The Context for Sam Duncan’s Comment on the SJC

Several blogs have noted Sam Duncan’s statement about no one from Louisiana Presbytery getting a fair trial with the SJC. Jeff Meyers, for instance, has commented on it, as has the Haig blog. It is starting quite a discussion over on the PB as well. That Sam said it is incontrovertible. The question is this: what did Sam mean by it? This post is based on a phone conversation that I just had with Sam.

Firstly, Sam was referring to two SJC opinions that he had written. The first is the Chin case (see the minutes of the 33rd GA, pp. 113-118). In this (dissenting) opinion, Sam wrote this:

The Chin family came to Covenant Presbyterian Church by transfer from the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church of Monroe, Louisiana. The Chins were represented in this case by M. Dale Peacock, a Ruling Elder in the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dr. Chin stated that he was sympathetic to Paedocommunion. Some might say that the foregoing are not popular and/or are outside of the mainstream of the PCA. However, it should be noted that the Chins, recognizing the PCA’s position against Paedocommunion, did not allow their covenant children to take part in the Lord’s Supper at the Covenant Presbyterian Church. The majority opinion seems, in our view, to reach its result based on the people and issues involved, instead of the Constitution, and it would be a violation of our vows to judge without respect to persons or according to appearances to concur with the majority.

I don’t currently have access to the second case. Sam was referring to the fact that the SJC has made up its mind against the Louisiana Presbytery. What is important to note here is that Sam does not mean that the (unofficial) conclusion the SJC has come to regarding the Louisiana Presbytery is incorrect. Sam agrees with the SJC that the LAP was wrong. Otherwise, he would not have accepted the position as prosecutor! I fear that some are taking Sam’s statements as implying that the SJC is wrong. The issue can be clarified by reference to a normal court case. In a normal case, the facts of the case are not divulged to the judge and jury prior to the case. In fact, people with a knowledge of the case are usually not allowed to serve on the jury, for fear of being biased. In the LAP case, just about everyone in the PCA knows about it at least somewhat. It would be well-nigh impossible for the SJC to find anyone who hadn’t heard a thing about it, and hadn’t formed any opinions about who is right. This is what Sam means. Sam is a lawyer. In comparison to a normal civil case, the LAP could not expect to receive a fair “clean-slate” trial. The evidence has been before us and before the SJC for many months. This is what Sam means. He told me.

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708 Comments

  1. February 10, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    […] I just got off the phone with Sam. The results are posted here. […]

  2. anneivy said,

    February 10, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    So he didn’t mean to say there’s no way anyone in the LAP could ever receive a fair hearing from the SJC, so much as there’s no way anyone from the LAP can have their case heard by a completely neutral, impartial, unbiased “jury” (or whatever the appropriate term would be), because virtually everyone is not only acquainted with the situation but has formed an opinion on it……is that right?

  3. February 10, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Lane, “the evidence” had not been before the SJC for months because they had not heard from the defense yet.

    I am not posting here in order to complain about Sam Duncan stating the obvious. But the opposite of fair is unfair, not “no clean-slate.” Nobody was expecting a clean-slate. Nobody was asking for that. What we wanted, and what we did not expect was a fair, objective trial.

    If Sam Duncan meant simply that there was not going to be fresh ears listening to all this, then he should have said so — “Nobody from LAP should expect to encounter people who have heard nothing about this fray already, but they can expect to be handled objectively and fairly.” People would have believed this or not, but there could have no objections to what was said.

  4. Bret McAtee said,

    February 10, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Just because somebody does not expect a ‘fair trial’ doesn’t mean they would not have received a ‘fair trial.’ A fair trial does not require clean slates. A fair trial requires a willingness of jurors to suspend both belief and disbelief and listen to the dueling narratives of prosecution and defense. I don’t know why it would be believed that Godly jurors couldn’t or wouldn’t do that.

    Lawyer’s think in terms of tainted and not tainted jurors. Given Duncan’s explanation I don’t see the problem…. unless one is refusing to give his statement a ‘fair trial.’

    Bret

  5. William Hill said,

    February 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    All spin…typical PCA politics at work.

  6. Bill Lyle said,

    February 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Re: #3

    Why will the SJC not hear … “they had not heard from the defense yet ?” Because Wilkins fled PERIOD. From an earlier post.

    It seems to me, from Wilkins own words:

    “… Presbytery’s decision not to conduct a trial of me was influenced by the stated unwillingness of some to submit to the outcome of a presbytery trial if that trial resulted in a decision in my favor. Some of the members of the Presbytery informed us that they had already decided to file a complaint against the decision of the Presbytery to the SJC if a trial by the Presbytery exonerated me — regardless of what the trial evidence showed. They also acknowledged that the SJC would reverse any decision which exonerated me.”

    1. He never took seriously the vows he took before the God and His people – see PCA BCO 21-5. 3, 4, 6, 7. (Could it be that Wilkins crossed his fingers when he took these vows and answered affirmative?)

    Now I may be wrong, but for a simple person like me I guess he is stating the following: Now I will submit to a trial only if the following conditions are met:
    a. Everyone in LAP must submit to the ruling of the presbytery.
    b. All member of LAP must forgo their rights to complain and therefore PCA BCO 43 will cease to exist for this trial.
    c. That in LAP – PCA BCO 14 does not exist, nor does PCA BCO 14-6 a, b, c, g, i,
    2. That he, Wilkins, can see into the heart of all 24 men on the SJC and knows beforehand how they will vote on this matter.
    3. That he, Wilkins, can see into my heart and knows how I will vote.
    4. That he, Wilkins, believes the highest court of the PCA is the Presbytery.
    5. That he, Wilkins, would only submit to LAP only if he could control the outcome of the trial and if there was a chance he could not do so, he fled. I guess this means he knows in his heart that his theology may not stand under any kind of examination.
    6. That the men on the SJC lied when they took their vows before God and the church RAO 17-1

    BTW the silence has been deafening from you. Dewey Roberts has thrown down the gauntlet with all the disinformation you have been saying and nothing from you.

    I have spoken with Sam Duncan (three times in the past two days), have you?

    Please do not speak about anything you really have NO KNOWLEDGE about!

  7. Bret McAtee said,

    February 10, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Hey, when you do x’s and o’s for a living its hard to lay off.

  8. HaigLaw said,

    February 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Doug Wilson said the following, and since I’m not signed in over there, I’ll comment here: “The real question is whether or not Louisiana Presbytery took any action in light of this perceived threat.”

    There was no threat. Mr. Duncan was a welcome guest. He stated he was there to help. His comments were understood that way. The context was whether to change the plea to count 1 from not-guilty to guilty. Mr. Christman’s motion to do so is explained in my post at xanga.com/ haiglaw “LaP Hardens.” Mr. Christman argued in support of his motion that the worst we could expect is an acceptable handslap.

    The vote that prevailed was to retain the not-guilty plea and defend it. Part of the argument for retaining the not-guilty plea and defending the case was — to have a remedy in case the SJC might want to sanction the LaP in ways the LaP might want to appeal.

    I think all this discussion about what Mr. Duncan said and might have meant is missing the point of what actually happened. Mr. Duncan’s comment is at worst an opinion about what might happen in the future. And nobody knows. That’s obvious.

    And even if Mr. Duncan’s opinion influenced us to retain the not-guilty plea and defend, that is what we had already decided to do in the Jan. 19 meeting anyway, so there was absolutely no harm done.

    FV sympathizers who are using this Duncan comment as a way to criticize the SJC are misguided.

  9. Chris said,

    February 10, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Lane,
    If this isn’t a “cover your ass” spin on something that was spoken publicly, I don’t know what is. Too bad the FV men weren’t called and specially asked what was meant when they wrote or stated something. Someone might actually respect such a “love covers a multitude of Top Ten Things NOT to say on a Presbytery floor” if a desire for clarity was sought by FV heresy hunters toward FV men. It’s amusing see how fast you rushed to the phone to get the facts straight. Did the SJC ever call Wilkins, Lusk, Leithart, etc. :-)

    Ha!
    Chris

  10. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I don’t know what Sam Duncan said and meant. I do know that Steve Wilkins, as far as I am concerned, would have received a fair trial. By fair I mean that he wouls have received a trial based on the facts of the case and the constitution of the PCA- and NOTHING else. There would have been no special favor extended to him, nor would there have been unconstitutional prejudice against him. He didn’t want that kind of trial. He wanted a trial by Louisiana Presbytery where his oppoenents would have had to agree ahead of time to waive all their rights of appeal. That is what I call an unfair trial.
    But…. Doug Wilson… since you have waded in on this one. Why don’t you share with all of us what kind of trial an accused party would receive in the CREC and what rights of appeal are guaranteed or denied to parties to such cases- especially parties outside of the denomination. The CREC is not in a position to throw stones at the PCA. I say that on the basis of having examined the constitution of the CREC.

  11. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 10, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Also, I think it is interesting that Andy Webb refers to the Chinn case of a few years back- a former member of Auburn Avenue who moved to a congregation within Covenant Presbytery. I was the convenor and chairman of the panel which heard that case. I wrote the original reasoning and opinion of the panel which was favorable to the Chinns and against the presbytery. That opinion was not adopted by the full SJC because it went too far in denying the rights of lower courts. I was wrong. The full SJC was right. Does that make me biassed for or against Louisiana Presbytery? Fairness does not mean that a court must be favorable. I was fair- but wrong- when I wrote the original report for the panel. I am fair now in saying that I was wrong at that time because my “opinion” was out of accord with the constitution of the PCA. That is my definition of fairness.

  12. anneivy said,

    February 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Nonsense, Chris, the situations are scarcely comparable. Apparently Mr. Duncan made an off-the-cuff verbal comment. That’s not the same thing as widely available, posted/published material, which is what the PCA’s study committee evaluated.

  13. Bill Lyle said,

    February 10, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Re: #9

    Chris, let me remind you one more time the following: A question was asked of me on another thread and my friend Dewey Roberts answered it well. So I am posting it again for you –

    Maybe you will see the wisdom in Post #12!

    The question you asked Bill would require a comment from him that he can’t give at this time. The SJC has not yet taken up those questions and it will have to be deliberated by that body and a decision will have to be made about such matters. It would be wrong for either Bill or myself or anyone else on the SJC to comment on what BCO 38-3 says concerning the aspects of this case which are still before the court.
    I would like to point out to some on this board who often decry the SJC for not discussing matters face-to-face with Steve Wilkins that such a conversation with a party to a case which is either before the SJC or potentially may be before the SJC is strictly forbidden by the constitution of the PCA. Doug Wilson has tried to get a lot of mileage out of his “charge” against the SJC that we have never talked with Wilkins. Our constitution forbids us to do so! Think Al Capone. Capone wiggled out of several cases which the government brought against him by jury tampering. The members of the SJC are the jury of the highest court in the PCA. Would Wilson really want the SJC members to engage in despicable jury tampering? If Steve had remained in the PCA he would have had his opportunity to talk face-to-face with the SJC. He chose to leave instead. So, wise people will take what Wilson says with a grain of salt and consider them to be equal.
    Steve Wilkins was one of my best friends at seminary. I have roomed with him at PCA General Assemblies. We have eaten together on many occasions. It gave me no joy that he might be tried before the SJC, but I would have done what I do in every case. I would strictly apply the constitution of the PCA to the record of the case without respect of persons. Wilson called the SJC a kangaroo court. What is a kangaroo court? I think it is a court where the law is ignored and matters are decided by personal favoritism- either for or against someone. The only thing Wilkins or anyone else has a right to expect out of any PCA court is an impartial decision based on the constitution of that body. Personally, I am a strict constitutionalist- and Steve Wilkins knows that very, very well

  14. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Chris,

    You need to remember that the SJC has a charge to act according to the constitution of the PCA. The SJC is not at liberty to come to Green Baggins and take opinion poll on what we should do. We also are not at liberty to ask Doug Wilson or James Jordan for advice on what we should do. Our charge is simple- judge on the basis of the record of the case and the constitution of the PCA and nothing else. We can’t engage in jury tampering by having side conversations with parties to the case. We can’t show deference to some people simply because they are liked by the “Federal Vision” crowd.
    So, Chris, I ask you this question. What part of the constitution of the PCA has been violated by the SJC with respect to Wilkins?

  15. Mark said,

    February 10, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Oh, please. When I quoted Lig Duncan on the covenant of works being non-meritorious, Lane was quick to tell me he was on the phone with Duncan, even though I was agreeing with Duncan and not calling him a heretic over the internet. When we all found that the utterly stacked study committee had framed Doug Wilson to say the opposite of what he actually said, Lane was again on the phone and assuring us that there was some secret but plausible explanation that would be shared with us when the committee presented its amended report (which never happened). And now he’s on the phone again justifying his friends in order to hurt his enemies.

    There are the true human beings who are to be entrusted to guard the denomination and then there are the sub human animals who don’t even get the privileges that Luther received from the Roman Catholics. This is just sickening. Like waking up and finding that all your family were turned into vampires over night and are ready now to eat you.

  16. anneivy said,

    February 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    “…then there are the sub human animals who don’t even get the privileges that Luther received from the Roman Catholics. This is just sickening. Like waking up and finding that all your family were turned into vampires over night and are ready now to eat you.”

    [dumbfounded] Mark, are you feeling quite, er, alright?

    That’s a smidge over-the-top, don’t you think?

  17. Bret McAtee said,

    February 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Mark,

    If all the family are Vampires and if Buffy is booked, then the thing to do is collect your Crosses, Stakes, Mirrors, and Silver Bullets and get out of Dodge. I hear the family over at the CREC does not allow Vampires.

  18. Ron Henzel said,

    February 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Woodrow Wilson admonished us never to kill a man who is trying to commit suicide. Let’s keep that in mind when responding to Mark’s comments.

  19. February 10, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Mark,

    I’m genuinely offended. The last time I and my brothers (fellow officers in good standing in the PCA, to use a phrase of which you seem fond) were equated to Satan. Now we’ve been demoted to mere vampires. Nobody likes to be demoted. My feelings are hurt. Really.

  20. Wayne Whitmer said,

    February 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    FV=CREC Church Growth Plan! So far it’s working! + 1, who’s up next?

  21. February 10, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    […] Offended ;-) Here’s a comment posted on GreenBagginses by one of the more vocal but polity- and historically-challenged Federal Visionists in the PCA: […]

  22. Wayne Whitmer said,

    February 10, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    The AAPC was the SOURCE of the FV Conference held each year and now they are part of the CREC. Steve Wilkins was the focal point however there are plenty of current Teaching and Ruling Elders embracing and espousing the same FV doctrine in PCA churches currently. Will the SJC now charge other Presbyteryies where these TEs and REs reside to examine these men on an individual basis as to their views on Justification, the Gospel, Apostasy, Baptism, etc as was Wilkins?

  23. February 11, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Wayne,

    Will the SJC now charge other Presbyteryies where these TEs and REs reside to examine these men on an individual basis as to their views on Justification, the Gospel, Apostasy, Baptism, etc as was Wilkins?

    That’s not the SJC’s function. The courts of original jurisdiction for TEs are their Presbyteries. Only if their Presbyteries fail to act properly can others ask the SJC to assume jurisdiction. For REs, the court of original jurisdiction is their Session.

  24. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Bill: “The only thing Wilkins or anyone else has a right to expect out of any PCA court is an impartial decision based on the constitution of that body.”

    Dewey: “You need to remember that the SJC has a charge to act according to the constitution of the PCA.”

    Dewey & Bill,

    As a PCA pastor and LAP member, it is encouraging for me to hear you as SJC reps to hear these affirmations.

    However, these are difficult to believe in light of decisions made regarding this broader case that deals with LAP. Dewey, you ask: “What part of the constitution of the PCA has been violated by the SJC with respect to Wilkins?”

    I do not have my BCO in front of me, but I would ask:
    * How has the higher court (SJC) given deference to the judgment of the lower court (LAP) in this matter, as required by the BCO?
    * Why in the first case (that of the memorial) did LAP not receive specific accusations until after we arrived at the hearing? (In other words, we did not have the opportunity to prepare a defense before arriving at the hearing, esp to the accusation of defending our judgment, when memorials deal with procedural violations. This was a direct violation BY THE SJC of the rules.
    * Why did the SJC give requirements that went far beyond BCO requirements as to how to examine Rev WIlkins, which in effect forced LAP to try Rev Wilkins before a trial?
    * Why did the chair of SJC, consciously ‘stack the committee’ going against Roberts Rules and against the advice of the Stated Clerk? Why has he promoted anti-Steve WIlkins materials through the By Faith emails? Why has he not recused himself from proceedings in light of voiced bias against Rev Wilkins?
    * What is more why is SJC pressing ahead with trying LAP on count 1?
    In my opinion, as to procedure, LAP has truly sought to be faithful to follow the BCO, much more so I might add than it seems that SJC has, and LAP has even sought to comply with SJC’s requests, even when these were at times extraneous and seem to diverge from what the BCO and SJCM called for. What is more, though LAP erroneously failed to find S Wilkins positions out of accord with the Confession, presbyteries do not seem to be required to have record non-exceptions and we mistakenly did not find Wilkins to have any exceptions. Again as to judgment, this was a grievous error; as to procedure, it was correct. What is more, if anyone wants to see his positions, the entire examination was both transcribed and recorded, so that his positions are open to all. I could go on but for what purpose.

    I ask these questions as one who has openly opposed FV and openly requested that our presbytery try Rev WIlkins for departing from the Standards. I feel that we did grievously err in our judgment. Yet I also believe that we have not gotten a very fair shake from SJC in this matter to this point.

    With a grieving heart and a longing to see the glory of Christ seen through His Church,

    Howard Davis
    Pastor, Grace PCA Shreveport

  25. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:17 am

    What is more, there is no real relief when the SJC makes bad decisions or breaks/bends the rules. This is why the political nature of how this case has been handled thus far troubles me so deeply.

  26. February 11, 2008 at 4:23 am

    Dewey, I am not quite sure what aspect of the CREC constitution you are questioning, but once a matter has been tried at the local assembly (the court of original jurisdiction), there is a right of appeal to presbytery. Presbytery is required to not hear frivolous appeals.

    And everyone, apart from Mark’s expression of angst — consider the structure of his argument. Duncan said something that was 180 out from what he meant, and this was ascertained by personal contact the way it ought to have been. This is despite the fact that what he said was, on the face, really, really bad. And his explanation is accepted in Christian charity, no matter how unlike the original statement it is. This is a great idea and ought to be applied to more than just a small circle of friends and co-prosecutors.

  27. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Dewey,

    Has anyone answered your question, “What part of the constitution of the PCA has been violated by the SJC with respect to Wilkins?” on or offline?

    Bill

  28. Chris said,

    February 11, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Yes, they have–many times. A stacked committee isn’t set up to have a fair trial. The committee was stacked–read Roberts Book of Rules and with that in mind, read the BCO.

  29. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Doug (#24):

    Duncan said something that was 180 out from what he meant, and this was ascertained by personal contact the way it ought to have been. This is despite the fact that what he said was, on the face, really, really bad. And his explanation is accepted in Christian charity, no matter how unlike the original statement it is.

    You’re right. This was a better approach to determining what Sam said than what happened with, say, Lusk’s quote ‘My in-Christ-ness makes imputation redundant.’ As we all recall, Rich retracted this statement, but was unable to have it stricken from the collective record, nor from the PCA report. That’s too bad, because it meant, at minimum, that love failed to carry the day in that aspect of the report’s preparation (no offense meant, Bob).

    So what, Doug, do you do with that? Do you nurse the grudge concerning the wrong done to Rich? Encourage others to resent it? Of course you would not wish to do this, right?

    Well, Sam Duncan has been placed in a similar position. He spoke in a way that he did not intend, for an audience (the whole ‘Net) that he did not intend. Now what will you, and Jeff, and Mark, and Duane, do with this?

    Will you do unto others as they have done unto you? Throw Sam’s quote into peoples’ faces, use it as ammunition to prove your point that the SJC gave your friend a raw deal?

    That sure would be tempting.

    But love covers over a multitude of sins. Do you love Sam? Are you willing to let his comment go, and strike it from the record, given that it did not mean what you thought it meant? Given that (according to HaigLaw) it did not influence LAPs already set-in-wet-concrete decision to plead ‘not guilty’?

    I’m out of my mind to say these things to people I don’t really know. But were I in your shoes, I would want someone to say them to me. So take it as an appeal from a brother.

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

  30. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Re: 26

    Chris,

    First, let me remind you what the constitution of the PCA is, found in the Preface –

    “III. THE CONSTITUTION DEFINED
    The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, which is subject to and subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word Of God, consists of its doctrinal standards set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, comprising the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline and the Directory for Worship; all as adopted by the Church.”

    Second, a paper is not part of the constitution. Can you tell me what constitution weight this paper carries or can you point to where the SJC has made any reference to this paper? BTW – wasn’t this paper commended to the presbyteries and not to the SJC?

    Third, my reading of forming a committee (from Roberts Rules) uses the words like “normally” or “should” or “advisable” (I think as I am moving and have packed my Roberts Rules.)

    So, please again show me “What part of the constitution of the PCA has been violated by the SJC with respect to Wilkins?”

    Please facts, chapter numbers, and paragraph numbers from the constitution above. Not what you think, or what you wish would be true, or what someone who has no real knowledge has told you, or just plain disinformation that is out here in the blog world. Just the facts and not ignorance!

    Bill

  31. February 11, 2008 at 9:36 am

    For my part, Presbyterian bickering outdoes the shallowness of today’s evangelical wasteland, the useless philosophical meanderings of a hungover Medieval church in Rome, and the striking irrelevance of the Eastern Orthodox.

    ‘Where much is given, much is required’ seems to be lost on all parties here.

  32. magma2 said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Let’s grant that Sam Duncan did say that the LAP could not get a fair trial since any and every jury would be already biased against the Federal Division.

    The question I have, why do any of these PCA FV men remain in the PCA? If they really believe what they say, why don’t they leave the PCA in protest? Why stay when Wilson wants them and I’m happy to let him have them.

    Do they view themselves as “Reformers” fighting a corrupt, “politicized” and sinful system? Wouldn’t that role have been much better played by Wilkins? Are any of these men more capable in defending the Federal Division than Mr. Wilkins? Yet, instead of fighting for what he believes to be true and submitting to the process, he ran away. Covering his shameful retreat we now have men like Wilson and Meyers trying to excuse Wilkins’ cowardice by attacking the SJC as a kangaroo court.

    Even if what these men say is true, how does this change the fact that when the boom was about to fall, Wilkins shoved his tail between his legs and ran?

    It doesn’t.

    Wouldn’t actually staying and going through the process come what may actually demonstrate what these men merely assert?

    It would have.

    What if Wilkins did go to trial and the process was fair and unbiased as anyone could possibly hope for yet he was found guilty. Would he and Wilson be saying anything different?

    Not a chance . . . but at least we would have a record of the process and not just empty assertions.

  33. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Mark, get your facts straight. The problem with Wilson was explained on one of Wilson’s posts. I’m not going to go hunt for it. The basic explanation of that misinterpretation was that the original quotation had the surrounding context printed in order to avoid misunderstanding. However, the footnotes being too long, the footnotes were shortened, accidentally taking out the needed context. It was an honest mistake.

    Secondly, there is quite a difference between a single sentence quoted all by itself, versus entire articles and books, where the context is there for the studying. So, the whole business about not calling FV guys is not in the least parallel to what I’ve done in trying to ascertain the context of a *spoken* word.

    Mark, if you cannot even be reasonably civil on this blog, your comments will be banned. You are way over the line.

  34. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Guys, Sam meant what he said. That much was quite clear from the phone conversation. The question is: what did he say and mean? I believe I have given a faithful account of what he meant in the post.

  35. James Jordan said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:19 am

    This is ridiculous. After years of tearing up the churches with lies about what “FV” people believe, and after years of smearing the names of “FV” people, whose beliefs are EXACTLY those of the WCF (save for paedocommunion), now this Star Judicial Chamber wraps itself in the cloak of PCA polity to justify two utterly godless decisions. Ichabod. Psalm 11:2-3, 6-7.

  36. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Ref. #30

    Bill wrote above:
    “Third, my reading of forming a committee (from Roberts Rules) uses the words like “normally” or “should” or “advisable” (I think as I am moving and have packed my Roberts Rules.) ”

    Can Bill or anyone else “in the know” tell us why the SJC chairmen found it necessary to not follow the Roberts Rules recommendations when forming the committee. In other words, what was unique about the FV study committee that demanded it be formed in a way that was abnormal and inadvisable?

  37. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:49 am

    James, I don’t care if you have written 50 books. I don’t care if you are the godfather of the FV. I don’t care how helpful your books have been to however many people. You will not speak of the PCA in this fashion on this blog. Is that understood?

  38. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Typo in #36, second paragraph: chairmen should be chairman. Sorry.

  39. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Re: 35

    Give me a break! First the SJC is accused of *not* following the rules and being a kangaroo court, then when it is proven those statments are false now we are accused of hiding behind the cloak of PCA polity.

    Which way do you want it?

    BTW what is the “godless decision(s)” the SJC has made? There has not been a hearing, nor a trial.

  40. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Re: 30

    THE SJC HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FORMING OF THE COMMITTEE!

    Get your facts right.

  41. Stewart said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Yeah, Mr. Jordan, we may only speak of the CREC in that fashion on this blog.

  42. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Oh, guess who’s back in town. Stewart, you are going to be on a very short leash. Comment 40 is already reprehensible.

    Stewart, whatever happened to your blog? The last time I checked it was defunct because some porno bimbo had taken it over.

  43. James Jordan said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Okay. I won’t say it on YOUR blog!

  44. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Ref. 39…

    I thought D. Aquila chose the committee as the moderator of the 2006 Assembly? Correct me if I’m wrong (please) but isn’t Rev. Aquila chaiman of the SJC (or was at the time)?

  45. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    James Jordan: You have are the fountain of much controversy and ill will, and not just in recent years with FV. You consistently call for charity for those you agree with you and consistently show little to no charity, even hateful disdain toward those that you disagree with.

    FWIW, many if not most “FV” people believe that those who eventually apostasize really do come to Christ and experience living, vital union and communion with him and lose it. That flies in the face of much of the WCF and the Westminster Standards.

    But you do not seem interested in listening to real critiques, only spewing vile criticism. You have done much harm to Christ’s church and for you to complain of other’s doing so (which has merit on its own) is the proverbial kettle calling the pot black.

    To all, everyone in this argument needs to be more critical of ourselves and those we agree with than we are of others and those we disagree with. I haven’t found this to be the case of many who are so prolific in commenting on these matters.

  46. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Howard, you are absolutely right. And, by the way, welcome to my blog. I welcome your comments. As assistant prosecutor, of course, I have had occasion to observe from afar your conduct in all of these matters. Let me encourage you by saying that I think you have carried yourself in a very godly way.

  47. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Thanks Lane. I have sought to be slow and fair in wrestling with these issues. But to be honest, I am deeply dismayed how this whole discussion/controversy is being carried out both by FVers and anti-FVers.

  48. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Yes, there are problems on both sides. It is ever this way, unfortunately, when heterodox teaching is the issue. People start focussing on people, and attacking them, instead of talking about the ideas and the issues. That is what I have striven to accomplish.

  49. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Ref. 39 – I tried to reply earlier but my post is missing…

    Please set my facts straight if I’m incorrect, but didn’t D. Aquila choose the study committee due to his position as the 2006 Assembly moderator? And wasn’t D. Aquila chair of the SJC at that time? Or is now?

  50. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:19 am

    First, to Doug Wilson… the constitution of the CREC permits an appeal or a complaint under certain very restricted circumstances, but does not guarantee that the appeal or complaint will be heard. It can be dismissed by a motion to dismiss which receives a 3/4 vote. In the PCA, a complaint “is the right of any communing member of the Church in good standing.” In the PCA, if a complaint is timely filed and filed first with the court of original jurisdiction it may be appealed all the way to the SJC, if necessary. The CREC has no such guaranteed provision. Advantage for church members goes to the PCA.
    Second, to Howard Davis… Howard, you know that I cannot speak about matters that are presently before the SJC. As a general rule, though, you might want to read BCO 39-3 (4).
    Third, to James Jordan… Well, I guess your embittered spirit can only remain silent for so long, Jim. I hope you don’t have another meltdown of epic proportions like you did a few weeks ago. You are long on castigations and very, very short on substance.
    Fourth to Bill Lyle… No, Bill, my question has not yet been answered. And I don’t expect it will be answered because the correct answer does not fit in with the disinformation campaign which some people are promoting.

  51. Jon said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Re: 35

    “After years of tearing up the churches with lies about what “FV” people believe, and after years of smearing the names of “FV” people, whose beliefs are EXACTLY those of the WCF (save for paedocommunion)”

    Isn’t this kind of like Planned Parenthood saying that Roe is EXACTLY what the Constitution means?

  52. James Jordan said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:21 am

    FV teaching is totally orthodox and in keeping with the WCF and the Protestant Reformers. Nobody in the FV world has divided the Church over these issues. 100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people.

  53. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Hmm. James Jordan versus 7 entire denominations. We know what Jordan thinks. But is it objective fact? I think not.

  54. Tim Harris said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:32 am

    To the claim of the right to appeal given in #26 — it is actually must worse than what Mr Roberts points out in #47. As I pointed out on another thread, appeal can only be made if the appelant is willing and able to accuse his elders of either “grievous dishonesty” or “gross misbehaviour” (IV M)!

  55. James Jordan said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Sadly, it is a fact. Seven denominations wrote attacks on straw men and scarecrows, never once dealing with what FV people teach and say. Never once phoning or contacting them. Luther was treated far better. Ichabod.

  56. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Again, this as assertion, James, not argument. You are assuming that personal contact would make the reading of such writings more accurate. We don’t assume that with any dead author. Why is it so necessary with live authors?

  57. Bret McAtee said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:41 am

    FV teaching is totally orthodox and in keeping with the WCF and the Protestant Reformers. Nobody in the FV world has divided the Church over these issues. 100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people

    FV also has 666 necessary vitamins and minerals meeting 100% of the FDA requirements for a healthy diet. It is also recommended by 4 out of 5 Reformed theologians to build strong and healthy bones.

    You can trust us. We wouldn’t misrepresent the facts.

    (Sponsored by the ‘Justify my Love’ FV Advertising agency.)

  58. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Here is where I agree with Mr. Jordan’s comment (#49): FVers are orthodox…the controversial positions are Lutheran or Anglican at worst and most of their perspectives fit with WCF and the Protestant reformers, but not all. FV’s similarities but definitive disagreements at key points is what has made discerning these issues such a difficult job for me, as one who is seeking to be charitable and just.

    Here is where I disagree with Mr Jordan’s comment: “Nobody in the FV world has divided the Church over these issues. 100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people.” This would make me laugh, if it did not grieve me so. I can list well many churches that I personally know of that have been divided by FV proponents and I am not all that well connected. Most of these had no agenda and were sideswiped by angry FVers like yourself. TO think and even suggest that 100% of this conflict has arisen from anti-FVers is ludicrous and the height of self-righteous pride and a reflection of how you have created so much damage as you have travelled along the way. Mr. Jordan, you are living in a fairy tale, all the while creating nightmares all around you by your blind positions. Look in your rearview mirror, even if you are gracious with yourself, you must admit that you have been involved in controversies that have been quite divisive for many years, even if you do not own the fact that you share responsibility for many of these controversies. This has been going on for years. Could you please shut your trap and so do a service the Church and the Lord’s work? Or else at least grow to be more gracious to others that you disagree with?

  59. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

    What is more by what authority do you spew your invectives? What church has vested you as Bishop? Why do you feel like you have to be prolific in making authoritative condemnations about denominations that you have no part in, much less authority in?

  60. James Jordan said,

    February 11, 2008 at 11:51 am

    It’s not a matter of disagreement. It’s a matter of lying.

  61. Jon said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Theonomy didn’t divide any chruches either, did it?

  62. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Howard,

    While I concur with your assessment of James Jordan’s complete lack of ecclesiastical authority and (I would add) academic credibility, I have to disagree with your definition of orthodox.

    Orthodox Reformed Christianity has NEVER affirmed that people can be justified by faith, but then fail to be acquitted at the last day because of a lack of obedience. And this is what the FV teaches across the board via their definitions of union with Christ and how that union can be lost. This of course strikes at the heart of the Gospel, and cannot be harmonized with orthodoxy.

    So, Mark, James, Doug: do you concur? Can one be justified by faith and then fail to be acquitted in the end?

  63. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    So Tom are you saying that Anglicans and Lutherans are not orthodox?

    Both those denominations and the FVers use the definitions for many of these terms much differently than Reformed Presbyterians do. [E.g., they tie water baptism to justification, in a way that the two become virtually equated.] As such, they have substantial theological disagreements with us, such that strike at the vitals of the fundamentals. But they are still part of the Church IMO. They just should not be a part of a Reformed Presbyterian denomination. But the Church is bigger than just the PCA or Reformed denominations.

  64. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    To Howard Davis: RE #24 – Sometimes in the heat of a discussion comments and assertions are made that impugn motives and assume concepts/facts/notions not in evidence. The questions asked here assume that the “facts” are true and all we need now are the reasons these actions were taken, since it assumed these actions took place in the manner asked in the questions.
    “Why did the chair of SJC, consciously ‘stack the committee’ going against Roberts Rules and against the advice of the Stated Clerk?” Do you know for certain that the GA moderator “consciously” stacked the committee (even using the phrase “stacked the committee” is prejudicial and assumes a diabolical motive)? Can you point to any source that supports this assertion? Can you provide evidence that the Stated Clerk gave advice as stated here, and that this advice was then not followed?
    “Why has he promoted anti-Steve WIlkins materials through the By Faith emails?” Can you provide the “anti-Steve Wilkins materials” from ByFaith to demonstrate this, and its frequency (since “promote” imples an on going pattern)?
    “Why has he not recused himself from proceedings in light of voiced bias against Rev Wilkins?” Can you provide or point us to evidence of his “voiced bias against Rev. Wilkins”? Urban legends develop when statements (whether true or false) are repeated often enough that they are accepted as true and settled and no longer challenged. These questions are of the “urban legend” variety; stated often but not based on true events and verified with substantiated evidence.

  65. February 11, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I appreciate the additional clarification ‘reformed musings’ however I think I jumped the gun in my question assuming that there may be Presbyteries who have been negligent in addressing those (TEs) within their jurisdiction who have written and/or spoken in defense of the FV. But I would be extremely happy if I’m dead wrong.

  66. February 11, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    “100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people.” James Jordan

    I’ve since picked myself up off the floor from a most hilarious laughter after reading this comment. Is this guy serious?

  67. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Dewey, I agree with you that hearsay is a dangerous thing. But with the chair

    “Do you know for certain that the GA moderator “consciously” stacked the committee (even using the phrase “stacked the committee” is prejudicial and assumes a diabolical motive)? Can you point to any source that supports this assertion? Can you provide evidence that the Stated Clerk gave advice as stated here, and that this advice was then not followed?”

    To these questions, my answer is that I am not absolutely certain (which would involve me being in the mind of the moderator), but with my own ears I have heard statements he made that lent themselves to such a conclusion and insiders who had direct conversations with the moderator and separately with the Stated Clerk told me what I here reported.

    “Why has he promoted anti-Steve WIlkins materials through the By Faith emails?” Can you provide the “anti-Steve Wilkins materials” from ByFaith to demonstrate this, and its frequency (since “promote” imples an on going pattern)?”

    I can but it will take me a few days to locate it on my computer.

    “Why has he not recused himself from proceedings in light of voiced bias against Rev Wilkins?” Can you provide or point us to evidence of his “voiced bias against Rev. Wilkins”?

    I have heard this bias with my own two ears, and it has grieved me deeply. I wish that it was only unsubstantiated urban legend. Every member of the SJC should be able to read this bias in multiple actions that he has taken.

  68. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Howard,

    They are not orthodox in any Reformed sense of the word and that is how the FV has been trying to paint itself. Are many in the FV as well as in Anglicanism and Lutheranism part of the invisible Church? Sure. Same with Rome. That’s not the issue.

    The point I was making is that they cannot be construed to be orthodox in any Reformers sense, and it seems as though you think they are for the most part. You claimed that “most of their perspectives fit with WCF and the Protestant reformers”, and that at worst they were Lutheran or Anglican.

    First of all, especially on the key issue of losing one’s justified status, they most certainly do NOT have anything in common with the WCF or Protestant Reformers. And second, I would venture to say that they have more in common with Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy than even with Lutherans and Anglicans. But regardless, we would not and should not permit the most orthodox of any of those communions to minister within the PCA. So the FV claims of orthodoxy as the PCA defines it for ministry, cannot be sustained.

  69. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    To Jim Jordan,

    Jim, a slanderer doesn’t have the right to call others liars.

  70. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Howard, thanks for responding.
    First, reports you have heard are not facts- they are hearsay.
    Second, I would like to see the materials which show that the chairman has promoted anti-Wilkins material through BY Faith. I haven’t seen them.
    Third, a fact must be proven by two or three witnesses according to the Bible and the BCO. What you have heard may be true (I don’t know), but one person’s statement is never enough to prove a case. But what actions of the chairman should be enough for every member of the SJC to read his bias? I am on the SJC and I am not aware of those actions.
    Howard, I appreciate a lot of things you have said in this larger thread, but I think you are still looking at things concerning the chairman of the SJC through the lens of “hearsay” (even if you are supposedly the one person who heard him say certain things). The standard of proof is often hard to obtain- 2 or 3 witnesses who are willing to testify openly. That is a tough standard, but also a very necessary standard.
    Howard, I think you are a very honorable person. I have met your father and know people here in Destin who grew up with him in Mississippi. I do think, though, that you are stating things about the chairman of the SJC that simply do not meet the Biblical standards for truth.

  71. Ron Henzel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    James,

    I began attending a PCA church for the first time in 2002, just as this controversy was emerging. I was an occasional reader of Credenda/Agenda, I had been impressed with Doug Wilson, and so I naturally became concerned as the controversy became more heated beginning in 2003 when I became a member of my PCA church. Trying to keep up with all the charges and counter-charges became quite confusing. Whatever I could find online back then was only marginally helpful in clarifying the issues for me, and even the emerging blog discussions (quarrels, actually) only muddied the waters for me. Because of all the confusion I sometimes wondered whether I belonged in the PCA.

    So I finally broke down and bought copies of The Federal Vision, “Reformed” Is Not Enough, and The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros and Cons. In addition to finally providing me with the kind of clarity I needed in order to confidently identify and describe the actual positions being contended, these books persuaded me that not only do those holding to the Auburn Avenue/Federal Vision approach not conform to the Westminster Standards, but their handing of those documents call into question whether they even know how to read them, and all their accusations of misrepresentation are utterly hollow and without substance.

    Apparently I am not the only one who has read these books and come to these conclusions about the FV. All the pretentious, hyperventilating, vitriolic railing by the likes of you, Mark Horne, and others only serves to confirm in my mind the accuracy of the conclusions I have reached. At this point in time I can say that, based on everything I’ve read and heard, the PCA has handled this controversy very well, and I’m glad to be a member of it.

  72. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    This is my 3rd attempt at responding to Bill’s post in #39 (a response to my post in #30). My previous attempts were caught in Lane’s spam filter. Let me try again.

    Bill, please help me to get my facts straight: Didn’t D. Aquila choose the FV study committee, being the moderator of the 2006 Assembly? And isn’t D. Aquila the chairman of the SJC? I wasn’t saying the why the whole SJC chose the committee. I was just asking why a key member of the SJC chose to make a decision in the forming of the study committee that was abnormal according to Robert’s Rules (read post 30 again for original question).

  73. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Men,

    Can anyone step back and take an honest look at their “side” in this battle?

    Sam Duncan makes a comment that doesn’t sound promising and his “team” rushes to the defense, knowing that this can’t be what it seems (while not extending that same courtesy to the other side and often reading their “opponents” in the worst light possible).

    Yet, Rev. Jordan has called many in the church devils and informed us clearly that the PCA is now wholly without the presence of God in her midst (ichabod), yet I am confident that no public rebuke will come from his “team” (as the younger warriors who follow him get more emboldened by such comments and learn that its not really death that brings victory but power)? The other side is aghast (of course) but many of them will cheer it on if posted against an FV’r on the Warfield list or the PB or by their favorite seminary Prof..

    We have drawn our lines, picked our sides and have our epistemological certainty in hand. I am of “FV”, I am of “TR”, I am of “WSC”, etc.

    I am not asking that men stop contending for what they believe, but is it too much to ask that we pull our collective heads out and view these things in light of the Word, the confession and charity and not in light of how it is going to play for our “team”? And if we see someone err on our own side can we deal with that more forcefully than when we see it in “the other side”. Truly, do we run our homes and churches this way? If so God help us. Your wife might be loud and your kids unruly and while it might concern me, I am much more concerned if it’s coming from my own living room.

  74. February 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Excellent thoughts, Jesse. I echo much the same here:

    That Oh So Presbyterian Way

  75. February 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Jesse,

    My wife is pretty quiet and I have no kids yet so can’t really identify however what you say does come across as wise and prudent in what seems to be a back and forth conversation going nowhere. With that said, the only “team” I identify with is the team which promotes and defends the Gospel and in many instances they are TRs, EPs, and all other sorts of variations in between. On other topics I may find myself in disagreement with some of these men however on this one we all agree. I’m not quite sure that engaging in any conversation with the FVers is worth it as they seem quite emboldened in their position with no inkling of change in the horizon.

    However I am just a laymember of a PCA congregation and there are men here who are TEs and REs who have an even greater responsiblity to protect their flocks as well as the denomination as a whole from this cancer which has most certainly spread to a point that a call for charity may be a few years too late at this point. We need the cure and coddling the cancer in its latest stage is not going to help.

  76. Mark said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    #33

    My statements about attackers in the PCA are not statements bout the PCA as a whole.

    I’ve got plenty of reason to love the PCA because of the godly men in it. Not wanting to add their names to a hit list, I don’t make a practice of mentioning them in public forums.

    Steve Wilkins was never a strategic target. He was a decoy.

  77. February 11, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Tom W.,

    I think this conversation fails to distinguish between Reformed orthodoxy (adherence to 3FU and WS that we require of our ministers) and a more broad, catholic sort of orthodoxy (those we acknowledge as being in true visible churches, as defined by the 3 Marks of the Church). We would put our confessional Lutheran and Anglican brethren in the latter category, while not in the former. We would only deny both categories to, say, Romanists.

    I think FV’s errors overlap primarily with Lutheran and Anglican errors (on baptismal efficacy and rejection of perseverance of the saints), while having, to a much lesser extent, some features in common with Arminianism and even Romanism (for example, a transformative element of justification).

    Since each FV proponent seems to have a different mix of errors, I’d probably take it on a case-by-case basis in assigning the above categories.

  78. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Wayne,

    Again, I have no qualms with men seeking to challenge that which they see as dangerous, but HOW one does it is just as important as the doing itself imo. The fact that “charity” is being pitted against “protecting the flock” is part of the problem.

    Even if the man is wrong, he should be treated as love would dictate as he is being given the boot.

  79. curate said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Ref. 73

    David, if you keep up this kind of post I will find myself agreeing with you. We can’t have that now, can we? :)

    I would suggest that you refine your terms further. Classical Lutheranism and Anglicanism are Reformed and orthodox. I think that you will find that the difference is with them on the one hand and WCF Puritanism on the other, which is much narrower than the theology of the Reformation proper.

  80. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Dewey,

    Thanks for your challenge. I take it to heart.

    Still, I do think that what I hearing someone’s statement in their presence in context with my own ears would constitute a valid witness, though others should take what I say with a grain of salt until they have other direct witnesses corroborate it. I did not write his statements down, I did not record them, for I have no desire to play political games, but hearing them deeply grieved me.

    My greater concern is for the trustworthiness of the SJC and the reputation of the PCA as a part of the body of Christ passionate about the truth (both in doctrine and deed). As you know, SJC is the most powerful group in the PCA, as the actions it takes allow for no appeal, etc (largely out of necessity, for there has to be some court of final appeal). But when the actions of the SJC are questionable and its interpretations of the constitution of the PCA are loose and in favor of certain politically influential positions, the whole denomination’s reputation is threatened. When the leader of the SJC says and does questionable things, that threatens the reputation of the SJC and its decisions, and consequently the reputation of our honorable denomination. He must be held to the highest standard and all I am saying is that his actions and statements have compromised his trustworthiness, at least in my eyes and the eyes of many others. That is not hearsay, but an informed perspective/opinion.

    I have no desire to see him prosecuted but I have a great desire to see the SJC being known as a trustworthy group with a reputation for not being swayed by politics of our denomination. For this to happen, repair is now necessary in my opinion. But being in LAP, my opinion is of little import and likely negative influence. I do pray for you and the rest of the SJC…the reputation of our denomination rests heavily on y’all’s shoulders.

  81. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    #76

    Mark, that does not excuse calling men like me sub-human and vampires. I am attacking the FV because I believe it to be out of accord with our confession. Call me mistaken. But don’t call me sub-human and vampiric. And, by the way, anyone else in the PCA who is attacking the FV is doing it for the same reasons I am.

  82. Howard Davis said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Mark,

    I am curious what you mean: “Steve Wilkins was never a strategic target. He was a decoy.” TIA

  83. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    David,

    I hope that I did not come across as disagreeing with what you about the status of confessional Anglicans and Lutherans, because I definitely put them in the same category you do.

    As far as the FV, though, I guess it makes no sense to me that there would be someone calling themselves “FV” while not adhering to their faulty view of justification. There is definitely enough consensus among them as well as clarification about what is being condemned in the movement by the 7 denominations that have done so, for us to be able to say that the FV is not orthodox.

    Now will anomalies exist? Sure. Anomalies exist in Rome. But that doesn’t mean that we have to withhold our assessment of Rome just in case. I think that it is clear enough that the confessionally Reformed have defined what is wrong with the FV and we can follow suit. Should an anomaly be discovered in an individual that is being examined then they should be judged according to it.

    But there’s no reason to withhold judgment of the movement itself. Anyone desiring to call themselves FV, in so doing, displays enough rejection or ignorance of the Reformed doctrine of the Gospel to be considered unorthodox (from a Reformed standpoint).

  84. February 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Agreed Jesse! It would be easy to allow the flesh to raise its ugly head while defending the Gospel however there are times such as these where righteous anger is not only permissible but warranted as the Heart of the Gospel is under attack in our own back yard or in your analogy in our own homes. Strong and persistent error calls for strong measures and at times that will come accross as uncharitable especially by those immersed in the error.

  85. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Howard,

    I cannot speak for anyone else. I can only speak for myself. I take my vows so seriously that even my wife feels left out of the loop (as well she should) about SJC matters. Many witnesses can testify that I refuse to discuss matters with them which either are or may be before the SJC.
    But I do think that an internet blog is not the right forum to start throwing around statements you have heard first hand from the lips of any member of the SJC. That is something that should be done face-to-face or person-to-person.

  86. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Jesse,

    Your call for charity is not anything that anyone involved in adjudicating this case would deny, nor is it anything that they have lacked.

    So to whom are you speaking?

    You need to be careful what your words imply. If you think “that ‘charity’ is being pitted against ‘protecting the flock'” you really need to say in what context. This is a discussion of how our SJC is adjudicating a case. It is how they have clarified a statement that was unclear and how they have done so above board.

    If you think that they are doing so in a manner that sinfully neglects the command to speak the truth in love, then that is a pretty significant statement that really ought to be backed up with evidence. Otherwise it simply casts doubt on all of these ministers who are doing their job and are in good standing.

    If you think that they have failed, fine; show how. But making vague indictments like this doesn’t do anyone any good, and it lacks charity itself.

  87. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Tom,

    If you read my original post and where it comes in the context of “this” conversation it should be clear it was a general reference to the tone with which folks on all sides have carried out this debate on the internet etc. It had nothing to do with the SJC in particular, so I am not sure where your coming from, what “indictments” did I make?

  88. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    you’re not your

  89. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Dewey,
    Now only if your sentiments were followed by the head hunters in the PCA this whole fracas would have turned out differently. Imagine face to face interaction, or even a phone call. The tables have turned, one of your boys miss-spoke and of course there is an explanation. One sided charity is really charity is it? Cheers!

  90. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Gabe, see 33.

  91. GLW Johnson said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Curate has gone and let the cat out of the bag – The issue surrounding the FV has to do with ‘Westminster Puritanism’ , does it not? After all the PCA study report centered around the FV being out of harmony with the Westminster Standards, did it not? Furthermore, I am pretty sure that confessional Lutherans do not consider themselves to be remotely confessionally Reformed.

  92. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Gabe,
    Members of the SJC cannot engage in face-to-face contact with parties to a case which is either before the SJC or potentially may be before the court.

  93. Mark said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Lane, you need to re-read my post as to who is being treated as sub-human.

    And describing what it is like being devoured by one’s own is not the same as calling you a vampire.

  94. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Re: 36, 44, 49 and 72

    Ken,

    Silence does not mean I am hiding or ducking the question. I had some duties that have taken me away from my computer. So just calm down!

    Yes, Dominic Aquila is the current chairman of the SJC and Yes, Dominic Aquila was the moderator who appointed the committee.

    You stated, “I was just asking why a key member of the SJC chose to make a decision in the forming of the study committee that was abnormal according to Robert’s Rules. . .”

    1. I ma not sure what you mean by “key member” he has one vote just like the other 23 men who serve on the SJC. He is one of four officers who serve. I served once as Vice Chairman and I never saw that as a “key” role. You are implying with your terms that Dr. Aquila has this power over the SJC…He does not.
    2. Further this “key member” had nothing to do with the committee after it was formed and had not control over how GA voted on the report as a whole.
    3. Abnormal – is not a violation of the rules! The moderator, elected by the GA, is the one who appoints committees. Through out this entire thread, all I have heard is the SJC is violating the constitution (when facts proved that wrong, then the SJC was hiding behind the constitution) or the moderator of the GA violated our rules, now finally I guess you would say from your statements, Dr Aquila did not violate the rules.
    4. So, abnormal (according to you and other FVers) is your opinion and not the opinion of the GA.
    5. Just to make sure we all are clear, no rules were violated.

    Re: 42

    Lane, what crossed the line?

  95. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    So, you’re accusing me of treating you as sub-human, is that it?

    You said that it was like your family was turning into vampires and devouring you. How is that not calling me a vampire?

  96. greenbaggins said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Bill, Stewart was accusing us of speaking about the CREC in the same way that we are accusing certain FV guys of speaking to us.

  97. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Jesse,
    If that is the case, then it is certainly better; but I’m curious who you think is not being charitable on the confessional side. We’ve seen the hatred coming from Jordan and Horne. What are the errors being made on the other side?

  98. Mark said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    #82

    I mean he was a waste of time. If you want denominational purity from the “heresy” spending two years on AAPC is a pretty slow way to do it.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it looks to me

    Not sure what way there really is except leaving the PCA and starting one’s own denomination. The only counter-evidence I’ve seen is the vote at GA. But unlike the GA, presbytery trials can’t have Sproul make up facts in order to win. It simply hasn’t translated into the desired action at the Presbytery level.

    Having SJC micro-manage the purity of the presbyteries at the behest of a couple is a really s l o w strategy. How many presbyteries can SJC logistically tyrannize in one year?

