Pacific Northwest: Peter Leithart is not guilty

The decision in the Peter Leithart case is in. You can read the details at The Aquila Report here. Pacific Northwest exonerated TE Peter Leithart of all theological error.

I testified at the trial, and I would highly recommend that you read my testimony. You can download it here.

Here are a few highlights from my testimony:

  1. Statement [from Leithart's book Priesthood of the Plebs]: “Applied to baptism, then, our typology leads to a doctrine of ‘baptismal regeneration.’” What he means by this is explained on p. 169, where he writes “Baptism irreversibly plants my story in the story of the church, for even if I renounce her, my renunciation is part of her history.”

    Comment: Clearly, Leithart desires to diminish the distinction between outer and inner in the Christian life. The objective and the subjective become less relevant distinctions in Leithart’s theology. This is how he can argue for a form of baptismal regeneration.

    Further explanation is on page 170, where he says “Operative ceremonies, thus, by placing us in new roles, vesting us with new clothes, and imposing new sets of obligations and rules, effect an ‘ontological’ transformation, a change in who we are, who we think we are, and who others think we are. Baptism clothes us as priests, and these clothes remake the man. (par. break, LK) Having cleared some ground, we can return more explicitly to our typology to show that it implies a theological, not a reductively sociological, view of baptismal regeneration.” Later, he will say “The baptized is no longer regarded as ‘stranger’ but born again as a ‘son of the house.’” And again, on p. 171, “Baptism into the ecclesial priesthood that is the house therefore also confers the arrabon of the Spirit.” Finally, he says that “as baptism authorizes and deputizes to such ministry, it grants a share in the life of salvation.”

    Comment: One really cannot have clearer statements than these: baptism confers at the time point of its administration, saving benefits. The rite is not viewed by Leithart as having a confirmatory significance. Leithart relocates the efficacy of the rite by tying the Holy Spirit to the moment of baptism.

  2. Statement [from Leithart's book Priesthood of the Plebs]: “Far from being reductionist, this typology and the framework extrapolated from it permits a richer and stronger affirmation of the objectivity of baptismal grace than found in traditional sacramental theology, which has hesitated to affirm that baptism confers grace ex opere operato….If grace is the favor of God manifested in the bestowal of favors, then baptism is and confers grace: the grace of a standing in the house of God, the grace of membership in the community of the reconciled, the grace of immersion in the history of the bride of Christ, the grace of God’s favorable regard upon us. It would be churlish to complain that it does not also guarantee perseverance. (par. break, LK) Objections may, however, arise from a different quarter. Thus far I have used ‘regeneration’ in the traditional sense of individual transformation.”

    Comment: a number of things are important here: 1. He does not hesitate, unlike traditional sacramental theology, to affirm that baptism works ex opere operato. 2. When baptism confers regeneration, Leithart has meant it in the usual sense of individual transformation. 3. Leithart grants that baptism does not guarantee perseverance. So baptism confers regeneration, but this regeneration, though used in the normal sense, does not guarantee perseverance. There are many problems with this, confessionally. If a person is regenerated in the normal sense, he cannot lose that regeneration. This is basic Calvinism. Secondly, no sacrament works ex opere operato. As we have seen in our exposition of the WS, not everyone receives the grace offered, and not everyone receives it at the time-point of its administration. It is rather the Holy Spirit who gives faith that effects the thing signified. The general drift of Leithart’s work here is to eliminate altogether the distinction between signum-res, and he believes that his typology of OT priesthood is what allows him to do this.

  3. Statements [from Leithart’s book Against Christianity: “Baptism forms as well as symbolizes the new city of God. Through baptism, all sorts and conditions of men are made members of one body and become citizens of a single community…The Reformers cut through the lush overgrowth of subordinate rituals that had clustered around baptism and reduced the rite to its biblical form―a sprinkling with water. That was right and proper. Yet, most of those sub-rites presented the truth about the event of baptism: it really is a renunciation of the world, a deliverance from the domain of Satan into the domain of Christ, an investiture with royal and priestly garments.”

    Comment: The Confession puts these effects down to effectual calling (WCF 10) and justification (WCF 11, cf. Zechariah 3, a picture of justification if ever there was one, especially as it echoes the garments God made for Adam and Eve in Genesis 3).

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82 Comments

  1. October 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Lane,

    I’ll have more details on my blog as soon as I get the time. There are limitations to what I can say, however.

    Jason

  2. Reed Here said,

    October 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Just one comment now: the Westminster Standards allow for ex opera operata?????!!!!!

    Nine fathers in PNW agree? The majority of the presbyters in PNW agree?

    Surely Lane you mus be misunderstanding. You cannot be hearing what you think you are hearing. (read as sarcasm.)

    I’m stunned.

  3. John said,

    October 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    It seems (in spite of the admirable efforts of many) that this verdict was a foregone conclusion. Could those familiar with PCA process explain what the next steps will be (regarding complaints, SJC, etc.)? Also is it possible to predict the denominational outcome with the same certainty that it was possible to predict the outcomes in PNW, Missouri, and Siouxlands?

  4. Hugh McCann said,

    October 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    GOD BLESS, YOU, BROTHER.

    1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
    2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
    3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

    4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
    5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
    6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
    8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
    9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
    10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
    11For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
    12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
    13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
    14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
    15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
    16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
    17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
    18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

  5. Kurt said,

    October 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Pastor Reed,

    ex operE operatO

    :)

  6. Reed Here said,

    October 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks Kurt. I take my attempt at humor was like a brick? Y’know, ex opera operator?

  7. Hugh McCann said,

    October 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Does the following imply that the PNWP might be disciplined?

    The Aquila Report gives this: PNW erred by declaring that TE Leithart’ s views were not out of accord with our standards. (SJC, March 2010)

  8. Hugh McCann said,

    October 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Or will GA’s SJC take this “take-over” as valid?

