MOP and Meyers

See this post for an analysis by Wes of the issues that have arisen between the complaint and the response to the complaint. Here is the full MOP report. The quotation at the beginning of the post is really the most eye-opening for me: “ . . . no one school of interpretation on these disputed issues should be adopted as the only orthodox position to the exclusion of the others.” (Report of the Complaint Review Committee, 62). Did they really say that? Really?? In the context of that quotation, the MOP argues that these debates are all intramural debates that go way back to the time of the Reformers. They also interpret the original MOP report on the FV to be saying the same thing that they are saying now.

I can’t help thinking this in conclusion to that: if the MOP is correct, then isn’t the entire General Assembly report wrong? And aren’t all the other NAPARC reports wrong? After all, they take one interpretation on all these issues as the correct one: that the FV is wrong. Of course, MOP would respond (and has) by saying that the FV is not monolithic and that Meyers is not guilty by association, etc. But let’s not forget Meyers’s emphatic rejection of the GA’s report before it was approved in 2007. He sent a letter to many churches in the PCA giving a number of reasons why the report should not be adopted. Many of those reasons were doctrinal, not just procedural. Plainly he disagreed with the substance of the report. What the MOP is saying, in effect, is that it’s perfectly okay to have completely opposite interpretations of the matters related to the FV concerns, and that everyone should be in one big tent. Again, if the MOP is correct, then the GA report is wrong, because the GA report says that there is only one proper interpretation of these events. I have to admit that I was not terrifically surprised to see MOP exonerate Meyers. I was very surprised to see them come out this strongly against exclusivist interpretations against the FV. They have painted themselves into a rather tight corner with this.

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75 Comments

  1. Rachel said,

    April 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

    FTA: “ . . . no one school of interpretation on these disputed issues should be adopted as the only orthodox position to the exclusion of the others.”

    1. Just because a debate is historical doesn’t mean all sides can be considered orthodox. See Arius.

    2. Orthodox is by definition the established and accepted faith. An orthodox position defines all the opposing positions as heterodox.

    3. MOP was not asked to determine if FV is outside the bounds of orthodoxy. That has already been done. See PCA report on FV/NPP. (Yes, I know that all of the FV/NPP guys disagree with the interpretation of their views in that report.)

    4. MOP was charged with determining if TE Meyers views conformed to the established and accepted standards that we as a denomination have vowed to “receive and adopt.” See PCA BCO 21-5 : Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?

  2. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Do these people not know what the word “Presbyterian” means?

    I just got done writing a letter to the session and diaconate of my church in Missouri, where I and several others were quite insistent on not joining the PCA because of what we would have had to deal with in the Missouri Presbytery. We were just a few weeks into the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church instead of the PCA — yes, I know the ARPs have their own problems, but not these problems, and they wouldn’t be things we’ll have to deal with in our own presbytery.

    Here are the key points of my letter, deleting some local things that aren’t relevant:

    This presbytery decision is wrong on several different levels.

    If Rev. Meyers is an advocate of the Federal Vision theology, and if the Federal Vision theology is wrong, that’s bad enough. However, presbyteries and general assemblies do make mistakes, and it’s possible that either Rev. Meyers isn’t guilty of what he’s accused of, or perhaps the General Assembly was wrong is condemning the Federal Vision.

    That, however, is not all the presbytery said.

    What is even worse — much worse, frankly — is that the presbytery which includes Covenant Theological Seminary, the official PCA seminary, is openly declaring that the General Assembly report on the Federal Vision theology is wrong and are declaring that these views have been part of the Reformed tradition since the Reformation, all without overturing the General Assembly to change its decision and pointing out from the Bible why the GA is wrong.

    First, the PCA report is not an aberration. It’s the standard position of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council, and of nearly all NAPARC member denominations — even the United Reformed Churches, which have a long history of tolerating the theology of Klaas Schilder, a Dutch Reformed church leader who is cited by Rev. Norman Shepherd and other Federal Visionists as one of their theological forebears.

    Second, it’s dangerous because having one PCA presbytery essentially decide to ignore the General Assembly makes mincemeat out of presbyterianism. That opens the door to tremendously worse problems than the Federal Vision.

    This may sound strange coming from a person like me, a Congregationalist who cannot sign the Westminster Confession of Faith because of its position on church government. However, I have more respect for an honest Baptist who joins a Baptist church and demands everyone in his church be baptized as believers or for an honest Presbyterian who enforces Presbyterian chruch government than I do for an entire presbytery which decides to act like congregationalists while still claiming to believe in presbyterian church government.

    What else will the PCA tolerate if one particularly powerful presbytery can ignore the general assembly and defend one of its ministers with no consequences?

    In fact, this PCA presbytery decision is not historic Congregationalism; it’s perverted independency advocated by people who want their subscription oaths to mean nothing. Congregationalism believes in mutual accountability to a written standard; these people either want no accountability at all or they want accountability only in the form of “we’ll be nice to our friends and isolate people who don’t play nice with us.”

    If you’re going to swear an oath before God that you believe something, take that oath with all the seriousness God demands or don’t take it at all. What the PCA’s Missouri Presbytery is doing goes beyond bad theology. It’s outright violation of the most basic principles of presbyterian church government, and the PCA would be better off if these people — a number of whom are involved with Covenant Seminary — decided to stop calling themselves Presbyterians and left, either for CERC (Federal Vision) denomination or to openly become the independent Bible churches that they act like most of the time anyway.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Darrell, I share many of your frustrations. However, the whole story is not told yet. The Standing Judicial Commission (or, if you are FV, the Star Judicial Chamber) might have something to say about this before all is said and done.

  4. April 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Welcome to my world….

  5. Andrew Voelkel said,

    April 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    “They also interpret the original MOP report on the FV to be saying the same thing that they are saying now.”
    “if the MOP is correct, then isn’t the entire General Assembly report wrong?”

    Lane,
    Does it have to be an “either/or” situation? Since TE Sean Lucas coauthored/signed both the GA Report on FV and the Missouri Report on on FV, I am inclined to believe that the 2007 GA report on FV is compatible with Missouri Presbytery perspective on FV. Do you disagree?

  6. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Andrew, I have never been that easy about the MOP report. But against the evidence of Lucas signing both is the evidence of Meyers signing the MOP report and absolutely BLASTING the GA’s report, and not just for procedural reasons. I don’t think they are the same perspective at all.