  99. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Lane,

    I have read #33 and there is always an explanation- no doubt. Just because it is written word does not mean that the same charity should not apply. We have been arguing over what the Bible says since the Cannon was formed. Paul is not here to explain himself- Pastor Wilkins is here to explain himself! Simple love.

  100. Mark said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    BTW, this would make sense of the desire to continue to prosecute Louisiana presbytery. If SJC dissolves it, then they can, in effect, mass depose officers from the PCA rather than having to deal with trials for everyone they wish to prosecute.

  101. kjsulli said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Gabe Rench, re: 89,

    Statements made orally are a different case than statements written in books, articles, and pamplets. The comparison you present is null.

  102. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Tom,

    I’ll answer that if you can answer this; are you saying “no” errors or lack of charity has been shown from the “confessionalists”?

  103. kjsulli said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    re: 101, whoops, appears this was already answered…

  104. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    kjsulli,

    your answer is a non answer because it is was not an answer. Your answer is null.

  105. Andy Gilman said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    This is ridiculous. After years of tearing up the churches with lies about what “FV” people believe, and after years of smearing the names of “FV” people, whose beliefs are EXACTLY those of the WCF (save for paedocommunion), now this Star Judicial Chamber wraps itself in the cloak of PCA polity to justify two utterly godless decisions. Ichabod. Psalm 11:2-3, 6-7.

    Saruman’s staff has been broken and, predictably, he’s driven by his hatred to visit the Shire to attempt some minor mischief.

  106. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    My point is that I was not necessarily drawing a comparison between oral and written…I was for darn sure drawing out that Charity applies to both. Why do yall split hairs like this? You say there is no comparison well is say there is- no you don’t…yes I do. Black-eyed Peas says it best “where is the love”.

  107. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Jesse,

    I would certainly say that the 7 denominations who declared the FV to be heterodox were not uncharitable. The published works by Waters, WSCA and By Faith Alone (Johnson & Waters) etc, were not uncharitable either. I don’t have a finger on the pulse of all the blogging out there, but I haven’t seen a lack of charity on this blog or on other major discussion centers like Warfield List, OPC list, Heidelblog, De Regno Christi, and De Regnis Duobus (I don’t follow the Puritan board).

    So, I’m not sure where else you mean, but as an ordained PCA minister, I stand behind what my denomination has done to preserve the Gospel from the yeast of the FV 100%. I pray that the remaining ministers who hold to the FV will sincerely recant, and if not, that we will take whatever steps we have to, to hold them to their ordination vows – all in the spirit of truth and love.

  108. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Gabe,
    You been swiggin’ a little of Granny’s White Lightin’?

  109. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Why? do have some?

  110. Ruben said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    For whomever you are, and whatever side you come down on, there is a simple fact that should be considered.
    Holding to error will damage you and your church.
    Permitting ungodliness will damage you and your church.
    Does error need to be driven out, and that promptly? Yes.
    Does ungodliness need to be repented of, and that promptly? Yes.

    We can’t tolerate error in the name of godliness: but nor can we tolerate ungodliness in the name of orthodoxy.

    I believe that FV is bad for the PCA, bad for any professing Christian. I believe that there are other errors which are equally bad; and I believe that ungodliness is equally bad. My concern is not to defend any FV proponent or distinctive teaching; but let the opponents of the FV not be suckered by Satan into tolerating ungodliness in their hearts or in their midst under the cloak of opposing error.

    And to be fair, though I sometimes worry that some are making that mistake, I am grateful for certain people, such as Lane, who clearly does not.

  111. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Actually I prefer scotch. My favorite is Belenie. Any takers!

  112. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    It’s pretty hard to come by here in Annapolis. We’d have to head out to West VA, for that. And yankees like me know better than to try, because we’ve got these real purdy mouths. :-)

  113. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Sorry, my comment in #112 was in reference to Granny’s White Lighting, not Scotch. That we have in bounty, and I’m a Glen Morangie fan myself.

  114. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Just like I would in any situation at the church, let’s here from the other side that has expressed offense.

    Mark or Doug or any who would like to chime in; can you agree with this statement and if not why not?

    “but I haven’t seen a lack of charity on this blog or on other major discussion centers like Warfield List, OPC list, Heidelblog, De Regno Christi, and De Regnis Duobus (I don’t follow the Puritan board).”

    And a quick shout out to JJS, your blog is now officially considered a “major discussion center”. And I knew you when you were just a nobody from nowhere! Warms my heart boy.

  115. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Ah! the proper spelling for Belenie is “Belvenie”… and Glen Morangie is a good second choice. If there is no scotch available I prefer a little Evan Williams- a cheap, cheap substitute (not even a substitute) kind of like Granny Lighting, correct? :)

  116. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Gabe,
    I think it’s Balvenie, but that was probably just the “Granny’s” talking.

  117. Gabe Rench said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Tom- thats right thanks. I have had a bad spelling day. Now back to our disagreement.

  118. Mark said,

    February 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    “So, you’re accusing me of treating you as sub-human, is that it?”

    Lane, it is typical for a tribe to refer to their own members as the real humans and everyone else as animals that talk. I’m saying you have two sets of behaviors, one for your friends, another for those you wish to destroy.

    “You said that it was like your family was turning into vampires and devouring you. How is that not calling me a vampire?”

    Do you really need to ask? Let one tenth of the imaginative brain power you use to make fine distinctions when it serves your purpose to do so be used on my behalf for once.

  119. Jon said,

    February 11, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    “Let one tenth of the imaginative brain power you use to make fine distinctions when it serves your purpose to do so be used on my behalf for once.”

    Always the victim.

  120. GLW Johnson said,

    February 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Mark
    Are you deliberately trying to commit denominational suicide? My issues with you have been less about theological disagreement and more about your rabid manner of defaming people who disagree with you and your FV colleagues. You have poured utter contempt on the PCA study committee, the SJC, RC Sproul, Lane, etc., etc., etc. What do you hope to accomplish by this?

  121. David Gray said,

    February 11, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    >Yes, Dominic Aquila is the current chairman of the SJC and Yes, Dominic Aquila was the moderator who appointed the committee.

    Wasn’t he intimately involved in the By Faith startup?

  122. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Ref 94: Bill, my repeated posts had nothing to do with seeking to get an answer out of you or anything like that. As Lane will tell you (and as I think I mentioned in one of my posts), my posts were being caught by the spam filter and didn’t show up until about an hour ago. My multiple comments were merely attempts to shoot one through, if you will.

    As for referring to D. Aquila as a key member, I only meant that he was chairman and thus, presumably, heavily involved in the work of the Commission. I’ve been on enough committees to know that some members are more participatory than others. The chairman usually always falls into this category. I meant nothing offensive towards Rev. Aquila or any other committee members.

    As for my original post, you need to go read it again I did not accuse anyone of doing anything against the rules. I was referring to this quote from your post:

    “Third, my reading of forming a committee (from Roberts Rules) uses the words like “normally” or “should” or “advisable” (I think as I am moving and have packed my Roberts Rules.)”

    I’m only wondering if you or anyone else knows why Rev. Aquila apparently chose to not follow the normal procedures of Robert’s Rule. It’s not wrong to not follow them. I just think it would be helpful if someone could explain to us why a less-than-usual path was followed. Perhaps there was a very good reason. If so, I think we’d all benefit from knowing.

  123. Bill Lyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    ref: 122

    Dear Ken,

    My suggestion to you then is very simple. Call him!

    His number can be found at:

    http://www.newgeneva.org/

    or in the PCA Grey Book.

    I do not think it would be helpful for someone else to get involved – it would be proper for YOU TO CALL HIM- PERIOD!

    Bill

  124. magma2 said,

    February 11, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    ’m only wondering if you or anyone else knows why Rev. Aquila apparently chose to not follow the normal procedures of Robert’s Rule. It’s not wrong to not follow them. I just think it would be helpful if someone could explain to us why a less-than-usual path was followed. Perhaps there was a very good reason. If so, I think we’d all benefit from knowing.

    Can you please provide a citation from Robert’s Rules? Under “Committees and Boards” it states: “The committee constitute a miniature assembly . . . .” Given the affirmative vote in favor of the committee report was easily 95%, I have to think the committee presented an incredibly accurate representation of the assembly; you, Pastor Sherbon and a handful of others excepted of course.

    Also, you have been Johnny one note over the past several months. You think the committee was unfair, but so what? The vote was fair and you lost. Get over it. Isn’t that what you’d be saying to the rest of us if the vote went the other way? Methinks it is. It’s not like there wasn’t considerable lobbying prior to the vote to get your side heard. Frankly, looking at the buzzing over the Internet, one would have thought that your side had it in the bag. I didn’t realize what a little what bag it was. ;)

    Finally, after you make that call to Rev. Aquila and since you keep on harping about the committee report, why don’t you provide some specifics where you think the report errs? I can tell you where I think it erred; assuming that FV teachers brothers in Christ. Begging the question is always fallacious and in this case it was a dangerous assertion without any biblical warrant.

  125. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 11, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Magma,

    Seeing as the assembly was so overwhelming in its vote, was Mr. Robbins wrong for leaving the PCA? Were his warnings about its leaving behind sola fide unwarranted or at least over exaggerated?

  126. David Gray said,

    February 11, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    >You think the committee was unfair, but so what?

    Enough said…

  127. Kyle said,

    February 11, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Gabe Rench,

    My point is that I was not necessarily drawing a comparison between oral and written…I was for darn sure drawing out that Charity applies to both. Why do yall split hairs like this? You say there is no comparison well is say there is- no you don’t…yes I do. Black-eyed Peas says it best “where is the love”.

    And our point is that the application of charity differs in these circumstances, where hearsay may need a kind of oral clarification that is not necessary with statements found written in books. It is an old saw that FV proponents have continued to bring out again and again, that the PCA study committee was not only stacked, but especially unloving because it did not call up each of the men whose writings it was examining to “clarify” what they said.

    Honestly, if FV responses since then are any indication, I do believe most of them would simply repeat what they had written, adding an affirmation of support for the Standards without functionally validating their affirmation.

    But I’m cynical after witnessing how they interact with their critics.

  128. Andrew Webb said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Re #11.

    Dewey, that was Lane who making reference to Sam Duncan’s minority opinion in the Chin case, not me. I haven’t responded at all to this as yet.

    Personally, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of going through the tedious process of bringing overtures against the FV men in Missouri, Ohio Valley, PNW etc. setting all the processes in place and then having them flee to the CREC as soon as the stage is actually set for a trial. I don’t know if the rubber noses were an indication that they are having fun in this process, but I know this is about the furthest thing from “fun” I’ve experienced to date. It’s like a root canal that just never ends.

  129. magma2 said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Jesse, no on both counts.

  130. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Ref 123:

    Bill…OK, I WILL CALL HIM!. (Seriously though, no need for an all caps “shout”. I simply asked an honest question.)

  131. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    magma2 –

    As for the Roberts Rules quotes, you’ll have to ask Bill. I was asking about something he said was in there.

    I do appreciate the sweet nickname – though I’d say I’ve been at least Johnny-three-note. As for your thoughts about what I’d be saying if my side won, you are gravely mistaken (although I don’t think anyone should speak about one side winning over the other).

    By the way what is my side? Do you know me? Have we met?

    As I have said numerous times on this and other blogs, I am not at all in support of everything the so-called FV men have said. My concern all along has been that they be treated in a loving and just way, particularly our fellow PCA ministers. In my mind, this would’ve included a committee makeup that ensured the FV positions were articulated to the satisfaction of FV men. Whether they were judged by the rest of the committee to be confessional or not would be another matter.

    As for evidence for the fact that the report got the FV content wrong, just observe how everyone associated with the FV can’t find any of their views anywhere in the report. Most of them even agree with all the “Declarations”. Doesn’t that at least seem odd to any of us?

  132. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    closing italics I hope, sorry…

  133. Tom Wenger said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Ken,
    Are you the Ken Christian who grew up in Fredericksburg, VA?

  134. Ken Christian said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Tom,
    Are you the Tom Wenger that knew my sister at LBC?

  135. February 11, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Andy,

    You said:
    “Personally, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of going through the tedious process of bringing overtures against the FV men in Missouri, Ohio Valley, PNW etc….”

    As someone relatively new to presbyterian polity, I want to ask how this will work? Will someone in the local churches or presbyteries themselves have to make these overtures, or can they come from outside? This is an honest question. I really don’t know.

    Thanks,
    Terry

  136. markhorne said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    128

    Personally, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of going through the tedious process of bringing overtures against the FV men in Missouri, Ohio Valley, PNW etc. setting all the processes in place and then having them flee to the CREC as soon as the stage is actually set for a trial. I don’t know if the rubber noses were an indication that they are having fun in this process, but I know this is about the furthest thing from “fun” I’ve experienced to date. It’s like a root canal that just never ends.

    Well, since I know what the word “like” means, I don’t think I’m being dehumanized into a root canal by this post.

    I will continue the image by pointing out that I think it is odd that the man threatening with the pliers is the one to use it.

    Just out of curiosity, Andy, what do you think has gone wrong in all these Presbyteries that they have all become incompetent to protect the basic Gospel? Why do we need, in so many cases, to resort to the centralized apparatus that is supposed to only be used when the presbyteries fail?

  137. markhorne said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    “You have poured utter contempt on the PCA study committee, the SJC, RC Sproul, Lane, etc., etc., etc. What do you hope to accomplish by this?”

    The defense of virtually all the presbyteries in the PCA.

    It was fine with you that Sproul was as contemptuous as you are. Again, there are two different laws, one for those with power and another for those determined to be outsiders. It is Pharisaism.

  138. markhorne said,

    February 11, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    i.e. determined by those in power.

  139. February 11, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Andy Webb blubbers:

    Personally, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of going through the tedious process of bringing overtures against the FV men in Missouri, Ohio Valley, PNW etc. setting all the processes in place and then having them flee to the CREC as soon as the stage is actually set for a trial. I don’t know if the rubber noses were an indication that they are having fun in this process, but I know this is about the furthest thing from “fun” I’ve experienced to date. It’s like a root canal that just never ends.

    Oh brother, didn’t anyone ever tell you in seminary that ministry isn’t always easy?!? In fact, didn’t they tell you it would be difficult. Gosh…what “men” we have in the halls of ministry these days.

    Poor poor Andy didn’t get his trial. Poor poor PCA filled with pastors who are either too busy trying to conform to today’s postChristian culture or building their fiefdoms on the all since forgotten remains of a past they’re only vaguely familiar with. I just had to laugh when I heard the White Horse Inn via podcast berate revivalists for using technology to advance their agenda. You guys can’t see the forest for the trees.

    And all this for the next twenty or thirty years–chasing other men in ministry all so .000000000000000000000001234313 percent of the Christian world can remain true to Andrew Webb’s and the SJC’s understanding of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Never mind Islam. Never mind Roman Catholicism. Never mind secularism. Never mind paganism. Never mind that no one will remember this controversy and possibly even the PCA in a hundred years.

    Yeah, glorious battle. The one we’ve all been called to fight! Join with Andy on the Blubber Campaign to Eradicate the Single Most Important Heresy Facing Those Who Don’t Even Understand It!

    NOT.

  140. February 11, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Kevin,

    You need to tone down the rhetoric there, amigo.

    Now, let’s say for a moment that the majority of the PCA is actually correct, and that justification by faith alone is at stake here (I imagine you disagree, but for the sake of argument, just grant the premise). Now, if this is indeed the case, would this not be a battle worth fighting?

    What is a CREC minister came out and affirmed Trent’s take on the issue? Would the doves in that denomination do anything about it?

    My point is that you’re begging the question by your little harangue.

  141. February 11, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    I meant to type “what IF” in the 3rd paragraph.

  142. Ron Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Jason,

    Yes, if Sola Fide was at stake, it would be worth fighting. But no one has denied Sola Fide, so Kevin’s post certainly puts this squabbling in perspective.

  143. February 12, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Mr. Stellman,

    Well, first, I have to of course question the premise on more than one ground.

    For one thing, the majority of the PCA has not determined the state of the question or even the legitimacy of the charges against men like Steve Wilkins even if they have appointed a committee to do so. As usual, these things on closer examination fail to pass muster when we consider all the attendant factors.

    Secondly, it is clear–whatever you or others think of the matter–that Federal Vision theology springs generally from normal received traditions in flux at differing points in the Reformed traditions we have to this point since the sixteenth century. I am too much of a historian to admit the idea that the Reformed tradition was fully developed and constant throughout its entire five hundred year length to this point. So, is it really a compromise of the doctrine of justification by faith? Maybe it is according to Muller who has his own limitations in looking at the Reformed histories and the corresponding traditions but I daresay that some of the men he has studied would be less impressed with his results.

    But to further throw a wrench in the works…let us do what you have supposed and grant the premise. I’m frankly not sure that this is the momentous occasion that the Reformation was in looking at ‘the article at which the church stands or falls’. Is the Church herself on the brink of destruction because sola fide is purportedly at risk in a denomination not .0000000000000000153254 percent of the entire Christian Body on this planet? Go ahead, drop a zero on the right side of the decimal from that percentage and include all the other Reformed bodies that have commented negatively on the FV and what do we have other than a very small group–something like the leaf way up high on massive oak that is hundreds of years old–telling the entire Church how she must view this issue.

    No doubt a proper understanding of justification by faith alone is important and central to the gospel, but it is not equivalent to the gospel. There are times when other more central matters have pressed to the fore in the history of the Church and I believe we face more important issues than this one especially when (let us come back to reality now) it is not immediately clear that the Federal Vision advocates are in every instance denying that which they have sought to affirm every inch of the way.

    I’m not going to answer the question of the CREC and what would happen if they affirmed Trent. For one thing, I think they affirm Trent often in practice but so does every Reformed denomination I am familiar with in one way or another. The Reformed scholasticism that passes as a legitimate heir to our Reformed communions today is simply the older scholasticism in new clothes. The discipline present in Reformed churches carries with it a stench that originally belonged to her Roman subjugators.

    In saying all this, of course, I’m not advocating that every single Reformed congregation and their denomination on the planet mirrors these things. But the nature of the case forces us to speak generally when we encounter these errors among us.

    If anything, the Reformed churches of our land are due for a major overhaul. I pray for revival. Repentance and true revival. The kind that would scare the crap out of the White Horse Inn guys. That would solve our problem a whole lot faster than the countless disciplinary actions sure to follow if the SJC and Mr. Inquisitor General Andy Webb gets their way.

  144. February 12, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Ron (#142),

    I agree no one has explicitly denied sola fide, at least according to them. But lots of church courts have concluded differently. Our Confession says that it belongs to synods and councils to determine ecclesiastical and doctrinal matters. So just because James Jordan insists really loud, while breathing out threatening and slaughter, that the FV really is confessional, it doesn’t make it so, not if our synods and councils all univocally disagree.

  145. February 12, 2008 at 12:19 am

    Mr Johnson,

    I guess we’re just coming from two very different perspectives.

    Any “revival” that would “scare the crap out of the White Horse Inn guys” would also scare the crap out of me. With them, I am interested in seeing our churches faithfully exhibit our marks, trusting that God will add his blessings as he sees fit.

  146. February 12, 2008 at 12:23 am

    I would further add, Mr. Stellman, that I am not convinced given the state of the PCA today that she would be able to rightly judge the matter and the appointment of the Standing Judicial Committee and the wide berth given it in terms of authority undoubtedly proves my point in that regard.

    There are not enough well read men on the faculties of your various seminaries let alone laymen who have read enough on the topic to really dig deep enough here. That in and of itself coupled with the fact that the ordinary PCA minister is hardly equipped to handle these questions signals for me that the PCA is unable to fulfill the very duty you and others are demanding from her.

    So, you reach a decision against the PCA? So what? Who is to say it is legitimate if you grant the premises that I put forward? Or is this sort of argumentation only effective for one side and not another?

  147. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:31 am

    Kevin: The percentage is higher than you think.

    330,000 in PCA / 2.1B nominal Christians worldwide = 0.02%.

    Jus’ sayin’.

    (And of the remaining, the vast majority thinks that the FV is a subset of heretical Presbyterianism anyways. I mean, how long would Jim Jordan last in a dispensational Bible church or a Methodist church?).

    Jeff Cagle

  148. Gabe Rench said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Kyle #127,

    Just because you can read the work does not mean that you should not call them. Why is written word your cut off for further interaction? What kind of standard is that? How would you like it if someone was taking your written word out of context and not calling you for further clarification. I am positive your argument would 360 itself in a heart beat. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  149. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Kevin (#146):

    There are not enough well read men on the faculties of your various seminaries let alone laymen who have read enough on the topic to really dig deep enough here. That in and of itself coupled with the fact that the ordinary PCA minister is hardly equipped to handle these questions signals for me that the PCA is unable to fulfill the very duty you and others are demanding from her.

    My former post was humorous; this one not so much.

    You offer a very disturbing argument. If I’m reading you correctly, you’re saying (a) that the Federal Vision is too lofty to be properly evaluated even by seminary professors, and (b) the PCA elders are intellectually unprepared to perform one of their basic tasks: guarding the flock.

    If true, then heaven help us all.

    On the other hand, I would submit that the Scripture is sufficiently perspicuous with regard to what must be understood for salvation that even a lowly MAR like myself should be able to distinguish bad views of justification from good. Yes?

    (and I ask that without prejudicing the question as to which pile the various FV views of justification should be assigned).

    Jeff Cagle

  150. Gabe Rench said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Jeff,

    I believe Jim would last a lot longer than the anti-fv…they are the ones operating unecumenical in this whole process.

  151. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:13 am

    It wasn’t a disparagement of Jim. I just meant that baptists think that infant baptism (and communion!) are denials of the gospel; methodists think that Calvinism is.

    JRC

  152. Ron Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:22 am

    I agree no one has explicitly denied sola fide, at least according to them. But lots of church courts have concluded differently.

    No courts have concluded anything. Courts have defendants.

  153. Kyle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:12 am

    Gabe, re: 148,

    Just because you can read the work does not mean that you should not call them. Why is written word your cut off for further interaction? What kind of standard is that?

    The written word comes with a great deal more immediate context, and the greater possibility of clarification and qualification before it goes off to print, than does an oral statement before it proceeds from the mouth. I don’t mean that futher interaction is absolutely cut off (although I hardly believe that it is absolutely required), but it’s a bit absurd to whine and complain about not being called when FV teachings had already been in print, and also preached from the pulpit, for several years before the PCA committee completed its report. These weren’t exactly “hidden” things, and if FV proponents actually intend to influence people to their position, then I can’t imagine they’ve in fact written and preached in such a way as to utterly confound the reading comprehension of the elders in the several Reformed denominations who have condemned their views. This defense of theirs becomes all the more pathetic when they grab for straws in this instance, crying hypocrisy where an oral statement, whose exact context cannot be known by anyone except those who actually heard it said (unless there’s a full transcript somewhere??), was clarified via a telephone call.

    The situations are quite different, and the application of charity in each should not be expected to be precisely the same.

    How would you like it if someone was taking your written word out of context and not calling you for further clarification. I am positive your argument would 360 itself in a heart beat. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Yes, turning 360 degrees does put one back where one started; I would present the same argument.

    I know Federal Visionists must think their opponents are all either plain stupid or absolutely evil, but I do not believe that their writings have been consistently and seriously taken out of context. Certainly they’ve failed to demonstrate such to my satisfaction. But I’ll admit to being biased.

  154. Kyle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I might also add, that the only person in this entire thread whom I believe actually heard Mr. Duncan’s words is HaigLaw, and his opinion was this way up in #8: “FV sympathizers who are using this Duncan comment as a way to criticize the SJC are misguided.”

  155. February 12, 2008 at 4:54 am

    All, I have been away from the computer all day (in addition to the fact that I am in the UK, with time zone issues and an inconvenient computer issue), and that accounts for my silence here.

    First, I do think some comments from both sides in this thread have been intemperate — I really believe that Lane tries to keep a civil tone here, and I would urge all of us to try harder to keep it more elevated than has developed in this thread. We have a lot of Christians in this dispute, some Pharisees, and no orcs. It would be nice if we sought to speak accordingly. We all tend to see the threshold of offense at different places when it is our own guys crossing it, but we all need to remember that there is a threshold for all of us.

    Tom, no one who is justified in this life will ever lose that justification on the last day because of deficiencies in their works. The fact that you have asked me to qualify what I have already qualified countless times is a good example of why some are tempted to get exasperated.

    All, provoking to wrath need not be wrathful itself in order to accomplish its natural end. Legalistic pettifoggery does not need to be angry to cause anger. When fathers are taught in Scripture not to provoke their children to wrath, it is this same kind of thing — a father’s wrath could certainly provoke wrath in children, but so can a host of other things. The PCA’s behavior throughout the entire course of this controversy has been provocative in the extreme — not meaning to say that the PCA has been personally evil, orcish, or vindictively malicious. At the same time, the processes have been counterproductive of the ends they were designed to achieve, a risible study committee was set up with the result that the GA voted to approve of mom and apple pie, a legalistic squeeze play was successfully run on Wilkins, and when certain subsequent developments created at least an appearance that made it hard to deny that this is what had happened, attempts were made to minimize the damage through personal contact — the kind of attempts that would have been praiseworthy had they been employed earlier in the controversy to head it off, instead of late in the controversy to put a happy face on a series of injustices.

    Comments keep referring to the seven denominations that have condemned the FV error, and so why are you FV types still out there with your contra mundum stuff? Let’s take the PCA version of that — the approval of the study committee’s report by GA meant that I am vindicated. The review of my position by the CREC determined that my brand of being FV was okay, within the pale. The decision of the PCA meant that I must not be FV at all because I do not hold to the positions they condemned. If the PCA condemns the Arian heresy how does that nail me if I am not an Arian?

  156. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Doug,

    Tom wrote in comment 62:

    So, Mark, James, Doug: do you concur? Can one be justified by faith and then fail to be acquitted in the end?

    You responded in comment 155:

    Tom, no one who is justified in this life will ever lose that justification on the last day because of deficiencies in their works. The fact that you have asked me to qualify what I have already qualified countless times is a good example of why some are tempted to get exasperated.

    But what if, instead of asking about those who have been justified, Tom had asked whether those who are in union with Christ, and members of His covenant, will ever be finally and eternally cut off from Him?

  157. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Kevin,

    No doubt a proper understanding of justification by faith alone is important and central to the gospel, but it is not equivalent to the gospel. There are times when other more central matters have pressed to the fore in the history of the Church and I believe we face more important issues than this one…

    So then, justification is central, but other things are more central? Do you disagree with Calvin’s statement that justification is “is the main hinge on which religion turns” (Institutes 3.11.1)?

  158. February 12, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Ron, there is a kind of union with Christ that can be lost (the kind of union in view in John 15 and Rom. 11; whatever union that is, that is the only kind I mean), but this must never be confused with that efficacious union with Christ which only the elect may possess.

  159. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Doug,

    So, then, you believe that there are two different kinds of union with Christ, one temporary and the other permanent. I take it you also hold that all union with Christ is covenantal union, correct? But if this is the case, must there not, according to you logic, then be two different kinds of covenantal union with Christ—one that includes the blessing of justification and one that does not? After all, do you not speak of “unjustified members of the Justified Body”? (“Reformed,” 175). Are there then two differing sets of terms for covenantal union with Christ, one that includes justification and one that does not?

  160. anneivy said,

    February 12, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Re: #148 “Just because you can read the work does not mean that you should not call them. Why is written word your cut off for further interaction? What kind of standard is that? How would you like it if someone was taking your written word out of context and not calling you for further clarification.”

    No, one would not call the various authors this reason:

    If I understood correctly, the primary point of the study committee was to read and evaluate certain published and posted material, material which had been increasingly read by the PCA’s people in the pew. Some of the PiP’s read the stuff and thought it appalling, some of them didn’t get very far before being bored half to death and quitting, and some of them read the stuff and thought “Yowza! This makes scads of sense!” The pastors in PCA churches all across the nation – plus overseas, too – found themselves fielding questions about the viewpoints contained within these published and posted materials.

    So the PCA formed a study committee to read and evaluate the viewpoints contained within the various writings which the laity (not to mention second year seminary students) were reading.

    Since Penelope and Peter Presbyterian certainly weren’t picking up the phone and calling the various authors to see if they meant what it sure sounded like they said, the PCA’s study committee didn’t call ’em either. What was being studied wasn’t the views of particular, specific authors, per se, but rather the published and posted material which was widely cited as the basis for particular theological theories.

    If the point of the study committee had been to ascertain what theological views certain men hold, then absolutely, those men should have been personally contacted and quizzed.

    But that wasn’t the point of the study committee. The point of the study committee was to evaluate the views contained within widely available published and posted material. Since if a passage appears to claim Theological Theory A, it really doesn’t matter whether or not the author actually intended to claim Theological Theory B, since the author isn’t sitting at the elbow of Peter Presbyterian to tell him, “Well, actually, that didn’t come out quite right. I didn’t mean it the way it sounds.”

    Only the words on the page/screen matter, not the intent of the person who typed them, since it’s only the words on the page/screen that Penelope and Peter Presbyterian are reading.

  161. February 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Ron,

    Yes, from a pastoral perspective there are some things ‘more central’ than justification at particular points in the Church’s history. Perhaps the most obvious example would be the trinitarian controversy against Arianism. My guess is Athanasius while he was concerned with how men are saved and such things did enter into a discussion of the nature of the Son in reference to our salvation, the actual concept of forensic justification played no central role in the midst of that controversy.

    Regarding Calvin’s statement, I believe I have already addressed that above–it is dangerous anyway to lift such a comment out of its context and try to apply it to every situation in which you think justification has been threatened by errant teaching.

  162. February 12, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Ron, yes, I believe there are two kinds of covenant union with Christ — blessed and cursed, the kind that lasts forever, and the kind that does not. I believe there is the kind of union that is pictured by the branches that abide in the vine forever, and the kind of union that is pictured by the branches that are cut out, taken away, and burned. There is the permanent and efficacious union of elect branches and there is the temporary union of the reprobate branches.

  163. Ronnie said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Doug,


    There is the permanent and efficacious union of elect branches and there is the temporary union of the reprobate branches

    Maybe you can tell us what gifts are present in the temporary union even if the graces are temporary? For example, regeneration? Justification? Sanctification? Repentance? Saving faith? Feel free to add any. Just want to get an idea of what is involved in this temporary union vs permanent union.

  164. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I am confident that Doug and others would want to at least say it includes,

    “being once enlightened, tasting of the heavenly gift, being a partaker of the Holy Spirit, have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.”

    or it also could be said to include those

    “to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;”

    I mean, we wouldn’t want to deny the Bible on those points, would we? To go beyond those points into the secret workings of “how much” and “of what sort” each person gets is not revealed so we should leave those alone. In as much as at one point it seemed the FV wanted to go beyond this it got itself in trouble, in as much as it pointed out its not “that clean and easy” it was merely being Biblical.

  165. Bret McAtee said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:45 am

    For one thing, the majority of the PCA has not determined the state of the question or even the legitimacy of the charges against men like Steve Wilkins even if they have appointed a committee to do so. As usual, these things on closer examination fail to pass muster when we consider all the attendant factors.

    Revisionist history. The PCA GA, by higher than 90%, accepted the committee report that clearly determined that FV was out of bounds. All that is happening here is the application of that denominational decision. Actually, upon closer examination what fails to pass muster when the attendant factors are considered are KJ’s assertions.

    Secondly, it is clear–whatever you or others think of the matter–that Federal Vision theology springs generally from normal received traditions in flux at differing points in the Reformed traditions we have to this point since the sixteenth century.

    You can find almost anything as a ‘normally received tradition’ somewhere at some time in 500 years of Reformed history. So what? Look, it’s this simple … If the gatekeepers in current Reformed denominations don’t desire FV then FV isn’t going to survive in those denominations. That is the way that all organizations work. Many Reformed denominations have determined that they don’t want FV getting into the water supply of Christendom through their channels thus bringing about the same kind of coup that dispensationalism won 100 years ago when it got into the water supply and infected everything.

    The answer is easy here KJ. Let the FV people go build their own denominations. If, as many have said, ‘Ichabod’ is pronounced over the denominations that have given the old ‘heave ho’ to FV then in a short amount of time those denominations will dry up and FV will stand as champion on the grave of that which it detests.

    I am too much of a historian to admit the idea that the Reformed tradition was fully developed and constant throughout its entire five hundred year length to this point. So, is it really a compromise of the doctrine of justification by faith? Maybe it is according to Muller who has his own limitations in looking at the Reformed histories and the corresponding traditions but I daresay that some of the men he has studied would be less impressed with his results.

    Yes, and many men who study the works of those who don’t like Muller wouldn’t be impressed with their works. So What?

    Certainly, the Reformed tradition is still not fully developed, and who would contend that it has ever been constant? These are ‘Captain Obvious’ statements. Again, the point of the matter is that different groups desire different trajectories for their version of the ‘Tradition.’ Let each go their own way.

    And yes… it is a compromise on the doctrine of ‘jbfa.’

    But to further throw a wrench in the works…let us do what you have supposed and grant the premise. I’m frankly not sure that this is the momentous occasion that the Reformation was in looking at ‘the article at which the church stands or falls’. Is the Church herself on the brink of destruction because sola fide is purportedly at risk in a denomination not .0000000000000000153254 percent of the entire Christian Body on this planet?

    You don’t come to truth by counting noses KJ. By this reasoning something was amiss with Elijah since he was one of the .0000000000000000153254 percent of the entire faithful body in Israel. Being the avid student of history that you claim to be you surely realize that minorities often are those who save the day.

    Remember the Mustard Seed.

    Go ahead, drop a zero on the right side of the decimal from that percentage and include all the other Reformed bodies that have commented negatively on the FV and what do we have other than a very small group–something like the leaf way up high on massive oak that is hundreds of years old–telling the entire Church how she must view this issue.

    Just imagine how small of leafs Luther and Calvin and Bucer, and Zwingli, and Peter Martyr and Bullinger et. all must have been. And yet …

    No doubt a proper understanding of justification by faith alone is important and central to the gospel, but it is not equivalent to the gospel.

    Is this like saying a proper functioning ovary is important and central to getting pregnant, but it is not equivalent to getting pregnant?

    Well, sure, but no woman will ever get pregnant without a proper functioning ovary. Just so, no one will ever be saved without a gospel which casts all on Christ alone.

    And, frankly the dismissing of the importance of JBFA is troubling.

    There are times when other more central matters have pressed to the fore in the history of the Church and I believe we face more important issues than this one especially when (let us come back to reality now) it is not immediately clear that the Federal Vision advocates are in every instance denying that which they have sought to affirm every inch of the way.

    There is some truth there. I believe that public square a-nomianism in the church is just as dangerous as FV. I believe that Feminism in the Church is just as dangerous as FV. I believe that humanistic psychology in the Church is just as dangerous as FV. There are many different ways in which the Church can be poisoned. I also agree that not all FV advocates are in every instance denying what they are being said to deny though certainly some of them do. Still, among all the dangers the Church faces FV is certainly a danger that the Church should react strongly against. Now, if she would only act against the other dangers.

    The discipline present in Reformed churches carries with it a stench that originally belonged to her Roman subjugators.

    That is always what the minority says who is getting tossed out on their ears. Sometimes, no doubt, they are correct. Sometimes they aren’t.

    If anything, the Reformed churches of our land are due for a major overhaul. I pray for revival. Repentance and true revival. The kind that would scare the crap out of the White Horse Inn guys. That would solve our problem a whole lot faster than the countless disciplinary actions sure to follow if the SJC and Mr. Inquisitor General Andy Webb gets their way.

    I join you with the prayer for Reformation in head and members. I support the idea that every generation must re-interpret and re-apply the Reformed faith so that it remains the living tradition of the dead and not the dead tradition of the living. I also agree that the WHI guys would probably soil their undergarments with the kind of Reformation I envision. But for all that I am pretty sure that our visions of Reformation are such at odds that we would be disappointed if either of our visions came to pass.

    It’s a good think that God’s vision will come to pass and not Horton’s and not Webb’s and not Wilson’s and not Johnson’s and not McAtee’s.

    Well … maybe McAtee’s

  166. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:47 am

    #163

    Doug can answer for himself but I like the questions and will do my own take, if that is all right.

    regeneration?

    As gift of saving faith? No, as Rich Lusk has pointed out, if regeneration is defined in its typical scholastic sense, such an idea is a monstrosity–his word.

    As “rebirth” into the house and family of God, the visible church? Yes.

    Justification?

    As a status only received by saving faith? No. Such justification cannot be temporary.

    As a vindication of the visible Church, and an attitude of love and favor God bestows as “covenant common grace” (see John Murray) I think it might be possible to construct a Scriptural case for calling this a kind of justification. When Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, they are obviously headed for destruction. But he still weeps for them and not for pagans in North America. That shows that they have some sort of right relationship with God that they are squandering.

    But that is speculative, for me at this point. What I do no is that God does regard the Church with special favor and that, by the judgment of charity, we are to regard all members as “the justified” encouraging them to trust God, repent of sin, and continue in God’s kindness. So, not exactly justification.

    Sanctification?

    Well, the word in 1 Cor 9.14 is used for even known unbelievers and the author of Hebrews warns what will happen to those who are sanctified who “go on sinning willfully.”

    However, that is all more about status then behavioral change and the “holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Obviously, only the elect, when the are regenerate, are given the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. But we do see the Spirit changing a person’s heart and behavior and making him a new man who then goes on to become demonically tortured and apostate (Saul). We also know that the Westminster Confession attributes temporary responses to the Gospel to the “common operations of the Spirit.” So, not sanctification as defined as efficacious (which is what Westminster does). But they do have something that resembles it for awhile.

    Repentance?

    Not unto life, ultimately, but they can be drawn by a common operation of the Spirit (which I take to mean, following John Murray, something common to elect and non-elect).

    Saving faith?

    Well, that’s impossible because they are not saved. So no saving faith. They, as Jesus says, “believed for awhile” but fall short of salvation.

    Of course, again, they are part of the visible Church for whom Christ shed his blood (Acts 20.28) and are, while their profession is credible, to be regarded as the possessors of these things.

    But those who fall away don’t really have them. They have have received the grace of God in vain.

    Again, Doug will have his own answers to this. I’ve never talked to him about these things and my answers should not be attributed to him.

  167. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:56 am

    ref 160: anneivy writes:

    Only the words on the page/screen matter, not the intent of the person who typed them, since it’s only the words on the page/screen that Penelope and Peter Presbyterian are reading.

    I could concede this point if the only purpose of the Study Committee Report was to evaluate those words on the page in a way that was disconnected from the ministers who wrote them – just a pure, abstract intellectual exercise in other words. Yet I don’t think any of us would say that was the only purpose of the report. Can you help us here, Bob?

    Even if that were the original intent, very few FV critics seem to be aware of it. How often has a phrase like “Your views have been condemned by the approved report; you should accept this and leave the PCA!” been used on this very blog? By my count, it’s been frequent. Yet if the “words on the page” are all that matter, nothing like this would ever be suggested.

    In light of all this, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to believe the Study Committee should have had the foresight and charity to contact the PCA men whose lives would certainly be affected by the content of the report. This would have ensured that their actual beliefs were evaluated fairly. Is that really too much to ask?

    And yeah, if it was found that the FV men had meant to communicate something different from what most understood their writings to have said, the report should’ve come with a rebuke to speak/write more carefully next time.

  168. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Ref #167 – My first paragraph should be in quotes. How do you do the cool “quote” formatting, where it’s offset I mean?

  169. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Ken,
    Yeah, that’s me. Small world, huh?

  170. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Doug,

    You argued above that: “there is a kind of union with Christ that can be lost (the kind of union in view in John 15 and Rom. 11; whatever union that is, that is the only kind I mean), but this must never be confused with that efficacious union with Christ which only the elect may possess.”

    But the reason that people argue that you go farther than that is because of your other statements like this:

    “You can be on the tree, someone can be on the tree right next to you and HE IS AS MUCH ON THE TREE AS YOU ARE, HE’S AS MUCH A PARTAKER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE, HE IS AS MUCH A MEMBER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE and he is cut away and you are not and you stand by faith, so don’t be haughty, but fear.” [Wilson, “Visible and Invisible Church Revisited,” Lecture delivered at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference]

    These words most certainly do confuse things and when they are echoed by others in the FV movement and then coupled with language that says justification can be lost, how could you expect any thing else than the negative reaction that the FV has received?

    Lusk’s language here flat out states that the white garment of justification can be lost because good works maintain the possession if it:

    “[I]nitial reception of the white garment is by faith alone; ONGOING POSSESSION OF THE GARMENT IS MAINTAINED BY FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE. …The white robes stand first and foremost for Christ’s free gift to his people. Just as he is clothed in white (cf. Rev. 1, 19), so he clothes his people in white. Their “whiteness” before the Father’s throne is due solely to his death and resurrection. In this sense, the robes stand for INITIAL justification. But this forensic justification cannot be separated from the good works THAT MAKE THE SAINTS WORTHY OF THEIR NEW APPAREL. In other words, the poetic imagery points in the same direction as the theological prose of Paul (Rom. 2:13) and James (2:14ff): those who will be vindicated in the end are those who have been faithfully obedient.” [Lusk, “Future Justification to the Doers of the Law”, 2003]

    There can’t be “clarification” of statements like this: they have to be recanted.

  171. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Ref. 169: Tom,
    Yeah, it sure is. If you want, ask Lane to send you my email address. It would be fun to catch up.

  172. Towne said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:46 am

    #167 & 168–
    Ken:
    Your kind-hearted error springs from not seeing that the Study Report, accurately assessed by Anne, is just that, a report. Nothing other than the published writings were under consideration, and properly so. And it is nothing more than a report until acted upon by the General Assembly as a lawful court of the Church.
    Once the GA voted to reject the views stipulated, only thereafter is it required of us to go privately and seek to correct those holding these views.

  173. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:56 am

    #172 –
    Towne – Not being an expert on PCA polity yet myself, I can only admit that you are probably right. Your logic seems sound to me. However, I still stand by my point that going to the ends of the earth to represent the views of our fellow TE’s as accurately as possible was not too much to ask of the committee. I don’t remember the original motion that created the committee limiting their scope to the printed word (please correct me if I’m wrong). Thanks very much, Towne, for your kind interaction. I do appreciate your spirit.

  174. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:58 am

    #171

    “You can be on the tree, someone can be on the tree right next to you and HE IS AS MUCH ON THE TREE AS YOU ARE, HE’S AS MUCH A PARTAKER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE, HE IS AS MUCH A MEMBER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE and he is cut away and you are not and you stand by faith, so don’t be haughty, but fear.” [Wilson, “Visible and Invisible Church Revisited,” Lecture delivered at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference]

    These words most certainly do confuse things and when they are echoed by others in the FV movement and then coupled with language that says justification can be lost, how could you expect any thing else than the negative reaction that the FV has received?

    ================

    Only if the Holy Spirit is guilty of confusion in John 15 and Romans 11.

    If you interpret the Bible in a wider context then you should do the same for Doug.

  175. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Ref. 170 above:

    Though I’ve been Johnny-one-note in pleading for the fair treatment of our FV bretheren, I’ve also stated I do not stand behind everything they say. Let be specific about that by saying that the Rich Lusk quote in Tom’s post above gives me a huge case of the heebie jeebies…

  176. David Weiner said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Mark, re: #166,

    I am not involved in the FV debate; I am just a lurker here. Nevertheless, I did appreciate your post as it seemed to be a sincere attempt to provide light where there is so much darkness and vitriol. I would like to ask you a question regarding something you said in your post. You said: “Of course, again, they are part of the visible Church for whom Christ shed his blood (Acts 20.28) . . . Would you be so kind as to describe the way in which the blood of Christ relates to the reprobate in the visible church in contrast to the way in which it relates to the reprobate who are not in the visible church.

  177. anneivy said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Re: #167

    “How often has a phrase like ‘Your views have been condemned by the approved report; you should accept this and leave the PCA!’ been used on this very blog? By my count, it’s been frequent. Yet if the ‘words on the page’ are all that matter, nothing like this would ever be suggested.”

    (I’d also like to know how to do the cool block-quote thing.)

    Well, Ken, I’m going to give you this one. You’re right. If the study committee’s task was to read and evaluate theological theories via the most commonly-cited materials, but without prejudice toward the authors, then no, the study committee’s report ought not be used as a mallet with which to beat them.

    Mind, it’d be perfectly fair to observe that “Based upon what’s in this article/book/etc. you wrote, it appears there’s a problem with your theology. OTOH, it’s possible it’s just not written clearly, or that we misunderstood it.”

    Valid point, Ken.

    You may pick yourself up off the floor now. ;-)

  178. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Anne – Bless you! You crack me up.

  179. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    174 correction

    Addressed to #170

  180. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Revival just broke out.

  181. greenbaggins said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    The way to do blockquotes (Anne and others) is quite simple. I have to describe the steps separately, or it will read it as a blockquote. First . There are no spaces. This is at the beginning of what you want in the blockquotes. At the end of what you want blockquoted, you write . Please note that the slash is quite important, as that is what closes the blockquote. Hope this helps.

  182. Andrew Webb said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Ref. #139

    Kevin, you despise me, I get it. I understand I am an untutored, evil, girly-man, idiot. I understood that was your opinion of me over 5 years ago (ok, the girly-man thing is new) when it became clear that I was going to buy into your Comegys/Nevin-esque agenda. I am flattered you continue to stoop to excoriate a humble mollusk both here and on the Reformed Catholics blog.

    If you might accept a bit of advice from a mere rodent, the “Inquisitor General” thing was a bit of an overreach. I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret, secret. Old School guys with 6 year old 123 member churches, don’t actually shape the agenda of the PCA or lead anything. Witness the inability of Old Schoolers with more clout and larger churches to make so much as a dent in the creation and subscription debates. If the majority and the real powers that be in the denomination don’t want something to happen, it doesn’t happen. It’s just that certain blubbering newts are willing to put their heads on the block, in order that men with real career potential and aspirations can maintain confirmed nice guy status.

    Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your 24×7 schedule of intense theological study (thank heavens for EWTN eh?), as for me, I’m grouchy if I don’t get my Ovaltine and Nap time before watching my Elmo DVDs. I’m still very fragile as yesterday I misplaced my Wubbie, and I just couldn’t stop crying all day…

  183. greenbaggins said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Arggh! I thought it wouldn’t read it funny, but it did. Let me try again. First, chevron opening. This is the key next to “m” on the keyboard that is achieved by using the shift key. Then the word blockquote, then chevron closing (the next key over with shift). No spaces. This is at the beginning of your blockquote. At the end of the blockquote you again put opening chevron, then forward slash (the question mark key on most keyboards), then “blockquote,” then closing chevron. This should do it.

  184. February 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Re 182.

    Kevin, you despise me, I get it. I understand I am an untutored, evil, girly-man, idiot. I understood that was your opinion of me over 5 years ago (ok, the girly-man thing is new) when it became clear that I was going to buy into your Comegys/Nevin-esque agenda.

    I’m sure Andy means “wasn’t going to”.;)

  185. rgmann said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    155: Doug Wilson wrote,

    Tom, no one who is justified in this life will ever lose that justification on the last day because of deficiencies in their works.

    That’s still an ambiguous answer. Will anyone who is “justified in this life” ever lose that justification or be cast into Hell at the final judgment for any reason whatsoever?

    The fact that you have asked me to qualify what I have already qualified countless times is a good example of why some are tempted to get exasperated.

    If you would stop “qualifying” your doctrine of justification with ambiguous phrases (e.g., “because of deficiencies in their works,” etc.) then the temptation to get exasperated would be greatly diminished. State it clearly and concisely without any slippery “qualification.” Say what you mean and mean what you say.

  186. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    #170

    “[I]nitial reception of the white garment is by faith alone; ONGOING POSSESSION OF THE GARMENT IS MAINTAINED BY FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE. …The white robes stand first and foremost for Christ’s free gift to his people. Just as he is clothed in white (cf. Rev. 1, 19), so he clothes his people in white. Their “whiteness” before the Father’s throne is due solely to his death and resurrection. In this sense, the robes stand for INITIAL justification. But this forensic justification cannot be separated from the good works THAT MAKE THE SAINTS WORTHY OF THEIR NEW APPAREL. In other words, the poetic imagery points in the same direction as the theological prose of Paul (Rom. 2:13) and James (2:14ff): those who will be vindicated in the end are those who have been faithfully obedient.” [Lusk, “Future Justification to the Doers of the Law”, 2003]

    There can’t be “clarification” of statements like this: they have to be recanted.

    =========================

    OK. According to the Westminster Larger Catechism (to which Rich was oath bound as his system of doctrine) we find that many things are necessary (not just faith) to escape final judgment (to be declared in the right at the final judgment, to be justified).

    Here’s some (not all!) of the relevant statements:

    Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
    A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

    Q. 153. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
    A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.

    Q. 154. What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation?
    A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation.

    I don’t see how Rich can be accused of doing anything but popularizing a (currently rather unpopular) teaching of our doctrinal standards.

    Do the Westminster Divines need to recant? What about James, who states that we are justified “by works and not by faith alone”?

    It still looks to me that, rather than Reformed Orthodoxy being violated, a nuda fide doctrine has usurped its place and that those who are asking for Biblical and Reformational integrity are being attacked.

  187. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    #182

    Andy, I thought Kevin’s language was over the top as well. But you might notice that it is declared fair game on these comments (and on an email list I can remember) to accuse people of whining when ever they complain about what their enemies are doing.

    I don’t think this justifies it, but I do think it is worth mentioning.

  188. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    #176

    Mark, re: #166,

    I am not involved in the FV debate; I am just a lurker here. Nevertheless, I did appreciate your post as it seemed to be a sincere attempt to provide light where there is so much darkness and vitriol. I would like to ask you a question regarding something you said in your post. You said: “Of course, again, they are part of the visible Church for whom Christ shed his blood (Acts 20.28) . . . Would you be so kind as to describe the way in which the blood of Christ relates to the reprobate in the visible church in contrast to the way in which it relates to the reprobate who are not in the visible church.

    ====================

    I liked what was said in post #164: The blood of Christ gives to the reprobate in the visible church, ““being once enlightened, tasting of the heavenly gift, being a partaker of the Holy Spirit, have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.” and/or “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;”

  189. greenbaggins said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Mark, does the blood of Christ give the reprobate any ordo salutis benefits like justification? What do you mean by adoption? Is it the same exclusively-to-the-elect benefit that the elect receive? Talk about Johnny-one-note. I have been asking this question ad nauseum and cannot get any kind of clear answer from the FV.

  190. Ronnie said,

    February 12, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Mark,

    So according to you the reprobate can be regenerated/rebirth in a sense, justification maybe possible in some sense though it would be speculative, sanctification in a sense but not the confessional sense, repentenance in a sense, and saving faith you deny, because you state they are not saved and only believe for a while. But based on your other arguments one could argue they are saved in sense. One could even point to your argument that the WCF references the temporary responses to the Gospel and point to the temporary faith that does not have the root to persevere. So they have saving faith in a temporary sense, however it is not the saving faith that perseveres. We could even argue they have perseverance in a sense, because they may persevere for a little while. They don’t have the perseverance the Confession talks about because they don’t persevere to the end, right?