  9. Frank Aderholdt said,

    October 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hugh #7 and #8,

    Well, that’s the $64 trillion question. The issues are clear, the documentation is extensive. In my opinion, after a decade, there’s nothing more new to be said or to be learned. The time for final decisions has come. Will the PCA have the fortitutde to back up with definitive action what it declared overwhelmingly in the 2007 Study Report? The Leithart, Lawrence, and Meyers cases are as clear as any I can remember in Presbyterian church history for bringing a fundamental issue to a head.

  10. Hugh McCann said,

    October 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks Frank. Speaking of big questions: Will the PCA have the fortitutde to back up with definitive action what it declared overwhelmingly in the 2007 Study Report?

    Indeed…

  11. Hugh McCann said,

    October 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    …..by reason of insanity? ;)
    ~
    ~
    ~
    ~
    (Thanks, Reed!)

  12. October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I have added a brief update to my original post with more information.

  13. October 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks again for your diligent service, Lane, and to JJ as well. These are trying times, but I believe that your diligence will bear fruit.

    When the trial documents are available, I’ll review them and comment in more detail.

    Ps 46:10

  14. tominaz said,

    October 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I wondering if Presbyteries can petition GA to assume jurisdiction (doctrinal error), since PNW has acted (34-1)?

  15. Reed Here said,

    October 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    O.k., now I’m feeling the tender stomach Lane.

  16. jedpaschall said,

    October 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I’ll re-post here what I asked over at Creed Code Cult:

    Question from a concerned PCA layman:

    The results from both the PNWP and Souixlands are highly disturbing, and seemingly at odds with the GA, not to mention the other NAPARC denominations that have rejected FV as within confessional bounds.

    For those able to answer without causing problems, what does this mean for the PCA as a denomination? At what point does being a “big tent” begin to infringe upon the consciences of those who hold the confessions in high regard and see the FV as not only an infringement of confessional boundaries, but also a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel? Is there a time for a peaceful, amicable parting of the ways, or do we hang in and watch presbytery after presbytery get this issue wrong and hope for some change?

    For those who courageously worked to fight for our confessions, thank you. Defeat at the hands of the PNWP in no way diminishes the worthiness of the cause.

  17. Steven Carr said,

    October 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    To all you fellows in the PCA: someone needs to make it unconstitutional to have heresy trials under executive session. Seriously. And you guys who have agreed to the “mums the word” approach. Is your conscience really bound to keep silent?

  18. David Gadbois said,

    October 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    As I’ve remarked before, if Leithart is within the bounds of orthodoxy in the PCA then it must be admitted that the Federal Vision theology, as a system, is within the bounds of orthodoxy. He is one of the most consistent and quintessential representatives of that theology.

    Which prompts the question – what was that PCA Study Report and the 9 Declarations all about?

  19. Sean Gerety said,

    October 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Smoke and mirrors.

  20. October 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Steven,

    The reason why the PCA allows heresy trials in executive session is because of BCO 15-3, which enables a judicial commission to render a non-debatable recommendation to presbytery (something the OPC does not have). I am not sure I completely understand this, but I do know that that’s the rationale.

  21. Mark B. said,

    October 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    @16 AMEN! The fact that elders see the need for closed doors in a doctrinal matter concerns me at least as much as the FV.

  22. Mark B. said,

    October 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    @19 Regardless of the rationale, it is still a dangerous practice. If the court was concerned about outside interference, perhaps, as long as there is full disclousure at the end of the day (film it and post it on the net) :)

  23. Stephen Welch said,

    October 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    This is truly a sad day in the life of the PCA. I find it extremely disturbing that the entire Presbytery exonerated a man who clearly teaches doctrines contrary to the Westminster Standards. Were there any men in PNW Presbytery that voted to find Peter guilty? The PCA in both this case and the recent one in SiouxLands has just given more free reign to heresy. We now state openly that we will allow the teachings of the FV in the PCA. It is time for those who are committed to our Standards to plead for the Lord’s mercy that He will bring about a new Reformation in the PCA.

  24. Stephen Welch said,

    October 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    David your second paragraph in # 17 is right on. Why was time and energy spent on those nine declarations if we allow men to teach the FV in the PCA? It is only a document that expresses the will of the court, but has no authority.

  25. Adam Parker said,

    October 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    When you consider the Meyers case, the Lawrence case, and now the Leithart case, it is very disturbing. The idea that the PCA has very clearly expressed what is and is not in accord with our standards and that these FVers individually have managed go unsuccessfully prosecuted is very troubling indeed. One person suggested in the comments section of my blog that this means the opponents of FV have been operating with caricatures of Federal Vision, which is simply wrong. People will read these tea leaves however the want to.

    To your question, Stephen, in the SJC of the Presbytery, he was exonorated 9-0 on every count. But the Presbytery did not adopt their decision unanimously. It looks like there were two or three willing to vote against and a few abstainers, with some variation within the five points of contention. You can look at TE Stellman’s blog for more information on the vote.

  26. October 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Jason, you cite BCO 15-3. It says, “The commission shall try the case in the manner presented by the Rules of Discipline and shall submit to the Presbytery a full statement of the case and the judgment rendered. The Presbytery without debate shall approve or disapprove of the judgment, or may refer….”

    NOTE: From the description I have seen, has a “Full statement” been given from the commission to the Presbytery?

    BCO 15-3 doesn’t make it necessary to have executive session for a trial. The rationale would be, since it is not debatable before Presbytery, that it is even more necessary that it be a public trial so that Presbytery can see if the ‘commission’ has handled the evidence well.

  27. Alan D. Strange said,

    October 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I have commented on this, and other fora, in re: holding doctrinal trials in camera (closed, executive session, secret–call it what you will). I wrote a fuller objection for The Aquila Report.

    I understand that the OPC explicity forbids it and the PCA does not. But, may I suggest, that this is the sort of thing to which our consciences witness. It is, in other words, in accord with special and general revelation.

    For what reason would you hold a closed heresy trial? Either, if against the defendant, a star chamber proceeding to railroad him. Or, if for the defendant, an out-of-sight whitewashing.

    Brothers in the PCA, please stop this. I intend to bring this to my denomination’s Committee on Ecumencity and Interchurch Relations to call upon the PCA to desist in this practice.