  7. Andrew Voelkel said,

    April 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for your feedback on the question. I agree that the reports are very different; but thought they were ultimately compatible nonetheless. I would be curious to know what Lucas would have to say about the matter.

  8. Gage Browning said,

    April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Darrell,
    I too share your frustration, and agree completely with your sentiments. As one in the PCA, the fact that this issue is confusing or is to be debated for any presbytery is amazing to me. Maybe the OPC should grow a little more by simply adding PCA churches who hold to sola fide and actually believe the Confession should be held in high regard, and not a loosey goosey “living document”. Otherwise, I am afraid that I may understand some of my brothers who are a part of “Indep. Reformed” congregations who have elder rule, but no presbytery. Sometimes our government in the PCA is confusing to me, and I’m in the PCA.

  9. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Bro. Browning — I would not want to advocate unconfessional views on a Reformed website like Green Baggins, and to advocate Congregationalism would be unconfessional.

    I will say, however, that Dr. John R. de Witt has told me repeatedly that the PCA is America’s largest Congregational denomination. I think he has some legitimacy to his point. One big exception: Congregationalists historically held to the Savoy Declaration and Cambridge Platform, the modern Conservative Congregational Christian Conference holds pretty strictly to its considerably shorter statement of faith and polity, and I am not sure there is much of anything the PCA would enforce if push truly came to shove and a prominent minister had to be dealt with on a point where there’s a differerence of opinion within the modern evangelical world.

    I can respect the OPC, and have attended several different OPCs for extended periods of time when I lived in an area where they were the only Reformed option. Same for the RPCNA. I don’t agree with all of their distinctives, but I definitely **DO** agree with their affirmation in fact and practice of what they profess in theory.

    I cannot say that about the PCA.

    Whatever the PCA may be, it is not a confessionally Presbyterian denomination, though there are certainly a lot of good Reformed churches within it and a lot of others which I could respect if they’d be honest enough to stop calling themselves “First Presbyterian Church” and instead called themselves “First Independent Bible Church.”

  10. Lee said,

    April 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    As an outsider of the PCA, how binding is a Study Committee Report? If it is binding then the MOP is clearly anti-presbyterian in their actions. But then so would every presbyter who ever voted not to license or ordain a man who holds to framework hypothesis or Day Age as a PCA study committee declared those acceptable. If the FV Report at GA is something less than binding then the MOP is not exactly anti-presbyterian.

    If someone could enlighten me as to the specific weight of a Study Committee report, I would appreciate it. It would help me wrap my mind around what happened today.

  11. greenbaggins said,

    April 20, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    It is not a binding document, Lee. It is an in thesi report. It does nothing more nor less than declare the will of that General Assembly. As such, it is to be given due and careful consideration in any court’s handling of these issues. But it is not given any kind of constitutional authority. It should be noted at this point that I am not claiming that MOP is being un-Presbyterian. I am claiming that they are being disrespectful of the GA’s wishes in regard to the FV.

  12. Brandon said,

    April 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Look at the sort of arguments offered in the Pacific Northwest to exonerate Dr. Leithart:

    a .Whatever problems there are with the Federal Vision, Redemptive Historical preaching is a more serious danger to the church.

    b. The campaign to push FV men out of the church is pure evil.

    c. If we throw a dynamic scholar like Dr. Leithart out of the church, the PCA will shrink into irrelevance.

    d. The Westminster Confession is filled with inaccuracies. But Leithart is within the bounds of the system of doctrine anyway.

    e. We Presbyterians care more about Robert’s Rules than the Bible.

    f. We don’t have to choose Kline’s view of of the covenant of works over Murray’s. Both are acceptable in the church.

    g. Asking Dr. Leithart to affiliate with the CREC would promote the peace of the church (the PCA) but not its purity.

    It seems that with such arguments holding sway against any action to discipline Dr. Leithart his opponents are at a distinct disadvantage. Surely some of the above apply to the actions in other presbyteries.

  13. Kenneth Kang-Hui said,

    April 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Unfortunately, this is part of the heritage of the PCA that can prove challenging to old-school confessionalists. That is the PCA tends towards a loose connectionalism and a pietistic focus. We value the rights of individual churches and presbyteries over that of the larger denominational body to the extent that we often do not value the opinions of that larger body; so GA reports carry no weight at all if it differs from the viewpoint of my church and my presbytery. That loose connectionalism, fostered by the ingrafting of so many reformed bodies over the years, also means the PCA tends towards a “big tent” philosophy that sometimes focuses on the lowest common denominator in seeking to promote unity.

    Our pietistic tendencies as a denomination makes us often focus on the outward “fruits” of a man and less concerned about their beliefs; all the more so if they have achieved some sort of evangelical fame. Morality and celebrity often trumps doctrinal aberrations under the guise of “how could they be that wrong if the Lord is using them?”

    Hopefully, the SJC can and will take a closer look into this matter.

  14. Gage Browning said,

    April 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks Darrell- I’m not advocating any notion of being unconfessional in our government like being an indep body, at least I didn’t mean to do so if I did, just that I understand it, especially when my friends in the indep reformed world point to issues like the one at hand. They say, “we will not put up with the FV” and then they make a motion, and put it to a vote and then disassociate. It seems to me to be a bit like turning around a speed boat (indep reformed body) vs. turning around a battleship (PCA) if you want to do anything.

    Kenneth- I think you the hit the nail on the head…our tent has gotten so big that something has to give. You make a very interesting point I hadn’t thought of, and that is the GA weight is considered much lighter and and without much force compared to the opinion of smaller bodies, (indiv churches and presbyteries).

  15. April 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    [...] Lane Keister has already expressed his amazement over the comment: “. . . no one school of interpretation on these disputed issues should be adopted as the only orthodox position to the exclusion of the others” (Report of the Complaint Review Committee, 62). I will simply echo that. I wonder whether the issue is that the Missouri Presbytery doesn’t view the issue of union with Christ and apostasy as big issues, or whether the issue goes beyond that to a general lack of concern over theological issues. It is hard to stomach such a conclusion, but it is also hard to understand how these glaring issues could be overlooked. [...]

  16. Allan said,

    April 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Lane-

    In layman’s terms, what is the next step in the process? How long does this next step usually take?

    Thanks!

