James Jordan Tells the Truth

James Jordan tells the truth, and is exceptionally insightful in this post, actually. It shows us many, many things about the FV that the critics have been saying all along, and Jordan agrees. See here for provenance. I might add that if James Jordan wishes to modify and/or correct anything he has written, I will gladly allow his comments to stand.

A Federal Vision Moment of Clarity
by James Jordan

I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation. We also don’t like the rationalism of the “grammatical historical method” (a good way of weeding out about 95% of what the text means). I — and since BH is me, we — don’t think metrical psalms are real psalms and think Calvin and the Reformed tradition made a huge mistake by substituting metrical psalms for real ones — a gnostic move, since the assumption is that the IDEAS of the text are all that matter, and not the shape thereof. I could go on. . . .

Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there.

I mean, think about it. Would any of you seek ordination in a Baptist denomination? No. Then why do you seek ordination in non-paedocommuning Presbyterian/Reformed denominations? Don’t tell me that these aren’t the same question, because at the practical level, American presbyterianism is just “Baptist light.” That’s what Banner of Truth Calvinism is, and why it’s been Reformed Baptists who most appreciate it. That what Duncan is. That’s what the So. Presbyterian tradition is. That’s what American individualist conversionist presbyterianism is: Baptists who sprinkle babies.

I can’t really put feet on this, but I “feel” sure that the Reformation tradition is rationalistic precisely because it is anti-pc. Or maybe better, these are part of one complex. Being anti-pc was the greatest mistake of all the Reformers (except Musculus, and who cares about him?). This mistake is part of the heart of the Reformation; they knew about pc and rejected it. This has affected, or else helps be a part of, all kinds of things, like piety, liturgy, and hermeneutics.

So, why are you trying to get ordained presbyterian? Why not seek to get ordained Baptist? There are a whole lot more baptists out there. A bigger pond. Larger sphere of influence.

Well, it’s because the baptists won’t have us, and so far the presbys will. But there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.

I’m a little bit sympathetic with Duncan & Co. when they suspect some of you guys are not being honest when you try to show that you’re just good traditional Reformed guys. I guess it’s a good thing I did not make it to the Knox Seminary discussion, because I would have openly said, “I’m not on the same page as Calvin and the Reformation in these regards.” Showing that the Reformed tradition is wider and muddier than Duncan wants it to be is fine, but the fact is that if you believe in pc, you’re not in the Reformed tradition at all in a very significant and profound sense. No more than you’re Baptists.

About these ads

313 Comments

  1. September 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Perhaps I’ll comment more when I can get my jaw back up off the floor.

  2. September 16, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What is the actual provenance of this? Was this lifted from the BH Yahoo list? When?

  3. greenbaggins said,

    September 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I’m certain it is from the BH Yahoo list. However, there is no time stamp on the original post.

  4. September 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    It’s a disturbingly honest statement. I’d like to post it on my own blog, but I’d first really like to have the date and any further information. For instance, what if someone on the BH list called Jordan on this and he later retracted? Could’ve happened.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    September 16, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Quite possible. I know that Jordan reads my blog from time to time. He has commented here in the past. I have edited the post above to invite him to qualify if he so desires. We shall see if he desires to do so.

  6. Tony Johnson said,

    September 16, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Pastor Lane,

    Why have you posted an email from a private and closed group on your blog?

    I am neither FV, nor a member of the BH list, nor really care about the whole FV vs. TR debate going in the WUoHCPWoNA. Having said that, I must say that I am perplexed at seeing a minister of the gospel publish a private email on his public blog.

    Quite seriously, there are ethical issues that ought to be considered in this instance. Does the www preclude such ethical considerations and practises?

    I may be missing something very important here, please correct me if I am. However, if this is in fact a private email that has been taken from a private list then I respectfully put it to you that you ought to consider taking it down.

  7. Phil Derksen said,

    September 16, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Jordan has actually commented on this posting. While he has some issue with what he calls the breaking of confidentiality on the bloggers part, he did not retracted his theological or ecclesiastical views – rather he confirmed them!

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/09/amazing-and-enlightening-post-by-james.html?showComment=1284674957164#c4357029428617181971

  8. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    September 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Did you ask him privately about it first? The site you’ve lifted it from seems in the business of making personal and private conversations public, for sometimes no apparent reason. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to just lift a post from such a site and re-post it on yours, giving some degree of credibility to a totally anonymous and unsupported site. Even if this happens to be true, is it a good precedent to send people to that kind of site? Exposing private emails is, in principle, problematic. And the site gives no evidence of the provenance of what is posted, beyond an apparent email heading, which could easily be reproduced in any word processing program. Just because it might serve our purpose doesn’t make it alright. Kinda like warrantless wiretaps.

  9. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    The BHYahoos site shows a number of stylistic similarities to the sites by Mark T. I wondered where he had gone.

  10. pduggie said,

    September 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    well something seems to have gone off the rails between

    “And truly, Christ has shed his blood no less for washing the little children of believers than he did for adults.” (Belcgic Article 34)

    and

    “The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in His appointed time.”

    One is a simple credo. The other reads like an argument and an attempt at nominalistic precision for a committee to agree to.

  11. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Josh and Tony, as Wes White pointed out in his posting of this correspondence, it is NOT private if it is sent to however many people there are on the BH list. It is not private email, it is a discussion group. Furthermore, if there is any sin here, it belongs with the person who broke their word. Lastly, as has been pointed out, Jordan still holds these positions firmly, as he himself noted on Wes White’s blog.

  12. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 8:51 am

    ‘ these positions ‘ seems at the core, paedocommunion.

  13. David Gray said,

    September 17, 2010 at 8:54 am

    >Josh and Tony, as Wes White pointed out in his posting of this correspondence, it is NOT private if it is sent to however many people there are on the BH list.

    If the ground rules for the list specify limited distribution it certainly is private.

  14. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Its ok guys.

    The FV controversy hasn’t been about respecting each other as brothers since Duncan IDed people as ‘miscreants’ with ‘aberrant’ theology from the start, or the circulation of the ant-fv statement with the blatant lie that FV favored icons in worship..

  15. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Paul, I’m sure that the “lack of respect” is all one way in your thinking, isn’t it? No FV’er has ever demonized a critic, ever, in the entire history of this controversy.

  16. proregno said,

    September 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

    My question: how private and safe is our e-mails ? Any PC fundi here that can tell us more about ‘internet safety’, or is Big Brother seeing and reading everything we do … and think ! ;-)

  17. September 17, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Three quick points. First, the posting of this is encouraging and enabling a gross violation of the scriptural duty of keeping your promises and vows. If that scriptural point is not compelling enough, it is also a violation of the Westminster Larger Catechism. This is not just wrong; it is grotesque.

    Second, it is simply partisan pragmatism to represent this as “what the FV has been doing all along.” As much as it would be convenient for you to make Jim’s statement representative of the FV at large, it simply isn’t. Deal with the Joint Statement, and use that to peg FV, instead of statements that a large number of men identified with the FV would have trouble with, including me. Leading to . . .

    Third, for myself, I agreed with a significant part of Jim’s clarification at Wes White’s blog, but the post above I think is overstated, rhetorically unhelpful, historically misguided and wrong. In short, I disagree and I do so as a friend. Distinguish theological agreement and friendships. I would be willing to be friends with a bunch of you guys too, but that wouldn’t create automatic agreement.

  18. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

    As a thought experiment, this might very well be worth trying. Let’s explain it this way: a member of the BH group agrees when he signs up not to spread the information contained in that group. I assume that something of the kind is required in order to be a member of it. Let’s say that someone joins the group being a fully committed FV person. Let’s also say that said member is convinced later on of the error of his ways. In fact, he comes to the conclusion that the FV is a dangerous error, and that those who espouse said theology need to be exposed. He then reads his WLC on the ninth commandment. On the one hand, he sees “keeping of lawful promises” in Q 144. On the other hand, he sees “concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, out-facing and over-bearing the truth” as sins to be avoided in Q 145. Then he turns to chapter 22 of the WCF on the making and keeping of lawful oaths, and decides in his conscience that the agreement he made to keep the material private is no longer one that binds his conscience, since he believes that would be to cover over things that need to come to light, and that his agreement was not a lawful agreement. Could you therefore see, from such a person’s perspective, that he believes he is not violating his agreement? The argument can be made.

    As to your second paragraph, the point made above is not that every FV author agrees with James Jordan on these points. It is patently obvious that such is not the case, nor was that the argument I was trying to make. Hence you made a straw man argument of my point, and thus broke the ninth commandment yourself in not representing my position fairly. The point here is that here is an FV man who agrees with the critics that FV theology is not Westminster theology, and is in general not Reformed at all. James Jordan agreeing with Sean Gerety and John Robbins. Who would have thunk it?

    Thirdly, I acknowledge that Jordan’s position is not yours. But you have to understand that the critics have been saying what Jordan has been saying for a long time now, and they have been saying it about the FV Joint Statement (I have been saying it about the Joint Statement). Jordan did not choose to modify any of the basic points over on Wes’s blog.

  19. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 11:38 am

    At the very least, if Jordan is not being unloving in saying these thing to his fellow-FV’ers, then the critics are not being unloving in seeking to force the FV’ers out. If the critics agree with Jordan that the FV’ers don’t belong in the PCA, then the critics cannot be charged with starting an inherently unloving process. This is not to say that sinful motivations might be present in the critic. Presumably, the critics are constantly sinning. That would not be the point. The point is that those who are seeking to use the church courts to get the FV’ers out of the PCA can be said to be agreeing with Jordan.

  20. September 17, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I love comparing these two statements in particular. First, from the Biblical Horizons website Mission Statement:
    “We seek to be thoroughly Biblical, comprehensively catholic, and true to the Reformation faith.”

    Second, from the message above:
    “Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism.”

    Reminds me of James 3:9-12, and Proverbs 26:18-19, personally.

  21. Matt Siple said,

    September 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

    From Wes’s comment section, Jordan said, “The man who broke this confidence has apostatized, left his family, and is now an atheist.” I doubt this fellow was checking his WLC.

  22. September 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Can I ask a question or two for clarification? It is to do with identifying the “We” in the statement by Jordan. He is referring to himself and “BH types.” To what extent are BH and FV types one and the same? Who is he speaking on behalf of?

  23. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Matt, that is true if you believe Jordan’s account of this man. Given the rhetoric that Jordan has levelled against the PCA, I will withold judgment on that point.

    Martin, most of the FV’ers are part of the BH discussion group. I don’t know who all is part of the group. There is at the very least a very significant overlap between BH and FV.

  24. September 17, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but did Jordan sign the FV joint statement? And if he did is the joint FV statement a consensus/compromise statement holding together disparate views on the sacraments? If he signed it, and if Doug Wilson says that he is wrong in his statement above, can the joint FV statement be interpreted in more than one way? Or is his statement above out of accord with the joint FV statement as well as the WCF? And if the joint FV statement is considered by its signatories to be in accord with the WCF then where does that leave Jordan with regard to the FV?

  25. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Doug Wilson: “Third, for myself, I agreed with a significant part of Jim’s clarification at Wes White’s blog, but the post above I think is overstated, rhetorically unhelpful, historically misguided and wrong.”

    So I scrolled back up to see what Green Baggins wrote that was “overstated, rhetorically unhelpful, historically misguided and wrong.” I fail to see what was overstated, rhetorically unhelpful, historically misguided, or wrong in the post.

    This is the sum of Pastor Lane Keister’s post:

    “James Jordan tells the truth, and is exceptionally insightful in this post, actually. It shows us many, many things about the FV that the critics have been saying all along, and Jordan agrees. See here for provenance. I might add that if James Jordan wishes to modify and/or correct anything he has written, I will gladly allow his comments to stand.”

    I don’t understand the bombastic criticism of Doug Wilson towards Green Baggins.

  26. September 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Yes, Jordan signed the Joint FV Statement. The same statement which says, “The following brief statement therefore should be understood as being in harmony with those other confessional commitments, a supplement to them, and not an example of generating another system of doctrine.”

  27. September 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    TruthUAD, I believe Mr. Wilson was referring to Jordan’s post, not Lane’s.

  28. September 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks Wes.

    If Jordan meant what he said:

    “But there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.”

    Is the joint FV statement a wax nose? Or is Jordan repudiating it?

  29. Matt Siple said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    @25 – I think Wilson’s comments that you quote are addressing Jordan’s post. Wilson is distancing himself from the post as a reminder that the Joint Statement is what should be evaluated as “FV”, not indivual’s statements.

  30. graydo said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    >I don’t understand the bombastic criticism of Doug Wilson towards Green Baggins.

    The reason that is so is because Wilson isn’t referring to Pastor Keister there.

  31. September 17, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Matt, if that is the case why is Jordan speaking on behalf of others? And why doesn’t Jordan distance himself from the affirmation of agreement with the WCF contained in the Joint Statement? Should he be considered post-FV?

  32. Dean B said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Martin

    Yes (http://www.federal-vision.com/resources/joint_FV_Statement.pdf)

  33. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks fellas for the clarification. I really thought that Doug Wilson was addressing Pastor Keister.

    So I take it then that Doug Wilson is really displeased with Jim Jordan. They’re both Federal Vision proponents, right?

  34. graydo said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    >Matt, if that is the case why is Jordan speaking on behalf of others?

    It was a private conversation in which he was addressing others. It has now been broadcast by folk willing to do such things.

  35. graydo said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    >So I take it then that Doug Wilson is really displeased with Jim Jordan.

    Are people always displeased with one another when they disagree? That would be a very unpleasant way to live life.

  36. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Ignore my last question. I opened the Joint FV Statement pdf provided by Dean B.

    Here’s a list of the signee’s:

    John Barach (minister, CREC)
    Rich Lusk (minister, CREC)
    Randy Booth (minister, CREC)
    Jeff Meyers (minister, PCA)
    Tim Gallant (minister, CREC)
    Ralph Smith (minister, CREC)
    Mark Horne (minister, PCA)
    Steve Wilkins (minister, PCA)
    Jim Jordan (minister, teacher at large)
    Douglas Wilson (minister, CREC)
    Peter Leithart (minister, PCA)

    So going back to Douglas Wilson’s comment in #17, and noting that he is addressing Jim Jordan’s post, I observe the following:

    #1. “gross violation of the scriptural duty of keeping your promises and vows.”

    Doug Wilson is saying that Jim Jordan broke his promise and vows.

    #2> “[Jim Jordan's] post above I think is overstated, rhetorically unhelpful, historically misguided and wrong.”

    Would Douglas Wilson care to endeavor to provide evidence to back up these assertions? That would be more helpful. Otherwise, his assertion would be a prima facie example of a statement that is “rhetorically unhelpful.”

  37. Matt Siple said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Martin – I was only attempting to clarify what Wilson meant (which I thought was obvious). I’m unfit to answer your questions.

  38. September 17, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    OK Matt. Thanks anyway.

  39. Matt Siple said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    TUAD – pay close attention to comment 17 and what it’s addessing. “Gross violation of scriptural duty” is directed at the one who leaked the post (not Keister or Jordan). “Overstaed, rhetorically unhelpful …” is directed at Jordan’s post itself.

  40. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    “Paul, I’m sure that the “lack of respect” is all one way in your thinking, isn’t it? ”

    You’re sure? Well, you’re wrong.

    But it STARTED with the critics is my point. No, FV responding in kind was not well behaved.

  41. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    ” the FV is a dangerous error, and that those who espouse said theology need to be exposed.’

    Lane, if it is, it certainly would not require posting non-public emails. The theology is the theology. Enough hay has been made about its danger without JBJs post.

  42. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Matt Siple: “Gross violation of scriptural duty” is directed at the one who leaked the post (not Keister or Jordan).”

    Oh. Thanks. I really thought Douglas Wilson was speaking about James Jordan having violated his scriptural duty.

    So then Douglas Wilson is displeased with (1) an unknown leaker, (2) James Jordan, and (3) Lane Keister.

  43. Matt Siple said,

    September 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    You’re gettin’ it.

  44. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    At the very least, its rude to post everyone’s email address publically on the internet fro harvesting by spambots.

    “The point here is that here is an FV man who agrees with the critics that FV theology is not Westminster theology”

    Lane, do you really think Paedo makes a man not “Westminster”. Is it really a seamless garment that unravels if you try to add paedo? JBJ says it’s not PCA, theology, surely, but paedo is tolerated to some degree as an exception.

    John Murray didn’t agree with Jordan that adding Paedo to westminster theology would be as big a break as subtracting paedobaptism would be.

  45. September 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    In fairness, PDuggie, Jordan is saying more than that. Paedo-Comm is not just non-PCA, it’s not really Reformed, and without it Reformed theology is defective. Well, that’s how I read his words:

    “I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation.”

    “I can’t really put feet on this, but I “feel” sure that the Reformation tradition is rationalistic precisely because it is anti-pc. Or maybe better, these are part of one complex. Being anti-pc was the greatest mistake of all the Reformers (except Musculus, and who cares about him?). This mistake is part of the heart of the Reformation; they knew about pc and rejected it. This has affected, or else helps be a part of, all kinds of things, like piety, liturgy, and hermeneutics.”

    “But there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.”

  46. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Blog Post Title: James Jordan Tells the Truth

    Okay, so whether this “truth” is uttered in “private” or in public, the fact is is that it’s been uttered. The more important thing, imho, is to determine the veracity of James Jordan’s claims and arguments.

    As I understand it presently, Pastor Keister and others accept James Jordan’s claims as being truthful, pending any retractions or corrections. Douglas Wilson, on the other hand, says that James Jordan’s claims are wrong.

    Without Douglas Wilson substantively rebutting James Jordan’s claims, I’m inclined to give James Jordan’s statements the benefit of the doubt of being TRUE.

  47. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Paul, I think that PC is just as much opposed to the WS as credo-baptism is. Indeed, it is the equal and opposite sacramental error. I vote against EVERY PC advocate. Furthermore, as to the critics being the ones starting it, I will merely point out that those propounding this theology did not see fit to come to their Presbyteries and volunteer that their theology be given a look over before they started propounding it in conferences like AAPC. If anything was peer-reviewed by them, it was only reviewed by those who already agreed with them. And, ever since, the FV has tried to keep a low profile when it comes to church discipline. I view that as disingenuous at best. I agree with Jordan. And that problem of disingenuousness was in existence before ANY critique of the FV came out.

  48. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Sure, Calvin was anti-PC, and the Reformed world didn’t consider it. But Calvin made mistakes too. So do

    In JBJ’s evaluation, it is paedocom that is the uncongenial foreign element. (As Calvin’s view of real presence was for Hodge)

    But is JBJ’s evaluation of paedocom 1) Lanes. 2) that of all FV critics 3) that of extraneous worthies like Murray 4) that of the PCA?

    1) dunno. Lane?
    2) dunno.
    3) no.
    4) seems tolerated as an exception.

  49. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I don’t think we’re reading the same Calvin and Hodge. First of all, to say “real presence” in connection with Calvin’s view is rather misleading. Calvin was no Lutheran or Catholic, and the term “real presence” is usually reserved for physical presence in the LS.

    As to pc, the FV is quite a bit more than pc, but then Jordan acknowledges that, too. Cite Murray’s actual works on this claim, please. PC is not tolerated everywhere in the PCA. Many Presbyteries do not allow it as an exception. Personally, I do not think it should be allowed as an exception anywhere in the PCA.

  50. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I misspoke. True presence. Wouldn’t want Jesus really present, just truly present. Though the WCF talks about “real” (and indeed!) reception in the sacrament. So I have that going for me at least.

    And you’re right: Hodge vs Calvin was over communion with the human nature of Jesus.

    Murray:

    It is objected that paedobaptists are strangely inconsistent in dispensing baptism to infants and yet refusing to admit them to the Lord’s able … At the outset it should be admitted that if paedobaptists are inconsistent in this discrimination, then the relinquishment of infant baptism is not the only way of resolving the inconsistency. It could be resolved by going in the other direction, namely, that of admitting infants to the Lord’s Supper. And when all factors entering into this dispute are taken into account, particularly the principle involved in infant baptism, then far less would be at stake in admitting infants to the Lord’s Supper than would be at stake in abandoning infant baptism. This will serve to point up the significance of infant baptism in the divine economy of grace [Christian Baptism (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1980). pp. 73-74].

  51. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Are you kidding me, Paul? “Far less at stake” is not exactly the same thing as “I think it’s perfectly okay and well within the limits of confessional orthodoxy.” You’re driving a truck through that phrase.

  52. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Re: Douglas Wilson’s comment at #17.

    I think there are possible 3 reasons why Douglas Wilson is angry:

    (A) Stuff got leaked that supposedly wasn’t supposed to be leaked.

    (B) Given (A), the leaked stuff is largely false, and it takes time and effort to repudiate the false claims.

    (C) Given (A), the leaked stuff is largely true, and I’m embarrassed because it makes me, an FV proponent, and the other FV’ers look bad because now we’ve been outed.

    ——-

    So let’s assume (B). I just went to Douglas Wilson’s blogsite to see if there’s a substantive repudiation and rebuttal to James Jordan’s post. There was none. But of course, one may be forthcoming.

    But if none is forthcoming, then wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume (C), given the lack of substantitve rebuttal?

    On a side note, I’d recommend going to Steve Hay’s site, Triablogue, and looking at his recent post “Right to Privacy” which addresses this Green Baggins post.

  53. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    “I think it’s perfectly okay and well within the limits of confessional orthodoxy.”

    And where did I ever say that? I said it seemed tolerated. I said that worthies like Murray regarded it as not that un-Reformed as credobaptism would be.

    I’m not a paedocom myself. I’ve seen a shift against it lately. Maybe as a proxy for FV, or maybe because FV scared people off. But it was not so 10 years ago.

    I’m trying to highlight the thinking of those who might disagree with you and JBJ that PC makes them “not Reformed at all”.

  54. PDuggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I’ll also point out that G I Williamson (whom you may have heard of in Nodak?), who was the Gold Standard of confessionalism and TRism in my day growing up at the church John Murray attended, signed the OPC majority report favoring PC.

    I was not told this at the congregational meeting referencing that GA. Just that PC was defeated. I thought that was obviously good at the time.

  55. greenbaggins said,

    September 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I am fully aware of Williamson’s position at that time (I believe he does not hold to PC any longer). I am merely pointing out that you are misreading Murray. You have no evidence that he tolerated the position. The only evidence you have is that he thought the error less problematic than credo-baptism. That is all the quotation can be made to say.

  56. Tim Prussic said,

    September 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    #18 – Pastor Lane – you don’t present this as is ALL FV thinkers hold to what Jordan does, but Jordan presents it that way. His comments, after all, are a FV moment of clarity. I, for one, can say that opponents of the FV have not gone out of their way to distinguish between various FVers and their positions. You, Pastor, have done a good job working with Pr. Wilson and distinguishing his views from those of other high-profile FVers, but you’re a jewel.

    On a personal level, I have found that *certain* aspects of FV thought are not Reformed/Presbyterian and others are. I think Jordan’s comments (as ALL his polemical writings) are overblown and not helpful. Thus, comments like #25 (TruthDivides), wondering how Wilson could call Jordan’s comments overblown, unhelpful, and historically misguided is a bit mystifying to me. He reiterates this in #46, speaking as if Jordan can speak for every man linked to the FV. This is an easy, paint-with-broad-brush (two colors: FV and TR) way to dismiss the FV in toto, but that would be a sad mistake and unjust and dishonest to boot.

  57. pduggie said,

    September 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    ” I am merely pointing out that you are misreading Murray. You have no evidence that he tolerated the position. ”

    Wow, Lane you’re really reading with hostility today. I wasn’t saying Murray tolerated it. And I never said “I think it’s perfectly okay and well within the limits of confessional orthodoxy.”. I’ve pointed that out, and I don’t get an apology, but an explanation of why its ok to say I say that.

    What I said was

    “John Murray didn’t agree with Jordan that adding Paedo to Westminster theology would be as big a break as subtracting paedobaptism would be.”

    You asked me to cite Murray on that, which I did, and my citation perfectly comports with my claim. So are you kidding me Lane?

    Everyone knows PC is different. But so are piccys of jesus, Sabbath breaking, and Barnhouse’s view of the decalog.

  58. September 17, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    All, thanks for sorting out my quickly typed comments.Matt Siple (#39) interpreted me correctly.

    However, thinking Jim to be wrong (or unhelpfully ambiguous) in his comments above does not mean that I am angry with him. Neither am I angry with the man who broke his word, and I am certainly not angry with the confessional presbyterians who helped him break it. Partisan politics makes even Christian people justify strange things.

    One commenter, in the spirit of let’s you and him fight, asked for a point by point refutation of what Jim said. But I don’t have to refute it if the point of contention is whether or not I teach or hold the same things. All I have to do is deny that I teach or hold these things, which means that the post Jim wrote is not helpful at all in summarizing FV teaching.

    That said, let me mention two things, in the spirit of working together.

    Jim said, “We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism.” This is ambiguous at best. Which “traditional presbyterianism”? Jim is perfectly right if he is talking about the Cumberland tradition, going back to the Second Great Awakening, and stretching from Yazoo City to Atlanta. But I would say it is misleading and wrong because in the previous sentences he pairs it up with the “whole Reformation tradition.” “We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points.”

    Jim is right that we are paedocommunion and the Reformers by and large were not. That is granted. But contemporary Reformedville, remaining anti-pc, departs from the “whole Reformed tradition” far more than do I. I am much closer to Bucer and Calvin, for example, than are Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, or other worthies. On the point of paedocommunion, they are closer than I.

    So Jim’s statement is misleading and wrong, and I wish he would retract it. But I am not angry with him for disagreeing with me any more than I am angry with you guys for disagreeing with the Westminster Confession at so many places. The Lord’s vineyard is a big place.

  59. Bob Suden said,

    September 18, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Please, Doug. It’s too obvious to explain away.
    JJ blurted out what many have said about FV and as the front man for the CREC where JJ betook himself in order to avoid ecclesiastical sanction, you’re only here to spin and launder. But sometimes silence is golden. Nuff said, if not that JJ’s piece speaks all too eloquently for itself.
    I know. Blah blah blah. . . . the reformed tradition. . . Calvin . . . Musculus . . . paedo communion . . . . traditional presbyterianism. . . WCF . . .
    Unfortunately not everybody within earshot is a sophomore.
    Cheers, (you’ll need it.)

  60. graydo said,

    September 18, 2010 at 6:08 am

    >Please, Doug. It’s too obvious to explain away.

    “It isn’t what folks don’t know, it’s what they know that isn’t so.”