    Jason, could you specifiy for us what you mean when you say that you are not free to speak of certain things. Do you mean that you continue under some gag order? What could possibly be said in the closed session of a heresy trial that would remain secret? I understand a closed session and remaining mum in an ethical case, but not in a doctrinal case.

    How all this is being handled is rather sad to me and I want the PCA, for which I have the highest respect, better to conduct its doctrinal trials and to show itself to be above reproach in all these matters.

  28. October 8, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Dr. Strange,

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’m equally appalled at the conduct of this and the Siouxlands trials. Secret trials are designed for one ultimate purpose – to hide something. Did SLP and NWP really believe that hiding their actions behind close doors would help any party in the trials? All it did was raise even more suspicions both about the trial’s conduct and the defendants. Mission accomplished? Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

    I think that many of my fellow PCA elders would welcome a communication from the OPC on this issue. Like people, NAPARC denominations should sharpen each other like iron sharpens iron.

  29. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Amen & amen, Dr Strange.
    God save the PCA.

  30. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Dear Bob/Gromit,

    Secret trials are designed for one ultimate purpose – to hide something.
    ~ Amen… absolutely!

    Did SLP and NWP really believe that hiding their actions behind close doors would help any party in the trials?
    ~ Only in that it accomplished mission one: the *one ultimate purpose* of secret trials, secrecy!

    All it did was raise even more suspicions both about the trial’s conduct and the defendants.
    ~ That’s not *all* they did, they also obtained their *one ultimate purpose* (secrecy)!
    ~ Further, by cloaking all proceedings in silence, the presbyteries appear also to have procedurally stifled gainful further inquiry. That is, what need be done by your highest court (GA) in order to unseal the proceedings’ documents, which can even then be said to be misunderstood, misquoted, etc., ad nauseam?

  31. curate said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Lane, I read your testimony on baptism, and I can see why you lost. You simply do not understand either the WCF or Leithart. You are tilting at a non-existent opponent. Saying that Leithart ties the efficacy not to the Holy Spirit, but to the rite itself, is plain wrong.

    If the rest of your testimony is in the same vein, I can see why people in your Presbytery are not listening to you anymore. You do not understand the Standards or, indeed, Bob Leithart, and you will not listen.

  32. Wes White said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I have done quite a bit of thinking about having secret trials. I think there is some reason to have our trials in executive session. It comes from a wrinkle in our polity. We allow trials by commissions, but they cannot make a final determination. It has to go back to the court:

    The Presbytery without debate shall approve or disapprove of the judgment, or may refer, (a debatable motion), any strictly constitutional issue(s) to a study committee. In case of referral, the Presbytery shall either dismiss some or all of the specific charges raised in the case or decide the case only after the report of the study committee has been heard and discussed. If Presbytery approves, the judgment of the commission shall be final and shall be entered on the minutes of Presbytery as the action. If Presbytery disapproves, it shall hear the case as a whole, or appoint a new commission to hear the case again. (15-3)

    The goal of trials in executive session is so that the trial won’t be discussed publicly before the Presbytery has an opportunity to consider the issue. I’m not sure I agree with this, but this is not unreasonable.

    In the case of Siouxlands, they welcomed anyone who wanted to attend the trial. The Moderator of the commission also made clear to me that after they reported on the issues, then everything could be made as public as anyone wanted to make it. At any rate, I didn’t see anything sinister at all in their method.

  33. Dean B said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Curate

    “Lane, I read your testimony on baptism, and I can see why you lost. You simply do not understand either the WCF…”

    I believe you have already made those charges stick with his Presbytery and lost. Do you believe his entire Prebytery does not understand the WCF on baptism?

  34. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Pope curate has your number, Lane, you moron!
    Get a vestment & stole, Keister!
    Get incense, get candles burning!
    Learn to genuflect, you Protestant!
    Hear, hear, Rector Retch!

    (Hey, Latin scholars: Aren’t rector & rectum from the same root?)

    Oh, confused curate, hear a better Hugh (Latimer): [The devil] is ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to maintain superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kind of popery. He is ready as he can be wished for to set forth his plough; to devise as many ways as can be deface and obscure God’s glory.

    Where the devil is resident, and hath his plough going, there away with books, and up with candles; away with Bibles, and up with beads; away with the light of the gospel, and up with the light of candles, yea, at noon-days.

    Where the devil is resident, that he may prevail, up with all superstition and idolatry; censing, painting of images, candles, palms, ashes, holy water, and new service of men’s inventing; as though man could invent a better way to honour God with than God himself hath appointed.

    Down with Christ’s cross, up with purgatory pickpurse, up with him, the popish purgatory, I mean. Away with clothing the naked, the poor and impotent; up with decking of images, and gay garnishing of stocks and stones: up with man’s traditions and his laws, down with God’s traditions and his most holy word. Down with the old honor due to God, and up with the new god’s honour…

  35. Tim Wilder said,

    October 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    @Wes White 32

    Jason Sellman says in his blog:

    “Interestingly, there was a motion to delay the vote until January that was roundly defeated. The purpose of this motion was to give the presbyters sufficient time to consider all the evidence (we only received the report and trial transcripts a few days ago, and to my knowledge none of the defense’s or prosecution’s exhibits or briefs have been made available to anyone). So basically, the only data that those who did not attend the trial (which is most presbyters) had to work with was the commission’s report, th epurpose of which was not to explain the prosecution’s case, but instead to give the rationale for its rejection.”

    So this case was handled rather like the way the General Assembly handles it business. Some committee decides things, and then the committee recommendation is voted up or down blindly by the delegates.

  36. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Amen, Tim. Called a railroad job.

  37. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    From the Banner of Truth Trust article ‘Debating the Federal Vision':

    There are at least three major causes for concern with regard to the Federal Visionists’ presentations.

    1] The first is methodological errors. As one of the critics has pointed out, there is a tendency towards faulty hermeneutics and exegesis, implying that all Scriptural terms are always used in the same way (e.g., “baptism” always meaning water baptism), thus abandoning the Reformation principle of the analogy of faith. This same tendency leads to the redefining or ambiguously stating the doctrine of election, regeneration, justification, and adoption, and to a general low regard for any attempt to “systematize” theology.