  17. Brad said,

    April 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Any word on Lucas’s position on the CRC report? Was he present? My understanding is that only two or three voted to sustain the complaint.

  18. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Brandon wrote: “d. The Westminster Confession is filled with inaccuracies. But Leithart is within the bounds of the system of doctrine anyway.”

    Brandon, I trust that you’ve fairly reported what you heard, but what you report having heard is flat-out horrible. How anyone can say something like that and swear the subscription vows before God needed to be a ruling elder or teaching elder in the PCA is beyond me.

    That comment, unless it’s been simplified to the point that it omits critical clarifications, ought to be grounds to remove the speaker from office on the grounds that he either denies the confessions or doesn’t understand them. I sincerely hope that comment was voiced by a well-meaning elder who simply needs to study more, but I have a feeling it came from someone who has a seminary degree and is no longer teachable.

    Let’s be clear — I’m not trying to hold others to a standard I don’t hold myself. My comments are coming from someone who knows that my own “exceptions” to the WCF — which happen to have a long history of acceptability in the Dutch Reformed world dating back to the 1600s and particularly the views of Abraham Kuyper on church government — might well have been tolerated in a particular church and presbytery in the PCA. I absolutely refused repeated efforts by the pastor of the PCA I attended for many years to convince me to transfer my membership to his church so he could put me into office. The scary thing is that the only thing which kept me out of office in the PCA was my own convictions that somebody who takes exception to significant parts of WCF 30 and 31 does not belong in office in the PCA or any other confessionally presbyterian denomination. From what I was told at the time, apparently not only a PCA pastor and local church but an entire presbytery was perfectly willing to ignore a local church admitting someone to office in PCA who cannot affirm presbyterian church government.

    But with stuff like this coming out of the Missouri Presbytery, should I be surprised?

    To be a PCA minister, it’s not enough to be a committed Calvinist and a “TR.” I happpen to like Spurgeon a great deal, and I helped translate his “Morning and Evening” devotional into Korean. I am a strong advocate of Jonathan Edwards’ emphasis on personal conversion in preaching, and it’s no secret that I hold the same views on elder-run local churches to which Edwards held for most of his ministry. I’m a huge fan of Al Mohler and what he’s done to restore the Calvinistic and evangelical roots of the Southern Baptist Convention. But none of those three men belong in the PCA ministry unless they were to change their unconfessional views on baptism and church government, and neither do I.

    To say that there’s a problem with the theology of men like Jeff Meyers, Peter Leithert and Doug Wilson is not the same as saying they’re heretics. It’s not even saying they are not Reformed — a case could be made and has been made for many years that the Westminster Standards are far more specific than the Dutch Reformed “Three Forms of Unity,” and I am still not convinced that the Federal Visionists are wrong in appealing to the theology of Klaas Schilder as a precedent.

    What is **IS** doing is saying that in a denomination which takes its confessions seriously, men who have different views belong in different denominations, not in the pulpits.

    Frankly, I am far more upset by the actions of the Missouri Presbytery on church government grounds than I am by their exoneration of Rev. Meyers. Perhaps they’re right and Meyers has been misunderstood. Perhaps the General Assembly is wrong and needs to be corrected.

    Fine — send the overture to the General Assembly to prove the case from the Bible. That would have integrity.

    But don’t act like an association of independent Bible churches while claiming to be Presbyterians. The courts of the church have authority in the PCA — or they should. If you don’t agree, then drop the “P” word, admit that you don’t believe what the WCF teaches about church government, and have enough integrity to stop calling yourself something you aren’t.

  19. Jeff Kerr said,

    April 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

    TE Lucas is no longer a member of Missouri Presbytery. He is now a pastor in Hattiesburg, MS.

  20. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Gage Browning wrote: “Thanks Darrell- I’m not advocating any notion of being unconfessional in our government like being an indep body, at least I didn’t mean to do so if I did…”

    For clarification, I was speaking of myself here, not you. Please be assured that in no way whatsoever do I want to accuse you of being unconfessional.

    My point was that I need to be very careful on a list like this to avoid advocating for positions which are unconfessional. I was a lifelong Congregationalist until my local church, formerly independent, decided to join the ARPs instead of the PCA or OPC. My convictions on church government disqualify me from holding any office whatsoever in a denomination which affirms the Westminster Confession of Faith. In a presbyterian denomination, the courts of the church have real authority up to and including reaching down into the local church and deposing its elders, dissolving the pastoral relationship, or even dissolving the entire session. The courts of the church are not merely advisory bodies whose decisions can be reviewed and either accepted or rejected by local bodies of elders — they truly are, to use a Dutch phrase, “settled and binding,” though I realize not every vote of a General Assembly or synod carries that sort of binding character.

    I don’t agree with that position and my views on that matter have been public in the Reformed church world for more than two decades. I know that means I don’t belong in office in the PCA, OPC, ARPs, or any other Presbyterian denomination. However, apparently some of the men in the Missouri Presbytery don’t understand what ought to be some of the most basic and fundamental principles of Presbyterian church government.

    That’s not all that they fail to understand, however. The more I read through the Missouri Presbytery’s 139-page report, the angrier I get. Only the worst and most egregious stuff has been discussed so far on Green Baggins and Wes White’s blog. This report is truly horrific — I can hardly believe its authors have spent a single day in a class on church polity or church history. Stuff that from my experience is taught to **APPLICANTS FOR MEMBERSHIP** in Reformed churches seems to be lost entirely on these people.

    I’ll just cite two examples from page 7: “The (Letter of Concern) was published on the Internet right away, well before Missouri Presbytery was able to respond carefully to it. Many in our Presbytery interpreted that Internet “broadcast” as virtually making public accusations against a man who had not even been properly investigated, a clear violation of due process, and something the vast majority of our presbyters found appalling.” Again: “they were at fault for making public on the Internet from the outset their allegations against TE Meyers when, in fact, for the sake of his honor, those allegations should have been passed on to MOP and no one else.”

    Hello???????

    Objections to allegations involving public comments read by hundreds or thousands of people “should have been passed on to MOP and no one else?”

    Do these men not understand the difference between public and private sin, and how they are to be handled differently? Do they, as heirs of the 1973 secession that produced the PCA, not understand how the old PCUS and PCUSA denominational leadership had to be fought using such methods as the Presbyterian Journal in the South and the Presbyterian Guardian in the North?

