Covenant Theological Seminary & Conspiracy

I have responded on my site to some of the negative reactions to posts on Green Baggins and Johannes Weslianus critical of members of the faculty of Covenant Theological Seminary.

Posted by Wes White

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46 Comments

  1. April 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

    So who’s guarding the guardians?

  2. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Both sides are curbed and guarded by the same investigative/questioning, two-sided process that has been put into motion. Despite the unpleasantries and messiness that is inevitably involved in such situations, NOT raising these importiant issues would simply be wrong.

  3. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

    After looking at mr. White’s site and the connecting site I see absolutley no proof or documentation regarding talk of a conspiracy. Does the 9th commandment mean anything here?

  4. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Bobby,

    Are you privy to Wes’ or Dave’s non-blog interactions and communications? Just because they don’t “document” such stuffthings on the net (ironically, something for which Wes has been criticized for doing too well in certain cases…) doesn’t mean such allegations or insinuations haven’t been made.

    Frankly, I think the way in which many who oppose what these and like-minded brothers stand for so rashly draw the 9th Commandment like a weapon, may well implicate the accusers with respect to their own charge.

  5. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Sorry for the typo “stuffthings” above – read “things” :)

  6. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

    If this were a stand alone event I wouldn’t say anything but after the “yellow journalism” attack on Pastor Craig Higgins I think weilding the 9th commandment is called for.
    Its easy to make an accusation and say I’ve got ” non-blog interactions and communications”.

  7. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Bobby,

    OK. But why not at least ask for more information before “weilding” the 9th?

  8. GLW Johnson said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:30 am

    This constant appeal by the FV and their sympathizers to violating the 9th commandment doth remind me of Simon Episcopius who repeatedly leveled that charge against his opponents in a little theological dust up that took place in the Netherlands town of Dordrecht.

  9. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

    B/e there seems to be a pattern here of disregarding the 9th commandment when convenient (ie see Craig Higgins headline and post).
    As I said I would not weild it if I had not seen it flagrantly ignored in the Higgins post. But if those who are complaining about “conspiracy talk” do have documentation then show it.

  10. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    >>”This constant appeal by the FV and their sympathizers to violating the 9th commandment doth remind me of Simon Episcopius who repeatedly leveled that charge against his opponents in a little theological dust up that took place in the Netherlands town of Dordrecht”

    I am NOT FV nor am I an attendee of a FV church nor am I a FV synpathizer nor is my mother FV. I don’t know about my dog though.

  11. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:40 am

    #10

    Perhaps not in terms of name-claimed or self-admission, but others might be excused for drawing such a conclusion along the classic lines of, “if it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it must be a…” :>)

  12. GLW Johnson said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:41 am

    BV
    BUT do you wear a T-Shirt with a picture of Doug Wilson on it?

  13. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

    In fact I believe the posting I did here before the Craig Higgins entry was pointing out the difficulty I had with Wilson & Wilkin’s book on Southern Slavery. I don’t belioeve I expressed much symphathy for them then.

  14. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I don’t even own a Doug Wilson book and can only stand his blog in small doses.

  15. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

    “if it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it must be a…” :>)
    thats part of the problem. The 9th commandment has higher standards then to just assume.

    I also believe that that comment was directed towards Higgins that he must be FV since he looks like them. (even though he has never claimed to be one, has no known associations with them, but because there may be some overlap he must be FV)

  16. GLW Johnson said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

    oh. Never mind.

  17. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Bobby, I suppose you’re right. It may well be that the alleged ducks are simply people at an aquatic-themed costume party, who are exceptionally tallented at making animal sounds.

  18. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

    “It may well be that the alleged ducks are simply people at an aquatic-themed costume party, who are exceptionally tallented at making animal sounds.”

    Maybe yr right. Maybe we need to root out anyone in the PCA who is similar to FV or has even a little overlap. Especially if they have numerous quotes from Leithert in their thesis.

  19. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

    “Investigate-quote” does not necessarily equal “root-out.”

    Anyway, I’m done here. Have a good day, Booby. (Go ahead, have the last word…)

  20. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Bobby,

    I honestly did not mean to mispell your name. I’m sorry. Perhaps one of the moderaters will be so kind as to correct it. Once agian, I’m truly sorry.

  21. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 10:03 am

    “Investigate-quote” does not necessarily equal “root-out.”