    2] The second is a loss of Biblical balance in regard to covenant theology. Union with the (visible) church automatically implies union with Christ in the Federal Vision teaching, thus over-objectifying the covenant and failing to distinguish between covenantal union in the visible church from the saving union of the invisible church; and in emphasizing covenantal election, atonement, justification, and adoption at the expense of soteriological election, atonement, justification, and adoption. There is an attempt to downplay the confessional distinction between the visible and invisible church and to propose another distinction in its place, the historical and eschatological church!

    3] The third major cause for concern is the unquestionable incipient sacramentalism in the Federalist position. In reading paper after paper in this colloquium, the. reader is left with the conviction that the Federalists impute the efficacy of the thing signified to the sign itself, whether in regard to baptism or the Lord’s Supper. The sacraments can communicate blessings apart from faith, and baptism appears to be a converting ordinance. The Federal Vision states that the unbelieving feed upon Christ when they partake of the Lord’s Supper, and that a person is given new life by virtue of baptismal union with Christ.

    ~ Anthony R. Dallison ~

    http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?601

  38. October 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Alan,

    Jason, could you specifiy for us what you mean when you say that you are not free to speak of certain things. Do you mean that you continue under some gag order? What could possibly be said in the closed session of a heresy trial that would remain secret? I understand a closed session and remaining mum in an ethical case, but not in a doctrinal case.

    What I mean is that the PNWP has suggested that any and all disagreements with their decision should be said officially to the church so that the church can respond, rather than being said on blogs where it cannot.

    This doesn’t mean I can’t blog or disagree, but it means that my public or online disagreements should also be registered officially with the court. So until I have done that, I’ll just be publishing factual and clarifying statements.

  39. October 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Wes,

    It seems the solution would be to change the Book of Church Order so that trials need to be done by the Presbytery and not by a Commission. Then there would be no need for secrecy. Also, in my opinion, it would make it more Presbyterian.

    Maybe one of you brothers in the PCA can propose a change to the BOCO at your next Presbytery meeting.

    I must say that this is one difference between the PCA and OPC that make me glad that I am in the OPC.

  40. Tim Wilder said,

    October 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    @Wayne Forkner 29

    “It seems the solution would be to change the Book of Church Order so that trials need to be done by the Presbytery and not by a Commission.”

    Except for the secrecy, what PNW presbytery did is what the General Assembly does. It tries by commission and then the commission report is sent to the Assembly. The Standing Judicial Commission is just that; it is a commission that takes the appeals and trials off the hands of the Assembly.

    When this was introduced it was the TRs who did not like the SJC concept. Then when the SJC acted in the Wilkins case the Federal Visionaries took to calling it an abusive star chamber proceeding. But now in Pacific Northwest it is the FV supporters who have taken to the method.

  41. Hugh McCann said,

    October 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Astute observations:

    The reason the OPC and PCA are plagued by false and deficient ministers is their very lax concept of subscription to the Westminster Standards. When traveling or moving to a new area the family that visits an OPC or PCA church does not know what they are going to encounter until they attend a church service. Will it be a “new life” celebrative (i.e. Arminian Charismatic style worship), a James Jordanite Anglo-Catholic service, a “traditional” old-fashioned service or a Westminster Confessional service (a cappella exclusive psalmody)? Will there be the many false teachings and practices that are allowed by way of exceptions to the Standards: paedocommunion, high church prelatical liturgies, priestly robes and vestments, deviant views on the early chapters of Genesis, mono-covenantalism, baptismal regeneration, higher life antinomian concepts of love, justification through faithful obedience, etc? A Presbyterian denomination that has a lax concept of subscription is “like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” If the OPC and PCA want to stop the declension they need to stop treating the Standards as a rubber yardstick or a set of broad recommendations. They must return to the full subscriptionism of their forefathers.

    If the OPC and PCA do not condemn and censure the heretics, which is likely given their rather advanced states of doctrinal decay on creation, the gospel, morality, biblical worship, the sacraments, etc; then they should be open and honest and rewrite the Westminster Standards to reflect what they really believe, allow and practice. The purpose of full subscription is to lock in a particular theological system and protect it from decay. Another purpose is to tell everyone what is confessed and represented. The lax system in place today really does neither. The Westminster Standards are sort of what we believe, sometimes, depending on who the local pastor and session is.

    In the OPC and PCA today there two rival religious systems. On the one side, generally speaking, we have the conservative remnant of New School Presbyterianism. On the other side we have the sacramentalists who are essentially Anglo-Catholic in worship and modern Judaizers on justification. They do not really look to Calvin, Knox and Melville but medieval Christianity, Norman Shepherd and Neo-legalism. Both sides cannot exist together in harmony, for fundamentally they are two separate, different religious systems: one of grace alone, the other of works righteousness…

    http://www.entrewave.com/view/reformedonline/The%20Current%20Crisis%20in%20the%20OPC%20and%20PCA.htm

  42. Emily said,

    October 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Lane, I am so sorry. So very sorry. It hurts my heart. I had the priviledge to speak with Dr. Strange today after he made comments about FV during the SFURC worship conference. I asked him a few questions about the issue, and he referenced you and your blog. What a coincidence, reading this blog post the same day that we discovered a common acquaintance. I pray that your denomination will fight the bear that is FV and not depart from the truth.

  43. October 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    What an amazing set of comments…. I am new to the Green Baggins, but the way some people argue here is very enlightening.
    I will not engage in the non-debate but simply add my weight behind the tiny minority here who see TE Leithart’s exoneration as a tremendous blessing. The PCA is a fantastic denomination and has just the right blend of Doctrinalists, Pietists and Tranformationalists. If I really do believe that, I have to say ‘thank God for Jason Stellman’ too. (and I do.)

  44. curate said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Dean B, yes I do. Thankfully the PNW Presbytery does. What I am seeing on this blog is the sin of wilful deafness.

  45. curate said,

    October 9, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Hugh McCann, Latimer is a hero, so ty for the quote. BTW look up his views on baptism, you might learn something. His views and mine are in lockstep.

