It’s Only a Matter of Time

Peter Leithart has opined on the reasons why he has not crossed the Rubicon, I mean Tiber. This post has generated considerable discussion, from the Romanists here, and from the Eastern Orthodox here, and from a Missouri Synod Lutheran here. Leithart has responded with an historical argument from the books of Kings here. That’s a lot of reading. The CTC folks, for instance, need to be reminded of what a blog post normally is.

I just want to make a few points about this discussion. Leithart says he agrees with the standard Protestant objections to Romanism and Eastern Orthodoxy, but that those reasons “are not the primary driving reasons that keep me Protestant.” What he bypasses here is a fundamental historical point: if the standard reasons are not enough to keep us separated from Rome, then we should go back to Rome, because the Protestant schism was sinful! A quick glance at the reasons that Leithart adduces, and the way in which the Romanists tear Leithart’s arguments to shreds should be enough to convince us that Leithart’s reasons are not cogent. He argues from historical accidents. “Our past Christian experience” is a mere historical “accident,” is it not? It is hardly a compelling reason for staying away from Rome.

Besides, I wonder if Leithart really holds to a doctrine of justification that is antithetical to Rome’s doctrine. By including definitive sanctification in the structure of justification, Leithart blurs the boundaries between justification and sanctification. In one of his articles on justification, he even admits that in formulating the doctrine the way he does, he is trying to bridge the ecumenical gap with Rome. Make no mistake: if the Reformers were wrong on justification and the doctrine of Scripture, then we should go back to Rome. Only doctrinal reasons are sufficient to keep away from Rome. In other words, with Leithart compromising the doctrine of justification, it’s only a matter of time before the Tiber sounds pretty attractive.

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34 Comments

  1. TurretinFan said,

    May 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Good points, Lane. I would add that there are actually a lot of additional doctrinal reasons, beyond just justification and Scripture. For example, the Marian dogmas, Papal infallibility, Papal Universal Jurisdiction, indulgences/purgatory, the use of idols and icons for worship, transubstantiation, the worship of the host, and many more doctrinal reasons pose a barrier between us having communion with Rome.

    Even something as minor as the issue of Pauline authorship of Hebrews could legitimately separate us from Rome. Trent teaches that Hebrews is an epistle of Paul, while it is abundantly clear that it is not an epistle of Paul both from the internal evidence of its very different style and from the external evidence of Paul’s own declaration regarding all of his epistles bearing his name. Thus, Trent was wrong and ought to be reformed on this point, as on many other points (such as whether the deuterocanonical portions of Esther and Daniel are authentic). But you cannot in good conscience join Rome’s communion and hold to the view that Trent ought to be Reformed, even on a relatively minor doctrinal point, such as the authorship of Hebrews.

    – TurretinFan

  2. TurretinFan said,

    May 25, 2012 at 10:00 am

    None of the above, of course, should be taken as minimizing the importance of the issue of justification or the gravity of Trent’s errors on that point.

  3. Matt Siple said,

    May 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Leithart says he agrees with the standard objections (which you acknowledge). Then Leithart says he has even greater objections than those standard ones, and you hear “the standard reasons are not enough to keep us separated.”

    Am I reading you correctly?

  4. greenbaggins said,

    May 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Matt, Leithart says that the standard objections are not what drives him. I didn’t say that he explicitly denies the standard objections, although I call his actual agreement with those objections into question.

    TF, I am with you until you get to the authorship of Hebrews. John Owen and William Gouge firmly believed in the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, as do I. Plus, there are plenty of Catholics today who do not believe that Paul wrote Hebrews.

  5. TurretinFan said,

    May 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Ok, I won’t debate the details of the argument regarding Hebrews authorship issue here (though, actually, the question isn’t just authorship but whether or not it is a letter of Paul). Owen did view it as an epistle of Paul, but he also acknowledges that folks like Calvin and Luther did not. Moreover, the Ellingworth commentary you recommended states, at page 3, “The idea of Pauline authorship of Hebrews is now almost universally abandoned.” The O’Brien commentary you recommended states, at page 5: “the distinctive features show clearly that the apostle to the Gentiles was not the author.” Likewise, the Phillips commentary you recommended states, at page 6, “there are many indications that Paul almost certainly did not write Hebrews.”