    Will Rogers

  61. Dean B said,

    September 18, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Pastor Wilson

    Quote: Deal with the Joint Statement, and use that to peg FV, instead of statements that a large number of men identified with the FV would have trouble with, including me. EOQ

    This is exactly the problem. In 2007 Jordan signed his name to the following document which states:

    Quote:
    The following brief statement therefore should be understood as being in harmony with those other confessional commitments, a supplement to them, and not an example of generating another system of doctrine.

    Creeds and Confessions
    We affirm that all who subscribe to creeds and confessions should do so with a clean conscience and honest interpretation, in accordance with the plain meaning of words and the original intent of the authors, as can best be determined. EOQ

    In the same year he also wrote:
    Quote: “I’m not on the same page as Calvin and the Reformation in these regards.” Showing that the Reformed tradition is wider and muddier than Duncan wants it to be is fine, but the fact is that if you believe in pc, you’re not in the Reformed tradition at all in a very significant and profound sense. No more than you’re Baptists. EOQ

    Jordan obviously believes pc is a very significant and profound divergences from traditional Reformed doctrine and yet he also believes he is in harmony with the reformed confessions. Huh? Since JJ has not retracted his position it appears to be rather disingenuous for the other signers of the JFV Statement to allow JJ to sign it when you all knew he did not possible agree with the preamble of the JFVS itself.

    Or was the JFVS intentionally word-smithed to allow JJ sign the document with a clear conscience? I believe this scenario is much more likely.

    The JFV Statement was crafted in such a way to provide a broad umbrella which allowed men like JJ to sign it and appear like he fits in the Reformed tradition when even he himself admits he is outside.

    The problem with pegging the JFVS resides in the fact that men with fundamental disagreements about what it means to be historically Reformed could both embrace the same document. The devil is always in the details and with the JFVS the details were apparently left out.

    This recent example only confirms my belief the JFVS is as solid as jello. As soon as you press a signer on a contradiction they ooze out from under your feet.

  62. September 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Just noticed that the Yahoos blog has the whole thing now in context. Interesting.

  63. September 18, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Mr. Wilson,

    So, are you saying that you want James Jordan to recant what he has held to for 30+ years?

    Thanks, Wes

  64. Ron Henzel said,

    September 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    It seems to me that the Biblical Horizons Yahoos! site is to the Federal Vision what the hacked Climategate emails are to the Global Warming controversy, and on more than one level. As for the ethics of disclosing the contents of correspondence that was supposedly covered by an “oath of silence”: for me, the phrase “oath of silence” itself simply adds to the comedic effect of whole situation—what, with the picture of J.J. in the funny-nose-and-glasses get-up to remind us of how seriously he actually takes the issues. It’s even harder to keep a straight face when the question naturally arises as to whether the supposed effrontery might have been compounded had the details of the secret FV handshake been leaked as well.

  65. graydo said,

    September 18, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Dishonor can be humorous for some sorts.

  66. dghart said,

    September 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Doug, you want a return to Christendom and you think that makes you closer to Calvin and Bucer? But in another exchange you said that you imagine Servetus would live to a ripe old age in the Christian society you envision. So how exactly does that make you closer to Calvin and Bucer? Plus, I didn’t sigh a statement with Jim Jordan. You did.

  67. jared said,

    September 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    It seems to me that here we are carrying on with our favorite past-time of not really paying attention to what’s being said. Jordan says, from Wes’s blog, that “We [BH/FV people, though I would qualify with "some"] depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points.” So which pretty basic points are we talking about? Paedocommunion, obviously, but what else? In the quoted post Jordan mentions metrical psalms vs real psalms, so here’s another divergence. He mentions the grammatical-historical method, another “basic” divergence. Has anyone stopped to consider what might be the “pretty basic points” on which Jordan (and the FV) doesn’t depart from the Reformation tradition? Perhaps justification by faith alone? Perhaps Jesus’ substitutionary death? Jesus’ divinity? Jesus’ historical resurrection and ascension? The doctrine of the Trinity? The inerrancy of the Scriptures?

    I personally think Jordan overemphasizes the implications of denying paedocommunion. Does it put one at odds with the Reformed tradition? Sure. Does it make one anti-Reformed? No. Does it make one anti-confessional? No. Does it necessitate concluding that such an individual preaches a false gospel? No. Granted that this is a fairly large molehill, you gentlemen are making a Mt. Everest out of it. In his comment on Wes’s blog Jordan closes by saying “I hope of course that they [PCA, OPC, etc.] will eventually see the need to return to the Reformation”. So while Jordan sees himself at odds with the Reformed tradition on paedocommunion (and several other “pretty basic points”) he does not consider himself (or the FV) at odds with the Reformation as a whole. Lutherans are at odds with the Reformed tradition as well, but they are not at odds with the Reformation. In fact, a large swath of protestants are at odds with the Reformed tradition, but that does not necessarily mean they are at odds with the Reformation (though some of them are). And it certainly doesn’t mean they are all preaching a false gospel (though, again, some of them are).

  68. September 19, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Some quick comments:

    1. I didn’t say “recant,” with visions of Stacked Judicial Committees in funny hats, but rather “retract,” which is what somebody should do with any mistake, whether 30 years old or not.

    2. If the JFVS is as solid as jello because of what one person might do with it, then the same thing can be said of the WCF, what with six days not being six days, what with magistrates being nursing fathers meaning that they are not, what with sacraments exhibiting and conferring what they represent meaning they do no such thing, and plenty more examples if you would like them. I take this opportunity to rise again to invite any FV critic to debate with me . . . oh, never mind.

    3. The statement I signed with Jim Jordan is a statement I drafted, and then edited with input from the others. That statement on its face is well within the parameters of the Reformed tradition, and those who arbitrarily don’t think so, for partisan, political reasons, are not to be trusted with the instruction of others, or with the care of their souls.

    4. The Climategate emails illustration fails because in that case all the emails were leaked, the whole shebeal, so that at least the leaker provided the possibility of determining context, and the existence of debate and differing opinions within that circle, if there was any. In this case, there was a damaging selection, and no context. How many people on the BH list debated Jim on that point? How many argued with him there? Tell me, since the true nature of the whole conspiracy has now been made clear to you.

    I have been a member of the BH list a couple of times now, but am not currently on the list, and haven’t been for a while. But while I could still release emails that would make this point of mine very clearly, I would not dream of doing so because I believe in keeping my word. I also believe in not paving the way for others to break their word treacherously, and in not making excuses for them after the fact — all for the sake of a partisan agenda that doesn’t even have any partisans well-equipped enough to engage in a public debate. That’s another area where you have abandoned the Reformation. The Reformed showed up for debates, Bibles in hand. The Romanists made their case by pulling levers and wires in various forms of institutional clamp-down. Whose sons are you?

  69. Bob Suden said,

    September 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Dishonor can be humorous for some sorts.

    Graydo, have you heard of omerta, the mafia code of silence?
    I mean even thieves have honor, right?

    If JJ was a ministerial member in good standing in the PCA, before we even get to the secret club of BH, he had to take an oath of some kind to uphold the WCF, no?
    But he tells us he doesn’t really hold to what the WCF teaches, grammatico – historical method, non Reformed non presbyterian view of the sacraments etc.

    IOW let me connect the dots with a tarbrush.
    His comments at BH belie his oath of subscription in the PCA, even if “good faith” subscription is now the rule in the PCA.
    There are priorities and he has broken faith with the PCA, which trumps whoever “broke faith” with the BH forum and released this statement. (Luther should have kept his oath of obedience to his superiors and celibacy too, I suppose.)

    But I don’t expect much from those who promote FV. It is about justification by faith alone and arguably those, who like Jared are still confused about it, is in no small part due to the equivocation and double mindedness, not to mention lying, on the part of JJ and the rest of the BH gang when it comes to the FV.

    Sorry to break the bad news to you, but somebody has got to do it. Such delusions should not go unmolested. Nor rascals like JJ unexposed.

  70. Bob Suden said,

    September 19, 2010 at 1:08 am

    68 Douglas,

    You say, the Reformation showed up for debates?
    In #2 you rise again to invite any critic of FV to debate with you?

    Scuse me. While there are others, for one, Robbins and Gerety’s Not Reformed At All was published in 2004. Are you saying some six years later that you still need Trinity Foundation to provide you with a complimentary review copy?

    Didn’t think so.

  71. Roger du Barry said,

    September 19, 2010 at 1:30 am

    I would be interested to know how and why the six days article has been rejected by the NAPARC. This is a huge concession to the atheist evolution agenda, which surgically removes ay least eleven chapters from Genesis, starting with verse 1, and makes the rest of the Bible unintelligible.

    IMO opinion those who refuse to subscribe to an honest reading of Genesis should be removed from the ministry for incompetence in the grammatical-historical method.

    If anyone is interested in enlightening me, I can be contacted at roger dubarry (one word) at talk talk (one word) dot net.

  72. jared said,

    September 19, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Bob S.,

    RE: 69,

    Sorry, but I’m not confused at all about JBFA. It’s pretty straightforward, really.

  73. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 19, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Douglas Wilson, #58: “Neither am I angry with the man who broke his word, and I am certainly not angry with the confessional presbyterians who helped him break it.”

    I’m glad to hear it. But it looked like you were angry when you wrote in #17: “First, the posting of this is encouraging and enabling a gross violation of the scriptural duty of keeping your promises and vows. If that scriptural point is not compelling enough, it is also a violation of the Westminster Larger Catechism. This is not just wrong; it is grotesque.”

    It makes me wonder what you’d write if you were angry.

    “One commenter, in the spirit of let’s you and him fight, asked for a point by point refutation of what Jim said.”

    That’s demonstrably false. What I wrote was: “Without Douglas Wilson substantively rebutting James Jordan’s claims, I’m inclined to give James Jordan’s statements the benefit of the doubt of being TRUE.” A substantive rebuttal does not necessarily mean a “point by point refutation of what Jim said.”

    “But I don’t have to refute it if the point of contention is whether or not I teach or hold the same things. All I have to do is deny that I teach or hold these things, which means that the post Jim wrote is not helpful at all in summarizing FV teaching.”

    #1. Jim did not write a summary of FV teaching.

    #2. Was the point of contention whether or not you teach or hold the same things? I don’t think so. The title of pastor Keister’s post is “James Jordan Tells the Truth,” not does Douglas Wilson teach or hold the same things as James Jordan.

    “Jim said, “We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism.” This is ambiguous at best.”

    Ambiguous to who? Heck, I thought your comment in #17 was ambiguous.

    “Which “traditional presbyterianism”?”

    So are you saying that there is more than one “traditional presbyterianism”?

    “But I would say it is misleading and wrong because in the previous sentences he pairs it up with the “whole Reformation tradition.” “We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points.”

    Jim is right that we are paedocommunion and the Reformers by and large were not. That is granted. But contemporary Reformedville, remaining anti-pc, departs from the “whole Reformed tradition” far more than do I. I am much closer to Bucer and Calvin, for example, than are Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, or other worthies. On the point of paedocommunion, they are closer than I.”

    So what exactly makes Jim Jordan’s statement “misleading and wrong”? Just because you claim that Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, or other worries are farther apart from Bucer and Calvin than you on some points, while they are closer than you on paedocommunion? How does that make Jim Jordan’s statement “misleading and wrong”?

    What you’re saying is that the FV’ers differ from the non-FV’ers on certain points. That doesn’t make Jim Jordan’s statements “misleading and wrong.”

    “But I am not angry with him for disagreeing with me any more than I am angry with you guys for disagreeing with the Westminster Confession at so many places.”

    Wait a minute. Are you saying that Pastor Lane Keister and others are disagreeing with the Westminster Confession in “so many places”? Do they stipulate and agree with you that they disagree with the Westminster Confession in “so many places”? And what are the “so many places” that they disagree with within the Westminster Confession?

    Talk about ambiguous. Sheeesh.

  74. Ron Henzel said,

    September 19, 2010 at 4:54 am

    This is what happens when a guy who knows just enough to be dangerous admits the truth, and a guy who knows even less refuses to do the same.

  75. graydo said,

    September 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

    >I mean even thieves have honor, right?

    More than ministers on occasion. But it ought not be so.

    >IOW let me connect the dots with a tarbrush.
    His comments at BH belie his oath of subscription in the PCA, even if “good faith” subscription is now the rule in the PCA.

    When was Jordan a minister in the PCA? Maybe he was but a few minutes googling didn’t turn anything up, including his bio at wikipedia. And according to posters at puritanboard he is/was not PCA.

    And if he behaved dishonourably how is that an excuse for others to do the same?

  76. TurretinFan said,

    September 19, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Doug Wilson wrote:

    But contemporary Reformedville, remaining anti-pc, departs from the “whole Reformed tradition” far more than do I. I am much closer to Bucer and Calvin, for example, than are Scott Clark, Darryl Hart, or other worthies. On the point of paedocommunion, they are closer than I.

    a) I wish you wouldn’t point out Hart as an example of “Reformedville,” since we’ve been busy explaining why his R2K theology (not 2K theology) is outside the Confessional boundaries.

    b) I’m not sure how you’re measuring closeness to the Reformed tradition. If someone agreed with Calvin on every point except that he thought that Jesus was not God, that wouldn’t be closer than someone like DGH who disagrees with Calvin on lots of things.

    Your view on union with Christ is something we think is much more significant than the PC that follows it.

    -TurretinFan

  77. September 19, 2010 at 9:01 am

    graydo:

    For the record, Mr. Jordan was never a teaching elder in the PCA, nor did he ever have his credentials with the OPC.

    Jordan holds a Th.M. degree from Westminster Theological Seminary, circa 1977-78, and he was ordained in 1982 by the Association of Reformed Churches.

  78. graydo said,

    September 19, 2010 at 9:57 am

    >For the record, Mr. Jordan was never a teaching elder in the PCA, nor did he ever have his credentials with the OPC.

    That’s what I thought, thanks for clarifying.

  79. dghart said,

    September 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Tfan, in point of fact you are more uncomfortable with the Confession of Faith used by American Presbyterians than I am. I am fully in line with the Confession of Faith. You may side with Calvin. That is your freedom. But American Presbyterians rejected Calvin in 1787. When will you and other critics of 2k get over it?

  80. Bob Suden said,

    September 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    75,78 graydo, yes, you are correct re. JBJ’s relationship to the PCA as Wayne Sparkman substantiates. My bad in 69.

    Yet JBJ tells us that he is “someone pledged to the Standards by my ordination” (in the AssocReformedChurches?) and the FV in the JFVS, which JBJ also signed, affirms the FV’s place in the mainstream of P&R theology and harmony with the P&R confessions.

    In private though, JBJ says completely otherwise. What gives?

    IOW the standard ploy of a minority is to appeal its agreement with the majority in order to buy time for consolidation and progress. IOW the tactic is as old as the hills and JBJ is essentially bearing false witness. Consequently the larger issue is that nobody is oath or honor bound to protect him.
    Unless they buy into theological double speak.
    Ahem.

    Addendum
    Mr. Wilson,
    Re. your #4 of 68 and the context of JBJ’s email, one waits with bated breath for the veritable tidal wave of posts from the BH forum wherein the vast majority of members valiantly expostulated, opposed and refuted Mr. Jordan’s remarks.

    Will we asphyxiate ourselves waiting?
    As in to ask, is to answer.

    Thank you

  81. Randy said,

    September 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks, Mr. Wilson, for your courage and tone. I am more impressed by the one who said, “neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more,” than by the stones in the dirt.

  82. TurretinFan said,

    September 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    DGH wrote:

    Tfan, in point of fact you are more uncomfortable with the Confession of Faith used by American Presbyterians than I am. I am fully in line with the Confession of Faith. You may side with Calvin. That is your freedom. But American Presbyterians rejected Calvin in 1787. When will you and other critics of 2k get over it?

    a) Speaking in terms of doctrine rather than comfort, my doctrines are within bounds, whether or not yours are, will be addressed soon enough.

    b) Actually, what American Presbyterians did in the late 18th century was to broaden the tent. I’ve explained that here (link to explanation). I think it’s irresponsible at best to say that American Presbyterians “rejected Calvin.”

    – TurretinFan

  83. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 20, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Darryl Hart: “But American Presbyterians rejected Calvin in 1787. When will you and other critics of 2k get over it?”

    Please explain your assertion that American Presbyterians rejected Calvin in 1787.

    Also, TurretinFan and others have made it abundantly clear that they are critics of your R2K, not critics of 2K. When you say that TurretinFan is a critic of 2K, you are being misleading.

  84. TurretinFan said,

    September 20, 2010 at 7:36 am

    By way of contrast between DGH (R2K) and R. Scott Clark, consider RSC’s post: “Calvin on the Two Kingdoms.”

    Notice that in the comment box there, RSC writes: “My take is, as they say, that he had a theory but not the praxis. He lived under Christendom. The transition from theory to practice took time. I would say that he was a theocrat, but there are arguments (one just published recently) that claim that he was not even a theocrat.”

    I think we can see a difference between that and the “rejected Calvin” view of DGH.

    -TurretinFan

  85. Deborah Vaughan said,

    September 20, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I’m just wondering how context would change the meaning of what Jordan said one way or the other. Thought about it for a day, and still can’t see how it would change the meaning of what he said.

  86. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 20, 2010 at 10:36 am

    TurretinFan: “I wish you wouldn’t point out Hart as an example of “Reformedville,” since we’ve been busy explaining why his R2K theology (not 2K theology) is outside the Confessional boundaries.”

    I agree.

    On another note, how interesting that on back-to-back threads the Green Baggins blog can engage both Darryl Hart (R2K) and Douglas Wilson (FV), two lightning rods in Presbyterian circles.

    And both of them on this thread alone. Thanks pastor Keister for this blog.

  87. Mason said,

    September 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Ron Henzel @ #74 – you nailed it. I would love to buy Wilson for what he knows, and sell him for what he thinks he knows…

  88. Zrim said,

    September 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Come now, TUAD, in the 2k post you repeatedly deny that you’re trying to place Hart’s articulation of 2k outside the Reformed pale. Now you agree with Tfan that it “is outside the Confessional boundaries”?

    I recall a human communications prof once explaining how women relate to men by giving a similtaneous “come hither/go away” gesture.

  89. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 20, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Zrim,

    That 2K post has over 300 comments. That may explain why you have trouble following and tracking arguments.

    Recall what I wrote in #107:

    “And so TurretinFan, assuming your logic is airtight and your argument impeccable, that would then leave Darryl Hart with the enviable choice of deciding between being

    (A) Outside the Confessional Boundaries that he purportedly confesses to.

    Or

    (B) Being a theonomist.

    D’Oh!”

  90. Matt Beatty said,

    September 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Mason (or Ron),

    When I was in junior high school, there were always little “tough guys” talking a good line about so-and-so. Until so-and-so told them, “Meet you at 3:00 in the parking lot.” Predictably, they were nowhere to be found at 3.

    Mason, you don’t just accuse Doug of being mistaken, but devoid of understanding and clueless about it. Ron, you’re not impressed with Wilson’s theological acumen, either.

    How about either one of you two theological giants (compared poorly-educated, confused, duplicitous, and arrogant Wilson, of course) fly out to Moscow and have a 2-3 hour RECORDED conversation with him on the FV Statement. I’ll pay your airfare. Or his to come to your place.

    How ’bout it? We won’t even call it a debate, just you drilling Doug with questions on the text of Scripture and our theological tradition (the one he’s so ill-equipped to speak about…) and he gets to return the favor.

    P.S. Moscow really is lovely this time of year…

  91. Ron Henzel said,

    September 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Matt,

  92. Ron Henzel said,

    September 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Comment 91 was intended to read:

    “Yawn…”

    But I guess you can’t use those little “” characters for that purpose.

  93. David Gray said,

    September 20, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Matt,

    Yes, people are reluctant to interact with Pastor Wilson.

    Bill Buckley was once asked why Robert Kennedy wouldn’t appear on “Firing Line”. He responded “why does bologna reject the grinder?”

  94. Mason said,

    September 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Matt,

    I like my chances against a guy who promotes bottle-feeding communion wafers to babies. So yeah, sign me up for a trip to Boise (Moscow)….

  95. TurretinFan said,

    September 21, 2010 at 8:47 am

    That’s quite an offer, Matt! You could probably save on airfare by using Skype, though it would lose some of the “face to face” qualities.

  96. Matt Beatty said,

    September 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Mason –

    I’m glad you like your chances… can’t win if you don’t believe you can win.

    Who are you, by the way? I think Doug will want to know more than “Mason” before we get everything set-up.

    If Skype records – even better.

  97. Ron Henzel said,

    September 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Matt,

    It’s difficult to take anyone seriously who puts Doug Wilson on a par with William F. Buckley. It’s even more difficult to take anyone seriously who thinks that the kind of forum you describe will confirm Wilson’s grasp of Reformed theology when Reformed Is Not Enough, Wilson’s blog, and other things he’s written have already demonstrated the limits thereof so definitively.

  98. September 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    [...] There’s no shortage of discussion and analysis of what this means.  Some taking it to be a smoking gun and crying “ah-hah!” while others pointing it out as the views of one person.  If you’re keen on the meat of the discussion, take a look at the post & comments over at Greenbaggins. [...]

  99. David Gray said,

    September 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    >It’s difficult to take anyone seriously who puts Doug Wilson on a par with William F. Buckley.

    A comparison of the relationships between parties does not draw equivalence between parties, merely the relationship. And it wasn’t Matt…

  100. Matt Beatty said,

    September 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Ron,

    So that’s a “no” from you, Ron?

    I’m left with the impression that you and Mason, Baggins, Scott Clark, Wes White and all the others self-appointed defenders of Reformed Orthodusty driving all the sons of John Murray (and others) out of your Presbyteries are all too busy to handle the wolf within your gates?

    If Doug’s as dangerous as you say he is, why not take the opportunity to show everyone else – face-to-face, point-by-point. Of course, it’s difficult to imagine that someone so dull and unschooled could be do dangerous, but that just further confirmation of MY thickheadedness, right?

    Piper thinks he’s O.K. and guys like Lig Duncan get up in public with baptists and charismatics like Dever, Mahaney, and presumably Piper… and this leaves Piper in the odd position of someone who is inviting a denier of the faith (according to Lane) to his conferences.

    And this makes sense to all of you?

  101. Dean B said,

    September 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Matt

    The goal is not to drive out Wilson from NAPARC, but to drive his followers from NAPARC.

    Everyone is aware Mohler does not subscribe to the WCF and could not serve in NAPARC, but if Mohler was in the PCA masquerading as a Presbyterian I am certain Duncan would do everything to drive him out.

    Inconsistent? Absolutely not!

  102. TurretinFan said,

    September 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I’d prefer to drive Wilson into NAPARC by persuading him of the error of his current doctrines.

  103. Dean B said,

    September 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    TFan

    Good point

  104. Dan MacDonald said,

    September 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Lane,

    Why would you drive all PC people out of the PCA? Is it not still an allowed exception, as per the historic PCA position papers? Granted that it would probably flush out all FV’ers, if that was the goal, but I met more than a few PC pastors in the PCA whilst in seminary over a decade ago – before FV exploded on to our scene, I think. None were FV’ers, but many had much sympathy with allowing children to the table.

  105. September 21, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Mason, in #87 you landed a pretty good one.

    Just a quick point on how coy everybody is about a debate, or a face-to-face interaction. When this issue comes up, it can be said (as in #97) that RINE, and Mablog, etc, are sufficient in themselves to convict me of multiple and egregious errors. But the problem is that there is a stark difference between what I actually write and what you guys say I write. If I were present at a debate, I could pull our the relevant book, or post, read the context or the contrary quote, and there somebody would be, with enough eggs for a Denver omelet on his face. That, apparently, is not to be risked.

    For an example from this thread, it is asserted in #94 that I promote bottle feeding communion wafers to babies, when I have expressly and repeatedly taught against doing any such thing. Somebody doesn’t know what he is talking about. And it doesn’t matter if it is Mason, who doesn’t know my position, or the URC study jokesters who don’t. The same thing would happen.

  106. September 21, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Can Mr. Wilson or anyone else point me to Mr. Wilson’s response to Robbins & Gerety’s “Not Reformed At All”? Thanks in advance.

  107. David Gadbois said,

    September 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Keep the discussion of 2K over in the other comment thread, folks.

  108. David Gadbois said,

    September 21, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Dean said Everyone is aware Mohler does not subscribe to the WCF and could not serve in NAPARC, but if Mohler was in the PCA masquerading as a Presbyterian I am certain Duncan would do everything to drive him out.

    I think it is worth mentioning that to their credit the baptists at least get justification sola fide and the law/gospel distinction and are clear about these things in their preaching and teaching. Not so much with the FV movement. What is more dangerous, erring on the subjects of baptism or erring on sola fide? I don’t think there is any basis for a claim that there is a double standard at work with folks like Ligon Duncan.

  109. Roger du Barry said,

    September 22, 2010 at 12:52 am

    I have never met a Baptist who believes in sola fide. All the ones I know are decisionists to a man. Piper might be an exception.

  110. September 22, 2010 at 3:12 am

    @David Gadbois: Well put.

    @Roger du Barry: After reading your comment (#108), I can think of several possible reasons for your posting of it.
    A) You have had extremely limited and/or superficial interaction with Baptist theologians.
    B) You do not understand the doctrine of sola fide.
    C) Both A & B.
    D) You are deliberately seeking to stir up strife among brothers.
    E) Both B & D.

    I’d like to assume A, but given that you believe Piper to be possibly the only Baptist you know of who holds to sola fide, that leads me to think B is a good choice. Now, if you are the same Roger du Barry that is the author of the blog “Kata Rogeron,” then that leads me to rule out A & C. The ruling out of A encourages me to accept D. Therefore, I judge that E is the most likely possibility. If I’m mistaken, and A was the right answer after all, then allow me to introduce myself. I can also provide much stronger recommendations than Piper, if needed.

  111. September 22, 2010 at 3:17 am

    @Roger du Barry: After reading more of your blog, I am no longer in doubt of my choosing E, with a strong emphasis on B.

  112. September 22, 2010 at 3:31 am

    @David Gadbois: To clarify, I am a Reformed Baptist myself, so I can understand that you believe my credobaptist beliefs to be in error, yet appreciate your appropriate weighting of theological importance.

  113. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Matt,

    Please quit while you’re behind.

  114. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Doug,

    Where do I begin? How about here?:

    Membership in the Christian faith is objective—it can be photographed and fingerprinted.

    [Reformed Is Not Enough, 21. Italics added.]

    Raise your hand if you knew that the Westminster Confession taught baptismal regeneration…

    [Ibid., 103. Italics added.]

    We therefore receive all baptized individuals as covenant members. “[Y]et it must be emphasized, that until the Church acts to formally remove someone from the covenant by way of excommunication, all baptized persons are to be considered full covenant members.” When we do this in the case of covenant breakers, we are treating their baptisms with greater respect than they do.