  46. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

    [Sorry for perhaps wildly off topic post which follows]

    While I’m not FV or NPP in my own beliefs and I don’t really have a dog in this fight–I thought it might be enlightening, since Latimer was brought up, to reference a few of his statements which touch on matters of interest in this debate (for example on losing Salvation through “deadly sin”–see Article 16 of the 39 Articles).

    THE SIXTH SERMON, PREACHED ON THE FIRST SUNDAY “IN ADVENT, 1552, BY MASTER HUGH LATIMER (same year that the
    reformed 1552 BCP and 42 Articles were being completed).
    “…there be many of us, which when we fall willingly into sin
    against conscience, we lose the favour of God, our salvation, and finally the Holy Ghost;…”

    “…I put the case, Joseph had not resisted the temptations of his master’s wife, but had followed her, and fulfilled the act of lechery with her ; had weighed the matter after a worldly fashion, thinking, “I have my mistress’s favour already, and so by that mean I shall have my master’s favour too ; nobody knowing of it.” Now if he had done so, this act had been a deadly sin ; for any act that is done against the law of God willingly and if sin have wittingly, is a deadly sin. And that man or woman that committeth such an act, loseth the Holy Ghost and the remission of sins ; and so becometh the child of the devil, being before the child of God.”

    The whole sermon can be read here (I highly recommend reading it all the way through–it goes into much further detail on this issue):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=EFoJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA8&dq=latimer&ei=Y-tOSeCdM6TCMYOenY0M#PPR5,M1

    Or, as the Anglican Book of Homilies notes even more graphically regarding the loss of Salvation which occurs through “deadly sin” (in this case fornication):
    He declares also that our bodies are the members of Christ. How unseemly a thing is it then to cease to be incorporated or embodied and made one with Christ, and through whoredom to be enjoined and made all one with a whore? (Homily against Fornication)

    http://www.geocities.com/curtis_caldwell/bk1hom11_mod.html

    God Bless,
    William

  47. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Apologies for the typos

  48. dgh said,

    October 9, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Hugh M., the OPC has its faults and we are by no means unified about worship despite a new directory that took over 40 years to produce, but the FV presence is microscopic while it seems to be all over the place in the PCA. Why is that? It may have something to do with subscription. But a better guess is that the OPC still maintains the Old School doctrine of the spirituality of the church and is not inclined to engage in methods or rhetoric of cultural transformation. But transformationalism is resplendent in the PCA, from the Baylys to Keller, from MNA to By Faith. Perhaps that’s the reason why FV finds the PCA more congenial.

  49. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 8:33 am

    [One final off topic post as a "p.s." to my prior post]
    A quick follow up on the nuanced reformed perspective of the leading Anglican reformers, such as Latimer, expressed in the Anglican Formularies.

    The Homily of Justification (cited in Article 11 of the 39 Articles for the fleshing out of the doctrine of justification) states that original sin (i.e. original guilt–not the original sin nature) is washed away in Baptism.
    “…we must trust only in GODS mercy, and that sacrifice which our high Priest and Savior Christ Jesus the son of GOD once offered for us upon the Crosse, to obtain thereby GODS grace, and remission, as well of our original sin in Baptism, as of all actual sin committed by us after our Baptism, if we truly repent, and turn unfeignedly to him again.”
    “Our office is not to pass the time of this present life unfruitfully and idly after we are baptized or justified, not caring how few good works we do to the glory of God and profit of our neighbors. Much less is it our office, after that we be once made Christ’s members, to live contrary to the same, making our selves members of the devil”

    http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/homilies/bk1hom03.htm

    And the 1552/1559 BCP states the “undoubted” salvation which a child partakes in when Baptized:
    And that no man shall think that any detriment shall come to children by deferring of their Confirmation; he shall know for truth, that it is certain by God’s Word, that children being baptized, have all things necessary for their salvation, and be undoubtedly saved.

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1552/Confirmation_1552.htm

    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1559/Confirmation_1559.htm

    From the reformed Augustinian perspective (as the Anglican Formularies (BCP, Articles, Homilies), for example, express on the matter)–it’s not troublesome to affirm such an “undoubted” efficacy in Baptism (although personally, I assume that a Covenant child begins to partake in such blessings from the womb).

    Have a blessed Lord’s Day,
    William

  50. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Hey Darryl H.,

    No doubt a multitude of curious ways in which the OPC & PCA differ, and why the latter enjoys its peculiar challenges.

    Reminds me of the time I was in a (OPC) Pres. of Nor. CA/ NV meeting back in late ’99 or early 2000 when the issue of subscription & creation was being discussed (when isn’t it in the PNCN?).

    One TE broached the idea that they look at the PCA’s method of allowing the taking of exceptions to the WCF. A TE sitting behind me groaned, “Now we’re going to look at how PCA does things?!” (or words to that effect). Being under PCA care at the time, I turned around, smiled, and merely said, “Ouch!”

    And, as you say, she’s a bit more complex, that wacky PCA!

  51. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Hugh Latimer warms our Prot hearts, having been burnt for anti-popery.

    He also warms the hearts of crypto-papists, being that he didn’t renounce all ramifications of said popery.

    The early Reformers were great as God gave them light into true gospel grace. They are not, however, to be trusted in all things.

    Indeed, who is?

    Only our Lord speaking in his word, as the best Reformers said on their best days.

  52. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Having run on the Presbyterian as well as the Episco/Anglican liturgical hamster-wheels of groveling petition & priestly absolution, I can testify that they differ more in degree than in kind.

    Though it almost sounds off-topic, think about the Rome~> FV~> Anglo-Catholic~> Reformed~> Evangelical trap that too easily snares souls: That the saints must *do* something to earn (or renew) God’s love and favor toward him.

  53. October 9, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Darryl,

    Re: 48 – I’m intrigued by your thesis. I would like to see you put more flesh on the bones, or maybe point me to a fuller treatment of what post-48. As you’ve said to me on occasion, I’m not trying to bate you. I’m truly interested in hearing more. I’m somewhat acquainted with the Hart-Muether piece in Ordained Servant, which predates FV by a few years. Sincerely, I’m not very good at drawing inferences for why certain movements gain traction or find root in one type of soil and not another.