  191. Andrew Webb said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Ref #184 – Quite right Chris, my mistake.
    Ref. #188 – Eh, its ok. Kevin hasn’t been able to stand me for at least half-a-decade, that I’m used to. I’m just amazed he doesn’t get tired.

    Hey, speaking of Kevin’s prayer for “true revival” – I’m struggling to think of any time when a “true revival” broke out in a high-church liturgical homilies, lectionaries, and sacraments only church or any revival. The kind where hundreds if not thousands of people both within and without the church are saved. I can think of plenty of cases where they occurred in say Old School Presbyterian settings but am still coming up with zip for the RCC, Anglo-Catholic style camp. Unless we count Lourdes that is. Can anyone else think of an example?

  192. rgmann said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    162: Doug Wilson wrote,

    Ron, yes, I believe there are two kinds of covenant union with Christ — blessed and cursed, the kind that lasts forever, and the kind that does not.

    If “the covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed” (WLC 31), then how can a non-elect person be in “covenant union” with Christ? Either the Catechism is wrong or your interpretation of John 15 wrong — they cannot both be correct at the same time.

  193. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    #185

    “That’s still an ambiguous answer. Will anyone who is “justified in this life” ever lose that justification or be cast into Hell at the final judgment for any reason whatsoever?”

    Does anyone really doubt that Doug’s answer will be “none whatsoever”?

    But how about this: I think that here is perpetual danger of falling. No degree of progress we may have already made, no amount of privileges which we may have enjoyed, can justify the want of caution. That’s what 1 Cor 10.12 says, after all–“let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” I understand Paul’s warning to apply to anyone who thinks himself secure. This may refer either to security of salvation, or against the power of temptation. The two are very different, and rest generally on different grounds. False security of salvation commonly rests on the ground of our belonging to a privileged body (the church), or to a privileged class (the elect). Both are equally fallacious. Neither the members of the church nor the elect can be saved unless they persevere in holiness; and they cannot persevere in holiness without continual watchfulness and effort. False security as to our power to resist temptation rests on an overweening self-confidence in our own strength. None are so liable to fall as they who, thinking themselves strong, heedlessly run into temptation.

    So, what do you think?

  194. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    “I’m struggling to think of any time when a “true revival” broke out in a high-church liturgical homilies, lectionaries, and sacraments only church or any revival. The kind where hundreds if not thousands of people both within and without the church are saved. I can think of plenty of cases where they occurred in say Old School Presbyterian settings but am still coming up with zip for the RCC, Anglo-Catholic style camp. ”

    Well, wouldn’t this be an observation on how the two traditions describe Spiritual phenomena differently, rather than proof that one was without the Spiritual operations that the other has enjoyed?

  195. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    “Mark, does the blood of Christ give the reprobate any ordo salutis benefits like justification?”

    No.

    “What do you mean by adoption?”

    What Paul means in Romans 9.4

    “Is it the same exclusively-to-the-elect benefit that the elect receive?”

    The elect receive it too, but they receive more. They receive what is effectual to salvation.

    “Talk about Johnny-one-note. I have been asking this question ad nauseum and cannot get any kind of clear answer from the FV.”

    With respect, this reveals more about you than about any object of your criticism.

  196. February 12, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Concerning whether reprobates receive adoption, I don’t think the reference to Romans (“to whom [Israel] pertains the adoption”) is relevant here.

    The Mosaic covenant included an adopted, elected status for Israel as a nation that they could either retain or forfeit depending on their obedience or lack of it.

    The elected and adopted individual believer under the New Covenant, on the other hand, is not in such danger, since his status depends on the law-keeping of Jesus the true Israelite and second Adam.

    This doesn’t answer everything, of course, but it does narrow the field of prooftexts from which the FV loves to draw in order to scare people.

  197. February 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    But don’t fret, you FV-ers! You still have the warnings of Hebrews….

  198. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Andy,

    Was Geneva lacking because revival wasnt on the menu?

  199. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks for tips on the block quotes, Lane

    At the end of the blockquote you again put opening chevron, then forward slash (the question mark key on most keyboards), then “blockquote,” then closing chevron. This should do it.

    Did it work…

  200. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Oh yeah!

  201. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    So Jason, what about those warnings? And dont forget 1 Cor 10?

    Do you disagree with Kline that “new covenant branches” can be broken off, though the tree itself is not in jeopardy?

  202. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    This doesn’t answer everything, of course, but it does narrow the field of prooftexts from which the FV loves to draw in order to scare people.

    ================

    I’m only appealing to people interested in exegesis, Jason. There has been one covenant of grace both before Christ under Moses and after Christ under the Gospel. Don’t make me waste more time cutting and pasting from the Westminster Standards. Look it up yourself.

  203. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    #202

    Jessie’s positive example fills me with shame. I apologize for the tone of my post.

  204. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Re: Blockquoting (#168, 177).

    Around the quoted material, put these ‘tags’:

    <blockquote>This material is quoted</blockquote>

    It will come out like this

    This material is quoted

    See here for more details.

    Jeff

  205. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    This might be our best day yet, gentlemen. I can almost feel the love. Let’s not mess it up. :)

  206. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Forgive me, Anne…gentlemen and ladies

  207. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Ken,

    Put a cork in it!

    Kidding men, I know this guy, never liked him but I do know him:^).

  208. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Mark,

    In reference to #186, nothing you quote from the WLC states that justification can be received and then lost. Or, to use Lusk’s words, that justification can be received by faith but that “ongoing possession of the garment is maintained by faithful obedience.”

    What you quoted illustrates the nature of the faith that is justifying faith, but the actual definition of justification given by the WLC shows that it is not compatible with your and Lusk’s formula:

    WLC Question 70: “What is justification?
    Answer: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight; NOT FOR ANY THING WROUGHT IN THEM, OR DONE BY THEM, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.”

    Justification is the final verdict brought into the present, therefore there is NOTHING that one must do to “maintain possession” of it. “Those He justified he has also glorified.”

  209. February 12, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Mark,

    If you’re “interested in exegesis,” then you should answer my point rather than referring to interaction with me as a “waste of time.”

    The Mosaic covenant had elements to it that are distinct from the New (hence the latter’s being described as “not like the covenant I made with your father when I brought them out of Egypt, a covenant they broke”).

    One of those distinctive factors about the Old Covenant was that it gave to the nation a status they could either keep or lose depending on their obedience and faithfulness in the land.

    Since Mark’s reply, he tells us, will be a cut-and-paste of the Westminster Standards (which, I agree, would be a “waste of time” since I am not denying the covenant of works/covenant of grace distinction like he assumes), I’ll just throw this point out for others whose time is not as precious as his apparently is.

  210. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    “Mark, does the blood of Christ give the reprobate any ordo salutis benefits like justification? What do you mean by adoption? Is it the same exclusively-to-the-elect benefit that the elect receive? Talk about Johnny-one-note. I have been asking this question ad nauseum and cannot get any kind of clear answer from the FV.”

    Huh? Every FV writer I’ve read on this has distinguished the benefits that the elect receive from those that the non-elect receive, and not just in terms of duration, but qualitatively. Now, I haven’t read them all on this particular question, but Wilson, Wilkins, and Leithart have clearly said this…I don’t know about Lusk or Horne.

    I will grant that they have not been entirely clear about the nature of the benefits to the non-elect, but several of them have stated categorically that they are not qualitatively the same as the benefits to the elect, so at least your third question has been clearly answered.

  211. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Jessie, I knew someone saying you were a “positive example” sounded weird… ;)

  212. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    “The Mosaic covenant included an adopted, elected status for Israel as a nation that they could either retain or forfeit depending on their obedience or lack of it.”

    And this adopted status was as a son–which Christ fulfilled perfectly, as was pointed to by the day of atonement, which was for the sins of the nation as a nation. So, even the possession of the land was not purely on the basis of works.

  213. February 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Andy Webb moans:

    Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your 24×7 schedule of intense theological study (thank heavens for EWTN eh?), as for me, I’m grouchy if I don’t get my Ovaltine and Nap time before watching my Elmo DVDs. I’m still very fragile as yesterday I misplaced my Wubbie, and I just couldn’t stop crying all day…

    Just so we’re clear, I’m not a fan of EWTN, I just got done with the last several days defending what it means to be a Christian contra the claims of a Roman Catholic priest on my website while you’re busy complaining about all the work you’ve got to do in the upcoming years, and I’m generally non-plussed to see you so quickly identify me as someone who has Roman Catholic sympathies.

    This is part and parcel your method in opposing those with whom you disagree. And, I might say that I hope such methods become startingly obvious to both sides how character assassination fits nicely within your paradigm to combat heresy.

    Webb continues:

    Hey, speaking of Kevin’s prayer for “true revival” – I’m struggling to think of any time when a “true revival” broke out in a high-church liturgical homilies, lectionaries, and sacraments only church or any revival. The kind where hundreds if not thousands of people both within and without the church are saved. I can think of plenty of cases where they occurred in say Old School Presbyterian settings but am still coming up with zip for the RCC, Anglo-Catholic style camp. Unless we count Lourdes that is. Can anyone else think of an example?

    Heh. Honestly. Have you ever read anything about the Church in the last five hundred years?!?

    You want an example of a revival among “high-church liturgical homilies, lectionaries, and sacraments only church”, for “RCC, Anglo-Catholic style camp[s]”?

    Try the Reformation. Undoubtedly the largest revival in the history of the Church and your missing this one important fact just confirms to me you guys just can’t see the forest for the trees!!!!!!!!!!

  214. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Jason,

    The fact is that at the end of that particular argument in Romans, though Israel began as the issue the warning comes as forcefully to the Gentile in the NC.

    I cant speak for everyone but I dont hold the warnings as real because I like to “scare” people (though they are scarey) but because “fear” is one of many motivators God uses to keep his folks to the end as they walk the road from here to there. Faith does indeed tremble at the warnings. And if our preaching never includes any trembling, maybe we have gone lopsided.

    That said, the promise of the NC is better, the mediator is better, the forgiveness is certain etc. Our folks should know this as well, and the most gruesome sinner should be able to see that if he would only trust in Christ he will undoubtedly be saved, whether he is doing this for the first time or the hundred and first.

    But then that leaves some tensions…

  215. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Ken,

    Honestly it sounded weird to me as well.

  216. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Jason, professing Christians (like baptized infants, among others) have a covenant status they can lose for lives of unbelief. They are in “the house and family of God” which is the visible Church, and then they are cast out.

    That was true both before and after Christ. Claiming that Israel’s adoption was about “law” as in some demand for obedience tied to the covenant of works, is simply not claimed by Confession or catechisms and is not some Reformed standard by which I can be judged.

    Beyond that, you made no exegetical argument so I don’t have anything to work with. Why don’t you and Jessie wrestle with this issue, since I’ve put my foot in it.

    On the other hand, I’ve also made myself feel somewhat defensive. But that started somewhere else. To explain what I mean, let me ask you this question, Jason. You wrote,

    it does narrow the field of prooftexts from which the FV loves to draw in order to scare people.

    So, when you’re sitting there in your meetings with Rob Rayburn and Peter Leithart, is this the kind of thing you say to Peter’s face?

    Stuff has been said about rhetoric and FV in this comment thread. Do you want calm discourse. Or do I make you happier when I act like I’m provoked? What do you really want?

  217. February 12, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Jesse,

    Of course there is a “godly fear” involved in the Christian life, and that the warnings are ways by which the elect persevere to the end.

    But that is not what I hear from the FV.

    Lusk says that we retain our justified status by our obedience, and further, that we make ourselves worthy of it by the same.

  218. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    #208

    So why does one have to continue in all Christ’s ordinances to escape condemnation for sin?

  219. February 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Mark,

    You ask, “Do you want calm discourse. Or do I make you happier when I act like I’m provoked?”

    Actually, I don’t know, since I’ve never seen you NOT acting provoked.

    I liked you better when we met face to face. Every online interaction since has begun with a defensive snideness from you. You responded to me a couple weeks ago by saying that there is no curse strong enough to call down upon the seminary I attended for its “crimes” against the Reformed faith.

    So what do I want? I want you to act like a civil human being, that’s what I want.

  220. rgmann said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    193: Mark wrote,

    Does anyone really doubt that Doug’s answer will be “none whatsoever”?

    I honestly don’t know what Doug’s answer will be, as FV proponents are well known for being ambiguous and self-contradictory. One writer sums it up well:

    “In Wilson’s Wonderland, the reprobate are elect, the unjustified are justified, and the unregenerate are saved. Wilson equivocates on ‘regenerate’ and ‘justified,’ for when he applies those terms to a promiscuous group, they cannot mean what they mean when applied to elect individuals. A regenerate individual is one made alive by the action of the Holy Spirit in his mind. A group has no mind, and a promiscuous group of believers and unbelievers is never made alive by the Holy Spirit. A justified soul is one declared righteous by God, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to his account. A group has no soul, and a promiscuous group is never the recipient of Christ’s imputed righteousness.”

    Neither the members of the church nor the elect can be saved unless they persevere in holiness; and they cannot persevere in holiness without continual watchfulness and effort… So, what do you think?

    I think that reprobate “members of the church” cannot and will not be saved (no matter how much they attempt to “persevere in holiness”), and that elect members of the church will “persevere in holiness” because they have been unconditionally chosen in Christ and justified once-for-all (i.e., forever) by faith in Christ alone — apart from works of any kind.

  221. Towne said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    #213–
    Kevin:
    A few months ago, you were making good sense in your posts. What happened?

    Instead, today you decry Andy for character assassination, but forget what you said about him in post #139. Not to mention the larger digs you leveled against the whole PCA denomination and its ministers in posts #143 and 146. Are you having a bad day? Can you please live by the same standard you expect of others?

    Finally Kevin, you’re not PCA, right? Then why are you taking your precious time to involve yourself in our affairs, especially if we’re such an admittedly small part of the visible Church?

  222. its.reed said,

    February 12, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    A wee suggestion that y’all might focus a bit more on the subject of the thread here. Seems like there are quite a few rabbit trails being chased at this point.

    Just a suggestion :)

  223. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Mark (#186):

    I don’t see how Rich can be accused of doing anything but popularizing a (currently rather unpopular) teaching of our doctrinal standards.

    Do the Westminster Divines need to recant? What about James, who states that we are justified “by works and not by faith alone”?

    I would ask you to consider the possibility that Rich’s statement here comes across, to many, NOT as an expression of the Confessional standards but as a distortion thereof. NOT as a faithful outworking of James 2, but as a distortion thereof.

    Note that I’m not asking you to consider whether Rich’s statement actually *is* a distortion. I’m sure you think it is not, and that he is simply expressing something more nuanced and Biblically faithful than more traditional readings of the Confession. I’m simply asking you to consider appearance: how an orthodox statement might look unorthodox because of the way in which it is expressed.

    As you are considering, think also about your followup:

    It still looks to me that, rather than Reformed Orthodoxy being violated, a nuda fide doctrine has usurped its place and that those who are asking for Biblical and Reformational integrity are being attacked.

    Given that certain people come across that way to you (it’s usually helpful to name names, BTW, instead of making broad blanket statements that function as Rorschach tests), consider the possibility of Rich’s situation being mirrored: that “whoever” appears to be advocating nuda fide is actually advocating something more nuanced, more Biblically faithful than it appears to you.

    What I would love to have here is this:

    * That those opposing the FV would narrow the scope of their concerns and drop the over-the-top rhetoric, and that they would indeed approach their opponents personally, as required both in Scripture and in the BCO.

    * And that the FV advocates would publicly consider the ways in which their approach has contributed to this conflict.

    * And a pony.

    Mark, I have concern for you as a brother. I have prayed before and will continue to pray for you to have grace under fire.

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

    (And for my part, I think Rich’s statement goes beyond the Confession and James. You probably knew that.)

  224. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Mark,

    You ask, “Do you want calm discourse. Or do I make you happier when I act like I’m provoked?”

    Actually, I don’t know, since I’ve never seen you NOT acting provoked.

    I liked you better when we met face to face. Every online interaction since has begun with a defensive snideness from you. You responded to me a couple weeks ago by saying that there is no curse strong enough to call down upon the seminary I attended for its “crimes” against the Reformed faith.

    So what do I want? I want you to act like a civil human being, that’s what I want.
    ========================

    I have offered you salient points without snideness. You broke in responding to one.

    Again, I’m sorry for what I said to you about exegesis. Let’s move on.

  225. February 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    “Towne” said:

    Instead, today you decry Andy for character assassination…[etc.]

    Let’s just consider for a moment that if we are speaking about the truth of the matter, it is likely not character assassination.

    Mr. Webb was promulgating falsehood about me in his comment #213 regarding where my theological and/or other loyalties are and that is why I used the term “character assassination”.

    My own comments concerning the PCA and her ministers is my opinion and is simply not the same thing as assassinating the character of someone by lying about them or misrepresenting who they are. I’m happy to admit that I could be mistaken or proven wrong upon review of further evidence to the contrary but what I’ve said is no different than any other public commentary regarding these issues on either side of the fence (as if there are only two sides to this matter).

    ‘Towne’ continues:

    Finally Kevin, you’re not PCA, right? Then why are you taking your precious time to involve yourself in our affairs, especially if we’re such an admittedly small part of the visible Church?

    I’m not involving myself in your affairs. I’m not receiving member churches into my ‘confederation’ or reviewing anything officially and I’m not a leading proponent of theology you or others may be opposed to in terms of the Federal Vision movement.

    I’m reacting as one minister in the Body of Christ and speaking as a part of the wider Church often does on matters which garner her attention. In short, to the extent that these proceedings are public they deserve some amount of comment and attention from other quarters of the Body of Christ, His Church. But, to call it interference is so wide of the mark and uncalled for in the extreme.

  226. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I would ask you to consider the possibility that Rich’s statement here comes across, to many, NOT as an expression of the Confessional standards but as a distortion thereof. NOT as a faithful outworking of James 2, but as a distortion thereof.

    Note that I’m not asking you to consider whether Rich’s statement actually *is* a distortion. I’m sure you think it is not, and that he is simply expressing something more nuanced and Biblically faithful than more traditional readings of the Confession. I’m simply asking you to consider appearance: how an orthodox statement might look unorthodox because of the way in which it is expressed.

    This is perfectly fine. Just consider the context of my defense of a recant or else accusation.

    You’re asking for a conversation that is difficult to have under these circumstances. I applaud you for asking for it. But I can’t single-handedly deliver the goods and, in the meantime, it is hard to let these severe accusations go unanswered.

  227. February 12, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Mark,

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this was your idea of civility:

    “I’m only appealing to people interested in exegesis, Jason…. Don’t make me waste more time cutting and pasting from the Westminster Standards. Look it up yourself.”

    I’m done with you for now.

  228. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Re #214

    And the penalties are greater in the New Covenant as well…

  229. Towne said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    #225
    Kevin:

    Well, if you define it all away like that, then hey, I understand!

  230. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Ref 227: Jason, isn’t that the very quote for which Mark is rightly asking your forgiveness?

  231. February 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Ken,

    Mark referred to what he wrote as “offering salient points without snideness.” Saying that, then adding, “But sorry, let’s move on” doesn’t exactly reassure me that our future interaction will be fruitful and gentlemanly. \

    I’m sure we’ll fight more in the future, but I have better things to do today than listen to Mark Horne insult people.

  232. Ken Christian said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    My additional two-cents about the Lusk quote, for what they’re worth…

    Jeff is right to point out that the quote certainly sounds bad, to say the least. But Mark’s point is valid too: why does the bad sounding quote result in the instant demand for recantation “or else”? And this question needs to be asked, because this is the kind of thing that’s been going all along. Why not first respond with a, “Brother Lusk, your point sounds totally off the wall. Are you sure you meant it the way I’m hearing it?”

  233. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Kevin,

    In response to my citation in comment 157 from Calvin, in which he introduced his discussion of justification by faith by calling it “the main hinge on which religion turns,” you wrote in comment 161:

    Regarding Calvin’s statement, I believe I have already addressed that above–it is dangerous anyway to lift such a comment out of its context and try to apply it to every situation in which you think justification has been threatened by errant teaching.

    I have not lifted the quote out of its context, at least not in the usual pejorative sense that such an assertion is usually intended to convey, i.e., with the result of distorting the original meaning of the words cited. If you are actually contending that I have failed to capture Calvin’s meaning, that he did not really intend to claim that justification by faith stood at the center of all of Christian theology, and that he would not use that statement as a starting point for dealing with errant teachings that threaten the doctrine (or expect us to do so today), then the most charitable response I can muster is to suggest that you go back and re-read all of Institutes 3.11, for you have gravely and dangerously misrepresented the Reformer’s teaching. In Calvin’s very next sentence after the one I quoted he declares that without a proper understanding of justification by faith we lose the foundation for both salvation and piety.

  234. Andrew Webb said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Kevin,

    Ok, you got me. No, of course I haven’t actually read anything about the church in the last 500 years. I keep putting “learn how to read the books you own” in my day planner, but since I can’t read the reminders, it doesn’t help. I’ve just been making it up as I go along. You alone have finally figured me out Kevin, it must be all that ambient caffeine in your environment keeping you on your toes.

    Anyway, you and Mark are right to regard the Reformation as the greatest revival of religion in the last thousand years, however I think you’ll find that it was the rediscovery and preaching of the solas along with Reforms that gradually removed many of the innovations and superstitious additions of men that was the key to the Reformation. It certainly was not Holy Days, Covenant Nomism, Baptismal Regeneration, Vestments, Church Architecture, Sacramentalism, and the Lectionary that produced that great revival of religion. As a matter of fact, the degree to which those elements were retained was generally the degree to which Reformation and Revival were impeded, and the degree to which they re-appeared was the degree to which revival died to be replaced by nominalism and then liberalism.

    Generally speaking prayer and the preaching of sola fide (law and gospel) are the agents that bring in true revival.

    The Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, put it this way, note well what is said about that which stops revival:

    “A revival of religion is nothing but the immediate result of an uncommon attention, on the part of a church and congregation, to the truth of God;—particularly to the great truths, which disclose the worth of the soul, and the only way in which it can be saved. Whenever, and wherever, the members of a church pay the due attention to these truths, by giving them their proper influence on their hearts, religion revives immediately in their affections and their conduct; and when the impenitent pay such attention, the kingdom of heaven immediately “suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” The only effectual way to put a stop to such a work of grace, is, therefore, to divert the attention of Christians and sinners from those truths which bear immediately on the work of salvation.

    Hodge essentially said the same thing writing on the nature of Revivals of Religion, note that objections 2,3,4 and compare them to the beliefs of the FV men or the Liturgists:

    I. The nature of a revival; or, what is meant by a revival of religion.
    It is a familiar fact that religion in the soul is sometimes in a lower and sometimes in a higher state. The passage from the one to the other is more or less rapid. So in a church or community. There are periods of decline and periods of refreshing. So under the Old Testament dispensation. So in the times of Christ. So in the time of the Reformation, in the time of Edwards and since. The phrase has here acquired a conventional sense. It is confined to a sudden change from general inattention to a general attention to religion, to those seasons in which the zeal of Christians is manifestly increased, and in which large numbers of persons are converted to God.

    II. The reality of any such experience in the Church is denied,
    1. By Rationalists and all who deny the supernatural operations of the Spirit of God.
    2. By those who deny that the converting influences of the Spirit are ever exerted except in connection with the sacraments.
    3. By those whose theory of religion does not admit of instantaneous or rapid conversions; who hold that the germ of piety implanted in baptism is by an educational process to be nurtured into conversion.
    4. By those who, while admitting the facts of the Bible on the subject, seem disposed to regard them as belonging rather to the class of miracles than of the normal state of the Church.

    Granting the facts of supernatural divine influence, there is no objection to the theory of revivals. That is, there is nothing in them inconsistent with the nature of religion or with the modes of divine operation. It is a question of fact. These, of course, from Scripture and history are decisive.”

    Tyndale summed up the nature of the evangelical preaching that brings heart changing revival thus:

    “Expound the law truly, and open the veil of Moses, to condemn all flesh, and prove all men sinners, and all deeds under the law, before mercy have taken away the condemnation thereof, to be sin, and damnable; and then as a faithful minister, set abroach the mercy of our Lord Jesus, and let the wounded consciences drink of the water of him. And then shall your preaching be with power, and not as the hypocrites. And the Spirit of God shall work with you; and all consciences shall bear record unto you, and feel that it is so. And all doctrine that casteth a mist on these two, to shadow and hide them, I mean the law of God, and mercy of Christ, that resist you with all your power.”

    So to sum it up, revival, which is something we should both pray for and expect, is the result of the simple preaching of God’s truth regarding man’s lost estate – though he may be a baptized member of the visible church – and God’s way of salvation through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone. True that saving faith is increased and strengthened by the right use of the sacraments, but the whole farago of inventions and innovations of men, regardless of their antiquity, does nothing to advance the cause of religion but rather retards and stifles it. The Reformation began the process of freeing the gospel from those shackles, and now once again we have a host who want the heavy yoke to be reapplied.

    – Andy

  235. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    It cracks me up the way FV proponents and their friends keep claiming that Luther received better treatment from the Roman Catholic church than FVers have received from Reformed denominations. What? Did Prince Frederick send people to kidnap Steve Wilkins and hide him in the Wartburg?

  236. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Joshua (#210):

    Every FV writer I’ve read on this has distinguished the benefits that the elect receive from those that the non-elect receive, and not just in terms of duration, but qualitatively. Now, I haven’t read them all on this particular question, but Wilson, Wilkins, and Leithart have clearly said this…I don’t know about Lusk or Horne.

    Horne does. Jordan does *not*. Wilkins actually hedges on this, at least in the “Response to the Nine Declarations.” He states,

    I do not believe, however, that the relationship the non-elect have with Christ is identical to the relationship sustained by the decretally elect. To repeat what I have previously written, “though the non-elect are brought within the family of the justified and in that sense may be referred to as one of the justified, the elect person’s justification in time is not only a declaration of his present acquittal from the guilt of sin but also an anticipation of his final vindication at the last judgment. The non-elect church member’s ‘justification’ is not. His ‘justification’ is not the judgment he will
    receive from God at the last day.

    “I went on to say that there may also be “other experiential differences between the elect and the non-elect,” but these differences may not be discernible to others (or even to the individuals themselves) until “the non-elect person displays his unbelief in some very explicit and concrete ways.” The relationship with Christ which the non-elect have may be compared to the relationship that a married couple sustain prior to their divorce. They may have been sincere in their love for one another at times in their marriage, but the relationship taken as a whole is not qualitatively equal to the relationship sustained by a couple who remain truly faithful to one another throughout their lives.

    Wilkins’ statement contains enough degrees of freedom that I can’t say with confidence what he believes (although Mark Horne assures me that Jordan stands alone on this).

    Jeff Cagle

  237. barlow said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Just an historical note – revivalism has been part of the experience of all Christian traditions. Roman Catholic revivalism is a fascinating topic – you can read about it in Jay Dolan’s book “Catholic Revivalism”. In addition, a lot of enthusiastic revival is happening in the southern hemisphere in Anglican and Roman churches. Then there is the Catholic charismatic movement. Dolan’s book talks about the traveling preachers who held Parish Revivals in various parishes in America; some of the preachers were inspired by Protestant revivalism, of course. You might also check out the two volume “Religious Revivals in America” for more information on revivals in various traditions, including first-person accounts.

  238. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    #227

    Jason, I apologized for that without reservation. I felt like I was paranoid for even mentioning that I felt provoked, but now I think I wasn’t paranoid enough.

    Are you sure you’re not collecting grievances in order to rationalize a course of action you already want to pursue. It is easy to do, as I know from my own sinful behavior. I think the story of the Fall shows it is embedded in human nature to do so (finding fault with someone rationalizes opposing him).

    I ask you to read back from the offending quotation you repeated through what I wrote after and compare it to what I wrote before you interjected.

    More in another post.

  239. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Andy,

    It’s like you read my mind. I’m starting to feel goose-bumpy all over.

  240. barlow said,

    February 12, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Andy – I think you’re probably wrong about the sacraments prior to the Reformation; these things were hidden from the people in Medieval Catholicism behind screens and additions to the ceremonies. The Reformation was as much a restoration of the sacraments to the laity as it was a restoration of preaching. There should be no motive to pit God’s sacramental grace against the grace of prophecy.

  241. February 12, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Ron,

    I believe I have already said that justification by faith alone stands at the center of all Christian theology and I agree with Calvin in the main. But my comment was simply meant to indicate that pastoral wisdom and discretion is in order in terms of prioritizing the challenges to the Church both inside and out. It is reasonable to assume Calvin felt similarly since his whole life was not spent exclusively on defending justification by faith alone but that he had other issues which at times took a front seat to his concerns.

  242. February 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Mark,

    There is no “course of action” that I am secretly pursuing which would be furthered by “collecting grievances” I’ve received from you. Honestly.

    It’s just that I find much of what you write simply incredible. I mean, I have bad thoughts about certain other seminaries, and certain other people. But I don’t publish them all over the Internet for everyone to read.

    So for the record, I do forgive you for the comments above. But you just get under my skin to such a degree that I can’t (nicely) interact further with you, at least not today.

  243. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Ken,

    I’m not, Mark suggested, threatening discipline of they Rich or Doug didn’t recant; they’re not even in the PCA.

    And if this were the first time one of them said something like this, or if there hadn’t been significant attempts on the confessional side to ask for clarification then I agree with you, I would never make or endorse a demand for recantation.

    But the point is, I and others have tried for years to get clarification from many within the FV, face to face, over the phone, in private e-mails etc. Additionally there have been several symposia and other gatherings to try and work these things out, again to no avail. And when our denomination, as well as six others, has collectively said that these positions are in error, there comes a point where you move to action.

    Specifically, my point regarding “clarification” was that it is typical of the FV to make bold, jarring statements, like the Lusk quote, and then qualify them out of existence, only to make s similar quote the next week on one of their blogs. But there are some statements that are in such error that they are beyond clarification. They’re just simply wrong. And if those who made them would own up to that, we could actually make some headway.

    That was all I was asking for, an admission that those words were wrong.

  244. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Sorry, the first line of #243 should read:
    “I’m not, as Mark suggested, threatening discipline of Rich or Doug don’t recant; they’re not even in the PCA.”

  245. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    #196

    Let’s imagine how I might have responded had I not gotten upset by the way this post seemed to me to personally attack motives and character. Here it is in a much treasured blockquote format:

    Concerning whether reprobates receive adoption, I don’t think the reference to Romans (”to whom [Israel] pertains the adoption”) is relevant here.

    The Mosaic covenant included an adopted, elected status for Israel as a nation that they could either retain or forfeit depending on their obedience or lack of it.

    The elected and adopted individual believer under the New Covenant, on the other hand, is not in such danger, since his status depends on the law-keeping of Jesus the true Israelite and second Adam.

    This doesn’t answer everything, of course, but it does narrow the field of prooftexts from which the FV loves to draw in order to scare people.

    Lets say I answered this with exegesis rather than merely spouting forth about it.

    I would point out that Paul explicitly states why Israel fell from that adoption–it was because the mystery of election to eternal life according to God’s sovereign grace. The difference wasn’t in the Law age. The difference was in God’s choice as the potter over the clay.

    We know that the fall from their adoption, was not a unique possibility to the Mosaic Economy, because Paul explicitly states that New Covenant professing believers can do the same thing with the same result:

    17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root [3] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    So I don’t see “adoption” as some sort of unique status that only obtains for Israel. It applies to the visible Church under the covenant of Grace both before the Law, under the Law, and under the Gospel.

    And, as an extra, this is the position of the Westminster Standards though there are some prooftexts that were added to the Assembly’s work that demonstrate some probably held at least something like Jason’s view (maybe even identical to it). That’s why I don’t think Jason is contra-confessional in his opinions. I think he is contra-confessional to the extent that (as I perceive it) he demands agreement with himself on these points as a standard of orthodoxy, or sets forth these opinions as the unquestion hermeneutical framework of the Reformed Faith.

    And I repeat, again, how sorry I am that I did not simply write the above rather than making a snide comment about exegesis and Westminster.

  246. Mark said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    On revivalism: most (all?) defenses of revivalism I have seen have made the transitions of Pentecost (like, say, Pentecost) into generic repeatable episodes of mass conversion or merely heightened repentance. I want to applaud and encourage all of that, but I’ve been taught through Reformed Biblical Theology (Vos, Gaffin, etc) not to make those sorts of connections.

    Another negative impression I received about the whole culture of revivalism in Presbyterianism was from reading the Dr. David Calhoun’s awesome two-volume history of Princeton. He points out that both Samuel Miller and Charles Hodge both married people who were identified, and would identify themselves, as not Christian. They hadn’t been “revived” or converted in some sense which I really didn’t understand. The eventually were, but that just makes the whole “revival” idea seem much more tenuous. If I can’t bring myself to believe that these godly women were not really Christians, and they make such a big deal about some sort of experience as if it were conversion, what about other biographical and autobiographical statements from that period and place?

    The whole culture seemed strange to anything I have found in the PCA. Samuel Miller makes a point that only Christians should should vote for Ruling Elders (in his book on “The Ruling Elder”). Why make the point? Well because he took it for granted that nonchristians attending and supporting Presbyterian churches could vote for the Pastor. That was all right because the Presbytery guarded the reception of ministers. It just seemed weird.

    I hasten to add, I haven’t made a great study of this. I’ve relied on a lot of second hand arguments from people I trust. But the above are some of my personal experiences.

  247. February 12, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Andy Webb writes:

    Anyway, you and Mark are right to regard the Reformation as the greatest revival of religion in the last thousand years, however I think you’ll find that it was the rediscovery and preaching of the solas along with Reforms that gradually removed many of the innovations and superstitious additions of men that was the key to the Reformation. It certainly was not Holy Days, Covenant Nomism, Baptismal Regeneration, Vestments, Church Architecture, Sacramentalism, and the Lectionary that produced that great revival of religion. As a matter of fact, the degree to which those elements were retained was generally the degree to which Reformation and Revival were impeded, and the degree to which they re-appeared was the degree to which revival died to be replaced by nominalism and then liberalism.

    Andy,

    I don’t know who you think you’re talking to here about lectionaries and liturgy and the like (and by the way, you sound rather Anabaptist in denying legitimate use of much of what the Church has used over the centuries to teach the faithful)….when did I ever say revival or better reformation ever occurred by means of these things?!? I don’t think Douglas Wilson even says crap like that. You’re like the crazy guy talking to himself in the corner over there. I don’t get it.

    The Reformation happened first and foremost by the sovereign movement of God’s Holy Spirit among and in His people. That’s in Jonathan Edwards, too, incidentally.

    Yes, they rediscovered the great truths of the Reformation found in the solas but fundamentally speaking the real way to reformation and revival is not through a forced program of catechetical instruction on these truths or a heresy-hunting parade. The Pharisees had all this down pat. The return to the more biblical understanding was a result of the work of the Spirit and sovereign action of God and not because of it.

    And, after the magisterial Reformation, the new generations of now institutional Reformed found themselves very much in the same place as other guardians of the institutions that had been destroyed by God’s grace and the work of their fathers only years before. And here we are with similar issues five hundred years later in the PCA where after only 35 years her elders can’t even recognize the revival of the Reformation in their own heritage when it is staring them in the face.

  248. Andrew Webb said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Senor Barlow,

    One comment, and one question.

    1) I am familiar with the so-called Catholic Charismatic revivals that occurred at places like Duquesne, but I would point out that all of them were a direct result of the participants embracing aspects of protestant Pentecostal theology (for instance Wilkerson’s Cross and the Switchblade played a part in the Duquesne U. revival as Laurentin documents in his book on Catholic Pentecostalism), and that none of them that I can recall were the result of the standard practice of the Roman Catholic Mass and Sacraments.

    2) Do you honestly believe though that the “revivals” in Roman Catholicism are a result of Roman Catholic doctrine and practice? Or that revival can result from the preaching of a gospel that doesn’t include imputation or receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation?

    To everyone else looking for works on the history and theology of biblical revival (and its counterfeit “revivalism”) can I recommend the works of Iain Murray on the subject – in particular his books Pentecost-Today? and Revival and Revivalism and his audio lectures on the subject many of which are available here:

    Iain Murray’s Lectures on the subject of Revival

    – Andy

  249. magma2 said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Ken writes

    By the way what is my side? Do you know me? Have we met?

    No, we’ve never met. I saw you on the floor of the GA and have read your posts here for some time. At the GA you were ready to accuse the PCA of “grave corporate sin” if they adopted the report without the direct input of FV/NPP men. You have been Johnny one note (not three) on this blog, continually harping on the supposed relevance of Committee members failing to contact FV men to see if they agreed with the findings of the report. Everyone knows they don’t agree with the findings of the report. They all, and virtually to a man, whined that they “didn’t seem themselves” in the report.

    We even have Doug Wilson above asserting that per the report he would be in the clear. OK, Doug, let’s see you try and join the PCA and not via the MO Presbytery. Yet, in spite of this dishonest blather, Wilkins frankly saw himself in the report and as clear as day, which is why he ran as fast as he could right into the arms of Doug’s mock presbyterian denom of the CREC.

    As I have said numerous times on this and other blogs, I am not at all in support of everything the so-called FV men have said.

    That’s not what I asked Ken. I asked you to demonstrate where and how you think the report got the FV wrong? I would like to know where you think a phone call or having a Federal Divisionist on the Committee would have changed any conclusion already drawn in that report? Where have these men been misrepresented? Just you (or even them) saying so doesn’t make it so.

    FWIW, I don’t care that you don’t “support” everything the FV men said. Even Wilson uses that tact to distance himself from others when pressed into a corner. Also, what is this with the “so-called FV men”? What, are you saying the Federal Division is a fiction, something invented in the fevered minds of TR’s manufacturing a make-believe enemy?

    My concern all along has been that they be treated in a loving and just way, particularly our fellow PCA ministers.

    They have been. But, when love was about to bring Wilkins to account, as love is wont to do, he fled. In contrast, when Andy Webb laments the cowardice and tactics of these men still in the PCA and fears they too will simply run to the Krist Kirk Kult when love calls them to account for their aberrant doctrines, he’s ridiculed in ways I’ve rarely seen. I wouldn’t be surprised if Horne and Meyers routinely burn Webb in effigy complete with high heels, a skirt and a woobie.

    In my mind, this would’ve included a committee makeup that ensured the FV positions were articulated to the satisfaction of FV men.

    And what would that “satisfaction” look like Ken? It seems to me after years of interacting with the FV men that they’re only satisfied by giving assent to their damnable doctrine of salvation by covenantal obedience.

    Whether they were judged by the rest of the committee to be confessional or not would be another matter.

    What do you mean “another matter.” Their teachings were found to be completely un-confessional and in matters that cut to the vitals of the faith. Were the conclusions drawn in the report in error Ken? And, if so, how?

    As for evidence for the fact that the report got the FV content wrong, just observe how everyone associated with the FV can’t find any of their views anywhere in the report.

    That proves nothing Ken. What might have proved your point would have been if Wilkins actually stayed around to defend his beliefs. Instead he ran away. I’ll tell you what the actions of these men evidence and that they are liars. Wilkins is a liar and he lied when he said he couldn’t find his views anywhere in the report.

    Most of them even agree with all the “Declarations”. Doesn’t that at least seem odd to any of us?

    Not at all. Not any odder when Norm Shepherd saying he affirms salvation by faith, even faith alone. Again, these men have a long WRITTEN record and their system is fairly well developed, and, frankly, quite transparent. Consequently, their agreement with certain of the the declarations is no different from the old liberals who could publicly vow to uphold the Confession while at the same time denying it.

  250. David Gray said,

    February 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    >Yet, in spite of this dishonest blather, Wilkins frankly saw himself in the report

    “Magma2”, what denomination do you reside in?

  251. February 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Mark,

    OK, your apology is hereby accepted. Thanks for saying what you said. And if I came off as overly heated, which I’m sure I must’ve, please forgive me for that.

    You said that you “perceive” that I “demand agreement with [me] on these points as a standard of orthodoxy.” I’m not sure that’s true. I believe what I believe, and I argue for it, but nowhere in this thread do I recall calling anyone unorthodox for not agreeing with me.

    On to your argument….

    I agree that individual covenant members in every age of salvation history share a status, call it “covenant membership,” that can be lost due to unfaithfulness.

    But Paul’s point in Romans 10 is that Israel attempted to establish their status as Abraham’s heirs upon what he calls “the righteousness that is based on the law” which says “do this and live.”

    My point from this is that a couple things were happening under the Mosaic Covenant. On an individual level, people were saved by virtue of their believing the Abrahamic promises. But the NATION as a whole shared a collective, covenantal status that promised them earthly blessings for their collective obedience.

    This is why it is illegitimate to draw a line straight from Israel’s precarious and typological situation to ours this side of the cross and empty tomb. Yes, it is true that we as individual believers are to be warned against unbelief and subsequent falling away. But that, to my mind, is different from the FV saying something like, “Israel was elected, adopted, and justified, yet they fell away. Therefore the very same thing can be true of people today: we can lose our election, adoption, and/or justification.”

    I gotta bounce, so I’ll not be able to respond to whatever comments may follow, at least not for a few hours.

    Blessings, all….

  252. RBerman said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    #152 Ron Smith:

    No courts have concluded anything. Courts have defendants.

    Within the PCA, “court” has a specialized meaning referring to either a local church session, a presbytery as a whole, or the General Assembly. It rarely implies a trial of any sort.

    #166 Mark Horne:

    regeneration?

    As gift of saving faith? No, as Rich Lusk has pointed out, if regeneration is defined in its typical scholastic sense, such an idea is a monstrosity–his word.

    As “rebirth” into the house and family of God, the visible church? Yes.

    Mark, why are “regeneration” or “rebirth” good words to use to describe the process by which someone is externally united to the visible church through baptism? Especially knowing the import those words carry for the elect, and knowing how confused much of the Christian world is about what Reformed doctrine really teaches. But even ignoring that, I don’t see the impetus to choose the words “regeneration” or “rebirth” for what you describe.

  253. rgmann said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    249: Sean wrote,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Horne and Meyers routinely burn Webb in effigy complete with high heels, a skirt and a woobie.

    Come on, Sean, we all know that they really have one of those little voodoo dolls of Andy, and are sticking pins into it as we speak! :-)

  254. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Kevin,

    Regarding your comment 241: what you give with your right hand you take away with your left. Justification by faith may be “central” for you, but there are things that are “more central,” things which you have yet to identify.

    The problem with this is that Calvin’s famous “main hinge” statement about justification is not superseded by another “more main hinge” statement in his writings. There weren’t things that were “more central” for him than justification by faith. So, no, you do not agree with Calvin “in the main.” Yes, Calvin did turn his attention to other matters as the need arose, but he was very clear about what was most important to him, and foundational to his thinking.

    You, meanwhile, have been very clear about what you think about both sides of the Federal Vision debate, as, for instance, when you wrote:

    That’s right, the whole Federal Vision emphasis on both sides in my view is a royal waste of time and winds up completely missing the point even when guys like Wilkins and Wilson were originally on the right track.”

    [“Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong!!!” January 27, 2008.]

    After reading this and so many other statements from you of a similar nature, and after noting that your web site bears the words of N.T. Wright, “The doctrine of justification by faith is in fact the great ecumenical doctrine,” it seems to me that you treat justification as the doormat on which heretics wipe their feet, rather than the main hinge on which religion turns.

  255. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Re #236

    Jeff, shall we meet somewhere else to discuss this? I’ve always found interaction with you most helpful, but there’s a lot of other issues getting in the way here. Wilkins’ first line in your block quote seems pretty clear about the non-identical nature of RCM and ECM blessings. I was thinking of his examination answers, in which he directly quoted and agreed with Leithart’s marriage analogy, that a marriage that ends in divorce has been qualitatively different all along. I don’t keep track of what Jordan does or does not deny–I find him wacky overall, which leads him to occasional hermeneutical insights, but just as often hermeneutical speculations that get passed off as the “truly biblical” way to read Scripture. And his responses to the current controversy…well, I hope that Wilson or someone has said something to him about it.

  256. February 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Rgmann, re: #185, for someone who is justified in this life, there is absolutely nothing that can cause that justification to be lost, revoked, withdrawn, or negated. Now is that ambiguous because I didn’t use the word misplaced? The only reason I denied that we can lose justification because of a deficiency in our works is that I thought that that was what we were discussing.

    Tom Wenger, re: #170, the “just as much as” language there in my quote is emphasizing the branchness that is shared by the elect and reprobate branches. I am not saying that reprobate branches have any more of a connection to Christ than olive branches or vine branches have in those illustrations prior to being cut off. Whatever connection John 15 and Romans 11 are talking about, that is what I am talking about. Nothing more than that. But the reason this trouble continues is that I also want to assert nothing less than that.

  257. James Jordan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    #255. Sir, my response to the CURRENT matter is that back-room conspiracies, phone calls threatening presbyters if they don’t vote the right way, open violation of PCA rules, all as a way to “get” an innocent individual and drive him out — that is sin. You folks don’t like it when anyone points out sin. All you want is a nice intellectual discussion. But it’s still sin. The 9th commandment is still in the Bible, no matter how many lies are told about FV people and their beliefs.

    It’s odd that when the theological issues come up, some people can discuss them rationally, as we’ve seen here. But then again, if this matter had been a theological matter to begin with, it would have been over in 15 minutes. The controversy, however, has been driven by politics and envy since day one, and it’s sad that decent people have been ensnared in this evil.

  258. February 12, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Ron,

    Your absolutist claims and your anachronistic reading of Calvin is really of no interest to me. The fact is that pastoral wisdom dictates that some controversies are more important than others. Why is that so hard for you to swallow?

  259. Andrew Webb said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Kevin,

    I just got pinged by someone for once again engaging in exactly the sort of pointless, time wasting, blood pressure increasing, sanctification retarding, dialogue I promised I would endeavor to avoid. So I’ll let this be the last of my posts. You may have the last word.

    Look, I find it more than mildly ironic that the individual who accuses me of a pattern of “character assassination” has in one thread called me everything from a blubberer, a girly-man, a moaner, illiterate, unlearned, Anabaptist, and insane. As I noted before, you despise me and have for years, I can live with that and move on. Thankfully at the end of time, according to the Word I don’t have to stand at Kevin D. Johnson’s judgment seat.

    Look, I find it mildly humorous that someone who signed off on Webber’s Ancient Future Faith document which makes the church year, music, the table, the word, etc. all equally part of the “incarnational” message of salvation, and a rather romantic notion of the “ancient church” the model for the “post-modern” church is suddenly the great defender of the Reformation and the primacy of Gospel Preaching in revival. Given your on again off again love/hate relationship with the Roman Catholic church and dialogues Like this one (oh look, there’s that bad insane guy Andy Webb again) it just doesn’t seem convincing, at least in my crazy guy world at least.

    Anyway, tell you what, I’ll go back to trying to do what I think I was called to do, and you can go back to complaining about it, and I promise not to react anymore.

    Ok?

    – Andy

  260. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Doug,

    Regarding your comment 162 (in which you responded to my comment 159): you basically repeated what I already understood you to be saying, but you did not address the bulk of my questions, which concerned the relationship between your two kinds of covenantal union with Christ and justification. To summarize the issues on which I was trying to get clarification: I wanted to know how it can be possible for someone to be in covenantal union with Christ and not be justified, especially under the terms of the New Covenant as described in Jer. 31, Heb. 8, and 2 Cor. 3.

    But since then Tom Wenger posted comment 170, and a quote from you that he included in it helps me to put a sharper point on my line of inquiry. He quoted you as follows:

    “You can be on the tree, someone can be on the tree right next to you and HE IS AS MUCH ON THE TREE AS YOU ARE, HE’S AS MUCH A PARTAKER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE, HE IS AS MUCH A MEMBER OF CHRIST AS YOU ARE and he is cut away and you are not and you stand by faith, so don’t be haughty, but fear.” [Wilson, “Visible and Invisible Church Revisited,” Lecture delivered at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference]

    So what I’d like to know is, how can a “non-elect covenant member” be as much of a partaker of Christ and as much of a member of Christ as an elect covenant member, and still not be justified? It seems to me that as soon as you say that one covenant member is justified and another covenant member is not, that the latter is not as much a member as the former, since the former is receiving covenant blessings that the latter is not.

    This is similar to the question I was already going to ask, in light of your reference to “unjustified members of the Justified Body”? (“Reformed,” 175): if a non-elect person is a covenant member because he is part of the Covenant Body (the church), why is a non-elect person an unjustified member of the Justified Body in your thinking?

  261. February 12, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Andy,

    You must have some sort of inferiority complex because it’s not that I don’t like you. I certainly don’t despise you as you have repeatedly claimed. I’m sure you’re a nice chap in person.

    It’s that I just don’t agree with you and I don’t appreciate the way you try to paint me in a corner in regards to what it is I do believe and advocate.

  262. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Kevin,

    Your comment 258 reminds me of on of my favorite dialogue exchanges in The Princess Bride

    Vizzini: He didn’t fall? Inconceivable!
    Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Absolutist…anachronistic…repristination…you and your cohorts keep using those words. I don’t think they mean what you think they mean.

  263. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    James,

    I think there is also something in the Bible about every accusation being confirmed in the mouths of two or three witnesses. Or is that not in your Bible?

  264. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Mr Jordan you write in #255.
    “Sir, my response to the CURRENT matter is that back-room conspiracies, phone calls threatening presbyters if they don’t vote the right way, open violation of PCA rules, all as a way to “get” an innocent individual and drive him out — that is sin.”

    Mr. Jordan, could you PLEASE tell us who has received phone calls threatening presbyters if they don’t vote the right way? I am in the Presbytery and know everyone well. The only phone call I got asking me to change my perspective, asking me what would need to happen to change my vote, came from a pro-FV proponent (NOT Steve Wilkins, who has been gracious even in disagreement). Who is bearing false witness now?

    You don’t know of what you speak. Please keep your mouth.

  265. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    shut

  266. February 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Heh. Ron. Ironically, you and Catholic apologist Mark Shea agree. Maybe you two can start a fan club or something.

    These sorts of non-responses really are tiring Ron. Can you please go chase some other guy you disagree with?

  267. James Jordan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Mr. Davis, I fear that I do know what I’m talking about. And time will tell.

  268. February 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    The truth tends to come out in the end, that is for sure.

  269. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    I fear that you are what you are talking about

  270. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    James,

    There is a biblical process for airing the kinds of accusations you have brought to this blog. It is utterly disgraceful that you have chosen to disobey it so flagrantly. Shame on you!

  271. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    BTW, could you answer my questions to substantiate your scathing accusations? I really want to know about the environment I am in that you speak so confidently.

  272. James Jordan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    #270 Mr. Henzel, you are right that the Bible has rules. They have been violated consistently by the PCA and the anti-FV crusade for several years now. They are violated all over the 269 entries that preceded yours. Surely you don’t want suddenly to invoke them now?

  273. February 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Andy, re: #128, you said:

    Personally, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of going through the tedious process of bringing overtures against the FV men in Missouri, Ohio Valley, PNW etc. setting all the processes in place and then having them flee to the CREC as soon as the stage is actually set for a trial. I don’t know if the rubber noses were an indication that they are having fun in this process, but I know this is about the furthest thing from “fun” I’ve experienced to date. It’s like a root canal that just never ends.

