My Resignation

Due to current circumstances, and the exit of AAPC from the PCA, my services as an assistant prosecutor are no longer needed. I have tendered my resignation to Sam Duncan, and so I am free to take up blogging about the FV again. Many, many thanks to those who have helped carry the load during my absence. I am not going to kick them off. They may post anytime they wish. However, I would like to resume my debate with Douglas Wilson (maybe not today, but soon). We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

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60 Comments

  1. January 28, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Does this mean the SJC will no longer be prosecuting the indictment against LAP? If this is the case, why? Does the exit of AAPC have a bearing on the two-count indictment?

  2. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    The indictment against the LAP still stands currently. The indictment was against the presbytery, not against Wilkins. It remains to be seen what will happen with the first count. There will not be a trial on the second count, since they pled guilty.

  3. January 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Okay, I see. I didn’t know if your decision not to continue as a prosecutor signaled an end to the proceedings entirely.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Good question. No, it doesn’t. The SJC itself will decide on what course to take now.

  5. January 28, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Welcome back, boss!

  6. its.reed said,

    January 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Yes, glad your back Lane. Thanks again for your service to Christ’s/our Church.

  7. Steven Carr said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Welcome back, Lane. I look forward to reading your posts.

  8. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    It is good to be missed. Thanks guys.

  9. kjsulli said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Lane,

    Thank you for your humble service to the church. Welcome back to your blog! I’ll look forward to seeing your back & forth with Pr. Wilson.

  10. January 28, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Look Forward to our wisdom once again Lane.

  11. January 28, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    That should be “your Widsom” ;)

  12. its.reed said,

    January 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Ref. #11:

    And what’s wrong with “our” wisdom Benjamin ? :)

  13. January 28, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Glad you are back Lane! I look forward to your continued discussions and enlightments!

  14. anneivy said,

    January 28, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Woo-hoo! You’re BACK! :-D

    Not that Bob, Reed, David et al aren’t wonderful – to be sure, they are, and have done yeoman service during your hiatus – but there’s no substitute for the One, Only, and Original Greenbaggins. ;-)

  15. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    *blushing* Aww, shucks.

  16. tim prussic said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I’ve been far more reading that writing on blogs recently, Pr. Lane. I’ve missed reading your posts. I’m happy to have you back.

    The AAPC leaving the PCA reminds me a bit of Shepherd defecting to the CRC. Basically, it makes me unhappy, not unlike the majority of the Reformed ecclesiastical landscape around me.

    There ya have it… happy and unhappy at the same time, but not in the same relationship!

  17. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    As my father pointed out, it is quite easy to have cordial relations with a Roman Catholic if the boundaries between the two views are kept intact. Similarly, it would be far easier to have cordial fellowship with the FV guys if they didn’t try to stay in the PCA.

  18. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Lane, would you like to let Scott Clark know that, since he has said publicly on his blog that the CREC is a false church, a cult, and “a woman of loose morals”?

  19. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    He reads this blog, Joshua. I don’t have to point that out to him.

  20. January 28, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Ahhh, but Rome is, itself, a false church. Yet we *can* be cordial with those folks just as much as FVers. It is much easier to be cordial with Romanists, since the boundaries are clear and unambiguous.

  21. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    David, he didn’t say “be cordial with,” he said “have cordial fellowship with…” Do we have ‘fellowship’ with Rome? I would never use that term for what we have with Rome.

  22. tim prussic said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Maybe try this: be cordial with everyone. Or, stated slightly differently: As much as is possible with you, live at peace with all men.

    Pr. Lane (#17), your father identified that it *IS* easier to have cordial relations, but OUGHT we to find it so? For instance, that whole notion sounds thus to me: “The closer you are to my position without adopting ALL of my specific positions, the less possible it is for me to be *cordial* with you.”

    This observation may be true to experience, but I don’t think that it’s right or godly. It reminds me a good bit of the division at Marburg – was that specific really so important as to divide Protestantism? ISTM, we haven’t learned much since then in the area of unity.

  23. james raisch said,

    January 28, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    On the news the aapc is leaving the PCA, Blessed be the name of the LORD Jesus. A cancerous blight she (aapc) was upon Jesus’ Beloved (PCA).

  24. January 28, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    LOL @ James

  25. james raisch said,

    January 28, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    gone in the nite
    aapc took fancy to flight
    she ran to crec
    which teacheth nonsensery
    with wonder and God-fear
    the PCA true flock observe
    fed visioners sight unclear
    plunge headfirst into teachings perv

  26. January 28, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Oh, you were serious?

    To quote from a Credenda/Agenda of yore, and from a completely different context:

    In these crazy times, the work of a satirist can be very difficult.