    Thanks,

    Ron

  54. October 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    curate,

    How’s that mortal sin thing working out for you?

    That’s just one problem with FV – cherry-picking people and quotes that they think support them. I’ve never found a case where looking more deeply at the source doesn’t help FV at all. FV is basically a poorly thought out Frankenstein mash of Romanist, Arminian, and Reformed ideas (in some sense). Ecc 1:9.

  55. Reed Here said,

    October 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Ooh, a Frankenstein reference, and in October too, :-)

    All kidding aside, I agree with your mash perspective Bob.

  56. David Gray said,

    October 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    >I’ve never found a case where looking more deeply at the source doesn’t help FV at all.

    Well I’m stunned. Let’s call it a day.

    I’ve never seen someone quote anyone in opposition to Bob Mattes where he didn’t claim it was out of context.

  57. David Gray said,

    October 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    And we see where Hugh Latimer apparently simultaneously encourages crypto-papists and is used out of context to help the FV.

    He certainly didn’t encourage garden variety papists and people who think the entirety of the Reformation can be contained within their particular split P is denying themselves a richer and more humble experience of the Reformation.

  58. October 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    DG, RE #55,

    I’ve never seen someone quote anyone in opposition to Bob Mattes where he didn’t claim it was out of context.

    Well, unlike FVers in the PCA who purged the bulk of their FV writings from the web after Wilkins was force out, all my stuff is still up. I don’t have to hide in the dark. If you can find an example of where I called an FVer on a Calvin or other quote incorrectly, bring it on. Or is it the case as one FVer commented: “You have your Calvin and I have mine.” Go for it, David.

  59. David Gray said,

    October 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    How about your shot against Latimer? You didn’t really say how it was out of context just that we could assume it was.

  60. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    David @56 ~ And we see where Hugh Latimer apparently simultaneously encourages crypto-papists and is used out of context to help the FV.
    Good, so we’re all agreed the 1st generation Reformers can be quoted by either side.

    [Latimer] certainly didn’t encourage garden variety papists and people who think the entirety of the Reformation can be contained within their particular split P is denying themselves a richer and more humble experience of the Reformation.
    No; right here, too.

    @58 ~ Where did Bob M. reference Hugh L.?
    Or do you mean me?
    Or do mean William @46?

  61. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Better: …is denying themselves an immature and more confused experience of the Reformation.

    Those 1st gen. guys had lots of popish baggage. Some got jettisoned quickly, some slowly, some never.

    Gary, Rome is a harlot church. A false christ lifted @ every mass in order to deceive the masses & keep you enslaved.

    Scripture alone tells the true tale of God’s redeeming love through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, alone.

  62. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Meant to say GRAY (as in David Gray), not Gary!

    {‘Gary David’ is a whole ‘nother guy!}

  63. Hugh McCann said,

    October 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    William @46 et. al.,

    The geocites link to the homilies is broken, but they are here:

    http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/homilies/index.htm

    Also, Wipf & Stock has reprinted the Parker Society ed. of Latimer:

    http://www.monergismbooks.com/Sermons-and-Remains-of-Hugh-Latimer-Sometime-Bishop-of-Worcester-Martyr-1555-Parker-Society-p-18882.html

  64. David Gray said,

    October 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    >>Those 1st gen. guys had lots of popish baggage. Some got jettisoned quickly, some slowly, some never.

    That’s what my Baptist relatives say about John Calvin.

    That’s a different volume of Latimer’s sermons than I bought in England.

  65. michael said,

    October 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Of the many thoughts swirling around in my head now, I would grab one and comment on it.

    With regard to conducting the judicial process in executive session and not in a public forum, I proffer some verses as a reason to always do the latter:

    Mat 4:13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,
    Mat 4:14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
    Mat 4:15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–
    Mat 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”


    Luk 16:1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. …Luk 16:8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.

    1Th_5:5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

    Rev_21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

    I am not convinced that having an executive session when dealing with immoral or ethical matters is wise, either.

    Has this part of the Church become politically sensitive to the “Light of Glory” within us seeing all that we do as the Children of Light is framed by verses such as these?

    Psa 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
    Psa 115:2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
    Psa 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

    Would the primary argument be that “Love covers” then, to do executive sessions in the prosecution of doctrinal matters such as these, be the justification for conducting executive sessions?

    Our warfare should be conducted in the Light seeing we are the Sons of Light. I am making a judgment here, I know, a judgment that should be judged in any event, especially by those tasked with the responsibility and duty to the Whole Body to conduct a fair, honest and godly examination of the facts, no matter what they are?

    How else can we pray as Children of Light in this manner seeking that result if things are done behind closed doors, especially when we have admonitions such as this:

    1Ti 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
    1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

  66. raykikkert said,

    October 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Closed session for a doctrinal matter? The remonstrants were given no such luxury … the PCA is being watched as to how they handle heresy in their midst … by other reformed churches … again they have given affirmation to FV advocates who will now thumb their noses at any critique of their heresy with “beat it squirt … I’ve been exonerated”.

    Does the SJC really have the fortitude to reverse these decisions … we who watch … pray there are enough distinctively reformed men in thr PCA who can.

  67. October 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    [...] So reports The Aquila Report. Lane Keister has also released his testimony here. [...]

  68. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Hello all,

    There seems to be some question as to whether my quote from Latimer was taken out of context (i.e. that I quoted him in such a way as to give him a more “unreformed” spin). I can assure you that this is not the case–which is why I provided the link and encouraged everyone to read the entire Sermon.