    Why does it have to be this tedious process. Why doesn’t someone simply bring charges? Then the person concerned can’t flee, and the person bringing the charges has to prove his assertions. You just mentioned three presbyteries, four if we count Louisiana, where no one is convinced enough, courageous enough, or checked-out enough to take this on. Consequently it has to be done through this tedious process of shooting from a distance, submitting overtures, and getting the process into the bureaucratic mezzanine. This doesn’t have to be like a series of root canals — not if these presbyteries have men in them.
    Put another way, Steve was not running from charges. He repeatedly asked men in his presbytery to bring charges — which would have closed the CREC avenue of escape had it been done. But it wasn’t done, and so Steve left as a member in good standing because he saw the handwriting on the wall, that is to say, he saw how this was going to unfold. So if you don’t want to keep doing this over and over and over again, then someone should bring charges.

  274. James Jordan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    #271 Mr. Davis, your environment is well described in #273. Not that it’s anything new.

  275. February 12, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Ron, re: #260, you asked:

    So what I’d like to know is, how can a “non-elect covenant member” be as much of a partaker of Christ and as much of a member of Christ as an elect covenant member, and still not be justified?

    I am not sure, but I think I have answered this question before on this blog, but here it is again. You ask how, and I don’t know how. I know that, not how. The similarities between the elect and reprobate covenant members are described in the Bible in terms of connection and union (living branches and dead branches are both connected branches). The differences between them are described in terms of fruitfulness and lack of fruitfulness. So there is a real and substantive difference, forever, and there is also commonality, temporarily.

  276. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I love it when people write scathing essays on how they perceive others violating the 9th Commandment and then do the same thing that they have perceived.

  277. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Mr. Wilson is right that someone bringing charges can speed the process up. The case in LAP was a bit complicated by the fact that the SJC mandated that we basically “try” Rev Wilkins (the standard that they demanded for examining his views equaled if not exceeded standards for a trial) without a formal trial. After that process, I was convinced that Rev Wilkins should be tried and when I moved this to presbytery, I was unfairly lambasted by many presbyters (we have since made up). At that point, bringing charges seemed out of place, for 1, because LAP had basically already had a trial and voiced where we stood & 2 because I really didn’t want to bear the responsibility for putting the case in the hands of the SJC who I felt did not give us a fair hearing nor follow appropriate process in how they handled the memorial. But other presbyteries are not currently shackled with those complications.

  278. Niels Jacobson said,

    February 12, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Gentlemen:

    I have been a member of a small PCA church and one of my sons is married to the daughter of a CREC pastor. My children take communion with me every Sunday. However, I no longer identify myself as a paedo-baptist or as a proponent of paedo-communion because of the obvious lack of heart for the unity of the body expressed in discourse of the kind I have been watching unfold here. Sincerely, Niels Jacobson Atlanta GA

  279. Niels Jacobson said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Gentlemen:

    I have been watching this dispute unfold, and I have a distinct sense that the great concern for the welfare of the covenant children has fallen by the wayside in the lust for pseudo-rhetorical sparring.

  280. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Joshua (#255):

    I’m of two minds about your offer to discuss Wilkins’ responses. On the one hand, I would like to be straight in my mind about what he actually does believe. On the other, I don’t know whether the two of us discussing him would accomplish that.

    But if I were discuss it with anyone, you would be on the short list. :)

    Tell ya what: if you see any Wilkins posts on my blog, take that as an open invitation.

    Jeff Cagle

  281. Ron Henzel said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    James,

    You wrote in comment 272:

    #270 Mr. Henzel, you are right that the Bible has rules. They have been violated consistently by the PCA and the anti-FV crusade for several years now. They are violated all over the 269 entries that preceded yours. Surely you don’t want suddenly to invoke them now?

    Since twelve of those 269 entries were mine, perhaps I should assume that you are accusing me of violating Scripture in my comments as well. But then, seven of those 269 entries were yours.

    Hmmm…

  282. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I would also like to agree with Mr. Wilson, that Steve was not running from charges. I sincerely believe that he left for the good of our presbytery and for the peace of the denomination. I think that was the honorable move. I suggested that course of action over a year ago. How would a trial have helped him, our presbytery, or our denomination?

    I believe that a fair and impartial jury in the PCA (is that possible?) would likely have found that he has departed from the Westminster Standards in some narrow but critical areas that place him squarely in the traditions of Anglicans and Lutherans but that departs from the mainstream Reformed Presbyterian tradition. So he would not be a heretic (in the sense that he has departed from Christian orthodoxy) and he would be forced to find a home in a denomination or confederation or association that allowed for broader views. In effect, the very thing that happened…only there is a possibility that LAP will not be forced to pay a pound of flesh as a ransom for Wilkins’ head and much controversy that would have inevitably arisen around such a politically-charged trial is avoided.

  283. David Weiner said,

    February 12, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Mark, re: 188,

    Based on your suggestion I went back and read #164 and I must admit that I can’t see any reference to the blood of Christ. So I am confused by your answer in #188.

    Also, my question must have been poorly stated since I can’t connect your answer to it. Let me provide one more piece of the puzzle and then ask that you please reread my question (I’ll insert it below so you won’t have to go searching) and if you are still satisfied with your answer, great. And, thanks for your time and efforts.

    I understand that the Blood was the payment; but not the appropriation of the blessings. That to appropriate any of them there must be saving faith. Faith of the permanent kind. And further that no reprobate whether in or out of the visible church has saving Faith. So my question from #176:

    Would you be so kind as to describe the way in which the blood of Christ relates to the reprobate in the visible church in contrast to the way in which it relates to the reprobate who are not in the visible church.

  284. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Example #1 of Dominique Aquila circulating the court of the PCA regarding the case of Steve Wilkins and LA Presbytery.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:YY02kUAn5-IJ:www.knoxseminary.org/downloads/louisiana%2520response.pdf+%22Your+Final+Report+and+Recommendations+on+Federal+Vision+Theology%22+Steve+Wilkins&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us

    If this does not come through, I can email you the PDF version of this (hqdavis (at) gmail (dot) com)

    Note that the entire text of this letter was sent out on August 12, 2005, to all PCA TEs and many REs through the ByFaith (PCA denominational web information) email. This was a letter by personal letter of 7 PCA TEs and no official action of any presbytery…2 of the TEs were presbyters of Central Carolina Presbytery who submitted the memorial. As I wrote then: “To have them sent out to all the churches and pastors in the PCA is deeply troubling and, in my opinion, wrong. BCO 42-4 and 43-2 clearly states that “No attempt should be made to circularize the court to which complaint is being made by either party”. I know that technically, this issue is not currently before the court of the GA, but the possibility of it coming before this court is substantial. I not sure whether having the letter sent to all churches and pastors breaks the letter of the law (BCO) but it sure seems to violate the spirit of the law.”

    Some of these apologized when I challenged them that this seemed like flagrant circularizing of the court… Mr. Aquila was not one who apologized to our presbytery. My desire in posting this is not to put any of these men in a bad light, for I respect these men, but only to substantiate my previous claims that LAP is not getting a fair hearing and that the chair should have recused himself from this case long ago. The failure for him to do so has severely tainted this case and the reputation of the SJC and of the PCA.

    Note that this is the CHAIRMAN of the SJC handling this case who has NOT recused himself but on the contrary has pressed hard for an aggressive approach to this case.

    Personally I agreed with many of the concerns and perspectives offered in their letter, but the fact that this was broadcast to the entire PCA through ByFaith outraged me as blatant circularization (but what good would protesting–how could you uncircularize a letter that has already been circularized, the damage had already been done).

    WOW, looking back even now, this circularization is even more disturbing than it was then.

    Most of the other examples are promoting conferences that were advertised as anti FV. I could detail these if you like, but would prefer not to spend the time detailing these unless greatly needed.

  285. magma2 said,

    February 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Spin wiz Wilson writes:

    Put another way, Steve was not running from charges. He repeatedly asked men in his presbytery to bring charges — which would have closed the CREC avenue of escape had it been done.

    LOL! Unbelievable. The LAP which covered for Wilkins for years until they were finally forced to deal with his gross doctrinal errors and it’s at that precise moment Wilkins jumps ship and that’s not running away??? What do you call it then Doug? Fleeing?

    I mean there was nothing casual about Wilkins departure. As soon as he got word that charges were about to be filed and the LAP wasn’t going to be his lap dog, he started his car and floored it. Then he turns to give the PCA one last Bronx cheer on his way out the driveway. Face it Doug, the writing was on the wall and he couldn’t call the tune any longer in the LAP so he ran like the dishonest coward that he is. What a man of conviction. FWIW I’m glad he’s in the CREC. My guess is there will be a few more men heading your way in short order. As others have noted, the Federal Division is really a growth industry for the CREC isn’t it Doug.

  286. David Gray said,

    February 12, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    >FWIW I’m glad he’s in the CREC.

    So “Magma2”, what are you in?

  287. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 12, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Howard (#282):

    I’m confused. You cited this as an example of Mr. Aquila circularizing, but the report bears entirely different names.

    Was the report itself improper, or its mode of distribution, or what?

    Thanks,
    Jeff Cagle

  288. Mark Horne said,

    February 12, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    #283

    I don’t know what to say but what I said:

    The blood of Christ gives to the reprobate in the visible church, ““being once enlightened, tasting of the heavenly gift, being a partaker of the Holy Spirit, have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.” and/or “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;”

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say about payment v. appropriation. Christ died to give some people only temporary gifts and others eternal gifts. We’re talking about a class in the former category.

  289. February 12, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I’m just posting again to see if we can crank this baby up and over three hundred comments. That would just be too cool. :)

  290. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 12, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Jimmy Jordan, please give facts concerning all these charges you make against the PCA and the SJC.

  291. David Gray said,

    February 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    >Jimmy Jordan

    Yes, you are one scary fellow…

  292. Ron Smith said,

    February 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    RE: 208

    Justification is the final verdict brought into the present, therefore there is NOTHING that one must do to “maintain possession” of it.

    But the westminster confession states that the final judgment is in accordance with “what they have done in the body, whether good or evil”. They also cited Romans 2 has proof. But even if they didn’t, isn’t justification a positive judgment? So a positive final judgment would be a final justification. The WCF says this is in accordance with “what they have done in the body, whether good or evil”.

  293. February 12, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    C’mon we can do it!!!!! :)

  294. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Jeff (#287):

    Good question: “Was the report itself improper, or its mode of distribution, or what?”

    The letter as addressed to LAP was very appropriate in itself. However, when distributed to every TE & many REs, including most if not all on the SJC, it moved definitively IMO to circularizing the court for a matter that all involved had to know would become a case in the PCA, at least at the presbytery level and quite likely at the SJC level. The fact that 2 of the authors were from Central Carolina Presbytery who almost immediately sent the memorial to the SJC, chaired by the mass distributor of the letter, leaves very little room for explaining this away.

  295. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    To James Jordan: Are you at all related to John Robbins?

  296. Jonathan said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    “Then the person concerned can’t flee, and the person bringing the charges has to prove his assertions.”

    you mean like when Sproul Jr. joined the CREC while the RPCGA was in the process of bringing him to trial……hmmmm but of course you, Doug Wilson, would never encourage someone to rebel against his duly constituted authority would you?????????

    Two more things……First, John Robbins has been warning you about men like James Jordan since I think 1995. You might wanna reconsider throwing spit wads at him.

    Second, Confessional Lutherans wouldn’t have anything to do with FV, let alone the reformed. Confessional Lutherans put their faith in the cross of Christ not in their baptism.

  297. Howard Davis said,

    February 12, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Neils (#278-279): My heart truly goes out to you. I grieve to hear your frustration and I apologize for any part that I have played in your being soured.

    Because our perspectives play out in the larger context of the story of our lives, I would doubt that this post and its associated comments play an enormous role in your perspective changing. But I can understand being soured at the fighting nature of the church. My burden is for the Church and for learning to love righteousness (more than being right) and to hate wickedness (especially in ourselves). That is what I see being compromised by this entire issues, with both sides of this issue. Ultimately, a concern for the Church and pouring out our lives with sacrificial love and Gospel-driven obedience for the health of the Church is the best way IMO to show concern for our covenant children.

    Along those lines, I would ask you to reserve judgment of our character until you have spoken to those who know us in the long-range course of our lives. Ask people in our presbytery about my desire for unity…call Steve Wilkins about this if you’d like. For I deeply love and respect this man and his ministry at Auburn Avenue, even though I disagree strongly at a few important theological points.

    Ultimately truth should be seen in the integrity of our lives but is not determined by the integrity of our lives. The Scriptures must be what shapes our view of truth; community ought to echo the Scriptures and it is all of our callings to work to that end. And blogs are a terrible place to go if you want to feel the love, esp blogs discussing controversial issues, for they tend to be filled with people who are a bit bulldogish and love controversy too much. People on blogs are a bit like people in their cars; outside their cars/blogs they can be an incredible person; but watch out when they step in their vehicle.

    That is why I need to stay away for blogs. So to that end, I bid adieu and apologize for any inappropriate comments, even to Mr. Jordan, though it is true that Mr. Jordan has been a fountain of destructive controversy and mean-spirited rhetoric for many decades.

    The larger context of my story being in Louisiana Presbytery for the last 6 years as a young pastor (I was 27 when I arrived) is that I have seen theological problems from the FV bunch, abuses by the SJC, and villanizing of those who disagree by folks on both sides of this issue. Oh that the Lord would rend the heavens and come down…

    As Jesus prayed…
    “I do not ask for these [the disciples] only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word [us], that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

    Isaiah 62:1-5
    For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
    [2] The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory,
    and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.
    [3] You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
    [4] You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
    [5] For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

    May all of us hear and heed Mr. Jacobson’s challenge. May we pray for and pursue the beauty of the Bride as seen in self-effacing, self-sacrificial, others-embracing, others-esteeming unity that is our Savior’s passion.

  298. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Mr. Jacobson,

    In Comment #279, you said, “I have been watching this dispute unfold, and I have a distinct sense that the great concern for the welfare of the covenant children has fallen by the wayside in the lust for pseudo-rhetorical sparring.”

    I’m wondering how you can possibly make this assertion. What evidence have you witnessed that could give you any window into what we do and/or say about our covenant children or our view of the issue in general?

    Both sides have been clear here, that though they disagree, they are contending for the essence of what the Gospel is. The fact that the debate has gotten heated and even overly heated at times, does not mean that they are neglecting the “great concern for the welfare of the covenant children”, or that the reason is a “lust for pseudo-rhetorical sparring.”

    That is quite a charge to level and it worries me that you would marginalize the centrality of the Gospel to such an extent. I’ll grant that some posts were out of line, but the men here are contending for the Gospel. That CLEARLY supersedes the welfare of covenant children because without it there is no concept of covenant or welfare of any kind.

    I’m really at a loss to understand what your complaint is really about. It honestly reminds me of someone holding up a sign at a crucial arms summit arms summit that reads, “You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms.”

    Obviously, the welfare of covenant children is incredibly important; I would hope that you see that defending and preaching a Gospel that is by grace alone through faith alone is perhaps the most important thing we can do for them.

  299. Richard said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    #257 James Jordon said:
    “..if this matter had been a theological matter to begin with, it would have been over in 15 minutes. The controversy, however, has been driven by politics and envy since day one,and it’s sad that decent people have been ensnared in this evil”
    James, please help me escape this evil. I have lost track. First off, when was “day one”? Second, what was the theological matter at hand? We are all(I am) willing to put politics and envy aside for 15 minutes so you can take us all back in time and set things right. Okay, we’re back to day one. Ready, set, GO!

  300. Tom Wenger said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Sorry, make that only one arms summit.

  301. G. Gusack said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I just read through all of the posts and found an interesting narrative. Howard Davis raised some questions about the chair of the SJC, alluding to apparent irregularities. Some of the words he uses are loaded with innuendos, leaving the impression of dastardly acts. Yet, further in this thread someone alleged that phone calls were made to LAP presbyters attempting to get them to vote a certain way. To this allegation Howard fulminates about the need “to substantiate your scathing accusations.” Interesting that he demanded substantiation for certain alleged actions but doesn’t provide it for his allegations against the chair of the SJC. What is that about the goose and the gander? Note the following:

    In #24 Howard raises questions that he obviously believes are appropriate for him to raise:
    “Why did the chair of SJC, consciously ’stack the committee’ going against Roberts Rules and against the advice of the Stated Clerk? [So the chair of the SJC “consciously” acted? I thought it was the moderator of the General Assembly that appointed the committee? Oh, and we can’t miss the loaded “stack.”] Why has he promoted anti-Steve Wilkins materials through the By Faith emails? Why has he not recused himself from proceedings in light of voiced bias against Rev Wilkins?”

    But then Howard demands that no allegations be raised against folks within his sphere. In #264 Howard wrote:
    …”could you PLEASE tell us who has received phone calls threatening presbyters if they don’t vote the right way? I am in the Presbytery [LAP] and know everyone well. …”

    And again in #271 Howard wrote: “…could you answer my questions to substantiate your scathing accusations?”

    Then in #276 Howard preaches to others but not to himself (Is a “Physician, heal thyself,” in order here?): “I love it when people write scathing essays on how they perceive others violating the 9th Commandment and then do the same thing that they have perceived.”

    And in #284 Howard compares apples and oranges:
    “As I wrote then [Aug. 2005]: ‘To have them sent out to all the churches and pastors in the PCA is deeply troubling and, in my opinion, wrong. BCO 42-4 and 43-2 clearly states that ‘No attempt should be made to circularize the court to which complaint is being made by either party.’ I know that technically, this issue is not currently before the court of the GA, but the possibility of it coming before this court is substantial. I not sure whether having the letter sent to all churches and pastors breaks the letter of the law (BCO) but it sure seems to violate the spirit of the law.'”

    I looked back to some PCA minutes and found that in Aug. 2005 there was no case about LAP in any court in the PCA, Mr. Aquila was not the chair of the SJC, and no one could predict that there would be a case. The references to BCO 42-4 and 43-2 are completely bogus. To circularize a court requires that there be an actual case before an actual court (might be doesn’t cut it). Once a case is before a court then it is inappropriate to write or speak with members of the court with the intent of influencing them. Members of the church are not prohibited from writing or speaking to others about a pending case, they just can’t circularize court members. Howard is being disingenuous by misapplying provisions of the BCO in a completely inappropriate manner. Sounds like ” scathing accusations,” doesn’t it?

  302. barlow said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Andy, you asked if I believe “that revival can result from the preaching of a gospel that doesn’t include imputation or receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation”

    Yes, I think preaching the gospel can be done quite well without the idea of imputation so long as the alternative to imputation language isn’t “inherent righteousness” language. As for the second part – receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation – I think preaching the gospel requires that, and I also think that a lot of Roman Catholics believe that as well.

    I don’t know how to take the spiritual temperature of a revival. I’m personally skeptical about the whole shooting match, personally, whether the revival is Protestant or Catholic, Brownsville or Northampton. Relationships have a narrative structure that may include periods of intense emotion or sudden commitment, but most relationships consist of “navigating” and learning to love and serve and cherish day by day. But I would rejoice for God to quicken a lot of people at one time and place, and so how can any Calvinist deny the possibility of a revival?

  303. G. Gusack said,

    February 12, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Wow! #300. Is that eschatological?

  304. February 12, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Hey Barlow,

    I’ve not followed the revivals bits of this long thread closely, so maybe this has already been said, but I would argue, along with Nevin, that revival is part and parcel of the “system of the catechism,” provided it is defined as God’s extraordinary blessing upon his ordinary means of grace.

  305. February 13, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I felt compelled to be # 300 however more importantly as I’ve read through these posts I’ve learned a lot about the contrast between what is orthodox and what is truly disturbing about the FV. As already stated heebeejeebies.

  306. February 13, 2008 at 12:37 am

    And now…everyone can say, “the comment thread that garnered OVER three hundred comments”!!! :)

    Extreme coolness! :)

  307. Andrew Webb said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Re: 284

    Howard,

    You wrote:

    Note that the entire text of this letter was sent out on August 12, 2005, to all PCA TEs and many REs through the ByFaith (PCA denominational web information) email. This was a letter by personal letter of 7 PCA TEs and no official action of any presbytery…2 of the TEs were presbyters of Central Carolina Presbytery who submitted the memorial.

    I hate to be the one to point this out, but since I’m a member of Central Carolina I can confidently tell you that NONE of the TEs mentioned in the letter are from my Presbytery, 1 is from Western Carolina (Chris Hutchinson), but none are from CCP. Who told you there were Central Carolina Presbyters on the letter?

    Your Servant in Christ,

    Andy

  308. February 13, 2008 at 3:52 am

    magma, re: #285, you said:

    LOL! Unbelievable. The LAP which covered for Wilkins for years until they were finally forced to deal with his gross doctrinal errors and it’s at that precise moment Wilkins jumps ship and that’s not running away??? What do you call it then Doug? Fleeing?

    A careful and judicious way of putting this would have been to say, “When they were finally required to deal with what appeared to some to be indictable doctrinal errors, but which an objective trial would have determined one way or the other . . .” Your rhetoric reveals the precise nature of the problem. Wilkins would not have been tried by the SJC in order to find out what he taught and believed. Your polity says that Wilkins left as a member in good standing. You believe, without every having heard his reply to charges in open court, that he is guilty of gross doctrinal errors. Is this mentality of yours qualified to sit on a body like the SJC? If you were on the SJC, would you recuse yourself on this case? Was Louisiana going to be tried (and after them Wilkins) by men in your frame of mind?

    Of course, Steve was leaving in order to avoid something. That much is obvious, and none of us are denying it. What I said earlier is that he was not running from charges, which he wasn’t. No charges had been filed against him. He was running from a fix, that was what we call in.

  309. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

    A high-profile blogger who revises history and embellishes the truth wrote:

    Of course, Steve was leaving in order to avoid something. That much is obvious, and none of us are denying it. What I said earlier is that he was not running from charges, which he wasn’t. No charges had been filed against him. He was running from a fix, that was what we call in.

    A careful and judicious way of putting this would have been to say, “Steven “Machen” Wilkins fled the PCA in order to evade accountability to his covenantal vows, and the CREC welcomed him with open arms because, as in the cases of defrocked ministers Burke Shade & RC Sproul Jr, as well as Dennis Tuuri, the CREC has adopted a policy of harboring the Worst Lot of All.

    Thank you.

  310. Don Hogan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:30 am

    magma #285

    “so he ran like the dishonest coward that he is. What a man of conviction.”

    Your rhetoric is obnoxious. You should be censured.

  311. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Re: #303

    Doug, I don’t entirely buy this explanation of Steve’s behavior. Yes, I can appreciate that he was certain which way the wind would blow. But still and all, your argument fails on several points.

    (1) The structure of your argument is, “Other people were going to do bad things, so he had to leave.” Granted that this is often a move of prudence (Prov 22.3), but it’s certainly not the approach that Shadrach and friends took; nor Peter before the Sanhedrin.

    If what Steve taught was a matter of conscience for him, then it seems like he ought to have given it a fair representation at a trial. The CREC would have gladly accepted him even had he been deposed on doctrinal grounds.

    (I realize I’m playing Tuesday-morning quarterback here; I might have done the same as him. But the fundamental rationale “They were wrong, so I’m justified” strikes me as poor)

    (2) Your standard for an “unfixed” court requires that the jury not bring an opinion about the merits of the case into the courtroom. But because of the construction of church courts — including those of the CREC — such a standard is impossible to meet.

    Unlike American civil courts, the prosecutorial function and the judicial function are rolled into one body in the PCA. A session BOTH indicts and tries a case.

    Thus, by the time a session gets around to indicting, it already has some good idea of what it believes concerning the charges.

    You can’t erase that, Doug, unless you create an entirely new judicial structure.

    So in the case of the SJC — of course they thought Steve’s writings were in error. They indicted LAP for that reason. What else would you want? That they deliberately recuse themselves from the evidence before they bring indictments?

    (3) What SJC was relatively certain of is that Steve’s writings express a doctrinal error. There is an important distinction made between his writings and what he himself believes. As you can see from BCO 34-5 and 6, part of a heresy trial is to determine whether a man’s errors spring from his settled beliefs or from a weakness of human understanding.

    That would have been the purpose of the trial.

    Now, what your argument does provide, I think, is a rationale for reverting back to non-standing judicial committees. It seems to me that if there are going to be several FV cases, they ought to be tried by different groups of men.

    My $0.02 on a snow day.

    Jeff Cagle

  312. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Andy Webb,

    While I’m thinking about church discipline, there’s something bothering me that I want to ask about.

    As we all know, the purpose of church discipline is restoration of a brother (Matt. 18). So for example, had Steve eventually been indicted and gone to trial, then the two best outcomes would have been either exoneration (if warranted) or else repentance.

    And yet, you’ve stated that your aim is to bring charges against every FV proponent for the purpose of driving them out of the denomination.

    Can you explain your rationale? On the face, it seems like you’re using discipline for a different purpose.

    Thanks,
    Jeff Cagle

  313. curate said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:51 am

    On the topic of Sam Duncan, it seems to me that he is an honourable man acting honourably.

    1. He really believes that Steve Wilkins is out of bounds theologically, and it is right and proper that he acts according to his convictions.

    2. Reading his minority opinion in the article above, he also believes that no-one in the LaP will receive a fair trial because others are not judging impartially, but for reasons of personal hostility.

    This is a lose/lose situation. LaP cannot win, and neither can the PCA SJC, because their chief prosecutor has said that the SJC cannot judge impartially. Their moral authority is irrevocably lost in this case.

    It seems to me that Mr. Duncan knows this.

    What to do? Why not call in a third party to judge the case, one that is acceptable to both the PCA GA and SJC, and LaP.

  314. Ken Christian said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:02 am

    #308 – Best idea I have heard in a long time.

  315. Niels Jacobson said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Mr. Wenger,

    Thank you for your response (296-297). Your analogy of a ‘crucial arms summit’ (even in the singular) is disturbing to me. Arms summits (plural) are not necessary between allies — are they? Are we not talking here about conference between allies? My reading of history indicates that the beneficiary of escalating disputes between allies is usually the enemy.

    The state of the visible church, as far as I can see, indicates that it must be easier to ASSERT that one is contending for the essence of the Gospel, than to SHOW that he believes the unity of the Body. You think that I marginalize the centrality of the gospel. I hope I do not. Nor would I marginalize the unity of the Body. As Howard Davis reminded us above, this is the Lord’s prayer for His people. Dare we presume that our Gospel disputes are essential, and the Lord’s WILL accidental ? That matters of debate (and therefore of UNcertainty) supersede matters of certainty (‘that they may be one, as We are one’) ? I ask of both sides of this dispute, ‘What true proclamation of reconciliation between God and man yields yet another formal parting of ways between CHRISTIAN men?’ How is it that the ministers of reconciliation can be so irreconcilable? A divided Body is a lie about the Christ. It seems to me that it would occur to a thoughtful child that the outcome of these discussions might well be compared to a great building being dismantled, or to a body being dismembered, or to a great divorce. What good word, what eucharistic message, is this?

    But I have no argument with anyone who finds this preposterous.

    Yours in hope, Niels Jacobson

  316. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Re: 285

    Howard,

    You said:

    “Note that this is the CHAIRMAN of the SJC handling this case who has NOT recused himself but on the contrary has pressed hard for an aggressive approach to this case.”

    Just a couple of questions:
    1. Was Dr. Aquila chairman of the SJC in 2005?
    2. Have you asked him – or spoken to him about the concerns you are raising in this post?
    3. Have you asked him, how items get into or printed in the ByFaith Newsletter and/or why he printed this communication?
    4. How many men, since 2002, do you know who contacted either LAP or Wilkins himself about their concern with his teaching FV?
    5. I know I have just returned to service on the SJC (my term began at the close of this past GA), so can you tell me how Dr. Aquila “has pressed hard for an aggressive approach to this case?”
    I just want to make sure you practice what you preach – Re:276

    Bill

  317. Tom Wenger said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Mr. Jacobson,

    It seems pretty clear from your post that you believe unity is more essential than preserving the Gospel. What would your arguments have been to the Reformers? I mean, they affected the worst split in the history of the church. Did they err in this?

    The lashing that Paul gives to the Galatians, that anyone who preaches a different Gospel be eternally condemned, is stronger than any other rebuke he gives, even to the Corinthians who were being arrogantly divisive.

    I’m not in favor of division at all. But the history of Christianity shows that when people value unity over truth things go south very quickly.

    The very fact that you believe this debate fall into the disputable matters category, illustrates that you have most likely marginalized the Gospel in some fashion.

  318. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Bill,

    I really am checking out of the blog-response mode but I will seek to answer any questions that you have on what I have written heretofore…

    1. I don’t know (he was SJC chair in 2006 for sure and likely on the SJC in 2005), but what I do know is that he was party to circularizing the court in 2005 about a case that he has been very aggressive on.
    2. No I have not confronted him about these issues: largely, because it is my impression that as a party to the case (being a member of LAP) that would break SJC rules.
    3. Dominic was challenged by Dale Peacock from LAP about this. Here is Dominic’s response:

    > Dale, Thank you for your comments regarding the
    > “Communication to Louisiana Presbytery” that was in
    > this week’s Byfaithonline Newsletter. Please be
    > assured that there was no malice aforethought in
    > referring to the communication. My sense is that
    > there is a great interest within the PCA about
    > matters and events related to the current discussion
    > on Federal Vision and related namesakes. I did not
    > interpret the communication as circularizing the
    > court since Louisiana Presbytery had concluded the
    > matter on TE Wilkins. I can agree that the
    > communication does request the Presbytery to review
    > its decision, but obviously the Presbytery can
    > choose to respond by referring to its July 16, 2005
    > action and leave it at that. It is also possible to
    > interpret the communication as a commentary on the
    > Presbytery’s final decision. You asked if this was
    > an appropriate action and whether decisions of the
    > SJC had ever been written about. You know that there
    > have been a number of times when written
    > commentaries were made regarding SJC decisions, even
    > though those commentaries would not change the
    > decision (as an example, I recall David Lachman
    > writing a lengthy commentary presenting his defense
    > in the former Presbyterian and Reformed News after
    > the SJC failed to sustain his appeal). It is my
    > desire to serve the PCA through the weekly
    > newsletter by keeping the Church informed about
    > matters of interest, and I mentioned above, the
    > recent matters in Louisiana Presbytery were of
    > interest to the Church. For the record, if I had
    > received a communication addressed to Louisiana
    > Presbytery (as the one you said you had received)
    > indicating its support of the Presbytery’s actions,
    > I would have been happy to publish the URL in the
    > same manner as I did the other. Blessings, Dominic
    > Aquila, EditorByfaithonline Newsletter

    4. I don’t see the relevance of this question to the compromises that have been made by the SJC and its chairman. But I would venture to say that the number is great and would include ME and many of my close friends. I have had endless conversations with Steve Wilkins to both understand his perspectives and to confront him on what I viewed as vital errors.

    5. I witnessed this in October 2006 when I was before the SJC defending LAP in reference to the memorial. The treatment I received was directly against the SJCM, and yet when I protested quoting the BCO and SJCM, the chair rebuffed my protest without addressing a justification. In April 2007 I heard him make statements publicly to that effect. If you want to know more, just read Sam Duncan’s resignation as prosecutor. And this is all that I know from being in public eye, if I was a betting man, I’d bet there is even more.

    I have sought in everything to bear a true witness, based on what I have seen and experienced, that has been affirmed by corroborating testimony of others who are close to me.

    The crazy thing with all this is that LAP is at great risk of being burned at the stake for supposedly breaking rules that the BCO does not mandate by a group that is breaking the rules that the BCO does mandate. We will be tried…SJC cannot be tried.

    How do the prosecutor and the Stated Clerk appeal for dismissal of charge #1 and the motion to dismiss this not even receive a second that it might be discussed and debated? At this point, if there is not something compromised within the SJC (which is a possibility), there is the strong appearance of such. A strong presumption of guilt as it were, from my perspective. But what recourse, what memorial, is available for addressing violations by the SJC of the BCO? I tried to figure that out after our first memorial hearing and was told repeatedly by those who would know that there is none. That is quite likely necessary since there has to be a court of final jurisdiction, but that fact demands that court be above reproach, but from the compromises in following BCO and SJCM (bending and spinning the rules at best) along with the quite public actions of the SJC chair have compromised the appearance of that court being above reproach.

    I personally have very little to gain from this and much to lose, for I am no friend of the FV. If the reputation of our denomination and of our Lord were not on the line, I would never have written any of this. But SJC’s actions & Dominic’s desire to “make LAP an example to MO and NWP presbyteries” demand action that hardly anyone else seems willing to take.

  319. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:31 am

    A couple of things I have noticed in this thread. First, it started as mostly an attack on the SJC, but has morphed mostly into a debate on the federal vision. Why? I think it is simply because those making the attacks were asked to prove their accusations against the SJC with facts and they could not do so. I am still waiting on ANYONE to show how the SJC acted contrary to the constitution of the PCA and NO ONE has even attempted to do so as yet.
    Second, I have also noticed that the proponents of the federal vision are the ones throwing about slanderous names against others. Mark Horne calls us “pharisees”. That is in line with what he has said in many forums. Jimmy Jordan calls us liars and makes totally unfounded charges against the SJC. Doug Wilson continues his mind-numbing, totally without foundation charge that the SJC forced Louisiana Presbytery to deliver up Steve Wilkins’ head on a platter. I can’t speak for Louisiana Presbytery, but I personally I would be offended to have some like Wilson defending me in that manner. If Wilson is right, that would make the whole Presbytery cowards. Let’s be clear about one thing- the SJC cannot make anyone do anything. We have no CIVIL POWER! The power of the SJC courts is purely spiritual and ministerial. If a lower court believes it has acted in conformity with the constitution it should have the courage of its convictions and vigorously defend itself along those lines. The same goes for a minister.
    But these things said by Horne, Jordand and Wilson are once again unsubstantiated by reference to even a SINGLE FACT. That is the most interesting point in all this debate.

  320. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:35 am

    On 3., I would add that Dominic’s response does not really address that this communication was circularization of the court. Commenting on SJC decisions after the fact does not influence the decision, but distributing chargeable material (that was very soon after developed into a memorial) to a court (SJC and PCA GA) before they decide a matter is unquestionably circularization IMO.

  321. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Howard,
    Once again please show which part of the constitution the SJC has broken- please don’t just make a charge without supporting evidence and facts.

  322. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Pastor Davis,

    You put quotation marks around the phrase “make LAP an example to MO and NWP presbyteries”; can you please identify the source of that quote?

  323. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Dewey,

    With all respect, I have sought to substantiate my accusations against the SJC, at great length with some specificity. I could go into greater detail regarding the actual rules, but the most concerning departure from the BCO (and somewhat less direct and less quantifiable) is the utter disregard by the SJC to give deference to the lower court. That is mandated by the BCO in multiple places. And the SJC has continued to spin the issues so as to say that this does not apply for the SJC in regard to LAP. That rationalizing is utterly disburbing and is the same kind of rationalization that thrived in the PCUSA in the 1950s through 1970s though now by men with much sounder theology that I completely agree with.

    FWIW, I have no desire to be associated with Horne, Jordan, and Wilson. My sharp responses to Jordan make that clear as least in regard to him. But the sad thing is that the SJC has given credence to their constant barrage of seemingly destructive attacks. Will the SJC reverse that pattern? You and the rest of the men of the SJC hold that power from here on out. Otherwise, you will see many godly young pastors become quite disillusioned with the SJC and moreover with the PCA and some with the Church of our Lord altogether, along with other layity like Mr. Jacobson who are utterly dismayed by the apparent political games at the expense of the spiritual and ministerial calling of the PCA and the Church.

  324. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:57 am

    To all, as an example of what I am talking about in 318, here is a letter that I received yesterday. I have tried to delete the personal info to protect his identity..

    Howard,

    We don’t know each other, but I’ve seen your name around (I [went to] Covenant Seminary…, and of course I saw your comments on Lane Keister’s blog today.

    Thanks for your words. I’m in ______, outside of everything going on in LA, but part of it nonetheless by being a TE in the PCA, and I’ve wondered at points if I wouldn’t be happier in the EPC or PCUSA. Not because I would fit theologically in either one, but because when the liberals fight, it’s at least over the vitals of our faith! This whole thing, and in particular the online part of it, more and more strikes me as embarrassing for all of us. I appreciated your comments because you, speaking from within LA, voiced concerns that I’ve wondered about for some time regarding the way everything has been handled. I’m certainly no friend of the FV, but it has always struck me that the whole thing has been politicized in such a way that makes both sides seem to believe that the end justifies whatever means– and whatever behavior– we think will accomplish our respective goals. And truth, love and charity be damned in the process.

    …I remember Peter Leithart being asked why he was in the PCA, when he was serving a CREC church in Moscow. His response was that he would transfer his credentials were it not for pending overtures made against him (Central Carolina at that time had threatened to bring charges if PNW didn’t examine Leithart). He simply felt that he needed to submit to the church and hold off on transferring until things were resolved and he could do so cleanly. He gladly submitted his views to presbytery after GA this past year, only to be blasted by bloggers proclaiming “Leithart dares his presbytery to take action!” I cannot imagine that any of his accusers could believe that he truly is gentle, honest, and sincere in his actions. His views may well put him outside the pale of the PCA, but he is most certainly not the “turbulent priest” some of his fellow ministers have called him (and ironically, if other presbyteries had left him alone, he would most likely already be out of the PCA). It was heartening to see you write that Steve Wilkins has conducted himself the same way in LA.

    Anyway, I’m just thankful to hear someone else suggest that yes, there are problems with the FV, but there are also problems in the way the PCA has responded. I don’t understand why we can’t have the humility to admit these things– which seem to be rather evident to any casual observer. I fear for the PCA in these things. I went to Covenant because of Francis Schaeffer, and joined the PCA because of Jerram Barrs and pretty much every other professor. And all of them taught us better than what I’m seeing now.

    Thanks for listening; perhaps we’ll meet someday.

    Grace and peace,…

  325. G. Gusack said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Howard,
    You have not responded to #298. You continue to assert that circularization can possibly—might, perhaps, may, could—happen if there is a potential for a case somewhere down the road. How ludicrous and untenable. You have not addressed the fact of how you knew that the chair “consciously” stacked the committee? You have not addressed the fact that the basic facts and narrative you allege are not consistent with written facts. For example, there was no case of any kind against LAP in August 2005; if any were being contemplated there is no evidence of this. You continue to argue that circularization took place when there was no appeal or complaint—at all—before any court at the time. I can only assume that the whole debate on FV in LAP has taken its toll on you and you are lashing out—note that I said “assume” since I don’t know. But the venom that is flowing from your comments is too obvious to miss. Perhaps you need to speak with Dr. Aquila off line and work things out with him in private not on this public forum. Your hostility is showing and it is not becoming.

  326. greenbaggins said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Re 306 There is one comment thread on this blog that has over 450 comments. We’ve got a ways to go for that! ;-)

  327. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Howard,
    I think your definition of circularizing a court is rather narrow and confused.
    BCO 42-4 speaks to circularizing a court. It says, “No attempt should be made to circularize the courts to which apeal is being made by either party before the case is heard.” The definition is narrow. The parties to an appeal cannot try to speak to the members of the court where an appeal is made in an atempt to get them to be sympathetic with their positions. In other words, no Al Capone tactics are allowed. That is why it was not allowed for the SJC to speak to Steve Wilkins face-to-face (despite Doug Wilson’s and Jimmy Jordan’s intrusive statements to the contrary) and why, as someone who has known Steve for over 34 years, I have never spoken to him about this matter.
    In 2005, there was no case before the SJC or potentially before the SJC (unless Dominic had power to divine the future) about which either Dominic could be circularized by others or about which Dominic could be guilty of acting contrary to his vows as a member of the SJC.
    BTW, in 2004-5, John White was Chairman of the SJC- not Dominic Aquila.

  328. Andrew Webb said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Howard,

    I may be clueless , but I’m still not seeing how the letter you cite constitutes circularization, given that it was filed prior to the case, and it doesn’t contain the names of any Central Carolina Presbyters, I’m assuming you didn’t see my post above. Anyway, I’ll drop you a line off-line.

    – Andy

  329. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Howard,
    BCO 39-4 says, “A higher court should not consider itself obliged to exhibit the same deference to a lower court when the issues being reviewed involve the interpretation of the Constitution of the Church.” Deference to a lower court in the PCA is not universal and unviolable. Otherwise, Howard, there would be no realistic right of appeal.
    Also, from 2003 to 2006, I was secretary of the SJC and I know for a fact there was no case potentially before the SJC concerning Louisiana Presbytery until the Memorial from Central Carolina Presbytery was received by the SJC at the March 2006 meeting.

  330. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Doug writes:

    A careful and judicious way of putting this would have been [snip] . . .Your rhetoric reveals the precise nature of the problem. Wilkins would not have been tried by the SJC in order to find out what he taught and believed.

    First, you’re the last person that should be giving advice on what is a “careful and judicious” to anyone. Second, the point of a trial would have been to convict Wilkins of heresy and of the most deadly kind. I already know what he teaches and believes. Now he teaches what he believes in the CREC.

    Your polity says that Wilkins left as a member in good standing. You believe, without every having heard his reply to charges in open court, that he is guilty of gross doctrinal errors.

    Thanks for making it crystal clear that reason — and the only reason — Wilkins ran was to retain the title of “good standing” as he thumbed his nose at the PCA one last time as he ran for the FV land of Moscow, ID. Evidently both of you are so utterly foolish and blind to think that “good standing” means anything and that this pathetic title somehow justifies Wilkins’ heretical beliefs or protects him from being marked as the false teacher he is. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s like saying that a murderer who has been able to evade the law and who remains, at least in the eyes of the law, a citizen in good standing, is still not a murderer.

    Also, your attempt at creating another smokescreen notwithstanding, we will never hear his reply in open court for the simple reason he ran away. But no one needs his court testimony to find out that the man is a dangerous heretic and a schismatic. We’ve known that all along. We have plenty of his writings and taped lectures along with his responses from his LAP examinations to prove it and I’m sure now that he’s in your denom we’ll have plenty more ammo from this plagiarist/false pastor.

    Of course, Steve was leaving in order to avoid something. That much is obvious, and none of us are denying it. What I said earlier is that he was not running from charges, which he wasn’t. No charges had been filed against him. He was running from a fix, that was what we call in.

    I realize he said he was not running from charges, but he is a liar. Besides, let’s grant all of your slander against the courts of the PCA and that “the fix” was in. So what? Unless the court has long legs, a pouch and can jump like Michael Jordan as you claim, he would have be given every opportunity to clear his name (even if only for appearance sake) and perhaps even call a tale spinner like you to assist in his defense. Then, what if he lost? Would he have been drawn and quartered? Burnt on a stake like a very large corn dog? Tarred and feathered and sent out on a rail to Moscow? NO, the only thing this little man would have lost was the title: GOOD STANDING IN THE PCA. He ran away because he wanted to keep that title so he could better hide his false teaching behind an empty and meaningless title.

    Pathetic.

  331. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Ref: 318

    Howard,

    You have stated, now many time the following about Dr. Aquila has had an “aggressive approach to this case” and yet the letter from Dominic to Dale demonstrates the opposite. It seems that Dominic was trying to report, “fair and balanced” concerning matter of interest to the church.

    For the record, if I had received a communication addressed to Louisiana Presbytery (as the one you said you had received) indicating its support of the Presbytery’s actions, I would have been happy to publish the URL in the same manner as I did the other. Blessings, Dominic Aquila, EditorByfaithonline Newsletter

    From here, I must agree with posts: 321, 325, 327

    Bill

  332. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Barlow writes:

    As for the second part – receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation – I think preaching the gospel requires that, and I also think that a lot of Roman Catholics believe that as well.

    Wow.

  333. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Andy: Are Joey Pipa and Morton Smith not a part of CCP? If not, I was mistaken and I apologize. I am not all that good with North Carolina geography or presbyterian boundaries.

    Mr. Roberts and Mr. Gussack (301): Nonetheless, the byfaith communication was circularization, to say “no one could predict a case” is a bit ludicrous to me, for at that point you would have to have your head in the sand to not think this was going to the courts of the PCA. As a matter of fact, that is what the entire letter itself was about. In every effect, the letter circularized the likely court. Is this technically circularization according to the letter of the law? I would say perhaps. Is this circularization according to the spirit of the law? I would say, definitely! As a matter of fact, the very next day I wrote the authors and said that, even while thanking them for sharing their very legitimate concerns with us… The problem was not the content (I agreed with virtually all their concerns); the problem was that it was circulated to likely deciders of the case.

  334. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Mr. Lyle (331): Talk is cheap. Would he circulate any info without regard for its appropriateness? I hope not. Would he circulate a very strongly condemning perspective of someone who was almost certainly to be face an examination if not a trial that at that point was clearly destined for the courts of the GA and the PCA? I hope not, that would be circularizing the courts. But that is exactly what happened.

  335. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Mr. Davis: Reading your recent comments makes me wonder why you objected to mine. You’ve seen the same sin and tyranny that the entire watching Church has seen. You’ve seen Mr. Roberts and others answer Biblical morality with Pharisaical technical legalities of the PCA rules. We’ve all seen this. It is open and visible to many people, like me, who are not in the PCA but who have friends there. You object when I call it what it is: sin. You object when I point out that it is a scandal and brings dishonor on Jesus Christ. But then you make the same basic points.

    Maybe you object to the fact that I’m not in the PCA but am making judgments on the PCA. Well, I’m a Christian and I live in John 17. The PCA is just a temporary arrangement; the Church is what Jesus died for. Yes, the PCA is not my own bailiwick, but if you don’t know it, you should be aware that these crimes have been observed by lots of people outside the PCA, and you should be aware of what they think about it.

    Beyond this, if you don’t know it, then you should hear from someone that lots of younger men in the PCA have watched this tyranny in action, and are thinking seriously of leaving the PCA. They have learned that if they depart from any jot or tittle of what the gods of the PCA want, the will be tried without formal trial and slandered and abused and cast out. Do they want to have women serving in ministry as unordained deaconnesses to work in women’s ministry in a city situation? They will be brought before presbytery. And if presbytery exonerates them, then one member of presbytery will say, “I’m telling! I’m gonna call the SJC, and they’ll deal with it.” Don’t think I’m making this up, Mr. Davis. What I’m telling you is quite real.

    If you and other serious men do not stop Aquila and these SJC tyrants, the PCA will fall apart over the next five years.

  336. David Gray said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

    That someone who is responsible for the production of a product like “By Faith” with its promotion of feminism among its failings, should be entrusted with a position of authority or influence makes one very doubtful as to where the PCA is headed.

  337. David Gray said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:45 am

    >lots of younger men in the PCA have watched this tyranny in action, and are thinking seriously of leaving the PCA

    Some have already left.

  338. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Mr Roberts, et al.,

    Why did the SJC accept the memorial, which was created for procedural abuses, for a disagreement of the judgment LAP came to? Even Central Carolina’s letter appealed to the memorial as a second-resort, because it would be quite a stretch for this case to be taken up under the memorial.

    40-5. When any court having appellate jurisdiction shall be advised, either by the records of the court next below or by memorial, either with or without protest, or by any other satisfactory method, of any important delinquency or grossly unconstitutional proceedings of such court, the first step shall be to cite the court alleged to have offended to appear by representative or in writing, at a specified time and place, and to show what it has done or failed to do in the case in question.

    How the SJC bent and broke the rules of 40-5?

    Bent rules: Memorials were set up for procedural abuses (confirmed before the hearing by Roy Taylor, PCA Stated Clerk). Yet before the SJC the questions that I received as the representative defending did not focus on procedure but judgment. If you remember (I can’t remember if you were there or not but I’m assuming you were), I said that I can’t defend the decision of our presbytery but I will try to give the rationale as it was demanded from me by the SJC. This was far beyond the bounds of addressing procedure.

    Broke rules: “the first step shall be to cite the court alleged to have offended…to show what it has done or failed to do in the case in question”.

    Grammatically this is the first step. Yet LAP and I did not receive accusations of what we had done or failed to do until after the hearing had begun. This obviously left me without any opportunity to prepare a defense and forced me to shoot from the hip in defending our presbytery.

    What is more, the accusations were pertaining primarily to our judgment not our procedure, though I am sure that this fact could be heavily spun.

  339. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Mr. Jordan,

    It was your attitude of “it was all anti-FV” and no FV person bears any responsibility for this matter that set me off, along with the loaded rhetoric that you use, along with the fact that this is not your first rodeo that has ended in a major fight (for you are legendarily called the father of FV and your hermeneutic is largely what has spawned FV, for good of for ill).

    But we both agree that something smells awry. It may be our own armpits but it seems stronger than that.

  340. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:55 am

    To Jimmy Jordan:
    Since you are not in the PCA, the hatred which comes through in your posts is very strange. BTW, are you now in favor of deaconeses?

  341. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:57 am

    I’ve always been in favor of deaconnesses. I’ve written on it numerous times. A deaconness is not a lady deacon, but a different function. Deaconnesses are all over the Bible, both OT and NT, and as a Christian, I am obliged to favor them.

  342. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Ref: 336

    Dominic no longer is with ByFaith and I have similar(as well as many others) concerns about ByFaith

    Ref: 334

    Mr. Davis,

    Again you are making my point. Of course Dr Aquila would not print any material that was not appropriate. But the issue you have raised is something along the lines of a personal vendetta against LAP. To me, the facts you have provided prove just the opposite. Go reread the last part of the email from Dominic to Dale.

  343. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 11:58 am

    SJCM 7.1 A member of the Standing Judicial Commission should refrain from consulting or advising in any judicial matters that might conceivably come before this Commission, except in a case where such member is a party.

    “might conceivably come before [the] commission”: this is strong language that a circularization seems to compromise. Remember Christian ethics is driven not only by the letter of the law but the stronger spirit of the law.

  344. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Mr. Davis, I take your point. Blogs are not good places, but here we are.

    Anyway, much as I’d like to take credit for FV, it’s not “my” hermeneutics that are at “fault” here. It’s really a clash between Continental Calvinism (my home, to be sure) and a highly scholasticised reinterpretation of the WCF that has recently come into force. I don’t think hermeneutics has much to do with it. The FV is just an affirmation of what we find in Calvin and in the WCF, if the WCF is not read through modern filters.

    BTW, what I wrote above about members of LA presbytery being phoned: I’m now told by my informant that it was that they were “informed” that if the SJC dissolved LA Presbytery, they would not be readmitted to the PCA if they voted the wrong way. So, I have no idea how they were informed of this. And anyway, it should have been obvious even if they had not been warned.

  345. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I would never suggest that Dominic had a personal vendetta against LAP. I do think that he has had a decided bias against Steve Wilkins and other proponents of the FV. He has made that clear in personal conversations that I have been in with him.

  346. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Mr. Jordan: No one called me, and with the small size of our presbytery and my independent spirit would make me a candidate for receiving such a call if anyone was called. But as much as I love the PCA, the Church is bigger than the PCA.

  347. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Let me close my time here by saying, I think that the men of the SJC are good and honorable men. Yet they are men who have made mistakes as a group and their chairman has been both aggressive in directing their actions in this case combined with making questionable decisions regarding the dissemination of information both before and after the case arrived at the SJC.