    [Ibid., 106.]

    Both the authors of the Halfway Covenant and their opponents are turning over in their graves.

  115. TurretinFan said,

    September 22, 2010 at 7:42 am

    DW wrote: “Just a quick point on how coy everybody is about a debate, or a face-to-face interaction.”

    This is a little bit of an embarrassment. If you’re looking for a Skype debate on the Federal Vision, I could offer you a debate on this resolution: “The Federal Vision Joint Statement’s teaching on apostasy is contrary to Scripture.”

    I’ve previously discussed the problems I have with the Federal Vision Joint Statement here (link to discussion).

    And, for background, you can find all my posts on the Federal Vision using the “Federal Vision” tag on my blog (link to search based on tag, you may need to click “older posts” to see some of the older posts that include this tag).

    But, of course, I’m not a big name (in fact, I’m a no name, a pseudonymous blogger), although a few people have been willing to debate me nonetheless.

    -TurretinFan

  116. David DeJong said,

    September 22, 2010 at 8:35 am

    The irony is palpable. After Doug Wilson observed that his opponents have a tendency to take his words out of context (#104), Ron Henzel rises to the occasion and does exactly that (#113).

    Ron, why don’t you clarify your quotation from p.21 of RINE by including the full paragraph on p.20, the one that begins with “This means that if someone has been a Christian his whole life…”? Based on that paragraph, in what sense is Doug Wilson using the term “Christian” in the quotation you cite?

    As for baptism: a strong wing of the Reformed tradition has always that “all baptized members are to be considered full covenant members.” This is particularly true of the TFU tradition; you might find reading Dutch church history interesting.

    As for “baptismal regeneration”: I would ask you, based on a careful reading, to explain to me how Wilson uses this term and how it contrasts, for him, with “sacerdotalism,” another term he uses.

  117. Matt Beatty said,

    September 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Ron,

    Perhaps you’d like to tell us, on the basis of the Westminster Confession of Faith or 3FU, what those baptized into Christ ARE, if not “full covenant members?”

    If the there are not, as the WS indicate, two covenants but one and the price of admission for covenant children under the former administration of the covenant was circumcision (from which many apostasized) and the price of admission to the current administration of that covenant is baptism (from which some will apostasize), then why shouldn’t we call baptized children (or adults) “Christians” in the same way I would’ve called ALL Israelites, knowing that there will be some who will not persevere, but be covenant breakers?

    From Berkhof…

    “But now the question arises, whether in the estimation of these Reformed theologians, all the non-elect are outside the covenant of grace in every sense of the word. Brakel virtually takes this position, BUT HE IS NOT IN LIFE WITH THE MAJORITY. They (the previously spoken-of “Reformed theologians”…) realized very well that a covenant of grace, which is no sense of the word included others than the elect, would be purely individual, while the covenant of grace is represented in Scripture as an organic idea. They were fully aware of the fact that, according to God’s special revelation in both the OT and NT, the covenant as a historical phenomenon is perpetuated in successive generations AND INCLUDES MANY IN WHOM THE COVENANT OF LIFE IS NEVER REALIZED.”

    What’s the problem, Ron?

  118. Zrim said,

    September 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    What is more dangerous, erring on the subjects of baptism or erring on sola fide?

    David, why do we have to decide? Don’t things like Belgic 29 and WCF 25 say that soteriology and sacramentology matter greatly?

    And what about Belgic 34 that says in part, “For that reason we detest the error of the Anabaptists who are not content with a single baptism once received and also condemn the baptism of the children of believers. We believe our children ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as little children were circumcised in Israel on the basis of the same promises made to our children.” Language like this would suggest that erring on baptism is quite dangerous. Truly, I don’t understand the ubiquitous Reformed opinion that suggests we decide between soteriology and sacramentology when they are intimately tied together.

  119. Mason said,

    September 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Doug Wilson @ #105 –

    The bottle-feeding quip was intended to be humorous hyperbole – I didn’t know anyone has actually accused you of advocating that! I intended it as a funny retort to Matt’s bragadocio.

    Matt, I’m just a regular guy without any formal seminary training. I don’t possess any great rhetorical skill. I do believe the FV is theologically dangerous, and I believe it is highly arrogant to believe virtually everyone in the Reformed world is wrong or doesn’t understand FV teaching. I think a tincture of humility is needed for many FV advocates. Hence my jab in #87…

  120. Raja Dani said,

    September 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Zrim said:

    “Language like this would suggest that erring on baptism is quite dangerous.”

    That’s why the Bible is our ultimate authority, not the confessions. Good thing, eh?!

    Seems like you’re not so dogmatic when it comes to 2K.

    Best,

    RD

  121. Raja Dani said,

    September 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Quite so *confessionalist*, I should say….

  122. PDuggie said,

    September 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    David,

    You say the “law/gospel distinction” isn’t clear in the FV.

    It isn’t clear in Reformed theology like it is in Luthernism or in the neo-antinomianism of Clark, et al either.

    The lutherans say its a dangerous error to teach “that no one has ever been saved without good works; or that it is impossible to be saved without good works.”

    But it is my understanding that many reformed are happy to say that. Aren’t they?

    So Law Gospel can be “clear” or it can be so “clear” that you start making mistakes like the Lutherans. I think the FV is on the non-lutheran side of the Law Gospel position, but its recognizable.

  123. September 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Ron,

    You should answer just “who” baptized members of the church are, since it seems by your selective quoting you dont believe them to be “full” members of the covenant. If, in Dougs language, covenant = visible church, then is he wrong to assert that children baptized into the Name are members of the church. Or are they something less than members,maybe just pretend members, maybe just dedicated members, maybe only “external” members of the visible church…they are something, so cough up the goods, what are they.

  124. September 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Matt/Jesse,

    FVers use common terms in uncommon ways. That’s an well-documented enabler for their parallel soteriology.

    Perhaps one of you should define “full covenant member” for Ron before he wastes his time. What benefits do “full covenant members” get in your theology? When do they get these benefits? To what covenant do you refer when you use it this descriptor? Perhaps clearly defining your terms will aid accurate communication.

  125. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I have already defined the terms above suffciently to have the conversation. Are batpized children or believing members to be considered full members of the church like every other member?

    Rons a big boy, he can answer for himself.

  126. September 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    OK, Jesse, now I’m asking. Please answer the questions I asked in #124. Are you saying that baptism the only thing required to become a “full covenant member”? Please define the benefits that accrue to “full covenant members”. When do they get these benefits? To what covenant do you refer when you use it this descriptor?

  127. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    David,

    Regarding your comment 116: I think the real irony here is that Doug Wilson’s defenders often don’t read him as closely as his critics. You wrote:

    Ron, why don’t you clarify your quotation from p.21 of RINE by including the full paragraph on p.20, the one that begins with “This means that if someone has been a Christian his whole life…”? Based on that paragraph, in what sense is Doug Wilson using the term “Christian” in the quotation you cite?

    First of all, your question confuses the issue to such an extent that I think we need to re-read Wilson’s words from page 21 of RINE as I quoted them earlier:

    Membership in the Christian faith is objective—it can be photographed and fingerprinted.

    [Reformed Is Not Enough, 21. Italics added.]

    Notice that, once again, I have italicized the word “faith.” I did so for a reason. If you were to diagram Wilson’s sentence here, the subject would be “membership,” and the subject-verb-predicate nominative combination would boil down to: “membership is objective.” But membership in what? The visible church? The covenant? No: membership in the faith. So understanding this sentence is not a question of what sense Wilson is using the term “Christian.” “Christian” is merely an adjective modifying “faith.”

    So Wilson is not talking about belonging to (which is what “membership” means) the church or the covenant, but belonging to the Christian faith. And what does it mean to belong to the Christian faith? Does it merely mean to outwardly profess a set of beliefs? I suppose there are a couple of places in Scripture where the word could be construed in that way, but this is certainly not true of the vast majority of its occurrences, where it refers to an inward trust. Furthermore, to be “in the faith”—a phrase that appears frequently in the NT (Acts 14:22; 16:5; 1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 1:25; Col. 1:23; 2:7; 1 Tim. 1:2; 3:13; 2 Tim. 1:13) never refers to mere outward profession, let alone the status of having been baptized.

    But this is clearly what Wilson teaches in pages 20 and 21 of RINE:

    This means that if someone has been a Christian his whole life, but then comes into the new life that Christ presented to Nicodemus, we can say that he has become a Christian inwardly. He has now been baptized inwardly. He has become a Christian in truth. …

    …Advocates of the “ethereal Church” need to learn that, according to the Bible, a Christian is one who would be identified as such by a Muslim. [!] Membership in the Christian faith is objective—it can be photographed and fingerprinted.

    [Ibid., 20-21.]

    And yet, given the way Wilson labors to draw covenantal parallels between circumcision and baptism to establish his case that all baptized people are “Christians,” his entire argument, from beginning to end, is utterly demolished and lies in hopeless ruin thanks to two little verses in Romans:

    For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    [Romans 2:28-29, ESV]

    In case the conclusion is not abundantly obvious, allow me to apply the blade of Paul’s conclusion to the root of Wilson’s heresy:

    For no one is a Christian who is merely one outwardly, nor is baptism outward and physical. But a Christian is one inwardly, and baptism is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    You wrote:

    As for baptism: a strong wing of the Reformed tradition has always that “all baptized members are to be considered full covenant members.” This is particularly true of the TFU tradition; you might find reading Dutch church history interesting.

    I’m more interested in Dutch Reformed theology than Dutch church history. Here’s one Dutchman citing two others:

    Hence the question arises, in what sense such persons [i.e., the unregenerate] may be regarded as being in the covenant. Dr. Kuyper says that they are not essential participants of the covenant, though they are really in it; and Dr. Bavinck says that they are in foedere (in the covenant), but not de foedere (of the covenant).

    [Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 288-289.]

    As for the position Berkhof himself presents: he is content to describe their position as (a) obligating them legally to repent and believe, (b) granting them access to the covenantal promises, (c) putting them under the covenant’s ministrations, and (d) exposed to, though not full partakers of, the covenant’s “common” blessings. But “full membership?” I don’t see it in Kuyper, Bavinck, or Berkhof, and it seems odd (read: preposterous) not to find it in such meticulous Dutch scholars as these if what you say is true about the Three Forms of Unity Reformed.

    You wrote:

    As for “baptismal regeneration”: I would ask you, based on a careful reading, to explain to me how Wilson uses this term and how it contrasts, for him, with “sacerdotalism,” another term he uses.

    If Wilson had written, “Raise your hand if you knew that the Westminster Confession taught Arianism…” would you be asking me to carefully investigate how Wilson used the term “Arianism” and how it contrasted, for him, with a denial of Christ’s deity? If Wilson had written, “Raise your hand if you knew that the Westminster Confession taught polygamy…” would you be asking me to re-read his text for his differences with Mormonism? “Baptismal regeneration” has a long-established meaning in Christian theology, and if Wilson thinks he can ask cocky questions like that without expecting to take some lumps for it (which, from all the whining that comes out of Moscow, Idaho, it appears that he does), then he’s expecting way too much sympathy.

    Be that as it is: I’ve already read the complete context of the statement. His disclaimers on sacerdotalism are just window-dressing. A few sentences later he goes on to declare:

    …the one baptized has been grafted into Christ…

    [Ibid., 102.]

    I think Guy Waters nailed it when he wrote:

    In view of Lusk’s and Wilson’s understandings of baptism, we cannot expect that the doctrine of saving faith, in all its offices, will fare well. It is already being outshone by baptism.

    [The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology: A Comparative Analysis,294.]

  128. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Matt,

    Regarding your comment 117: in the very passage you cite, Berkhof makes it clear that he is not considering the question of whether the baptized non-elect are “full covenant members,” but rather he is considering the question of whether “all the non-elect are outside the covenant of grace in every sense of the word” (Systematic Theology, 276). I find it enormously humorous that the italics are original with Berkhof; it might almost lead one to conclude that he wanted us to actually notice his qualification! (Gee, ya’ think?) And then Berkhof makes it clear that he will not fully consider that question until later when he writes, “The question of harmonizing these two aspects of the covenant [with believers, on the one hand, and their seed, on the other] will come up later on.” That “later on” occurs in the context of what I cited above from pages 288-289. It’s good stuff; you should read it.

  129. September 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Matt, RE #117,

    From whence does your Berkof quote originate? I have a pretty good collection of Berkhof but cannot find your quote. In any event, I believe that you have misapplied it in this discussion.

    As to the subject, I see you posing a false dilemma. I don’t recall anyone saying that the reprobate have no place in the COG. Rather, the reprobate in the visible church are considered to be in the COG broadly considered. I don’t want to do your homework for you on my questions in #124 and #126, so I won’t go further on that yet. By contrast, the regenerate (elect effectually called) are in the COG narrowly considered and only they receive the benefits due thereto.

    So, when you pose that one is either a “full covenant member”, whatever you mean by that (you haven’t defined it yet) or out of the covenant, you present a false dilemma. Historic Reformed theology recognizes three positions – reprobates outside the church, reprobates in the visible church (COG broadly considered), and the regenerate in the visible and invisible churches (COG narrowly considered) – not two.

    This also assumes that you mean the standard Reformed definition of the Covenant of Grace and not the mythical FV so-called “objective covenant”. That’s a whole other ball of putrid wax.

  130. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Jesse,

    You’re right: I am a big boy. And based on your avatar/photo I think you need to respect your elders.

    You wrote:

    You should answer just “who” baptized members of the church are, since it seems by your selective quoting you dont believe them to be “full” members of the covenant.

    If baptized members of the church of full members of the covenant, it is not on account of their baptism, but on account of regenerate, saving faith. I think I read that in the New Testament somewhere…

    You wrote:

    If, in Dougs language, covenant = visible church, then is he wrong to assert that children baptized into the Name are members of the church.

    That’s quite a hypothetical, there, don’t you think? Let’s see, if in Douggy World a given word means such-and-such, how can he possibly be wrong when he asserts this-and-that regarding other terms that he has his own definitions for? I guess as long as he writes the lexicon, and re-defines common terms, he can always be right, can’t he?

    In that light, your question seems to answer itself, doesn’t it?

    You wrote:

    Or are they something less than members,maybe just pretend members, maybe just dedicated members, maybe only “external” members of the visible church…they are something, so cough up the goods, what are they.

    Excuse me while I clear my throat. The smog of overweening smugness seems to be wafting into my office through my computer screen somehow.

    If you are not regenerate, you are not a “full member of the covenant.” The most important blessing of the covenant is the full package known as salvation, and if you’re not regenerate, you don’t have it. It’s for full members only. You may be a member of the visible church, but that’s not the same thing.

  131. Ron Henzel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Bob,

    You can find Matt’s out-of-context (imagine that!) quote on page 276.

  132. Tim Prussic said,

    September 22, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    #106 – Patrick – I’ve never considered anything out of the Trinity Foundation worth responding to. I should think maybe Guy Waters or somebody else would be a better published FV opponent on which to make your case.

  133. September 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    #132: Tim, I was sincerely asking about Mr. Wilson’s response, not yours. It wasn’t sarcasm; I was/am genuinely interested.

    Incidentally, it’s awfully convenient for you to make such a statement regarding Trinity Foundation. Next time someone whines at me to deal with FV arguments, I’ll just wave them off and say “I’ve never considered anything out of Tim Prussic’s mouth worth responding to.”**

    **Note: That was sarcasm.

  134. September 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Ron,

    Thanks for the reference! I figured that it was out of context, but as you pointed out as well, it doesn’t even help his argument.

  135. Tim Prussic said,

    September 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Patrick, I wasn’t be sarcastic either. But by all means, keep waiting for serious responses to TR publications. I hope you have something to do in the meantime. I also understand that you weren’t directing that question to me. So, sorry to have butted in – though it is quite a public forum. Next time you read/hear an FV argument please do reference me and also engage in some vigorous hand waving. My name carries a TON of weight in FV circles! :)

  136. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Notice Ron, after all the typing you still havent told me “who” baptized members are, you have only told me who the elect are…it is this weakness that created the Federal Vision. You “may be a member of the visible church”? Huh? Calvin could answer the question, why cant you? Are our children, by virtue of being born to believing parents, federally holy Christians? Or are they so only after we figure out their regenerative status?

    So as long as I dont have my picture up, can I be as rough with people as you are, or does that only go one way? I imagine you must be older than Doug, and I am sure you checked Matt’s birth certificate before your volleys of disrespect? If there is smog in your office, don’t blame the screen.

  137. jared said,

    September 22, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Jesse,

    RE: 136,

    It gets worse. You asked,

    Are our children, by virtue of being born to believing parents, federally holy Christians? Or are they so only after we figure out their regenerative status?

    The problem with this setup is that there is no way to determine anyone’s regenerative status besides our own (and there can be deception here as well). In fact, it isn’t our job to; rather our job is to hold each other accountable and this is, in the end, what will separate the sheep from the goats (at least until the Shepherd comes again).

  138. Bob Suden said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:07 am

    106 Pat McW
    Mr. Wilson’s forte is rhetoric and sophistry, not substance. You’ll wait in vain. Just enjoy the glib stylist for what he is.

    And while the class is waiting for Mr. W to fabricate, um . . collect the email context to JBJ’s moment of truth, we also note under #2 of 68 where DW says if the JFVS is jello, so too the WCF

    what with sacraments exhibiting and conferring what they represent meaning they do no such thing.

    Correction, boys and girls, the WCf says that the sacraments exhibit and confer what they represent to the elect.
    Those three little words mean all the difference in the world.

    But being either naive, novices or just downright dense, if not deceitful, the FV is off on a tear.

    (Not that we haven’t seen the same bunch in action before. In the ’90’s the same scam was popular re. the RPW, i.e. deceive and conquer, substitute and equivocate regarding the confessional POV. Now under the new name and different management – essentially Shepherd and Wright instead of Frame – they are up to the same old same old. Those who applaud Doug are either newbies or they refuse to pull their heads out of the sand. The FV guys have a history and a standard MO.)

    But as stated before when this came up at GB -contra his charges in Reformed Is Not Enough about the Enlightenment TR’s (p.9) – Mr. W himself has drunk deep of the Enlightenment elixir and demonstrates symptoms of PWS or Potiphar’s Wife Syndrome, which is commonly called projection nowadays. His covenant theology is all about things and covenants that are objective, material and empirical. Nothing invisible or spiritual for us. Hence the sacraments de facto “confer what they signify” across the board and the WCF teaches “baptismal regeneration.

    As for debate, there has already been plenty and I don’t see the FV responding to and rebutting the official ecclesiastical censures of the FV. Seems like that would be the thing to do. Instead DW and the likeminded are over here throwing some sand in people’s eyes and challenging them to a “debate”. What a waste of precious time, if they are really serious.

    I also note that on the first JFVS re. one JBJ signatory, it says “(minister ARC, Director of Biblical Horizons, member CREC)” Yet shortly(?) afterward it changed to “(minister, teacher at large)”. Hmmm. What happened?

    cordially

  139. Bob Suden said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:20 am

    And before all the fanboys jump in, yes I know DW states that baptism is only efficacious for the elect (RINE, p.105) after the comment about the WCF on p.103. The point is, the double minded back and forth which does nothing but breed confusion in the reader. – Wait, maybe that’s the plan.

    But if it isn’t the plan, all it still means is that charitably somebody shouldn’t be in the pulpit. They belong in the pew. The church doesn’t need novelty for the sake of novelty, which is all the FV amounts to, if it is what it says it is. (Hey we’re in the mainstream. ) Just so long as JBJ ain’t in the group pictures.
    (Wait a minute. He is.
    No worries, just like the old Politburo pictures, nothing that some airbrushing can’t take care of.)

  140. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:50 am

    If the Federal Vision is so important to the FVers, and since they very well know by now that FV theology is divisive and very unwelcome in a number of Reform denominations, then why don’t they just simply set up their own FV denomination where it is expressly part of their confessional statement?

    Why do the FVers want to be an unwelcome parasite that’s living off the host, sucking the member’s blood, and acting like the Nile Virus mosquito? Why not just go away and start up a Federal Vision denomination?

  141. Ron Henzel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Jesse,

    You wrote:

    Notice Ron, after all the typing you still havent told me “who” baptized members are, you have only told me who the elect are…it is this weakness that created the Federal Vision.

    I have to say three things at this point: (1) any talk of such “weakness” is sheer and utter nonsense, (2) any attempt to blame such nonexistent “weakness” for the existence of the Federal Vision is (shall we say?) misinformed, and (3) at the same time, pardon me that the comments I made with the information you’re looking for were not explicit enough for you. Regarding (3): if you’ll check out my comments 127 and 128, you’ll see I have no objection whatsoever to acknowledging that Berkhof is correct that baptized church members who are not regenerate are “in the covenant,” just not full members of it. I did, after all, call the Berkhof passages that deal with it “good stuff.”

    So let’s review, just to be sure: baptism places you “in the covenant.” Although I would want to add some minor qualifications and observations, it’s fair enough to say that this means the things Berkhof says it means. At the same time, Berkhof does not register any objection with Kuyper’s or Bavinck’s formulations:

    Dr. Kuyper says that they are not essential participants of the covenant, though they are really in it; and Dr. Bavinck says that they are in foedere (in the covenant), but not de foedere (of the covenant).

    [Ibid.]

    Thus Kuyper’s and Bavinck’s formulations who represent the beginning of my own clarifications and qualifications of Berkhof’s. And I think that these three Dutchman have made it abundantly clear (even though my citation of them apparently hasn’t made it clear enough for you) that you cannot refer to anyone as a “full covenant member” until they are regenerate, even though they are “in the covenant.”

    You wrote:

    You “may be a member of the visible church”? Huh? Calvin could answer the question, why cant you?

    Next time I’ll hire a skywriter for you. Just tell me where you live and I’ll make sure he doesn’t come at night.

    You wrote:

    Are our children, by virtue of being born to believing parents, federally holy Christians? Or are they so only after we figure out their regenerative status?

    No, they are not federally holy, because—you see—we’ve got this doctrine called federal headship, and there are only two kinds: Adam’s and Christ’s. Sorry, but the Bible just didn’t make any more kinds of headship. I know: it really sucks for you if you’re Federal Vision. Bummer.

    And, you know, the Bible kind of reserves that whole federal headship of Christ thing for the regenerate. It just doesn’t have a slot for people who are both under Adam’s federal headship (i.e., lost) and under Christ’s (i.e. saved) at the same time. I know: really inconvenient for people who don’t like the constraints of the Westminster Standards, too. Sorry.

    It’s not that unbelieving children of believing parents are in no sense holy. I mean, like, even the vessels in the temple were “holy,” but that didn’t mean they’re, like, “regenerate” or “saved” or anything.

    Oh, and one more thing: we’ve been kind of going over all this stuff—like, just about every detail of it—for about three or four years now at this blog. No kidding—really! In fact, if you scroll up and click on the “Heresy/Federal Vision” category you can see the tons and tons of discussion we’ve had, much of it on the very point you’re raising here. We’ve even used an acronym—NECM for “Non-Elect Covenant Member”—to make it easier. But don’t worry: it’s our fault; we should have told you.

    You wrote:

    So as long as I dont have my picture up, can I be as rough with people as you are, or does that only go one way? I imagine you must be older than Doug, and I am sure you checked Matt’s birth certificate before your volleys of disrespect? If there is smog in your office, don’t blame the screen.

    OK, maybe that’s my fault. Perhaps I just overreacted to the way you butted into my conversation with your barking order to me to “cough up the goods” and you’re remark that “Rons a big boy” during those twelve-plus hours when I was at work and way too busy to respond. I should have been more mature than those digs sounded. (BTW: it’s a good thing my keyboard has a “Delete” key; I could have had a lot more to apologize for!)

    Mea culpa. My bad. Je le regrette.

    OK, where’s my coffee?

  142. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Ron,

    You wrote,
    “No, they are not federally holy, because—you see—we’ve got this doctrine called federal headship, and there are only two kinds: Adam’s and Christ’s. Sorry, but the Bible just didn’t make any more kinds of headship. I know: it really sucks for you if you’re Federal Vision. Bummer. ”

    I respond,
    Wow, Ron, quite a strong response. Please hear what our forefathers wrote in the Westminster Public Directory of Worship (you know that crazy Federal Vision rag from yesteryear),

    “That children, by baptism, are solemnly received into the bosom of the visible church, distinguished from the world, and them that are without, and united with believers; and that all who are baptized in the name of Christ, do renounce, and by their baptism are bound to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh: That they are Christians, and federally holy before baptism, and therefore are they baptized:”

    So again, Ron Henzel, “No, they are not federally holy”

    Westminster Directory of Worship, “That they are Christians and federally holy before baptism and therefore are they baptized”.

    Ron, I know you would agree with the Directory if it were put in other language that you had been more familiar or comfortable with. I don’t doubt that you actually believe this doctrine but when the mocking has been about others intelligence and familiarity with the tradition, it can get a bit tough to take when the ones doing the chest thumping aren’t as clear as they should be either. I have no need to defend the FV guys since I am not one of them, but there is just something in me that gets frustrated with how unkind we act toward one another and how pompously we do so (so I did the very Christian thing of returning the favor, in that I failed and ask your forgiveness).

  143. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 8:54 am

    The federal holiness that children of believers, their membership in the new covenant, is an outward holiness and an outward membership unless and until they are regenerated. That outward/inward distinction is one that the Federal Vision seems loathe to acknowledge, but it is a distinction that is vital to properly understanding the Directory.

    The fact that you can confuse some less educated members of this forum by using terminology they don’t know is a nice parlor trick, but we can see through it (and they can too).

    -TurretinFan

  144. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:03 am

    TF,

    That was the point, maybe you missed it. Notice, despite your angst, I already said I am sure that Ron believed such things. The parlor trick, as you call it, was only to show that if indeed they are “less educated” (your words not mine, sorry Ron it’s TF’s opinion), maybe they shouldn’t throw jabs at the education of Wilson who, while I disagree with them, is far from unintelligent.

  145. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:04 am

    man…I need to stop doing this in a hurry

    “who, while I disagree with him, is far from unintelligent”. Not “them”.

  146. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Fair enough, Jesse. Perhaps I misjudged you.

  147. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:25 am

    TF,

    Also, the question I was asking was concerning what we can say about our children, or for that matter, any member of our church? Do we say of them, “well you are outwardly holy but that is all?” Do we say, “you are a NECM”? What can we positively say, without killing the affirmation with a thousand qualifications about what it “doesn’t” mean?