    Someone who writes such views does not understand Reformed church government or Reformed church history. If it is really true what the report says that the “vast majority of our presbyters found appalling” the actions of the people protesting against Rev. Meyers, there is a horrible problem in the Missouri Presbytery, even if there’s nothing wrong with Rev. Meyers’ views at all. Such a statement by a presbytery truly is appalling, because it attacks not only the 29 signers of the “Letter of Concern” but also attacks Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the publication of Calvin’s Institutes. It also attacks the sermon of every local pastor who attacks heresy or other public sin publicly from his pulpit without first feeling obligated to call up the local Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall before preaching against Arianism, or calling up the local Catholic bishop before preaching against transsubstantiation, or calling up the local strip club before preaching against it.

    The Missouri Presbytery’s report is so bad that I could not have believed it would be written by a PCA court before I read it. Now that I’ve read it, I am beyond shocked. I expect such garbage from the PC(USA). I do not expect it from the PCA.

    But maybe I should.

  21. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Allan, Lord-willing, there will be an appeal to the SJC (I’m pretty sure that will happen). Then the SJC will hear the case and either sustain the MOP or overturn it. If they overturn, then MOP will have to have a trial of Meyers. It is unknown at this point what the time-table of such events would be. But the SJC would probably not hear this case before GA.

  22. April 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

    [...] Federal Visionist and PCA “pastor” Jeffrey Meyers has been exonerated once again by the Missouri Presbytery.  The Complaint filed against the Presbytery for their spiritual delinquency and bankruptcy for their first exoneration of Meyers has been denied.  Now it moves to the General Assembly’s Standing Judicial Commission for review.  While I hope to comment more in the future you can read more on these recent developments here, here and here. [...]

  23. April 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

    [...] White and Lane Keister have provided very helpful commentaries on the recent decisions and its wider implications. The [...]

  24. Hugh McCann said,

    April 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Mr Meyers wrote: “The W. standards are 17th century documents composed by committees. They were never designed to function as a once-for-all formulation of the faith. We must confess our faith afresh to our own generation. The Westminster Standards don’t do that every well anymore . . . We must stop living in the past . . . I do think the latest scholarly work in biblical theology demands that we go back and redo a great deal of the Westminster standards . . . The whole bi-polar covenant of works/grace schema has got to go. And if that goes, the whole ‘system’ must be reworked.”
    [From a Dec, 2003 email, quoted in 'Latest Scholarship Demands Westminster Revision' @ Godshammer.org]

    Perhaps fighting confusion with whimsy may be apropos. A bit of puritanical satire from John Witherspoon’s ‘Ecclesiastical Characteristics’:

    MAXIM III

    “It is a necessary part of the character of a moderate man, never to speak of the Confession of Faith but with a sneer; to give sly hints, that he does not thoroughly believe it; and to make the word orthodoxy a term of contempt and reproach.

    “The Confession of Faith, which we are now all laid under a disagreeable necessity to subscribe, was framed in times of hot religious zeal; and therefore it can hardly be supposed to contain any thing agreeable to our sentiments in these cool and refreshing days of moderation. So true is this, that I do not remember to have heard any moderate man speak well of it, or recommend it, in a sermon, or private discourse, in my time, And, indeed, nothing can be more ridiculous, than to make a fixed standard for opinions, which change just as the fashions of clothes and dress. No complete system can be settled for all ages, except the maxims I am now compiling and illustrating, and their great perfection lies in their being ambulatory, so that they may be applied differently, with the change of times.

    “…There is one very strong particular reason why moderate men cannot love the Confession of Faith; moderation evidently implies a large share of charity, and consequently a good and favorable opinion of those that differ from our church; but a rigid adherence to the Confession of Faith, and high esteem of it, nearly borders upon, or gives great suspicion of harsh opinions of those that differ from us: and does not experience rise up and ratify this observation? Who are the narrow-minded, bigotted, uncharitable persons among us? Who are the severe censurers of those that differ in judgment? Who are the damners of the adorable Heathens, Socrates, Plato, Marcus Antonius, &c.? In fine, who are the persecutors of the inimitable heretics among ourselves? Who but the admirers of this antiquated composition, who pin their faith to other men’s sleeves, and will not endure one jot less or different belief from what their fathers had before them! It is therefore plain, that the moderate man, who desires to inclose all intelligent beings in one benevolent embrace, must have an utter abhorrence at that vile hedge of distinction, the Confession of Faith…”

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  25. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Wow, Hugh! Thanks for that. Talk about prophetic!

  26. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I think I’ll post that as a separate post entirely.

  27. Hugh McCann said,

    April 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Brandon(12) & Darrell(18),

    Per: “The Westminster Confession is filled with inaccuracies. But Leithart is within the bounds of the system of doctrine anyway,” is it true that the more one bends and reshapes one’s standards through autonomous, sporadic, back-(chat)room dealings, rather than by denominationally-agreed upon revisions, the more risks this kind of thing (i.e. the Meyers affair)?

    I am an ex-PCA under-care candidate, and carry no brief for the infallibility of the WCF, but without SOME standard for all, how can the church send out a certain sound? 1 Cor 14:8.

    No Scripture is of any private (personal, individual, Gr: _idios_) interpretation, how can one’s ministerial standards be such?!

  28. April 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

    [...] McCann just posted a very helpful quotation from John Witherspoon (Ecclesiastical Characteristics, Maxim III) that I’d like to share with [...]

  29. Hugh McCann said,

    April 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Leithart & Meyers & Co to a “T”:

    “No complete system can be settled for all ages, except the maxims I am now compiling and illustrating…”

    “the moderate man… must have an utter abhorrence at that vile hedge of distinction, the Confession of Faith…”

  30. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Bro. McCann wrote: “I am an ex-PCA under-care candidate, and carry no brief for the infallibility of the WCF, but without SOME standard for all, how can the church send out a certain sound? 1 Cor 14:8. No Scripture is of any private (personal, individual, Gr: _idios_) interpretation, how can one’s ministerial standards be such?!”

    We’re in full agreement.

    I’ve been accused in the PCA of holding a Dutch Reformed rather than a Presbyterian view of confessional subscription. This is a matter of confessional integrity, and that issue is a far broader problem in the PCA than the Federal Vision issue. I realize the PCA and the entire American Presbyterian tradition has a very long history of allowing men to take “exceptions” to the confessions and then (in many denominations) to teach those exceptions so long as the prospective pastor or elder is within the bounds of the “system of doctrine.”