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/commentaries-for-the-whole-bible/ << people can go here and click through your list to get the details.

    I suspect that all the commentaries you recommended, aside from Owen, would say the same thing, which is that we are virtually certain that Paul is not the author of the book, or at least that it is not a letter from Paul. I mean no disrespect for Owen, but I think he was pretty surely wrong on this issue.

    If you want the details, most of them (on a quick scan) contain the arguments, though there may be more definitive works on the issue out there.

    And yes, a lot of folks in the Roman communion would deny that Paul is the author, but they are out of line with Trent.

    -TurretinFan

  6. David Reece said,

    May 25, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Lane,

    Paul says he signs all of his letters. He did not sign Hebrews. Does this not mean Paul did not write Hebrews?

  7. greenbaggins said,

    May 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    This is odd! I suppose it is a bit amusing that a discussion about Rome gets on an (albeit interesting!) tangent on Pauline authorship of Hebrews!

    TF, I am more than aware that almost every modern commentary in existence denies Pauline authorship of Hebrews. Truth is not counted by noses, however, and the arguments Owen adduces have not been answered by any modern scholar of which I am aware.

    David, Hebrews is almost certainly a sermon that sort of morphed into an epistle. It has no customary epistolary introduction like all the other Pauline letters. It is, therefore, a different genre than Paul’s other letters. It is a “word of exhortation.” Therefore, Paul would not necessarily have felt the need to sign it.

  8. michael said,

    May 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Just a thought that has been on my spirit for many years about the authorship of the book written to the Hebrews. I believe Paul was a contributor as were others to the compiling of the facts and doctrines of the book of Hebrews.

    I’ll digress a bit. When I first came into active ministry in 1975 the ministry I came into owned and operated an weekly advertiser. Because I could type I was assigned to work at the paper for long hours at a time putting it together, adds, letters to and from the editor and articles of interest to the general community that we added to this paper so we could have it published and delivered throughout several counties in Northern California on a weekly basis.

    Also, the leadership of this ministry was into writing books, booklets and papers that we published and sent to our leaders throughout the world. Because I could type fast and well I got to be a part of the editorial board that published this ministry books, booklets and papers that were then sent to our leaders around the world and also sold to anyone who wanted to buy a copy.

    There were several papers that had been worked on by a group of the leadership that required intense discussion before we got our particular doctrines out to our leaders, part by part by part. These parts were compiled together and put into the paper that made up the content from and by the contributors of this “whole” finished work. This sort of paper or booklet wasn’t the norm, just occasionally we would do this sort of thing for the edification of our ministry teams and friend and sister churches we associated with or established under the leadership of the Ministry.

    Being the final touch to all these publications, paper, booklet or book, when ever there was some sentence structure or a word or phrase that I didn’t like I edited it out or changed it changing the final draft sent to the publisher. I was the last editor before submission to the publisher and so my edits were always in the book, booklet or paper being published. In essence the bulk of the books and booklets and papers my ministry published were from just one person and because we took his audio messages and reduced them to print or took his notes he wrote up to make chapters and then reduced them to print to compile his thoughts into a paper, a booklet or book that then was to be published and made available to our leadership around the world, we easily could discern who it was that produced that paper, booklet or book after being published. My edifications were never material in such a way that you would see two separate styles of writing or thought.

    As I indicated above there were rare times when a collaboration was produced. It is my belief based on my own experiences that that is what the book of Hebrews is, that is, it is a collaboration of several of God’s servants of that era, the Apostle Paul being one of these servants who contributed to this when putting together this one of a kind rather extensive written work that establishes for all time a grand understanding to the Hebrew’s mind, Hebrews who were from one of the Houses of Jacob (his twelve sons who became the twelve Tribes of Israel) the doctrines of the Faith once delivered to the Saints. Of course this book of Hebrews has great value to the Gentile Christians also as the Old Testament has great value to the Gentile Christians who are so led to read and comprehend it along with the New Testament.

  9. Jack Bradley said,

    May 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    “. . . with Leithart compromising the doctrine of justification, it’s only a matter of time before the Tiber sounds pretty attractive.

    . . . Leithart says that the standard objections are not what drives him. I didn’t say that he explicitly denies the standard objections, although I call his actual agreement with those objections into question.”

    But, yet again, Lane, Leithart’s presbytery did not call them into question.