    Signing off for good… I am not embittered toward anyone but I am as my post reflect disgusted by how this entire matter has been handled. For most people this is just somewhere they visit to comment on; for me and the brethren of LAP this is our neighborhood and the decisions affect where we live. If you want any further questions answered, send me an email at hqdavis (at) gmail (dot) com.

  348. greenbaggins said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Howard, I have appreciated both your posts, and the spirit in which they have been posted.

  349. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Howard,
    I was not at the 2006 October meeting of the SJC. I was off the SJC for one year. I disagree with your interpretation of BCO 40-5. But, Howard, we are not going to resolve anything through this blog. It is obvious to me that you have a lot of angst at the present. Your view of deference to a lower court has already been explained. Under your view of deference to a lower court, there would be no realistic right of appeal. There is a “Reformed” denomination out there that believes in greatly restricting the rights of appeal. It is the CREC. In the PCA, we have the right of appeal WHICH WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE IF A HIGHER COURT HAD TO ALWAYS DEFER TO THE LOWER COURT. Please, just step away from the computer, calm down, pray, and think about what I am saying.
    As I told you yesterday, I think you are a fine minister of the Gospel and I respect you as such.

  350. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    The FV is just an affirmation of what we find in Calvin and in the WCF, if the WCF is not read through modern filters.

    That’s right and Luther’s battle with Rome over justification by belief alone was much ado about nothing. Thanks Mr. Jordan.

  351. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Jimmy Jordan:

    I read your slanderous post of a few weeks ago to a ladies Bible study at my church and they were incensed. They said, “Now, his church has to discipline him, don’t they?” I said, “They should discipline him, but they won’t. I have already talked with his pastor and he will do nothing about this matter.” The thing about you, Jimmy, is that you have no shame. None at all.

  352. Chris said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Only an idiot would drag his ladies bible study into this. Keep this between ministers and elders and discussions like this. Unbelievable.

  353. Andrew Webb said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Re: 333

    Hi Howard,

    No, Dr. Pipa is a member of Calvary Presbytery (where GPTS is located) and Dr. Smith is either a member of Calvary or Western Carolina (where his Church is located). No CCP men have participated in the study committee, colloquium, open letters and so on. We have one member on the SJC, but he recused himself from all LaP matters.

    Your Servant in Christ,

    Andy

  354. greenbaggins said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Chris, mind your manners. If Jordan’s comment was public, then discussion about it is public also.

  355. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Ref: 344

    Mr. Jordan,

    “I’m now told by my informant that” if I do not say Dewey Roberts has three eyes I will not be allowed to attend the next PCA GA. Yet, I am not really sure how I was informed or who was ‘encouraging” me to say Dewey has 3 eyes. But this is something I must take serious.

    Unbelievable!

  356. Burke Shade said,

    February 13, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Concerning #309, written by a Mark T:

    When the CRE accepted me as a minister, I was not coming in as a “defrocked” minister from the PCA. While under trial in the PCA, I was examined by the Federation of Reformed Churches (FORC) and accepted as a minister in good standing several weeks before my deposition in the PCA. The PCA threw me out, and I left. But when they threw me out, Illiana Presbytery had already received communication from the FORC asking them to send the trial on to the FORC, as a possibility mentioned in the BCO. Illiana chose not to, as was their right, and proceeded with my trial. I was then in the FORC until the church that I pastor sought membership in the CRE. I came into the CRE as a member is good standing in the FORC; if you have doubts, you may ask Dave Shank of the FORC. So in receiving me they did not receive a deposed minister presently in deposed standing.

    Sincerely,
    Burke Shade

  357. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Andy, I was wrong about that and I apologize. CCP to all my knowledge has been completely above board. You as the representative to the case from CCP were a breath of fresh air to a nerve-wracked rep from LAP.

    What is more, all those men who were party to that letter and all their concerns were appropriate…it was the targeted broadcasting of the message (to PCA TEs and REs who would decide future cases by the official PCA news agency) and thus politicizing it and polluting future judicial perspective of those deciding these matters that was the problem.

  358. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Chris,
    I will share the terrible things James Jordan said with anyone I so choose- including his pastor (as I already have).

  359. Jon said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Re 352

    I think its important for as many people as possible to know who and what Jordan is so they don’t get sucked into his little theological fiefdom.

  360. Dave H said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    As a hard-core Calvinist, it is humbling to sit back and watch God do His work, in His time. It allows a great degree of peace even while witnessing these matters so sadly played out in forums such as this – watching brothers fight (hate) brothers. But I confess that I am heartened to know that the Auburn Avenue church may soon be part of a growing, thriving and vibrant denomination like the CREC. Likewise, to learn recently that a new Chicago suburban church which hopes to soon join the CREC began church services this past Sunday is a matter of great delight. While it is sad to observe that we may not have “peace in our time” as N. Chamberlain infamously stated, it is still a wonder to sit back and watch God at work, even despite the sins of man. Peace! (Now go ahead and hit me hard…)

  361. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Howard,
    As a member of the SJC, I can tell you in all honesty, I don’t remember receiving this communication you say (but wrongly) was circularizing the court. It didn’t make much impressions on me. I don’t pay attention to opinions of others very much. I guess that is because I have very strong opinions of my own. What I have focused on for a very long time is Steve Wilkins’ theological positions. I have been troubled by his views since the early 1980’s. I guess maybe in 1984 I should have been able to see some day that the PCA would form a commission called the SJC and that I would be on it and that a case concerning Steve Wilkins would come before the SJC and that I should have steadfastly refused to read any materials from any source that would possibly be viewed as my allowing myself to be circularized.

  362. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Chris,

    Pastor Roberts’ comment regarding the ladies Bible study struck me as a direct response to comment 341, where Mr. Jordan lauded the role of women in the church. It was not-too-veiled unveiling of Mr. Jordan’s hypocrisy. He esteems the role of women in the church on paper, but when he shocks them by sinning with a high hand, a stiff middle finger, and a foul tongue, there is no officer in the church — male, female, or confederate — to whom he will submit, let alone the Scriptures.

    Along these lines, I invite Mr. Jordan — the fierce enemy of all tyranny — to share with us the story about the widow whom he and his fellow tyrants defrauded in Tyler. If I’m not mistaken, the Tyler session invited a blue-ribbon panel of three arbiters, which included Joe Morecraft and Gary Demar, to hear the case. The arbitrators ruled in favor of the widow, so the Tyler session blew off the decision and went their own way. “I’m told by my informant” that you stiffed her to the grave.

    Ah, yes, James Jordan thinks well of women in the church, especially the widows and their mites.

  363. Howard Davis said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Not to get back in the fray, but the situation in August 2005 and esp with the nature of the letter clearly forewarned of a coming case that the PCA as a whole would hear at some point. If I remember rightly, GA 2005 was where MVP sent up their position paper against FV, etc.

    In 1984 you would have to have xray vision or ESP or both ;p). In 2005, really post 2002-2003, someone would have to have blinders on to not think this issue would come to this level and, for the SJC standard, to conceive of the possibility of it.

    Please don’t cushion the reality of what happened when that letter was circulated.

    I really am not calling into question your view being polluted nor necessarily any other member of the SJC, but I am saying that the current chair, the one who has precided over this entire issue, has done some very questionable at best things regarding this case. Yet in none of this has recused himself, but to the opposite has been very proactive in directing how the case has been handled by the SJC. And I am confident that you know in your heart that the last statement is true.

  364. February 13, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    magma, you said:

    “he would have be given every opportunity to clear his name . . .”

    Exactly. He would have been given every opportunity to try to prove his innocence, without ever having had his guilt established. That is what I have been objecting to throughout this whole process. This is lever pulling, not justice.

    And notice where you are. You claim that the FV is pervasive in the PCA, and that it is still found in multiple places — three in addition to Louisiana have been mentioned by name here. You claim to know our game plan, which is to head for the tall grass at the last minute to preserve the status of “good standing.” But if the heresy is as plain as you claim, and as easy to show as you claim, and as pervasive as you claim, then why doesn’t anybody bring charges?

    The answer appears to me to be that this would require establishing someone’s guilt by proof, rather than the easier way of establishing it by politics.

  365. curate said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Magma2, have you told anyone here that you are a Clarkian and a friend of and co-editor with John Robbins? Does this explain in any way the things that you are saying? Are you even a friend of the PCA? I thought the Trinity Foundation regarded the PCA as heretical. Am I wrong?

  366. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    The PCA declared Burke Shade guilty in 1999 and defrocked him from the ministry for his sins after a fair trial. Despite this, the pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, promised Mr. Shade safe refuge in the CRE before his trial was finished, caring nothing for the judgment of the PCA.

    In fact, the minutes reveal that the elders of Christ Church deceived the CRE confederates by not informing them that their pastor promised Burke Shade entrance into the CRE before his trial was over. I’m fairly confident that the confederates wouldn’t have cared, but it’s kind of ironic how that lever got pulled. It’s all fully documented in a post titled “Snakes Within the Covenant.”

    Thank you.

  367. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Curate, anyone can see that I am a Scripturalist and co-author of a book dealing with Doug Wilson’s false gospel in the “About” section of my blog. I didn’t know this was a big secret or that I was trying to hide anything. Even Lane and I have locked horns a bit in the past as we’ve wrestled over the Clark/Van Til divide.

    Beyond that, I love the work of Trinity Foundation very much and am extemely happy to be associated with the work of Dr. Robbins even if only in a very small way. Besides, as Jonathan mentions above, Dr. Robbins “has been warning you about men like James Jordan since . . . 1995.” It seems to me the rest of the folks here are just a little slow at catching up. ;)

    As far as TF being regarded as heretical by the PCA, that’s news to me. I thought they were hated by Vantilians and assorted irrationalists everywhere?

  368. February 13, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Doug,

    As you know, Peter Leithart is (again) the subject of a study committee in the PNW Presbytery. The reason charges were not filed is that we wanted to be as prudent and methodical as we can. He is a gracious man, and well-esteemed, and I believe he deserves to have his responses to the Nine Declarations examined carefully, just like he requested.

    Charges may come, or they may not, we’ll have to see. But given all the hands-on-hips foot-stomping about the supposedly unfair GA study committee, we figured we’d take things nice and slow.

  369. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Should it take oppositional foot stomping for you to be careful and go nice and slow?! What a joke.

  370. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Ref: 363

    Howard,

    You said, “And I am confident that you know in your heart that the last statement is true.”

    Not speaking for Dewey, but for myself. One who has seen first hand, albeit since June 07, what is going on at the SJC and how they have approched this case. I know in my heart this is NOT TRUE!

    Bill

  371. greenbaggins said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Tim, are you sure that you are not reading into Jason’s comment a bit? It seems like the outside foot-stomping is seen as an *extra* reason to go cautiously, not the only reason to do so.

  372. Burke Shade said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Mark T, regarding your post 366:
    Two things:

    First, you state that “Despite this, the pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, promised Mr. Shade safe refuge in the CRE before his trial was finished, caring nothing for the judgment of the PCA.” Nothing in your materials suggest or prove this. Even the minutes from April 17 do not suggest or say this. They say nothing of his speaking with me about this. This is your implication, and your implication is false. My name is mentioned in that he reported on the church and my situation. That is all; to read further into it is to conjecture.

    Secondly, your second paragraph falls to the ground if the first is not true, and it isn’t. Doug Wilson never promised me safe passage into the CRE before my trial was over.

    Sincerely,
    Burke Shade

  373. February 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Sorry we’re a “joke” to you Tim. What is your problem?

  374. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    But if the heresy is as plain as you claim, and as easy to show as you claim, and as pervasive as you claim, then why doesn’t anybody bring charges?

    Good question. Not that it changes the fact that Wilkins ran like a dog when it was clear charges were about to be filed against him and in short order. But, if you are being honest (and I don’t want to presume anything) and you really want charges filed and trial, why do you continually make excuses for your buddy Steve?

    I can’t speak for others, but I recognized the dangerous and heretical nature of the FV from the time I first read RINE, what I consider the FV manifesto. FWIW a good friend of mine gave me your book and asked; “can you tell me what’s wrong with this?” Well, I told him and Dr. Robbins had a lot more to say as well.

    As for others, my guess is many have been pained to believe that you and others of your group really believe the things you say in RINE. I mean, look how long it took even a man as brilliant as Cal Beisner to finally see that you and the other FV men very much mean exactly what you say. You might recall Dr. Robbins taking him to task in his piece,
    Why Heretics Win Battles
    . I know of some, even at this late date, who still have a hard time believing it. After all, they have all your books on marriage, education, basket weaving and beer brewing.

    My guess is what you’re so afraid of now, and why Wilkins ran like Carl Lewis, is that now armed with a clear and simple to understand Committee report, a report sanctioned by 95%+ of the PCA GA, the wheels are now finally in motion to drive the FV from the PCA. The report makes it clear for anyone even remotely interested, exactly why your system is contrary to the Christian and Protestant system of faith outline in the WCF – the one every PCA TE, RE and Deacon has publicly vowed to affirm and uphold.

    OTOH, you may still get your wish. For one thing, Pastor Webb has already expressed a desire to do exactly what you’re hoping for right here on this blog. I have to think others here and elsewhere have had enough of the slanderous shenanigans of you and Jimmy J, the so-called “Godfather of FV soul.” I for one would like to see every last one of you salvation-by-covenantal-faithfulness / election-through-baptism types leave the PCA one way or another. They can all feed your empire for all I care as every last one of them make their way back to Rome. I just feel bad for all those you’re taking with you.

    However, what will you say when the next batch of FV men, and you know who they are, run into the loving heretical arms of the CREC just as charges are being drawn up answering once and for all Pastor Webb’s concern and frustration expressed above? Let me guess, you’ll whine that the SJC is a kangaroo court and these men were already tried on the Internet, yada yada yada.

  375. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Pr. Lane, I’m not thinking Mr. Stellman offered that as the *only* reason. Mostly, I’m reacting not to the implication that foot-stomping generates the need for careful procedure (what I mentioned in #369), but to the tone and the attitude. As to the implication, you’re analysis/spin is probably correct, but that’s simply NOT what he said. What he said is that since there was a stink raised before, we’ll go nice and slow. The deeper issue I see is the underlying attitude. It seems that Mr. Stellman (along with so many others) seems glibly to dismiss concerns about due process and committee stacking. I think that those prosecuting FVers (or anyone else) ought to be extremely careful to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, don’t you? I think that objections raised about possible improprieties should be taken seriously, don’t you? I’m reading something quite different in Mr. Stellman’s post and that’s what I reacted to.

  376. February 13, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Good grief, Tim, we’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t, aren’t we?

    If we had fast-tracked a trial we’d be accused of ignoring propriety and careful investigation, but if we appoint a study committee we’re still accused of an “underlying attitude” of seeking to “glibly dismiss concerns about due process.”

    I don’t know what you’re “reacting to,” but please tell me how appointing a study committee is tantamount to giving the “appearance of impropriety”?

    Take some deep breaths and relax….

  377. Niels Jacobson said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Dear Mr. Wenger,

    Re: 317 Your diagnosis of my condition is the one I have become accustomed to. As I said, I will not argue with it, and I think I understand it. I do not understand, though, how anyone could even conceive of a so-called ‘unity’ which could prevail over the truth. The only kind of unity I I would be interested, the only kind possible, is unity which is the triumph of the Personal Truth, the WILLED OUTWARD SIGN that He has been embraced inwardly. That is, it is the fruit of repentance. I certainly don’t see much of it developing here or in the church. Thanks for bearing with me. May we meet in full agreement at the marriage Supper of the Lamb. Yours in hope, Niels Jacobson

  378. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Howard,
    I know that in my heart FOR CERTAIN that the chairman of the SJC HAS NOT been proactive in the way you suggest. Look, you know very little about the SJC. The SJC is the furthest thing from a secret cabal. To be on and stay on the SJC, a person really needs to be a strong personality who can vigorously debate an issue and have a very good grasp of the constitution. The vigorous debates back and forth completely dispel your assertions. That vigorous debate takes place on every case- EVERY CASE. No one can domineer the way a case is going to be handled. The members of the SJC would react with outrage if someone tried to railroad them on ANY CASE. Howard, it simply has not and would not happen the way you think. NEVER.

  379. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Mr. Shade,

    P&R News reported:

    Meeting in the final of six trial sessions on April 17, 1999, Illiana Presbytery deposed the Rev. Mr. Burke Shade from the ministry. The court took the action after finding him guilty on three of the four charges which had been presented against him.

    And the Christ Church Elders Minutes for the meeting dated April 17, 1999, state:

    Doug described the situation with Cornerstone Reformed Church and Burke Shade. Motion (DW/PB) [Doug Wilson/Patch Blakey] to authorize Doug to make a motion at CRE to receive Cornerstone as a fraternal delegate. All approved.

    Now, if I’m not mistaken, the Kirk elders meet in the morning sometime between 6 and 7 AM. This means that Illiana would have had to depose you by 7 AM Pacific time (9 AM central time) and you would have had to tell your whole story to the pastor of Christ Church during that small window of time before he “described the situation.”

    So you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t believe your recollection of events. I’d rather stick to the fully documented facts.

    Thank you.

  380. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    The FV is historic Calvinism. All FVers hold to the Bible, and therefore to Titus 3:5, and therefor to justification by faith alone. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either a liar or badly misinformed or some kind of easy-believist like Clark or Scofield or Ryrie or Kline. The FV position on the possibility of apostasy is the view of the Banner of Truth materials we all read a generation ago, of Al Martin and John Murray and of the Reformed tradition. The FV controversy was generated by envy, personal antagonism, and political ambition. At no time has the FV ever caused any trouble in any church. The trouble was started by, fueled by, sustained by, and continued by anti-FV people for the reasons given above, joined sadly by misinformed men who believed lies.

    The conspiracy against Steve Wilkins has been admitted by Mr. Roberts, and we have all seen it play out. It is a disgusting spectacle.

    FV is historic Calvinistic orthodoxy. This has been proved time and again.

    The decisions of the microdenominations count for nothing, because at no time have they ever investigated the FV. They have only made pronoucements about what THEY say the WCF says in THEIR readings of it. They have never dealt with the Word of God.

    Mark T. is a liar, as anyone who as been to his blog knows. What he said about the situation in Tyler, Texas, was a total lie. What he has said about Burke Shade is a total lie.

    The interesting thing about Greenbaggins is that if men come here and engage in ridicule, no rebuke is offered. But if anyone dares to speak the truth about these sins, he is instantly rebuked. Ichabod.

  381. Ronnie said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Mr Jordan,

    You sound like a scratched record with the same gratuitous assertions as if you are making some great point. Give it a break.

    Ronnie

  382. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    It’s not a great point. It’s just the simple truth.

  383. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Jimmy Jordan, please show me where I admited a conspiarcy against Steve Wilkins???

  384. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Jimmy Jordan,

    If the FV is just the same view on apostasy which the Banner of Truth, Al Martin and others taught a generation ago, why is is that those people are not in favor of the FV?

  385. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Ref: 380

    Mr. Jordan ,

    You said, “The conspiracy against Steve Wilkins has been admitted by Mr. Roberts . . ”

    If this refers to Dewey Roberts, then I must ask you, “What universe are you in right now?”

    Bill

  386. Ronnie said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    It’s not a great point. It’s just the simple truth.

    Mr. Jordan,

    It is neither. It is an assertion. It is good you are confident that your assertions are the “simple truth”, but everyone who makes them tend to think that way. You are doing nothing to advance the conversation.

  387. magma2 said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    James Jordan Brown bellows:

    FV is historic Calvinistic orthodoxy. This has been proved time and again. . . Mark T. is a liar, as anyone who as been to his blog knows. What he said about the situation in Tyler, Texas, was a total lie.

    I think everyone should read Mark T.’s blog too, since I think he’s got you pegged. Besides, and since curate brought up Dr. Robbins and you take every opportunity to kick Dr. Clark, looks to me that John had you pegged back in 1992 and I’m quite sure well before that.

    I recommend those interested see The Reconstructionist Road to Rome. It’s interesting how Jordan’s “historic Calvinistic orthodoxy” in the Federal Division has developed since that time. You can almost draw a map . . . and it doesn’t lead to Geneva. ;)

  388. Burke Shade said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Mark T ,
    Responding to 379:
    Yes, you could be mistaken. But I’d hate to reckon things just from your memory, since you weren’t there and weren’t involved.

    Also, I was deposed after dark on the 17th, probably about 8 pm, but I don’t remember for sure. It was late and it had been a long day. It’s a moot point, though, because you are still implying that I spoke to Doug Wilson, and you have no shred of evidence from any of your documents to that affect concerning the April 17 date.

    Additionally, you didn’t answer my earlier post: show us in the documents that I talked to Doug Wilson before April 17. You can’t, because your point is an inference and not substantiated. You have no documented facts; all Wilson did, according to the minutes that morning, was talk “about” me.

    Lastly, I wasn’t even a member of Cornerstone Church on April 17. I was still in the PCA that day, and in the FORC. The Session’s minutes are correct; they made a motion to receive Cornerstone, but it didn’t include me at the time. I didn’t join until sometime later, since in the FORC, ministers are members of the congregation, unlike the PCA. The minutes say nothing about receiving me.

    BTW, I don’t understand that with regard to all your boldness and certainty, why you refuse to post your real name? Your boldness would seem to contradict your fear of retribution.

    Sincerely,

    Burke Shade

    PS You have some false comments on your shaderenegade blog (Thanks for keeping that stuff up; it was like a drive down memory lane! And it’s nice to have it all in one location. If you ever take it down, please let me know so that I can archive it all ahead of time). You have on there, up in the left corner, that I asked for those things (“All he wanted was…”). That’s false; the people who left EPC asked for those things, not me. It’s in your other documents, if you care to read them. Of course, it would have been nice if they had given them to Cornerstone, but alas, they didn’t.

    Oh, and nice picture, too! Thanks.

  389. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I am now understanding how Jimmy (the Greek or Russian Orthodox) Jordan comes up with all this conspiracy stuff. He “interprets” comments which others make from a scholastic, medieval interpretive principle which allows him to find “truths” which others totally miss.

  390. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Mr. Stellman, (#376) the propriety of a thing is not at all necessarily tied in with the speed of it. The positions the men of the “study” committee had taken BEFOREHAND on the subject of the study and the lack of opposition on the committee could certainly be, couldn’t they? A stacked committee (perceived or really) could be viewed a a possible impropriety, no? The reactions to that possible impropriety you call foot-stomping and glibly dismiss. THAT is the joke, but it ain’t funny. Now, maybe you were just thumbing your nose at Pr. Wilson. If so, good enough… maybe he deserves it. That, however, is not what came across.

    Now, I’m not fire-breathing FVer – not by a long shot. I’ve openly opposed certain aspects of it. I cannot be painted with that brush – not even by Magma. I am well on the outside of the PCA and of the CREC. I’m just identifying things as they appear to me. The PCA *ought* to be very concerned about appearance to people like me. It ought to me more concerned to be careful and honest, slow and deliberate, above board and transparent in prosecution whether anyone’s got hands on hips, is stomping feet, or even doing the ecclesiastical hokey pokey.

  391. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Mr. Roberts (#384), “If the FV is just the same view on apostasy which the Banner of Truth, Al Martin and others taught a generation ago, why is is that those people are not in favor of the FV?” Why aren’t baptists in favor of thorough-going covenant theology, despite their agreement on apostasy? That’s a head-scratcher.

    Maybe, Magma, you’ll be the last to know this, but NO ONE takes Mr. Anonymous Mark T. or Jumpin’ John Robbins seriously. The Trinity Foundation is a laughing stock, as are all the rants they publish – including your own. I have, on the other hand, benefited from some of Dr. Clark’s work, but that doesn’t have directly to do with this extremely long sting of posts.

  392. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Mr. Prussic: I believe the answer to your question is paedocommunion, which is the one place where FV departs from tradition — though not all FVers are paedocommunion. Additionally, of course, probably 1/3 to 1/2 of the TEs in the PCA favor paedocommunion, so it has never been a big issue. It cannot be practised, but until now it was possible to discuss it. Now, I suspect, it is not possible to have any kind of theological discussion in the PCA. The kind of broad Calvinism and open discussion that I experienced at Reformed Theological Seminary in the 1970s seems to be impossible now.

  393. greenbaggins said,

    February 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I am seriously thinking of shutting down this post. Tempers on both sides are getting a bit frayed, and the issues are no longer front and center. If people wish to comment on the substance of the original post, then let’s go full steam (not heat!) ahead. Everyone will address everyone else with courtesy and respect. That goes equally for both sides.

  394. David Gray said,

    February 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Blest are the humble souls that see
    Their emptiness and poverty;
    Treasures of grace to them are giv’n,
    And crowns of joy laid up in Heav’n.

    Blest are the men of broken heart,
    Who mourn for sin with inward smart;
    The blood of Christ divinely flows,
    A healing balm for all their woes.

    Blest are the meek, who stand afar
    From rage and passion, noise and war;
    God will secure their happy state,
    And plead their cause against the great.

    Blest are the souls that thirst for grace
    Hunger and long for righteousness;
    They shall be well supplied, and fed
    With living streams and living bread.

    Blest are the men whose bowels move
    And melt with sympathy and love;
    From Christ the Lord they shall obtain
    Like sympathy and love again.

    Blest are the pure, whose hearts are clean
    From the defiling powers of sin;
    With endless pleasure they shall see
    A God of spotless purity.

    Blest are the men of peaceful life,
    Who quench the coals of growing strife;
    They shall be called the heirs of bliss,
    The sons of God, the God of peace.

    Blest are the suff’rers who partake
    Of pain and shame for Jesus’ sake;
    Their souls shall triumph in the Lord;
    Glory and joy are their reward.

  395. David Gray said,

    February 13, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Courtesy of Isaac Watts…

  396. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Re: 392
    Mr. Jordan
    “Additionally, of course, probably 1/3 to 1/2 of the TEs in the PCA favor paedocommunion, …”
    Please go back to whatever universe you live in now and stop speaking about matters you have NO KNOWLEDGE of nor any facts to back up your alternate reality.

  397. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    So, Mr. Jordan, wouldn’t it be clearer to say that FV is one voice in a long-standing Calvinistic chorus, than to say “The FV is historic Calvinism”?

  398. David Gray said,

    February 13, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    >So, Mr. Jordan, wouldn’t it be clearer to say that FV is one voice in a long-standing Calvinistic chorus, than to say “The FV is historic Calvinism”?

    That seems like a very fair statement. One which all would do well to reflect on…

  399. February 13, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    For the record, Tim, the study committee on Leithart, to which I was appointed, consists of men who are sympathetic to, and uncomfortable with, the Federal Vision. Peter himself co-signed the motion with me, and he was completely comfortable with the composition of the committee.

    This is what I was talking about above. I am doing everything I can to avoid the charges (valid or not) that have been leveled at the GA’s committee. This is why I was offended by your allegations that what we are doing is a “joke.”

    Hope that makes you feel better. If not, I don’t know what to tell ya….

  400. February 13, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    #400… Boo-Yah!!

  401. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Mr. Gray (#398): ’twas a question, not a statement!

    Mr. Stellman (#400): :)

    Mr. Stellman (#399): I appreciate your concern for my feelings – too few share that concern. I appreciate any even-handed examination of Pr. Leithart. Frankly, he’s made me increasingly nervous in the past 6 months. My comments above weren’t so much directed toward the upcoming inquiry as toward the infamous one a few months back.

    #402: I completely agree – you are a scholar and a gentleman, indeed!

  402. Towne said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I want to be nice, but I’m still laughing. But Mr. Jordan’s excess must not go unanswered.

    Logic time:
    1. Mr. Jordan claims the FV is 100% confessionally orthodox Calvinism, and
    2. Mr. Jordan claims from 33% to 50% of the TEs in the PCA support the paedocommunion position,
    3. However, 95% of the GA commissioners voted to receive and adopt the Study Committee’s Report on the FV this past summer.
    The numbers just don’t add up, do they, Mr. Jordan?

  403. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Tim (#401):

    #402: I completely agree – you are a scholar and a gentleman, indeed!

    You have entered … the Twilight Zone … (cue music, Rod Sterling).

    You managed to respond to a post that was *both* posted after yours and also later-numbered than yours. That’s some serious talent. :lol:

    Jeff Cagle

  404. Ron Henzel said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Lane’s post, which started this discussion, centered on Sam Duncan’s clarification that by “fair trial” he meant a trial adjudicated by people “who hadn’t heard a thing about it, and hadn’t formed any opinions about who is right,” which he referred to as a “clean slate.” This explanation was jeered by those who preferred a more cynical interpretation of what Sam meant. However, I’ve been Googling the phrases “fair trial” and “clean slate” together, and I’ve come up with some remarkable results.

    For example, in the 2001 case of the United States of America v. Mitsubishi Corporation, the U.S.A. proposed that specific instructions be given to the jury. Toward the beginning of these instructions we read, “A corporation is entitled to the same fair trial as a private individual. It is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as private individuals, and it may be found guilty only if the evidence establishes such guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” (emphasis mine). But exactly what did the government think would constitute a “fair trial?”

    Later, in its final request to the court in this document, “Government Request No. 25,” under the heading “Reasonable Doubt,” we come across language that is found in jury instructions that have been either proposed or actually used in many other cases:

    The law presumes a defendant to be innocent of crime. Thus, a defendant, although accused, begins the trial with a “clean slate,” with no evidence against him. And the law permits nothing but legal evidence presented before the jury to be considered in support of any charge against the accused. So the presumption of innocence alone is sufficient to acquit a defendant, unless you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case. [Emphasis mine.]

    Years ago, in a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the U.S. justices ruled that instructing a jury with this “clean slate” language is not absolutely necessary in order to ensure a fair trial, but it does come up again and again in various cases. And here, decades later, we have the U.S. government itself proposing that it be used in instructions to a jury in a case in which the government was the one bringing the charges. Furthermore, the appositive phrase, “with no evidence against him,” defining what the government (and others using similar instructions) mean by “clean slate,” decisively supports Sam’s explanation.

  405. tim prussic said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I got the skills to pay da bills, baby!

  406. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    #402, actually the numbers can add up, since the numbers are not in the same categories.

    #397, yes. Of course, since FV is one of the Calvinistic chorus, it is certainly historic Calvinism. And on the controversial issues, the FV is the position of Calvin, Bucer, and the WCF understood without blinkers on.

    The awful thing is that once upon a time, these matters were regarded as discussable in Calvinistic circles. Once upon a time, there was a vision for a church that allowed variations of Calvinistic theology. And now, thanks to politics, the PCA and the OPC have shrunk to sects. We are told that anyone in the PCA who thinks more Continentally should leave, and if you won’t leave, we’ll make up lies about you, that you deny justification by faith, and we’ll set up an SJC to drive you out, even after the church has twice affirmed your orthodoxy. Sickening.

  407. GLW Johnson said,

    February 13, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Well James I certainly hope you are able to convince your fellow Fvers to shake the dust off their feet and leave. Why stay in sects like the PCA and OPC when you can a ‘pure’ Reformed Church?

  408. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Who wants a “pure” Reformed church? The goal was a broad and living one. That’s what’s sad about the killing of the PCA.

  409. Ron Henzel said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Lane’s post, which started this discussion, centered on Sam Duncan’s clarification that by “fair trial” he meant a trial adjudicated by people “who hadn’t heard a thing about it, and hadn’t formed any opinions about who is right,” which he referred to as a “clean slate.” This explanation was jeered by those who preferred a more cynical interpretation of what Sam meant. However, I’ve been Googling the phrases “fair trial” and “clean slate” together, and I’ve come up with some remarkable results.

    For example, in the 2001 case of the United States of America v. Mitsubishi Corporation, the U.S.A. proposed that specific instructions be given to the jury. Toward the beginning of these instructions we read, “A corporation is entitled to the same fair trial as a private individual. It is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as private individuals, and it may be found guilty only if the evidence establishes such guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” (emphasis mine). But exactly what did the government think would constitute a “fair trial?”

    Later, in its final request to the court in this document, “Government Request No. 25,” under the heading “Reasonable Doubt,” we come across language that is found in jury instructions that have been either proposed or actually used in many other cases:

    The law presumes a defendant to be innocent of crime. Thus, a defendant, although accused, begins the trial with a “clean slate,” with no evidence against him. And the law permits nothing but legal evidence presented before the jury to be considered in support of any charge against the accused. So the presumption of innocence alone is sufficient to acquit a defendant, unless you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case. [Emphasis mine.]

    Years ago, in a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the U.S. justices ruled that instructing a jury with this “clean slate” language is not absolutely necessary in order to ensure a fair trial, but it does come up again and again in various cases. And here, decades later, we have the U.S. government itself proposing that it be used in instructions to a jury in a case in which the government was the one bringing the charges. Furthermore, the appositive phrase, “with no evidence against him,” defining what the government (and others using similar instructions) mean by “clean slate,” decisively supports Sam’s explanation.

  410. Towne said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    #407
    SO the truth will out, eh?
    Your goal is not purity.
    Your goal is latitudinarianism.
    Your goal is to kill a denomination.
    What depth of bitterness and venom!

  411. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I did not kill the PCA. The SJC has killed it.

  412. Mark T. said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Mr. Shade,

    You are absolutely correct. The minutes for the Christ Church elders’ meeting do not say that you spoke with the pastor of Christ Church before the PCA lawfully defrocked you; they merely say that the pastor of Christ Church made motion to receive you and your congregation as a fraternal delegate in the CRE and the Kirk elders voted unanimously to approve his motion.

    Consequently, given your implication and the plain meaning of the minutes, I must conclude that the Kirk session groupthinked to bring you into the CRE even though none of them ever spoke with you and the PCA had not defrocked you because your trial was not finished. Makes perfect sense. The CREC looks even more responsible now.

    I sure this explains why the Christ Church minutes report that your trial was not a barrier to you and your church being accepted into the CRE:

    Doug Jones reported that the ad hoc committee concerning Burke Shade recommends that we should not send out the current letter, and that we should wait while Chris Schlect and Doug Jones continue to work through the trial materials, before they make a further recommendation. Doug Wilson reminded the elders that we have already agreed this situation is not a barrier to Burke Shade and his church being accepted into the CRE, and that he has communicated this to Burke. The elders agreed that, further review of the material, the burden of proof is on the committee to overturn our previous decisions, which would only happen if new, clear information against Burke appears. The elders would like a report from the committee by July 27. This recommendation considered as a motion passed. (Christ Church Elders’ Meeting Minutes, July 13, 2000)

    And this certainly explains why they had already brought you into the CRE as a fraternal delegate:

    — Motion (DW/GH) to seat Cornerstone Reformed Church, Carbondale, IL (Burke Shade, pastor). After discussion, the motion passed 5-0. (CREC 1999 minutes, p. 1)

    Furthermore, you are correct when you note that “the people who left EPC asked for those things, not me.” They asked for the money, the hymnals, and the furniture in the same letter where they requested Illiana Presbytery to dissolve its relationship with you:

    We request that Evangelical Presbyterian Church agree to dissolve its relationship with Pastor Burke Shade immediately, allowing us to call Pastor Shade as Pastor of our newly formed Church. We understand that he would be ministering “out of bounds” pending final decision of Presbytery.

    I’m sure they did this without your knowledge or approval, just as the pastor of Christ Church motioned to bring you into the CRE without your knowledge or approval. Or perhaps this is an example of the sheep laying down their lives for the shepherd. Either way, it gives you highly implausible cover, which is consistent with the FV MO.

    Finally, while your claim that two denominations held your membership simultaneously — one as a defrocked minister and one as a minister in good standing — makes sense to you, it’s more evidence that you and your fellow confederates are under a lot of pressure. Trust me, I understand. It must be positively unbearable. You must feel a little like Roger Clemens and a lot like Hillary Clinton. Like Clemens, the testimony of your closest allies contradicts your story and, like Hillary, the overwhelming votes against you (from seven Reformed denominations) look like a landslide of epic proportions. The truth is surrounding you as the walls are caving in. You’re cornered and crushed. But take hope, Mr. Shade, for as the Congresswoman said to Clemens today, “I’m sure you’re going to heaven.”

    Thank you.

  413. Andrew Webb said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Towne,

    Don’t expect any of it to make sense, any more than the continuous dancing from “You’re all lying idiots” to “sorry about calling you lying idiots” back to “you’re all lying idiots.” And as for the FV being the “WCF without blinkers”, funny how it doesn’t sound a thing like the works of the Presbyterians of the time, Watson, Charnock, Guthrie, Rutherford, etc. Oh, but they were “baptyrians” too.

    Ah well, here’s a little real Westminster era Presbyterianism for historical contrast (hey it even has the beloved Latin!)

    When I say, Believers persevere:

    [I] I grant, that such as are so only in profession, may fall away.
    `Demas has forsaken me.’ 2 Tim 4:40. Blazing comets soon evaporate. A
    building on sand will fall. Matt 7:76. Seeming grace may be lost. No
    wonder to see a bough fall from a tree that is only tied on. Hypocrites
    are only tied on Christ by an external profession, they are not
    ingrafted. Who ever thought artificial motions would hold long? The
    hypocrite’s motion is only artificial, not vital. All blossoms do not
    ripen into fruit.

    The fourth argument is taken, ab unione cum Christo, `from
    believers’ union with Christ.’ They are knit to Christ as the members
    to the head, by the nerves and ligaments of faith, so that they cannot
    be broken off. Eph 5:53. What was once said of Christ’s natural body is
    true of his mystical. `A bone of it shall not be broken.’ As it is not
    possible to sever the leaven and the dough when they are once mingled
    and kneaded together, so it is impossible for Christ and believers,
    when once united, ever to be separated. Christ and his members make one
    body. Now, is it possible that any part of Christ should perish? How
    can Christ lose any member of his mystic body, and be perfect? In
    short, si unus excidat, quare non et alter? If one believer may be
    broken off from Christ, then, by the same rule, why not another. Why
    not all? And so Christ would be a head without a body.
    ….
    (2:) Get a real work of grace in your heart. `It is a good thing that
    the heart be established with grace.’ Heb 13:3. Nothing will hold out
    but grace; it is only this anointing abides; paint will fall off. Get a
    heartchanging work. `But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified.’ I Cor
    6:6: Be not content with baptism of water, without baptism of the
    Spirit. The reason men persevere not in religion, is for want of a
    vital principle; a branch must needs wither that has no root to grow
    upon.

    Justification is inamissibilis; it is a fixed permanent thing, it
    can never be lost. The Arminians hold an apostasy from justification;
    to-day justified, tomorrow unjustified; to-day a Peter, to-morrow a
    Judas; today a member of Christ, to-morrow a limb of Satan. This is a
    most uncomfortable doctrine. Justified persons may fall from degrees of
    grace, they may leave their first love, they may lose God’s favour for
    a time, but not lose their justification. If they are justified they
    are elected; and they can no more fall from their justification than
    from their election. If they are justified they have union with Christ,
    and can a member of Christ be broken off? If one justified person may
    fall away from Christ, all may; and so Christ would be a head without a
    body.

    – Thomas Watson, “A Body of Divinity”

    Temporary Justification and real apostasy indeed. Fie and a pox on those Arminian notions.

  414. Mark said,

    February 13, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    There are no Arminian notions in the so-called FV. And Watson is not the Standards any more than any person cited by Rich Lusk.

    And whose calling down curses now? More double standards.

  415. Bill Lyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Re: 409

    Mr. Jordan,

    I am sorry, my post #396 was wrong. Please go back to whatever ( – strike – universe) blackhole you live in now (where truth and reality are nonexistance, where you can make up and believe what ever you want to believe and then spew it out regaurdless of the facts) and please stop speaking about matters you have NO KNOWLEDGE of nor any facts to back up your alternate reality.

  416. Mark said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    It is not an alternate reality to observe the PCA is being destroyed by the top-down imposition of extra-confessional requirements. It is too obvious to require argument. Open your eyes.

  417. Andrew Webb said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Mark,

    I’m not allowed to say fie and a pox to unbiblical doctrines? Ok, fies and poxes withdrawn with apologies to all offended doctrines.

    BTW – When I was going through seminary at WTS they taught us that temporary justification and real apostasy were Arminian doctrines. I read the same thing in systematic theologies, commentaries on the confession, etc. But apparently they were mistaken? They aren’t Arminian doctrines? What exactly is the Arminian view on real apostasy and how does their view on temporary justification differ from the developing FV one. There must be a very important nuance I’m missing.

    Also, would you like some quotes to the same effect as Watson above from some of the actual authors of the Confession, or would that not be the Standard either? If the FV is the Westminster Standards, then I guess if the authors of the Standards differ from the FV then they aren’t confessional. It makes sense. I thought Jeff Meyers wrote that the FV was different and better and more biblical than the Confession, which is why it was popular with a new generation. Is he not in agreement with Mr. Jordan? Or is it it better, different, and the same all at once?

    Ah well, I suppose what we really need is a broad denomination that doesn’t reject any theology, broadness being such an commendable virtue in the NT rather than narrowness. Broad denominations for broad times need broad ways, eh?

  418. James Jordan said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    What we need is catholicity, and a respect for John 17.

  419. Kyle said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    The CREC, brethren, is most obviously the future of BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY. Your resistance is futile!

    Lane,

    Sorry for the throwaway comment. I just can’t help but feel nauseated by this entire thread. Is there anything more to clarify about Sam Duncan’s comments at this point? Does anyone still want to use his comments to show what kind of tyrannical monster the SJC is (hmm, all elders “in good standing” last I checked!!)? Or does anyone still want to accuse FV opponents of hypocrisy because Lane called Mr. Duncan to clarify his oral statement but doesn’t grant that the PCA study committee was uncharitable or evil for not calling FV proponents to clarify their numerous books and articles?

  420. Tim Harris said,

    February 13, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    #415 — it always kills me how the rallying cry of “catholicity” these days come from people that have absolutely no claim to be in the holy catholic church whatsoever. “Starbucks Presbyterian” methinks to call it.

  421. anneivy said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Oh my, Andy, I loved that citation from Watson, and most especially this bit:

    The fourth argument is taken, ab unione cum Christo, `from
    believers’ union with Christ.’ They are knit to Christ as the members
    to the head, by the nerves and ligaments of faith, so that they cannot
    be broken off. Eph 5:53. What was once said of Christ’s natural body is
    true of his mystical. `A bone of it shall not be broken.’ As it is not
    possible to sever the leaven and the dough when they are once mingled
    and kneaded together, so it is impossible for Christ and believers,
    when once united, ever to be separated. Christ and his members make one
    body. Now, is it possible that any part of Christ should perish? How
    can Christ lose any member of his mystic body, and be perfect?

    Wonderful! :-)

  422. barlow said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Everyone speaks in this controversy in various modes. FV proponents have a “promotional” mode where FV solutions to theological conundrums are the recipe for fixing what ails the Reformed faith and its church life. FV proponents also have a “defense” mode where they emphasize the continuity between most FV positions and the Reformed tradition (or parts of it). Often, I observe that the contradictions that are alleged of the FV men are made on the basis of pitting the two modes against each other. Obviously, the FV men think that they are trying to improve the Reformed faith’s ability to speak biblically while maintain the bedrock principles of Calvinism. And so there is a kind of “moving past the standards” aspect to the first FV conference, and subsequent FV formulations. But Andy Webb and his “Old School” program for the church has a similar promotional mode of discourse – viewing “ordinary means Presbyterianism” as a way to bring revival of religion. What has happened is that the FV guys offer a solution to a Reformed research problem (e.g., apostasy, rationalism, stoicism, etc.) and instead of getting interaction on the parts of their discussion that they would admit to being a “moving beyond” – they get challenged on things that actually *are* in the tradition.

    To be concrete – take the necessity of works for salvation. This is taught in the WCF, Turretin has a chapter heading that is almost exactly that language. It is plain jane non-antinomian reformed Christianity. Sinclair Ferguson even says that good works are “noncontributory means of salvation”. And yet people suddenly call this ‘works righteousness’ or act as though this challenges the sufficiency of Christ’s work. Nobody in our circles claims that works merit anything from God in the post-lapsarian condition, either in the linguistically gated community of the Klineans, the FV guys or Old School guys or Happy Clappy PCA guys. And yet the distinction between necessity and merit is rarely approved or it is approved in very narrow ways or via fine distinctions elsewhere.

    Or take Calvin’s view of the Lord’s Supper. Remember at the beginning of this controversy, when First Presbyterian in Jackson was generating documents – suddenly Mark Horne is under fire for believing in the Real Presence. That was weird.

    Or take baptism’s “conferring” what it signifies. How is Steve Wilkins supposed to respond to Howard Davis’s questioning of that language during his interview? You should hear that portion of the Q+A. If Davis were writing the Confession today, I get the clear impression (I could be wrong) that he would never have worded the sacramental portions in the way that the divines did.

    And so then the FV has several burdens:

    1. Defending the claim that their “new” ideas are harmonious with the tradition
    2. Defending things that they thought were always part of the tradition
    3. Defending the idea that things in #1 might actually improve our tradition

    #2 is really what gets guys like Mark Horne the most flabbergasted. Take Rich Lusk, for instance. His main offense in Birmingham had nothing to do with justification or any nuances about the means of imputation. It had to do with whether Covenant children are vipers in diapers or covenantally Holy and capable of some kind of faith. And yet the rejection of Lusk is advertised as a rejection of the Federal Vision. Same goes with Burke Shade who was ejected, not for FV particulars, but for holding fairly standard views on baptism.

    Now, take Jordan. I took issue with Mr. Jordan a few years ago during the creation days controversy. At that time (and still probably for all I know) he was not willing to extend the big tent idealism to that issue. He didn’t think men should be able to be ordained who didn’t hold to six literal days of creation. If his broadening his approach about the centrality of this or that doctrine has changed, then let us celebrate that change. But perhaps a lot of people who were as censorious as Andy Webb in the past are now realizing, when the gun is pointed in their direction, just how prone to misfiring our concerns for purity can be in the church. I don’t want to worship in a four white walls and a pulpit type church, but I don’t begrudge Andy Webb for planting one. Surely we can get along on some issues and agree to disagree. I realize that soteriology is a touchy subject and fuses (and leashes) are very short when tinkering with the words of cherished formulations. But at the same time, I grew up my entire life in the PCA and believed in justification by faith alone and have had a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and never even heard the word imputation until college. Imputation is a useful intellectual tool for explaining how Christ’s work alone avails for us, not whether. Even if FV rejected imputation, that means little about what it affirms.

    And so instead of having a stimulating conversation about Leithart’s main contribution to Reformed Theology – rethinking how the social and the ontological intersect – we are creating a situation where a guy who doesn’t celebrate Christmas is attacking a guy who believes in a young earth while that guy defends deaconesses (in the mold of B.B. Warfield) while that other guy is moderator of the “Warfield List” and rejects deaconesses. All the while, nipping at their heels, is a faction (the Trinity Foundation) who thinks the church went south when it abandoned the Aristotelian syllogism. And aligned with the Old School Presbyterians are Christmas-celebrating, Purpose-Driven Life reading southern presbyterians who are, in many cases, antinomians, baptistic, and nominalistic when it comes to the eucharist.

    This “defense” versus “promotional” mode is why at times Jeff Meyers will display a dissatisfaction with the wording of the Westminster Standards while at other times arguing that the points he is making are comprehended in the wording of the standards, in the historical context of the assembly’s debates. Not a contradiction, on his part, just a guy engaging challenges from two directions.

    While both sides have a “defense” and a “promotional” mode, what I don’t see on the FV side is a prosecutorial mode. The anti-FV side has it, however, and whether it is because the FV comprehends within its umbrella too many controversial opinions at one time or what, but that prosecutorial mode tends to misfire. I know it sounds disingenuous to some, but I think I know exactly what Doug Wilson means when he says that the PCA Report didn’t condemn his beliefs. I noticed this in listening to the men on the committee present the report on the floor of GA. They actually “improved” the document in its presentation. Listen closely to Sean Lucas’s presentation of various issues. If the report said what he said it says, it would have been a much better report.

    In a nutshell, the FV guys are at least honest (in their promotional mode) about the areas of the confession that dissatisfy them. But the anti-FV side really wants to pretend that it has no exceptions to the confession in its prosecution of these issues. And yet, can you really imagine Ligon Duncan or Andy Webb wording the Westminster Confession of Faith the way it is worded if they had the choice? Even the Book of Church order says things about baptism that they would never say or would qualify in the extreme.

    Anyway, this all feels like a horrible trainwreck…

  423. barlow said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Sorry for the long post. Hopefully it will be helpful in some small way. If I had more time I could have made it shorter :)

  424. curate said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:23 am

    I would appreciate it if some anti-FV person here would speak to two points about Sam Duncan.

    1. He has the right to his convictions, and it is right for the PCA to act against views that it in good faith believes are unconfessional and unbiblical. No problem in principle.

    2. Given for the sake of argument that the SJC came to the right decision in condemning the FV, it is possible for each and every FV man thus condemned to justly argue that he has been judged partially and unfairly on the grounds that the chief prosecutor has said that no-one in the LaP can get a fait trial – because they are being judged on personal issues, not the facts.

    This is a disaster for the PCA. The very thing condemned in James re impartiality has been admitted by a member of the SJC, and no-one has denied it. The moral authority of the SJC is gone, even if they are right on the issues.

    How can the PCA recover? Better to admit the problem, and call in a third party acceptable to all, and agree to abide by their decision regardless.

  425. curate said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Andy, granted that Arminians teach a losable justification, it is illogical and a non-sequitur to argue that all who hold to that view are therefore Arminian. Were Augustine and Prosper Arminians? Was Luther, the man who wrote against free will in The Bondage of the Will, an Arminian? There have always been Reformed men who held to the same.

    Dogs have four legs, so do cats, but cats are not dogs. Arminians believe in losable justification, some of the FVists do too, but they are not Arminians.

    The FV guys believe in absolute predestination, not free will. Please accept that.

  426. February 14, 2008 at 8:00 am

    All,

    Just quick note to say how much I appreciated and agreed with barlow’s post (#420), both in tone and content. Masterfully done.

    MarkT, there is nothing in our minutes of the Shade case that is in the slightest bit embarrassing to us, and I would cheerfully refer you back again to Burke’s comments. However, there is something embarrassing about a fellow who is ashamed of his proper name making arguments from minutes that were stolen from a church office. Those misappropriated minutes (both published and unpublished) contain many personal details that are pastorally sensitive, concerning individuals who have nothing to do with any controversy. Neither you nor any others have our permission to have them or use them in any way, shape, or fashion. I realize that, not knowing who you are, we cannot make you stop doing what you are doing. But we can make it plain to others what kind of behavior this continues to be — reprehensible.

  427. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 8:22 am

    DW
    Since you and the FVers all feel persecuted and some of your number,like Jordon, consider the OPC and PCA to be ‘sects’ ( might as well throw in the URC ) ,then will you excercise whatever influence you have and please have ALL the remaining FVers in those denominations quietly and peacefully leave. That would do alot to bring this whole thing to a conclusion. What you do after that is your business and I promise you that I for one will never stick my nose into the affairs of the CREC.