    The problem is that the PCA now has a General Assembly which has decided the Federal Vision is outside the bounds of the system of doctrine and one of the PCA’s more prominent presbyteries disagrees — and even worse, won’t overture the General Assembly to change its position but apparently feels free to disregard General Assembly decisions. How is that going to be resolved? The futue of the PCA depends on that.

    To make clear my own stance, I **HAVE** subscribed to the Three Forms of Unity when I was licensed to exhort two decades ago by an independent Reformed church from a Dutch Reformed background — not only do the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession and Canons of Dort not contain anything to which I object, numerous expatriate English Congregationalists were quite willing to sign them during the days of the Puritans, and joined the Dutch state church back in the 1600s. In other words, I can prove with no serious historical question that my views on church government are within the Dutch Reformed confessions, and men like Dr. Ames, who personally knew the original intent of the original adopters at the Synod of Dort, would concur and were accepted as within confessional boundaries.

    That simply is not the case with the Westminster Standards, which were written quite specifically to exclude certain views including ones which I hold.

    I have enough respect for the Confessions, even at points where I disagree, that I worked as hard as I possibly could to keep my church out of the PCA’s Missouri Presbytery once it became clear the church was going to become Presbyterian of some sort.

    I don’t have a problem with Baptists who are consistent Baptists and enforce Baptist standards in their own Baptist churches, requiring rebaptism for prospective members who were baptized as babies. I don’t have a problem with Missouri Synod Lutherans who enforce their Lutheran standards and bar Calvinists such as me from communion because I don’t believe in consubstantiation.

    I have a major problem with Presbyterians who claim to believe one thing about church government and then act like an association of independent Bible churches when they don’t like what the General Assembly says. That’s a far bigger problem than whatever Rev. Meyers may or may not believe. You can’t call yourself a Presbyterian and disregard the courts of the church the way that presbytery report has done.

    Unfortunately, the seeds of this were sown long, long, long ago when the PCA decided to welcome lots of people leaving the old Southern PCUS who were solidly evangelical but not confessionally Reformed. Inviting those people to leave and transfer into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church would likely be a good solution — that denomination officially allows all sorts of stuff and has the virtue of being honest about its lack of confessional subscription standards. If you join the EPC, you know what you’re going to be asked to tolerate, and you know it up front.

    Unfortunately, the PCA’s lack of confessional integrity is allowing people in who simply do not act or believe in accordance with their subscription vows.

    In the long run, that’s tremendously worse than the Federal Vision issue.

  31. Gage Browning said,

    April 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Lane,
    Can you help me understand something. It seems odd to me that a Presbytery which found no grounds for a trial might be forced to adjudicate someone they thought there was no ground to prosecute. If the SJC overturns then is there any expectation for a group to adjudicate without bias who already found no grounds to prosecute. Is this just the procedure required? It seems to me that after the SJC does their thing, it should kick up to the larger body not back to the smaller body who didn’t find fault. Am I making sense here? Please help clarify if you can.

  32. Hugh McCann said,

    April 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Dear DTM (30),

    Thanks for the exhaustive post!

    “I have a major problem with Presbyterians who claim to believe one thing about church government and then act like an association of independent Bible churches when they don’t like what the General Assembly says. …You can’t call yourself a Presbyterian and disregard the courts of the church the way that presbytery report has done.”

    >>Just as independent churches get into trouble when they ‘cooperate’ with others who are less-than-orthodox (witness the SBC or GARBC struggles), so too, those united in confession must show themselves faithful and with the integrity(!) to uphold said charter, or their vows are in vain. I am reminded of Gary North’s _Crossed Fingers_ ~ the UPC’s downfall was tolerance of heresy & lack of sanctions, no?

    “Unfortunately, the seeds of this were sown long, long, long ago when the PCA decided to welcome lots of people leaving the old Southern PCUS who were solidly evangelical but not confessionally Reformed.”

    >>A local PCA had that experience welcoming a boatload of CMA folks, some of whom may have been precipitously ordained as RE’s.

    “Inviting those people to leave and transfer into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church would likely be a good solution — that denomination officially allows all sorts of stuff and has the virtue of being honest about its lack of confessional subscription standards. If you join the EPC, you know what you’re going to be asked to tolerate, and you know it up front.

    >>And there’s certainly the lurid, luring, ever-lurking CREC!

    Unfortunately, the PCA’s lack of confessional integrity is allowing people in who simply do not act or believe in accordance with their subscription vows.

    >>Yeouch! See Schwertley’s ‘The Gospel Crisis in the OPC and PCA.’

    HTM

  33. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Rev Keister, (#11), can the presbytery disagree with the GA without being “disrespectful”? You claim (rightly) that the FV GA report is non-binding (a fact your compadres regularly forget or ignore) and then complain that the MOP was “disrespectful.”

    And Darrell, you don’t seem to have a clear idea what “presbyterianism” actually is, especially vis-a-vis congregationalism. There is a history of debate within “presbyterianism” about where authority resides. Southern presbyterians typically say with the presbytery. Northern presbyterians (following Hodge) say with GA. Your accusations about the MOP being “unpresbyterian” are simply false.

    The GA report is non-binding (how many times does that fact have to be reiterated in this whole debate). Presbytery is not required to agree with it. Thus it is not “unpresbyterian” for them to come to a decision that appears to be contradictory to the GA report (I say appears, because Meyers was not listed in the report itself, and there are a whole lot of unwarranted logical leaps made to argue that the GA report condemns him specifically–e.g., Rev. Keister’s comments about his objection to the report), nor, in fact, would it be “unpresbyterian” of them to flatly and openly contradict the study committee report.

    To illustrate the bizarre nature of that claim, consider the AC Funding Plan. GA expressed it’s “wishes” (Rev. Keister’s term) that the AC Funding Plan should be adopted. However, apparently many on this blog don’t think it is “unpresbyterian” to work to “disrespect” the wishes of GA by getting their presbyteries to vote against the plan. Obviously, there are differences in the analogy (as there are in all analogies), but the salient point is that it is simply wrong to claim that this action of the MOP is “unpresbyterian” or “disrespectful”.