    Do you call into question their actual agreement with his actual agreement?

  10. TurretinFan said,

    May 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Lane: I certainly agree that truth is not determined by counting noses. Of course, if any of Owen’s arguments remain unanswered in the later works on the subject, they really ought to be addressed. I know of someone who was either working on or considering working on a thesis about the authorship of Hebrews, but I haven’t heard back from him recently on this. If he sees this and contacts me, I’ll let you know.

    -TurretinFan

  11. Phil Derksen said,

    May 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I recently read David Allen’s “Lukan Authorship of Hebrews” (New American Commentary Studies in Bible and Theology, vol. 8) which makes a pretty compelling case for the titular hypothesis. Allen cites several early church sources that assumed such an accreditation, and demonstrates some striking similarities between the epistle and Luke’s accepted writings in everything from their basic vocabulary, syntax and literary structure, to the way Hebrew’s themes uniquely mesh and specifically inform Luke’s Gospel and Acts’ theological content. Two modern computer analyses confirm these linguistic similarities, and support the likelihood of a common authorship.

    Of course the most common objection to such a link has been the assumption that the author of Hebrews was Jewish while Luke apparently was not. Allen shows, however, that this line of objection is far from insurmountable. In terms of Paul’s involvement, we know that he was bosom buddies with Luke, and that through this collegial relationship the latter would certainly have been intimately familiar with the unmistakebly Pauline theological underpinnings of Hebrews.

    While Allen’s theory is admittedly not watertight, I think it is a very intriguing one, and worthy of serious consideration.

  12. Andrew McCallum said,

    May 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    The increased dialogue between Catholic and Protestant since Vatican II has been a good thing in that there is now quite a bit more understanding of just where the theological battle lines are drawn. And those lines are certainly far enough apart that serious apologists on both sides know that we are not in communion and any attempt to share communion is unthinkable (assuming of course that both sides keep to their confessional boundaries).

    So now along comes Leithart and attempts a theological via media that both sides consider untenable because we both know full well just where the battle lines have been drawn, at least on these definitive issues like justification and the efficacy of the sacraments. All of this underscores to me just how far Leithart has crept away from the Standards into theological no-mans land.

  13. May 26, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,Cretes and Arabians all hear me laughing at you in their own tongue.

    But then I realize that slander of a Minister of the Lord is not a laughing matter.

  14. greenbaggins said,

    May 26, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Matthew, we’ll all wait then, until you decide to speak English and not gobbledygook.

    Jack, would you explain something to me? Would you explain why it is that every single FV person, and every person even slightly friendly to their beliefs believes that Presbyteries are a law unto themselves, and cannot possibly be corrected by, say, the SJC?

  15. Jack Bradley said,

    May 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Okay. As soon as you explain to me why you are a law unto yourself (demonstrated by your repeated slanderous accusations) and cannot possibly be corrected by a presbytery (which had an official TRIAL–at Leithart’s request).

  16. May 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Inridebo te et ego subsannabo te.

  17. Towne said,

    May 26, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Mr. Bradley (@#15):

    He can answer for himself, but if I may interject, Rev. Keister appears simply to be siding with the higher court, namely the General Assembly, in its pronouncement. The wonder is that the presbytery did not give due and proper weight to that pronouncement and instead rejected it out of hand.

  18. Jack Bradley said,

    May 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Towne,

    Please remember the all-important fact that PCA GA was not functioning as a higher court when it issued this report. As that report itself says in its *recommendations*:

    1. That the General Assembly commend to Ruling and Teaching Elders and their congregations this report of the Ad Interim Committee on NPP, AAT and FV for careful consideration and study.

    I’m sure that the NW presbytery took this report into their careful consideration and study when it functioned as a COURT in its extremely thorough examination of Leithart’s views–much of which Lane witnessed, and contributed to, personally. Which makes his charge of “a law unto themselves” doubly hypocritical.

    It’s one thing to say that you disagree with the presbytery’s verdict, but to make such an accusation against a presbytery that wrestled with these issues for years, and through an entire judicial process—-I don’t know what else to call it, but Lane as a law unto himself.

  19. TurretinFan said,

    May 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Jack:

    All this stuff sounds a lot like what we heard while Steve Wilkins was being processed. We got the same kinds of arguments about the imagined need to be highly deferential to the Louisiana presbytery, even when (in hindsight) the presbytery was wrong.