  428. Mark T. said,

    February 14, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Mr. Wilson,

    As I noted to Mr. Burke, I realize that the pressure must be enormous as your universe collapses around you, so I forgive your misrepresentation regarding the minutes. Additionally, I remind you that your story has evolved somewhat from last summer when the minutes were merely “misappropriated in a grotesque way (in effect stolen) by someone.” My goodness, now you have someone breaking and entering into a church office to steal the minutes. Perhaps you should file a police report as you did with the used condom. After all, theft is serious business. Then again, the absence of police report in this matter suggests that you know no one stole anything; but it sure makes for sensational copy in the blogsphere.

    Be that as it may, we are aware of the need to protect sheep and so we intend to use the minutes to expose you, that we may achieve our objective.

    Thank you.

  429. kenchristian@cox.net said,

    February 14, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Can anyone please show me where any FVer speaks of losing Westminster-style justification, the real-deal, ordo-type justification I mean?

  430. February 14, 2008 at 9:09 am

    MarkT,

    It takes a particular kind of mind to find a contradiction between “misappropriated in a grotesque way (in effect stolen) by someone” and “minutes that were stolen from a church office.” Keep trafficking in stolen goods and broken word — that nagging in the conscience will subside in time.

  431. Ron Henzel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Barlow,

    I know that Rich Lusk has written that, “For Calvin, works are non-contributory instruments and non-meritorious conditions of final salvation,” but I am unaware of anywhere that Sinclair Ferguson has written that good works are “noncontributory means of salvation.” You made this claim on the Heidelblog over a year ago. Would you be so kind as to supply us with the reference?

  432. February 14, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Gary,

    As much as I would love to have peace on this issue, I don’t see how your suggestion would help achieve the goal. All it would do is lend genuine substance to the (up to this point) slander that we have been trying to be the “Federal Devision.” That has been the last thing we wanted. Your counsel amounts to “if they are going to hang you for a thief, you might as well steal something.” But I really would rather not.

  433. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:26 am

    DW
    That makes no sense at all. So what are we to expect from you? A fight to the finish in denominations like the PCA and the OPC? You will encourage your fellow FVers to stay and create as much disruption as possible? You will drag this thing out until weariness and fatigue-not to mention resources- drains your oppontents of the will to continue? You will win by attrition. Is that the course of action you think will best serve the cause of Christ, Doug? I would use Farel’s language to Calvin here if it would do any good- but you are no Calvin so I think it would have no effect on you.

  434. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Barlow:

    Even if FV rejected imputation, that means little about what it affirms.

    Wilson:

    Just quick note to say how much I appreciated and agreed with barlow’s post (#420), both in tone and content.

    Once again, all I can say is: Wow!

  435. Mark T. said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Mr. Wilson,

    I never wrote anything about a “contradiction”; I noted the evolution of your story. Regardless, my point was that if someone stole the minutes from a church office, as you now allege (as opposed to “in effect stole”), you would have filed a police report because breaking and entering is a criminal offense. That’s the point. You did not notify the police of a crime because you know no crime took place.

    And speaking of “broken word,” it’s clear from the minutes that you didn’t break your word to Burke Shade: “Doug Wilson reminded the elders that we have already agreed this situation is not a barrier to Burke Shade and his church being accepted into the CRE, and that he has communicated this to Burke.”

    It’s just the way you made a big show of it in front of Illiana Presbytery, as though you never cut a backroom deal to pull all the levers beneath the desk. Goodness gracious! You guys really piled the baloney high to give the appearance that the fix wasn’t in. And talk about stacking a committee! According to the minutes you had a prearranged conclusion that you assigned to the commissioners. Please, do us all a favor by consulting your blog posts that expressed all that righteous indignation at the PCA in the matter of Steve Wilkins. Then take a long hard look at yourself because the evidence suggests that that “nagging of conscience” subsided a long time ago, if it ever existed.

    On that note, you can have the last word.

  436. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Pastor Johnson, please allow me to answer for Doug:

    So what are we to expect from you? A fight to the finish in denominations like the PCA and the OPC?

    Yes!

    You will encourage your fellow FVers to stay and create as much disruption as possible?

    Yes, and then some. Didn’t you read the leaked discussion for our unBiblical Horizon’s list serve on Mark T.’s blog?

    You will drag this thing out until weariness and fatigue-not to mention resources- drains your oppontents of the will to continue?

    Amen brother! The Federal Division means more dimes in the coffers of the CREC. We’re cutting edge baby. James Brown Jordan nailed it back in 1986 when he wrote; “Irrationalism can also be used for good or for ill…. We need to repudiate the historic Protestant stoic and intellectualistic interpretations . . . .” Didn’t you read Barlow’s post. We’re the new millenia.

    You will win by attrition. Is that the course of action you think will best serve the cause of Christ, Doug?

    Of course I best serve the cause of Christ. My name is Doug.

  437. Ken Christian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:54 am

    magma – Wilson has affirmed imputation again and again. Please keep up.

  438. February 14, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Gary, I know you have raised a serious question, and I am not trying to be dismissive. I really would be willing to do whatever I could do to help bring peace to this terrible situation. But the poison of slander has been going on so long, and has been tolerated for so long, that any action whatever can now be fitted into a nefarious scenario quite easily. Do you honestly believe that I could start using whatever influence I have to get all FV types to bail out of the PCA, and not have a chorus of voices immediately crying out that now the mask is off, the trap is sprung, the true colors are now manifest? And if this were to actually happen, and God continues to bless the growth of the CREC as He has been doing, do you really think that there would be no bitter voices accusing us of sheep stealing? If a significant number of graduates of Westminster, Covenant, and RTS started receiving calls from CREC churches, do you really think there would be no accusations of continued schism? I don’t just want to labor for peace in the present, I am also interested in peace twenty years down the road. And I just don’t see how it is as simple as me encouraging folks to pack their stuff and go.

  439. February 14, 2008 at 10:13 am

    magma (#431), nice try. What I teach about imputation is not really a question anymore.

  440. barlow said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:13 am

    To Ron: the reference for Ferguson’s formulation was in the IVP book “Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification”. Ferguson takes up the Reformed position. I wish I had the page numbers for you, but perhaps someone who owns the book can type out the quotation verbatim and provide a page number. I learned a lot from that book back in seminary – finally seeing how the relationship between obedience and salvation is forumulated in the Reformed tradition in contrast to the Lutheran one. That is perhaps the best strength of the book – the discussion between the Lutheran representative and Ferguson.

    To GLWJ – most of the FV-ish pastors that I know of are not creating disruption at all. They are performing weddings, officiating funerals, teaching bible studies, etc. Yes, there are the unproven accusations of churches “torn asunder” by FV people, but of the ones I have been able to look into, the issues are much more the normal interpersonal conflicts that have always threatened the peace of any congregation. I realize that trials do cause disruption, but it takes two to start a fight, as they say. If I agreed with you that the FV denies the gospel, then of course I would think Andy is doing the right thing – a courageous thing, even. But I don’t agree, and so from my perspective, the strife is being caused by those who are either

    a. sincerely worried about the FV and going after it judicially
    b. not really worried about the FV, but using it as a useful cover for various church splitting activities that would have occurred anyway

    I’m not saying anyone here falls into part b, though some of you are old enough to fall into Part B of Medicare. Just kidding. But I think the reports of churches that are split on account of FV mostly fall into part b. Maybe because so many of you live online you are conflating the creating of disruption in online theological discussions with the creating of disruption in the churches or presbyteries.

    OK, back to lurking… I’ve got a dissertation to finish.

  441. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:13 am

    #435 – Oh crud…I just published my email for all the spammers to find. Everyone else, please feel free to drop me a note.

  442. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Oh, looks like Lane took care of it. Thanks.

  443. Towne said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Curate, your key error is in the bold print.

    Mr. Barlow: No, your post is not helpful. Rather, it serves to make light of very real, very important differences that stand between FV theology and the established teaching of the Reformed faith. Time and work do not permit a full reply just now, but perhaps someone else will oblige me. The easiest point to make is how you see those on the FV side as all sweetness and light, while those standing against FV error are accused of prosecutorial venom.

    But as Wm. Cunningham and others have observed, those introducing error and heresy are always the ones crying foul and accusing their opposition of disturbing the peace of the Church.

    Secondly, it doesn’t seem that we can even truly have a discussion anymore, when the disgust you have for those outside your circle lies barely beneath the surface of your post, with frequent recourse to derogatory labeling and implication.

    Third, and more importantly, there are real, substantive differences between the FV and Reformed theology. Many of these substantive differences have been more than adequately displayed here on GB over the past several years. You can’t roll all that away as if it’s just semantics. Instead, what we get from the FV is a high level of equivocation, to the point that we’re left with a strong distaste for anything labeled “nuance.” And we’ve not even gotten to the whole subject of “covenant renewal worship” and whats involved there.

    At the root of it all, my personal belief is that FV advocates have a highly curtailed view of sin. If a truly Biblical view of sin were applied to the FV system, the inescapable conclusion would be that no one has any hope of salvation. But that’s another story for another day.

  444. February 14, 2008 at 10:19 am

    And MarkT, nobody said anything about “breaking and entering.” Suppose a scenario where someone who had access to the minutes became disgruntled with the church and showed them to someone else, also disgruntled with the church. Suppose the first person did not grant permission to the second person to use those minutes, but he went ahead and did it anyway, breaking his word. Suppose something like that. Not really something you can take to the cops, but completely out of line any way you look at it. And suppose this second person had so discredited himself with so many people that continuation in the controversy (which his standing bitterness required of him) was not really possible under his real name. Stranger things have happened.

  445. barlow said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:24 am

    No, the FV proponents have not all been sweetness and light, nor have I. There’s enough venom in all of our mouths at times. Sadly even the best men in our tradition have used a lot of invective. I was blushing last week reading Augustus Toplady.

    If I am minimizing the differences, it is only because they have been so unreasonably maximized.

  446. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:36 am

    #429 _Federal Vision_, pp. 58ff. Undoubtedly, FV sympathizers will claim that Wilkins is not speaking about Westminster-style justification. However, in that article, there is no distinction made between the justification that the non-decretally elect receive and the decretally elect receive. He has never qualified the difference *in justification* between the two. Instead, he is willing to say that people who are going to hell can have their sins fully but temporarily pardoned. I have seen *no one* who has refuted this interpretation of Wilkins’s article in _Federal Vision_, not even Xon, who has certainly come the closest.

  447. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:47 am

    #417

    “BTW – When I was going through seminary at WTS they taught us that temporary justification and real apostasy were Arminian doctrines. I read the same thing in systematic theologies, commentaries on the confession, etc. But apparently they were mistaken? They aren’t Arminian doctrines? What exactly is the Arminian view on real apostasy and how does their view on temporary justification differ from the developing FV one. There must be a very important nuance I’m missing.”

    Well, I’ll leave aside ambiguities like “real” and about different sense of justification and simply raise one issue:

    Did it not occur to you in your entire time at seminary to never ask how it could possibly be accurate to categorize Augustine of Hippo as an Arminian?

    I think that would be a red flag that maybe some nuances are in order.

    “Also, would you like some quotes to the same effect as Watson above from some of the actual authors of the Confession, or would that not be the Standard either? ”

    Why not get down to what the Westminster Standards Actually say? People can an do fall away from “the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” which they are brought into not by their own power but by “operations of the Spirit.” While they are in the visible church they are to be catechized to say that “God is the Lord, and our God, and redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.” They are to be discipled with exhortations and warnings, including the grave fact that, “To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.” They must be taught that this required repentance, without which they cannot expect pardon, includes endeavoring after new obedience.

    Quoting your favorite Puritans, doesn’t answer the actual content of the Westminster Standards (of which I have barely begun to use in this brief post). If you don’t like what the standards say about obedience or baptism or whatever, pull out with your friends and replace the offending passages with quotations from your favorites.

    But stop harassing orthodox ministers in the PCA.

  448. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Ken writes:

    Wilson has affirmed imputation again and again. Please keep up.

    I will keep it up Ken. Wilson affirms imputation just like he affirms justification by faith alone while simultaneously denying it. Have you men not yet mastered the Vantilian use of biblical paradox yet? Have you not mastered the skill of affirming with one side of your mouth the very things you deny with the other? Well, keep learning Ken. Wilson is the master. I’ve documented Doug’s doctrine of faith on my own blog and here as well. For Wilson there is simply no such thing as faith alone. He publicly derides the very idea of salvation by mere belief alone, what he calls salvation by “raw” faith alone. For Wilson believing is doing just as knowing is doing for that other Doug in Wilson’s employ.

    As for imputation, Wilson is correct and what he teaches about imputation “is not really a question anymore.” I didn’t think it was. Wilson denies the biblical doctrine of imputation which is by belief alone. It should be obvious even to schoolboys from the above why that is. There is no such thing as belief alone in Doug’s theology. Wilson rams this point home in RINE. Imputation is the result of our faithful covenant membership.

    You might recall Wilson favorably quoting that other false teacher Randy Booth: “Only faithful covenant membership (i.e., those full of faith in the Savior), receive the covenant blessings, including the blessings of imputed righteousness” (175, emphasis added). For those who read fast and missed it: For Wilson the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is the result of being a faithful covenant member. Wilson immediately adds, “This is fundamental to the central point of this book Election is one thing and covenant membership is another.” Did you miss the fundamental and central point of Wilson’s book Ken? For Wilson it is the conditions of salvation that God sets at baptism that become the dividing line between salvation and damnation: “Those who obligate themselves under the terms of the covenant law to live by faith but then defiantly refuse to believe are cut away” (134). In Wilson’s scheme, “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” (134), and fulfilling the conditions of the covenant occurs by faith and good works. Wilson rejects the historic Reformed and Biblical view of the Covenant of Grace in which Christ is the Mediator of the covenant and the Savior of his people.

    Sorry Ken, but it seems that perhaps you need to learn the Gospel too. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is not contingent upon our “faithful covenant membership,” but solely upon Christ’s obedience to the will of the Father.

  449. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Ref 446: Fair enough, Lane. I don’t have time to go re-examine that article, but let me grant, for the sake of argument, that it is impossible to understand Wilkins in that chapter as describing anything but WCF justification.

    Even if that were true, he certainly was clearer in his written answers to his presbytery’s examination (which, of course, took place a few years later):

    …it does seem to me that the benefits enjoyed by the “decretively elect” do differ from those received by the non-elect. First, they differ qualitatively. Thus, for example, though the non-elect are brought within the family of the justified and in that sense may be referred to as one of the justified, the elect person’s justification in time is not only a declaration of his present acquittal from the guilt of sin but also an anticipation of his final vindication at the last judgment. The non-elect church member’s “justification” is not. His “justification” is not the judgment he will receive from God at the last day.

    Clearly Wilkins in the quote above is limiting WCF-style justification to the eternally elect only, and also saying it cannot be lost. Regardless of how carelessly he may have written in the FV book Lane quoted, what he actually believes is that true, WCF-style justification cannot be lost. What am I missing?

  450. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Should a minister who is that unclear on justification 14 years or so (however long it was in 2004 when that article was published) into his ministry be allowed to be a minister? If a minister doesn’t have justification straight at the very beginning of ordination, he should never, ever, be allowed to be a minister.

  451. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Sean
    For crying out loud , would you please stop dragging Van Til into this! Good grief, he publically disowned the FV’s forefathers, the theonomists.

  452. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Furthermore, the question is *not* whether “WCF” style justification can be lost. The question is whether there is any other kind at all. This I deny adamantly, and I firmly believe there is no room at all in the WS for such a secondary, lesser justification.

  453. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Barlow’s post does bring up an interesting point that I have been wondering about for some time, and have asked some in the CRE but have yet to get an answer.

    Would the CRE ordain a man who did not hold to six literal day creation?
    Would the CRE ordain a man who did not hold to an “optimistic” eschatology?
    Would the CRE ordain a man who held to Kline’s view on the Mosaic covenant?
    Would the CRE ordain a man who was strongly against paedo-communion?

    I am genuinely curious, as to whether the calls for catholicism flow both ways.

  454. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Sean…speaking of Johnny one note your mentor trained you well!

  455. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Jesse, I am assuming the CRE would ordain such a man on any of those questions. They would ordain a Baptist man (since the LBC is one of the acceptable confessions). I just don’t know that a man with some or all of those beliefs would be much interested in the CRE.

  456. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Mr. Jordan,
    You make up stories out of whole cloth which have no connection to reality. For instance, above you state that the PCA erected the SJC to get rid of Steve Wilkins and men like him. The SJC was erected in the late 80’s- a little before Steve Wilkins’ teachings were very widely known to any beyond those, like myself, who knew him very personally. Second, you accuse me of admitting that there was a conspiracy against Steve Wilkins by the SJC. Since I have never said such a thing and since you have not responded with your “proof” of such, I can only assume you are referring to my statement that I became concerned with Steve’s teachings all the way back in the early 1980’s. But, I need to remind you that it takes TWO PEOPLE OR MORE to have a conspiracy. You truly worked with Gary North for too many years nad have picked up on his paranoia. You have begun to see conspiracies under every tree. Your conspiracies change shape like the moving of clouds in the sky.
    Now, as to my statement that I became concerned with Steve’s teachings back in the 1980’s, I do acknowledge such. But I did not share my concerns with anyone. I kept counsel with myself. Steve’s problems in the PCA are of his own making. He received no help from me. In fact, he was more than capable ALL BY HIMSELF to stir the pot to the boiling point, as he has so amply proved. But, my concerns about his teachings go back to a time in 1984 in Forest, Mississippi when Steve was spouting out ideas about the covenant and the salvation of baptised infants which I considered far beyond what either the Scripture teaches or the WCF. I thought he was trying to peer into the secret counsels of God and moving beyond Deuteronomy 29:29. I didn’t debate Steve because I learned at seminary that Steve never thinks he is wrong when he takes a position. And he never willingly says, “You may have a good point there. I will have to think about it.” So, I listened and was disturbed by what I heard. His ideas were the genesis of his more recent teachings.
    I am sure you feel that since I was disturbed by his teachings even 24 years ago, that I am not capable of being a juror on a case where his views are on trial. Of course, if you take that position, you have another problem. That would mean that the only people qualified to be jurors would be those who are willingly to agree with the theological views of any person on trial. After all, I determined long ago that Arminianism, Arianism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Barthianism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Pelganianism and a host of other theological positions are wrong. I guess that means, according to your conspiracy views, I would not give them a fair trial and therefore I cannot be a juror in a trial where someone who teaches those views is tried. But, I respectfuly disagree with you. And I think most people see the ludicrousness of your positions.

  457. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Ref. #450 – Lane, you are making a very large assumption in that series of questions. How could you possibly know that Wilkins was fuzzy about justification for 14 years? How could you ever prove that? How can you even suggest it without implying that his ordaining presbytery was absolutely inept when they first examined him?

    What we know is that for a period of 2 years (03-04), Wilkins said and wrote some things about justification that seemed unclear to some. He has since clarified his views.

    Why does all of this rise to level of declaring he should have never been a minister? Doesn’t it make more sense to simply rebuke him for his lack of clarity and ask him to be more clear in the future?

  458. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

    For crying out loud , would you please stop dragging Van Til into this! Good grief, he publically disowned the FV’s forefathers, the theonomists.

    I will when you finally admit that errors of the theonomists and the Federal Divisionists found fertile soil to grow and flourish in Van Til’s contradictory view of Scripture and analogous view of truth.

    All these men are self-professed Van Tilians after all, Jordan chief among them. John Frame said of Jordan that he was “one of the most interesting and able students I ever taught at Westminster Theological Seminary.” Back in ’86 Jordan wrote:

    “My intellectual formation as a presuppositionalist has been due to the writings of Cornelius Van Til and Rousas John Rushdoony, and also to various classes I was privileged to take under Greg Bahnsen at Reformed Theological Seminary and John M. Frame at Westminster Theological Seminary…. Norman Shepherd of Westminster Seminary tremendously reoriented my thinking about the covenant and the sacraments”

    You might recall Jordan what said during the De Regno Christi debate that this entire FV fracas was just “the Clark controversy with feet on it.” For once Jordan was exactly right.

    Van Til prepared the epistemological bed and these men have been sleeping in it ever since and now you’re miffed at me for pointing it out. Give me a break.

    Are you so blind in your admiration for Van Til that you cannot even admit that there are gaping holes in the man’s epistemic formulations and that these have direct implications on the doctrine of Scripture and truth itself? Holes, incidentally, that Clark easily filled.

  459. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:22 am

    #452 – Lane, you write:

    Furthermore, the question is *not* whether “WCF” style justification can be lost.

    That might not be the point in your mind, but it certainly is for others who have commented on this post. Just look above. It has been said numerous times in the comments that FV people say justification (the WCF kind) can be lost. I was asking for proof. None has come.

    You go on to write:

    The question is whether there is any other kind at all. This I deny adamantly, and I firmly believe there is no room at all in the WS for such a secondary, lesser justification.

    Fair enough. But isn’t this an issue for the presbyteries to the decide? Are we going through all of this GA level judicial mess because of differences of opinion concerning what the standards have room for?

  460. Ron Henzel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Last night my comment, which is now #409, regarding the connection between a “fair trial” and a “clean slate,” somehow got stuck in the moderator’s queue, and Lane just made sure it got posted this morning. He warned me that this would result in anomalies where people have referenced other comments by their numbers, and sure enough, it’s happened.

  461. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:25 am

    magma – concerning one of your posts above, the one directed at me…is it your conviction that every member of the new covenant has had righteousness of Christ imputed to them? And is it your conviction that there is no ambiguity in the WCF about this? Real questions.

  462. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Ken, have you ever met anyone who was crystal clear on justification who became gradually more fuzzy over time? Positions become more defined, more qualified over time. And I don’t agree even with Wilkins’s latest, most qualified version. Furthermore, I don’t believe he agrees with the WCF. In reading the cracks of the confession, he has created cracks in the confession. Furthermore, the LAP has already admitted their guilt on not finding a strong presumption of guilt in Wilkins. That strongly suggests that they should never have let him in in the first place.

  463. Chris said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Would it be too much to ask for the Burke conversation to find an appropriate debate on another post since it is far from the orginial content of the post and a distraction in attempting to follow the conversation amongst various conversations? Lane, what’s up with that?

  464. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    “Should a minister who is that unclear on justification 14 years or so (however long it was in 2004 when that article was published) into his ministry be allowed to be a minister? If a minister doesn’t have justification straight at the very beginning of ordination, he should never, ever, be allowed to be a minister.”

    Wow. Aside from the fact that this situation has never obtained for the FV targets Lane has in mind, the answer is “Yes.”

    It is perfectly acceptable in the PCA to except the transfer of a minister from another denomination who may not have had justification “straight.” That may be exactly why he wants to transfer into a more Biblical denomination.

    And why on earth should temporary confusion carry with it some sort of eternal ban from the ministry of the Gospel?

    If Augustine was among us, and we convinced him that Luther and Calvin were right about justification, wouldn’t he be a fit pastor? Is it your contention that Augustine was unfit for the Gospel ministry?

    Lane, the fact you even think this idea has some sort of rhetorical force reveals something about you, not about your targets.

  465. James Jordan said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:27 am

    #438. Douglas, we’ve already seen just what happens when men leave the PCA over FV issues. Look at the comments about Steve Wilkins on this blog.

    Moreover, I do not know why FV-oriented people should leave the PCA. The FV is historic Calvinism, after all. And the PCA has not condemned the FV, only a caricature of it.

    Knowing that the FV is not really heretical, all the gods of the PCA can do is use their SJC to slander, smear, and then drive men out by bullying and threatening their presbyteries. The lawlessness is plain for all to see.

  466. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:29 am

    “Furthermore, the LAP has already admitted their guilt on not finding a strong presumption of guilt in Wilkins. That strongly suggests that they should never have let him in in the first place.”

    Lane, for normal minds, this suggests they gave in under pressure from SJC.

  467. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Ken, what others are thinking in this post is irrelevant as to the question of what I am thinking. You asked who said that justification can be lost. I argued that Wilkins does. Further, since Wilkins did not distinguish between the two justifications, can he expect readers not to equate justification with what WCF 11 says? Now, he says that there is a difference. But he never says that the reprobate are not forgiven. He has not retracted what he wrote in FV, pp. 58ff. In fact, in the record of the SJC case, he *explicitly reaffirmed* what he wrote there.

  468. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Mark, the people who voted guilty are the people who were against Wilkins’s theology from the start. So, that theory won’t wash.

  469. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:33 am

    James Jordan, one more strike and you’re out. You have accused the PCA of idolatry (“gods”), and of slandering and smearing. This is not the place to do and say such things. If you mean it, then bring charges against the PCA. Put your gut where your mouth is. One more such word from you, and you will be permanently banned.

  470. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Ken, have you ever met anyone who was crystal clear on justification who became gradually more fuzzy over time?

    Sure, I have. But we have know way of knowing that Wilkins was ever fuzzy to begin with. What we know is that he wrote a fuzzy article. This is a big difference.

    Furthermore, the LAP has already admitted their guilt on not finding a strong presumption of guilt in Wilkins. That strongly suggests that they should never have let him in in the first place.

    You can’t be serious… Do you realize how this sounds? I thought “strong presumption of guilt” only meant there was enough evidence for a trial, where the accused, of course, would be presumed innocent. Isn’t this what we all were told?

  471. James Jordan said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

    No, I accused the leaders of the PCA of conspiring, slander, and smearing. The Bible uses the term “gods” for rulers, which is how I was using it. And since there is no appeal beyond the decisions of the SJC, they really are virtual gods, are they not?

    The PCA is full of godly men who serve Christ and His people. But I can tell you, as someone who once worked in the Stated Clerk’s office in the 1970s, that there has been an informal cabal that runs the PCA and has run it since day one. It would be nice if that were not the case, but it is. This is why there is jockeying and politicizing in the higher levels of the PCA, as the TRs want to take over this position, etc.

    I thought everyone knew this.

  472. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

    They pleaded guilty, Ken. Therefore they are judicially guilty as a presbytery. I was referring to the presbytery’s role in letting him in. That is completely different from what is required when trying a minister to defrock him. If I said that the strong presumption of guilt completely proves that the presbytery should not have let him in, then I would be guilty of presuming Wilkins’s guilt. However, since what I actually said was, “strongly suggests,” then I am not guilty of so doing. Irrelevant, in other words.

    Secondly, Wilkins has not lost his fuzziness at all, in my opinion. He is still very fuzzy on exactly what the nature of the benefits are that the non-elect receive, including justification. Saying “it isn’t the same justification” is not nearly enough. So, Wilkins has been fuzzy from 2002-2008. That is quite a sizable chunk of Wilkins’s career. And actually, I have heard some of his 2001 lectures as well, and he is fuzzy there as well, so add on another year. Seven years, Ken.

  473. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:44 am

    In fact, in the record of the SJC case, he *explicitly reaffirmed* what he wrote there.

    I don’t know what you’re referencing here…Did Steve say that? Was the opinion of a court member? A summary?

  474. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Well, James, your use of the term “gods” was ***hardly*** self-evident. Given the tone of your recent comments about the PCA, clarity would have been much more advisable than using words that could easily inflame. If your intention on this blog is merely to inflame and not talk about issues, then again, you are not welcome. This is intended to be a blog about the issues. Theological argumentation, not heat-producing frenzies of vitriol. James, you are famous for your biblical theological work. If you want to contribute to this blog, why not use that knowledge here?

    Secondly, your opinion about a “cabal” is hardly shared by most in the PCA. If the “cabal” includes 95% of the PCA, that would hardly constitute a cabal, now, would it?

    Let me remind folks that the subject of this post is Sam Duncan’s meaning about the SJC.

  475. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Ken, in Steve’s own words, he reaffirmed what he wrote on those very pages of the _Federal Vision_ book. It is part of LAP’s verbal examination of Wilkins that has been professionaly transcribed.

  476. February 14, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Hey, cut James Jordan some slack. He hasn’t criticized the PCA, only a caricature of it….

  477. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Jimmy Jordan,
    At long last have you no sense of decency? Have you no sense of shame? You assert a conspiracy, but yoy offer no proof. In fact, you steadfastly refuse to provide proof. You just make accusations. And after accusing us of being demonic, you have the unmitigated gall to accuse the SJC of being guilty of slander. Thankfully, you are in the CREC where discipline of members who are guilty of such vile sins is not even given a passing thought. You make me ashamed of myself that I ever considered you to be a friend.

  478. Andrew Webb said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Re:451

    Gary,

    Unfortunately that’s not possible. The Trinity Foundation has a variety of Apostolic succession. Robbins followed Clark, and now Sean appears to be the heir presumptive of Robbins. Everything the successors of Clark deal with gets put through the grid of Clark’s theology, and is related back to the Van Til/Clark battle, with Van Tillianism found to be the root cause for all problems. It’s the “unified field theory” We could be discussing the high price of oil and the problem would be found to be the influence of Van Til on economics. If you don’t agree with Clark, you’re wrong and must be corrected plain and simple. Its the closest thing to a protestant infallibility you are likely to see. The sad thing is that this means that everyone outside of the TF is a potential enemy as soon as they deviate from Clark, even if you are simply expressing things found in every Reformed systematic theology other than Clark’s. Because of that, although I’m not their enemy and appreciate a lot of what Clark wrote, I’ve been attacked (and will be again for writing this) and labeled a contributor to the FV problem, the Banner’s been attacked, etc. Because the TF worldview is that Clark is Reformed Theology, that which is not Clark is not Reformed, I don’t respond to the personal stuff. I wish they’d see this absolute devotion to one fallible man and his own historic struggles, severely limits their usefulness to Christ’s church and undercuts their witness.

    Sean and John, for the record, I’m not your enemy and I hope you will read this in the Prov. 27:6a sense (incidentally, I sincerely appreciate and have profited from the admonitions and timely rebukes of friends) I’m not a Van Tillian and I wish you well, but I also wish you’d stop attacking the evangelicals in this particular battle over fundamental Reformed issues. Do you think, for instance, that Bill Lyle and I agree on everything? Clearly we don’t and we both know it, but we also know that the things we differ on are minor compared to the things we agree upon, and that the differences between us and the FV men are immense and fundamental by comparison. So we remain friends and brothers and do our best to avoid friendly fire incidents while the church is being “by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed”.

  479. Tim Harris said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Johnson (#451) — It’s rather misleading to say van Til “publically disowned the FV’s forefathers, the theonomists,” at several levels. First, the RPCUS are arguably the legitimate offspring of “the theonomists,” and they were the first to blow the whistle on FV. Second, van Til’s statement was a bit more mild than what you imply IMO. Third, van Til also publicly “owned” Shepherd, and Shepherd is more plausibly the FV forefather; but given all the factors in van Til’s life at that time as well as what was known, it would be wrong to invoke van Til on Shepherd’s side today.

  480. Andrew Webb said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    PS: Sorry Lane, just read your admonition and plead guilty. I’ll do my best to keep all further posts in this thread strictly on topic. I don’t think much can be added to the original issue at this point though.

  481. February 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    #474. But Lane, as you say the purpose of this blogchain is the behavior of the SJC. Consider: LAP was told to investigate Steve Wilkins. They did so, following normal procedure, and found Wilkins to be okay. Then, lawlessly, the SJC came up with new rules and demanded that LAP reinvestigate Wilkins. LAP probably should have told the SJC to stick it, but instead went the extra mile and reinvestigated Wilkins. Once again they found him okay. Then the SJC ordered LAP to find Wilkins guilty or else LAP would be dissolved. Hmmm. Lawful behavior?

    What is clear from this is that the SJC had decided Wilkins was guilty, though THEY had not tried him. How lawful is this?

    Mr. Roberts objects to the fact that I and the whole watching world can see this for what it is. Yes, we can. And it is appalling.

  482. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Tim, you raise important points. However, I think it is wrong to invoke Van Til as Shepherd’s supporter even then. The only reason he defended Shepherd was because he thought the whole thing was about fighting Campus Crusade and Bill Bright in particular. Shepherd was against Bill Bright, and so was he. But by the time the Shepherd controversy was going on, Van Til was extremely elderly, and, to put it kindly, was not always aware of everything going on. This is what I have gleaned from Gary, who knows it first-hand.

  483. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Magma #448, you are simply being obtuse (typical TF stuff). Wilson’s affirmed sola-fide justification scores of times in no uncertain terms. You’re not fooling anyone save those who, like you, love to hate Pr. Wilson. You simply have blinders on – whatever he says/writes must be wrong. That’s clear enough to anyone reading your posts or publications. I do have a question for you:
    Why is it that you deny the gospel to anyone who disagrees with you? Everyone who disagrees has to go learn the gospel! Amazing. Your MO is highly but, oh, so typically sectarian (also, typical TF stuff).

  484. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    If I said that the strong presumption of guilt completely proves that the presbytery should not have let him in, then I would be guilty of presuming Wilkins’s guilt. However, since what I actually said was, “strongly suggests,” then I am not guilty of so doing. Irrelevant, in other words.

    I don’t we should ever have put ourselves in a position where we have to slice things this thin. It suggests all the wrong things about our judicial processes.

  485. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    James, the point is that the LAP never brought Wilkins to trial. An examination is not the same thing as a trial. Wilkins has not ever been acquitted judicially, because he was never tried. Let’s move the hypothesis to a different matter. Let’s say that someone was teaching that Christ is not God. You would agree, I hope, that such a person should not teach in the PCA. If a Presbytery refused to deal with such a heretic, then the Presbytery should be dealt with. Now, Wilkins’s errors are not on that level. However, from the perspective of the SJC, they are of such a nature that a trial should have happened, but didn’t. That is the issue, James.

  486. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Ken, that comment is irrelevant. Theologians are required to be careful and judicious in their choice of language. Why would you fault me for attempting to do that? I have always striven for the utmost clarity of expression, so as to avoid misunderstanding.

  487. Dewey Roberts said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Jimmy Jordan,
    I hate to break the news to you, but the whole watching world does not view things through your eyes. You make accusations without fact. Of course, as you stated yesterday, you are of the opinion that if the SJC follows the BCO it is guilty of pharisaism. Wow, that is an interesting position for a theonomist who believes that every law of the OT is still valid for today.
    Once again, I ask, what part of the BCO has the SJC violated through this whole process? I will not hold my breath until you respond because you I know you neither will nor can.

  488. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    “Further, since Wilkins did not distinguish between the two justifications, can he expect readers not to equate justification with what WCF 11 says?”

    He and others have distinguished the various ways the Bible uses terms compared to the Westminster Standards many many times going way way back.

    “But he never says that the reprobate are not forgiven.”

    Duh. He doesn’t need to.

    Amos 7.2b-3:

    O Lord GOD, please forgive!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
    The Lord relented concerning this:
    “It shall not be,” said the LORD.

    Amos is plainly interceding for a nation of elect and reprobate members, and God grants his request be relenting from a planned temporary punishment.

    Further, how can Gaffin be allowed to say that Pentecost was the justification of the Church without allowing Wilkins to point out what that means for entry into the Church? Here’s Gaffin:

    Pentecost, then, is the de facto justification of the church. Along with Christ’s resurrection and ascension…it is a declaration, in effect, of the church’s righteous standing before God. Pentecost is not only the efficacious empowering of the church for kingdom service (it is that, to be sure), but is also the effective demonstration that the church is no longer subject to God’s wrath. The eschatological life of the Spirit poured out on the church at Pentecost seals its acquittal and the definitive removal of it guilt…The Spirit of Pentecost is the Spirit of justification. (p. 112 of Right with God: Justification in the Bible and World, edited by D.A. Carson, “Justification in Luke-Acts” (106-125; Baker, 1992).

  489. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Hopefully, that closes the italics.

  490. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    486 – Because, Lane, when former participants in the Wilkins case strive for clarity in the way you just did, it looks to way too many people like our courts strained out the judicial gnat while swallowing the judicial camel. I’m not saying that is what happened; I’m just saying we shouldn’t act all surprised when others read things like that and think so.

  491. Tim Harris said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Lane (482) — that was actually the point I was trying to convey, but thanks for clarifying. The same caveat, however, applies a fortiori to van Til and theonomy.

  492. February 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Listen fellas, if we would all just employ the FV tactic of insisting that all the horrible things said of us are not really said of us, but of caricatures of us, then we’ll all sleep better at night, even though no one understands us.

    But at least we’ll all be right.

    Yes, I am kidding. Please don’t yell at me, or at a caricature of me….

  493. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    And Mark, you make yet again the fallacy which is by now a watchword among FV’ers (I cannot even count the number of times I’ve seen it): confusing the properties of a group with the properties of an individual within that group. What is true of God’s “justifying” a nation cannot be applied to individuals within that nation. That would be the same fallacy as saying that sodium and chloride are okay to eat because the combo is table salt.

  494. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Ken, we are talking about justification by faith, about election, about baptism, about perseverance. These are gnats?

  495. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Tim
    Actually, you are a bit off about the chronology here-VT spoke very clearly about the issue of theonomy some years BEFORE the Shepherd controversy errupted. The late Greg Bahnsen and I discussed this at some lenght and he admitted that VT was none to sympathetic to the theonomists and particularly to the way they kept appealing to him from their various camps. He didn’t like it. He felt the same way about the way he always got linked to E. J. Carnell and his book ‘The Case For Orthodoxy’ which VT really took exception to.As for the Shepherd controversy-VT ,like Gaffin, did not at the time see where Shepherd was going . Gaffin’s present position on Shepherd is testimony on that

  496. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    p.s. For those of you who don’t know, Carnell had been one of VT prized pupils at WTS.

  497. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    magma – concerning one of your posts above, the one directed at me…is it your conviction that every member of the new covenant has had righteousness of Christ imputed to them?

    Yes, that is correct. No one goes to heaven without it. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Also, and FWIW, I think the biblical metaphor of the vine and the branches applies directly to the FV men, who like Wilkins, “went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

    And is it your conviction that there is no ambiguity in the WCF about this? Real questions

    Real answer. The WCF is positively unambiguous on this point.

    Answer (WLC 31)

    With whom was the covenant of grace made?

    The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

    But, then, I’m just a simple “Scripturalist” who believes propositions convey literal meaning. I am very unskilled in thinking in terms of truth as analogous to I don’t know what and trying to justify any incoherence in my own theological thinking by affirming so-called “paradoxes” where none exist. That’s not to say that I think everything is plain in itself. There are, to use Van Til’s phrase, full bucket difficulties in Scripture, so it’s not surprising that there would be some similar difficulties in the Confession given its impressive and broad scope. This just doesn’t happen to be one of these areas.

    That said, I think Lane nailed it above when he said of Wilkins: “In reading the cracks of the confession, he has created cracks in the confession.”

    And, on a side note, I would urge Lane to not even consider banning Jordan. His remarks and continual bashing of the PCA are very constructive. You know what they say about giving certain people plenty of rope. :)

  498. Bill Lyle said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Mr. Jordan

    Once again, you are speaking about matters you have NO KNOWLEDGE of period.

    What are appalling are your posts.

    Mr. Roberts has, on a number of occasions, asked you questions. As of today, you have not answered any of Mr. Roberts’s questions. Could it be that Mr. Roberts is correct?

  499. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    “confusing the properties of a group with the properties of an individual within that group. What is true of God’s “justifying” a nation cannot be applied to individuals within that nation.”

    No, God taught the individual Israelites to identify with the group due to the promises made to the group and the blessings upon the group. Thus Deuteronomy 26.1-11:

    When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. 3 And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God.

    5 “And you shall make response before the Lord your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7 Then we cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. 9 And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.

    Thus, when Paul exhorts the Ephesian elders, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood,” he is exhorting them to treat individual members of the Church with care because God obtained them by his own blood.

    When we hear God loves the Church, as Christians, we are supposed to be assured that God loves us.

  500. Tim Harris said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Well, van Til frequently had my friend Greg Bahnsen substitute-teach his classes, and recommended him to become faculty — so I maintain it is rather misleading to say van Til “publically disowned … the theonomists” without backfilling a good bit of context.

    Regardless of Gaffin’s history with Shepherd, van Til was still “owning” Shepherd in the early 80’s, after lots of men were raising a stink about the same issues in Shepherd that today are infamous.

    Yes, Lane, he was going senile, and other issues may have been in the fore. Same for his relation to theonomy. Johnson’s summary was misleading.

  501. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    494 – Of course not, Lane. I was talking about your statement concerning the “strong presumption of guilt.” Isn’t that the one I quoted? That’s why I talked about judicial camels being swallowed, not theological ones.

    But look, let me bring this conversation of ours to a close (mainly because my schedule demands it). Here’s where we’re at:

    You (and probably many others) seem to think everything that has happened in the Wilkins case to date has been above reproach. For me, the jury is still out on that issue, no pun intended.

    As for Wilkins’ beliefs concerning justification, I’m pretty sure that you (and probably many others) believe he is, at best, fuzzy on justification and has been so for quite some time. At this point, I’m willing to admit he wrote a poorly written article in 04 and said some weird sounding things before that. His clarifications since those times have more than convinced me that these missteps of his were anomalies, not evidence of faulty views.

    So there you have it. I guess the one question I’d really like answered is this, Lane: given the disagreement we have over these particular matters; do you think there is room for both of our views in the PCA? I have no problem answering a hearty, “Yes.” I am curious as to how you’d answer.

  502. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Explicit directions about one aspect of a group member’s affiliation with the group does not apply willy-nilly to all other aspects in which the group and the individual relate. You have to demonstrate this with regard to justification. With regard to Paul, you need to answer the judgment of charity argument, which to date no one of the FV has. The judgment of charity is a thorn in the FV’s side, since it offers a very simple explanation of why Paul speaks the way he does without any redefinitions of key terms in theological orthodoxy.

  503. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Ken, precision of thought and expression is not just theological, but applies to every area of our lives. That is why I have spoken the way that I have. My position is not necessarily that the SJC has been above reproach in every aspect of how it has dealt with this. I have nowhere said or implied this. I merely defend the SJC against the outrageous claims made about it by people who haven’t the foggiest idea what PCA judicial procedure and polity requires.

    I’m glad you are willing to admit that Wilkins’s article in 04 is poorly written. I think it additionally teaches heterodox doctrines, and Wilkins’s further clarifications (including his explicit affirmation of what he wrote) do nothing to alleviate my concerns.

    It is not enough to affirm the truth of the confession. A minister must also reject the errors that attack that truth. If you are not willing to say that the FV is outside the bounds of confessional orthodoxy, then, if you were seeking to come into the presbytery where I serve, I could not vote to approve your transfer. It would also mean that you are not agreeing with 95% of the PCA. That doesn’t mean I don’t consider you a brother in Christ. And it doesn’t mean that you could not serve in good conscience in another denomination. But this is the very reason why we have denominations, and why I actually think that they are a good thing. Consider Wilson. If Wilson were in the PCA, I would be fighting him a lot more than I am now. But we exist in different denominations, and thus can get along rather well. There is not room for two different views on the Federal Vision in the PCA. Please consider carefully what I am saying, and what I am not saying.

  504. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    But Lane it is one thing to point out that these things are not true of the Reprobate in the some sense. It is another to so cut off the properties of the group that they don’t apply to the individual members in it. By your statements it is a fallacy for a true believer to hear that Christ died for the Church and to infer that Christ died for him.

    BTW, I for one, have decided that Shepherd’s problems with “the judgment of charity” are probably overblown. Judgment of charity is fine. I don’t think that’s the thorn in your side you think it is.

    Of course, I also think that the judgment of charity can be defined in more anemic or more robust ways. Which, again, is why I don’t think much of this debate hinges on it one way or the other.

  505. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    #503

    It is simply wrong that precision is always a help to life or thought or theology. It is required in some cases and not in others. If precision were absolutely required then the Bible would not be written the way it is.

    Oddly, we get the most vague in our theology precisely where the Bible gets most precise. We summarize “the sacrifices” in one or at most two sentences, while the Bible spends pages on entrails and kidneys and what you do with the fat lobe on the liver.

  506. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    #503 –

    If you are not willing to say that the FV is outside the bounds of confessional orthodoxy, then, if you were seeking to come into the presbytery where I serve, I could not vote to approve your transfer.

    I would certainly agree with 95% of the PCA in saying that the views described in last year’s FV study committee report are outside the bounds of confessional orthodoxy. What I deny is that the Report condemned any of the actual views of so-called FV men. So what say you, Lane? Am I “in”?

  507. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    No, by my statements, if Jesus died for the church, and spilled HIs blood for the church, He did so for the decretally elect. What is true of the church as a whole *as the body of the decretally elect,* (which I hope you agree is one way we can speak about the church), is true of the individual decretally elect member. The reason this is true is that the Bible speaks of Christ having died for His church, and also that Christ died for individually elect members (as Paul himself says). But in saying that Christ died for the visible church, I argue that it can only be true of all the members of the visible church in a judgment of charity kind of way, not in any kind of reality.

    What do you mean by “anemic” and “more robust?”

  508. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Ken, you don’t agree that the FV is outside the boundaries of the confession. How could I in good conscience vote for your transfer? What 95% of the PCA think is that the views condemned by the study committee report are the views of the FV.

  509. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    #478.

    Andy, you are confused, but I don’t consider you my enemy. Far from it. I consider you a bonafide hero in this debate.

    Besides, Lane and I have disagreed very strongly too over VT’s role, but the line I draw, and the one I hope you draw too, is over the doctrine of JBFA. The problem is, the FV didn’t suddenly spring up as if in vacuum. Frankly, the VERY ERRORS we’re dealing with today can be clearly traced even from John’s piece I linked above dealing with Mr. Jordan — and that was well before there was even a name for the Federal Division. I’m sure John was excoriated at the time for writing “nasty things” about Mr. Jordan back in ’92, but I think most would agree his observations then have extreme relevance today. Perhaps many here should have paid closer attention.

    As for being an heir apparent or presumptive of TF, I am sadly and sorely unqualified and those are shoes I simply could never fill. Besides, other than conversations over the phone and the Internet, I’ve never met the man.

    With that said, Lane made it clear that he does not want discussions on this blog of VT’s role, unintended or otherwise, as it relates to this present controversy. I crossed that line and apologize to Lane and others here for doing so.

  510. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    So at the end of the day, Lane, my hypothetical transfer into your presbytery would be dependent (as least for your vote) upon me saying that the FV report correctly summarized the views of Wilkins, Wilson, Horne, Leithart, etc.? Are you serious? My actual doctrinal affirmations/denials wouldn’t be enough?

  511. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Lane writes
    “precision of thought and expression is not just theological, but applies to every area of our lives.”

    I think this is where a lot of the disagreement lies, namely just “how” precise (defined by what standard of precision) the Bible is on certain matters. Part of the problem does lie in the fact that some believe for men to repeat biblical verses or portions of the confession WITHOUT further (read more precise) clarification, then they are dangerous etc.

    I would like to know where our standards for this desired precision come from Lane.

  512. Howard Davis said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Lane,

    As one of the 95%, I can say that you are wrong on #508. I voted for the report because I think that all of the views condemned are outside the bounds, yet I think that only some of the views condemned are those of the FV (at least 2 as applies IMO to Steve Wilkins, the other 7 not so much). But I wasn’t voting to set a certain group up for judgment. I was voting for what I perceived as a needed line in the sand, in hopes that we can work to some measure of resolution to this issue, for it has caused much damage to the peace of the church and I believe FV doctrine is a albatross around the purity of the church (that is of our denomination’s theology). But I would also note that 45% there felt like process is important and has not been adequately carried out; I am also a part of that 45%. That is not a knock on the committee (they were great IMO, esp for lacking members who seemed to have voiced previously much appreciation of any FV perspectives). It is just to say that there is a large group with the perception that process has been short-circuited regarding this issue…but in the end we agree that the outcome that has taken place is probably the right end. But the good end never justifies bad means.

    Back to lurking…

  513. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    “No, by my statements, if Jesus died for the church, and spilled HIs blood for the church, He did so for the decretally elect. What is true of the church as a whole *as the body of the decretally elect,* (which I hope you agree is one way we can speak about the church), is true of the individual decretally elect member.”

    So Paul was only exhorting the elders to care for the decretally elect?

    But, in any case, you simply stated it was that the properties of a group don’t apply to all the members of the group. That would make it equally fallacious for the regenerate decretally elect to hear that Christ died for the Church and apply it to themselves.

  514. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Or to be more precise: Lane said, “What is true of God’s “justifying” a nation cannot be applied to individuals within that nation.” Well, so no one who is justified by faith can believe so by believing that the church is justified. And this would apply to holiness or God’s love or Christ’s death for the Church.

    But the Bible encourages members of the Church to do exactly the opposite.

  515. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Dig this: “As for being an heir apparent or presumptive of TF, I am sadly and sorely unqualified and those are shoes I simply could never fill. Besides, other than conversations over the phone and the Internet, I’ve never met the man.”
    -I have met him and, trust me, you have EVERYTHING it takes to fill those shoes.

    Since there are Van Tillians on ALL sides of the various FV debates, I think it’s quite save to say that VTism, as such, is not the root of all (FV) evil.

    The FV situation was wrongfully put forward FROM THE BEGINNING as a justification controversy. That was simply dishonest at worst (TF) and misinformed at best. There may be men within the FV that don’t hold to the biblical doctrine of sola-fide justification, but the same can be said of any broad group of Reformed men. Guilt by false association and color-blind painting with a huge roller are simply dishonest and unethical debating techinques.

  516. February 14, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Van Til supported Shepherd for an obvious reason: Both were very much into the Vrijgemacht (Liberated) churches’ theological positions, articulated by Schilder, Holwerda, deGraaf, and others. These are also the positions of FV, which is why CVT would be on the same basic page as FV. It has nothing to do with senility. It is what CVT had believed for years.

    Shepherd, of course, was vindicated both by his presbytery and by the faculty of WTS, but then was let go because of threats from big money men who had been poisoned by lies from circularizers. Hmm. This sounds VERY much like the way the SJC dealt with Wilkins: twice vindicated, but we got him in the end!!

    You’ll notice that the report on FV and NPP (not the same thing, if anyone here really cares!) put out by the Mid-America Theological Seminary — another tissue of smears and deliberate miscontruals, btw — is actually aimed at the Canadian Reformed, with whom some in the URC would like to merge. The list of condemned errors begins with and includes things nobody who is FV or NPP has ever said, but which are said in Liberated circles. And the Canadian Reformed have gotten the message.

  517. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Okay, Ken first. My approval or disapproval would be dependent on your affirming what the confession says, and also denying what attacks the confession. If, in my conscience, you were not able to do that, then I could not vote for you. Let me put it this way. Suppose there is a guy who wants to come into my presbytery, and he says he believes the confession. Furthermore, he proves it by his positive statements. However, in the course of conversation, it comes out that he believes it is quite all right for the PCA to have a wide variety of views on whether Jesus is divine or not. When pressed on this in the WS, he will say that he agrees with the standards. But he will not say that someone who disagrees with the divinity of Christ is outside the bounds of the confession. Should I vote to let him in? In my conscience, I could not vote for him.

    Jesse next. I would say that the Bible is absolutely precise on every issue regarding salvation. This is a function of the clarity of Scripture, the perspecuity of Scripture. What is not always clear is our understanding of Scripture. These are two radically different things. But 2 Timothy 3:16 affirms this idea. Nor does 2 Peter 3:15-16 undermine the perspecuity of Scripture, since Peter is not talking about salvation, but about the fact that there are some things in Paul hard to understand. Being hard to understand does not imply lack of clarity on Paul’s part so much as lack of understanding on our part. These are two separate questions, and they must remain so.