  34. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Peter, a couple of thoughts. First of all, what tends to happen in these debates is that one side says that they don’t have to pay any attention to the GA whatsoever, and the other side says that the report is binding. It’s neither of these extremes, actually. Something passed by the GA that does not require Presbytery ratification on a doctrinal issue should be given due weight. This means something less than constitutional authority and something more than ignoring it. MOP has basically ignored the GA report. That’s what I call disrespectful. It is not un-Presbyterian to disagree with the GA report, but basically to ignore it is disrespectful, in my opinion. Furthermore, if they disagree with the GA report, they should come right out and say so.

    Secondly, your analogy with regard to the funding plan is not apropos. Built into the very structure of the AC’s funding plan is a necessary endorsement by the Presbyteries, and a *further* vote at the next GA before the changes to the BCO can be ratified. It is a complicated process, and the Funding Plan is NOT regarded as in any way completed until *all three* of those steps have been taken. This was not the case with the GA’s report on FV, which only required one vote at one GA in order to be received/approved for study. The process is very different between these two things, and so are the corresponding expectations about how things are going to be affected, and how things are going to turn out. Still, what I said in the first paragraph qualifies this paragraph.

  35. Concerned Presbyter said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Greenbaggins said: “MOP has basically ignored the GA report.” You apparently have ignored the content of the MOP committee reports that examined Meyers. The first committee report refers to the GA report in dozens of places. They asked Meyers a number of specific questions about the GA report declarations. This is all part of the public record now. Your claim is either based on ignorance of the contents of these reports or a disagreement with the way MOP has interpreted the GA report. If the later is the case, then just say so. Don’t falsely claim that they have ignored the GA report.

  36. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Rev. Keister,

    What would it look like for the MOP to respect the GA report? The GA report did not interact with Meyers, and simply noting that Meyers had problems theological and procedural with the report does not logically imply that the Report therefore condemns him as well. The MOP specifically noted that they were not rendering a judgment on the FV movement, but rather on Meyers’ theology itself.

    The relevant question is whether or not they actually interacted with the issues raised by Meyers’ statements. I believe the only conclusion one can come to is that they did in fact engage in substantive interaction with Meyers’ statements. You and others may believe that they erred in judgment, but that is a far different thing than believing that their judgment was “unpresbyterian” as Darrell seems to think, or “disrespectful” as you have argued.

    So I ask, What would it have looked like for the MOP to “respect” the GA Report, *and yet still come back with a verdict of innocent*, because, presumably, if they had come back with a verdict of guilty you would not be raising this criticism.

    And yet, even to ask that question grants something that I am not entirely willing to grant. “study committee reports” and actually court trials are substantially different things, and I am not convinced that study committee reports should be pertinent to court trials (either in the sense of morality or in the sense of legality–i.e. what the BCO requires).

  37. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Concerned Presbyter, we do not allow anonymous commenters on this blog. I will answer your claims as soon as you make yourself known.

  38. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    By my last paragraph, I mean to suggest that the purpose of a study committee report does not include use in a court trial. The purpose of a study committee report is, perhaps, too loosely defined (or even undefined), which, of course, is one of the reasons why people have voted against forming them–whether it was the FV committee, the deaconness committee, or some other committee.

  39. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Rev. Keister, I am not anonymous, and I echo the questions raised by Concerned Presbyter.

  40. greenbaggins said,

    April 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Peter, the MOP is not in a trial, so your objection does not seem to me to be valid. I will answer CP’s questions when he makes himself known. Never fear, I do do have an answer! :-)

  41. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Rev. Keister, regardless of whether you answer CP’s question, you have yet to answer mine.

    What would it look like for the MOP to “respect” the GA’s “wishes” and yet still return turn a verdict that cleared Meyers of all accusations?

    At the moment, claimed that they did not respect the wishes of GA is an amorphous assertion with no way to evaluate its validity. Perhaps you mean something other than “they disagreed with me” but at the moment I can not see what it could be.

  42. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Bro. Green wrote: “And Darrell, you don’t seem to have a clear idea what “presbyterianism” actually is, especially vis-a-vis congregationalism. There is a history of debate within “presbyterianism” about where authority resides. Southern presbyterians typically say with the presbytery. Northern presbyterians (following Hodge) say with GA. Your accusations about the MOP being “unpresbyterian” are simply false.”

    I think what you’re saying is somewhat similar to the accusations I’ve heard before that I am “too Dutch Reformed” when it comes to confessional subscription and that I need to understand that Presbyterianism allows greater latitude for regional variations from presbytery to presbytery.

    I simply don’t see the Westminster Confession making allowance for regional differences in levels of doctrinal affirmation, and I don’t see that being viewed as a good thing in the history of Presbyterianism prior to the American experience, which has not exactly been conducive to enforcement of confessional integrity in **ANY** denominational context.

    If you’re going to be Presbyterian, you believe in one church, unified in one confession with one system of church courts, teaching and enforcing the same standards. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that’s what John Knox wanted, and what most if not all Presbyterians wanted until the experience of the New School divisions of the 1800s.

    But you are right — I’m an outsider. Maybe I am confused; maybe the Missouri Presbytery is acting entirely appropriately under presbyterian principles. I guess the PCA has the right to decide that question for itself; I know for myself, I’m glad my local church in Missouri won’t be in the middle of that mess, as it would have been if we had joined the PCA rather than the ARPs. Yes, we’ve got the Erskine problem, but fortunately that is far away.

  43. Peter Green said,

    April 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    With all due respect, this has nothing to do with confessional subscription. The WCF does not specify whether presbytery or GA holds ultimate authority which is why there has been an intramural debate about it. In other words, strict subscription to the Standards would not require one to hold one position or another, because the Confession does not proscribe one position or another.

    Even so, the GA Study Committee Report was *non-binding* which means that even if you follow Hodge and believe that GA holds ultimate authority, MOP *was still not acting in an “unpresbyterian” fashion* by vindicating Meyers. This is, of course, why the most Rev. Keister is willing to say is that they were “disrespectful”–a fact which I also dispute, but which substantiates my point here. I am (almost) sure that if Rev. Keister thought the MOP was being “unpresbyterian” he would say so in a heart beat.

  44. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Bro. Green, I respectfully disagree. I believe how one views the teachings of the Federal Visionists and the actions of the Missouri Presbytery has **EVERYTHING** to do with one’s view of confessional subscription.