    If you really were serious, I’d like to see your reaction when, within a generation, attitudes like yours cause the PCA to become the RPCGA. If you don’t think it has already started, look around you.

  27. Vern Crisler said,

    January 29, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Hmm, the FV types are always lecturing everyone about submission to the authority of the local visible church, and failure to do so results in damnation. This follows from their raging externalism.

    But how do they reconcile this with their actions? Why are they always trumpeting church authority, and submission to the elders, and staying on the vine, etc., but do so from small, obscure denominations? And when they are subject to church discipline in large denominations, the first thing they do is bolt, and take up residence in the same small obscure denominations.

    That’s pretty much what happened with the Tyler church back in the early 80’s. It bolted from its denomination when under discipline, then became more high-church and authoritarian under an early version of the Fascist-Vision.

    Jordan accuses Presbyterian denominations of being sects, but who has ever heard of Jordan’s new denomination? If the PCA is micro-presbyterian, what are the FV denominations?

    It’s sad to see history repeating itself, but when people start denigrating the Reformed faith–as the FV people do–pretty soon they’re on their way to prelacy and beyond.

    Welcome back Lane!

    Vern Crisler

  28. January 29, 2008 at 12:47 am

    The “small and obscure” pendulum is swinging. The events of the week add to its momentum.

    And yet again the reminder appears necessary: AAPC was not subject to discipline. The fact that this accusation has been made so many times in the past 12 hours (and is likely to be made countless more times) further indicates that no one really cares about LAP except insofar as it was the buffer between Steve and the howling wolves.

  29. Josh said,

    January 29, 2008 at 5:31 am

    Welcome back, Valer..err…Rev. Keister. ;)

  30. GLW Johnson said,

    January 29, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Christopher #28
    You think the pendulum is swinging and that momentum is on your side? Actually, what you will discover is just the opposite. The CREC will pay a high price for it’s rogue behaviour. Wilkins’ actions in leading AAPC out of the PCA and into the CREC are not the first of its kind, and mark my words, this ‘raid’ has not gone unnoticed by other Reformed denominations. So smile while you have the opportunity, but you won’t be smiling for long-schismatics always end up out in the cold at the end of the day.

  31. January 29, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Though it is January, I’m feeling pretty warm. You never know, though. I could be lying to myself. I understand there are folks around these parts who can tell me what I really feel.

    I’m really not worried about it. The effect of strict subscriptionism has always been the division and partitioning of Christ’s church. It’s like the story of the presbyterian shipwrecked on a deserted island who was found 10 years later by rescuers. They noticed he had fashioned a beautiful church out of branches and leaves. Upon further investigation, down a path, they found another such church. Upon asking the man why he had built two churches when he was alone on the island, he replied with a sneer, “that’s the church I used to go to.”

    So good luck with your self-appointed task as keepers of the true flame. But in reality, it’s the heretic hunters who are the schismatics.

  32. GLW Johnson said,

    January 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Christopher
    Your comments reveal what I suspected all along- you are not a Presbyterian after all. I will be addressing the issue of ‘strict’ subscription in my post later this week on this blog entitled ‘Save Our Seminary: From What?’

  33. January 29, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I have a job interview coming up. Could you tell me how that will turn out, too?

    I’m glad to see, however, that since the biggest FV target is no longer within the reach of the PCA, you’ve already found a new target.

  34. Lee said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Lane,
    I look forward to reading your posts again. However, I am a little curious. If at least one charge still stands why did you quit as prosecutor? What does Rev. Wilkins leaving have to do with you stepping down? Do you think prosecution should stop now that Wilkins is gone? Were you asked to quit because extra prosecutors are not needed? I am not sure I understand the reasons behind the quitting.

  35. greenbaggins said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    My reason is that the first charge is an extremely technical charge not related much to theology. My services as prosecutor were primarily theological in nature (related to the second charge). So, when they pled guilty to that charge, I felt that my services were no longer needed. Sam Duncan agreed that the first charge is a technical procedural charge, and that my services would not be needed for that. Good question.

  36. greenbaggins said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    As to your other questions, I do not think I can answer them at the moment.

  37. tim prussic said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I see my question (#22) is yet untouched. Again: doesn’t it seem, well, schismatic that the close man/group comes to our particular positions without actually agreeing with us down the line, the hard it is for us to get along with them? The PCA has very cordial relations with groups WAY less Reformed then FV guys. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised with within the bosom of the PCA, there are movements and groups WAY less Reformed than the FV guys.

    I understand that high profile cases get attention more quickly. FV is higher profile… but why? Why if, in many, many respects, they’re closer to the Southern Presbyterianism of the PCA is it harder to be cordial to them? (See #17 & 20 for context.)