    Howard, I will definitely acknowledge that the vote on Joe Novenson’s amendment was much closer than the vote on the final report. However, the report itself claims that it is the views of the FV that are being rejected as being against the confession. If 95% of the people voted for that, then they are saying the same thing. Now, some people may have voted wrongly on that score. But that is ultimately what they are saying.

    Mark, don’t extend what I said. The judgment of charity implies that all people in the visible church are to be cared for. I don’t know why you think that your question is even remotely relevant to what I said.

    Further, the fallacy means that it is wrong to claim that the properties of a group are necessarily those of the individuals within that group. However, since the Scripture says that the properties of the invisible church (in terms of salvation) are the same as those of the individually decretally elect people within that group, that ends the argument. It is not as if it is impossible for the properties of a group to be the properties of the individuals within that group. The fallacy is in saying that they must necessarily be so. You really need to sharpen your logic skills if you think that I have committed a fallacy here. It is you who committed the fallacy by saying that the visible group of Israel being justified means that it is also true of all individuals within that visible group. The Bible does *not* make that leap.

  518. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    By the way, if the original post and all comments so far are worthless trash except the one comment by Barlow, then I am glad to see that Meyers is condemning all the FV comments except Barlow’s as well.

    http://jeffreyjmeyers.blogspot.com/2008/02/federal-vision-fiasco-in-nutshell.html

  519. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    James, Van Til explicitly rejected Schilder’s theological views. Gary Johnson has that first hand.

  520. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    James
    You are dead wrong about VT- do you actually think VT would line up behind Shepherd’s denial of the Covenant of works as well as Shepherd’s rejection of the imputation of the Active obedience of Christ?! Furthermore VT did not have a high opinion of Schilder as a systematician/dogmatician. He consider him too speculative. He thought highly of Schilder’s Trilogy and as a preacher. Could I ask, are you in agreement with the positions that Shepherd now articulates?

  521. February 14, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    #519. Nope.

  522. February 14, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    #519-520. Nope. CVT did not agree with Schilder on common grace, but was on the same general page as the covenant as understood by the Vrijgemacht. Do you mean the “covenant of works” as in the WCF, or the “covenant of MERITORIOUS works”? CVT, like all FVers, would freely agree with the WCF, and would not have agreed with the merit nonsense.

    Of course I agree with Shepherd, assuming you mean the gist of it. Read Shepherd’s essays at federal-vision.com They are a model of Biblical sense. Also read his essay in *Not by Faith Alone.* Anybody who takes the Bible seriously will have to say that Shepherd makes excellent cases, and since CVT was a Bible-believer, he would agree.

  523. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    #517

    I’ve said all I need to say, Lane. Things have to rest somewhere. Have the last word.

  524. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    However, in the course of conversation, it comes out that he believes it is quite all right for the PCA to have a wide variety of views on whether Jesus is divine or not. When pressed on this in the WS, he will say that he agrees with the standards. But he will not say that someone who disagrees with the divinity of Christ is outside the bounds of the confession.

    Lane, now you’ve gone and changed the rules on me. Of course I would agree that ordinatin is dependent upon a man being willing condemn real error as well as affirming real truth. But the situation you were describing earlier would really go like this:

    “Ken, do you believe anyone who denies the diety of Christ should be deposed?” I reply, “You bet I do.” The questioning continues, “Ken, what do you make of the fact that TE Billy Bob denies the deity of Christ. Would you condemn his views?” I reply, “Well, I know some folks believe he does deny that, but I don’t see it.” The examination goes on, “But, Ken, didn’t you know last year’s assembly approved a report that said TE Billy Bob made such a denial.” I reply, “Yeah, I realize that. But that was the opinion of one General Assembly. At this point I don’t agree with its assessment of TE Billy Bob’s views. That’s why I voted against it.”

    So, Lane, as I understand your position, you’d bar me from transfer into your presbytery for such disagreement? Am I hearing your rightly? (The deity of Christ thing makes the example a little absurd, of course, but go with it for now).

  525. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    James, wait a minute- you are trying to pull a fast one- Shepherd does not subscribe to the CoW as stated in the WS. He has said so. You didn’t address the Q. about VT and the imputation of AOoC.

  526. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    One final thing-aren’t you on record saying that the entire section of the WCF on the covenant needs to be completely overhauled?

  527. Ron Henzel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Barlow,

    In comment 422 you wrote: “Sinclair Ferguson even says that good works are ‘noncontributory means of salvation’.” In comment 431 I asked you to supply a reference for this, and in comment 440 you responded that “the reference for Ferguson’s formulation was in the IVP book ‘Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification’.”

    I found Ferguson’s statement in my copy of the book, and your recollection of it as stating that “good works are ‘noncontributory means of salvation'” is a bit imprecise. He does not even mention works in the paragraph in which he makes the statement, or even in this particular section (point 2) of his response the Lutheran representative, Gerhard O. Forde, although, to be fair, he does mention works two paragraphs earlier, at the end of the first point of his response.

    The statement to which you apparently refer is in the second point of Ferguson’s response, which I will quote here in its entirety with the words you attempted to quote in bold:

    2. Dr. Forde stresses the unconditional nature of justification in order to safeguard its graciousness. he stresses that the form of the gospel is not “I will, if…” but “I will, therefore…”

    Reformed theology is as anxious as Lutheran thought to safeguard grace. It has wrestled very seriously with the whole question of conditions. The term conditions has a certain infelicity about it. But there is a difference between what we might call a “conditionality” (which compromises grace by saying, “God will be gracious only if you do X or Y“) and the fact that there are conditions for salvation which arise directly out of the gospel message and do not compromise its graciousness.

    These conditions do not render God gracious to us, but are the noncontributory means by which we receive his grace. Our Lord himself says, “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Lk 13:3). Only if we suffer with Christ will we reign with him (Rom 8:17). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins” (1 Jn 1:9). There is a sine qua non to forgiveness and to justification. They cannot be received apart from faith. This is a biblical condition that does not compromise grace, but arises from it. The important thing is not to deny conditions, but to underscore that “It is not faith that saves, but Christ that saves through faith” (B.B. Warfield).

    [Sinclair Ferguson, “A Reformed Response” (to “The Lutheran View”), in Donald L. Alexander, ed., Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, (Downers Grove, IL, USA: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 34-35. Emphasis his, except for the bold text, which is mine.]

  528. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    #522 – I love the argument: a) I assert that X is a biblical doctrine; b) CVT believed the Bible; c) Ergo, CVT would have believed X. I’d say: valid in form; quite possibly unsound; amusing by necessity.

  529. Ron Henzel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    James,

    Regarding your comment 522, in which you wrote, “read his essay in *Not by Faith Alone*”: did Sandlin change the title of his book to more accurately reflect its contents?

  530. Andrew Webb said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Re: 522

    James, I’m not even a Van Tillian and I know he affirmed both the Covenant of Works and the imputation of Christ’s Meritorious work to believers. What you are doing is imputing your errors to Van Til in an attempt to give them credibility. Its the 21st century version of Pseudopigrapha.

    Here’s Van Til please note his use of MERIT and ACTIVE OBEDIENCE:

    “It is of great significance for a believer to understand his relationship to the law of God. God has made a covenant of works with man. This covenant signifies that those that fully satisfy the law of God and consequently are perfect as their father in heaven is perfect will have eternal life. On the other hand those who have not satisfied the law of God will have eternal death. We may see two men walking together, both in rosy health apparently. Forty years after we see one of them come to old age. The other has long since died. Already when we saw the two at first the one had the germs of the disease working in his body though he seemed to be as healthy as the other. Similarly two men may offhand appear to be morally equally healthy. Yet the one is “right with God” and therefore lives and will live while the other is not right with God and though he seems to live is really dead.

    In order to understand this difference between the two classes of men we must see clearly what Christ’s work has been with respect to the law. Now Christ has negatively by his passive obedience removed for those in Him the curse and penalty of the law. That is those in Christ are no longer guilty before God but righteous. Hence they cannot come into judgment. The wrath of God against sin has spent itself upon Him who became sin for us. Thus we are “covered” from the “wrath to come.” It is this that as ministers of Christ we may bring to those that are facing death. Few Christians today seem to experience the unspeakable comfort that comes from the assurance that Christ’s righteousness is ours. Most Christians desire to cleanse and purify to some extent the “filthy rags” of their own righteousness. Their constant effort to get to heaven by the golden rule gives them not a moment of peace. The threat of God: “Cursed is every one that doeth not the law of God” hangs over every one that seeks without Christ or merely by his assistance to fulfill the law of God. On the other hand perfect freedom from fear of judgment comes into the hearts of those who trust in Christ’s righteousness alone.

    The second aspect of the work of Christ with respect to the law is that by his active obedience he merits heaven for us. He fulfills the requirement of the covenant of works, that man should obey perfectly and thereupon enter heaven. Thus all those in Christ are not only relieved from the curse but have the promise of eternal life. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

    If now the work of Christ with respect to the law is clear we must note specifically that Christ has done the same thing for the Old Testament believer that he did for the new. There is no essential difference between an Old Testament believer and a New Testament believer as far as the law is concerned. For both Christ has borne the penalty of the law. For both Christ has merited heaven. For neither was the law a way by which he himself could earn freedom from the curse and an entrance into the promised land. For neither was the law meant to be a way to life independently of Christ. For both was the law given as a regulator of a life of gratitude for redemption received.”

    [C.V.T, The Ten CommandmentsSection 2C, WTS]

  531. February 14, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Mr. Johnson, go back and read Barlow’s post. Both Shepherd and I can affirm a non-meritorious mere-continuance view of the first covenant, and within a certain historical framework call it “covenant of works,” though both of us would prefer other language.

    The imputation question did not arise in CVT’s lifetime. The trajectory of his thought and of his life’s work leads me to believe he’d have no problem with revamping the doctrine along the lines of union with the glorified Jesus, as Shepherd and others have done. Nothing is lost, and much is gained.

  532. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I have heard over the years that Jelle Faber taught Shepherds courses temporarily after his (or in the midst) of the struggle at WTS, does anyone know if that is the case?

  533. Andrew Webb said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Except of course if you are receiving and resting upon Christ and the imputation of His righteousness and active obedience for your justification…

  534. February 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Van Til’s use of “merit” in your quotation is in line with the general usage in the Church, not with the “earn brownie points” usage in some Reformed circles. Hence, what he writes is in line with the WCF, not with the Klineans etc., and hence I can agree with it and so can Shepherd.

    I have no interest in “claiming” CVT for anything. What he wrote was before these ideas came into full controversy. What I reject is what you wrote, that CVT was senile and did not know what he was doing in supporting Shepherd. I was there, and I know that he knew full well what he was doing, and that he did it because he was in line with the Bavinck-Schilder school of theology, despite differences with them on the occasional issue (Bavinck over 6-day creation; Schilder over common grace).

    What I reject is the notion that CVT “really” would have opposed Shepherd had he not been senile, and that if CVT were alive today he’d oppose Shepherd.

    CVT usually deferred to Murray (who was in the same school of thought) on theological matters, and Murray is right behind Shepherd.

  535. February 14, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Yes. Faber taught at WTS. And Faber was disgusted at Shepherd’s treatment. The treatment of Shepherd (and by extension of Liberated theology), and then the money-conspiracy that forced WTS to let Shepherd go, caused a major breach between the Can Ref Churches and the OPC.

  536. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    James. I know you really believe that about VT but there is not a shed of evidence you can point to conclusively and remotely prove it. It is most unfair to claim that if VT knew what you know he would believe what you believe. This is the high of arrogance and reprehensible. Why don’t you go ahead and claim Machen for your camp? Gee whiz, how would you respond if John Franke claimed that he felt sure that if VT had live long enough- and read his work- he would have signed on to Franke’s postmodern epistemology with it’s pro Barthian slant?

  537. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    p.s. I had Faber for a course on Calvin’s theology- he never mentioned Shepherd.

  538. February 14, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    $537. Why would he? Anyway, his disgust is plain in his Clarion piece(s) about the matter.

  539. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    James 522 is not accurate. What you are saying is that the only way anyone can take the Bible seriously is to agree with Shepherd. I don’t think so. Now you’re even claiming that Bavinck and Schilder are part of the same school! I wonder what Ron Gleason would think of this rewriting of history.

    Ken, if you cannot agree with me that Wilkins is teaching what is contrary to the Standards, then I could not vote for your transferral. You have plainly said that you see nothing non-confessional about Wilkins’s current teaching. I find that flabbergasting, frankly.

  540. Phil Nelson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Jelle Faber article

    http://spindleworks.com/library/faber/cov_works.htm

  541. Burke Shade said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Gents,

    Sorry to bother you with this again; I know of no other forum to answer Mark T’s misrepresentations, since I am not a regular reader of GreenBaggins. But since he misrepresents myself and Doug Wilson in this thread, and misconstrues events that he has only read about second-hand, I thought it would be best to make some final comments. Thanks for being patient.

    Mark T, concerning #412.
    After first stating that I am correct, you again make implication which is false. The Session of Christ Church did vote to receive me, but only Cornerstone, as I was still in the PCA, and not a member of Cornerstone.

    Secondly, your next “conclusion” is incorrect as well, based on your own desires of what you believe the Session “group-thinked.” You have no basis for this allegation, either. “The CREC looks more responsible now.” For what? I wasn’t even in the CRE at the time, nor was Cornerstone!

    Additionally, your next statement about what Jones said over a year later is also a mis-construal. You forget, or maybe didn’t know, that Wilson had already read the trial transcripts, and that’s what he based his analysis upon. The Session had agreed with him earlier, but then appointed a committee of four men (two of whom I had never met) to read it all again and either concur with Doug or go against him. That committee agreed with him and produced the report and the discussions with Illiana Presbbytery.

    Even your explanation as to Cornerstone being brought into the CRE is misleading. Becoming a Fraternal Delegate in 1999 in no way vindicated me or the church; it just means that this is a church that we will examine over the next year, and if it meets the qualifications to join the CRE, then we will forward that motion. You read way too much into it. During the next year is when the committee was formed and discussion with Illiana occurred, to which I was not privy to.

    Next, regarding the items the church asked for that you post on your ShadeRenegade blog, your quotations prove that the church asked for them, not me. Thank you for admitting that I was correct. But you still have no substantiation to prove that I asked for them. So your blog is untrue, and false again.

    Lastly, I didn’t claim that two denominations held my membership simultaneously, one as deposed and another as not. What I said was that on April 17, 1999, the last day of my trial, I was a member in both. I wasn’t deposed till the end of the day, and not only deposed but sent packing to the FORC! Illiana did not assign me to a church session, as the BCO directs, but acknowledged, before I was deposed, that they had received correspondence from FORC. For that reason the Moderator did not assign me to any church, because they deposed me and considered me no longer in the PCA. He told me that personally, and I believe it is in the transcript.

    There is no contradictory testimony from my closest allies, except in your mis-construal of the events. And what of these votes against me by seven denominations? Maybe you are thinking of votes against FV/NPP/NTW as though they are leveled at the CREC; I’m not sure. But I myself was vindicated by at least five bodies. First, 2/3rds of the old EPC congregation, which left and became Cornerstone. I lived my life before these people, and they vindicated my actions by walking peacefully without vindictiveness. Secondly, the FORC. Thirdly, the Session of Christ Church. Fourth, the CRE as a whole. And fifth, by PEF (the elders of EPC tried to have PEF disown one of the previous deacons, a man with a PEF ministry in Carbondale. The elders made a personal trip down to speak before the board, but the board, after looking into the matter, rejected their claims and supported their PEF man, who had supported me during the trial).

    Mark T: is your name really Michael Metzler?

    Gentlemen: again, sorry for boring you with these details. Thank you for being patient. I loved the PCA and didn’t want to be thrown out; I had been in it for over 13 years, both before being ordained and after, an active member in two PCA churches (an elder in one) before pastoring one. I know that not everyone on this list is PCA, but may the Lord continue to bless it as part of his church, along with the OPC and URCNA and the RPCNA, etc. I know there are more P’s, but that’s all I’m coming up with right now!

  542. Andrew Webb said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    James,

    A quick review of the thread will indicate I never once mentioned CVT becoming senile. As far a repudiation, I happen to know that in his last days, John Murray wrote to Shepherd warning him that his formulations were going off the Reformed reservation.

    Regarding your response to the quote, do words have any meaning in the FV camp? You said “CVT, like all FVers, would freely agree with the WCF, and would not have agreed with the merit nonsense.” making CVT an FVer an opposing him to merit. I showed that Van Til believed what FVers and you have explicitly denied, and I quote:

    “The second aspect of the work of Christ with respect to the law is that by his active obedience he merits heaven for us.”

    and suddenly, because this is Van Til, this is a different “kind” of merit and active obedience that you and the FV believe DO believe in and not the kind of merit and active obedience that the opponents of the FV believe in.

    Ok, then can you explain that different kind of meritorous work of Christ and imputation of active obedience that I don’t believe in because at this point my head hurts.

    O, and here’s another different kind of merit of Christ quote from Van Til for you to explain:

    “We shall have to hold fast to the twofold part of Christ’s work not temporally but logically distinct, namely Christ’s passive and active obedience. With his passive obedience he removed our guilt, the guilt of sin; with his active obedience he merited eternal life for us, including the gift of the Holy Spirit through whom the work of Christ is applied to us. Only on this view do we draw the parallel through between Adam and Christ as it is given to us in Romans. The condition upon which the covenant promises were to be fulfilled to Adam was perfect obedience to God. When Adam refused this, two things were necessary. First the guilt of disobedience had to be removed; secondly eternal life had still to be obtained through the active obedience asked of Adam. Christ fulfilled both requirements. In Him the Covenant with works is carried through. The Covenant relation that God established with every man in Adam is now transferred to Christ. So we do justice to finite personality, give largest scope to the will of man, and maintain the absolute character of God.” (CVT, The Person of Christ)

    Just out of interest, does anyone else in the FV camp follow James Jordan in this semantic hooey or are most willing to admit that in regard to Merit, the Covenant of Works and the imputation of Christ’s Active and Passive obedience, Van Til believed something you guys deny?

  543. magma2 said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    This is from a piece by John Robbins,
    The Heresy Matrix
    citing another piece by CREC and FV man Randy Booth:

    [Randy] Booth also quotes John Frame as saying: “Van Til and others, including myself, believed that Shepherd’s formulations were orthodox.”

    Here are Van Til’s words, as provided by Booth:

    “I think that when we begin with the idea of faith, we have to think first of all that the devils also believe and tremble. Now we have faith by which we need not to tremble because Christ on the cross said, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” so that His people might not be forsaken. It is
    finished! It was finished, once for all. Now that is, I think, beautifully expressed in this word of our Lord [discussion of John 6:22ff].

    When the multitudes wanted to make Him king because He had given them bread, and they thought it would be easy to have a handout, Jesus said, when they found the other side, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, ye seek me not because ye see signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”

    Now then comes the crucial point. “Do not work for food which perishes but for food which endures to eternal life which the Son of Man shall give to you, for of him the Father even God has been sealed.” They therefore said, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye may believe on Him Whom He hath sent.”

    Here faith and works are identical . Not similar but identical . The work is faith; faith is work. We believe in Jesus Christ and in His salvation, that’s why we do not tremble. He died for us, in our place, and the Scotsmen would say “in our room and stead,” for that substitutionary atonement, on the basis of which we are forensically righteous with God and are now righteous in His sight and shall inherit the kingdom of heaven in which only the righteous shall dwell. And I’m going to ask John Frame if he will quote the Greek of this particular passage.

    [Frame works through it reading both the Greek and English.]

    I thank you. Well now, you see faith alone is not alone. Faith is not alone. Faith always has an object. The faith, your act of believing, is pointed definitely to God in Jesus Christ, and by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and conversion. It’s all one. It’s not a “janus-face” [Janus-faced—JR] proposition, but it is not possible to give exhaustive statements in human words, human concepts. And that’s why we have to be satisfied merely to do what the Scriptures and confessions of faith say that they [i.e., we] ought to do, and that then we are on the way, and I think that Norman Shepherd is certainly in the line of direct descent of [i.e., on the topic of] faith. Thank you.” [Emphases noted are Van Til’s.]

  544. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 14, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Jon Barlow (#422):

    First, thank you for your post. I don’t agree with all of it, but it represents the kind of substance and tone that can move the discussion along.

    I know it sounds disingenuous to some, but I think I know exactly what Doug Wilson means when he says that the PCA Report didn’t condemn his beliefs.

    I pretty much agree. At first, I thought the PCA report was an awkward document because it didn’t squarely address what FVers teach. This was evidenced by Wilkins’ 9 responses.

    But over time, I’ve come to see the wisdom of some of what they did in the report. Very broad boundaries were laid out. Some forms of some FV teachings stay within those boundaries. By making the boundaries broad, the report made it possible to preserve a certain amount of diversity within the PCA, even as the document clearly restricts certain formulations that are extreme.

    So it doesn’t surprise me that some FV teachers (like Wilson) might find themselves unaddressed by the report. That is as it should be — doctrinal standards should provide boundaries, not be tailored to certain opponents. The PCA report accomplishes that, I think, even if it might be faulted on other grounds.

    …whether it is because the FV comprehends within its umbrella too many controversial opinions at one time or what, but that prosecutorial mode tends to misfire.

    I think the prosecutorial mode tends to misfire because there is a real disconnect between the two sides. I’m not the one to diagnose the full set of causes, but I think your suggestion of “too many controversial positions under one umbrella” is insightful. I’m sure there’s more.

    While both sides have a “defense” and a “promotional” mode, what I don’t see on the FV side is a prosecutorial mode.

    Here, I disagree. The prosecutorial mode looks different, for the simple reason that the FV is generally not in a position to prosecute. But the charges are still there.

    One need only read FV materials and posts to “discover” that the more Puritanish and Klinean wings of the PCA are Gnostic, anti-nomian, deniers of Reformed sacramental theology, believers in autonomous merit schemes, Baptyrians, and so on.

    I cannot count the number of FV articles I’ve read that can be glossed in this way: “You have heard it said that X, but I say unto you Y.” Just as a sample, you might consider the articles here, here, here, and here, with the samples spread across authors for the sake of diversity.

    The reason, of course, that the crowd was delighted with Jesus in teaching this way is that he taught with authority and not as the scribes (who typically made reference to various commentators).

    Now, I can’t say why so many FV articles are written in this way. But the effect, intentional or otherwise, is that the writer simultaneous takes authority to himself *and also* expresses a kind of contempt for those who teach X. These articles have the effect of creating a fan base of those who are loyal to those who teach Y and despise those who teach X. Jesus did this advisedly because he was the Good Shepherd in the midst of robbers and thieves; he had a legitimate need to guard the crowd from the teachings of the Pharisees.

    Does the FV have a legitimate need to teach in this way? If so, what does this say about those “teachers of X” out there? And if it says what I think it says, then does that not seriously undermine a spirit of Reformed catholicity?

    I’m not saying that it’s intentional, so please don’t take this as a broadside attack. It’s certainly more subtle than the in-one’s-face accusations of being Arminian and Romanist and whatnot.

    But that’s a part of the problem. Probably, from the FV point of view, these kinds of article are simply a good-faith attempt to be continuing the process of Reforming. But from an outside point of view, it looks like a possible move to undermine the teaching authority of one’s fellow elders. When I read those articles, my attention is not drawn so much to the Scriptures as it is to the novelty of the claims presented and the controversy to which it alludes.

    In short, the FV method of theological discourse contributes, IMO, to the partisan atmosphere. “I follow Wilson” “I follow Clark” “I follow the Reformed Tradition” “I follow the Continental Reformed Tradition.”

    I think it’s not too hard to read comments #1 – 500+ to see that we look, pretty much, like the Corinthian church in this regard.

    Now, I’ve been speculative here, and I would be delighted to discover that it’s all just been a mistake, and that no FV writers have intended to drive a wedge between their folk and the TRs.

    But even if that is the case, I don’t think I’m mistaken about the effect of the dialog. And in fact, I suspect that angst over this point is what drives a lot of the anger.

    This is not to assign blame. No one, including myself, can claim James 3.1-2 in this matter. I’m simply explaining one piece of the conflict in the hope that it will bear fruit later.

    Grace and peace,
    Jeff Cagle

  545. Tim Wilder said,

    February 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I don’t understand how people can go on arguing about whether Van Til supported Shepherd, and whether it was because Van Til thought Shepherd was keeping Bill Bright at bay. (As in #479 and 482).

    After all, Van Til did not get up and say that he was for Shepherd, or thought Shepherd was fighting a necessary battle. No, what Van Til supported was not the man but the central error of Shepherds theology. What Van Til said was that faith and works were IDENTICAL. This assertion of the identity of faith works is a more crude and bald affirmation of the error than Shepherd or the Federal Vision have ever come to express. But it is that doctrine that Van Til publicly defended, coming prepared with proof texts.

  546. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    #531 and #533 – Mr. Webb’s response (if I’m reading correctly) kinda blows my mind. If we’re talking about union with the living glorified Christ and ALL that he is, how could that not include the specific aspect of his active and passive obedience? It’s treated as though affirming the whole is a denial of a part of the whole, which seems quite illogical to this dim candle.

  547. Kenchristian said,

    February 14, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    #539 – I am horrified you see things this way.

  548. Jesse Pirschel said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Ken,

    I probably wouldnt vote for you either, but it would likely have to do with what you were wearing and the fact that your wife lets you out in public looking like that.

  549. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    That was cold.

  550. February 14, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    #544. Mr. Cagle, your comments here are quite helpful. I can say that I am foremost in being “guilty” of the kind of writing you describe. That’s because when I was growing up, it is how Calvinists wrote. They sought to describe the worldviews that are interfering with our understanding of the Bible. That is, Calvinism’s great contribution to the Church is exorcism, the exposure of alien thinking, models, presuppositions, paradigms, and the like. Now, there is always a risk when you say that this or that notion seems to reflect a gnostic tendency, that someone’s feelings will be hurt. In my book *Creation in Six Days,* for instance, I had quite a bit to say about gnostic and other alien presuppositions. At the same time, I tried very hard to say good things about the personal integrity of the men I disagreed with.

    And one other point: I know of nobody on the FV side who intentionally seeks in his serious writings (I exclude bloggish repartee) to alienate. As we have said time without end, what is called FV is a conversation about pastoral theology, about the best way to communicate the Biblical text for the transformation of people. If Jesus says people can be justified and then de-justified, then we need to say it (Mt. 18:23-35). [This in no way contradicts the different use and context of “justification” in the WCF, as we have pointed out time and again.] That’s only one example. We believe, BY FAITH ALONE, that Jesus’ own way of teaching is superior, for pastoral purposes, to any creedal summaries like the WCF. Such confessions have the places, but not in all places.

    So, in the Conversation, we put things out for interaction. Other people don’t want to be in this pastoral conversation, and seem more interested in a conversation over the ONLY right way to say “shibbolith.” Since we don’t say shibbolith the right way, we are condemned. The question before the PCA is whether ideologues or pastors will prevail.

    But you are quite right that in a conversation were one person says, “I see it this way, and I see these problems with other views,” it’s possible for people to take offense. And it’s possible to GIVE offense if you are insensitive to your audience. The problem there, however, is that there are so many different audiences.

    Thank you again for helpful comments.

  551. February 14, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Jordan is correct. Van Til clearly, forcefully and unambiguously supported Shepherd’s leading distinctive. The transcript (and probably the tape itself) of a public discussion of these issues is available. Frame was there, reading the Greek text for CVT. The record here is clear. CVT supported NS on the distinctive that the latter’s modern critics find most objectionable.

  552. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Why is it that supposed “coldness” is condemned, when a view that is completely open to non-confessional thinking is not? I have already qualified my comments in the last paragraph of number 503. Those qualifications stand. But I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate who may be positively orthodox, but will not condemn erroneous opinions. I realize that this may seem unloving. So be it. I don’t see the issue as being one primarily about love, but about truth. These are not doctrines on which I will compromise. The Reformers died for these doctrines. So, in actuality, it is being unloving of those Reformation saints who have gone before to say that doctrines that contradict what they died for are acceptable today.

  553. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Jeff, I don’t understand what you are including my brief post for. And besides, I’ve run into this sort of Biblical critique of what I’ve heard in many Reformed writers, not least in Gaffin’s The Centrality of the Resurrection, since re-named.

    You hear it from Murray on the visible and invisible church (I’m not using him for the issue, I’m saying that he didn’t think twice about correcting the tradition as he saw it when he thought the Bible required him to do so).

    In what way does my opinion express contempt for anyone about Ephesians moving from Praise and training us by praise to receive both indicative and imperative evidence of some sort of wrongdoing?

    As it stands, you seem to be making a case that the PCA is filled with babies who can’t stand to hear anyone disagree with them. Well, if I had such a low opinion of people I would have spoken in a manner to cause less trouble for myself, but I’m not going to accept blame for expecting better.

    Of course, I’m not denying that there may be any number of ways I should not have spoken. In fact, I was set to agree with you and still am ready to. I just don’t see why my post is an exhibit, or Jeff’s, or Steve’s. (And Jim’s belongs to a different category).

    Also, if there is anything to it in Steve’s it is because it has been done in the face of the Machine out of Jackson which has been calling people “miscreants” over these issue for years now.

    Sorry to not be more agreeable. Maybe the problem is that by taking the authority to disagree with what I’ve heard you’ve offended me by implicitly showing contempt for me. Right?

  554. David Gray said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    >The Reformers died for these doctrines.

    I suspect many or most of the Reformers who died, men like Wishart, Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, would feel at ease with the governing powers of the PCA, present PCA practice or some of the people attacking the FV on this blog.

  555. David Gray said,

    February 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    make that “ill at ease”

  556. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Andy & James
    How many times to I have to point out the obvious-Gaffin supported Shepherd back then. Does he any longer? Despite James unsupported contention-and contradictory statements about his and Shepherd affirmations regarding the Cow, the imputation of the active obedience of Christ’ righteousness- there is absolutely zero evidence that Van Til would have supported the present FV positions- none of that will wash and both of you know it. Why the poker faces?

  557. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    #554 David I hope you meant to insert a “not” somewhere in there.

    The Reformers died for these doctrines. So, in actuality, it is being unloving of those Reformation saints who have gone before to say that doctrines that contradict what they died for are acceptable today.

    Lane, I don’t think you’ve made a convincing case your opponents are contrary to Westminster. But it is much more certain that there is no way that opposition to FV qualifies as what anyone died for. Bucer, Cranmer, and Calvin would consider you insane for the stand you are taking (and would say so much less nicely that Jim Jordan, to their discredit). Luther would only agree with some of your stuff on justification in order to condemn Reformers like Zwiinglin and Bucer as heretical legalists–which he in fact did repeatedly throughout his life.

    If there is anything unconfessional about FV it is precisely because it hearken back to the original Reformers. Not that there is.

  558. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Rightly contending for the truth is loving, and loving rightly can only be done in truth.

  559. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Wonder if we can get this post to run over 1000. We need Mr. Jordan to stir the pot and get the bees buzzing again and I think we can do it.

  560. greenbaggins said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Mark, I consider the well over 100 posts that I have written on the FV adequate proof that the FV is non-confessional, and your views of various early Reformers are only your interpretation of them.

    Tim, thank you for 558. I consider that to be what I am doing.

  561. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Pr. Lane, while I may not agree with all your critiques of the FV, I think you stand out head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of FV critics in your love, care and dedication to truth. So, thank you.

  562. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Let me appeal to James- he was at WTS while Van Til was still living, perhaps he attended the Thursday evening gatherings,like I did, at VT home. The old gentleman would field our questions about everything from Kant to his days at Princeton. The one time I saw him get upset was when he was asked about E. J. Carnell’s negative assessment of Machen in Carnell’s book ‘The Case for orthodoxy’. He got red-in-the face angry. He quoted Machen’s telegram to Murray about the centrality of the active obedience of Christ-“No hope without it”. This doctrine was also very important to Murray-but, as is well known, Rich Lusk had the hubris to declare that Machen got it wrong. I would have like to have been present if Lusk would have made that remark in Van Til’s presence!

  563. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Mr. Johnson et al, maybe you can offer an answer to my question way back in #542. I think the active/passive obedience is already included in the whole of the person and work of Christ, is it not? A denial of Christ’s righteousness is one thing, which is certainly worth direct and vigorous opposition. I’ve not found that denial, even in Lusk. I’ve found a desire to speak of Christ more holistic terms. In other words, its not so much the part we’re after (Christ’s righteousness), as it is the whole (Christ himself). If the part’s included in the whole, what’s the problem?

  564. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Tim
    Are you not saying the same thing that Lusk said( and later retracted) that union with Christ makes imputation’ redundant’?

  565. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 14, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Sorry to not be more agreeable. Maybe the problem is that by taking the authority to disagree with what I’ve heard you’ve offended me by implicitly showing contempt for me. Right?

    Touche`. :)

    And I apologize for any offense in the sense of raising myself over you or anything like that.

    Honestly, I was nervous about posting it in the sense that my point is speculative. It’s very difficult to measure tone, and I was speaking more as a personal reaction rather than as a black-and-white rule: “Speaking like A always produces result B.” No, it was more like, “When I hear A, it strikes me as B.”

    I need to get daughter #2 out of the bath, so I’ll leave it there for now.

    Jeff Cagle

  566. GLW Johnson said,

    February 14, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Huh, oh- I have just been informed by my youngest daughter that my time on the computer is over- see you all tomorrow morning.

  567. barlow said,

    February 14, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Mr. Cagle – thanks for your note. By the way, I grew up in the PCA and one of the adults in church was a Jim Cagle – a musician / composer. Anyway, don’t know if you guys are related. This was in Picayune, MS.

    I see what you’re saying. I agree that there is a “prosecutorial” edge to some of the “you’ve heard it said but I say” type rhetoric. Often this is used by teachers who want someone to take notice of what they are saying. I think it is qualitatively different, however, to press charges officially than it is to argue for the necessity for a change, even if the rhetoric gets a bit prosecutorial.

    I’ll try to be mindful of how such rhetoric sounds to others.

  568. tim prussic said,

    February 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    #564, I’m not so much saying as asking. I think the distinct of the parts of our salvation, which all flow from our union with Christ, is important. I’m far more interested in discussion than I am in figuring out how close I am to this or that person.

  569. February 14, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Gaffin’s latest book By Faith, Not By Sight is a gem. His view on the relation between faith and obedience mirrors Shepherd’s. His complaint in the book is with the NPP, not Norm, who is not NPP (or FV, for that matter).

  570. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    #561

    “Pr. Lane, while I may not agree with all your critiques of the FV, I think you stand out head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of FV critics in your love, care and dedication to truth. So, thank you.”
    —————————————————-

    With the exception of Jeff Cagle, that is undeniably true.

    Not exactly a positive situation.

  571. Mark said,

    February 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    #565 Well, like I said, I wanted to agree with the point. And I’m sure I have produced evidence of it. But I just want to understand why my point about prayer/practice qualifies.

  572. Tom Wenger said,

    February 14, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Andrew,

    # 569 Gaffin actually specifically refutes Lusk as well, so it’s not just the NPP that he is against.

  573. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:02 am

    #570 – Cagle’s so good, I didn’t even know he was particularly critical of the FV!

  574. Leonard said,

    February 15, 2008 at 3:10 am

    I appreciate the efforts of Mr.Shade to reveal his facts, and I think we should be gracious in reading everything and be open, but blog sites like that of Mark T surpass patience limits. I have been praying that Mark T’s accusations in the so called “documented facts” might be answered by Shade or Wilson, and that is happening but I want to tell you that no matter what happens Mark T is not going to stop. Replies to his posts is a waste of time, prayer is needed more in that respect. I always think that time will tell, about this matter and the FV discussion. It will come a time that these issues will be seen in another perspective and be seen clearly for what they are. This stage in which we are now that makes an issue about words and run things by politics rather than objective theology, will be over. So let’s discuss but have right priorities, not concentrating time and energies in replying step by step Mark T and other renegades, who maintain his revengeful tone, when speak of a well respected man as a liar. Surely these are not good times, when some one says it so easily the word liar, putting labels on people, rather than engage in a serious and fair argument. The same thing would apply for the Trinity Foundation. We know enough of them, not to take them so seriously. I believe that we need to be gracious with them as persons but the arguments are silly and well known. Everything is well predicted in their propositions. Everyone for them is an heretic, except themselves. They have just one advantage-they have provided the basis, for this “us” and “them” approach, which we see today.

  575. February 15, 2008 at 6:40 am

    RE #471,

    Wow, I leave the country for a week and you guys get to 573 comments? What happened to your day jobs?

    as someone who once worked in the Stated Clerk’s office in the 1970s

    I LOL over this one. In the mid-70’s, Ford was president, the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, color television came to Australia, and the PCA formed from churches that left the PCUS. In the 1970s, I worked in a unit that reported directly to HQ USAF. Now it’s buried in a huge organization so far removed from HQ USAF that you can’t see it with a Hubble telescope. Even if I believed your statement, which I don’t, times change Mr. Jordan. Get a grip.

  576. curate said,

    February 15, 2008 at 7:15 am

    The majority opinion seems, in our view, to reach its result based on the people and issues involved, instead of the Constitution, and it would be a violation of our vows to judge without respect to persons or according to appearances to concur with the majority. – Sam Duncan, in a previous minority opinion he pointed to explain why no-one in the LaP can get a fair trial.

    The SJC’s moral authority is hereby forfeited, even if they are correct in their judgement of the issues. The suspicions of the Fv are hereby confirmed.

  577. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Curate has flown away to neve-neverland with tinkerbell.

  578. February 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Andrew, just curious to know in what respect you would see Norman Shepherd as differing from FV. You are right that he does not read the NT in NPP terms (though I do not think he is hostile to the project). But since the FV is NPP-neutral, that would not be a difference. I’m just curious.

  579. February 15, 2008 at 10:30 am

    #562. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, Gary. I’m 100% certain that CVT believed in IAO, as did I and everyone else back then. I wrote an essay on justification in 1980 and just put in that standard view. I have no interest in rewriting history.

    At the same time, IAO is a domino that falls before a more developed doctrine of union with Christ in His glory, IMO. United to the resurrected Jesus, we “have” everything that IAO talks about. In some ways the entire trajectory of 20th evangelical/Reformed thought has been about union with Christ. In the liturgical movement, the recovery of the Offertory, for instance. So, if people are going to bring up CVT, I feel perfectly free to say that if he had miraculously been given a 200 year lifespan, and was today at the height of his powers, I believe he’d be open on this issue and ready to improve the historic doctrine. After all, critiquing and improving is what he did during his entire career!

    I believe Shepherd and others are right that IAO is unnecessary and is not found in the Bible. The sacrament memorializes Jesus’ death — nothing said about imputed righteousness. In the sacrifices, the sinner leans on the spotless animal, but not vice versa. Etc.

    If someone wants to believe in IAO, that’s fine with me. But it was not taught by the Reformers, is not in the 3 Forms of Unity, and was deliberately left out of the WCF because it was controversial at the time. So, it obviously is NOT part of the doctrine of justification “by which the church stands or falls.” It is adiaphora.

    Hence, in a sane world, there should be plenty of room to debate this matter.

  580. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I am speechless. No doubt 50 years from now your followers will claim me as being on this trajectory along with Lane Keister, Guy Waters, Scott Clark, Lig Duncan……

  581. February 15, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Who knows? You have weekly communion, a liturgy, and sing serious hymns and perhaps psalms also. You’ve got a lot more in common with what we’ve been doing for the last 25 years than you might think.

  582. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:07 am

    James, Roman Catholics believe in union with Christ. But they do not believe in imputation. The whole question of the Reformation wrt justification is precisely this point: is Christ’s righteousness infused or imputed? Then the question becomes: is the righteousness imputed to us half of Christ’s righteousness or the whole of it? You cannot rend Christ. To claim that the Reformers did not teach the IAO is not accurate. With regard to your claims about the Reformed standards, you seem to be behind in the literature. On the WS, see Jeff Jue’s article in the recent book _Justified In Christ_. For the 3FU, totally and completely debunking Shepherd’s thesis about Ursinus, see Wes White’s article in the recent Confessional Presbyterian. Unless you can answer these arguments (haven’t seen any FV guy even address these articles, much less refute them), your claims about the Reformed standards ring hollow.

  583. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Tim Prussic said concerning Dr. Robbins:

    -I have met him and, trust me, you have EVERYTHING it takes to fill those shoes.

    First, thank you for those kind words. Second, where and when did you meet him?

  584. February 15, 2008 at 11:14 am

    re: 582. W. White’s article is in vol 3. The Confessional Presbyterian volumes 1-3 are available on sale at http://www.cpjournal.com

  585. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:21 am

    #575 – excellent comment! Welcome back.

  586. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:24 am

    James mentioned sanity. The real insanity is not to subscribe to the Confessional Presbyterian!

  587. Weston said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Lane-

    You’re either behind the times on the IAO and the WCF or you’re deliberately ignoring the best information we have today.

    Chad Van Dixhorn is heading up the massive “Westminster Assmebly Project”, examining the minutes of the assembly, journals of the divines, and correspondence between the divines. One of the first conclusions he achieved was that the IAO was deliberately left out of the standards. Room was deliberately given for a belief in the IAO or denial of the IAO. It was the most hotly debated issue of the entire Assembly, so information, and therefore clear conclusions, were attained more quickly on this than other issues.

  588. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Weston, not only am I aware of Chad’s work, but so is Jeff Jue, who made extensive use of Chad’s work. So it is you who are behind the times.

  589. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Chad’s conclusions are not nearly so clear cut, as Jeff Jue points out.

  590. February 15, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Lane,
    Thanks for the plug. Do you know if Chad has any response to Jue or others on his initial work?

  591. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I am not aware of any response at the moment. But that does not mean that there isn’t any. I can sure ask Jeff, if you want.

  592. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Jeff Meyers appealed to Dixhoorn on his blog prior to the vote on the Committee report to support his claim that the IAO was a “secondary order theological formulation.

    This is from a New Horizons piece by Dixhoorn (sorry, but I don’t have the link):

    Christ’s life has everything to do with our salvation: he spent his life fulfilling all righteousness; he kept the law that Adam broke. It is because of Jesus’ active, lifelong obedience that God the Father sees us as righteous in Christ. The Larger Catechism, using a framework different from that of the Apostles’ Creed, recognizes the importance of Christ’s life. It speaks about his birth in question 47, his life in question 48, and his death in question 49, thus presenting a more balanced and biblical picture. The Shorter Catechism does something similar, summarizing these three statements in question 27. The Larger Catechism also recognizes the importance of Christ’s life, at least implicitly, in its statements on justification (questions 70 and 71).

    Comparing the Larger and Shorter Catechism with previous catechisms is a useful exercise. It reveals that the Westminster catechisms (1) explicitly base their teaching on Scripture alone, and (2) emphasize Christ’s life (and active obedience) as well as his death and resurrection.”

  593. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Oh, I should point out that Meyers immediately banned me from his blog right after I posted the Dixhoorn quote above. I believe he even purged the post from his combox. I guess it offended him. ;)

  594. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    No one is safe from Jordon’s FV ray gun. A single blast will turn the worst FV critic into a Mark Horne clone. Hey! How did you get in here? Don’t point that thing at me James- No,wait!…agggahhh…what happened? Where am I? GreenBaggins? Where is that vile vampire Keister? He can wait. First things first. I gotta find out the true idenity of that despicable Mark T. I’ll fix his wagon and then…yes, master will give me a big juicy spider!

  595. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    ROTFLOL!

  596. February 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    re: 591. No need to; I correspond with Chad regularly. Thanks Lane.

  597. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    If given the choice between “imputation” and “infusion” – of course, we should choose imputation. But both nouns describe a means by which something happens, and they are not inclusive of all the possible answers.

    Notice your approach, Lane – you said that Rome believes in “Union with Christ”, but they don’t believe in is imputation. Well, Rome believes in “justification” but that doesn’t tell us what they believe about justification, only that they believe in it.

    Rome’s doctrine of Union with Christ intersects with its theology of justification in a different way than Jordan’s theology of justification does. It is a different doctrine of Union with Christ.

    Insisting on the language of imputation is fine if by doing that you intend to rule out infusion. But if you’re doing more than ruling out infusion, then you’re elevating the words of the formulation above the formulation’s meaning or its implication. And the words of the formulation are always chosen in polemical contexts. Insisting on “imputation” makes a lot of sense when there are two choices on the ballot. But this is a different election and our suffrage can be spent on a much better range of options.

  598. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Mr. Magma, #583, Dr. Robbins was friends with the late Ron Tabor, who was a big contributor to the Trinity Foundation and was also a friend of mine up here in Olympia, WA. Before Mr. Tabor went to be with our Lord, he paid for an annual lecture series @ my seminary (www.wrs.edu – if you look now, you can see my pretty face!) with *pause for dramatic effect* Dr. Robbins as the speaker for the first year. So, I had the better part of a week to listen to Robbins on justification specifically, and I had a handful of hours to talk with him directly. Personally, he was a pleasant man. Intellectually, he regularly argued fallaciously and often, rather than focusing on the substance of an argument, he’d distract from it by focusing in on petty and incidental issues. Overall, the experience convinced me that he was far more a rabble rouser and far less a scholar. He was clearly out not to convince the educated, but to sway the ignorant. A seminary student (a friend of mine who’s sharp enough) actually left the lectures not knowing what the Federal Vision was. Now, that’s good teaching! In any event, those shoes are not anywhere as big as you think.

  599. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Sorry, “but they don’t believe in is imputation” should be “what they don’t believe in *is* imputation”

  600. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Barlow, you are misreading my intention with regard to the Rome quotation. I was not intending to say that Jordan is Roman Catholic. What I meant was that just saying “union with Christ” does not prove that anyone is Reformed. One can believe in union with Christ and still be a heretic. It is not specific enough. What is needed is to ask the question of how Christ’s righteousness becomes ours. What righteousness can we have before God’s throne, and how do we get it? That is the most important question that anyone can ask regarding his own soul.

  601. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    #595 – If I’m not mistaken, it’s ROTFALMAO.

    #594 – a very worthy comment!

  602. February 15, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    #600. I am righteous because Jesus died for me. I’m forgiven. Therefore I’m back to square one. I’m glorified in union with Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. That’s the completion of what Adam failed to do.

    The answer to how I’m forgiven and accepted is this: The Cross.

  603. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    “What righteousness can we have before God’s throne, and how do we get it?”

    1) Christ’s

    2) Union!

    :)

    Would it be fair to say that in imputation we never “get” the righteousness of Christ. God just regards it as ours. We don’t actually get it.

  604. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    And I think you’ve missed my point. Believing in “union with Christ” tells you nothing about the content of that belief. And thus there is a Reformed way to believe in Union with Christ, and a Reformed way to explain how Christ’s righteousness becomes ours, and a Reformed way to question whether imputation is the best way to express that “way.” If your response is that “imputation” is the only Reformed way to explain that “way” then you’ve won the dispute by definition.

  605. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    #602 – How is Christ’s life of covenant-keeping not part of his glorification? If Christ failed to keep God’s law at any point, could he have been glorified? Christ’s resurrection and ascension are tightly linked with his LIFE of righteousness, no?

  606. Roger Mann said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    582: Lane wrote,

    James, Roman Catholics believe in union with Christ. But they do not believe in imputation. The whole question of the Reformation wrt justification is precisely this point: is Christ’s righteousness infused or imputed? Then the question becomes: is the righteousness imputed to us half of Christ’s righteousness or the whole of it? You cannot rend Christ. To claim that the Reformers did not teach the IAO is not accurate.

    It’s truly pathetic that this still needs to be pointed out to men like James Jordan some 500 years after Calvin had already made it quite clear. Here’s Calvin commenting on the “imputation” of righteousness.

    For if Abraham was justified, because he embraced, by faith, the bountiful mercy of God, it follows, that he had nothing to glory in; for he brought nothing of his own, except a confession of his misery, which is a solicitation for mercy. He, indeed, takes it as granted, that the righteousness of faith is the refuge, and, as it were, the asylum of the sinner, who is destitute of works. For if there be any righteousness by the law or by works, it must be in men themselves; but by faith they derive from another what is wanting in themselves; and hence the righteousness of faith is rightly called imputative. — Romans 4:3

    And here’s Calvin making clear that the “righteousness” that is imputed to us consists of Christ’s active “obedience” to the law.

    And then, as he declares that we are made righteous through the obedience of Christ, we hence conclude that Christ, in satisfying the Father, has provided a righteousness for us. It then follows, that righteousness is in Christ, and that it is to be received by us as what peculiarly belongs to him. He at the same time shows what sort of righteousness it is, by calling it obedience. And here let us especially observe what we must bring into God’s presence, if we seek to be justified by works, even obedience to the law, not to this or to that part, but in every respect perfect; for when a just man falls, all his former righteousness will not be remembered. — Romans 5:19

  607. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Ok, so we are back to Jordan’s previous position, namely that he does not believe in the Covenant of Works or the Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience (the standard FV postion) but rather he feels that a more developed doctrine of “Union with Christ” is superior to the doctrine of imputation.

    A few thoughts, first as Lane has pointed out, Roman Catholics affirm Union with Christ, and certainly they would deny all forms of imputation both active and passive. Which should make clear that Union does not include imputation, especially when that imputation is expressly denied (as the FV men deny it). Additionally, the question of “whose obedience justifies” is critical? Is it my good works of obedience done in Christ that are necessary to my justification as Shepherd affirms in theses 21-24 of his 34 theses, or is my Justification solely dependent on the obedience of Christ?

    Personally, I don’t believe that anyone trusting in their own works of obedience in whole or part is justified or will be on last day, and I don’t want to be part of a church that would accept such a teaching. I believe the bible teaches dual imputation (2 Cor. 5:21) and that as the Larger Catechism affirms, justification is solely on the basis of Christ’s Active and Passive obedience:

    “Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.”

    Regardless of any supposed controversy over what the Standards teach regarding the imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience (and I would argue that the LC does mean His active obedience by “perfect obedience”), they teach the Covenant of Works, that Christ’s work was meritorious and that His merit is imputed to believers. These doctrines, including the imputation of His Active obedience, have been the standard Presbyterian belief about Justification for 400 years until the FV appeared to move us back to a pre-Reformational understanding of a losable Justification denuded of imputation with the believers works necessary for “final” Justification. In the next message I’ll post a standard explanation of the Presbyterian position in England regarding Justification showing that the Imputation of Christ’s AO was considered essential.

    But regardless brothers, as I stated before, this is not a secondary issue for me, this is central. I teach that the bible teaches the Covenant of Works and the NECESSITY of the imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience for Justification, so how can I remain in a denomination with men who deny this and teach a different Justification? In the end this was not a matter the PCA could waver over, we asked the GA to make a decision, and they did. If they’d decided otherwise, I would have left. What amazes me is that men are willing to stay in a denom. with Pastors who preach and teach that their soteriology is unbiblical and erroneous.

    As a sideline, and looking forward to further complaints, I also don’t want Pastors in the same denomination as me whose doctrines supposedly cannot be understood and interpreted by a legion of other seminary trained pastors, professors, and theologians. If their doctrinal teaching is that inscrutable, they are manifestly not apt to teach.