    -TurretinFan

  20. Jack Bradley said,

    May 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    TFan,

    The prosecution did not appeal the presbytery’s decision. I suppose someone else can if they think presbytery is wrong.

  21. TurretinFan said,

    May 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Jack:

    I’m not sure why you think it is important to mention that, but I certainly haven’t taken the position that the prosecution was handled well. On the other hand, Lane has studied Leithart’s works quite extensively. If there is a category of people fit to provide an independent judgment, he seems to be in that category. That said, I do not think he can appeal the presbytery’s decision, strictly speaking. Do you know otherwise?

    -TurretinFan

  22. John Paulling said,

    May 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    You’re right Lane this thread has gotten odd. I wonder in what way you think, “the Romanists tear Leithart’s arguments to shreds”. It seemed to me that reading the two of them is simply reading two radically different interpretations of Church history. In no way did I think they tore Leithart’s arguments to shreds. If anything, the Roman post (and all the responses to Leithart’s original post) just demonstrated how unpopular efforts towards unity are. Despite your disagreements with Leithart’s articulation of the doctrine of justification I’m surprised you grant Matt Yonke any leeway at all. His critiques of Leithart’s ecclesiology are hardly different from critiques he would level at yours.

  23. Jack Bradley said,

    May 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    TFan,

    Again, independent judgment is one thing. Lane is free to disagree with the presbytery. And I’m free to think that his judgment is suspect.

    As his most recent post especially demonstrates, Lane has a pronounced tendency to give an uncharitable interpretation to Leithart’s words.

  24. pilgrim said,

    May 27, 2012 at 2:12 am

    TurretinFan, just wanted to comment on your first post–in particular words-
    “Good points, Lane. I would add that there are actually a lot of additional doctrinal reasons, beyond just justification and Scripture. For example, the Marian dogmas, Papal infallibility, Papal Universal Jurisdiction, indulgences/purgatory, the use of idols and icons for worship, transubstantiation, the worship of the host, and many more doctrinal reasons pose a barrier between us having communion with Rome.”

    I agree these are all important doctrinal differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. They are reasons we are separate.

    But I find that these reasons and all others I have seen fit in with one or both of the areas of Justification and Authority.

    I tend to focus on those two, because these others fit under those.

    Just clarifying that though, not looking for an argument, as I would say I agree with what I quoted from you post.

  25. greenbaggins said,

    May 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Way to judge my actions in the best possible light, Jack. But according to you, apparently the only way for a critic to judge a FV proponent’s work charitably is to agree with it, or at the very least to come to the same conclusions about it that the FV proponent does vis a vis the Westminster Standards. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

    Let’s see what a charitable interpretation of an FV proponent’s work by a critic should look like, if the critic believes that the FV proponent in question is not confessional (again, putting aside the question of whether said belief in the FV proponent’s non-compliance with the Standards is set to one side): 1. It should be a complete examination of the author’s work: check (I read ALL of Leithart’s theological works that any even remote bearing on his theology as a whole, or on his FV views in particular); 2. It should be a close reading of the author’s work not only in the immediate context of each quotation, but also in the context of the author’s entire work, and in the context of each book in which the statement occurs: check (I tried to indicate this contextual study for each of the quotations I adduced in my testimony); 3. It should be engaged in with much prayer: check (I prayed every time I was reading Leithart’s work that I would not misrepresent his work, but portray it accurately); 4. It should not be any kind of personal vendetta against the person: check (I have no quarrel with Leithart whatsoever. He has been congenial those times we have interacted, even while disagreeing. I have no reason, therefore, to hate him, and I don’t hate him at all. On the contrary, I believe firmly that the oodles of hours I spent in seeking understanding was precisely BECAUSE I owed Leithart a debt of love if I was going to testify against him). 5. That tired old canard concerning properly understanding a person only if personal interaction is maintained is pure junk. If that were true, we could 1. never understand any dead theologian, and 2. words spoken are much LESS careful than words written, and 3. if an author’s work doesn’t say what he means it to say, then that’s the author’s fault, not the readers. It is the author’s responsibility to insure that no one CAN misunderstand what he writes. Besides, I DID email Leithart concerning the proper interpretation of his work, and he said that, basically, The Baptized Body and The Priesthood of the Plebs said what he wanted to say. So, according to Leithart, all I really needed was those two books. I decided that I needed to read everything of theological importance in his entire output (I did skip his books on English literature). In my mind, I have gone above and beyond the call of duty of a critic of the FV in reading Leithart charitably. So, Jack, exactly what did I leave out?