    Yr right normally it dosent but when you either make false statements or statements you don’t know to be true or misquote someone to change their position then there must be a reason. look at the postings regarding Higgins. there were several that were calling for discipline and for PCA action against him what is that other than “root-out?’

  22. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

    “I honestly did not mean to mispell your name”

    No big deal. Apology accepted. If thats the worst I get called today then I’m ok.

  23. Chris said,

    April 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Is it going to get to the point when a guy’s blogroll has un-confessional links there will be a zippo-raid?

    Like Jim Belushi once said, “Everyone just calm the hell down!”

  24. David Gray said,

    April 7, 2010 at 11:07 am

    >Perhaps not in terms of name-claimed or self-admission, but others might be excused for drawing such a conclusion along the classic lines of, “if it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it must be a…” :>)

    Does that make you a Baptist?

  25. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hello, David….

    Would you please explain yourself more? Thanks.

  26. Andy said,

    April 7, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Many of the discussions and disagreements in the PCA put a host of logical fallacies on display. The current discussion about Covenant seems to fall under “Composition” when one draws a conclusion about the whole (in this case an entire seminary) based on a single feature or part (in this case a professor and his book).

    The most popular fallacies among us seem to be Guilt by Association, Questionable Cause, and Slippery Slope. In this particular thread, I think Bobby is warning against the “Bare Assertion” fallacy where we are supposed to believe something to be true (there’s a conspiracy) because someone says it is so. I’m with Bobby on this one, no matter his relationship to any aforesaid ducks.

  27. David Gray said,

    April 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    >Would you please explain yourself more? Thanks.

    You assert Bobby is FV because he differs with you on some items despite his protestations to the contrary, which have been evidenced even on this blog. If we may disregard the evidence in order to make assertions that comfort us we have a problem. Can’t we take your embrace of Cunningham’s rationality to conclude you are actually a Baptist if we can conclude that Bobby is FV? Heck even I’m not FV but I’m sure that won’t stop you from invoking your duck.

  28. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    good points Andy. I think many logical fallacies have been on display in this case as well as the post on Higgins(guilt by association).

  29. David Gray said,

    April 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Probably would have been clearer if I said Cunningham’s rationalism.

  30. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    David #59:

    Easy there, fellow…the duck metaphor was simply a time-honored way to illustrate a point. But I obviously struck a nerve. Yet if you will take the time to follow the discussion Bobby and I were having, as well as consider my actual statement, I certainly stopped short of calling him FV. I do maintain, however, as I did in fact imply, that if one clearly expresses their views (whether it be their own direct assertions or their defense of others) with respect to something, that one “might be excused for drawing their own conclusions” as to what the natural implications of those expressions are.

    As for discussing issues related to the series I wrote on baptism, I think it would be best to move any extended dialogue about that to the appropriate thread on Wes’ website. However, since you raised the issue by way of a personal implication here, I will respond briefly here.

    First, you’re most certainly entitled to conclude that I’m a Baptist based on my exposition of the Westminster Standards teaching on baptism, which was constructed around what the very divines who framed them actually said on the matter. Such a conclusion would certainly be dead wrong and non-sensical to any neutral observer, I am confident, but as I said, you’re still entitled to draw it–and, yes, to spout it.

    The fact is, I have said nothing in my series, or cited Cunningham’s analysis on any matter, that wasn’t fully backed-up by numerous quotations from the Westminster divines, and/or other prominent Reformed theologians from or before their era. I would respectfully challenge you to specifically show me where I have done otherwise with regard to any point which I discuss in the series. Indeed, I can expand the body of such primary source quotations exponentially for you if you would like, or would somehow find it helpful.

    Frankly, according to what apparently must be your oppositional understanding of the role of baptism, then Calvin, Bullinger, Gillespie, Rutherford, Featly, Gataker, Ussher, Beza, Paraeus, Ursinus and many more orthodox Reformed theologians were, along with me, “Baptists.” This is, of course, utterly ridiculous. The antithetical fact of the matter is that the Federal Vision doctrine of baptism is very close to Roman Catholic sacradotalism, which I, along with these men, definitely do oppose.

    Again, I think any further discussion of this topic should be moved to Wes’ blog. If anything that has been said here raises interest or perhaps concerns with anyone as to my views on baptism, then I enthusiastically invite them to judge for themselves, and interact with me based on what I have actually quoted and written. Anyone can do so here:

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/04/baptism-in-westminster-standards-vs_04.html

    Cheers.

  31. Phil Derksen said,

    April 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Ooops once again… The above post being replied to is #27.

