observations quite loosely)? Why didn’t the 10 pastors contact the committee privately regarding their questions? Instead they rail against the committee publicly about how it was stacked against the FV, etc- boo hoo.

  246. greenbaggins said,

    June 3, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Matthew, even if I’m not the arbiter of truth, my presbytery has already voted to approve the Siouxlands presbytery study committee report. That report declares the FV to be out of accord with the WS. It also declares the NPP to be out of accord with the Standards. So, even by your argument, I am free to declare the FV and the NPP to be out of accord with the Standards, since my presbytery has already done so.

  247. William Hill said,

    June 3, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Meyers did not RAIL against them.

    Gerety, on the other hand: that is all he ever does is RAIL against people. I think it it his love in life.

  248. William Hill said,

    June 3, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Oh — since you want to talk apples and apples — WHY didn’t the PCA Committee contact ANY of the NAMED individuals in the report? If you want to be consistent…then be consistent.

  249. William Hill said,

    June 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    “When you guys can answer direct questions and tell the difference between apples and oranges let me know. I must say, playing the victim isn’t fooling anyone.”

    It is comments like this that keep you in the “loose cannon” opinion of most bloggers, commenters and BB users I know. Sad.

    “I see when one makes indefensible and nonsensical statements on their own public blogs they are to be approached in private”

    That is your opinion. If you wanted to understand him you could have easily asked. Just because someone does something in publuc does not mena you have to answer in public. It is not a requirement and it would not have killed you to do so.

  250. JennyF said,

    June 3, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    “WHY didn’t the PCA Committee contact ANY of the NAMED individuals in the report?”

    Why should they? Because they cited their writings? I must be in the wrong as well because I’ve cited hundreds of people in research papers and never contact them.

    “Meyers did not RAIL against them.”

    Of course he didn’t. Because you agree with him.

  251. JennyF said,

    June 3, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    “If you wanted to understand him you could have easily asked. Just because someone does something in publuc does not mena you have to answer in public. It is not a requirement and it would not have killed you to do so.”

    I disagree. In court, when you open the door to something the other side is welcome to explore the issue. When you post on a blog you are in the court of public opinion and you open the door to people challenging your beliefs/opinions etc. If he said it, he should be able to defend it. I really don’t see the issue here.

  252. Sean Gerety said,

    June 3, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    If he said it, he should be able to defend it. I really don’t see the issue here.

    As I’m sure you already know, the issue Jenny is that these Neo-Liberals and their fellow post-modern travelers have no valid or sound biblical arguments so they try and concoct them. They’ll try and play their moral trump card by wheeling out Mathew 18, but it’s obvious, just like the doctrine of justification, they don’t understand this biblical teaching either. When that fails, as it has here, they’ll bluster on with all the feigned moral indignation they can muster and resort to abusive ad hominem. Frankly, what else can these men do?

    Your post above was “spot on” when you asked why Neo-Liberals like Meyers weren’t similarly obligated to bring his 30 silly assertions to the Committee members in private rather than posting them all over the internet and manufacturing a so-called “pastoral letter” which they’ve sent to (select) GA attendees. You have exposed their complete hypocrisy. It was really nice work. :)

  253. June 3, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Post 253. “and manufacturing a so-called “pastoral letter” which they’ve sent to (select) GA attendees.”
    Sean,
    What do you mean by “select GA attendees”? How was it distributed?

  254. Sean Gerety said,

    June 3, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    What do you mean by “select GA attendees”? How was it distributed?

    Hi Chris. I wrote you off list.

  255. William Hill said,

    June 4, 2007 at 4:22 am

    Amazing!

  256. June 4, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Ridiculous! Lane, you should rename your blog, “Musings for and by the Lunatic Fringe.” ;-)

  257. Sean Gerety said,

    June 4, 2007 at 8:14 am

    See what I mean by abusive ad hominem.

  258. June 4, 2007 at 9:32 am

    Sean,

    I see you know Latin!

  259. Sean Gerety said,

    June 4, 2007 at 9:40 am

    I really don’t. Gordon Clark said, a writer should always remember to use Latin, because it makes one seem so learned. I just wanted to impress you.