    Let me point out that the Presbytery has slandered me in ascribing to me the origin of the controversy concerning Leithart on my blog. I did not originate the controversy on my blog! My blog posts on Leithart date to June 2007. That was after almost everything of importance had already happened in the entire FV controversy. Do you consider the Presbytery to be interpreting my actions with charity, Jack? Do you? The defense counsel as good as accused me of mercenary motivation (in bringing up the number of click-throughs I get to WTS bookstore). Do you think that was charitable of the defense counsel? Do you? Who has been charitable here, and who has not?

    By the way, the action of PNW has been complained, and is now in the court of the SJC.

    I participated in a process that came to the wrong conclusion. Can I do anything about it? No, as I am not a court of appeal. But I am free to express my opinion that PNW made a serious error. That is hardly being a law unto myself, which is an incredibly uncharitable thing to say.

  26. Jack Bradley said,

    May 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Lane,

    I do appreciate your thoroughness in prepping for the Leithart case. It was admirable, to say the least. I still find fault with what I consider your tendency to interpret Leithart uncharitably. Which is what the trial defense also said of you in that regard and in regard to the other interaction on your blog which they cited.

    FWIW, I do indeed think the defense’s citing the click-throughs was lame and uncharitable on their part.

    However, I don’t think I am being uncharitable in applying your own “law unto themselves” criteria to yourself. I give a presbytery verdict much more weight than your verdict, and therefore the burden of being corrected is not more theirs than yours.

    I’m curious, if the SJC chose not to revisit the case, or chose to revisit and ended up affirming the outcome, would that have the least bearing on your opinion?

  27. andrew said,

    May 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Its a bit late, but …

    I was shocked at the PNW cross-examination of Lane. Really taken aback by the low blows.

    I suppose they might say the value of an expert witness lies in the public status of the individual, not his actual knowledge. But still… such savage attacks may be legally succesful, but were utterly unproductive in rebutting Lane’s criticisms.

    I say this as someone who looked on Rob Rayburn as something of a hero (for his essay on covenant sucession), and who would take a robuster line on the covenant than most here (though not FV).

    I had really hoped for a substantive exchange.

  28. May 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    On this topic, here are a couple posts giving my perspective (as prosecutor) on Lane’s testimony and cross-examination:

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2011/10/protest-against-pnwp-sjc-decision_30.html

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2011/11/expert-witnesses-and-lay-juries.html

    JJS

  29. darrelltoddmaurina said,

    May 28, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Thank you, Rev. Stellman, for these posts. I am in near-total disagreement with you on political issues and on Two Kingdoms issues, but your work in the Federal Vision case needs to be commended.

    It took me a long, long time to believe the Federal Visionists were in serious error rather than just teaching a few strange things. Paedocommunion was an early warning sign to me that something was amiss, but your work, that of Dr. R. Scott Clark, and that of others deserves credit for waking a lot of people up to the problems.

    Those of us who believe Scripture not only allows but requires Christian political activism need to be honest and admit that in our own circles, there are still remnants of theonomy as well as related views which have roots in medievalism rather than the Reformation. There are reasons why the “classical Christian education” movement promotes the study of Latin and of the Middle Ages, and while I certainly have no problem with studying the classics, a focus on Latin and medieval theology, without understanding why Calvin and Luther largely rejected that theology, is not going to have good results. Unfortunately, if the key goal is creation of a Christian nation (rather than the key goal being personal faithfulness of which being a Christian citizen is a significant part in a free republic such as ours), medieval Christendom starts to look pretty good.

    There are reasons why the Protestant Reformation, with its massive increases in literacy and political engagement by the mercantile classes, led to the discrediting of the concept of absolute monarchies ruling by divine right. The English monarchs were correct in fearing the Puritans, realizing that with no bishops, there soon would be no king. Since most Federal Visionists have a clear theology of political engagement, those who believe the Federal Visionists are on their way to Rome should aggressively challenge them as to what sort of political system would result from their theology. I do not believe it would be the same sort of political system which resulted from the theology of Calvin, Knox, the Dutch burghers, the New England Puritans, or the Westminster Divines.