    Now, you can complain that they aren’t up to speed enough on the language etc., but these are the same ones claiming to “get” the conversation and trying to help poor uniformed folks like me to see the light. If there is this lack of knowledge on a fairly basic point that our forefathers clearly held, why should I trust they get it on all these other levels? And TF, whether you want to admit it or not, there is a problem with many folks in the Reformed world concerning what we can say about our children (notice somehow they know the regenerated and elect status of adults and have no problem naming them with words that speak of full salvation but not the kids…can they really know the one but not the other?).

    I understand the “inner/outer distinction”, the “in but not of” language and I affirm it. I get, not all Israel is Israel. But as a pastor I don’t talk like that to anyone in my congregation. I deal with real people in the real world and I think it is an important question to have an answer to, what can I say about them? I tell them they are holy (and no, I don’t qualify it with “outwardly only” because how do I know that its outward only?). I tell them they belong to Jesus, are part of His body and blessed by Him. To them are the promises, the covenant etc. If our theology leaves us without a positive confession, I don’t see how we keep from being Baptists at the end of the day. Do we believe that the big strong professing types in our churches can be spoken of as elect and regenerate and we can say all the “internal” language things about them because we KNOW it’s true of them because they professed? Is that profession really more reliable than God’s word declared in the water’s of baptism? You know the tradition here, and the only answer we should give is “no”.

    This has been my concern from day 1, and it proves itself all the more when I read conversations like this. There is a danger of overreaction that needs to be gaurded. I agree that FV language went too far, especially the “vital union” language and some of the justification language. But that should not cause us to then to react in a way that we lose the robust sacramental theology of our tradition. May it never be.

  148. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I was writing while you posted, didnt mean to sound like I was piling on.

  149. Tim Prussic said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:37 am

    TF, #143, I think of covenant children in just the opposite fashion. I certainly hold to and internal/external distinction, but I place covenant children on the inside. I think that what we believe about our children bears a great deal of fruit as to how we rear them. If, at the end of the day, we believe the are merely externally attached to the covenant, then we actually think them to be un-believers. It follows that we believe they need to get converted. We believe that covenant children are actually under the wrath of God, and a further degree of wrath no less.

    I don’t believe that way. I believe the promises of God for my children and teach them that their IDENTITY is found in Christ and the redemption in his blood. I tell them they’ve been baptized and have been brought into the family of God. In short, I believe my children are believers – on the inside of the covenant.

  150. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Pastor Pirschel, re. #147,

    A sincere question here. You said “I get, not all Israel is Israel. But as a pastor I don’t talk like that to anyone in my congregation.”

    Why not? isn’t that a direct quotation from Scripture, with direct bearing on the matter under discussion here?

  151. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Tim, re. #149,

    You said, “If, at the end of the day, we believe the are merely externally attached to the covenant, then we actually think them to be un-believers.It follows that we believe they need to get converted.”

    Aren’t they (under normal circumstances) “unconverted” until they have actual faith in Christ, just like every other human being?

  152. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Phil

    Fair question, I should have been more clear. I have no problem preaching that portion of scripture, and even warning that not all in the church are necessarily savingly in Christ. That said, I dont approach John Smith and say you “might not be elect”. I dont have the right. The elders have received his profession and allowed him to the Lord’s table I will deal with him according to those known realities until the session speaks otherwise. In the same manner, the children have been marked by baptism (due to their birth to believing parents) and I will deal with them according to that word until the Church speaks otherwise.

    Even with a rebel in our midst, and we have had them, my warnings to them, my calling for repentance and my judging their fruit does not give me the right to declare to them some “outward holiness only” stance until the elders have judged so officially. I will, in love, hope all things concerning them and call the member to repentance and faith in Christ by means of the grace offered in the Gospel, just as I do Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day to the whole of the Body.

  153. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Phil,

    All that to say, I am not in the routine of getting the congregation to doubt their election or question their place in Christ. In preaching the word, the Spirit can make those realities known without me driving the weak to despair of their place in Christ by turning them constantly inward.

  154. David Gray said,

    September 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    >Aren’t they (under normal circumstances) “unconverted” until they have actual faith in Christ, just like every other human being?

    Phil, the thing is you don’t know that they don’t have faith in Christ. The most a parent can know is whether they have outwardly confessed Christ and you wouldn’t expect a child to do that in classic fashion in their earliest years. I think your pastor’s essay on his blog did a very good job of addressing the whole infant/faith situation.

  155. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Pastor Pirschel,

    Thank you for the clarification. I agree that while we may not need to “constantly” be introspective regarding our faith, there is definitely a biblical mandate to do so in an appropriate fashion and time (2 Cor. 13:5).

  156. Tim Prussic said,

    September 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Phil, #151, define normal circumstances. Are normal covenantal circumstances the same as normal heathen circumstances? Hope not. Here’s my normal: we believe that covenant children have faith from the womb. If not from the womb, then from a very early age. I treat my 1-year-old’s faith as a 1-y-o faith, my 5-y-o’s faith as 5-y-o faith… the faith of a toddler ought to be infantile compared to the faith of a 13-y-o or a 35-y-o. When the children are able to articulate their faith, they’re brought before the session and make profession of faith, and thus made liable to church discipline. If we discern that they are stubborn in sin and parental discipline is not enough, we avail ourselves of church discipline.

    I think that’s the formula from the Bible. I don’t find the “grow up and get converted” in the Bible. We do, however, find it quite prominently in revivalistic and baptistic thought, which have been quite detrimental.

  157. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Tim:

    “I think that what we believe about our children bears a great deal of fruit as to how we rear them.”

    Yes, no doubt.

    “I believe my children are believers”

    Maybe you’re right. When they are very young, your belief may be contrary to the evidence. Perhaps as they mature you will find that your belief was justified.

    But keep this in mind: presumptive regeneration is one thing, but definitive regeneration is another. It is one thing to assume that one’s children are believers until one sees that they are not, it is another to assert that they definitely are believers. It is one thing to have a sincere and grounded hope that they are inwardly part of the new covenant and another thing to insist that they are.

    -TurretinFan

  158. David Gray said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    >It is one thing to assume that one’s children are believers until one sees that they are not, it is another to assert that they definitely are believers.

    To appearances they will seem much alike.

  159. Tim Prussic said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    TF, good enough: we can only know and do what we can know and do. I’m not called to get out my elect-o-meter to check my kids, not even the trusty ol’ regeneraterometer. I simply believe God’s promises to me and to my children. Not so much presumption or insistence as faith. I checked the back of my Bible for a list of the elect, but not even the ESV Study Bible has one. I walk by faith, as do you, brother.

  160. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    TF

    In all seriousness, can we say of the big people that they are definitely believers? Can we be assured of their regeneration? Isn’t this problem always foisted on the kids, and then treated as if it doesn’t apply equally among the adult members?

    You are right, of course, we cannot know with utter certainty that our kids are elect and regenerated, we have no answer key handed down from on high. Aren’t we always presuming, or believing something about everyone and yet at the same time never having infallible knowledge of any human being? It isn’t just an issue for the wee ones. Yet we have no problem with one mode of discourse for big people, but want to insist on another for little ones. I think its off balance.

  161. Ron Henzel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Jesse,

    When I read the term “federally holy” in your previous comment, I read it in terms of the federal headship doctrine, which should be a more-than-obvious conclusion that you could have drawn from my comment. I interpreted it that way because that is what the term “federal” has generally been reserved for in much of Reformed discussion, leaving the term “covenantal” to describe the status of the children of believers (among other things).

    So, if by “federally holy” the Westminster Divines meant that all children of believing parents are automatically under the federal headship of Christ, then I respectfully disagree with them. But, as you and I both know, they meant no such thing, even though Federal Visionists have been guilty of making statements that are often difficult to distinguish from such heretical affirmations.

    On the other hand, if by “federally holy” they meant that the children of believing parents (or even of one believing parent) are sanctified (made holy) by the covenantal status of their believing parent(s), and are in the covenant without having the full membership until they are regenerate, then I have no problem with that meaning of “federally holy,” as I believe I have already abundantly affirmed.

    But, as you even now seem to admit, I am in harmony with the Westminster Divines on these points. So it appears that you hauled out your quote from the Directory to make me look stupid. And it appears that you felt the need to do that because you felt I was not conceding enough to Doug Wilson’s intellect while not being clear enough about my own position. And even though you say you’re not FV and not defending them, it just bothers you when someone carries on the way I have here about one of their leaders. I’m probably not re-stating your position precisely as you would prefer, but that’s my summary and there you have it.

    As for not being clear enough about my own position: although I probably unfairly assumed that you could have gathered it from my comments 127, and I could have put forth a tad more effort than that, ultimately I’m afraid it’s not my fault that you haven’t been here long enough to read my position in my own words. I have poured hours into the comboxes on this blog clarifying it over the past few years. I don’t always have the luxury to spend such quantities of time for every more-recent reader here. And since it’s now clear that you were fixing to ambush me anyway, I’m not sure how much good it would have done.

    As for the tone of my comments, to which you have apparently taken significant umbrage: I will respond by simply saying that my comments were in response to Wilson’s repeated declarations, which he has been publishing abroad on his own blog and elsewhere for a considerable span of time, and of which we got a taste in comments 58 and 68, that he possesses superior knowledge of and fidelity to the Reformed tradition in general and the Westminster Standards in particular than we who oppose him. You find it hard to take when I respond sarcastically to such arrogant claims? You find me “pompous” when I much such statements as this?:

    …I am not angry with him for disagreeing with me any more than I am angry with you guys for disagreeing with the Westminster Confession at so many places.

    [Comment 58]

    You find it “hard to take” when I “unkindly” reply to Wilson’s assertion that we represent “a partisan agenda that doesn’t even have any partisans well-equipped enough to engage in a public debate” [Comment 68], even though the debate has been going on in public for eight years now and his side has humiliatingly lost it in every reputable Reformed denomination?

    You have a hard time dealing with my reaction to him comparing us with Romanists and accusing us of abandoning the Reformation [ibid.]? That really bothers you?

    Really?

    You’ve probably guessed that I’m rarely at a loss for words, so I won’t claim to be. I just typed several things that I know I’ll regret, so I’ve deleted them. If it’s true that you are not part of the FV, then I have no quarrel with you.

    I’ll just leave it at that.

  162. Ron Henzel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    In comment 161, when I wrote:

    You find me “pompous” when I much such statements as this?:

    I meant:

    You find me “pompous” when I mock such statements as this?:

  163. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Ron,

    I dont know why you keep insisting I am a newcomer, I think I was posting and lurking here before you showed up if memory serves me right (its been several years so I cant remember exactly when you started posting).

    Had you been around you would know that I have expressed by dismay with the other sides rhetoric as well, But I am not CRE, I am OP, and therefore the circles I run in are of more concern to me. The way we come off is unhelpful imo, you dont share it so be it. I think aestethics and how we tell our narrative matters, and I think we come off pompous. But again, you dont have to agree and you may like that part of our culture. I personally, could live without it.

    I am fine with leaving it as well.

    As far as “if its true”…well, it is true. But again, you dont have to take my word for it and I wont be hurt.

  164. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    expressed “my” dismay. Seriously, I need to stop posting.

  165. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    JP:

    I think you’ve acknowledged the thing that it is the key point for me.

    As for your comments,

    a) Yes, we are also only confident to some greater or lesser degree about the membership of adults in the invisible church. We can be definitive about their membership in the visible church, and we generally presume that their membership in the visible church corresponds to the their membership in the invisible church.

    b) Yes, there does seem to be something of a double standard about children. But the double standard is at least partially justified. The justification is that we may see what appears to be the fruit of the spirit in an older person, whereas we may not see that in a very young person. One thing that gives us confidence with older children and adults is an actual, credible profession of faith. Young children don’t have that. That’s why we might treat them a little differently.

    – TurretinFan

  166. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    TF,

    I understand your reasoning, I am just in disagreement with it as far as why we should have more confidence in adult professions/fruit etc. I go with Warfield on this one,

    “All baptism is inevitably administered on the basis not of (NB: infallible) 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.”

    And Dort
    Chp. 1. Art. 17: The Salvation of the Infants of Believers
    Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy.

    And Ursinus
    The Church Administers baptism lawfully to all, and only to those, whom she ought to regard among the number of the regenerate, or as members of Christ.

  167. andrew said,

    September 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    While we are sort of on the the topic, can anyone tell me what happened to the joint Lane/Doug review of Venema’s book. I might have missed the end, but I was following quite closely …

    As I was seeing it (admittedly, from a biased viewpoint), the credocommunnion position came under pretty hard pressure in the comments, particularily over the Passover and church history. Several times Lane responded something along the lines of – ‘Yes, yes but wait until we get to I Cor. 11 – that explains everything’.

    From memory, we got to a brief intro to I Cor 11 and that was all. Did I miss the rest? Perhaps D. Wilson failed to respond?

  168. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    JP:

    I’m not sure your authorities would disagree with anything that I said. They certainly don’t disagree with anything I said in the portions you quoted (or if they did, I somehow missed it).

    -TurretinFan

  169. andrew said,

    September 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    On the substance, J. Jordan is wrong. Yes, The Reformers did not advocate paedocommunion.

    But in the grand scheme of things, it merited a footnote in their thoughts. Moreover, paedocommunion. Correctly, or otherwise, paedocommunion is argued from sound Reformed principles.

  170. Jesse Pirschel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    TF

    The main point being fruit is not what they are judging their presumption on (or gaining a more sure hope because of), rather it is based on God’s word and promise which is no less for our children than for the adults.

  171. TurretinFan said,

    September 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    JP:

    One does not exclude the other. The presumption of regeneration is, among the Reformed, a rebuttable presumption.

    -TurretinFan

  172. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    First, I apologize to all for having singled out a few comments made by some people here that sort of took the discussion off in a tangential direction. But I would still like to reply to something that was asked of me due to my my inquiry.

    Tim P. (#156) asked: “…Are normal covenantal circumstances the same as normal heathen circumstances?”

    In the context in which we are considering things I would answer both yes and no. No, in that,

    [The elect prophet-king David speaking] “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5 [NIV])

    “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one…But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:10-12, 21-24)

    Based on these verses, among others, I think it is very difficult to assume that anyone, even the children of believers normally have saving faith from the womb. By the same token, I don’t think we have a biblical warrant to say that any person is normally exempted from the ordinary process through which saving faith is initiated: by hearing and believing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; cf. WCF 14.1). Of course even under this principle fairly young children can come to saving faith. In this sense I think it is indeed then appropriate to say that the (elect) children of believers “grow up [hear the word and respond positively] and are converted.”

    To anticipate a common rebuttal to a view such as this, I would maintain that the prophets Jeremiah and John the Baptist were “abnormal” cases in this respect. Yet I would also say that there certainly can be other, somewhat similar exceptions. For instance, I think it is logically deducible from Scripture that elect persons dying in infancy, or who are for other reasons incapable of having an objectively informed faith (the intellectual component of faith), are saved through an extraordinary working of the Holy Spirit (e.g. WCF 10.3).
    I would answer “no” to your question, in keeping with this principle:

    “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” (Romans 3:1, 2)

    “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 1:14-17)

    In other words, yes, there is incalculable value and benefit in being brought up by faithful, godly parents within the visible church, that is, the external dimension of the covenant (cf. WLC 62, 63). Hand-in-hand with this truth, we also know from Scripture, as well as history and experience, that God often works His decree and grace of election, even disproportionately so (statistically speaking), in the physical progeny of true covenantal believers (cf. 2 Tim. 1:5). On this basis I find myself agreeing with Heinrich Heppe’s summation:

    “Nor yet the children of believing parents one and all, but only for the elect is baptism the sign of regeneration and universal spiritual grace…[Thus] it is right and godly in the case of individual children of the kind to have good hopes of the judgment in love, [even though] in the case of them all it is not so.” (Reformed Dogmatics)

  173. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Correction: I meant to say that, YES, things are the same in the sense of what is considering in the first part of my post – and NO in terms of the latter.

  174. David Gray said,

    September 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Too much Thornwell, not enough WCF for my understanding.

  175. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Just out of curiosity, where is the idea found that there is anything less than a “full covenant member”? I haven’t stumbled across that verse yet.

    Aren’t you either in or out? You can either be a faithful covenant member (i.e. having faith), or an unfaithful one, but I don’t really see a place for a “partial member,” “student member,” “associate member,” or “half member.”

  176. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    RE: #175: “Just out of curiosity, where is the idea found that there is anything less than a “full covenant member”? I haven’t stumbled across that verse yet.”

    “…For not all who are descended from Israel [i.e. members of the covenant nation-analogous to the visible church] belong to Israel [are partakers of the inward blessings- analogous to the invisible church].” (Romans 9:6b)

  177. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Phil Derksen,

    Thanks for the helpful response! It seems to me that Romans 9:6 doesn’t establish a full member/partial member ontology, but a good member/bad member. Or maybe a true member/false member. But those are different than a full/partial membership, especially when thinking about our children.

    In other words, I think Rom 9:6 is teaching a true/false membership, but I would never say that children are “false” members. That’s what I meant when I said you’re either “in or out”. There’s no “tentative” membership or partial membership. So we have several parallel and simultaneously valid distinctions: true/false member, and member/non-member. One can be a true member, one can be a false member, or one can be a non-member (one can’t be a “true non-member” though). So are children members or non-members, and members, are they true members or false members? Of course,we really can’t know, just like we can’t know about anyone else, but how do we treat them? Either we treat them as true members, or as non-members (like the Baptists) or we treat them like false members.

    Maybe I’m committing the “either-or” fallacy, but I don’t think so. Thoughts?

  178. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I meant to say:

    “So are children members or non-members, and *if* members, are they true members or false members?”

  179. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Peter #177,

    Well, in common Reformed parlance:

    “Persons are two ways in Covenant with God, [1] externally by visible profession, and conditionally, not in reference to the Covenant, but to the things promised in Covenant, which none obtains, but such as fulfill the condition of the Covenant…And, [2.] Infants born of Covenanted parents are in Covenant with God, because they are born of such parents, as are in Covenant with God.

    “…The Lord promiseth life and forgiveness shall be given to these who are externally in the covenant, providing they believe, but the Lord promiseth not a new heart and grace to believe to these who are only externally in Covenant. And yet he promiseth both to the elect.

    “…Hence the Covenant must be considered two ways, [1] in abstracto and formally…so all within the Visible Church are in the Covenant of Grace…[2.] In the concrete…as the Lord not only promises, but acts and engraves the Law in the heart, commensurably with the decree of Election, so the elect only are under the Covenant of Grace.”

    (Samuel Rutherford, The Covenant of Life Opened: or, A Treatise of the Covenant of Grace, [Edinburgh, 1655], pp.72, 94, 95)

  180. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Phil,

    I understand and agree with the visible/invisible distinction. However, it has seemed to me, at least from a Biblical perspective, that such a distinction refers primarily to the true/false distinction. In other words, you ca be a member of the “visible” church, if you are not a member of the “invisible” church then you are a “false” member (after the fashion of unbelieving Israelites). In other words, to say someone is a member of the “visible” church is to say that they are a member as opposed to a non-member in my above schema. However, that is not to say whether they are “true” or “false” members (i.e. part of the invisible church). So it seems as though we are back where we started. If you are a member of the visible church you can only ever be a true or a false member. The visible church isn’t a holding grounds for people not quite there yet.

    So if our children are in the visible church, do we believe and treat them as true members or as false members? And if there is a third category that I’m missing, what is it and where is the Biblical justification for it?

    Thanks for your patience.

  181. Phil Derksen said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Peter,

    You might find this article helpful to your question:

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-should-believers-think-of-their.html

  182. Ron Henzel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Peter,

    In comment 177 you wrote:

    …It seems to me that Romans 9:6 doesn’t establish a full member/partial member ontology, but a good member/bad member. Or maybe a true member/false member. But those are different than a full/partial membership, especially when thinking about our children.

    I believe the partial membership of non-believing Israelites in the covenant can be deduced by good and necessary consequence from both Rom. 9:6 and what Paul wrote two verses earlier:

    They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

    [Romans 9:4, ESV; italics added.]

  183. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Ron, thanks for your input. That’s a good point, but it raises a question in my mind: Were there any external covenant benefits that the non-believing Israelites *did not* receive? In other words, in retrospect, and generally (i.e. not naming names), Paul can say that there were members of the covenant who were not true Israel. However, they all received all of the external benefits of the covenant. In other words, it seems as though they were full members who were none the less, false members.

    So I’m still not sure if Romans 9 works. In other words, if we treated people, including Christians, as Paul writes that non-believing Israelites were treated, then we would have to eschew a “partial” membership status. Of course, we would know that those who are false will only ever receive the external benefits, and even those to their condemnation, but that doesn’t mean there exists some “partial” member status that we can put people into.

    Either you’re in and you get all that the church (visible) has to offer, or your out (because you were never in or because you were excommunicated).

  184. David Gray said,

    September 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    >You might find this article helpful to your question:

    Indeed. Read the whole thing Peter but the short answer is to treat them as true members

    “Since not all children of believers will be saved, the obvious question is, “How should we think of our individual children?” This thesis asserts that we should view them positively with a judgment of charity.”

    “In order to illustrate this thesis, let us consider the case of adults. If not all adults who profess faith actually have it, how should we look at individual professors of faith in our churches? The Canons of Dort gives this explanation: “Furthermore, following the example of the apostles, we are to think and to speak in the most favorable way about those who outwardly profess their faith and better their lives, for the inner chambers of the heart are unknown to us.” The proof of this point of the Canons is “the example of the apostles.” The Apostles are very ready to assume that those who profess faith are actually saved. For example, even in the strongest letters that Paul writes, we find positive statements concerning the faith of those to whom he writes..”

  185. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I should note that when I said “not naming names” I wasn’t thinking of Esau. :) But, I think my point stands.

  186. Ron Henzel said,

    September 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Peter,

    Regarding your comment 183: it seems that you have changed the subject from that of membership in the covenant to the enjoyment of external covenant benefits and membership in the visible church. Those are separate issues, distinct from the one I addressed.

  187. Peter Green said,

    September 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I suppose you are probably right, Ron. I still don’t think I see how Romans 9 teaches anything other than a “true member/false member” distinction. The verse you site seems only to suggest that “false” members still receive covenant benefits of a sort.

    But perhaps we’ve reached the end of this rabbit trail, a least for the time being. Thanks for trying to help me clarify my thoughts, though.

  188. Reed Here said,

    September 25, 2010 at 7:48 am

    David Grey, others:

    What do you do with Rom 10:9-10, and other passages that teach that an expression of faith/repentance is prior to treating one as full members of the Visible Church, and the judgement of charity that they are also members of the Invisible Church until they demonstrate otherwise?

    This too has the parallel consistency between adults and children. Would any here accept an adult pagan into membership except on the basis of profession of faith? Where does the Bible teach that the baptism of the children of Christian replaces a profession of faith?

    Sounds the same as a credo-baptist understanding of what baptism is all about, a Christian’s profession of faith. Not very consistent with the reformed understanding, is this?

  189. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Reed, Reed, Reed,

    Even now you can’t spell my name right. :)

    I must work on being more notorious.

    The easy way out is to point out that your reading of that passage is not compatible with the WCF which teaches that elect infants are saved without ever having confessed with their tongue.

    If you’re speaking of membership in the visible church well then you still have a WCF problem.

    “Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church…”

    So we see that all who are baptized are admitted into the visible Church.

    Your attempt to draw parallels between the children of believers and adults who repent certainly does take you into Baptist territory. That is the classic baptist argument as to why we don’t baptize babies, they haven’t yet confessed their faith.

    Now if you want to suggest we should set scripture against the WCF then I’ll have Ron Henzel call you an FV man… :)

    But I seriously wonder how you can square confessing the WCF and holding the positions you apparently hold.

    Dave

  190. Ron Henzel said,

    September 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Now if you want to suggest we should set scripture against the WCF then I’ll have Ron Henzel call you an FV man… :)

    Won’t happen.

  191. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 11:57 am

    >Won’t happen.

    You’re just too clever for us mortals Ron…

  192. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Reed (#188):

    For my own part, I don’t view Rom 10.9-10 as directly addressing the issue of child faith. In context, Paul is considering the question of unevangelized Gentiles as a part of the larger discussion about why God let the Jews persist in unbelief for a time (ans.: so that the gospel would go forth, be heard, and lead to the salvation of the Gentiles).

    In the very few places that Scripture considers the faith of children, it hints that children are capable of faith even from the womb: John the Baptist; Mark 10.13-16 and Luke 18.15 – 17; Ps. 71.5 – 6.

    So the scriptures are one reason that I’ve disagreed with David Gadbois’s rejection of child faith (sorry, David!). The other reason, of course, is that if children cannot have faith, then we must with the modify the ordo salutis so that children can be regenerated and justified without actually having faith.

    I used to read Calvin as teaching “presumptive faith” in children, but I think now that he believed in “presumptive election” — that is, that the children of believers are presumed elect, and that they will come to faith at some point, not that they are necessarily believers from birth. (See for instance the Geneva Catechism on infant baptism). He clearly held out the possibility that children might be believers, but did not insist that all were in fact believers. Calvin’s discussion of this in Inst. 4.16.17-21 is very helpful, especially to those who might dismiss the notion of child faith.

    And I think that Calvin’s view here provides some sanity to the question of child faith. The fact is, we don’t know when our children will come to believe. Because expressing faith out loud is part a matter of the heart, and part a matter of having the right linguistic ability, our children may well believe long before they can convince us (or a committee!) that they believe.

    Instead, with Calvin, we ought to watch for signs of growing faith in them, assuming that it will grow in God’s own time according to the presumption of election.

    All of which is not the same as saying that they ought to have communion at this age, or that. We can still say that believing children ought to be able to affirm some kind of faith to demonstrate that they can partake in a worthy manner.

    But if we do set a bar for participation in communion, then our bar needs to be carefully considered. If it is too high, then qualifying for communion could become a work rather than a simple expression of union with Christ and union with the body of Christ. If it is too high, we also run the risk of disqualifying the mentally disabled because of their disability, rather than because of their lack of faith.

  193. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Jeff, as is so often the case, particularly on baptism, another great post.

  194. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Reed also consider the Larger Catechism:

    “Q. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?

    A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him (Acts 8:36-38), but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to Him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.”

    This shows that infants of a believer are covenant members even prior to being baptized.

  195. Reed Here said,

    September 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    David: I’ve no problem with the Westminster Standards (such accusation is rather tiring and unnecessarily polemical). It teaches that baptized children of Christian parents are external members of the Visible Church. Maybe I’m missing it but I don’t see where it says that we are to consider them, on the basis solely of their baptism, as members of the Invisible Church.

    The key issue is what does the WLC mean by “in that respect” such children are members of the covenant? Consistent with WLC 173 (which assumes a profession of faith for approaching the table), at the very least we require evidence that the child indeed professes to be a member of the Invisible Church. Said profession does this.