  260. greenbaggins said,

    June 4, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Yes, Matthew, and that includes the lunatic FV and NPP!

  261. June 4, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Lane, see you next week at GA?

  262. greenbaggins said,

    June 4, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    I’ll be there. What about comment number 247? You don’t think that Siouxlands Presbytery (my own presbytery) approving our report, which concludes that the FV is out of accord with the WS gives me the right to say so as well?

  263. Stewart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 7:44 am

    “Out of accord” and “heresy” are different things.

  264. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 9:32 am

    In #234 Todd said:

    “Still wondering whether any of the Reformers, etc. used the word heresy the way Lane is using it.”

    Todd, was John Owen a divisive bomb thrower when he wrote against the Arminian heresies?

    Stewart, I think you need to pay attention or be quiet, as Lane suggested way back in #42. Lane has explained the way he is using the word “heresy,” multiple times in this thread and elsewhere. Saying that someone is preaching or teaching “heresy” is not the same thing as saying someone is an entrenched “heretic.” Hopefully these men won’t persist in their heresy and recklessly divide the church even further.

    Lane’s criticisms have been tame, in comparison to Owen against the Arminians. Is Arminianism a heresy Stewart?

  265. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 5, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Andy, did Owen believe that the Arminians he was writing against were his brothers in Christ?

  266. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Todd, do you ever answer questions, or do you just ask them?

  267. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Come on, Andy. You’ve just done the same thing.

    Did Owen believe that the Arminians he was writing against were his brothers in Christ?

  268. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:25 am

    If Owen believed that those he was writing against were his brothers in Christ, then we’ve found some important historical precedent for how Lane has been using the term “heresy” here on his blog. If not, though, then we have to keep looking for proof that Lane isn’t a wild innovator in his use of theological terms.

  269. Todd R. Harris said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:26 am

    So, Andy, I’d love to hear/read your thoughts on Owen and his opponents. Did he see them as brothers?

  270. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Todd, your gamesmanship is apparent to all. Did you answer this question yet: “Todd, was John Owen a divisive bomb thrower when he wrote against the Arminian heresies?”

  271. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 11:01 am

    And Todd, as I asked Stewart: Is Arminianism a heresy?

    This will be my last play in Todd’s game, so he can make the last move.

  272. Stewart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Andy, most laymen have an idea of “heresy” means. And any causal surfer that runs across Lane’s blog will not have prior knowledge of Lane’s arbitrary redefinition of the word. Lane is being irresponsible.

  273. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Stewart, have you looked up “heresy” in the dictionary? Have you actually read any posts prior to #273 or are you deliberately ignoring them? Is Arminianism heresy? Was Owen irresponsible when he blasted the Arminian heresies?

  274. Stewart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Andy,

    This isn’t about what types of beliefs qualify as heresy. This is about who has the authority to determine if a particular person teaches heresy in a particular denomination where pastors are bound to follow rules. If a pastor in the PCA was accused of denying the trinity and openly admitted it laying no claim to orthodoxy, then we could go ahead and call him a heretic. However, if the pastor refuted the charge, we would need to wait until a court examined his view and convicted him of it before we started making the pronouncement on our own authority. In your mind, what is the purpose of a heresy trial anyway? Is it to determine the veracity of a particular charge brought against someone? Or is it to stamp an official seal on a verdict that has already been reached on the internet?

  275. June 5, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    “Is it to determine the veracity of a particular charge brought against someone? Or is it to stamp an official seal on a verdict that has already been reached on the internet?”

    Very often a court’s job is to put an “official seal” on something everyone else in their right mind knows to be true beforehand. There is nothing unusual about that. Surely it is not wrong to say that someone is guilty just because that “official seal” has not come down.

    Again, I have to wonder aloud if people aren’t making up their very own Church Order as they go along.

    Anyway, it skews the debate to be asking about who has the “right” to “determine” who is a heretic. Well, no one does, actually. Rather, everyone – from the layman in the pew to the elders, to the session/consistory, to the presbytery/classis, all the way up to the General Assembly/Synod – has the responsibility to identify heresy and heretical teachers. There are different spheres of responsibility at work here, and you guys want to act like the General Assembly is the only one.