  30. Bob S said,

    May 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Not to sideline the charitable/slander thread, but finally got around to reading Leithart’s remarks on why he remains a reformed catholic popestant.
    In his first, he exalts the Eucharist – without acknowledging that Peter separated from the Gentiles over doctrinal, if not gospel reasons, duh.
    In the second, among other things, he mentions liturgical idolatry and violations of the Second Commandment. This is particularly rich in that as a bona fide card carrying member of Frame’s Worship Children, Leithart already gave us a little tome entitled From Silence to Song.
    Needless to say, in this deconstruction of the reformed doctrine of worship, there is a total failure to give us the confessional definition of the RPW. Further, building on his novel interpretation of what was the Lord’s command to David regarding the institution of the temple, Leithart views the worship of the temple as an approved example which justifies our liberty in NT Christian worship today. This, while relegating Girardeau’s classic defense of Calvin’s position on music and instruments to a footnote.
    Dunno. I guess if you tell lies long enough, you start believing them yourself.

    As for the CtC bunch, if you can’t tell us in 25 words or less what you want to say, you don’t know what you want to say. Best advice then is to keep it a secret, not spread it all over the internet.

  31. greenbaggins said,

    May 28, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Jack, I appreciate your acknowledgements.

    I deny that I have been uncharitable in any way in interpreting Leithart’s work. You have not as yet given us any examples of how I have read him uncharitably. So far, you have merely referenced the Presbytery’s evaluation of my work. I have already pointed out to you their slander of me. And you have already acknowledged that they have not behaved entirely admirably. So why exactly would their mere assertion of uncharitable interpretation carry so much weight? From all appearances, they have no desire to treat me charitably in any way, shape or form. I’m not exactly feeling the love, let’s just put it that way. So far, all I have gotten is pure flack for having the audacity to challenge Leithart’s views. To say the least, this doesn’t give me any assurances that their assertion of lack of charity is anything other than another attack (not to mention mere assertion without any actual argumentation to back it up). And believe me, Jack, it has even less weight with me when I consider how often I have heard it from FV proponents and defendants of the FV. If I had a single penny every time I heard this “uncharitable” remark thrown my way, I would be exceedingly wealthy. And yet, no specific examples are forthcoming. Methinks it is simply something to throw out there as an automatic defense mechanism. It might have more weight if it were not the first, second, third, and umpteenth thing they always say. If you believe their claims, then no critic has ever understood anything written by an FV proponent, and no FV critic has ever been charitable towards FV proponents at any time. I get really, really tired of this canard, Jack.

    One thing that has never really come out of all this, but might be worth mentioning is this single point: while Michael Horton did plenty of his own reading in Leithart, the specific passages in Leithart on his areas of testimony were mostly supplied by me, along with some specific argumentation. I did not ghost write his testimony in any way. But he relied heavily on my research. The difference of treatment of Horton and Keister is therefore all the more glaring. Not that I claim any kind of equality as a theologian with Michael Horton. But my research on the FV is well beyond his, as he acknowledged to me more than once. I am not trying to brag here, incidentally. Just trying to point out some factors that make some things clearer.

    Andrew, I appreciate your honesty on this subject. I am glad that it is not only those with whom I most closely agree who have seen some of the problems with how PNW has dealt with this.

  32. May 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I thought it rather a good argument actually, although I am always a bit miffed when the differences between classical Protestantism and Rome on justification and assurance are barely emphasized.

    The only thing I want to add is that the Protestants did not leave anyone. They reformed the medieval church. Rome left the mainstream of Christian orthodoxy when at Trent, they finally canonized heresy and anathematized sound doctrine. They are the ones who separated from Biblical orthodoxy — so we ought NEVER to speak of “returning” to Rome. The Roman Catholic church, as it is today, was officially born around 1555. We should invite them to return to us as those who reformed Christ’s church as we found it.

  33. Mark said,

    June 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, the irony here is just amazing. At the end of last week when the comments on this thread were winding down, who would have predicted that it would be Jason J. Stellman and not Peter Leithart who tendered a resignation letter to the PCA in an apparent first step in crossing the Tiber? I’m sure that no one saw this one coming.

  34. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Good point Mark.


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