    This is consistent with the principle acts of saving faith, as described in WCF 14.2 (accepting, receiving, and resting). The idea is that a profession of faith gives evidence of this.

    This is also consistent with WCF 28.6 as to the timing of regeneration in the elect baptized child – it takes no position on the timing. By requiring a profession of faith, one is not saying “at that moment” the child is saved. Rather all that is being said is at that moment the child is giving evidence that he is saved.

    Jeff, this is neither a presumptive regeneration nor a presumptive election position. I am not saying, as Baptists are wont to, salvation is not present until profession of faith. Instead I am saying salvation is not present without profession of faith. Such profession indeed is to be a regular part of the Christian life (the foundational presupposition of Rom. 10:9-10 Jeff). Such profession has an initial instance, hopefully following regeneration.

    You both read into my question beyond what I was asking. (Why I’ve not responded in detail to your observations Jeff; don’t see them applying to the particular point I’m getting at). That may be my fault for not putting up more boundaries. My only observation is that a profession of faith is essential external evidence of the inward reality. Even thought is maybe falsified, it is nevertheless an ordinary part of the Christian life. To deny this necessity for baptized children of Christians is to deny them the evidence God has ordained for stating to others one has been saved. (Else why is such profession of faith an essential part of worship?)

    This applies consistently to those not able to make such profession (due to whatever incapacity.)I take no position on the salvific state of someone in a vegetative state. Nor do I take a position on an infant’s salvific state. Both may indeed be regenerated whether or not they are ever able to profess their faith.

    Yet I’ve no biblical grounds to presume their salvation. I do not presume anything. I accept what I’m told by God. As children of Christian parents they are within the covenant externally and have a right to all the external ministries (excepting the table) of the covenant. Their inward state is completely in the trustworthy hands of the Spirit. He will/will not use the external covenant ministry to effect their internal covenant membership on the basis of their elect status.

    The ignoring the need for profession of faith on the basis of presuming faith may very well be nothing more than another aspect of the push for objectivity (read man’s demand for autonomous certainty) in his relationship with God. It is certainly not consistent with the Scripture’s teaching that professing one’s faith is the essential external evidence of the inward reality of regeneration.

    Why not be content with the doctrine revealed, neither adding nor detracting?

    David, David, David (Gray)

  196. September 25, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Maybe I’m missing it but I don’t see where it says that we are to consider them, on the basis solely of their baptism, as members of the Invisible Church.

    Hi Reed,

    Presumably you treat all adults in your congregation as members of the Invisible Church. The only question is, at one point does one transition in your thinking to that category and what is your criteria?

    Blessings,

    Ron

  197. September 25, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    “What do you do with Rom 10:9-10, and other passages that teach that an expression of faith/repentance is prior to treating one as full members of the Visible Church, and the judgement of charity that they are also members of the Invisible Church until they demonstrate otherwise?

    Reed,

    The apostle begins the passage speaking about Jews who had not yet come to embrace Christ. He then goes on to teach that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek – salvation is through Christ. The passage is not addressing the status of covenant children.

    Ron

  198. September 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    My only observation is that a profession of faith is essential external evidence of the inward reality.

    Reed,

    You speak of external evidence, but since I don’t know what internal evidence is I’ll take the “external” as the only evidence there is, fair enough? :)
    Now then, being born into a professing believer’s home is also external evidence. The question is how much evidence is enough to treat one as a disciple of Christ. Keep in mind, infant disciples need to improve upon their baptism but that doesn’t mean we don’t say to them (given a theology of limited atonement) that “Jesus died for you.” When you address the congregation on Sundays, as did Paul when he addressed the Ephesians for instance, you don’t make it a point to say “I’m not addressing the little children — Now adult members only, listen up, Jesus loves you and died for you.”

    Ron

  199. Ron Henzel said,

    September 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Ron,

    You wrote in comment 198:

    You speak of external evidence, but since I don’t know what internal evidence is I’ll take the “external” as the only evidence there is, fair enough?

    If you’re limiting admissibility to evidence that is accessible to someone other than the believer himself, then external evidence truly is the only evidence available. But we can know what internal evidence is, and its crucial existence is made plain in Rom. 8:9-17.

  200. September 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    “If you’re limiting admissibility to evidence that is accessible to someone other than the believer himself, then external evidence truly is the only evidence available. But we can know what internal evidence is, and its crucial existence is made plain in Rom. 8:9-17.

    Ron,

    I thought this portion of the discussion had to do with the evidence available for one person to regard another as a child of God. Certainly there are internal evidences for oneself but they are not available to Reed regarding other persons. I have no idea what internal evidences are given the context of this discussion having do with whether we ought to regard another as part of the invisible church.

    Best,

    Ron

  201. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Reed (#195): Thanks for the response.

    I had to read this twice:

    I am not saying, as Baptists are wont to, salvation is not present until profession of faith. Instead I am saying salvation is not present without profession of faith.

    I very much agree, if you are saying that salvation will necessarily lead to profession in due time.

    And that’s why I think it is appropriate to wait for some kind of profession prior to admission to the table.

    You said that we do not presume faith, and I agree: The line of reasoning is not “covenant member, therefore regenerate” (which seems to be where Jordan goes, and thus runs off the rails).

    But there is a presumption that is warranted, and that is the presumption of election. This presumption is valid in two ways:

    (1) First, externally, we presume that the things of God properly belong to our children (cf. BCO 56-4e).

    (2) Second, internally, we presume that God will likely call our children, not as an absolute presumption, but as a part of the covenant promise. This is the presumption on which we rely, when our children die in infancy. This is the presumption on which we rely in our prayers, when our adult children still reject the faith.

    So … the question then is how we interpret the little faith-like steps that our children ages 3 – 13 are making? At what point do we accept them as “likely genuine enough that they should be admitted to the table?”

    In my mind, there is a set of tradeoffs. The higher we set the bar, the greater distance we place between the visible and invisible churches, running the risk of denying “churchliness” to the visible church. And, we run the risk of keeping believing children away from the means of grace, to whatever extent that is a risk.

    The lower we set the bar, more we run the risk of too quickly admitting our children to the table and possibly having them partake in an unworthy manner.

    As to the question of mental incapacity: Our church actually had such at one point, a young fellow with a severe handicap. He moved to another state prior to becoming a communing member, so we didn’t have to actually solve all of the issues; but they’ve been cooking in my mind ever since.

  202. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    >What do you do with Rom 10:9-10, and other passages that teach that an expression of faith/repentance is prior to treating one as full members of the Visible Church, and the judgement of charity that they are also members of the Invisible Church until they demonstrate otherwise?

    and now…

    >Maybe I’m missing it but I don’t see where it says that we are to consider them, on the basis solely of their baptism, as members of the Invisible Church.

    So you concede that they are members of the visible church as the WCF teaches? Good.

    Any member of the visible church should be regarded as a member of the invisible church in the absence of reason to conclude otherwise, as determined by the elders.

    Or as Pastor White capably states:

    “We reiterate that this does not mean that all children of believers are or will be saved. It simply means that we should view them with the same positive judgment of charity with which we view adult professors of the faith.”

    I would refer you to Pastor White’s blog and his essay “How Should Believers Think of Their Children”.

    >I am not saying, as Baptists are wont to, salvation is not present until profession of faith. Instead I am saying salvation is not present without profession of faith.

    How then is the elect infant saved without profession of faith?

  203. David Gray said,

    September 25, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    PS

    Reed, my comment vs your problem with the WCF was based on your statement that appeared to deny believers’ children status as members of the visible church. You appear not to have meant that so no problem.

  204. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

    David: your comment was based on your over-reading of my statement an yuour forgetting of my prior statements.

    You’re too confrontational in your responses friend. Maybe beginning with a little more judgment of charity might have helped in reading my sincere non-gotcha question.

    Pastor White? How about something simpler David, biblical refutation of the ordinary necessity of a profession of faith?

  205. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Ron: it sounds like you’re working off a presumptive regeneration paradigm? Is this correct?

    If so, your questions are apples to oranges. I do not work of a presumptive paradigm of any sort.

  206. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Jeff: from what I’ve read in your comments, I suspect our practices are pretty much the same, if not our understanding.

    I’m not denying your presumptive election position at this point (new to me). I am saying I dislike any scheme which includes any “presumption” notion. I do not understan faith to work on any level on the basis of presumption – only what Go says.

    It may be some semantical distinctions here that are at the source of the disagreement. My simple observation is that I have no call to consider one, via the judgment of charity, a member of the Invisible Church until: 1) they have been baptized in the Triune name, and 2) they have professed their faith, thereby being united to a local church body.

    The order of these two does not matter. The presence of both does. This is the essence of our church polity. (I believe the OPC’s as well.) If our polity is wrong (contradicts the Bible), we should change it.

  207. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:12 am

    >How about something simpler David, biblical refutation of the ordinary necessity of a profession of faith?

    I wouldn’t refute that as it is absolutely true. But our children are not on a “trial membership” or an “associate membership” or a “provisional membership” in the visible church. The WCF does not recognize different sorts of membership in the visible church and it makes clear that the children of believers are such members. In light of the teaching of the WCF consider my statement:

    “Any member of the visible church should be regarded as a member of the invisible church in the absence of reason to conclude otherwise, as determined by the elders. ”

    Now if a child reached a certain age, variable and at the judgment of the elders, where he had failed to confess Christ that would, in my judgment and consistent with scripture, constitute a reason for concluding “otherwise” and would constitute a basis for questioning that individual’s status as a member of the invisible church.

  208. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:14 am

    >I believe the OPC’s as well.

    I am OPC and am not aware of any teaching in the OPC that we are to regard our children as non-elect until they produce a satisfactory oral confession.

  209. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 8:22 am

    This is from OPC New Horizons:

    “Some would say that Jesus welcomed them just to teach adults a lesson (see Luke 18:17). But if infants do not qualify for the kingdom of God, then how can adults qualify by being like them? There is no lesson for adults to learn unless Jesus welcomes the infants of believers into his kingdom. That kingdom, today, is essentially the church (Matt. 16:18-19). Since people are visibly received into the church by baptism, it follows that infants are to be received into the kingdom of God by baptism.”

  210. September 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    “Ron: it sounds like you’re working off a presumptive regeneration paradigm? Is this correct?

    Reed,

    I don’t know what you mean by presumptive regeneration so I prefer to avoid labels. The paradigm I’m working on is illustrated by the premise that the apostle calls the hearers at Ephesus faithful in Christ Jesus and chosen and draws no distinction when he addresses the children in chapter 6. Accordingly, the inference is that he considers the youngest possible hearers as converted though they (along with the adults) may not be. Your theology forbids you from regarding all members of your congregation in that way, or am I missing something?

    Thanks,

    Ron

  211. September 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Regarding the OPC:

    The Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s “Directory for the Public Worship of God” [DPWG] most clearly and decisively opposes evangelicalism in Chapter 4, Section B, Paragraph 2 where it instructs that “…Although our young children do not yet understand these things, they are nevertheless to be baptized. For the promise of the covenant is made to believers and to their seed, as God declared unto Abraham: ‘And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.’ In the new dispensation no less than in the old, the seed of the faithful, born within the church, have, by virtue of their birth, interest in the covenant and right to the seal of it and to the outward privileges of the church… So the children of the covenant are by baptism distinguished from the world and solemnly received into the visible church.”

    Before we proceed it should be noted that the official position of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is that the “covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.” (Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC), Q&A 31) The denomination also affirms that all within the visible church are not elect; therefore, there exists within the visible church those with whom God has not made His covenant of grace. Assuming the denomination does not contradict itself in its doctrine, we my safely conclude that when the standards teach that children of professing believers are to be baptized – because the covenant is made with them – it is treating such children as elect in Christ. The DPWG goes on to state in paragraph 4 of the same section “that, although our children are conceived and born in sin and therefore are subject to condemnation, they are holy in Christ, and as members of his church ought to be baptized…” Parenthetically we can note that the official position of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is that baptism does not make someone a member of the church but rather it is to be administered to those who are already “members of his church.” The DPWG, possibly borrowing from 1 Corinthians 7:14, regards covenant children as “holy in Christ” and, therefore, among those who ought to be baptized. Moreover, paragraph 4, borrowing from Ephesians 6:4, instructs professing parents of children “to endeavor by all the means of God’s appointment to bring [children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Just prior to the Apostle Paul’s instruction to parents he instructs the children in Ephesus to obey their parents “in the Lord.” These children without qualification are included in the number of all hearers in Ephesus who by the apostle are called “saints”, “faithful in Christ Jesus”, “blessed”, “chosen”, “accepted in the beloved”, “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise”, “quickened”, “saved”, “his workmanship created in Christ Jesus”, “fellowcitizens with the saints”, “of the household of God”, “partakers of his promise in Christ”, “forgiven”, “beloved children” and “children of light”. The Apostle Paul tells his hearers, even at Corinth where professions of faith were less credible, that Jesus died for their sins. (1Corinthians 15:3) Covenant children were not only regarded as being among the elect for whom Christ died; they, as part of the church, were regarded as already partaking of the purchased redemption, having been “sanctified in Christ Jesus, [and] called to be saints.” (1Corinthians 1:2) The baptized were treated according to what the sign of baptism signified, namely union with Christ.

    Indeed, children must “improve” upon their baptism – as do adults. The Confession draws no significant difference between the two. Question 167 of the WLC asks “How is our Baptism to be improved by us?” Answer: “The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long… by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it… by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism… by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized… and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.” Both child and adult are to improve upon his baptism.

    RD

  212. September 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Jeff and Reed,

    I think you need to distinguish between presuming X and regarding on as possessing X. On presumption, I prefer to remain agnostic with infants. I don’t presume the seed of faith resides in infants since I have no real opinion on the matter because I think Scripture is silent on precedence. Two data points (David and John the Baptist) in Scripture hardly establish a case in my estimation. But, I am certain that Scripture would have us regard infants as engrafted into Christ, for the whole of Scripture would seem to presuppose that premise.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  213. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Reed (#206):

    I am saying I dislike any scheme which includes any “presumption” notion. I do not understand faith to work on any level on the basis of presumption – only what God says.

    Ah, yes, I can see that the connotation of the word “presumption” might suggest arrogant delving into the secret decrees of God. And of course, we would want to avoid this!

    Rather, the idea of “presumption” here simply means “working off the evidence as best we know.” By presumption is meant a fallible inference.

    If I may press once more and then retire: Our difference comes down to the way we regard the lack of profession in young children.

    Is their lack of profession of faith an evidence of not belonging to the church? Or is it simply a lack of evidence?

    In the case of the very youngest children, the only piece of evidence we have is their birth to a believing parent or two. Given that evidence: should we regard them as more likely to be elect or non-elect?

    That one piece of evidence grants them admission to the visible church, the “Church as man sees it.” Hence, our question is answered: children of believers are to be regarded as more likely to be elect. (Cf. Calv Inst 4.16). This is also our hope should they die in infancy.

    Interestingly, the phrase “judgment of charity” was not originally used in reference to children, but to adults. In reference to the question, “Who belongs to the church?”, Calvin says

    But as here full certainty was not necessary, [God] has in its place substituted the judgement of charity, by which we acknowledge all as members of the Church who by confession of faith, regularity of conduct, and participation in the sacraments, unite with us in acknowledging the same God and Christ. — Inst. 4.1.8.

    So at all times, in both cases of adults and children, we are making fallible “presumptions” — or inferences — based on evidences. The only difference is the kind of evidence we admit: birth to Christian parents, v. a profession of faith in the case of adults. But for all, membership in the “church as man sees it” is provisional. It’s also all we have access to. For neither adults nor children can we have certainty of their membership in the Invisible Church; we use their membership in the Visible Church as our evidence.

    Now to our difference. You’ve said

    My simple observation is that I have no call to consider one, via the judgment of charity, a member of the Invisible Church until: 1) they have been baptized in the Triune name, and 2) they have professed their faith, thereby being united to a local church body.

    What you’re saying, if I’m reading the words correctly, is that you refuse to consider children members of the invisible church until they make a profession of faith. But of course, you grant that they are members of the visible church.

    This is a very odd sundering of the visible from the invisible. We have no certain knowledge of the invisible, and rely on the visible to form our judgments. The visible church is nothing more than the “church as man sees it”, on the understanding that the invisible is the “church as God sees it.” (Calvin’s phrases — Inst. 4.1.7).

    How then can we make a judgment about membership that is contradictory? The child is a “member of the church as man sees it”, but man (Reed? Thornwell?) sees him as not a member of the church? Surely that is reaching too far into the providences of God, to regard someone as a member of the church as we see it, but not a member of the church as God sees it?

    On that account, the Belgic Confession is nonsense: “And truly, Christ has shed his blood no less for washing the little children of believers than he did for adults.” (BC 34).

    The problem is this: The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    A lack of profession of faith is not evidence of non-membership … UNLESS … the child is old enough that the lack of profession is meaningful. In other words, a lack of profession in a three-year-old is neither here nor there; in a thirteen-year-old, it means something.

    Children too young to make professions of faith should not be regarded as non-members of the invisible church, but as provisional members of the church, as far as man can see.

    If you’re interested in the idea of “presumptive election”, then I commend not only the discussions of children in Calvin — the Geneva Catechism and Inst 4.16 — but also G. Vos, The Doctrine of the Covenant in Reformed Theology., pp. 20ff. I was going to quote from it, but in Vosian fashion, it ran long.

    Well, OK, here’s a teaser:

    [The third element of covenant theology] consists of the expectation that covenant children will enter into the fellowship of the covenant. This expectation is based on the promise of God to believers that He desires to be their God and the God of their seed and that He also desires to continue His covenant in their seed and to make it a living reality.

    That’s what “presumptive election” means: the expectation that our children will enter into the fellowship of the covenant.

    Again, this is related to but distinct from the question of communion. My 6 year old can give a pretty good confession of faith, but she probably couldn’t satisfy the session about her eligibility for communion. And that’s OK with me. I would prefer a younger age, but I’m not overly concerned that she’s spiritually malnourished.

  214. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    David: you still seem to be reading into my comments and questions.

    Not election, but regeneration is in view. I’ve been careful to not say either I presume or do not presume the elect status of children of professing Christians. As with any professing Christian how can I know what God will only infallibly reveal at the final judgment.

    Not absolute necessity but ordinary necessity for a profession of faith. Do you or don’t you agree that such is an “ordinary” necessity? (Here’s a corollary, do you believe membersip in a local body is an ordinary necessity for a credible profession of faith?)

    I understood your statement. you presume that membership in the Visible Church is equal to membership in the Invisible Church. Got it (including yur “notwitthstandings.)

    You deny any sense of distinction in membership in the Visible Church (and Invisible?). Then what about communion? Correct me if I’m wrong but the OPC is not padeo-communion are they? Is this not based on a distinction in membership in the Visible Church (i.e., twom “kinds” of membership). If not my explanation, then what biblical justification can be offered for barring baptized children from the table? (Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten that you hold to padeo-communion).

  215. September 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    You deny any sense of distinction in membership in the Visible Church (and Invisible?). Then what about communion? Correct me if I’m wrong but the OPC is not padeo-communion are they? Is this not based on a distinction in membership in the Visible Church (i.e., twom “kinds” of membership). If not my explanation, then what biblical justification can be offered for barring baptized children from the table? (Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten that you hold to padeo-communion).

    Reed,

    The distinction regarding who within the visible church may come to the table is not one that implies that we are not to regard infants as in Christ in the same manner in which we regard adults with credible professions as being in Christ. Rather, it’s a distinction that implies that infants are not yet capable of discerning the Lord’s body.

    Ron

  216. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Ron: I understand what you’ve said. By presumptive regeneration, I’m talking about the position that says we baptized our children because we presume that at some time God will regenerate them. We presume a regenerative status (regardless of whether or not the reality is present), and treat our children as if they were saved.

    My understanding (consistent the same Westminster Standards) is that there is a difference between external covenant membership and internal covenant membership. Cf., WLC 173: what is meant by the words “in that respect”? I understand the Standards here to be making a qualification to the manner in which children of professing Christians ar in covenant with God. I understand this to mean that they have a right to all the outward ministry of the covenant (excluding the Lord’s Supper), but that this does not mean that they are presumed to be inwardly members of the covenant, i.e., presumed regenerate.

    If this distinction were not in their minds, then the language “in that respect” is superfluous, unneeded fluff. I admit these Fathers may indeed have made mistakes. I don’t think they did so here.

    Combining this understanding with the ordinary necessity for a profession of faith, I call on baptized children as given the covenant promise, at least externally, and urge them to seek God to keep it internally, i.e., to regenerate them. In keeping with the Bible’s emphasis on the ordinary necessity of professing one’s faith, an initial obedience of faith, I urge such children to give is a profession of faith.

    No presumptions needed, no confusion between presumed saints vs. little vipers. Rather a balanced treatment of children as recipients of the covenant’s promises, and the urging that they seek the fulfillment of the promises, including the grace of professing their faith.

    As to your observations vis-a-vis Ephesians (and other), I hold to the judgment of charity understanding. Paul is not writing to each member head for head as if they were are regenerated. He is writing to all to whom it rightly applies, knowing that they Spirit will make the distinguishing and appropriate applying/judging.

    No disrespect, but all this seems to be somewhat rabbit trails to me. My original question to David was what about the ordinary necessity of professing our faith? Is this taught by the Bible, and if so, what about with baptized children?

    Three positions are in view (Jeff Cagle introduced a 4th I’m still wrestling with). Are baptized children?

    1) Presumed regenerate (little saints)
    2) Presumed unregenerate (little vipers)
    3) Actual recipients of the external covenant ministry
    (4th) Presumed elect)

    I believe the 3rd option is most consistent with the Bible. This does not take a position with regards to either option 1 or 2. This is not a baptistic position (option 2). Given the ordinary necessity of professing faith, it is only after this initial profesison that I make a choice for option 1. If it can be shown that professing one’s faith is not an ordinary necessity in the Christian life, then option 3 is not viable.

  217. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    David, Ron (Jeff): lest the flattness of blogging and the weakness of my own
    communication suggest otherwise, let me make this second note to stress my fondness and appreciation for you brothers. Hopefully my debating will encourage no animosity in your hearts, as I bear none for y’all in mine.

    Peace and love,

    reed

  218. David Weiner said,

    September 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Ron, re #210:

    Regarding your reference to Ephesians. Is it possible that He is ‘just’ writing to the saints and not all of the attenders, whether young or old? Putting aside our common knowledge as to whom the letter is written (i.e., the visible church), isn’t that the plain sense of his words? Where is the license to say he does not actually mean ‘to the saints;’ but, is just being charitable?

  219. September 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Jeff, re:213, I thought that was an excellent post in most respects. Maybe I’d refine it a bit, but again I think it was very useful. With that said…

    I can’t agree with your interpretation of BC34, as I think you might be reading something into it that isn’t there. Also, since you agree that children are to be “regarded” as part of the church, why use the qualifier “provisional” (i.e. “provisional church”). That seems to muddy your clear point of who should be regarded as having been engrafted into Christ. Lastly, although I agree that thirteen year olds should be encouraged to “take and eat…” I wouldn’t want to say that those of that age that don’t make a credible profession “means something” too terribly serious; at least regarding their true status in Christ. Unfortunately, some churches have assumed a mindset of thirteen, which although is terribly unfortunate, I think it speaks more to the leadership in the church than the reasonableness of a child’s salvation. Again though, I thought your points were sound and well articulated, and that you made great use of Calvin. You’re always a pleasure to read.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  220. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    (Reed) How about something simpler David, biblical refutation of the ordinary necessity of a profession of faith?

    (Dave) I wouldn’t refute that as it is absolutely true.

    (Reed) Do you or don’t you agree that such is an “ordinary” necessity?

    I don’t know how to say it more clearly than stating it is absolutely true (as an ordinary necessity). What else can I do?

    (Reed) I understood your statement. you presume that membership in the Visible Church is equal to membership in the Invisible Church. Got it (including yur “notwitthstandings.)

    That isn’t quite right. We treat members of the Visible Church as members of the Invisible Church. “Presume” might carry connotations which would be erroneous.

    (Reed) You deny any sense of distinction in membership in the Visible Church (and Invisible?). Then what about communion? Correct me if I’m wrong but the OPC is not padeo-communion are they?

    They did produce a majority opinion favouring paedo-communion but the GA voted for the minority report so yes, you’re correct.

    (Reed) Is this not based on a distinction in membership in the Visible Church (i.e., twom “kinds” of membership). If not my explanation, then what biblical justification can be offered for barring baptized children from the table? (Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten that you hold to padeo-communion).

    I don’t hold to paedo-communion. The biblical reasoning is that the elders always have a duty to fence the table based on their knowledge of each member of the visible church. The reason for precluding very young children is that they are held to lack the ability to examine themselves before partaking. When they provide evidence to the session that they have this capacity they may partake. The session can prevent members of the visible church from partaking for various reasons. This is the most common but it’s been done for adult members who are not excommunicate but are known to be in unrepentant sin. It is the duty of the session to fence the table. This is merely one application of that duty.

    (Reed) David, Ron (Jeff): lest the flattness of blogging and the weakness of my own communication suggest otherwise, let me make this second note to stress my fondness and appreciation for you brothers.

    That is very kind and is reciprocated.

  221. September 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    David W.,

    I think I comprehend your point and I appreciate the question. The reason I believe that Paul and the rest of Scripture is treating the visible people as truly part of the vine, as apposed to only addressing the truly converted, is for various reasons. For one thing, there are instances in which the apostle addresses specific people by name. Now unless he had a revelation of their salvation, which we have no reason to believe, we must therefore conclude that he didn’t actually know whether they were in Christ, which leaves me to conclude that he was granting the judgement of charity as it were. Secondly, consider the letters to problem churches, such as in Galatia and Corinth. It is certainly possible, theologically speaking that is, that there was only a small remnant in those places and that they were all faithful and not being bewitched or abusing spiritual gifts. Yet the apostle regards the congregation in an organic sense; he includes all the people as the people of God and consquently all their problems coming from true Christians – even though theologically speaking all the problem members may have been unconverted. Lastly, the entire OT is built upon this premise. God’s prophets regarded the organic visible-church as the true and only people of God and the covenant sanctions fell upon them accordingly.

    I mention those points in no particular order.

    In His grace,

    Ron

  222. September 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Reed,

    I wanted to acknowledge the shorter of your two most recent posts to me before I lay down for a nap! :) I have no doubt that this exchange between us is iron sharpening iron, and that I sense through your pen that their is NO animosity toward me. The feeling is mutual my brother. I’ll peak at your longer post at another time, Lord willing.

    Yours truly,

    Ron

  223. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    David: (eager to follow Ron’s example, one response),

    (David): The reason for precluding very young children is that they are held to lack the ability to examine themselves before partaking. When they provide evidence to the session that they have this capacity they may partake.