  276. Andy Gilman said,

    June 5, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Oh, is that what “it’s” about? In 273 it was about what “heresy” means, and about “arbitrary redefinitions.”

  277. Sean Gerety said,

    June 5, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    All this is about is that Stewart thinks denying the Trinity is heresy and deserves to be called that, whereas denying the imputation of Christ by belief alone and replacing it with the entire false gospel of the so-called “Federal Vision” is not.

    It is just another dishonest ploy by men who are growing increasingly desperate in their impotency. The fact that he and others have harped on it so long here merely illustrates they’ve got nothing left to offer in their defense. After all, despite all the excellent refutations of the false gospel of the FV out there over the course of the last decade or so, Lane here just obliterated all 30 of Meyers inflated reasons why the PCA should not adopt the Committee report. Why, JennyF above exposed the hypocrisy of these men bloviating here in response in the span of a single sentence.

    I were them I’d keep whining too. ;)

  278. Sean Gerety said,

    June 5, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    That last sentence of course should being with “If”.

  279. Stewart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    “Very often a court’s job is to put an “official seal” on something everyone else in their right mind knows to be true beforehand.”
    “There is nothing unusual about that. Surely it is not wrong to say that someone is guilty just because that “official seal” has not come down.”

    Again, I have to wonder aloud if people aren’t making up their very own Church Order as they go along.”

    Funny, I thought a trail took place in order to give the accused a chance offer up a defense against charges brought against him. David, in your convoluted system, is it even possible for someone to be falsely accused?

    Oh, and the BCO says that a church trial takes place to merely put “an “official seal” on something everyone else in their right mind knows to be true beforehand?” Where does it say this?

  280. Stewart said,

    June 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    “All this is about is that Stewart thinks denying the Trinity is heresy and deserves to be called that, whereas denying the imputation of Christ by belief alone and replacing it with the entire false gospel of the so-called “Federal Vision” is not.”

    Sean, denying the Trinity is heresy and deserves to be called that. However, before I call a **person** that, I need to make sure he actually denies it, which means giving the person in my denomination charged a proper trial. Here are two easy questions: Again, is it ever possible for someone to be falsely accused? And if so, how do we determine it?

  281. Sean Gerety said,

    June 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Then you really do need to shut up and get up to speed Stewart. Start with reading the PCA Committee report on the heresy of the FV & NPP. :)

    Also, it is possible for someone to be falsely accused, just not in this case. The FV is a completely different system of doctrine (it redefines and undermines all of TULIP for starters) and has a completely different scheme of salvation which should be obvious since they’ve replaced simple faith with “covenantal” faithfulness and the doctrine of imputation with existential union. Now, you might be just one of those who are either ignorant or deceived, but as far as I’m concerned, elders and deacons are without excuse in this matter and if they can’t see the errors of what is being taught in this novel and anti-Christian “paradigm,” then they shouldn’t be elders and deacons.

  282. June 5, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Stewart said “Funny, I thought a trail took place in order to give the accused a chance offer up a defense against charges brought against him. ”

    Yes, that is what trials are for. And since no one is getting defrocked just on Lane’s say-so, what is the point? The court’s answer, one way or the other, only determines whether a minister will be defrocked or disciplined. It doesn’t mean an acquitted minister cannot be publically criticized as a heretic anymore. You seem to be still confusing the different spheres of authority.

    If, say, Wilkins is acquitted by the SJC, and, say, wants to take a pastoral position in the bountiful paradise of N. Dakota, the Siouxlands Presbytery would not be obligated to accept his transfer. Nor would PCA churches be obligated to refrain from identifying his teachings as heresy from the pulpit.

    “BCO says that a church trial takes place to merely put “an “official seal” on something everyone else in their right mind knows to be true beforehand?” Where does it say this?”