  38. greenbaggins said,

    January 29, 2008 at 11:55 am

    With regard to 22, Tim, the difficulty here is not how close one’s theology is to the other, but what one is claiming even in the midst of that similarity. The critics are claiming that the FV is not confessional. So the problem here is that it is difficult to have proper cordial fellowship with people who are claiming to be confessional, and are in one’s denomination, but are not being seen as confessional. If, when the FV really got going in 2002, all the FV had left and gone into the CREC, relations would have been a great deal more cordial, I expect.

  39. David R. McCrory said,

    January 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Can Wilkins be tried in absentia?

  40. January 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Can the Pope?

  41. Vern Crisler said,

    January 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Re: #28
    Hi Christopher,

    You dodged the point of my post, which was
    about hypocrisy. FVists are always blustering and
    blowing about church authority and submission or
    else face damnation. But when push comes to
    shove, they don’t actually submit to church
    authority. Theory without practice, faith
    without works, means these guys are just
    blowhards. Or Episcopalians.

    Vern

  42. Ron Henzel said,

    January 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Christopher,

    Regarding your comment 31: the “strict subscriptionism” caricature is merely a sneer carelessly-designed by Federal Visionists to hang the millstone of scholastic hair-splitting on the necks of their opponents. The apostles of Auburn Avenue would thus drown the biblical, confessional, and historical arguments against them in the sea of their own theological confusion.

    The “divisiveness” charge is like unto it, with the added irony that it is also a mirror reflecting the faces of those who wield it—those who began this controversy by declaring that to be “Reformed” is “not enough,” and charging the mainstream of conservative Reformed Christianity of departing from Scripture, the confessions, and the Reformers. And now some of these belatedly seek a city of refuge founded on some vague notion of some kind of broad or inclusive confessionalism? Based on the testimonies of CREC refugees, this is not something hardcore FVers have been willing to extend to each other, let alone to the orthodox Reformed.

  43. January 29, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Vern,

    What authority wasn’t submitted to?

    Ron,

    Speaking of carelessly-designed caricatures, that’s an appropriate label for your characterization of the origins of the dispute. The 2002 AAPC conference was hardly a claim of abandoning the Reformation on anyone’s part.

  44. David R. McCrory said,

    January 29, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Re #40

    ~ Can you elaborate? My thoughts were that since TE Wilkins had come to these views under consideration as a PCA minister, then the PCA might deem it worthwhile to either go ahead with a hearing on the teachings of Wilkins to determine their orthodoxy, or to publish a statement denouncing or seperating themselves from his (abberant) views.

    ~ Couldn’t they take away his credentials, meaning the CREC would have to reordain him?

  45. Ron Henzel said,

    January 29, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Christopher,

    I find it difficult to read the early source documents for Federal Visionism without perceiving their clear charge that they are supposedly correcting the deviations of conservative Reformed churches from Scripture, the confessions, and the Reformers.

  46. January 29, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    There was clear implication that American Presbyterianism has become largely baptistic. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but when you’re really a Reformed Baptist pretending to be the only Reformed game in town, it’s time for a denouncement. To be clear, the 2002 AAPC conference did not accuse anyone of departing from anything. It evaluated increasingly common practices and procedures and ways of explaining things, compared them to the Biblical formulations, and found many of them lacking.

    It was in the response to the conference that the critics starting throwing around the “H-bomb” (including Dr. Pipa using that word against Steve Wilkins in his own pulpit) and accusing people of denying, departing, defaming, or otherwise destroying the Reformation.

    Reformed theology has always been marked by men challenging one another’s formulations and suggesting that there are Scripturally superior ways of thinking and speaking. This is not the same thing as charging men with not being Reformed at all at best and heretical at worst.

  47. Ron Henzel said,

    January 29, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Christopher,

    You appear to be limiting the “beginning” of the FV controversy to the 2002 AAPC conference. I made no reference to that conference and I do not limit when the controversy “began” to that one event.

  48. January 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I think it’s the best starting point for the present controversy. Surely there was no such thing as “Federal Vision” before the ’02 conference and the two “sides” that now exist within the PCA (for example) did not exist before then either. I will gladly grant that the issues themselves go waaaay back; that’s kind of the point. But if you have a better suggestion for a starting point, I’m happy to entertain it.

  49. tim prussic said,

    January 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    #38 (Pr. Lane) – thanks for the response. I think I understand the issue, but it just hits me sideways – mostly because I see close-but-no-cigar antipathy toward brethren in my own heart, and I hate it.

  50. Vern Crisler said,

    January 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    #43
    Hi Christopher,

    You appear to be dodging and evading the issue.

    It’s a familiar tactic in FV circles, though I’m not sure where they
    learned this technique. It’s usually called sophistry.

    At least Jordan is to the point in his raving and ranting.