  608. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    And, just to add to Roger Mann’s excellent quotes from Calvin, Charles Hodge wrote:

    The Scriptures do not expressly make this distinction [i.e., active and passive obedience – sg], as they include everything that Christ did for our redemption under the term righteousness or obedience. The distinction between the active and passive obedience of Christ becomes important only when it is denied that his moral obedience is any part of the righteousness for which the believer is justified . . . .

    Jeff Meyers said on his blog that it was a debatable point “whether Jesus merited something by all his good works he accomplished in his life that is then “imputed” to believers.” Which is why this question is of such importance when dealing with men like Jordan and Barlow.

  609. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Andy & magma You two are #*&%#x!* pawns of the devil himself! James ,when you find these guys given a double blast!

  610. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    The following section on Justification is from Thomas Vincent’s “The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture: A Family Instructional Guide” which was published in 1674 and was a standard work by which Presbyterian and dissenting churches explained the faith to their people. It was also popular in Scotland and Ireland. The original was endorsed by the prominent English Presbyterians and Dissenters of the day including several Westminster divines. In any event, I publish it to illustrate the fact that 26 years after the conclusion of the assembly the necessity of the imputation of Christ’s Active obedience was considered standard Presbyterian teaching. The current “imputation isn’t necessarily part of justification” argument is a red herring. The fact is Presbyterians have thought it necessary, and most DO THINK IT NECESSARY TO JUSTIFICATION today. Therefore to deny it, is to be outside the pale of Presbyterian orthodoxy.

    QUESTION 4: Through whose righteousness are we justified?
    ANSWER: We are justified through the righteousness of Christ. “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ” (Rom. 3:24).
    QUESTION 5: How is the righteousness of Christ made ours?
    ANSWER: The righteousness of Christ is made ours by imputation. “David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom the Lord imputes righteousness without works” (Rom. 4:6).
    QUESTION 6: What is it for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to us?
    ANSWER: The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, when, though it be subjectively in Christ, or the righteousness which he wrought, yet by God it is accounted ours, as if we wrought it ourselves in our own persons.
    QUESTION 7: What is that righteousness of Christ which is imputed to us for our justification?
    ANSWER: The righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to us for our justification, is his whole obedience to the law in our stead, and that both his passive obedience in all his sufferings, especially in his death, whereby we have the pardon of all our sins. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7), and his active obedience also, whereby we are accepted as righteous in God’s sight: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).
    QUESTION 8: How do we receive and apply this righteousness of Christ?
    ANSWER: We receive and apply this righteousness of Christ by faith. “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe” (Rom. 3:22).
    QUESTION 9: Are we justified by faith only, and not by works, at least in part?
    ANSWER: We are justified only by faith, and neither in whole nor in part by works. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ: even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ” (Gal. 2:16).

  611. February 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    #607. Well, don’t worry. As long as you have the SJC to overrule the Church and drive out anyone they don’t like, you’ll win. What you’ll win is another question.

  612. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Andy
    First off,you are a pile of stinking poop- don’t you kow that if Thomas Vincent were living today he would be part of the FV ?!-who cares what he actually said-he couldn’t have meant it because it is obvious that the trajectory he was on negated all that rubish. You best surrender and get it over with.

  613. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Wait, wait, wait… I thought TR poop didn’t stink.

  614. Roger Mann said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    611: James Jordan wrote,

    As long as you have the SJC to overrule the Church and drive out anyone they don’t like, you’ll win.

    No, we’ll “win” because the truth of the gospel is on our side — as part of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) — and what you are teaching is false.

  615. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Pastor Johnson, IMO you’re having too much fun. But, perhaps Jordan can conjure up one of his liturgies of hate for Andy and me. Of course, me not so much ;) This is from Jordan’s book reviewed in The Reconstructionist Road to Rome:

    “Presiding Elder. ‘Tonight we bring before you the names of ____[Andy Webb and Mr. Magma]_________, who have attacked the church of Jesus Christ. We ask you to join with us in praying that God will pour out His wrath upon them, and upon all in alliance with them in this sinful act….

    (Praying) “Almighty and Most terrible God, Judge of all men living and dead, we bring before You _____[Andy Webb and Mr. Magma]__________(here name the persons being cursed), who have brought an attack upon the integrity of Your holy government on the Earth. We as Your anointed office-bearers now ask that You place Your especial curse upon these people, and upon all in alliance with them. We ask You to pour out the fire of Your wrath upon them, and destroy them, that Your church may be left in peace…’” (The Sociology of the Church, 281-282).

    I’ve read Wilson’s church practices the liturgy of hate as well. You can find one of them Here. Maybe they will burn Webb in effigy after all? I got a chuckle when I read the above again the other day, because Dr. Robbins immediately adds: “What heinous persecution provoked this vitriol? It seems that a former teacher at the church’s school had filed for unemployment benefits (280-281).” Wow, can you imagine the one Jimmy is cooking up for Webb and others on this list?

    But, don’t think you’re getting off that easy Pastor Johnson. There is plenty of room provided in the blanks above to add your name to the list!

  616. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Sorry, here is the Wilson
    link.

  617. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Roger
    May the fleas of a thousand goats inflect your bed! May you never find a parking place at the mall! May you be burdened with eternal guilt all the days of your miserable life for daring to suggest that the FV could possibly ever be wrong! I saw the light-actually it was a green beam, hurt like the dickens- once you do it will become so clear and harmonious-.

  618. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    #614 – It’s obvious to all that, while there are theological difference in this controversy, there is also a good deal of politicin’ goin’ on. I wouldn’t over-spiritualize it.

  619. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    #615 – Dr. Robbins taking others to task on the topic of vitriol is funnier than Mr. Johnson’s recent posts. I’m sure that serious men take the imprecatory prayers of the Scripture seriously – even if less-than-serious men don’t.

  620. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Andy writes, “Personally, I don’t believe that anyone trusting in their own works of obedience in whole or part is justified or will be on last day, and I don’t want to be part of a church that would accept such a teaching.”

    I agree. I assume Mr. Jordan agrees. At the risk of being repetitive, the rejection of the imputation of the active work of Christ neither implies that Christ’s active work is not necessary for our salvation nor that our works are meritorious of it. It’s that simple. You’ve given FV guys a choice – A or B. When they cay “C” you say:

    1. FV guys must believe B
    2. FV guys are unclear when they say “I don’t believe B” and thus unfit to teach

    It just isn’t intellectually fair.

  621. Bill Lyle said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Mr. Jordan Re: 611

    Please go back and reread (if you have read it at all) post #456.

    The last sentence Mr. Roberts wrote, please take heed of it.

    “And I think most people see the ludicrousness of your positions.”

  622. curate said,

    February 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Congratulation to Green Goblins on a thread that exceeds the 600 mark, even though most of it has zero to do with the topic, which is why no-one in the LaP can or will get a fair trial because of personality issues.

    Gary Goblin is enjoying himself, and even succeeds in being funny.

    Regards from Nevin-Nevin Land (tinkling bells effect)
    PS: Now I know what the green light was. It had me going for a while.

  623. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I’m sure that serious men take the imprecatory prayers of the Scripture seriously – even if less-than-serious men don’t.

    I guess you had better never claim unemployment benefits.

  624. Roger Mann said,

    February 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Re: 617

    Well, Gary, I’ve already been inflicted with a hellacious cold/flu this week, and I can never find a parking place at the mall, so you may be on to something… the “green beam” must’ve gotten me when I was dozing off at church or something!

  625. GLW Johnson said,

    February 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    James
    After you sapped me wiht that FV ray gun you told me I would hvae super powers like the other FVers- but I am not seeing any. My computer skills are still as bad as ever,and my comments are full of typos. The only different that I have noticed is that none of my hats fit-they are all too small. What gives?

  626. February 15, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Gary,

    Just wait. Weekly communion takes time to change things, but it changes things. Yes. It changes things big time. Believe me.

  627. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Jonathan –

    I’m sorry, but I’ve read and heard too much FV theology over the years to believe that when they talk about Justification and when I talk about justification we are saying the same thing, ditto the sacraments, perseverance, etc.

    But even if we weren’t talking about essentials of the faith, surely you would have to admit that the philosophy and practice of most FV churches doesn’t fit into any sort of historic Presbyterian paradigm, unless we include the Episcoterianism that has blossomed in the PCUSA since they began to go liberal. You make much of my non-observance of Holy Days and the oddity of the Old School paradigm in the modern setting, but that is how a Presbyterian church functioning according to the standards as they are written looks, and also how Presbyterian churches in Scotland and the US looked for over 200 years. The FV churches may be in Presbyterian denominations, but none of their theology or practice comes from genuinely Presbyterian roots, hence the constant appeals to practices in the “broader” reformed world. Their trajectory also tends to take them away, not only from Presbyterianism but evangelicalism generally. I remember a conversation with FV man several years ago where I asked him if he was in a town with only a typical Baptist church and a typical Roman Catholic church where he would worship, he answered that he would unquestionably worship in the Roman church because even if their preaching was confused they got the sacraments and the forms right. I’ve seen that time and again where FV men use “Baptist” as the ultimate perjorative and make excuses for their confused “brothers” in the Roman church. You see we evangelicals call Baptists brothers, but not Catholics because for us the Solas and the Reformation are the Sine Qua Non of Christianity.

    In any event, you seem to be under the impression that regardless of what you believe or how you worship there is some sort of legal requirement that you be allowed to remain in the PCA because you say you are reformed, even if the majority of the Presbyters don’t believe that is true and don’t think you should stay. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Constitution clearly states:

    “In perfect consistency with the above principle, every Christian
    Church, or union or association of particular churches, is entitled
    to declare the terms of admission into its communion and the
    qualifications of its ministers and members, as well as the whole
    system of its internal government which Christ has appointed. In
    the exercise of this right it may, notwithstanding, err in making
    the terms of communion either too lax or too narrow; yet even in
    this case, it does not infringe upon the liberty or the rights of
    others, but only makes an improper use of its own.”

    Like it or not, the courts of the PCA (URCNA, BPC, OPC, and even the CREC) are allowed to draw the lines for communion however they like, and if they draw them so that the FV is outside (as they have and are) then that is their right. If someday the PCA should so draw the lines for communion that Old School Presbyterians like myself are outside, then that too is their right and I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in saying “YOU MUST LET ME STAY! Even if you don’t like my doctrine and practice!” We acknowledge no divine right of affiliation, you are no more entitled to stay against the will of the majority than a PCA church that decided they preferred miracle healing services, snake handling and believers baptism only.

  628. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    #623 – Magma – I don’t believe your source. I know nothing of the situation, but Robbins’s accusation sounds absurd and it reads like a simple reduction of the truth of that specific situation – which is one of the earmarks of TF “scholarship.”

  629. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    #622 – Curate – I think this long string clearly demonstrates a good many of the personality issues that may preclude any fair trial within the current state of affairs. Thus, in an indirect way, it does deal with the stated topic.

  630. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Tim (#628):

    Not sure I understand. Are you doubting Magma’s quotation from Jordan’s book? If so, I have that book here on my desk–The Sociology of the Church: Essays in Reconstruction (Tyler, TX: Geneva Ministries, 1986). The quote as cited is accurately rendered. It is from chapter 13, “A Liturgy of Malediction.”

  631. February 15, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Of course, if the actual nature and conversation and elements of the FV had been reported to the PCA and to the other tiny groups, most would have no problem with it. But when the PCA cabal cherry-picks its “evaluation committee” with the purpose of condemning FV (for political reasons), and sets up the SJC to do the same, then the facts are withheld. It reminds me of how little about the real world my Russian students actually know, because all the media are now Putin-controlled.

    But, that’s how it is. God has His reasons.

  632. pduggie said,

    February 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Towne: No, he’d disputing Robbinns chracterization of the reason for the liturgy of malediction

    “To rehearse an example: The elders at my church were forced to excommunicate a woman who had been a teacher in the church-run Christian school. At that time, she resigned her employment with the school. Later, she formed a conspiracy with a couple of other excommunicated persons and appealed to the Texas Employment Commission for unemployment compensation in connection with her employment at our school.

    This was a deliberate attempt to get our church engaged in controversy with the state. The state does not have any jurisdiction over the church at all, for the church is established by Christ, not by the state. This is particularly the case concerning hiring and firing practices of the church, since employment by the church is determined by God’s office~bearers, and entails Spiritual considerations that the state has no right to judge. Initially, it appeared as if the state were summoning the church to a hearing. The proper initial response of a church in such a situation is to go before the state and explain that the state has no jurisdiction, and that the church cannot be summoned. We have to fight on the issue of jurisdiction. It appeared to us, thus, as if a long and bitter conflict might be brewing.”

  633. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    James,

    Pity PCA presbyters here in the USA don’t have access to the internet so they can’t read any of the thousands of pro-FV resources online, and they can’t order books from Canon or Athanasius press or subscribe to magazines like Credenda, and since their activities are constantly monitored by the PCA secret police, they don’t dare speak to advocates of the FV lest they be locked in the cells in the new underground bunker in Atlanta and subjected to waterboarding. All they had therefore, was the report cunningly crafted by the idiot political cabal to ignore all true FV statements and present pure lies. This is not only the case for the PCA of course, but for all Reformed denominations here in the Peoples Republic of Narrowly Reformed. Only in Moscow, is there true freedom to learn the true nature glorious nature of the FV.

    And why does the cabal do this? Envy of course! We wish that we too had the freedom to wear those cool white robes and colorful scarves and the neat little collars and gray shirts during the week instead of having to go through the awful process of actually choosing our clothes from day to day and coordinating suits and ties.

    Bizarrely enough, I get to be an honorary member of the cabal, even though I can’t get published in ByFaith, and couldn’t get elected to a permanent committee (the only time I was nominated by the Presbytery, the “powers that be” actually put up Frank Brock from the floor to make absolutely sure I didn’t get in, the same thing has happened to other anti-FVer Fred Greco), that must prove how intricate the conspiracy is, the Cabal wants it to seem like I’m PNG with Atlanta when in fact I’m secretly in charge! BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Oy, does it ever occur to you that its just a bunch of wildly differing Reformed evangelicals who’ve heard you and read you, and even though they don’t agree on much they do agree they don’t like your theology one little bit? So they are trying what they can through the normal use of the existing channels to make sure it doesn’t spread?

    Nah, that’s too simple, we like the intricate conspiracy theory better. :rolleyes:

  634. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    #630 – Towne – No, it’s the editorial additions from Dr. Robbins that I cannot but doubt.

  635. anneivy said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Spilling the goods, Andy?

    Hoo, boy….the PCA Secret Police are gonna be really frosted with you now. =8^o

    If you hear a rustling in the bushes tonight, well…I’ve certainly enjoyed knowing you.

    [hopefully] Any chance I can have your collection of Sproul and Piper books? It’s a cinch you won’t be needing ’em anytime soon.

  636. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Pduggie,

    “Later, she formed a conspiracy with a couple of other excommunicated persons…” Doesn’t this line strike you as mildly problematic, how many small churches in existance for a relatively short period of time have several excommunicated members? How many have several excommunicated members forming secret conspiracies to destroy the church? Do you know of many PCA churches that have that kind of track-record? Also, how many PCA churches would craft an imprecatory liturgy and then hold services to pray against these people? You view this all as perfectly normal behavior for a church?

    I’m not going to touch the church/state mix-up regarding a private school and its employees. Bleargh. If this is the model for the “better way” as it looks in actual execution….

  637. kjsulli said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I have it on good authority that some Texan Baptist is actually spear-heading the PCA’s secret cabal efforts against the FV. ;-)

  638. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Anne,

    No don’t be silly, I’m sure that.. wait what was that? Hang on a sec, it sounds like some sort of gas is…

    THIS IS ANDY, ALL IS WELL WITH THE PCA LEADERSHIP, THEY TREAT ME GOOD HERE AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, THEY ONLY WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR ME. NOW I HAVE TO READ BYFAITH WHICH IS MY FAVORITE MAGAZINE AND YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE TOO, EVERYONE IN YOUR CHURCH SHOULD. THAT IS ALL.

  639. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Andy funny, too. All these Reformed curmudgeons are REALLY coming out of their shells!

  640. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I think Pduggie and Prussic forgot to wear their tinfoil hats today.

    An excommunicated person “appealed to the Texas Employment Commission for unemployment compensation” and that’s why nut job Jordan and the rest of you koolaid drinking loons felt it your ecclesiastic duty to invoke a “liturgy of malediction.”

    Thanks for clearing that up. My bad. =8-P

  641. Richard P said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    1-3-2008 – from the Warfield site

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    If I can I’d like to ask for your help in keeping a resolution. Over the years I have wasted way too much time interacting directly with FV advocates to no avail. Also the effects it has on me and my sanctification have never been good, it makes me vaguely irritable, preoccupied, and distracted from my duties at home and at work and takes time away from the things that I have been called to directly and which I have preciously little time for already. I’ve resolved not to enter into the back-and-forth slog in the past, and have always ended up breaking my resolution, a recent example being the interaction with Barb Harvey on her blog. I’m convinced at this point that only the courts of the church are going to be effective in dealing with the problem, dialogue with proponents absolutely will not. So anyway, if any of you spot me engaging FVers directly on-line, would you please send me an email reminding me of my resolution and telling me to knock it off?

    Thanks!

    Your Servant in Christ,

    Andy Webb

  642. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Tim (#634):

    Dr. Robbins’ error to the side, perhaps the better and more relevant question then would be “Is Mr. Jordan biblically correct in erecting a post-resurrection era theology of imprecation?”

    I think not. A better theology is exhibited in George Cokayn’s (I kid you not, that’s his name) introduction to Bunyan’s Acceptable Sacrifice, where he says in part:

    “The greater the party is of mourning Christians, the more hope we have that the storm impending may be blown over, and the blessings enjoyed may yet be continued. As long as there is a sighing party, we may hope to be yet preserved; at least such will have the mark set upon themselves which shall distinguish them from those whom the slaughtermen shall receive commission to destroy, Ezek. ix. 4.”

    The date of Cokayn’s introduction, Sept. 21, 1688, speaks loudly when you understand the context of English history and the vicious persecution of the Nonconformists (that’s Protestants, for you Yanks). And his prayer was gloriously answered a short time later, with the ascent of William III to the throne.

    The Christian is called to grieve and mourn over the sins of others, not to call down imprecations. Better to humbly remember our own sins when addressing the sins of others. I fear that attempts at a practice of imprecations inevitably leads sinful flesh to exhibit a vindictive, bitter spirit sparse of Christian grace and love. If someone wants to rebut, I would offer that it is Christ Jesus who is both Author and Singer of these Psalms, and it takes One who is sinless to properly offer up those imprecations. Which is not to say that these Psalms are of no use to the Church, rather, we are to look at these texts and understand with awe how our Lord defends us with might and power.

  643. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Tim, I think it was either laugh or cry. I’m always glad when TR folk choose the former. I haven’t had this much fun on my blog in a long time.

  644. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Magma… exactly. You’re demonstrating my point. The really sad thing is that you don’t even know it.

  645. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    GB, agreed. This has been fun… I can hardly tear myself away from the action! Towne, I’ll have to read your post more carefully and I hope to respond a bit later.

  646. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Richard (#641):

    Nice try, but Andy obviously has substantial contributions to make to this discussion (sorry, “conversation”).

    The greater wisdom is to restrict involvement, something Andy has apparently already done.

  647. greenbaggins said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I think it will be worth pointing out that Dewey Roberts has been appointed by the SJC to be the new prosecutor. So, if you’re wondering why he’s gone quiet, that’s why.

  648. February 15, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    #647. Now that’s the best news I’ve heard in a long while.

  649. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Andy – #627 really didn’t answer the points here.

    If you’re sure that we don’t have the same definitions for words, then how can you be sure we don’t have the same theology under different words? Again, you’re focusing on the signifier and not the thing signified.

  650. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Mr. Barlow (#649):

    If you had the same theology, as you posit, why wouldn’t you use the same words? Even if only to save everyone a world of confusion?

    But clearly, this so-called Federal Vision is a very different theology, isn’t it?

  651. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Towne – #642 – I can’t buy for a second that Christians have no use for imprecatory prayers. I think that the public prayer of imprecations upon the heads of God’s enemies is in keeping with mourning and grieving over sin. I doubt anyone’s playing the tambourine and doing a happy dance whilst the church conducts this solemn business. Rather, I’d think hearts are quite heavy and there’s much in the way of mourning and grieving. Far from “inevitably” leading to pride, I think it gives great pause to recognize our own sinfulness and the gravity of sin. In any event, churches that do practice imprecatory prayers would only do so in dire situations – not for the someone merely hitting the unemployment line. But that is just my thinking and proves nothing.

    What does prove something, I think, is that you mention that Christ is the “Author and Singer of these Psalms, and it takes One who is sinless to properly offer up those imprecations.” This supposition is unproven and even the assertion falls flat. David, after all, was not sinless, was he? Thus, you need to rethink your position on this one.

    There are numerous things wrapped up in biblical ethics that run counter to modern conceptions of what’s right and wrong. The question is always: By what standard?

  652. February 15, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    RE # 647,

    Outstanding choice. We need to pray for Dewey as well as LAP in this challenging time.

  653. magma2 said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Towne:

    The Christian is called to grieve and mourn over the sins of others, not to call down imprecations. Better to humbly remember our own sins when addressing the sins of others. I fear that attempts at a practice of imprecations inevitably leads sinful flesh to exhibit a vindictive, bitter spirit sparse of Christian grace and love

    Amen. Sinful flesh and a theology of digestion, eating and superstition is what these false teachers are all about. No sane man can read either Wilson’s or Jordan’s voodoo prayers without realizing these men are cultist, pure and simple. They are ecclesiastic totalitarians and use terror to keep the suckers that follow them in line. These are medievalists who have their heads deep in the dark ages. This is not hyperbole or polemics. These are very sick men. Scroll up and read Jordan’s remarks to Pastor Johnson. This unbalanced heretic thinks having the Lord’s Supper weekly “change things” and “big time.” He’s a man who thinks with his belly, which explains the stuff coming out of his mouth. Read his insane slander of the PCA here and on other blogs all over the Internet. He is the face of the Federal Division and Wilson and his Krist Kirk Kult are salivating waiting to pick up the crumbs so they can impose their “Offertory” doctrine on another batch of hell bound imprisoned souls as they clean out a new batch of bank accounts.

    These men are dangerous gross heretics and schematics of the first order.

  654. HaigLaw said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Having been ill for several days and away from this blog, and having read only the last 20 or 25 comments, it seems there’s been some thread drift, so I will make this comment on the subject at hand:

    As to what to make of Mr. Duncan’s comments, I have now read the two dissents he referred to and neither of them says anything about whether a party from LA can get a fair trial at the SJC. I called him several times this week and talked on the phone a while, but I still don’t understand all this.

    I think “fair trial” is used by the FVers in a different sense than I would use it. They seem to be using it in the sense that the SJC or GA might reconsider and re-evaluate FV from scratch every time a case comes up involving FV theology. I think that’s not likely. That’s why we have what we call “precedents” in the law.

    What if, every time an adultery case came up, the court reconsidered whether adultery was wrong? Obviously, that makes no sense.

    Otoh, what you have is a presbytery that for 6 years apparently had a majority vote favoring FV and now has a bare-majority vote opposing it.

    How could or should the SJC punish such a presbytery? That is the question over which I’m expecting a “fair” decision. Not fair, in the sense that the members of the court have never considered the issues before. But fair in the sense of applying the law to a new set of facts impartially and consistent with church law and beliefs.

  655. tim prussic said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    #653 – the irony is so thick, it’s sick.

  656. David Gray said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    >No sane man can read either Wilson’s or Jordan’s voodoo prayers without realizing these men are cultist, pure and simple.

    It is not surprising to find something like this. It is disappointing that this man’s erstwhile allies don’t find it necessary to disavow him and this sort of rhetoric.

  657. February 15, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    #655. Don’t expect a Greek rationalist to understand holistic Biblical religion. They put God in their mental box. Christians submit to God.

  658. February 15, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    My Wife and I will be praying for you Dewey! May God give you Wisdom and Grace in your new role with the SJC!

  659. Bill Lyle said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Mr. Jordan Re: #648

    I wonder why, since you have yet to answer any of his statements/questions. Most likely it is becuase you cannot.

    I know, I know … you are thinking – please do not confuse me with the facts.

  660. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Tim (#651)

    I regret that I haven’t been able to more convincingly state the case. There is a well developed theology of mourning over the sins of others, and in study of that, I’ve never seen recourse to, or inclusion of, imprecation.

    Rhetorically, you bring in the idea of “playing the tambourine and doing a happy dance”. Please remember that I never suggested that Mr. Jordan or anyone following his teaching was the least bit gleeful in such activity.
    Also, “hitting the unemployment line” was Dr. Robbins’ error, not mine.

    Lastly, as to our Lord as Author & Singer of the Psalms, I remember Drs. Clowney and Poythress speaking to this subject, but must admit the memories and recollection are growing too distant, so I can’t readily cite a reference for you just now. There was also a work by a Dr. James Adams on the Imprecatory Psalms that was helpful, as I remember, though I had to disagree with some of his conclusions.

    Perhaps it is just me, but given my own sin, I simply cannot put myself in the posture of praying judgment and damnation upon another soul. Such action would be an arrogation that I will not, cannot, take upon myself.

  661. Andrew Webb said,

    February 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Re: #641 – Richard, you are quite write to bring that up. I’ll take the advice I offered myself regardless of why it was posted. Besides, its probably best to get out before the controls come off and James Jordan goes into full-on crazed anti-PCA rant mode. Best to leave while we are still at DEFCON 2. Bye all, and have a blessed Lord’s Day.

  662. barlow said,

    February 15, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I didn’t claim that we did have the same theology, only that Andy’s fatalism about finding common terminology generates an internal inconsistency on his part. He can’t both hold that we are unable to communicate and that we are wrong. Because to judge whether we are wrong, he has to be able to understand what has been said. And by his own admission, he is confused about what has been said, whether by the fault of the FV or the fault of trying an errand destined to fail – to find this bounded entity “FV” and tag it and classify it.

    If only my post could be number 666. Oh well. Let him who is wise calculate the number of my final post on this thread. It will either be 662 or 663 I’ll bet.

  663. Towne said,

    February 15, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Mr. Barlow (#662):

    For the sake of other readers, Mr. Webb’s statement at post #627 was “”I’ve read and heard too much FV theology over the years to believe that when they talk about Justification and when I talk about justification we are saying the same thing, ditto the sacraments, perseverance, etc.”

    Again, for the sake of other readers (if any at this point in the thread), Mr. Webb’s clear meaning was that he knows for a fact that your definitions differ from his. He knows you don’t have the same things in view, even though you may use a common vocabulary. And the fact that he continues trading posts with you shows that he admits no inability to communicate.

    Which forces us to conclude that when you posit confusion on his part, you can only be understood as twisting his words. Why do you do this?

    Thus your statements in #662 are just so much verbal sleight of hand. If I seriously thought you believed what you wrote in that post, I would fear for your intelligence. As it is, I suspect you think you are toying with someone.

    But no one is fooled.

    Well…almost no one.

  664. February 15, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    RE #657,

    Don’t expect a Greek rationalist to understand holistic Biblical religion. They put God in their mental box. Christians submit to God.

    This from someone who thinks theology is putting the Psalms into a spreadsheet and counting the words? Maybe the elusive evidence for a mythical “objective covenant” is in those secret FV Bible codes, eh?

  665. February 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    RE #585,

    Thanks, Tim. Good to be back!

  666. Tim Harris said,

    February 15, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Well, before anyone criticizes the use of imprecatory prayer, I would want to see how he deals with them in the time and place of their original canonization.

  667. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

    As to #647, I want to say that from all I have heard Dewey Roberts is a good man and a faithful minister. But I think that it is obvious from his posts that Dewey has already been in the prosecutor role on this blog, so that he would take up this role on the SJC doesn’t surprise me. But how can LAP get a fair hearing when one like Dewey who has revealed his bias clearly on this board plays the role of prosecutor? And when one of the SJC leads in the prosecution? I recognize that this (an SJC member leading the prosecution) was the case when Sam Duncan was leading the prosecution as well. I’m not even sure, that may even be called for by the SJCM, but how can a group of judges remain impartial when one of their cohorts is leading the prosecution of the case that they are judging? This seems to be one of many rules that should change after the SJC gets through bending and breaking the rules that they want to in reference to the LAP case. (As I pointed out, if nothing else, they clearly broke the procedural rules of 40-5 in failing to give LAP the charges until after the trial had actually begun.)

  668. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Largely apart from this, I have to ask the elephant-in-the-room question about this board: Is it right for SJC members to be involved in posting and responding to posts that so closely relate to a matter before them? This is an honest question.

  669. February 16, 2008 at 1:08 am

    # 668

    I don’t think at this point it really matters does it? The SJC Members will be accused of impropriety regardless. They already have been accused. These men are being asked to do something that is extremely difficult with an extremely controversial and widely publicized issue. You can swap these men out until the cows come home and they will be attacked for the slightest infraction. Why don’t we just give these men the benefit of the doubt they deserve and have earned through their examples of Leadership and permit them to conduct that which they have been tasked with rather than trying to be umpires and referees with information we aren’t privy to at this point.

    All of these men have stated their opinions either in writing or verbally with regard to the FV in the past and reiterating those views in the same manner as members of the SJC or choosing to remain silent while on the SJC really isn’t going to change what folks already believe about these men in their hearts on either side of the issue. At least by commenting or responding to posts on this board or any others they are being open and honest about where they stand. Let’s say they didn’t do so, they would be accused of some other “secret” impropriety behind the scenes or past writings or something overheard at Presbytery would be brought up in their face. It is just the nature of the beast. Hard to win that battle isn’t it?

    I think the expectations are unrealistic at this point as we know their goal is to carry out what the PCA GA has ruled with regard to the FV and to make sure that those who are Ordained Teaching and Ruling Elders are within the Scope of the WCF in their ministries. Any expectations beyond carrying out the wishes of 95% of the PCA GA is to skew their objective.

  670. barlow said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:11 am

    ”I’ve read and heard too much FV theology over the years to believe that when they talk about Justification and when I talk about justification we are saying the same thing, ditto the sacraments, perseverance, etc.”

    Andy said this in response to my comments about how Jordan and other FVers would certainly have affirmed his statement about justification apart from works. I took him to be saying that he didn’t want to bother with my post because he knows FV guys don’t believe his statement about justification apart from works in the same sense in which he means them.

    I see what you’re saying – that I was wrong to take him to be saying that he didn’t know how we defined terms. No twisting was meant; it was just a failed attempt at sarcasm on my part.

    Bottom line, no irony – theological formulations arise in response to questions, and when we begin to apply those formulations outside of their effective scope or we begin to care more about the formula (the sign) than the thing signified, then we lose the ability to hear others charitably. Andy wants Jordan to say “A” and he hears “B” when Jordan says “not A” no matter how much Jordan objects and says “C”.

  671. February 16, 2008 at 1:25 am

    RE #667,

    I greatly respect that you have stood relatively firm against the FV in LAP under difficult circumstances. However, it also seems like no one can provide answers that will satisfy your negative feelings towards the SJC. If you don’t like the rules, then submit an overture to change them. That’s the process. Complaining on the blogs will not bring about any rule changes.

    That said, the men elected to the SJC swear an oath to judge according to the constitution of the PCA. They take that oath very seriously, just as you take your ordination oath seriously. I don’t see any reason to impugn their integrity. If LAP loses the case, it will be on the basis of the facts measured against the BCO, nothing more and nothing less.

    I and others have written on this blog and other about the facts as we have seen them unfold in this case. LAP clearly didn’t examine Wilkins IAW the BCO criteria. Even a cursory reading of the LAP report shows the BCO language totally absent therefrom, as it was from the recording of the examination. It will be interesting to see how they try to argue themselves out of that shortfall.

    Again, I appreciate and respect the stands you have taken in LAP at some cost to yourself.

  672. February 16, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Just a heads-up to those of you who are interested, our study committee that was appointed to examine the theology of Peter Leithart will be meeting tomorrow to see where we stand. Please pray for all of us involved, that we would discharge our duty with fairness, conviction, and brotherly love. We are due to report to presbytery in April.

    Thanks.

  673. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Reading back through the SJC’s most recent pronouncement on this case, a huge issue arises for me. They say.

    /”The issues in this case do not involve issues of fact (BCO 39-2) or issues of judgment (BCO 39-3), either of which would require this court to exercise great deference toward the actions and decisions of the Louisiana Presbytery. Instead, the critical issues in this case involve the proper understanding of what it means to have a “difference” with the standards of our Constitution (BCO 21-4, RAO 16-3(e)(5)), how to apply that meaning “difference” in the examination of a presbytery member’s views, whether the LAP has properly applied that meaning, and whether the circumstances presented in this matter give rise to a strong presumption of guilt that LAP has failed to uphold the standards of our Constitution.”/Does anyone really think that this case is not fundamentally about a difference of judgment?

    I certainly agree, obviously from writing my dissent, that LAP had a serious error of judgment; that has now been corrected. But is LAP really being tried because it did not seek to follow the Constitution or proper procedure? Would we really have ecclesiastical relations severed over such? Even the FV proponents are seeking, at least on the surface, to adhere to the Constitution, the question is interpretation of the Constitution, which again I believe is a fairly clear case and which LAP made a severe error in judgment. But it was not because we had thrown away or were not considering the Constitution of the PCA as the measuring stick.

    To that end, even in the SJC’s docs, they are to give a great deal of deference to the lower court regarding differences of judgment. Now note, great deference does not mean complete deference. Prior to LAP’s reversal, SJC can be and IMO would be right to reprimand LAP’s error in judgment, but it would have to give it some great measure of deference. What is more, had they asked probing questions and let the case go through the proper channels (rather than arising questionably through a memorial that is set up for procedural abuses, even CCP had that as the option of 2nd resort), then SJC would have received a trial of Rev Wilkins through complaint (through which, from James Jones, they eventually legitimately saw the case). Pressing forward agressively will reflect an attitude that throws the principle of seeking to show deference to lower courts to the wind.

    Here is the crazy thing: the lead complaintant from our presbytery over presbytery’s error in judgment to now try Steve Wilkins is now the representative defending our presbytery before the SJC.

    So the SJC is coming after a very poor presbytery less than $10,000 with 7 churches (only 1 of which is more than 100 persons), the great majority of which are opposed to FV. We need to disband and link with stronger presbyteries, but how can we when SJC is breathing down our necks? Why not work with us and for us, esp when we are on the same team?

    If anyone wonders why I sound put-out, I write as the pastor of a LAP church that had almost died, that the presbytery esp FV guys voiced before I arrived that they wanted to die. The church has been reviving (amidst many painful but necessary changes), even while the elders and I have had to pour countless hours studying a relatively worthless set of FV writings that focus on spiritual experience of apostates and an Anglo-Lutheran view of baptism, all of which is great for debate but does not give life, rather than the Gospel which does give life. Our church is the only Reformed Presbyterian work in a metro area of 450,000. We are in the midst of moving to a more strategic location, where we will need to build a building. Other church planting opportunities seem to be opening up. And yet we are having to worry about whether or not we will even be in the PCA, even though we are Christ-centered, whole-heartedly resound with the Westminster Standards on all of these controversial areas, have openly and directly opposed FV, (I even called for our presbytery to try Steve Wilkins), are ordinary-means-of-grace driven, etc. The PCA gets the Gospel. May we use it to be missional, being a leader in making disciples, using our denominational entities to build up and further the missional work of local churches, rather than the attack weak presbyteries that need help and rather than the current smokescreens of help that MNA, CEP, etc. pretend to offer.

  674. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Jason… I will certainly be praying for you and the committee, as I know how difficult this can be.

    Wayne…Does it really matter [if they interact with others and post about these matters on a blog]? That is the question I am asking from the other side of the coin. On the surface, without questioning the character of any SJC members here, it seems to be inappropriate. But that is why I asked the question, because I don’t really know the answer.

    Reformedmusing: Thanks for your post. My frustration with SJC is not that they decided against us… actually I wanted them to do so as an end in itself, for I agree with the end of all their decisions. My frustration is that process has in my opinion been compromised…at points it is a matter of judgment (and I will accept those), but at other points it has been in complete contradiction to what the BCO calls for like the latter half of 40-5. And here is the rub, the SJC is pressing forward with a trial of LAP for the same thing they themselves are guilty of breaking, failing to follow the letter of the law of BCO. But I alas I have once again said too much and I will throw myself back into the blog penalty box/pergatory to avoid saying even more things that will get me in bad graces.

  675. February 16, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Howard,

    I grieve for your pain. Yet, it is clear that Steve Wilkins and his allies put you and LAP in this position, not CCP or the SJC. CCP simply acted to correct what you acknowledge are serious theological errors. Now the primary causes of your current problems has fled, thereby losing nothing and leaving you and your faithful brothers holding the bag.

    That said, whether or not LAP examined Wilkins in conformity with the BCO is a completely separate issue from the financial state of the Presbytery or sizes of its churches. Had LAP dealt with Wilkins in the beginning as they now acknowledge that they should have, it would have been far less painful. But instead, here we are. Perhaps no one consciously chose to be here, but they took a course of action that would inevitably lead here. As I blogged months ago, the majority chose to be loyal to the wrong man.

    I hear everyone saying how gracious Wilkins is. Well, if he is so gracious, then why did he promulgate teachings and actions that has so severely damaged his brothers and the work of Christ in LAP? That’s not my definition of gracious conduct.

    As you well know, through all this, God is sovereign. I’m confident that He will bless your faithful work for His kingdom in your area.

  676. February 16, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Howard,

    But I alas I have once again said too much and I will throw myself back into the blog penalty box/pergatory to avoid saying even more things that will get me in bad graces.

    No worry about bad graces here, not even close. We grieve with you at the damage done and your frustration. We are thankful for your faithfulness in the gospel and pray that the Lord will return to you 100-fold for that which this tragic situation has taken. Tragic situations like yours and of your faithful brothers calls us to our knees for intercessory prayer on your behalf.

  677. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 2:24 am

    RM: Thanks brother again for the encouragement…. Even if the LAP gets bodyslammed, even if the PCA goes down the tube, even if once again the church gets thrown to the dogs (seriously no one in mind here, it’s a reference to Chesterton), Jesus is LORD! God is on His throne! He is not thrown off by what is going on (though I believe He is grieved). The dogs will be the ones who come back dead. And I need to take a chill pill, along with virtually everyone on this blog wasting as much time as we do.

    I do agree with you that Wilkins and LAP bear the brunt of responsibility for this entire matter. CCP is without fault in this entire matter. And it is not SJC’s fault we are in this mess either. But my entire point is that process has been compromised. We admitted fault where our conscience called us to, but we do not feel that procedurally we broke the rules. After earnestly weighing Wilkins’ beliefs against the PCA Constitution, we IN ERROR did not find him to have exceptions further than what he had already stated. That error moved me to write a dissent, that got shot down by our presbytery, and it moved others to file a complaint that went to the SJC. The only way to press charge #1 is in a completely indirect way, which again bends the intent of the letter to fit the end that some of the SJC seem to want.

    I do not know why WIlkins did not leave long ago. I agree with you completely that for him to promulgate his controversial FV teachings without first consulting presbytery put our presbytery in harm’s way. However, at that time, our presbytery was made up of a majority of FV PROPONENTS! But now it is not; it is strongly weighted with those who oppose FV. What seems to be going on with how the SJC is addressing LAP would be similar to a presbytery disciplining a church after the troublemaking leadership had left the church.

  678. Howard Davis said,

    February 16, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Thanks especially also for your prayers…. In seriousness, we would all do well to blog less and pray more.

  679. curate said,

    February 16, 2008 at 3:32 am

    Bob said: That said, the men elected to the SJC swear an oath to judge according to the constitution of the PCA. They take that oath very seriously, just as you take your ordination oath seriously. I don’t see any reason to impugn their integrity. If LAP loses the case, it will be on the basis of the facts measured against the BCO, nothing more and nothing less.

    Sam Duncan said:The majority opinion seems, in our view, to reach its result based on the people and issues involved, instead of the Constitution explaining why no-one in LaP can or will get a fair trial.

    I am sure Bob believes his own words, but Sam Duncan has a different perspective.

  680. curate said,

    February 16, 2008 at 3:34 am

    correction: … instead of the Constitution – in explaining why …

  681. February 16, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Howard,

    I hope you understand that my post was not so much directed at you in particular but trying to address a wider audience with that question as I know the FV proponents will seek to use it in their arsenal. With that said I pray that God would richly bless your ministry and outreach for Christ. I pray that God would reward you for your faithfulness and that he would send comfort and peace to you knowing that He will do what is Best for you and your congregation.

    Grace and Peace to You Brother!

    Wayne

  682. February 16, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Howard,

    You have added much light (and very little, if any “heat”) to this discussion. And well said about guarding the amount of time we spend blogging on these things. We have never met, but I believe your sister is in my brother, Chris Hutchinson’s church, and he thinks very highly of you.

    I thought it worth my (our) time to make two short comments. First, you wrote, “But my entire point is that (the) process has been compromised.” That may or may not be true. Certainly the process has been excruciating for all involved. But I have always found these words helpful, as I think about our relatively complicated BCO and SJC procedures, from T. S. Eliot’s poem, the Wasteland,

    “Men dream of systems so fine,
    That no one will have to be good.”

    Thank you for doing your best to maintain a godly walk with Christ throughout every complicted step of this. I doubt anyone has been dismayed or discouraged (even if at points some may have disagreed) by your manner, words, and actions. You have expressed frustration with “the system,” but unlike some, have never blamed this on “the system.”

    Which brings me to my other brief comment. You wrote, “Wilkins and LAP bear the brunt of responsibility for this entire matter. CCP is without fault in this entire matter. And it is not SJC’s fault we are in this mess either.” You then wrote that when Steve Wilkins was originally promulgating his FV views, “at that time, our presbytery was made up of a majority of FV PROPONENTS! But now it is not; it is strongly weighted with those who oppose FV.”

    All I want to say at this point is that I was not aware of this, and this is wonderful news, and an answer to years worth of prayers from many of us. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, by faith. I know there seems to still be a swamp to get out of, but you and the faithful brothers and churches will, soon, by grace, be out of the slog and on to a brighter path.

    Your brother,

    Jeff Hutchinson

  683. Bill Lyle said,

    February 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Ref: 679

    “I am sure Bob believes his own words, but Sam Duncan has a different perspective.”

    I must say, I have a different perspective…I know I will judge according to the constitution of the PCA – and the facts that will be properly before me.

  684. February 16, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    […] made at the Feb. 9 meeting. In another published comment, I acknowledged his point. There followed a posting on Greenbaggins, which to date has generated over 680 comments, concerning the significance of Mr. Duncan’s […]

  685. HaigLaw said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Re: #682, Jeff quoting Howard, saying LaP is now weighted heavily against FV. Not to disagree publicly with my pastor, but you guys who’ve been praying that LaP take a stand against FV, don’t stop praying. My own report of the Feb. 9 meeting — found at http://weblog.xanga.com/HaigLaw/641621250/lap-hardens.html — shows that the votes that could be construed as opposing FV were by the barest of majorities; and Howard was not there. I was the only delegate from our church.

    But, guys, this thread has been beat to death. I’m trying to keep up, as one of only 2 eyewitnesses to the subject at hand posting here, but my laptop has locked up 3 times today trying to navigate this story and its 680+ comments.

  686. HaigLaw said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Re: #682, Jeff quoting Howard:

    I don’t like disagreeing with my pastor publicly, like where he said LaP is now overwhelmingly opposed to FV, but lemme just say — you guys who’ve been praying for LaP to stand up to FV, don’t stop praying.

    Lemme put it this way, I was at the Feb. 9 meeting, and he was not, and my blogged story on that meeting indicates the votes that could be construed as opposing FV were by the barest of majorities.

    Hope this helps. But, guys and gals, please — this thread has been beat to death. My laptop has locked up 4 times today trying to navigate and keep up with this thread, as one of only 2 eyewitnesses to the Feb. 9 meeting posting here. I’m struggling to keep up with all this, and sinking fast.

  687. HaigLaw said,

    February 16, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Re: #682, Jeff quoting Howard:

    I don’t like disagreeing with my pastor publicly, like where he said LaP is now overwhelmingly opposed to FV, but lemme just say — you guys who’ve been praying for LaP to stand up to FV, don’t stop praying.

    Lemme put it this way, I was at the Feb. 9 meeting, and he was not, and my blogged story on that meeting — at xanga.com/HaigLaw/641621250/lap-hardens.html — indicates the votes that could be construed as opposing FV were by the barest of majorities.

    Hope this helps. But, guys and gals, please — this thread has been beat to death. My laptop has locked up 4 times today trying to navigate and keep up with this thread, as one of only 2 eyewitnesses to the Feb. 9 meeting posting here. I’m struggling to keep up with all this, and sinking fast.

  688. February 16, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    HaigLaw,

    My laptop has locked up 4 times today trying to navigate and keep up with this thread, as one of only 2 eyewitnesses to the Feb. 9 meeting posting here. I’m struggling to keep up with all this, and sinking fast.

    I downloaded the thread twice over two days trying to read it on the road. Each time, the number of comments jumped by well over a hundred. It took me another couple of hours once home to finally catch up. I think that it has been a fruitful discussion as far as showing the grief caused by Federal Vision, the unrepentant viciousness of some of its primary advocates, and the need for prayer for those affected by it.

    I appreciate yours and Howard’s assessments of the current situation in LAP. I’m sure that many on this blog will be praying for God’s mercy and blessings on the faithful in LAP and other presbyteries where FV continues to disrupt the peace and purity of the church. We also thank both of you for the courage to come here and open your hearts. You are both a great encouragement.

  689. David Gray said,

    February 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    >I think that it has been a fruitful discussion as far as showing the grief caused by Federal Vision, the unrepentant viciousness of some of its primary advocates, and the need for prayer for those affected by it.

    Brother Mattes,

    Do you honestly believe the most vicious comments in this thread have come from FV advocates? There has been some remarks by both sides that are over the line but the most egregious example wouldn’t like being described as FV.

  690. February 16, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    David,

    Do you honestly believe the most vicious comments in this thread have come from FV advocates?

    Yes.

    There has been some remarks by both sides that are over the line

    Agreed. The full spectrum from graciousness to the other end was exhibited by adherents on both sides of the debate.

    but the most egregious example wouldn’t like being described as FV.

    I do not believe so, but then we are both free to judge within the freedom of conscience that our Lord affords us. I certainly do not begrudge you your opinion on this matter.

  691. David Gray said,

    February 16, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Well if Doug Wilson wrote “Reformed is Not Enough” perhaps someone else can pen “Being Right is Not Enough.”

  692. February 16, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    […] I was gone, a great discussion over at GreenBagginses ran to almost 700 comments! There were the usual suspects from the Federal […]

  693. Ruben said,

    February 17, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Re #689.

    David, I did that some time ago in connection with an unfortunate situation which has since been resolved.
    See here:
    http://vahskresenye.solideogloria.com/?p=300

  694. curate said,

    February 17, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Ref. 683

    More strength to your arm.

  695. February 17, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Jim (#578), while Norm certainly affirms “sacramental objectivity” in line with the FV, he does not, if I understand him correctly (in both his writing and personal conversation), affirm the sacramentalism of the FV. I believe there are ecclesiological differences. He wants to perpetuate the older continental Reformed tradition, neither rigidly regulativist nor highly liturgical.

    Of course, he’s not anti-FV (or NPP). I think he just wants to articulate his theological program and leave it at that. He’s not a partisan or “movement man.” Too old — and wise — for that.

  696. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Andrew, I just noticed your comment on the thread inviting questions. I’ve posted some; if you have time for some or all of them, then I thank you.

    Jeff Cagle

  697. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 17, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Bad link! Bad, bad link!

    Here’s the right one.

  698. Ruben said,

    February 17, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    My comment #693 should have reference #691 instead of #689.

  699. February 17, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Jeff,

    I fixed the link in #696 for you. We’re within a hair of getting to 700 on this thread, but I think that we’ve run out of steam.

  700. February 17, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    This is it, #700! Whoohoo!

  701. HaigLaw said,

    February 18, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Congratulations, I suppose. Is this the first time you’ve exceeded 700 comments?
    -Dave

  702. greenbaggins said,

    February 18, 2008 at 10:25 am

    We blew out the previous record by at least 200 comments.

  703. February 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    […] thread on the Context of Sam Duncan’s Comment on the SJC has topped 700 comments! Yesterday I found another great thread, this one over at the PuritanBoard, […]

  704. February 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    #695. Andrew, thanks. I’m not sure what the sacramentalism of the FV is, but Norman may not nuance things quite as “we” do. “Our” position on the supper is straightforward high Calvinism (“dynamic receptionism”), and I’m pretty sure he’d agree. Doesn’t matter, though, since it’s all a conversation among grownups anyway.

  705. February 20, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Yes, Jim. I do understand. He’s plainly written that baptism has no regenerative effects (I realize that the definition of regeneration is diverse). But he is not an enemy.

    It’s simply that most of his theological concerns are elsewhere.

  706. February 22, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    […] A little over a week ago, things were flying fast and furious over at the Greenbaggins blog comment box as the schismatics of the Federal Division were busy grandstanding and stamping their feet. […]

  707. Jeff Chewning said,

    February 26, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Last night in our session meeting our TE suggested that we visit this discussion so that we might get a better handle on the ongoing struggles within the PCA. I visited this particular string last night, and went to bed with some disconcerting feelings on a number of levels. This morning during my quite time I was reading in Acts and re-encountered Paul’s confrontation with those of the Council. I’d encourage you to stop and go read Acts 23:1-5 before continuing to read on.

    As I’ve compared the thoughts that have been expressed earlier in this string with the response of Paul to the high priest, and his quick submission and acknowledgement of his error in responding to “God’s appointed ecumenical authority” as he did, even when such authority was obviously apostate, to contrast quite strongly with many views expressed in this string relative to the moderator’s appointments. Perhaps some might suggest his response was “tongue in cheek”, but I don’t think so. As I thought about Jesus’ response before a similar council, I find His submission to “God’s appointed ecumenical authority” also very instructive.

    The string that precedes this seems to indicate a vastly divergent tone from that assumed by both the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus. I wonder if a response more along the lines of Paul’s would be more in accord with God’s desire of His under-shepherds than the continuing reviling (Acts 23:4) of those whom He has elevated. I guess I am making a call for self examination to see if some boundaries have been crossed that might be more appropriately dealt with via repentance than continued blogging.

    Jeff Chewning

  708. Ken Christian said,

    April 2, 2008 at 10:40 am

    A faithful brother, who also comments here, has brought something very important to my attention. Some comments I made several weeks ago under this post were completely inappropriate. Specifically, what I am referring to are some questions I asked concerning the reasons Rev. Dominic Aquila might have had in choosing the membership of the FV study committee. The tone and wording of my questions easily could be read as accusatory. Though it was not my intention to accuse Rev. Aquila of any wrong doing, I must take full responsibility for the impression given by my poorly chosen words. I ask must ask the forgiveness of Rev. Aquila and of anyone else who may have read my questions. I am truly sorry to you all.


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