    (Reed): and does not your session accept, as evidence before their coming to the table the first time, a profession of faith?

    Asuming this is correct (pretty sure it is), are you saying that while our practice may be the same, our assessment of such children admitted to the table is different? Do any of the three options I’ve listed describe your understanding? (Actually, I’m assuming option 2 is off the table for both of us).

    What is the difference between “treat as if regenerate” and “presume regenerate”?

    This is key for me. While this may not be the case in your circles in my experience a church which “treats” children as regenerate often fails to urge on them the blessing of professing their faith. This may be a reaction against baptist notions (I appreciate that). Yet I do think it is a unwise reaction to a valid fear.

    Bringing this back into the FV realm of things, this is an aspect of the objectivity of the covenant focus of these brothers that simply goes too far. That is they seek to construct a logical basis for giving parents greater confidence in the salvific status of their children. I appreciate and actually amen the motive. I disagree with their “objectivity” believing they speak beyond the Scriptures. Accordingly, it is a man based, therefore for baseless hope they offer.

    I’d much rather rely on urging parents to trust in what God has made clear and leave the unsaid alone. This may not be the most comforting at any particular moment. It surely does have a better hope of the Spirit’s usage and so eventually secure blessings.

  224. September 26, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I understand the Standards here to be making a qualification to the manner in which children of professing Christians are in covenant with God. I understand this to mean that they have a right to all the outward ministry of the covenant (excluding the Lord’s Supper), but that this does not mean that they are presumed to be inwardly members of the covenant, i.e., presumed regenerate.

    Where are we instructed to presume a greater probability that adults are regenerate?

    If this distinction were not in their minds, then the language “in that respect” is superfluous, unneeded fluff. I admit these Fathers may indeed have made mistakes. I don’t think they did so here.

    You referenced WLC 173, which does not suggest that we are not to regard infants as engrafted into Christ. I’m not sure you referenced the question and answer you had in mind given that WLC 173 has nothing to do with your position.

    Combining this understanding with the ordinary necessity for a profession of faith, I call on baptized children as given the covenant promise, at least externally, and urge them to seek God to keep it internally, i.e., to regenerate them.

    You call on covenant people to pray that God would regenerate them? I find that strange. Can you defend that practice from Scripture? I find in Scripture exhortation to make our calling and election sure and to examine ourselves to make sure we’re in the faith, but never do I find a call to regeneration.

    In keeping with the Bible’s emphasis on the ordinary necessity of professing one’s faith, an initial obedience of faith, I urge such children to give is a profession of faith.

    Yes, children should make a profession but that doesn’t suggest they are not to be regarded as grafted into Christ, and to regard them as not grafted into Christ IS to regard them as outside of Christ.

    …no confusion between presumed saints vs. little vipers. Rather a balanced treatment of children as recipients of the covenant’s promises, and the urging that they seek the fulfillment of the promises, including the grace of professing their faith.

    Reed, you can’t have it both ways. If you are going to REGARD children as not engrafted into Christ, you must regard them as those who are outside of Christ and still under God’s wrath. There’s no middle ground for one to have internally, therefore, there’s no middle ground to regard them as occupying. ” Again, I’m not suggesting you render a judgment on the reality but rather that you treat them according to their visible status as a matter of biblical precedence.

    As to your observations vis-a-vis Ephesians (and other), I hold to the judgment of charity understanding. Paul is not writing to each member head for head as if they were are regenerated. He is writing to all to whom it rightly applies, knowing that they Spirit will make the distinguishing and appropriate applying/judging.

    See explanation I gave to David W.

    Three positions are in view (Jeff Cagle introduced a 4th I’m still wrestling with). Are baptized children?
    1) Presumed regenerate (little saints)
    2) Presumed unregenerate (little vipers)
    3) Actual recipients of the external covenant ministry
    (4th) Presumed elect)

    I believe the 3rd option is most consistent with the Bible. This does not take a position with regards to either option 1 or 2.

    Again, the question is not whether you’d wager a bet on the current probability of an actual conversion but whether you will treat them according to biblical precept, as a child of God. The Jewish child who was not circumcised was regarded as having broken covenant, which presupposes they were to be regarded as being in covenant. Indeed, not all Israel was Israel but biblical language regards all within the external community as possessing the inward reality.

    Gotta run…sorry for any typos…………….ron

  225. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Ron: think there are a lot of differences here which I do not have time to delve into. Just a few comments:

    (Ron): Where are we instructed to presume a greater probability that adults are regenerate?

    (Reed): I’m not presuming anything about anyone. This question does not play into the considerations I’m observing, unless you hold to the either or position you deliniated. I don’t.

    This comes down to whether or not there is a distinction between external vs. internal in terms of covenant considerations. I’ll leave it at that, as I truly do not have time to delve deeper.

    Sorry brother.

  226. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    (Reed) Asuming this is correct (pretty sure it is),

    Indeed it is.

    (Reed) are you saying that while our practice may be the same, our assessment of such children admitted to the table is different?

    Our practice is the same but the difference is our assessment of believer’s children prior to their admittance to the table. I, in accord with the WCF, regard them as members of the visible church. Like the WCF I throw in no qualifiers. We both regard them as members of the visible church after a profession of faith. We differ prior to that moment (assuming I understand you correctly).

    (Reed) Do any of the three options I’ve listed describe your understanding? (Actually, I’m assuming option 2 is off the table for both of us).

    I wouldn’t choose any of the three ideally. I think Ron’s comments above are good. I would say they are recognized, in accord with the WCF, as members of the visible church and treated with the same degree of charity that all other members of the visible church receive (and are liable to discipline on the same grounds when applicable).

    (Reed) What is the difference between “treat as if regenerate” and “presume regenerate”?

    Not a great deal but I think the word presume might suggest to unsympathetic parties that we regard our children’s salvation as a certainty, which would be an incorrect understanding.

    (Reed) This is key for me. While this may not be the case in your circles in my experience a church which “treats” children as regenerate often fails to urge on them the blessing of professing their faith.

    I can certainly see where that could be a problem if people are taught badly or don’t endeavor to obey God’s commands regarding their children. Having said that the fact that people may disobey God in how they raise their children because of pride or sloth is no reason to move away from the confessional teaching. That is pragmatism, not faithfulness.

    I wonder if a lot of the problems in those situations don’t arise from a bad combination of reformed and baptistic teaching in which the decisional “once a Christian, always a Christian” (not to be confused with the perseverance of the saints) is combined with the confessional teaching on children’s status as members of the visible church.

    (Reed) This may be a reaction against baptist notions (I appreciate that). Yet I do think it is a unwise reaction to a valid fear.

    Except regarding the children of believers as members of the visible church is clear confessional teaching. WCF doesn’t add a partial status or stipulations, nor should we.

    (Reed) Bringing this back into the FV realm of things,

    Well this is Green Baggins.

    (Reed) this is an aspect of the objectivity of the covenant focus of these brothers that simply goes too far. That is they seek to construct a logical basis for giving parents greater confidence in the salvific status of their children. I appreciate and actually amen the motive. I disagree with their “objectivity” believing they speak beyond the Scriptures. Accordingly, it is a man based, therefore for baseless hope they offer.

    I think the truth of that probably varies depending on which man you’re thinking of. The one I’ve read most is Wilson and I don’t find that to be true.

    (Reed) I’d much rather rely on urging parents to trust in what God has made clear and leave the unsaid alone. This may not be the most comforting at any particular moment. It surely does have a better hope of the Spirit’s usage and so eventually secure blessings.

    But I think the WCF is a very sound interpretation of scripture and it doesn’t make qualifications regarding children’s membership in the visible church.

    I want to readdress something you said:

    “a church which “treats” children as regenerate often fails to urge on them the blessing of professing their faith”

    I think we are just so immersed in a culture of decisional regeneration that we are affected even when we think we’re not. Our confessional Lutheran friends have their issues but one thing they have right is we need the Gospel every day of our lives. We need it every day. It should be in every sermon (that doesn’t mean a summons to an altar call). A good Lutheran sermon always has Law and Gospel. I think a good Reformed sermon should always have Gospel at least. I want my children to hear the Gospel with great regularity. Luther said that the life of the Christian was to be one of daily repentance. That is spot on. My children need to know that every day they should be repentant before their merciful Saviour. And one of the best ways for them to learn that is to see a father who isn’t afraid to let them see him repent (although ideally I’d like to have far fewer grounds for needing to repent). Repent. Hear the Gospel. Trust God’s promises. That isn’t just for justification but should be for the entirety of a Christian’s life. Teach your children that and you won’t be guilty of what you described above.

  227. David Gray said,

    September 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    (Dave) We both regard them as members of the visible church after a profession of faith. We differ prior to that moment (assuming I understand you correctly).

    Sigh. Rereading I think I’ve been unfair and in error. Rather I think what you believe is that after their confession you will treat them with the same charity you display towards adult members of the visible church. Sorry.

  228. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    @ Reed: The feeling is mutual: this is a profitable conversation.

    @ Ron: Thanks for the thoughts. Thirteen was given merely as a contrast between three, rather than as a hard boundary. I agree with you that thirteen is not a magic age.

    The point of “provisional” was simply to qualify the evidentiary nature of all of our judgments about the salvation of another, not to push child membership into a different category from adult membership. We church members are all provisionally members of the church in one another’s eyes (but not God’s).

  229. Reed Here said,

    September 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    David: yes, I accept them as members of the Visible Church prior to profession. I think I understand that profession different from you. I don’t think this brings me into conflict with the Westminster Standards. Again, nothing its being declared about their Invisible Church membership.

    As to your wishe for gospel in every reformed sermon, you should come visit sometime. My format for every sermon is to highlight the need addressed by the text (introduction), elucidate the law-gospel considerations in the text (body), and apply the gospel that we might walk in faith to see the need met(conclusion) – every sermon, every Sunday.

    I guess I may be identifying the significance of the initial profession of faith on the part of a child. This is a blessed moment, whether or not regeneration was immediately prior or not. It marks the personal ownership by the child of his faith in Christ.

  230. September 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Jeff,

    I thought we were in agreement, so I probably shouldn’t have even made those comments for the sake of clarification.

    Reed,

    No sweat on not being able to delve into this more. I certainly understand. Also, the reason I put things in caps before was not to shout but because I was in a hurry and it was quicker than than doing the whole carrot i backslash thing (italics).

    All,

    One quick comment on presupposing. I would imagine that we’ve all come across adults on the roles that we would not want to be handcuffed to when they die. In such cases we might not “presume” they’re saved (and some might even presume that others are not saved) even though they are adults in “good standing”. We might find no appetite for spiritual things yet there is no obvious sin or doctrine that condemns them. Yet although we might refrain from rendering an opinion on their true state we treat them according to their objective status in the church. In the like manner, I think it is to get off track to discuss whether we presume that this or that infant is regenerate. As I’ve tried to put forth, the issue is not what we might presume but what is the Bible’s precedent for how we are to regard those within the visible church?

    An argument from excommunication:

    At the very least, isn’t it true that if one does not improve upon his baptsim he is to be removed from the roles by way of censure, which is tantamount to excommunication? And wouldn’t that imply that the way they were to have been previously regarded has changed from saved to unsaved? In other words, there can come at time that one is no longer to be regarded as a Christian because they never “improved upon their baptism” – and that presupposes that they were to have been regarded as a Christian all the time prior to making a credible profession of faith. Consequently, those who undergo Christian baptism are to be identified as having union with Christ until such time that their doctrine or lifestye would accuse them.

    Ron

  231. Paige Britton said,

    September 28, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hey, all,
    Two thoughts, FWIW:

    One, I am really appreciating this discussion, and the irenic cogency all ’round.
    Thanks, brothers.

    Two, speaking of Reed’s sermons, two of the things that impress me about them (I listen in) are his repeated articulation of the gospel and his deliberate efforts to communicate with the kids in the congregation. I wonder (and Reed, you can correct me if I’m wrong) if his emphasis here on the importance of the child’s individual profession is in keeping with his pastoral concern to translate things into terms they can understand and embrace (as he would likely do for anyone who was just learning the peculiar speech of Christianity). It’s a pastoral, even psychological, reality that kids and newcomers (and even some new members) have some growing to do in their understanding before they can own and articulate the faith for themselves. Which is a worthy goal, and not necessarily a sign of a differing theological judgment re. invisible and visible church. Does this make sense?

    pax,
    Paige B.

  232. David Gray said,

    September 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Reed,

    I’d be glad to come visit but you are a very long way away. Pastor Keister’s much, much closer. Do you have your sermons up as MP3s?

  233. Reed Here said,

    September 29, 2010 at 6:51 am

    David: yes, although our website is one of those (semi-permanent) temporary things.

    You can find some examples at: http://www.1stchurchmontgomery.com/worship/default.html

    I’m still learning my craft, but God is routinely merciful and blesses my efforts in the hearts of His people in spite of my weaknesses.

  234. Jeff Cagle said,

    September 29, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Maybe we should all stage a visit to Reed’s church. :)

  235. Phil Derksen said,

    September 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Reed has to be asking himself, how on earth did we get from “James Jordan tells the truth” to a discussion of his preaching…

  236. David Gray said,

    September 29, 2010 at 10:54 am

    >Reed has to be asking himself, how on earth did we get from “James Jordan tells the truth” to a discussion of his preaching…

    Well he brought it up so I doubt he’s too surprised. :)

  237. Reed Here said,

    September 29, 2010 at 11:58 am

    No, not surprised. David, you made some verty good points in terms of preaching. It is another one of my button issues.

    It is a preeminent means of grace for both salvation and sanctification. Seems the one practical thing relevant to all our discussions.

    I may not be the best example of how to preach. I am grateful for a sound gospel-driven understanding of how I as a preacher walk by faith in this critical exercise. Regardless of our differences, this one should be a no brainer.

    And, yes, y’all are welcome any time, without notice even. :)

  238. Paige Britton said,

    September 30, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I think it would be worth the trip! :) Wish we could.
    pb

  239. Paige Britton said,

    September 30, 2010 at 5:54 am

    (I should have said, “it would be worth the trip just to see your face when we all show up…” but it came out nicer the first way. ;)

  240. Reed Here said,

    September 30, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Yep, both ways ;-)

  241. James Jordan said,

    October 2, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I’ve been in Russia for the last 3 weeks, and so this comment is late. The material ripped out of context from our backporch conversations is about BH, not about FV. There is some overlap, of course, but Douglas Wilson is certainly within his rights to say that he thinks I overstated things. Perhaps so, but since the “overstatement” was part of an ongoing informal conversation, I see no need to retract it. I’ve written and said for 35 years that the Reformation erred in forcing children to do a good work in order to earn the right to the table. This was a sin of inadvertency, no doubt, but a serious error all the same. Those of us who believe in salvation by faith alone must revisit this Reformation error. So, anyone who wants to make a Big Deal out of this can do so without the use of informal private conversations. It’s not secret!

  242. James Jordan said,

    October 2, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Oh, I also see that I am accused of duplicity in that I made a general affirmation of the Westminster Standards, Three Forms of Unity, and the Three Creeds when I was ordained in the ARC. What the accuser does not know that is these were supplemented by a statement allowing paedocommunion and some other matters as fully acceptable in this loose Association. For the record.

  243. JWT said,

    October 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    James Jordan:

    Your claim that “It’s not secret!” is difficult to believe because of your well-documented record of condemning the PCA for saying “no” to BHers, which would lead most reasonable people to conclude that you really believe BHers actually conform to PCA standards and that they “belong” there. However, the publication of your “secret” emails shows that in a moment of candor on your private list, you really believe “the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to BH types” because your doctrine is “poison” and because BHers don’t really “belong” there.

    It is impossible for me to reconcile these two positions because either PCA is wrong to say no to BHers, as you have maintained publically for several years, or the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to BHers, as you secretly admitted on your private list.

    Therefore, I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to explain this apparent contradiction.

  244. James Jordan said,

    October 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    The PCA is “within its rights” if it do choose to be a sect on the fringe of Christ’s kingdom. I wish it would not do so, and remain part of the catholic Church, as it seemed to do back with “good faith subscription” was the notion.

  245. James Jordan said,

    October 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I guess I should add that paedocommunion has been accepted quite often as an option in the PCA. Not the practice, but the opinion. So, in a time of transition I would like to see the PCA continue to accept it and let it do its leavening work. A whole lot of seminary profs believe in paedocommunion, as do a whole lot of PCA pastors. If the PCA wants to clean house, let it do so. If not, then BH/FV people should not be persecuted.

  246. JWT said,

    October 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    James Jordan:

    It appears that you’re changing your tune. You did not use the words “sect” and “fringe” to define the PCA when you wrote,

    We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there. . . . But there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.

    If anything, these sentences describe your secret little group as a fringe sect that is neither compatible with Reformed doctrine nor the catholic Church, unless you include secret factions composed of dissemblers who are conspiring to subvert the PCA in your definition of “catholic.”

    Therefore, I’ll ask again. Can you please reconcile your 35-year-old conviction that says BHers are not only NOT presbyterian but they are poison to presbyterianism with your recent outbursts that have condemned the PCA as “evil,” “demonic,” “anti-Christ,” etc. for removing BHers from the Presbyterian ministry?

  247. James Jordan said,

    October 2, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Whatever you say. The grownups in the Reformed faith have since Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, Schilder, Van Til, etc. often pointed out the errors in the original Reformation, being “reformed but reforming.” You can think what you want.

  248. October 2, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    A whole lot of seminary profs believe in paedocommunion, as do a whole lot of PCA pastors. If the PCA wants to clean house, let it do so. If not, then BH/FV people should not be persecuted.

    James,

    It seems you have committed a fallacy of category. The arguments for paedocommunion, though although a tenet of FV I suppose, is not a fair representation of the rest of the pork that comes with that bill. Accordingly, allowing one to embrace but not practice paedocommunion hardly implies that one should be able to embrace all the other tenets of FV.

    Ron

  249. JWT said,

    October 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    JBJ:

    I grant for the sake of the argument that you are a grownup and that Kuyper, Dooyeweerd, Schilder, Van Til, etc. often pointed out the errors in the original Reformation, being “reformed but reforming.” Furthermore, I also grant that this subject would make a great thread if and when someone posts it. However, this is not the subject of my question and I sincerely apologize to you for not making myself clearer in my inquiry.

    To remind you, I asked you how you reconcile your 35-year-old conviction that BHers do not belong in the PCA because they (Bhers) are neither “Reformed” nor “Presbyterian” and in fact are “poison,” — how do you reconcile this long-held view with your blogtastic explosions of the past few years where you condemned the PCA to the fires of hell as anti-Christ because it has only done what you secretly believed is perfectly within its rights to do — i.e. removing Bhers from the ranks of the PCA ministry.

    Therefore, I will ask again. How do you, JBJ, harmonize these two completely opposite positions — the one that you have held in secret for 35 years plus, and the other that has earned you quite a colorful reputation in the blogosphere?

  250. October 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I hope it’ll add a degree of credibility to my comments when I say that Jim and I disagree and have disagreed quite decisively for many years on a few issues.

    What is imperative for the present discussion is for folks to grasp that there is no conspiracy, and he’s saying nothing new. You need to understand that what has come to be called FV is almost exactly what JBJ has been teaching for over three decades.

    I started reading his stuff in the 80s, probably while some on this list were still in knee pants. He is the theological brains behind the FV. He has been criticizing aspects of the Reformation for many years.

    His views influenced either directly or indirectly Horne, Leithart, Meyers, Wilkins, Wilson and all the rest.

    Because his long-standing viewpoints have “infected” part of the PCA, some folks now want to discredit him as some sort of clever conspirator. This is simply unfair.

    Disagree all you want (I disagree with Jim’s ecclesiology and liturgy et al.), but please don’t paint him as some sort of FV plant.

    His views alone launched the FV, and he has never been secretive about them.

  251. James Jordan said,

    October 3, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Andrew, I think you give me a bit too much credit, but I guess I am the synthesizer of Rushdoony, Schilder, Rosenstock, and some others. Or the person most known in the conversations that synthesized them. As for my views on history-bounded nature of confessional paradigms, they are in Through New Eyes, chapter 3, which has been out for 25 years and is no “secret.”

    JWT, I’ve never said BHers can’t “belong” in the PCA. I’ve said it’s not likely they can endure there. And that’s too bad. As for my condemnations, they have been directed at the lies spewed out against good men, not for interactions with BH/FV opinions. I condemn liars, and like my mentors in the Bible and in Church history, I make no apology for condemning liars. People like me welcome interaction with people who actually read what we have written and fairly represent it and want to argue about it. So far, I’ve seen nothing of that in the URC, OPC, or PCA. Raucous condemnations of BH/FV people for opinions they have never held is a sin. Again, that’s too bad.

    The behavior of the Star Judicial Chamber of the PCA is also a scandalous sin. People outside the PCA club are absolutely amazed that such an omnipotent institution can exist in a group calling itself “presbyterian,” and are amazed at how it has behaved. I’m happy to condemn it. It is evil.

    As for me and my friends, we have a wall to build, and continually interacting with people who refuse to hear what we say is a waste of our time.

    Cordially,

    JBJordan

  252. David Gadbois said,

    October 3, 2010 at 7:54 am

    It is indeed giving too much credit to Jordan to say that he is *the* theological brains behind FV, inasmuch as Norman Shepherd’s heretical doctrine of justification is the other major driving force behind FV. The silly, quasi-Anglican, costume party liturgical trappings, bloated view of baptismal efficacy, defective ordo salutis and doctrine of apostacy, monocovenentalism, and other errors that the FV embrace are simply natural results of defective doctrines of grace and justification. This should be no surprise, it is how it has always been in the history of the church. One really need look no further than Rome to see the labyrinthian complex of theological errors that they have built upon their dogmatic rejection of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

    And does anyone seriously doubt the influence Shepherd has had upon the FV men? I hope we need not debate this obvious fact.

  253. October 3, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Sorry, David, but no cigar. Shepherd’s views are found in (=as) Bullinger, anti-liturgical monocovenantal anti-Roman anti-baptismal efficacy anachronistic pre-Shepherd Shepherdite (read his staggering The One Eternal Covenant, c. 1522 for these and other heresies). The early Swiss Reformation was “Sheperdite” to the core, which is why his enemies want to stay away from that glorious wing of the earliest Reformation. In the Swiss we have a picture of what the Reformation would have looked like without Luther’s influence.

    So, no, no logical connection, I’m afraid.

  254. JWT said,

    October 3, 2010 at 9:05 am

    @Andrew Sandlin:

    To the extent that you directed your comments at me (if at all), I don’t believe that JBJ is coordinating a conspiracy of any sort. I believe he oversees an email group that is composed of dissemblers who would like to subvert the PCA with JBJ’s doctrine, which is a much different thing. But “dissemblers” is the operative term because you don’t have to be a member of the Illuminati to know that these men are living double lives, saying one thing in public and something altogether different in private. Or as they appear fond of saying, “Remember, this is a confidential list.”

    @JBJ:

    For the record, I hear exactly what you’re saying or in this context I am reading exactly what you’re writing. For example, in the post that is the subject of this thread, you wrote: “But we don’t really ‘belong’ there.” (Emphasis quotation marks yours.)

    The antecedent to the word “there” is “the PCA” and the context of “the PCA” is “traditional presbyterianism,” which you introduced by admitting: “We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points.”

    But instead of explaining these words in their immediate context, you’re modifying them by writing, “I’ve never said BHers can’t ‘belong’ in the PCA. I’ve said it’s not likely they can endure there.” The switch from “don’t belong in the PCA” to “can’t belong in the PCA” appears to be an attempt to moonwalk away from your position of “don’t belong.”

    The difference between saying BHers “don’t belong in the PCA” and “can’t belong the PCA” is like the difference between saying “Islamic jihadis don’t belong in the US Army” and “Islamic jihadis can’t belong in the US Army.” Sure, the US Army could begin admitting Taliban soldiers into its ranks but no one except Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama think this is a very good idea. So let’s stay with the word “don’t” because that’s your original term — BHers don’t belong in the PCA.

    In your post above, you asked your PCA BH brethren the pointed question: “So, why are you trying to get ordained presbyterian? Why not seek to get ordained Baptist?” This is extremely telling because it demonstrates how much BHers really “don’t belong in the PCA” because in your opinion they are closer to Baptists than Presbys. Furthermore, your admission that the BH position is “poison to traditional presbyterianism” has no mitigating context. It reads like a warning label found on the package of any poisonous substance, skull and crossbones et al, because most people to understand the term “poison” to mean “something that is harmful, toxic, or deadly, if touched or ingested.”

    You and Sandlin claim this position (that Bhers don’t belong in the PCA) has not been a secret but I don’t think either of you understand that for most people who learned about you during your blogtasims of the last few years, it is a secret. The very first comment in this thread illustrates this point extremely well where Patrick T. McWilliams wrote: “Perhaps I’ll comment more when I can get my jaw back up off the floor.”

    Speaking for myself, I could not reconcile your belief that BHers “don’t belong in the PCA” with your fierce condemnations of the PCA for prosecuting BHers out of the PCA, which you maintain in private is its perfect right, and it appears from your answer that you share my belief because you don’t harmonize the two positions without appealing to self-serving, unfounded, broad-brush accusations against the PCA’s SJC instead of just admitting the plain truth. And the plain truth in this case is that BHers do not belong in the PCA and the “PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types.”

    I personally believe that if you affirmed this position as you originally wrote it without adding any accusations against the PCA to it, you would persuade a lot more people of your zeal for the truth. Apart from that, I suspect you’ll continue to look and sound like a nasty old crank who is as hard-hearted as he is dishonest.

  255. Ron Henzel said,

    October 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Andrew,

    You wrote:

    The early Swiss Reformation was “Sheperdite” to the core, which is why his enemies want to stay away from that glorious wing of the earliest Reformation.

    This is not true at all. Oecolampadius, a Swiss Reformer (born in Germany) who was twenty-plus years Bullinger’s senior, was not only a bi-covenantalist, but it is also clear that Bullinger heavily modified Oecolampadius’s views in order to come up with monocovenantalism.

    Johannes Oecolampadius of Basel (d. 1531) also made use of the covenant idea. He was, in fact, the only contemporary author whom Bullinger cited in The Covenant in support of his own view that there was only one covenant in history. But Bullinger chose his quotations from Oecolampadius carefully, even deleting material in order to tailor the Baseler’s viewpoint to his own. Oecolampadius posited an old and a new covenant; he had a two-covenant scheme that gave his concept a very different slant from Bullinger’s.

    [Charles S. McCoy and J. Wayne Baker, "Heinrich Bullinger and the Origins of the Federal Tradition," in Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenantal Tradition, (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1991), 21-22.]

    No cigar for you!