  32. Bobby Avant said,

    April 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    look if this accusation against Covenant or CTS supporters saying that there is a conspiracy is only mere hearsay and if no one can provide documentation then this post really should be removed.

  33. KEn Pierce said,

    April 8, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Bobby,

    I think you missed Wes’s point. Wes wasn’t saying there was some sort of FV conspiracy involving Covenant, what he is saying is that others are saying there is a conspiracy to damage Covenant Seminary by linking it to the FV.

  34. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I understand perfectly what Wes is saying. he is saying that supporters of Covenant or Covenant faculty/administration are accusing him, this blog & this blog’s supporters of a conspiracy.
    His words: “Apparently, there is talk of a conspiracy to damage Covenant Theological Seminary.”

    His only documentation is a link to another blog that makes the same accusation but no proof. Since when does repeating hearsay meet the demands of the 9th commandment?

    Again if this is only hearsay this post should be taken down.

  35. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    After asking several times for documentation regarding the accusation that Covenant/Covt supporters are accusing this blog & others of conspiracy I’ve come to the conclusion that at worst a lie given to bolster the claims that the situation at Covenant is troubling. Hopefully at best it is an inflation by Mr White & others of side remarks or complaints made by Covenant supporters. or its only hearsay & gossip.

    But its hard to know since absolutely no reference has been given to the accusation. If there is documentation then give it so honest debate can take place. If not apologize & repent for maligning the motives of others so that honest debate can take place.

  36. Phil Derksen said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Bobby,

    If you had done some research, then you may have noticed…

    1. Wes has already explained in his own blog combox that his remrks were based on what Dave Sarafolean had written on his blog.

    2. Yesterday Dave explained on his blog:

    “Postscript: I chose this word [conspiracy] based on the comments posted on some well-known blogs. It seems that some might be trying to connect the dots to assert that those who signed the Jeff Meyers letter are automatically involved with the blog posts critical of CTS. I, for one, knew nothing about the book review or the blog posts until they were posted on the internet. DMS 4/7/10.”

    If you still have issues with this, why not contact Dave directly?

    I would add that the word “conspiracy,” used in a colloquial way like Dave explains he did, is certainly an admissable term to employ in expressing his perception of things. A standard dictionary definition of conspiracy is “an effort by likeminded parties to further their own ends, OFTEN by intrigue.”

    So, alright – one might prefer that different wording had been used, but the chosen vocabulary is certainly within bounds. Moreover, the great bulk of what Dave and Wes brought up in their posts were highly relavent and valid concerns. Let’s not loose sight of the forest for the trees here.

    Next time, do your own homework, OK? :-)

  37. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    yes I looked at Wes’s blog & Dave’s blog & neither provides documentation or a source or even a link as to where the accusation that there is a conspiracy against Covenant. I saw the same assertion:

    “I chose this word [conspiracy] based on the comments posted on some well-known blogs.”
    What well known blogs? If they are well known then why can’t he give the links?
    There is a big difference between a few observation that the same people who are complaining about Meyers are also making comments about covenant then to say that these people are complaining about a conspiracy.

    A conspiracy is dark & sinister. To say that your foes are calling you a conspiritor when they are not is to put words in their mouth and making yourself out to be some sort of wronged.

    How did Mr White phrase it? Some Dare Call It Conspiracy. Again a juicy headline with no substance.

    “Next time, do your own homework, OK? ” FWIW I put comments on both their blogs asking for documentation and none was given and the comment ignored.
    My advice to Mr White: next time provide some substance to your claims and remember the 9th commandment.

  38. David deJong said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Bobby: who is being accused so that the 9th commandment is at issue?

  39. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    This is what is so slippery. This accusation is not against an individual but a group. “Theres a group who are saying we are involved in a conspiracy.” It can apply to almost any critic. I would think that the 9th commandment would apply even if you misconstrue the words & motives of a group of people.

    Some of you may think I’m being picky but a number of you went nuts when Doug Wilson made a side crack about “C” students. This however seems worse b/e it poisons the debate.

  40. David deJong said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Ok, whatever. I personally think there is way too much discussion of the 9th commandment on this blog. I would think it’s impossible to slander an unidentified group. And I thought DW’s crack about C students was a joke. Not sure it merited fuller discussion either. Sometimes the best way to have an adult conversation is just to conduct one.

  41. Ron Henzel said,

    April 8, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    David,

    You wrote:

    And I thought DW’s crack about C students was a joke.

