Part 2 of the interview with one of the prosecutors in Meyers’ Federal Vision Trial

Posted by Bob Mattes

Dr. R. Scott Clark has posted Part 2 of his excellent interview of TE M. Jay Bennett on the TE Meyers’ Federal Vision trial. In case you missed Part 1, you can find it here. As you might expect, the two flow together.

Part 2 delves a bit more into the unseemly manoeuvring by TE Meyers and his friends in Missouri Presbytery (MOP) to limit the prosecution’s ability to function in accordance with the PCA Book of Church Order. The actions explained by TE Bennett severely hampered the prosecution, whilst providing easy avenues for the defense to “run out the clock”. The transcripts make the tactics obvious even after the fact. Given the magnitude of the issues at stake, the prosecution should have been given both adequate time to prepare and present its case. It was not.

I commented in this post about my involvement as a prosecution witness in the case. In light of TE Bennett’s comments on his cross-examination of TE Meyers, I need to point out that I was not present for that cross because I had to catch my flight home. So, I want to make it clear that my previous post should take nothing away from TE Bennett’s observations about his cross-examination of TE Meyers.

So, where does all this leave us in the PCA? Certainly, there are presbyteries like Missouri, Pacific Northwest, Siouxlands, and perhaps a few others in which faithful officers cannot recommend churches to inquirers without personally knowing individual pastors who are orthodox and confessional. It also means that transferees from said presbyteries must be carefully examined in detail for their views. We saw that with Lusk when he tried to transfer to Evangel Presbytery a few years ago, and Leithart most recently. Though Leithart has not yet been examined, his work out of bounds teaching Federal Vision doctrine in Evangel’s geographic area has been rejected in accordance with the BCO. Faithful presbyteries must be on the watch and guard their flocks from FV wolves.

Dr. Clark’s excellent post on the parallels between Federal Visionists today and Arminians in the Reformed church centuries ago captures this watchfulness issue well. While the Federal Visionists deny on one hand that they hold aberrant views, they openly teach them outside of the view of the PCA courts. Although Meyers, Leithart, et al, remain “in good standing” in the PCA just as James Arminius did in the Dutch church in his day, they would not and should not be welcome in many if not most pulpits in the PCA or should they be permitted to spread their poison at General Assembly seminars. If confessional elders would not invite Arminius or Pelagius into their pulpits, then how could they in faithfulness to their vows invite a Federal Visionist? They cannot.

Confessional, orthodox Reformed elders in the PCA must stay diligent and informed in these trying times until we can change the BCO to correct these recent travesties. In the meantime, although we cannot at this moment directly treat the cancer in some presbyteries, we can and must contain the disease.

Posted by Bob Mattes

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10 Comments

  1. Sean Gerety said,

    December 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    You touch on one of the real problems with these court decisions allowing heretics like Meyers to continue to teach and preach with impunity, and that the PCA now comes with a “buyer beware” warning.

    For example, there is a very pro-FV church in Va Beach where I live (New Life), but I think if you walked in there it would at first seem like any other PCA church. That’s not to say there aren’t faithful churches, even a couple of Presbyteries, just that a list would be helpful. Perhaps someone can start one.

    Also, the Arminian example is good to a point, but, unless they’re Pelagians, I don’t think even most Arminians deny JBFA and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness or call these truths “redundant.” Frankly, I would recommend an Arminan church over blindly recommending any church in the PCA without first checking it out thoroughly.

  2. horace said,

    December 16, 2013 at 9:53 am

    ” While the Federal Visionists deny on one hand that they hold aberrant views, they openly teach them outside of the view of the PCA courts. ”

    Indeed. A recent Peter Leithart post is http://trinityhouseinstitute.com/does-baptism-justify/

    “Confessional, orthodox Reformed elders in the PCA must stay diligent and informed in these trying times until we can change the BCO to correct these recent travesties. In the meantime, although we cannot at this moment directly treat the cancer in some presbyteries, we can and must contain the disease.”

    Apparently a very large and influential part of the PCA is comfortable that these teachings do not conflict with the Westminster Standards. Many of those in the PNW who objected have left the PCA over it. I pray Bob that faithful elders like you, Frank, Lane, and others prevail. But for some of us, leaving was the only option left.

  3. December 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I faced needing to give suggestions recently and could not in conscience recommend a PCA in the area in question. A list of recommended churches, maybe here on GB, would be helpful. The compiler can add churches he knows for a fact are free of FV. Churches can be added as they wish to affirm they are FV free. Any not on the list are simply unconfirmed, do you own diligence, etc.

  4. Mark Kim said,

    December 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Horace,

    That article by Peter Leithart on baptism cannot stand the test of confessional Reformed orthodoxy. Here is what the WCF states about justification:

    “Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God” (XI/1).

    Even “evangelical obedience” is excluded in the divine verdict of righteousness to the sinner who comes to faith in Christ.

    I don’t know how anyone who reads Leithart’s article above can come to the conclusion that his position is consistent with historic Reformed theology on justification.

  5. December 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Chris,

    That’s a great idea, but would take considerable effort on someone’s part to maintain it. Unless I personally know pastors in a given area, I tend to recommend OPC or RCUS churches for folks traveling to troublesome presbyteries. Even OPC isn’t a guarantee, but I believe they are more consistent in their orthodoxy and orthopraxy than PCA churches in some presbyteries. These are indeed sad days for the confessionally orthodox.

  6. December 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    horace,

    Thanks for the link. I am reminded of Dr. R.C. Sproul, Sr.’s admonition that the Scriptures are not a wax nose that you can mold to your liking. FV has joined a long line of masters at that black art.

    Sad to say, but if I were stuck in PNWP, I’d have left the PCA as well. I’m blessed to be where I am with so many faithful brothers.

  7. Greg said,

    December 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Chris, one thing I’ve done is to examine a church’s website and listen to sermons. I’ve also contacted the pastor (phone). A few years ago one of my children was preparing to go off to college and I was vetting churches. Of the two NAPARC churches within a reasonable distance of the university, one was PCA; I gave that one the first consideration. I listened to a couple of sermons, both of which gave me problems. One sermon was part of a series on spiritual disciplines and the pastor gave his approval to someone (by speaking positively about his book) whom I would consider (pardon my term) “Christian New Age.” The other sermon was related to their hiring a non-denominational group to take over their church for 3 or 4 days in an effort to show them how to bring about “revival.” Thankfully, the non-PCA church actually was Reformed.

    Yes, it did take quite a bit of my time, but it was definitely worth the effort.

  8. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    December 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    A good place to go for church recommendations when travelling is this list from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

    http://www.gpts.edu/resources/churchdirectory.php

  9. Stephen Welch said,

    December 16, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Great list, Ben. Thank you.

  10. December 21, 2013 at 8:48 am

    […] Part 2 of the interview with one of the prosecutors in Meyers’ Federal Vision Trial (greenbaggins.wordpress.com) […]


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