    Well, let’s take a look at what it says in Chap. 27 of the PCA BCO:

    Proper disciplinary principles are set forth in the Scriptures and must
    be followed. They are:
    a. Instruction in the Word;
    b. Individual’s responsibility to admonish one another (Matthew
    18:15, Galatians 6:1);
    c. If the admonition is rejected, then the calling of one or more
    witnesses (Matthew 18:16);
    d. If rejection persists, then the Church must act through her court
    unto admonition, suspension, excommunication and deposition
    (See BCO 29 and 30 for further explanation).

    Notice that the courts get involved only in the last step. Before it gets there, there has to be at least some folks who knew what was the truth of the matter.

  283. Stewart said,

    June 6, 2007 at 8:03 am

    “Nor would PCA churches be obligated to refrain from identifying his teachings as heresy from the pulpit.”

    If they continued to do this in defiance of their own denominations ruling, or refuse to repent of their sin of calling a fellow minister a heretic before his trial, then they should be brought up on charges themselves.

    “Notice that the courts get involved only in the last step. Before it gets there, there has to be at least some folks who knew what was the truth of the matter.”

    David, this doesn’t say what you originally asserted #276.

    You said, “Very often a court’s job is to put an “official seal” on something everyone else in their right mind knows to be true beforehand.”

    So where does it say that the purpose of a heresy trial is merely to put an official stamp on a conclusion that *some* people believe? Note: The anti-FV crowd is not the whole church. How you got that out of this chapter is perplexing.

  284. Stewart said,

    June 6, 2007 at 8:15 am

    David, in your mind, is it ever possible for someone to be falsely accused? And if so, how do we determine it? Further, if someone is truly innocent of a particular charge and is acquitted, you still think it’s okay for his fellow minsters to continue a public propaganda campaign against him in defiance of their denomination’s official ruling?

  285. June 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    “If they continued to do this in defiance of their own denominations ruling, or refuse to repent of their sin of calling a fellow minister a heretic before his trial, then they should be brought up on charges themselves.”

    The “ruling” only means that the minister is not defrocked. That’s it. That is all the ruling does. The ruling is not a papal decree. This is not an episcopal system. It does not take on the status of our confessions, such that ministers are not free to disagree in their public teaching.

    There is NOWHERE in the BCO that says calling someone a heretic is a sin worthy of discipline.

    “So where does it say that the purpose of a heresy trial is merely to put an official stamp on a conclusion that *some* people believe?”

    Wait a minute, is this what you want to argue about? The original point of my statement was that the BCO outlines the “official seal” nature of the courts’ rulings. It is simply experience that tells us that “very often” everyone already knows that someone is a heretic by the time the gavel comes down.

    “Further, if someone is truly innocent of a particular charge and is acquitted, you still think it’s okay for his fellow minsters to continue a public propaganda campaign against him in defiance of their denomination’s official ruling?”

    Again, in your imagination you think that we are in a top-down episcopal system. An acquittal is not a denomination’s “official ruling” that makes it a obligatory doctrine of the church.

    But you should direct your question to the Framework Hypothesis guys. They are living proof that ministers are allowed to identify certain teachers and teachings as outside the bounds of WS, as the 6-Day zealots have sustained even though both the OPC and PCA have “officially” declared otherwise.

    “David, in your mind, is it ever possible for someone to be falsely accused? And if so, how do we determine it?”

    Yes, sometimes people are falsely accused. But clearly you have the same category error at work when you ask “how do we determine it?” Well, it depends on who “we” is. You are ignoring the different levels of responsibility and authority at work here, once again. If “we” is the courts, then it is determined through a trial. But if “we” is my family, or local church or consistory/presbytery, and is a case of someone’s public teaching, all you have to do is listen to an audio recording or read someone’s writings in order to see if someone is falsely accused of heresy.

  286. greenbaggins said,

    June 6, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Stewart, my presbytery has already ruled on this. They have already expressed their will that the FV is out of accord with the Westminster Standards. So, even by your argument, I am not out of line.

  287. June 7, 2007 at 5:43 am

    This is nothing necessarily against Mark Horne, but I have made comments on his blog before in the past, nothing even against him personally, but it always ends up deleted. Yes, it is usually anti-FV but not angrily or anything. I don’t understand how one can run a blog in public, allow for comments, and then delete the publics comments.


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