    I think you need to go back and re-read the “crack” in the context of the paragraph in which he made it. I’m sure it was meant to be funny, but it was no joke. I try to put it behind us and move on to the substance of what he said here.

  42. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Sometimes it is best to have an adult conversation. Maybe the problem is too much talk of the 9th commandment and not enough application.
    I’ve already seen someone I know called a papist, and a FV with little proof for either.
    And now Mr White is trying to gain symphthy by saying there are opponents & supporters of CTS calling him & others conspiritors.

  43. Phil Derksen said,

    April 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Bobby,

    In looking back at Wes’ blog, your actual comment was,

    “No evidence of a complaint of a conspiracy but you repeat it anyway. It seems the 9th commandment has little meaning either here or at Greenbaggins.”

    How does that square with your representation here that you “put comments on both their blogs ASKING for documentation”?

    Somehow your last remark doesn’t appear to be totally accurate. Could this possibly be considered a breach of the 9th Commandment?

    Just making a point, Bobby, just making a point…

  44. Bobby Avant said,

    April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I’m not sure your point. That may have been my original comment but I 1st point out that there is no evidence given for the claim. I know in a followup or later comment I explcity asked for documentation and later comments did not make it on the page. On the other blog it did not allow for comments so asked elsewhere.

    Mr White is the one making the claim of conspiracy talk. He should provide proof.

  45. Phil Derksen said,

    April 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Bobby,

    The point is, now anyway, that perceptions play a real role in these kinds of things.

    For example, my personal perception was that you misrepresented yourself here by the way you characterized your blog comment to Wes (simply issuing a complaint is hardly the same as asking for something but, alas, then being denied). Now, in taking your word that some follow-up comments were apparently rejected, or perhaps simply lost somewhere in the ether of the internet, I may consider them to be in bounds. (I was never really offended, though, and would certainly never have considered actually charging you with breaking the 9th Commandment because of this.)

    Similarly, you obviously find the word “conspiracy” too harsh of a term to use in the particular circumstance in question. I get that, and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But since, as I pointed out, the dictionary definition reasonably allows for a fairly broad use of that word, my own perception is that no real offence has occurred.

    Thus, given this range of personal (yet legitimate) perspectives, in my opinion, the 9th Commandment is way too readily drawn like a weapon (“wielded” was your term, I believe) by too many too easily offended people. In this way it becomes a tactic, rather than an authetic or cherished principle to be lived by. That was my original point.

    Yes, I already know that you’ll disagree with most of what I’ve said. But, once again, go ahead and have the last word anyway…

    Till next time.

  46. Bobby Avant said,

    April 9, 2010 at 8:44 am

    “my personal perception was that you misrepresented yourself here by the way you characterized your blog comment to Wes (simply issuing a complaint is hardly the same as asking for something but, alas, then being denied).”

    Yes my first reaction to his post on his blog was a complaint. I did however follow that up with a request that he either document his claims or remove the post (which he chose not to post or maybe I made a mistake on my end in posting). But if you feel that I lied or misrepresented myself then I’ll apologize for not being clear. I wasn’t trying to deliberately lie but I may have mis-spoken. I’ll also admit that my reaction has been influenced by what I see is a smearing and misrepresentation of Mr. Higgins on this blog & on Mr. White’s blog which is why I brought up the 9th commandment early on.

    But Because I felt and still feel that the headline and accusation that some are complaining of conspiracy to be inflammatory if untrue. It takes the level of discourse and debate to another level.

    The Headline itself is incendiary. The headline Covenant Theological Seminary: Some Dare Call It Conspiracy is a play of words from a book in the 60s called None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen a member of the John Birch Society who claimed deep dark conspiracies controlling the US and the World. (I’m not saying Mr White was deliberate in this b/e the title is more well known than the book.)

    I believe this is def. a 9th commandment issue since if its untrue its putting words into the mouths of your opponents or those you are critiquing. I’ve seen no proof that anyone at covenant seminary is accusing Mr White, Greenbaggins or other critics of FV of being involved in a conspiracy. If they have then show the links to these popular blogs that are at least inferring conspiracy.

    I know many of you think I’m making a big deal out of nothing(but some of you are the same ones who have expressed outrage at D.Wilson’s “C” student slight). But as I’ve said these thype of accusations raise the level of discourse to places that are not good for the PCA. All that needs to be done is to either show the proof/documentation/links or at least an explanation. Is that so hard?


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