  256. Ron Henzel said,

    October 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Andrew,

    As for your remark:

    In the Swiss we have a picture of what the Reformation would have looked like without Luther’s influence.

    First of all, are you saying that Luther’s influence had not reached Switzerland by the time the Reformers there began publishing their views? And secondly, since Luther’s primary contribution to the Reformation was a clear articulation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, are you suggesting that “that glorious wing of the earliest Reformation” might have done better off without it?

  257. David Gray said,

    October 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Actually I think most modern reformed could use a good dose of genuine Luther. It would make them more Calvinist.

  258. James Jordan said,

    October 3, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Mr/Mrs/Miss Anonymous JWT

    As I wrote before, all of this is based on an immoral extraction from a private backyard conversation between friends. If you’ve ever had a conversation with friends, you know that things are said jokingly, hyperbolically, or with deliberate attempt to stimulate. Apart from the whole conversation, you only have a partial understanding of what I was communicating. If you don’t or won’t understand that, then there’s not much I can do for you.

    Also, if you cannot see the PCA SJC for the evil that it obviously is, you have problems that go far beyond my ability to correct.

    You are free, of course, to play the kind of game Gadbois and others play of extracting phrases at random, deliberately putting evil connotations on them, accusing God’s ordained servants of things they don’t believe, and ridiculing the Bible. If so, you are free to do so, for now.

    I’ve spent enough time explaining things to you, stating things in a non-backyard partial way. Think whatever you want. I don’t generally reply to anonymous people, since they aren’t worth answering. For all I know you are a 15 year old Jehovah’s Witness girl. I have replied only because there are probably some honest people reading this who are interested in what I actually think. For the rest, if you wish to be ignorant, that’s your affair. I’ve come to expect little else in places like this, sad to say.

  259. JWT said,

    October 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    JBJ:

    I understand that while you were in Russia, someone updated your Yahoos website with the full context of your post, which in my opinion is an aggravating circumstance not mitigating. For example, we see that you renamed the thread from “ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up” to “The Heatonic Observation,” naming it after John Heaton who wrote an objective and sobering assessment of the MVP report. Heaton closed his email, stating:

    They see something very clearly that you had better recognize — they are vanilla, and you are now chocolate. You’ll only win it by persuading the PCA that chocolate is better, not by insisting that chocolate nuggets have always been enjoyed, permitted, or otherwise mixed in the reformed recipe.

    Three hours and twenty minutes later you replied to Heaton, saying,

    Well, John, sounds good to me. I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation. . . . Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there.

    The remainder of the thread is more of the same — BHers engaging your point that they don’t belong in the PCA and that the Reformation didn’t go far enough. Therefore, it’s dishonest of you to argue, “Apart from the whole conversation, you only have a partial understanding of what I was communicating.” Those are your words that you wrote when you thought no one was watching and you owned them without equivocation on JW’s blog, writing, “nothing you reprinted here differs from what I have said for 35+ years.” Your claims of making these comments “jokingly, hyperbolically, or with deliberate attempt to stimulate” are just more childish dishonesty.

    I also understand the pressure you must feel to back away from your comments. Leithart and Meyers have enough heat without having to answer for your candor, and Wilson can’t nab churches from the PCA if the FV sales pitch becomes, “Join the CREC — We’re toxic!” It’s certainly more honest but as the BH list demonstrates, the FV has never been about honesty.

    Finally, I have not played any games; I have not put an evil construction on the BHers’ dissembling; I have not accused God’s ordained servants of anything; and I have not ridiculed the Bible. And concerning your silly ad homs, I think you hit the nail on the head when you admitted that you are poison. As you wrote, JBJ, “It’s no good pretending otherwise.”

  260. David Gadbois said,

    October 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    JWT, please note that our policy is to not let anonymous posters comment here at Greenbaggins in most cases. Perhaps I missed it, but did Lane or one of the other moderators clear you to post anonymously? Otherwise you will have to tell us who you are or else explain why an exception should be made in your circumstance.

    Thanks in advance, and I’m sorry if the other moderators cleared you already.

  261. David Gadbois said,

    October 3, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    James Jordan said You are free, of course, to play the kind of game Gadbois and others play of extracting phrases at random, deliberately putting evil connotations on them, accusing God’s ordained servants of things they don’t believe, and ridiculing the Bible.

    I’m not sure if I’m being confused with someone else or if Mr. Jordan has some different context in mind, but in the present context of this blog post (which Lane posted) I have only left two comments in the comment thread here, neither of which involve quoting others or “extracting phrases” of anyone at all.

  262. David Gadbois said,

    October 4, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Andrew Sandlin said Shepherd’s views are found in (=as) Bullinger, anti-liturgical monocovenantal anti-Roman anti-baptismal efficacy anachronistic pre-Shepherd Shepherdite….The early Swiss Reformation was “Sheperdite” to the core, which is why his enemies want to stay away from that glorious wing of the earliest Reformation.

    Either that or we simply don’t care, for lots of good reasons.

    We are 500 years after Luther now, and there simply isn’t any excuse for not getting justification right. We don’t owe the same sort of leniency or judgment of charity to a 21st century theologian that we would to saints pre-Luther (such as, for instance, Augustine). This follows the pattern of the early church in progressing in clarity regarding issues surrounding the Christological and Trinitarian controversies. We should not retroactively excommunicate saints who came before us who were not privy to the discussions, clarifications, and dogmatic definitions that were enshrined after their time. That reality does not, however, excuse the theologians and ministers who have come after the fact; they are without excuse.

    Also, historical theology is a descriptive discipline, not a normative one; exegetical and systematic theology are what should be normative to the Christian conscience and church. I just can’t make myself care about obscure historical debates about which church father or “Reformer” or whoever believed in whatever mix of error and truth. It just becomes a silly game of name-dropping. And even if we were going to play that game, Bullinger would not be high on my list.

    All of that is to say, one cannot simply adopt a reductio ad absurdum tactic or appeal to authority which says, essentially, “Shepherd taught what Bullinger taught on justification, but it is ridiculous to say that Bullinger was not within the pale of orthodoxy, therefore Shepherd and Shepherdites are within the pale of orthodoxy w/ respect to their doctrine of justification.

    So, no, no logical connection, I’m afraid.

    It is right to say that there is no inevitable connection. Embracing errors on the doctrine of justification does not, of logical necessity, commit anyone to baptismal regeneration, high church liturgy, paedocommunion (on the FV side) nor the cult of the saints, images, Mariolotry, transubstantiation, and so forth (on the Romish side). But it does logically leave the door open to them. That is to say, rejection of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is a necessary but not sufficient condition of those other errors. Some may open that door but not walk through it, others may do both.

    But what is more dangerous and of greater importance, the root or the branch? The fact is, we could all sit around and have spirited conversation in the bond of fellowship about things like liturgy or even paedocommunion. We could gather around a campfire, sing Kumbaya, and debate the matters, and while perhaps even disagreeing strongly on some things, at the end of the day, we wouldn’t have the present Hiroshima-scale divisiveness that has torn apart congregations, led to a plethora of GA/Synod-level study reports and position statements condemning the FV, and numerous disciplinary proceedings against elders and ministers. But mess with the doctrine of justification and expect the hydrogen bomb-tipped ICBMs to launch by the dozens. That is because nothing less than the gospel is at stake when one gets justification wrong. Erring on, say, matters of “high” vs. “low” liturgy might be silly, unwise, or perhaps rise to the level of sin or introduce some dangers and temptations, but such errors would not be direct repudiations of the gospel.

    When one jettisons justification by faith alone, one has adopted a different religion. Different both in its pattern and fundamental character. Now the piety of this different religion might express itself in different ways, different trappings and so forth. Some might be “low” church, others might be “high” church, some would have differing views of the sacraments and so on. But it is all still the same religion, one devoid of the biblical gospel.

  263. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Mr. Gadbois writes: “When one jettisons justification by faith alone, one has adopted a different religion.”

    To which I reply: NO ONE has jettisoned justification by faith alone, and no matter how many times you and others repeat this lie it will continue to be a lie, and something you will answer for. I promise you.

    And please, don’t refer to “numerous studies of the FV” etc. Not one of these was honest. Not one interacted with FV writings. At least two members of the OPC committee have stated that they did not even know there was such a book as “The Federal Vision.” It’s a farce.

    I’ve stated for the record, and so have all the rest of “us,” what we believe. It’s in the FV Statement. To say we deny justification by faith alone, in the Reformation sense of that phrase, is a complete lie.

    James B. Jordan

  264. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Miss/Mr. Anonymous JWT,

    Believe whatever you want. What do you think we meant by “presbyterian” in that conversation? We meant contemporary American conservative presbyterian, which is liturgically Methodist and sacramentally Baptist.

    http://www.fpcjackson.org/general/Bulletins/FPC_2010_Bulletins/FPC_bulletin_October_03_2010.pdf

    See any confession of sin here? See many psalms? See the Lord’s Supper? No, you see a musical concert with some other stuff tossed in. High class Methodist worship. With grape juice occasionally.

    There is not one single Reformer or Westminster Divine who could be admitted to the OPC, PCA, or URC today. Rutherford starts out “Lex, Rex” with praise for a bunch of Papist thinkers. Imagine what Aquila and his crew would do with that!

    So, IMO the PCA SHOULD accept Reformation and Westminster teaching, which we of the FV conversation embrace and represent. But I don’t think the PCA is going to do so, because Reformation beliefs are “poison” to the PCA. At least so it has appeared thus far. Grape-juice Arminians who don’t sing psalms are not going to like Reformation liturgics. Two-kingdom neo-marcionites are not going to like Reformation and Westminster Bibliocratic paradigms. Klinean gnostics will reject Biblical chronology and 6-day creation. Generic semi-dispensational antinomians will reject the teaching that true justifying faith is not mere belief but is manifest in action. Etc.

    Now, if you want to pretend that there is some kind of Big Contradiction in all this, and that we have a Secret Doctrine, go ahead. If you want that to be your problem, then by all means, that can be your problem.

    Reformation people like myself are not acceptable in the OPC, URC, PCA, and sadly I don’t think we will be. It was not so 30 years ago, when I was working in the PCA Stated Clerk’s office. As time has gone along, these groups have become more and more hostile to the Reformation and to the Westminster Standards, but since they define themselves in that tradition, they must twist and revamp the Reformed tradition to fit their Americanist individualist ways. They build monuments to these men while persecuting those who believe what they believed.

    As for responding to your citing of the wiretapping invasion of private conversations, I refuse to do so. I’ve said the same thing often enough, and you can read PUBLIC versions of it in these three places:

    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/how-to-do-reformed-theology-nowadays/

    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-177-the-closing-of-the-calvinistic-mind/

    http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/pdf/Symbolism-A-Manifesto.pdf

    So, read these and interact with them if you want. You’ll find PLENTY to be scandalized about, if you want to be scandalized!

  265. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 7:11 am

    In 264, I should have written concerning the Reformation and Westminster, “which we in the FV generally embrace.” Read the three articles recommended and you’ll see what I mean by that general embrace.

  266. Dean B said,

    October 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Mr Jordan

    You wrote: We meant contemporary American conservative presbyterian, which is liturgically Methodist and sacramentally Baptist.

    No you did not! You confessed in BH (Quote) I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation.

    When you admitted that pc and all the sacramental implications is not reformed even your critics agree, but now that Wilson disagrees you are trying to get us to believe what you really meant was that American conservative presbyterian is not reformed.

    Obama may by get some people to believe Mexicans were in the US before American was even a thought, however, you will have a hard time convincing any that contemporary American conservative presbyterian is over 1000 years old.

  267. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Dean B,

    Yawn. Yeah. Sure. Whatever. I have no idea what I mean by what I say. You’re right. Very deep. Profound.

    Happy now?

    I’d hate to live in your home. Any time your wife or kids say anything you take it to the max. When they attempt to clarify you accuse them of lying. You must be a wonderful person to live with. I certainly hope you have no position in any church of Jesus Christ. You appear utterly unfit for such.

    JBJordan

  268. TurretinFan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    “Rutherford starts out “Lex, Rex” with praise for a bunch of Papist thinkers. Imagine what Aquila and his crew would do with that!”

    Who among can say that they never said something nice about one of the papists!

    “To say we deny justification by faith alone, in the Reformation sense of that phrase, is a complete lie.”

    The FV Joint Statement paints a picture of FV views that doesn’t seem consistent with the Reformed view on justification by faith alone. I’ve critiqued that statement (link to critique).

    -TurretinFan

  269. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    October 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Hi TurretinFan,

    I read your critique. It was helpful throughout. This part is good:

    “The last line is the most offensive aspect of the document, precisely because the FV movement is not endeavoring to keep unity, but is actually dividing.

    Leaving that aside, the disclaimer is useful. Some FVists are further from the truth than others. Having this statement, as poorly worded and – in places – as vague as it is, is helpful. It helps to provide a basis to decide whether something is or is not “Federal Vision” per se. It also makes it possible to identify some of the critical errors in FVism, although we suspect that there may still be FV distinctives lurking behind the statement.”

  270. Ron Henzel said,

    October 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    James Jordan wrote in comment 264:

    …There is not one single Reformer or Westminster Divine who could be admitted to the OPC, PCA, or URC today. …

    …So, IMO the PCA SHOULD accept Reformation and Westminster teaching, which we of the FV conversation embrace and represent. But I don’t think the PCA is going to do so, because Reformation beliefs are “poison” to the PCA. …

    …Reformation people like myself are not acceptable in the OPC, URC, PCA, and sadly I don’t think we will be. … As time has gone along, these groups have become more and more hostile to the Reformation and to the Westminster Standards…

    Meanwhile, Rod Serling is standing over in the corner with a cigarette, wearing a black suit and saying, “You’re travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

  271. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Turretinfan,

    Your “critique”: Pretty funny stuff. Perhaps someday you’ll read some Calvinistic theology.

    JBJordan

  272. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    October 4, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Why doesn’t everybody who signs and supports the Joint FV Statement and who’s not yet a member of CREC just become a member of CREC and leave their current denomination?

    Furthermore, why don’t all the non-FV denominations just excommunicate FV supporters if they refuse to leave?

    Or is the current status quo preferable?

  273. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    October 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    James Jordan: “Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise.”

    What are those “certain pretty basic points” since as you say, “it’s no good pretending otherwise.”

  274. TurretinFan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Mr. Jordan wrote:

    Your “critique”: Pretty funny stuff. Perhaps someday you’ll read some Calvinistic theology.

    Thanks. I am glad we agree that the Federal Vision Joint Statement does not qualify as Calvinistic theology. I am sure you’ll be glad to hear that I have read lots of Calvinistic theology, though, from men like Calvin, Turretin, Owen, and Watson. It’s great stuff – I heartily recommend it. Too bad I cannot say the same of the FV Joint Statement!

    -TurretinFan

  275. October 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    JBJ:
    “So, IMO the PCA SHOULD accept Reformation and Westminster teaching, which we of the FV conversation embrace and represent. But I don’t think the PCA is going to do so, because Reformation beliefs are “poison” to the PCA.”

    Ah, so Reformation beliefs are poison to the PCA. Lets rewind a bit:

    “We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism.”

    Yeah, I see the word “traditional” thrown in there. At this point, you’re saying that the “tradition” is American watered-down Presbyterianism. But in your original statement, you very clearly identified the “tradition” as “THE WHOLE REFORMATION TRADITION.”

    Has anyone seen what a snake does when it’s caught by the tail? Never mind, you all have.

  276. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    October 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    James Jordan: “Two-kingdom neo-marcionites are not going to like Reformation and Westminster Bibliocratic paradigms.”

    Sounds like a reference to Darryl Hart.

  277. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Turretinfan,

    You begin your critique: “The Trinity (the triune God) is not the archtype of all covenantal relations.”

    Uh, well then, where DID God get the idea and model for covenantal relations? From some other eternal stuff floating around out there?

    You see, it’s fundamental to Biblical catholic Christianity that God is the source of everything. It’s called “analogy.” There is no thing or relation in the creation that is not modelled on something in God, because there’s nothing else God can use for a model.

    Duh.

    Your critique is not only not Calvinistic; it’s not even Christian. You need to learn the ABCs of the Christian faith.

  278. James Jordan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Mr. McWilliams,

    I recommend reading some Van Til, and then some Poythress. You are lacking an in understanding of perspectival theology. The Vantillian critique of the Reformation is not a renunciation of it, but an attempt to correct some errors. But the errors are not little things on the edges, but rather strains that run through and from time to time pop up to mess things up. Any educated Calvinist knows that the “whole reformation tradition” is messed up with nominalism, and any serious thinker wants to bring Biblical presuppositions to revamp that aspect of things.

    I see I’m wasting my time. Evidently none of you who interact here has any desire to read what I’ve actually written. You only want to pore over tapped informal phone calls between friends, like a bunch of people hooked on pornography. Believe me, if you actually read what I suggested, some of you would find far more ammunition for your assaults on those of us who actually believe in salvation and life by faith alone.

  279. David Gadbois said,

    October 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    James Jordan said To which I reply: NO ONE has jettisoned justification by faith alone, and no matter how many times you and others repeat this lie it will continue to be a lie….I’ve stated for the record, and so have all the rest of “us,” what we believe. It’s in the FV Statement. To say we deny justification by faith alone, in the Reformation sense of that phrase, is a complete lie.

    I do realize that FVers formally affirm sola fide in the Statement’s section on justification, but our argument is that this profession is undermined by the substantive errors found elsewhere, both inside and outside of the Statement. For some FVers these errors are more directly inconsistent with sola fide, others espouse lesser errors that are more indirectly inconsistent.

    Denying the law/gospel distinction, smuggling works/sanctity into the definition of faith, teaching that baptism is instrumental in justification, “final justification” by works, justification as “deliverdict”, etc. are all ways by which various FV proponents have undermined their formal affirmations of justification by faith alone. So merely pointing to formal affirmations is not sufficient to defend against charges of compromising sola fide, one must show how one’s theology squares up with it in substance. All of us FV critics at this blog have been spending years arguing that those errors are not compatible with the orthodox understanding of justification by faith alone. Perhaps you can convince us otherwise, but simply calling the charges “lies” does not address the substance of our arguments.

  280. David Gray said,

    October 4, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    >I do realize that FVers formally affirm sola fide in the Statement’s section on justification, but our argument is that this profession is undermined by the substantive errors found elsewhere, both inside and outside of the Statement.

    But having internal contradictions in theology is not the same thing as denying sola fide, something critics should remember.

  281. October 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Mr. Jordan,

    I tend to not pay much attention to author recommendations from men who first lie, then try to cover it up, are then caught in said lie & coverup, then pretend like it never happened, then whine about being taken out of context (that one is getting really old).

    Better men than I have read plenty of Van Til & Poythress. I’m not interested in discussing their views; I was merely pointing out your blatant backpedaling. Van Til & Poythress’ views are irrelevant to my last post; they still don’t change the fact that you’re a liar who insults the intelligence of literate people who can clearly read your contradictions.

  282. David Gadbois said,

    October 4, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    David Gray said But having internal contradictions in theology is not the same thing as denying sola fide, something critics should remember.

    I’d say this is a fair point to make in some cases, but it is only true up to a point. There gets to be a level of contradiction, at some juncture, where the substance of a doctrine is overturned if words are to have any meaning. The doctrine is functionally being denied at that point. Not all FVers or Shepherdites have reached this point, but some have and I’d say that they don’t have a credible profession of faith. But in either case such ministers prove themselves to not be fit for the ministry in any denomination.

  283. Shawn Van Dyken said,

    October 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    In #277 JBJ says “There is no thing or relation in the creation that is not modelled on something in God, because there’s nothing else God can use for a model. Duh.”

    So God needs a model?

    Wow.

  284. TurretinFan said,

    October 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Mr. Jordan:
    You wrote:

    You begin your critique: “The Trinity (the triune God) is not the archtype of all covenantal relations.”

    Uh, well then, where DID God get the idea and model for covenantal relations?

    Perhaps a better question is, “Why must all covenantal relations have an archetype?” In point of fact, there are a variety of kinds of covenants that exist. For example, there is a covenant of marriage (between two creatures, in the sight of God) and there are other covenants such as the covenant of works and the covenant of grace between God and man, each differing from the other. God has not explicitly revealed a great deal about the relationship within the Trinity, but you will be hard-pressed to find God himself explicitly describing the intra-trinitarian union as founded on covenant. God is one in being, the three persons being of one substance and equal in power and glory.

    Note that I’m not denying that it is useful to speak of an intra-trinitarian covenant of redemption. But our understanding of the Trinity in those terms is itself founded on the covenants that God has more explicitly revealed to us, not vice versa.

    From some other eternal stuff floating around out there?

    I neither stated nor suggested that. Where did God get the idea for red blood cells from? God does not tell us. That doesn’t mean tha the Trinity is the “archetype” of red blood cells, nor does it mean that God had some external co-eternal archetype of red blood cells. Perhaps there’s simply no archetype, because God doesn’t need an archetype to create something, or to have a Creator-creature relationship. That after all, is a non-analogy — something that differentiates covenants between men and God (or between the husband and wife) from hypothetical (or actual) intra-trinitarian covenants.

    Trying to force the existence of things like covenants between unequals to be analogous to the Trinitarian covenant of redemption (or any other intra-trinitarian covenant) is liable to lead one down the path to subordinationism.

    You see, it’s fundamental to Biblical catholic Christianity that God is the source of everything.

    God being the source of all things is one idea. God serving as the archetype for all things is a different idea. Hopefully you will learn to keep those ideas straight.

    God’s role as Creator of all things is a fundamental Christian principle. The idea of every aspect of existing having an archetype is not. There’s a distinction between God as Creator and God as Archetype.

    It’s called “analogy.”

    You like that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    There is no thing or relation in the creation that is not modelled on something in God, because there’s nothing else God can use for a model.

    Two distinctions:
    1) You haven’t established that God needs a model in order to create. See the counter-example above, regarding red blood cells. Hopefully, no one would be so foolish as to imagine that God could not create the seen from the unseen.
    2) There is also a further distinction:
    a) On the one hand, the explanation for the existence of every good thing lies in God.
    b) On the other hand, not every good thing is analogous to God.
    to put it in terms that will be easier for you
    a) On the one hand, something could be modeled according to an idea that God has; and
    b) On the other hand, something could be modeled according to God himself.

    Duh.

    Surely no response to this is required.

    Your critique is not only not Calvinistic; it’s not even Christian. You need to learn the ABCs of the Christian faith.

    This conclusion is certainly not warranted based on the evidence you’ve provided. On the contrary, you seem to using a number of informal fallacies, including the fallacy of the false dichotomy (i.e. either covenantal relationships have the Trinity itself as an archetype, or they have an external co-external archetype).

    God’s knowledge of creatures is free knowledge, and God’s knowledge of God’s relationship (including covenants) with his creatures is necessarily also free knowledge, since it is premised on the existence of creatures.

    I realize that gets a little beyond the ABCs, but perhaps you can keep up!

    -TurretinFan

  285. Dean B said,

    October 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Mr. Jordan

    Just a review of what you have written in the last 24 hours.

    From 267: I’d hate to live in your home. Any time your wife or kids say anything you take it to the max. When they attempt to clarify you accuse them of lying. You must be a wonderful person to live with. I certainly hope you have no position in any church of Jesus Christ. You appear utterly unfit for such.

    From 271 Your “critique”: Pretty funny stuff. Perhaps someday you’ll read some Calvinistic theology.

    From 277 Your critique is not only not Calvinistic; it’s not even Christian. You need to learn the ABCs of the Christian faith.

    From 278 Any educated Calvinist knows that the “whole reformation tradition” is messed up with nominalism, and any serious thinker wants to bring Biblical presuppositions to revamp that aspect of things.

    How do your comments stack up against these biblical requirements for an elder?

    Be above reproach
    * Self-Controlled
    * Not violent but gentle
    * Sober-minded
    * Respectable
    * Able to teach
    * Not quarrelsome
    * Must be well thought of by outsiders
    * Not arrogant
    * Not quick tempered
    * A lover of good
    * Holds firm to the trustworthy word

  286. Roger du Barry said,

    October 5, 2010 at 10:42 am

    It is very disturbing to see non-Reformed people here, namely, Baptists, as well as Presbyterians who are baptistic and anti-confessional in their empty-sign sacramental theology, attacking JBJ for his Reformed faith.

    You all fail to acknowledge that you yourselves are not orthodox. Even if JBJ is mistaken on some points, you have a duty to order your own houses before taking the splinter out of his eye.

  287. Tim Wilder said,

    October 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

    @ 285 Roger du Berry

    “It is very disturbing to see non-Reformed people here…attacking JBJ for his Reformed faith.”

    But then you are here, attacking people for their Reformed faith. You even brought charges against Lane for holding to what the Westminster Confession actually teaches.

    How is your lawsuit against your doctor coming along?

  288. TurretinFan said,

    October 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

    No one is criticizing JBJ for holding to anything distinctively Reformed here, RdB. Perhaps you should read the comments more carefully! Or if you think I’ve misjudged your apparent uncharitable attempt to stir up partisanship, perhaps you would identify for us what Reformed distinctive JBJ was accused of holding by any of his critics, be they of whatever background they may be?

    -TurretinFan

  289. October 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Ron,

    Yes, I do know about Oecolampadius, but you also know that he is not generally identified with Zwingli and Bullinger as the preeminent Swiss reformers.

    There is no clear historical evidence that Luther’s views shaped the *formulation* of that early Swiss reformation. Can you provide such evidence? Do you dispute Baker, McCoy and McGrath?

    Yes, I would have liked to see a Reformation without the Law-Gospel distinction, without a Two Kingdoms theory, without a “Theology of the Cross versus a Theology of Glory” and without consubstantiation.

    Luther is a very mixed bag.

  290. PDuggie said,

    October 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Mohler came and taught Tenth Presbyterian that Romans 8:4 was solely a reference to imputation of righteousness. It was corrected later, but rather disturbing to me at the time.

    So its not undangerous to keep Mohler so close at hand.

  291. James Jordan said,

    October 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Dean B., my comments stack up perfectly with Biblical requirements. I learned from the best: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Paul. These are the Biblical examples of how the attributes you list function. Sugar-coated American Arminian religion is not.

    Shawn van Dyken, no. As I wrote, God IS the model. That’s what trinitarian Calvinism teaches.

    Mr. Gadbois: “Denying the law/gospel distinction, smuggling works/sanctity into the definition of faith, teaching that baptism is instrumental in justification, “final justification” by works, justification as “deliverdict”, etc. are all ways by which various FV proponents have undermined their formal affirmations of justification by faith alone.”

    GASP! Well, the way you phrase these you’d think they were new ideas. The way we phrase these things is how Calvin and the Reformers and the Westminster phrased them. All of these things are fully found there, as we have pointed out for the last decade with quotation after quotation. Your list of problems is a list of problems with the Reformation and the Westminster Assembly, not with the FV conversation.