    But just in case ya’ll don’t get the chance to look at the entire sermon–here is a lengthier quote showing the larger context from which my two previous quotes were taken. I’ll let ya’ll decide for yourselves whether my two previous quotes were giving an “unreformed” spin on Latimer.
    THE SIXTH SERMON, PREACHED ON THE FIRST SUNDAY “IN ADVENT, 1552, BY MASTER HUGH LATIMER (same year that the
    reformed 1552 BCP and 42 Articles were being completed).
    “But there be two manner of sins: there is a deadly sin, and a venial sin; that is, sins that be pardonable, and sins that be not pardonable. Now how shall we know which be venial sins, or which be not? for it is good to know them, and so to keep us from them. When ye will know which be deadly sins or not, you must first understand, that there be two manner of men: when I say men, I understand also under the name of men women, that is, all mankind: and so doth scripture understand women by this word men; for else we should not find in scripture that we should baptize women, for the scripture saith, Baptizate eos, “Baptize them.” He speaketh in
    the masculine gender only. Also, Nisi quis renatus fuerit
    ex spiritu et aqua, “Except a man be born again through
    spirit and water.” Here is made no mention of women, yet
    they be understood in it: for the salvation and everlasting
    life pertaineth as well unto faithful women as it doth unto
    faithful men; for he suffered as well for the women, as
    he did for the men. God would have them both to be
    saved, the men and the women: so ye see that this word The word
    men signifieth or containeth both kinds, the men and the both man
    women, at some times, though not always. But I say there
    be two manner of men: some there be that be not justified,
    not regenerate, nor yet in the state of salvation; that is to
    say, not God,s servants: they lack the renovation or regeneration; they be not come yet to Christ. Now these persons who be they
    that be not come yet to Christ, or if they were come to deadly.
    Christ, be fallen again from him, and so lost their justification, (as there be many of us, which when we fall willingly
    into sin against conscience, we lose the favour of God, our
    salvation, and finally the Holy Ghost;) all they now that
    be out of the favour of God, and are not sorry for it,
    sin grieveth them not, they purpose to go forward in it;
    all those that intend not to leave their sins, are out of the
    favour of God, and so all their works, whatsoever they do,
    be deadly sins: for as long as they be in purpose to sin, they
    sin deadly in all their doings. Therefore, when we will speak
    of the diversity of sins, we must speak of those that be faithful, that be regenerated and made new, and clean from their sins through Christ.
    Now this I say: I have venial sins, and deadly sins. Which be venial sins? Every sin that is committed against God not wittingly, nor willingly; not consenting unto it: those be venial sins. As for an ensample: I see a fair woman, I am moved in my heart to sin with her, to commit the act of lechery with her: such thoughts rise out of my heart, but I consent not unto them; I withstand these ill motions, I follow the ensample of that godly young man, Joseph; I consider in what estate I am, namely, a temple of God, and that I should lose the Holy Ghost; on such wise I withstand my ill lusts and appetites, yet this motion in my heart is sin; this ill lust which riseth up; but it is a venial sin, it is not a mortal sin, because I consent not unto it, I withstand it; and such venial sins the just man committeth daily. For scripture saith, Septies cadit Justus, “The righteous man falleth seven times;” that is, oftentimes: for his works are not so perfect as they ought to be. For I pray you, who is he that loveth his neighbour so perfectly and vehemently as he ought to do? Now this imperfection is sin, but it is a venial sin, not a mortal: therefore he that feeleth his imperfections, feeleth the ill motions in his heart, but followeth them not, consenteth not unto the wickedness to do them; these be venial sins, which shall not be imputed unto us to our damnation. So all the ill thoughts that rise up in our hearts are venial, as long as we consent not unto them, to fulfil them with the deed. I put the case, Joseph had not resisted the temptations of his master’s wife, but had followed her, and fulfilled the act of lechery with her; had weighed the matter after a worldly fashion, thinking, “I have my mistress’s favour already, and so by that mean I shall have my master’s favour too; nobody knowing of it.” Now if 9 he had done so, this act had been a deadly sin; for any act that is done against the law of God willingly and wittingly, is a deadly sin. And that man or woman that committeth such an act, loseth the Holy Ghost and the remission of sins; and so becometh the child of the devil, being before the child of God. For a regenerate man or woman, that believeth, ought to have dominion over sin; but as soon as sin hath rule over him, he is gone: for she leadeth him to delectation of it, and from delectation to consenting, and so from consenting to the act itself. Now he that is led so with sin, he is in the state of damnation, and sinneth damnably. And so ye may perceive which be they that sin deadly, and what is the deadly sin; namely, that he sinneth deadly that wittingly falleth in sin: therefore it is a perilous thing to be in such an estate, to be in the state of damnation and everlasting perdition.”

    The whole sermon can be read here (again, I highly recommend reading it all the way through–it goes into much further detail on this issue):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=EFoJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA8&dq=latimer&ei=Y-tOSeCdM6TCMYOenY0M#PPR5,M1

    God Bless,
    William

    p.s. As I mentioned before–I’m not FV or NPP (and getting away from such incredible truths as the active imputed righteousness of Christ (which is required by Scripture) is not an option for me). I guess in Presbyterian circles I could be called a “crypto papist” inasmuch as I am Anglican rather than WCF Presbyterian in my beliefs.

  69. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Er, the statement:
    “The whole sermon can be read here (again, I highly recommend reading it all the way through–it goes into much further detail on this issue):”

    Should go:
    “The whole sermon can be read here (again, I highly recommend reading it all the way through):”

    Because I quoted so much of it in the last post that “the much further detail on this issue” is no longer true.

    Again, God Bless and have a great night.
    William

    p.s. Because of my schedule any further posting on my part will have to be spotty or non-existent.

  70. William said,

    October 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    One more thing….

    Found a typo in my quote (from a footnote that got accidentally copied with the text):
    “Now these persons who be they that be not come yet to Christ, or if they were come to *deadly.* Christ, be fallen again from him, and so lost their justification,”

    Should be:
    “Now these persons who be they that be not come yet to Christ, or if they were come to Christ, be fallen again from him, and so lost their justification,”

    William

  71. David Gadbois said,

    October 10, 2011 at 1:47 am

    William, you don’t need to clutter up this thread with any more extended quotations. We get it – Anglicans share a denial of the Reformed doctrine perseverance of the saints. We have been maintaining that FVers would do well to leave our churches and join with like-minded ones such as Anglican and Lutheran churches on this account. We reject the Arminian doctrine that justification can be lost.