  45. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 22, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Lane, you say that MOP seems to have “basically ignored the GA report.” Given that they actually discuss the GA declarations, what do you have in mind?

    For example: Further, the MIC also made use of two important reports that helped to illuminate the issues it was dealing with. The first of these was the 2007 General Assembly Ad Interim Report on the Federal Vision. — p. 13.

    That doesn’t sound like ignoring. But you clearly perceive otherwise. What’s up?

  46. Kenneth Kang-Hui said,

    April 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I agree that given the non-binding nature of the GA’s report, the MOP is under no formal obligation to follow it and is free to ignore it if they want. That being said, one of the differences between Presbyterian connectionalism and Independent church association is that, with the former, we believe due weight should be given to the opinions of the larger body. As such, the MOP and her supporters should expect scrutiny when their decisions seem to so clearly to be against the grain of what the denomination has recommended.

    If nothing else, the wisdom of the MOP can be called into question since they are going against the advice of their brothers in the GA, to whom they have pledged due respect and submission. Again, this does not meant the MOP is obligated to submit blindly; but it does mean she should consider seriously her duties to the flock under her care when deciding to set aside that advice.

  47. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 9:12 am

    It has yet to be established that the MOP went “against the grain of what the denomination has recommended” when they vindicated Meyers. Meyers’ writings were not directly addressed in the GA Report, and (Rev. Keister’s comments notwithstanding), insisting that because he argued vigorously against it, he is thereby condemned by it, is a non sequitur.

    With due respect to all, frankly, this whole talk about MOP “disrespecting” GA, simply seems like whining that they didn’t decide the way you wanted them to. You guys won the “coin toss” (i.e., the GA Study Committee Report), which gave you good field position, now that you’re getting rejected on every play, it sounds like you’re complaining that the “coin toss” should actually decide the whole game.

    And how “unpresbyterian” is it for a bunch of arm chair theologians to pontificate about a presbytery’s decision–a presbytery that knows the man in question and has engaged in multiple thorough studies? How disrespectful have you all been of the MOP, here and at White’s blog (which is far worse, admittedly). Not unpresbyterian at all, I am sure you will say; not disrespectufl at all, I am sure you will say. Than can we stop with the whining about MOP vindicating Meyers?

    Pray that the SJC will cast him out of the PCA and into the bitter darkness of the CREC, if you want. But this nonsense is unbecoming.

  48. TurretinFan said,

    April 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Mr. Green:

    Perhaps you should learn better to distinguish between whining and expression of profound disappointment.

    – TurretinFan

  49. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Peter,

    Your comparison of the battle in the PCA over the FV to a football game trivializes the matter, to say the very least. A decision of the GA is a “coin toss” from which one gains “field position?” A decision by the GA is a “coin toss?” A decision of the GA is a random event? Really? Is this actually, as some suspect, a game about power and influence in a denomination?

    Here in the South, where football *is* the religion of choice for many people, a team does not gain field position by virtue of winning the coin toss. They win the free will to elect whether to kick or receive. Your position on this football matter is quite unconfessional. Coincidence?

    I respectfully, without whining, hereby encourage TE Meyers and all who are like-minded to depart in peace to the CREC. Win-win. Peace and purity in the PCA *and* the CREC.

    TF, Ditto.

  50. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Eileen (#49),

    Not to pick nits, but in the CREC,

    Jer 6:13ff ~ “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.

    “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the LORD.

    They went out from us because…

  51. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Hugh,

    Feel free to pick nits anytime, but I was trying to make precisely your point with mine (I think.) The ones crying for peace are not the same ones who cry for purity. I’m saying that, if they want peace, then, fine. Go. There will be a big party in Moscow when you do. As for purity in the CREC, poison can be pure, too…

    I wish that each and every Federal Vision Marvin C. Mooney would please go now. I don’t care how.

  52. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Correction. I believe that it is Marvin K. Mooney. ;o)

  53. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    TF, perhaps you are correct, although an answer to my question or Jeff Cagle’s would go along way to convincing me that what I am witnessing is disappointment as opposed to whining. And yet, answers have not been forthcoming.

    Eileen, I questioned whether to use that analogy since I knew there would be some who would try to pick it apart. As I’m sure you know, analogies are meant to communicate a specific point and are not meant to capture the issue at all points. I find the football analogy problematic myself, since I do not think Christians should be in competition with each other, but it is much better than the nonsense about defending the “purity of the gospel,” and pious pronouncements about how concerned you are about the “sheep” (funny, the sheep don’t seem so concerned–I suppose you, as an ordained shepherd know what’s best for the sheep–or are you a sheep too?)

    Hugh, you end your post with a quote from I John. Allow me to quote from the beloved disciple as well:

    “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (2:9-11)

    “11For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (3:11-15)

    “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (4:20)

    No, of course, the easy answer to these verses is that the FVers are not brothers but heretics. And certainly that is the easy answer. But to anyone who thinks that, I say, “Stop citing the FV Study Committee Report, then, because it was obviously compromised by weak-minded fools who could not discern Christians from non-Christians.” And I also say to anyone who believes that the FVers are not brothers, you are free to leave the PCA. Since the PCA has ordained unbelievers–worse, heretics–the PCA is obviously completely compromised and apostate.

  54. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Yaysh — My 2 1/2 year old daughter has the Seuss tome.

    FV-ers & legalists,
    We don’t care how,
    FV-ers & legalists,
    Will you please GO NOW?!

    Apparently the PCA isn’t interested in such things.

  55. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Peter,

    I’m most assuredly not ordained. I am a sheep who makes pious pronouncements about maintaining the purity of the gospel. Thanks for asking!

  56. David Gray said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    >I am a sheep who makes pious pronouncements about maintaining the purity of the gospel.

    Do you keep silent in the church?

  57. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Is “the PCA obviously completely compromised and apostate”?

    It appears to be severely compromised & in grave danger, imho.

    3 for our reading list:

    (1) The online essay, “The Gospel Crisis in the OPC and PCA” is a good indictment against the hapless PCA & her sister denom. (That’s denomination, not demon!)

    (2) _Can the PCA Be Saved?_ is a cryptically-titled book by Sean Gerety (God’s Hammer blog).

    (3) I again mention Gary North’s book, _Crossed Fingers_, wherein the absence of sanctions is cited as cause for the demolition of the PCUSA.