    Vern

  51. January 30, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Vern,

    If you would identify the issue, it would be easier to stop evading it. You made a bald assertion which is unsupported by any facts I am aware of. If you know something I am missing, perhaps you would be good enough to educate me.

    Otherwise, I don’t see how your ad hominem deserves anything more substantial than sophistry.

  52. magma2 said,

    January 30, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Vern per #41 . . . Bingo. Excellent observations.

  53. HaigLaw said,

    January 31, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Re: #27: I take issue with this:

    That’s pretty much what happened with the Tyler church back in the early 80’s. It bolted from its denomination when under discipline, then became more high-church and authoritarian under an early version of the Fascist-Vision.

    I represented that Tyler church in the old Texas Presbytery then, as a RE in a sister church, Colleyville PCA, and would not agree that the Tyler church was under discipline. Theonomy was raging then, and people sympathetic to it, including our church in Colleyville and Rev. Joey Pipa, then pastoring a church in Houston in that presbytery, were in a minority. The Tyler church had only one RE, Tommy Robinson, a broadly evangelical man not sympathetic to Theonomy, and he resigned and went to 5th Street Church. The presbytery voted to revert Rev. Ray Sutton’s church in Tyler to a mission church and installed a borrowed session over it that were not Theonomy sympathizers. This was in response to an overture from former RE Robinson to force Sutton’s church to refinance its building to get him off as a co-signer of the church’s note. The presbytery attempted to force the refinancing, sustaining Robinson’s overture, which in my view was a blatantly unlawful action, and which Sutton’s church appealed to GA. Meantime, they bolted. That same GA, another church appealed a very similar presbytery action and prevailed. It was too late for Sutton’s Tyler church.

    Granted, Bishop Sutton is now happily in the REC, and other former Tyler leaders have gone various places. But I hardly see the parallels between the Texas Presbytery’s unlawful actions against Sutton’s PCA church in Tyler and things happening now, nor would I concur that they were under discipline.

    What if the presbytery had ordered the Tyler men to start sharing their wives, and they appealed to GA, and meantime bolted? Would they have been under discipline for such an unlawful order? Hardly.

  54. greenbaggins said,

    January 31, 2008 at 10:29 am

    You have got to be joking me! Colleyville? I grew up in that church! Let’s see: we were there from 1984-1992 approximately. Would we have overlapped at all? My father was J.C. Keister, who became a ruling elder eventually in that church.

  55. HaigLaw said,

    January 31, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Wow! No; we left for Abilene in 1983, but used to re-visit about once a year and I’ve met your dad. Dale still calls me his favorite heretic, and I still refer to Smith’s bailbonding — for reasons neither of us will admit except among very close friends and after a few glasses of wine.

  56. Mark T. said,

    January 31, 2008 at 11:11 am

    HaigLaw,

    The theonomy meltdown in Tyler has been shrouded in mystery for two decades. To my knowledge, David Chilton is the only man who spoke about it and even then he didn’t offload the whole truck. North refused to talk about it and Jordan is a bitter old man, full of contempt for anyone who does not recognize his glory. I’m curious to know how much you know about the North-Jordan enterprise — from its inception to its end. Do you have any details?

  57. Mark T. said,

    January 31, 2008 at 11:13 am

    PS: I failed to note that if you do, I would like to hear your thoughts via personal email exchanges.

  58. Tim Harris said,

    January 31, 2008 at 11:22 am

    It reminds a bit of the interference that induced Joe Morecraft’s church to withdraw. Maybe it was just an artifact of PCA’s youth back then, but it does seem like at least in those days, they were inclined toward meddling with the local church where they had no business meddling, and not meddling where they should have.

  59. January 31, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I was at Colleyville in ’84,maybe into 1985 I think; I transferred to North Dallas (later FPCR) in 1985. See Reformed Musings blog for links regarding the ARC excommunications.

    http://reformedmusings.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/important-correction-on-meet-the-theonomists/

  60. HaigLaw said,

    February 1, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Re: #56: Mark, I was friends with Rushdoony, North and Bahnsen during that period, as they all helped me in my defense of home-schoolers and other issues during the 80’s, and I did read some original documents shared wtih me by Ray Sutton, relating to differences between Gary and Rush. However, no, I did not keep up with whom all Gary hired to write books, etc., or their terms of departure.

    I do fondly recall a phone call I received from Gary over Thanksgiving of 1982 responding to a manuscript I sent him on defending home schoolers, and some helpful suggestions he gave me.

    And I do fondly recall an email I received from Greg the night before he went under the knife for a correction to his heart valve surgery the last time, saying he was looking forward to hearing his Father tell him, “well done, thou faithful servant,” which I expect happened just a few days later.

    And thank you for helping an old man recall some fond memories.


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