  72. Adam Parker said,

    October 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

    For anyone who is interested, I made a Kindle book of Lane’s testimony before the PNWP. You can download it in mobi format here: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0Bxtp1OCxsnStZjZlZmUwZmMtZmFjZi00MDdjLTk0ODMtM2Q0NmNiODM3M2U0&hl=en_US

  73. Hugh McCann said,

    October 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    a la D. Gadbois @71 ~ Merci beaucoup, mon frere.

    To Bill @68 ~ No question from me that you are rightly quoting the better Hugh, but he was just plain wrong. So too, art thou. Meditate more on the Articles and see how the gospel of divine grace and mercy conflicts with sacerdotalism, etc. Au revoir, Mr Guillaume.

  74. curate said,

    October 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Hugh McCann, as you continue your reading, you will discover that the Church of England did not differ from the Reformed Churches in doctrine. The English Puritans, who were white hot for Genevan church order, admitted as much. The difference was order, namely, the way the service was held, and the three orders of bishop, priest and deacon. That’s it.

    As you grow in your understanding of the Reformation these things will become clearer to you.

  75. Hugh McCann said,

    October 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Curate @75 ~ …you will discover that the Church of England did not differ from the Reformed Churches in doctrine.

    Amen & amen. Hence, my earlier thinking that professing Bible believers in Episco-Anglicanism would be at least welcoming of those of us holding to the 39 Articles.

    Not true in the 21st Century. The Reformation never took hold either in the CofE or here in PECUSA (now TEC).

    The majority report of conservative Anglicans today is syncretistic sacerdotalism, anti-biblicism, mysticism, Arminianism (at best), crypto-popery in praying to & for the dead, complete confusion over justification,* etc.

    Anglo-catholicism is utterly at odds with the Articles, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. ‘Unpoped Romanism’ is the order of the day.

    * As witnessed by the fact that the darling of conservative ‘Evangelical’ Anglicans is the self-professed non-Evangelical Bishop Nicholas Thomas Wright!

  76. curate said,

    October 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    My point is that the Puritans had no quibble with the petition in the BCP that says, “And take not your Holy Spirit from us.” Their issues with the BCP were never doctrinal, but were self-confessedly matters of “inconvenience”.

    Where the Puritans FVers?

  77. Hugh McCann said,

    October 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Some probably were, sadly.

  78. Hugh McCann said,

    October 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Curate et. al.,

    Who said this? (no fair looking it up!):

    The Bible doesn’t beat around the bush here. Whatever baptism accomplishes, the sign and seal (water and the Word) are inseparably* linked to the reality (washing of regeneration) itself (Titus 3:5). John the Baptist’s baptism was was still an Old Testament ritual washing. The Jews had many such washings, usually rituals of rededication after lapses. The Baptist informed his converts, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matt. 3:11). In other words, the Coming One will do more than offer rededication ceremonies. He will actually unite believers to Himself through the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this new baptism will need no repetition; the Holy Spirit himself will be given in this baptism. But he will also baptize with fire. This refers, of course, to judgment, as the next verse makes clear: “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Thus, there are, as it were, two fonts — the font of salvation and the font of damnation. Christian baptism, when joined by the Word and faith, assures us that our baptism will be of the former type.

    Baptism is, in effect, a “sprinkling by his [Christ's] blood” (1 Peter 1:2). “God. . . made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-6). The apostle Paul further described this New Testament rite:

    Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?. . . in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too may live new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

    In other words, Christ was baptized with God’s wrath so that we could be baptized with God’s grace. In baptism we are identified with Christ and united to him. He as truly saves us from God’s wrath as Moses saved the Israelites while condemning the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

    The apostle Peter compared baptism to Noah’s ark: In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand — with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Peter 3:20-22.

    And the apostle Paul compared baptism in Christ to the Isarelites’ wilderness experience when “They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10:2). That cloud was the presence of God following and guiding the children of Israel (Exod. 33:8-11) and the sea, of course, was the Red Sea. Baptism for the apostles, then, was the descent of the indwelling presence of God and the “proof of purchase,” guaranteeing that we have already escaped the raging waters of divine wrath. While there are, of course, exceptions (for instance, the thief on the cross), the general rule is “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

    If we refuse baptism, we are refusing the promise God makes and seals to us and to our children. While we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, it is impossible to separate baptism and salvation, as though we can have gift, but refuse the box in which it comes. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone; baptism nevertheless promises the new life of the convert or child of the believer and attests to the fact that God has come to nurture us even in our earliest days.

    * Hint: This word ‘inseparably’ is dropped in the latest edition of this work.

  79. October 12, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    The PNW Presbytery seems to be thumbing their nose at the GA on FV and paedo-communion. I am saddened by the lack of resolve to actually do something to defend the purity of the church from the poison of FV. If these men cannot be found guilty, then we might as well declare full communion with all Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and orthodox Anglican churches. I don’t see how these FV guys differ much from them.

  80. Adam Parker said,

    October 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

    As I read the judgment of the PNWP it becomes quite apparent to me that the the 2007 FV Report is of little consequence to them. Of the nine points in the FV Report, many of them are directly contradicted by the PNW SJC. For example, point 7 of the FV Report says:

    “The view that one can be ‘united to Christ’ and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.”

    Now look at this section from the SJC’s Leithart Ruling:

    “Dr. Leithart does believe that some who are united with Christ will not persevere in faith and so will not be saved (Trial Transcript, p. 178.12ff.).”

    Thumbing their noses at the 2007 FV Report.

  81. October 13, 2011 at 9:54 am

    It seems to me that we have at least one out-of-control Presbytery that needs to be reined in by the PCA’s SJC and by GA or they (and others) could potentially tear at the very fabric of our denomination. The 2007 FV Report was clear and the vote at GA was overwhelming. Those men who chose to leave the PCA at that time (Steve Wilkins, Gregg Strawbridge) did the right thing. Their theological budddies should have followed suit. Now it’s up to us to make them leave. We must either stand strong for the Gospel or see our denomonation disintegrate.


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