    Simple bottom line: if the PCA cannot back its denouncing of false teaching with prosecuting of false teachers, then it is not only breeding heresy, it is knowingly doing so. The Bible calls this “blindness.”

    Ultimately, committee reports ad nauseum et ad infinitum are not meaningless, but are damning testimony against those who can cite error and yet refuse to act against its perpetrators.

    Like a too-tolerant parent, the new-wave Presbyterians elders (who love calling one another “father,” contra Christ) are watching their undisciplined child with some concern but little real love.

  58. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Hugh, do you call your male progenitor “father”? If you have children do you allow them to call you “father”? Because that would be “contra Christ” too.

  59. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Peter Green (#53),

    I try not to hate anyone, brother or enemy, friend or foe.

    I do however, have a loathing for false gospels of works righteousness, which is how I see the vision of the phony federalists.

    Ye that love the LORD, hate evil. Psalm 97:10a, etc.

  60. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    “I try not to hate anyone, brother or enemy, friend or foe.”

    And how well do you succeed, vis-a-vis the FVers?

  61. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Peter, you’re dodging. So too can I.

    Did Christ mean “Call a presbyter ‘father’,” when he said to call no man by such a name?

    You exegete the passage for us, and I’ll tell you how I addressed my late male parent.

  62. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Peter (#60),

    Pretty good. Well, so-so.

    Are you a priest? Should I make confession this Good Friday?

    Who are you?

  63. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Father Green,

    My turn: How are you at preaching & loving the gospel? Does need any addition (reaction, prayer, acquiesence, etc.) on our part?

    BTW: Who are you?

  64. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Hugh McCann wrote to Peter Green: “BTW: Who are you?”

    I think he’s a Covenant Seminary student who was among the signers of a call for civility in theological discussions.

    But I could be wrong. After all, both “Peter” and “Green” are common names and there’s probably more than one person with that name combination who comes up in Google searches along with terms like “PCA” “Presbyterian” and “church.”

    Maybe Bro. Green can enlighten us.

  65. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I my first child has yet to be born, and I am not ordained, so there is no need or reason to call me “Father Green.”

    I’m no pastor, I’m not even licensed to preach, but the few sermons I have preached (while in seminary), I tried to preach the gospel. I leave that judgment for God and the listeners, though.

    I am an OT doctoral student at Wheaton College. I’m not sure what more you care to know.

    As for exegetical the passage: I consider it to be similar to Mark 10:18, in which Jesus says no-one is good but God. If we take the command to call no-one “father” literally, then we would also need to stop calling people “teacher” or “instructor”. The point, in my opinion, is to condemn arrogance, and any use of any term that supports and encourages the sort of pompous arrogance that the scribes and pharisees manifested.

  66. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks, Peter. My wife is a Wheaton College doctoral graduate. Hope you enjoy your time at Wheaton; it’s a pretty campus, and they’ve just gotten a new president who should help things a lot.

    It’s Bro. McCann who is asking the details, but as long as you chose to provide bio, any relationship to Rev. David Green of the 4Cs up north of Boston? I have no special reason for asking, I’m just curious.

  67. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Why not thus follow Christ ~

    ‘If we take the command to call no-one “father” literally, then we would also need to stop calling people “teacher” or “instructor”. The point, in my opinion, is to condemn arrogance, and any use of any term that supports and encourages the sort of pompous arrogance that the scribes and pharisees manifested.’ ???

    Perhaps (just perhaps) when Jesus gives such a command -sans qualifications- he means what he says.

    And, perhaps (just perhaps) our traditions of calling one another master, teacher, rabbi, father*, et. al., are maybe, just, like, kinda wrong?

  68. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    So do you still have your eyes and hands? Because I don’t remember any qualifications on those commands either.

  69. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Maybe the names Christ forbids us use inevitably lead to “arrogance,” and “support and encourage the sort of pompous arrogance that the scribes and pharisees manifested”?

  70. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I cut off not only my hands and my feet, but I gouged out my vile eyes, & cut out my wicked heart of stone, and gave myself a new heart of flesh. Oh wait, no, God did it all.

    The sermon on the mount is get us to depair of ourselves and flee to Christ in faith.

    Prior to regeneration, we need more than a new anatomy, we need a new Spirit within us!

  71. Peter Green said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Yeah, maybe. And maybe our eyes inevitably lead us to lust and covetousness, which Jesus condemns, but I’m assuming you typed your post with your hands and read mine with your eyes.

    This is tangential to the real issues, so I won’t press it any further.

    Darrell, except for the fact that I have a paper due on Tuesday that I should be working on, I love being here at Wheaton, and I am very pleased with Dr. Ryken’s appointment. Thanks.

    My father, who should not be held accountable for my words or actions on this blog, is Rev. C. David Green, but he does not live north of Boston, and I’m not sure what the “4Cs” are.

  72. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    David Gray,

    I assume you mean “church worship.” I haven’t attended a church worship service in quite a long time, because I take care of my Dad, so the church is in zero danger from any utterances of mine. When I was able to attend, however, I did sing, so I did not remain silent, strictly speaking. Hope that helps resolve your concern. ;o)

  73. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    OK, wrong Rev. David Green. I once knew the pastor of Cornerstone Church of Beverly, Mass., quite well; it’s a Reformed Congregational church and a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. I thought he had a son by the name of Peter who would be about your age, but I guess there’s no connection.

    With regard to some of our earlier discussions, let’s just say as a former member of the Congregational Studies Conference board of the 4Cs and as the compiler of a text-critical edition of the Cambridge Platform, the historic Congregational “church order,” I might know a bit about what I’m talking about when I compare Congregationalism and Presbyterianism. But that’s neither here nor there; I was just curious on whether you might be a person who I would have last met as a child.

    Hope you enjoy your studies at Wheaton.

  74. David Gray said,

    April 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    >I haven’t attended a church worship service in quite a long time, because I take care of my Dad, so the church is in zero danger from any utterances of mine.

    Nobody helps you? No husband, sibling or cousin? No help from the church whose authority you accept?

  75. Eileen said,

    April 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    My husband helps me all day nearly every day, and I receive support from my church as well as my Dad’s church. It is my decision to take care of my Dad, at home, until such time as he can attend church. So far, the elders of my church are OK with that. Since this is off-topic, let’s leave it there.


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