    Turretinfan: “God being the source of all things is one idea. God serving as the archetype for all things is a different idea. Hopefully you will learn to keep those ideas straight.
    God’s role as Creator of all things is a fundamental Christian principle. The idea of every aspect of existing having an archetype is not. There’s a distinction between God as Creator and God as Archetype.”

    Well, no. Actually God as Creator is the same as God as Archetype. Nothing new in that. God as “source” means whatever God does comes from how He Himself exists. There’s no scale of being. Calvinism has understood this for a long time.

    Theology is done by way of eminence, negation, and analogy. That is, catholic and Calvinistic theology anyway. And from this we know all kinds of things about the Triune life, for it is the model of our life.

    Colossians is quite clear that the Son is the model or archetype of creation. I suggest that any view of the creative act of God that does not affirm that the life and being of God is the archetype of all creation is doomed to collapse into some kind of unitarian or Islamic — that is, arbitrary and nominalistic — view of the creative act. I don’t imagine you want that, so encourage you to take up the Calvinistic approach — whoever you are. (And this is about the last time I dignify anonymous people with responses.)

  292. Kevin said,

    October 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    James Jordan wrote: “There is not one single Reformer or Westminster Divine who could be admitted to the OPC, PCA, or URC today.”

    Well, neither would St. Augustine, or any Church Father for that matter. No reason for anyone excluded to have hurt feelings if you think about it.

  293. TurretinFan said,

    October 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    JBJ wrote:

    Well, no. Actually God as Creator is the same as God as Archetype.

    Well, now that you’ve asserted it twice, it must be true!

    God as “source” means whatever God does comes from how He Himself exists. There’s no scale of being. Calvinism has understood this for a long time.

    A) Who said there was a scale of being? Not I.
    B) You’re continuing to propose a false dichotomy. The fact that God as source means everything comes from God doesn’t mean that everything is analogy.

    Theology is done by way of eminence, negation, and analogy.

    That’s how theology proper is done, particularly within a scholastic framework. The question of covenant, however, is not a question of theology proper (the study of God himself as God) but rather a question of theology in the broader sense, namely the study of the relationship between God and man.

    That is, catholic and Calvinistic theology anyway. And from this we know all kinds of things about the Triune life, for it is the model of our life.

    We primarily know about the Trinity through revelation. Facts about the Trinity are often expressed through such techniques as analogy and negation.

    But those tools themselves must be used with the proper restraint, and that restraint is revelation. We cannot arbitrarily draw analogies where Scripture does not warrant them.

    Colossians is quite clear that the Son is the model or archetype of creation.

    Quite clear, eh? Don’t you think you’re overselling your wares a bit? I can guess that you mean to refer to a portion of the first chapter, which states:

    Colossians 1:15-20

    … who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
    And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
    For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

    That seems to suggest not that Christ was a “model” for Creation, but that he is the source of Life. That everything is sustained by him, and that he has Lordship over it.

    Perhaps there is some archetypal application to be made, but it is far from being either immediately clear or even the primary significance of the text. Or perhaps I’ve simply mis-guessed where you think that Colossians is “quite clear” on this matter.

    I suggest that any view of the creative act of God that does not affirm that the life and being of God is the archetype of all creation is doomed to collapse into some kind of unitarian or Islamic — that is, arbitrary and nominalistic — view of the creative act. I don’t imagine you want that, so encourage you to take up the Calvinistic approach — whoever you are. (And this is about the last time I dignify anonymous people with responses.)

    This is interesting. You seem to be suggesting that if we ascribe freedom to God in Creation, we collapse into an improper view of the creative act. But Scripture’s own analogy for God is of God as potter, making (according to his own free choice) some vessels to honor and others to dishonor.

    In one respective, therefore, you’ve properly identified some of the tools we need to know about God (you pointed us to Scripture, though it does not clearly say what you seem to think it should & you pointed us to analogy, though it leads us to disagree with your conclusions). On the other hand, it seems you have not used the tools well, and consequently have you have not arrived at the Reformed and Scriptural doctrines taught by our forefathers in the faith.

    Analogy helps us understand God from creation, but the use of analogy does not give us permission to turn everything into an analogy for God. Perhaps you can see the distinction.

    -TurretinFan

    (And I’m pseudonymous, not anonymous. Though perhaps the distinction is irrelevant for your purposes, it is important to me – since the former permits me to remain accountable to men of God for my words and Internet doings.).

  294. October 5, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    “It is very disturbing to see non-Reformed people here, namely, Baptists, as well as Presbyterians who are baptistic and anti-confessional in their empty-sign sacramental theology, attacking JBJ for his Reformed faith.

    You all fail to acknowledge that you yourselves are not orthodox. Even if JBJ is mistaken on some points, you have a duty to order your own houses before taking the splinter out of his eye.”

    Sticks and stones, Rog. Label me whatever you wish, at least I’m honest about where and why I disagree with WCF. This issue goes beyond whether or not someone is “Reformed” or not; it’s about denying the gospel. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the information on the following webpages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror
    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

    “Yes, I would have liked to see a Reformation without the Law-Gospel distinction…”
    *shudder*

  295. Shawn Van Dyken said,

    October 6, 2010 at 2:20 am

    As troubling as Mr. Jordan’s subsequent posts here have been, I am still somewhat stunned by this nugget from his original communique: “So, why are you trying to get ordained presbyterian? Why not seek to get ordained Baptist? There are a whole lot more baptists out there. A bigger pond. Larger sphere of influence.”

    Contrast those last four words (“Larger sphere of influence”) with these six words of John the Baptist: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).

    Any man desiring raw influence over others has no business seeking ordination . . . period.

  296. Ron Henzel said,

    October 6, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Andrew,

    You wrote:

    Yes, I do know about Oecolampadius, but you also know that he is not generally identified with Zwingli and Bullinger as the preeminent Swiss reformers.

    You’re kidding, right? Oecolampadius accompanied Zwingli and Bucer to the Margburg Colloquy. During the preliminary conference, Zwingli was paired with Melancthon while Oecolampadius undertook discussions with Luther. People still debate the impact of Oecolampadius’s ecclesiology on Calvin, but if Calvin wasn’t at least somewhat influenced by Oecolampadius on that locus of theology it is difficult for me to see how he avoided it.

    Oecolampadius was about Luther’s age, but died in 1531, the same year as Zwingli. He was responsible for organizing the Reformation at Basel, which was no small feat, but Basel never assumed leadership of the Swiss Reformation as did Zurich, Berne, and Geneva at various times. For these reasons Oecolampadius usually gets the short shrift in Reformation histories. Nevertheless, to say he was at the core of the Swiss Reformation is no exaggeration, and thus your statement to the effect that the early Swiss Reformation was “Shepherdite to the core” is utterly without warrant. It’s merely an effort to read a late-20th/early-21st post-Reformed revisionist agenda back into Reformation history.

    You wrote:

    There is no clear historical evidence that Luther’s views shaped the *formulation* of that early Swiss reformation. Can you provide such evidence? Do you dispute Baker, McCoy and McGrath?

    I find your language slippery here. How do you define “early?” It is well known that there was already a Reformation underway in Switzerland before Luther’s works reached there, and that the doctrine of justification was not central to it even though it was quickly adopted by the Swiss when they read it in Luther’s works. But Luther’s works quickly permeated all of Europe in several languages, and didn’t even require translation to be read in Zurich, where they were snatched up by Zwingli and company as the ink was still drying. Although Zwingli tended to minimize his indebtedness to Luther, and it’s quite possible that when he first hear Luther he found him to be echoing his own thoughts, but Zwingli’s very first Reforming sermons in 1519, in which he blasted purgatory, the invocation of the saints, and monasticism, have Luther stamped all over them.

    Furthermore, most scholars would still refer to the time after Luther’s influence was felt as the “early Swiss Reformation,” so long as Zwingli was still alive. So you seem to either be using the word “early” in an idiosyncratic way or making a rather gross error. How can you read Zwingli’s “Exposition of the Faith,” especially its section on faith and works, without seeing the shaping hand of Luther?

    You wrote:

    Yes, I would have liked to see a Reformation without the Law-Gospel distinction, without a Two Kingdoms theory, without a “Theology of the Cross versus a Theology of Glory” and without consubstantiation.

    If you want a Reformation without the Law-Gospel distinction, you had it in Erasmus. If Luther hadn’t come along to raise the specter of inquisitions and executions, he may have seen him or someone undertake a program of reforms based on his works. But a “Reformation” without the Law-Gospel distinction has no real Law, no real Gospel, and is neither Protestant nor an actual Reformation.

    But if that’s what you want…

    You wrote:

    Luther is a very mixed bag.

    I prefer a mixed back that contains the Gospel over an unmixed bag that doesn’t.

  297. Ron Henzel said,

    October 6, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Andrew,

    One more thing: shame on me for not mentioning this much earlier, but on what grounds do you identify Bullinger with the early Swiss Reformation (cf. your comment 253)? Bullinger was a 15-year-old Roman Catholic matriculating at the University of Cologne when Zwingli preached his first Reforming sermon in 1519. He didn’t convert to the faith of the Reformers until 1522, remained a student until 1528, and only came to the fore after Zwingli’s death at the Battle of Kappel. He clearly falls in the category of the second generation of Swiss Reformers, dying in 1575.

  298. Ron Henzel said,

    October 6, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Shawn,

    In case you haven’t noticed, Jimmy Jordan’s rhetorical stick-shift has been stuck in the sarcasm gear for most of his comments on this post. Although I may be over-contextualizing, that was my understanding of the tone of the comments to which you refer, especially given the level of contempt he reserves for Baptists.

  299. PDuggie said,

    October 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

    @295 Shawn:

    Its not that simple, Shawn. It never is. But if you are hostile, it is

    2 Cor 10:13-15 “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged

  300. James Jordan said,

    October 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

    I have no contempt for Baptists. I’ve been a member of more than one Reformed Baptist church, taught Sunday School and played the piano in both of them. And this was while I was postmil and paedocommunionistic. I don’t agree with Baptist theology (see Christianity & Civilization No 1, 1982). And I don’t like Presbapterians, since I see them as deceivers. Also, I expect people who deal with other Reformed Christians, such as myself, Van Til, Schilder, and even N. T. Wright, to do so from a Reformed standpoint, and now from some Baptistic individualistic anti-theocratic perspective, or Klinean law VERSUS grace gnostic perspective, or two-kingdom neoMarcionite perspective. So, I criticize that kind of thing.

    I reserve my contempt for liars and for people who read others’ private mail. See No. 264.

  301. Ron Henzel said,

    October 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    James Jordan wrote in comment 263:

    NO ONE has jettisoned justification by faith alone, and no matter how many times you and others repeat this lie it will continue to be a lie, and something you will answer for. I promise you.

    David Gadbois responded in comment 279:

    Denying the law/gospel distinction, smuggling works/sanctity into the definition of faith, teaching that baptism is instrumental in justification, “final justification” by works, justification as “deliverdict”, etc. are all ways by which various FV proponents have undermined their formal affirmations of justification by faith alone.

    And Jordan replied to that in comment 291:

    GASP! Well, the way you phrase these you’d think they were new ideas. The way we phrase these things is how Calvin and the Reformers and the Westminster phrased them. All of these things are fully found there, as we have pointed out for the last decade with quotation after quotation. Your list of problems is a list of problems with the Reformation and the Westminster Assembly, not with the FV conversation.

    On that basis I think the title of this post should be changed to “James Jordan Told the Truth For A Change One Day In A Top Secret Email And Now He’s Upset That We Found Out.”

  302. October 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    No, Ron, I’m afraid I’m not kidding. Oecolampadius’ historical role does not propel him into the ranks of what is considered the leadership of the Swiss Reformation. This is why many more people know Z and B than O. Bullinger’s “One Eternal Covenant” (1534) does not bear one mark of Luther’s influence. Luther’s Margburg assessment of the Swiss addressed not just sacramentalism but also soteriology. He was quite convinced they did not hold his view. They didn’t. If you can prove Lutheran influence on the early Swiss (I mean by “early” in their formative years, not later), can you show me this as not just assume it?

    Can you show me why the denial of the L-G distinction is ipso facto a denial of salvation by grace without works? Does the Bible teach the L-GD? If so, where?

  303. Shawn Van Dyken said,

    October 6, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    @ PDuggie (#299):

    You have introduced a passage imbued with the sweet aroma of an apostle’s deep love for those who had formerly lived without the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ. I was reading JBJ’s words in the context of his post — which fairly reeks of arrogance. I see no correlation between JBJ and the apostle Paul, nor between what they have (respectively) written.

  304. James Jordan said,

    October 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Re: 301

    I repeat: No. 264. There’s nothing new or secret in the private email put up here. It’s been in print for years.

    What this demonstrates, however, is that you guys who SAY you studied the FV have in fact not studied or read it at all. Had you done so, my email would have come as no surprise at all.

    I’m tired of dealing with liars. Farewell.

  305. Phil Derksen said,

    October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    RE #304: “What this demonstrates, however, is that you guys who SAY you studied the FV have in fact not studied or READ it at all.” (last emphasis added)

    Is this not itself patently a lie?

  306. October 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    @Phil (305) Now now Phil, we mustn’t point out misleading exaggerations in backporch blog comboxes, we must be charitable in our reading of brother Jordan’s statements. We must understand that he never *intended* to say anything false, thus if we point out any seeming problem, the real problem is with our uncharitable reading and our own shortsightedness.

    The other problem is context, context, context. We mustn’t think ourselves worthy or qualified to make any criticisms of brother Jordan’s statements until we have exhaustively read & studied his life’s work of writings, both published and online. We must also have had face-to-face conversations with at least 5 prominent Federal Vision Pastors before we can even dream of thinking ourselves prepared to level even the smallest criticism against FV teachings.

    Even so, we must also take into account that American Presbyterians are just one step above Baptists, which are just one step above the most intelligent of apes (actually, I think this point is debated in some circles, with some acting as if Baptists are a few steps short of pond scum). Thus American Presbyterian critics of FV are a very uneducated, illogical, rebellious, headstrong, and most of all, uncharitable bunch, and not to be trusted.

    After all this is said, if anyone still has an issue with FV, it’s because we just are not intelligent enough to understand it. It’s that simple. Well, either that, or we’re deceivers ourselves, sent from Satan to undermine the true FV gospel. So really, we need to stop badgering poor brother Jordan and acknowledge our own utter illogicality and inability to rise to his level of mental & cognitive prowess. One might even say that our knowledge is analogical to his, thus while we may see apparent contradictions, all paradoxes are resolved in brother Jordan’s mind, thus we should rest assured that all is well.

  307. Phil Derksen said,

    October 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    RE #306: I stand, err… corrected?

  308. TurretinFan said,

    October 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    I think what people are surprised about is just that you admit so frankly, “there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.” I mean, we know that – we’ve known it for a long time – but we’re just surprised to hear you say it so explicitly! That and “we are poison to traditional presbyterianism.”

  309. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    October 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Patrick T. McWilliams in #306 made me laugh heartily.

  310. Reed Here said,

    October 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I’m tired of self-righteousness masquerading as high piety. I pray for Mr. Jordan’s repentance.

  311. Ron Henzel said,

    October 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Andrew,

    In comment 302 (where you respond to my comments 296 and 297), you wrote:

    No, Ron, I’m afraid I’m not kidding. Oecolampadius’ historical role does not propel him into the ranks of what is considered the leadership of the Swiss Reformation.

    Let me get this straight: even though Oecolampadius was the Reformer of Basel (no mean city), and even though the Marburg Colloquy—a pivotal event in the Protestant Reformation—was Oecolampadius’s idea, and even though Oecolampadius had a better reputation in Wittenberg than Zwingli, and even though when the Colloquy commenced Oecolampadius was chosen as Luther’s first sparring partner, and even though Oecolampadius was a signer of the Marburg Articles that Luther composed, and even though Bullinger crammed his The One Eternal Covenant with heavily-modified (more accurately: distorted) citations from Oecolampadius (obviously hoping to ride on Oecolampadius’s authority)—despite all this Oecolampadius does not fit your criteria of what it takes to be listed within “the ranks of what is considered the leadership of the Swiss Reformation”?

    You wrote:

    This is why many more people know Z and B than O.

    This is like saying that Melancthon did not stand in the ranks of the leadership of the Lutheran Reformation because many more people know of Luther than know of Melancthon. The kind of prominent place in the limelight that Zwingli continues to enjoy (and once again I see you’re committing the error of counting Bullinger as part of the early Swiss Reformation) is a fallacious criterion passing judgment on the leadership status of Oecolampadius. I’ve already supplied a more-than-adequate explanation of why Oecolampadius does not get so much attention today in comment 296, to which I could add that, as important as it was in the early years, Switzerland itself did not move to the center of the Reformation drama until after Zwingli’s death in 1531.

    No: the historical facts abundantly confirm Oecolampadius’s leadership role. He was the one who came up with the idea bringing the German and Swiss Reformers together to settle their differences more than four years before Philip of Hesse finally persuaded Luther to go along with it.

    John Oecolampadius of Basel first broached the idea of arranging a disputation which would concern itself specifically with the then current dispute over the Lord’s Supper in a letter to the humanist Willibald Pirckheimer of Nürnberg, in April, 1525.

    [Martin E. Lehman and Helmut T. Lehman, "The Marburg Colloquy and the Marburg Articles," in Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Vol. 38: Word and Sacrament IV, J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, eds., (Philadelphia, PA, USA: Fortress Press, 1971; 1999), 6.]

    The fact that Zwingli and Philip of Hesse followed Oecolampadius in his pursuit of the Colloquy alone establishes a leadership role for Oecolampadius. And despite the kind of modern popularity contests to which you seek to appeal, Oecolampadius was at least as well known—and apparently better-liked—by the German Reformers than was Zwingli.

    Neither Luther nor Melancthon desired to meet Zwingli. Melanchton thought that if a conference was to held, it would be much better to meet Oecolampadius and perhaps some learned Romanists.

    [Thomas M. Lindsay, A History of the Reformation, (New York, NY, USA: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), 352.]

    Bainton thought enough of Oecolampadius’s role at Marburg to write:

    A notable company assembled. Luther and Melanchthon represented Saxony, Zwingli came from Zurich, Oekolampadius from Basel, Bucer from Strassburg, to name only the more outstanding.

    [Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A LIfe of Martin Luther, (Nashville, TN, USA: Abingdon, 1950; 1978), 249. Italics added.]

    Frankly, I believe the only reason you are seeking to rob Oecolampadius of his proper role in the early Swiss Reformation is because he explodes your warrantless assertion that that part of the Reformation was monocovenantal and and “Sheperdite to the core.” Oecolampadius stood squarely at the core of the early Swiss Reformed leadership, was bi-covenantal, and your thesis lies in tatters.

    You wrote:

    Bullinger’s “One Eternal Covenant” (1534) does not bear one mark of Luther’s influence.

    Are you still insisting that Bullinger was part of the early Swiss Reformation? At least pause to listen to Muller, who distinguishes between

    …the earliest Reformers, like Zwingli, Bucer, and Oecolampadius, and a second group or “generation” of codifiers, like Calvin, Musculus, Bullinger, and Vermigli.

    [Richard A. Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 2nd ed., (Grand Rapids, MI, USA: Baker Academic, 2003) 1:53. Italics added.]

    Thus whatever Bullinger wrote cannot be entered into evidence as any kind of primary source for what the early Swiss Reformers believed. Bullinger was second generation. As for Luther’s actual influence on the early Swiss Reformed, Zwingli’s writings are more than adequate to establish that. The fact that Zwingli and others active in the early Swiss Reformation were devouring Luther’s writing is an indisputable fact.

    In 1519 Johannes Froben, the Basel publisher, wrote to Luther: “We have never had such glorious sales with any other book [i.e., Address to the Christian Nobility].” Beaus Rhenanus, a young Erasmian, wrote to Zwingli on July 2, 1519, suggesting that a certain colporteur named Lucius should go from house to house offering exclusively Luther’s writings for sale…

    [Lewis W. Spitz., The Protestant Reformation, 1517-1559, (New York, NY, USA: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985), 89.]

    Luther’s writings were everywhere in Europe before Zwingli debuted as a Reformer in Zurich. This is inconstestible. It is also incontestible that Zwingli read them before he began his work as a Reformer. Furthermore, we see Luther’s doctrine of salvation in such works by Zwingli as “An Exposition of the Faith.” What more evidence is needed?

    You wrote:

    Luther’s Margburg assessment of the Swiss addressed not just sacramentalism but also soteriology. He was quite convinced they did not hold his view. They didn’t.

    I’m sorry, but once again I just have to ask: are you kidding me? Do you honestly expect to be taken seriously when you make these kinds of statements?

    Although the conference at Marburg failed to accomplish what Philip hoped for, it was not wholly without benefit. Luther discovered, to his surprise, that Zwingli was less heretical than he had supposed. At the request of those present he drew up a confession of faith consisting of fifteen articles, and while its wording was not altogether satisfactory to the Swiss theologians, they were able to agree to the whole of it with the exception of the portion of the article on the sacrament.

    [Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Martin Luther: The Man and His Work, (New York, NY, USA: The Century Co., 1911), 332.]

    Are you really ignorant of the fact that the German Reformers and the Swiss Reformers together signed off on the following soteriological articles?:

    Fifth, we believe that we are saved from such sin and all other sins as well as from eternal death, if we believe in the same Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died for us, etc., and that apart from such faith we cannot free ourselves of any sin through any kind of works, station in life, or [religious] order, etc.

    Sixth, that such faith is a gift of God which we cannot earn with any works or merit that precede, nor can we achieve it by our own strength, but the Holy Spirit gives and creates this faith in our hearts as it pleases him, when we hear the gospel or the word of Christ.

    Seventh, that such faith is our righteousness before God, for the sake of which God reckons and regards us as righteous, godly, and holy apart from all works and merit, and through which he delivers us from sin, death, and hell, receives us by grace and saves us, for the sake of his Son, in whom we thus believe, and thereby we enjoy and partake of his Son’s righteousness, life, and all blessings. [Therefore, all monastic life and vows, when regarded as an aid to salvation, are altogether condemned.]

    [Martin Luther, ibid., 86. The last sentence of the seventh article is found only in the Zurich manuscript. See WA 30 [III], 164.]

    Do you really think Luther was ignorant of the fact that the only remaining disagreement was over consubstantiation? His subsequent writings prove that he wasn’t.

    You wrote:

    If you can prove Lutheran influence on the early Swiss (I mean by “early” in their formative years, not later), can you show me this as not just assume it?

    This coming from a person who places Bullinger in the “formative years” of the Swiss Reformation? You seem to “just assume” an awful lot yourself. I’ve already established that Zwingli was exposed to Luther’s writings as they came off the presses. It was difficult for anyone who read theological works in Europe to avoid them in the teens and twenties of the 16th century. In 1531, Zwingli wrote:

    Therefore if he [Christ] has made satisfaction for sin, I ask who are the partakers of that satisfaction and reconciliation. Let us hear what he himself says. “He that believeth on me, that is, trusteth in me or relieth on me, hath everlasting life.” But none can attain to everlasting life except he whose sins are remitted. Therefore it follows that those who trust in Christ have the remission of sin.

    [Ulrich Zwingli, "An Exposition of the Faith," in G.W. Bromiley, ed., Zwingli and Bullinger, (Philadelphia, PA, USA: The Westminster Press, 1953), 268.]

    Here we have a fairly clear (if not verbally precise) statement of justification by faith from Zwingli from the year of his death. Historians agree that Zwingli expressed agreement with Luther on justification after he read him. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you are making an issue of this.

    You wrote:

    Can you show me why the denial of the L-G distinction is ipso facto a denial of salvation by grace without works?

    Please bear with me as I do my best to explain to you—while somehow causing as little offense as possible—why your question here seems so utterly absurd on its face. Unless we are using words in completely different ways, and unless you have a completely different understanding of how these terms have been defined in the nearly 500 years of church history since the Reformation, you might as well be asking me a question like, “Can you show me why the denial of the distinction between private property and public property is ipso facto a denial of free market capitalism?” Your question is that bizarre to my ears.

    And this one is even more bizarre:

    Does the Bible teach the L-GD? If so, where?

    It’s like asking me whether the Bible teaches a distinction between light and darkness, or whether botany teaches a distinction between apples and oranges. Are you implying, by your question, that there is no distinction between Law and Gospel?

    Terms can be slippery things, and frankly also it seems to me that you spray a healthy amount of WD-40 on yours before you use them (especially when I observe the way you handle questions of church history). So before we proceed—which means before I answer your questions, so that I know precisely what I am answering—please define what you mean by “law,” please define what you mean by “gospel,” and, yes, please define what you mean by “distinction.”

  312. October 8, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Ron, recent historical scholarship is simply not on your side on a number of your historical assertions (which is why I suppose you don’t adduce much of it), and I’m less interested in this forum as I read your increasing insults. Are you able to discuss matters without resorting to insult? If not, perhaps we should try a more private forum.

    But to keep this on what we both (I assume) would agree are the main (= not historical) issues on which you fasten, let me answer briefly your main question. By “law” I mean what almost every English usage in the OT means: Torah. I also mean what every NT speaker or writer means in almost every case when they are not delineating a Judaic misinterpretation of revelatory law (Rom. 9:30f.; Gal. 3:1-13; Phil. 4): that very revelatory law that communicated the (prefigured) Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The Gospel is the Good News of salvation to all who by childlike faith cast their lives from conversion to consummation on the crucified and risen Jesus.

    By “distinction” I mean just what your English dictionary says it means.

    I do not mean by L-GD what Luther means (or seems to mean) in his various sermons, his Romans lectures and his Galatians commentary by either “Law” or “Gospel.”

    This, and not Bullinger or Oecolampadius is the real issue. I agree with Fuller that dispensationalism is simply an application of traditional Reformed dual-covenant theology and has posed and poses serious problems fro the church.

    If you persist in insults, feel free to email me privately, but I won’t engage on this venue.

  313. October 8, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Oh, Ron, I forgot one thing, though not as important as the note above. Do you believe then that McCoy, Baker and McGrath are wrong in asserting that there is no clear evidence that Zwingli knew of Luther or at least read his works in formulating his reformational convictions, apart from the claims of Luther’s friends and adepts? Do you dispute that Luther stated that the Swiss did not understand justification? Do you believe that anyone who argued in the 16th century for salvation by faith and not works must have been influenced by Luther? Are you aware of anyone before the 16th century who held that salvation is by faith and not by works?

    (I could pull out many historical quotes too, but most of my library is up at my house and not here with me.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 337 other followers

%d bloggers like this: