Response to Sean

Apparently, Douglas Wilson spoke too soon.

I have not given Douglas Wilson a clean bill of health. If I had, there would be no obstacle whatever to my voting for him if he were to come into my Presbytery. I need to say a few more things here.

First of all, I don’t see all FV’ers as teaching the same thing. I was saddened when Doug Wilson signed the FV document. He should not have done so, in my judgment. However, I do not think that Wilson is consistent between his own teachings, on the one hand, and his signing the document, on the other. Apparently, Sean sees no difference between Wilson and the other FV’ers. I do. That is why I do not see Wilson as speaking for any of the others. The argument “Wilson believes x, and you don’t have a problem with it, so why do you have a problem with Wilkins?” does not fly with me. Wilkins is not orthodox. Wilson is much closer to the truth.

Secondly, Sean missed an important emphasis of my response. I said that rejecting the errors that attack the Reformed faith is equally as important as formulating right doctrine. However, Wilson believes in imputation defined in the traditional way. Or does Sean attack Wilson on this point also? Wilson also believes in the visible/invisible church distinction as classically defined, although I would argue that he did not say this in RINE. Is Sean also going to attack this? I haven’t read Sean’s book, admittedly. So I am unaware of how Sean interacts with Wilson on these topics. But Wilson has said repeatedly (and demonstrated also, I believe), that, on these two points, he holds to Reformed doctrine. If I am to be attacked for so saying, then so be it. But I have not given Wilson a clean bill of health, doctrinally speaking.    

Advertisements

153 Comments

  1. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Hypothetical question, Lane:

    Let’s say Sean was a member of a presbytery into which you were seeking entrance via transfer. And let’s say you and he were never able to reach agreement concerning your respective views about Wilson. In other words, you both read the same books but walk away with different conclusions about where Wilson stands on particular issues.

    Now do you honestly think it would be just for Sean to vote against your transfer because you don’t think Wilson was in error the same way he does? And let’s add this caveat: You’d certainly condemn the error Sean’s worried about, but you just don’t see it in Wilson. What then? Is it right for him to attempt to bar you from ministry in his presbytery anyways?

    I’m not trying to bait you, Lane. I’m just seeking to understand the playing field a bit.

  2. haiglaw said,

    March 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Not to speak for Lane, but the easy answer is — orthodoxy is measured by what one believes, compared to the standards, not on one’s factual conclusions about the orthodoxy of someone else.

    However, interestingly enough, factual conclusions about the orthodoxy of someone else was precisely the issue in Count 2 of the SJC’s indictment of LaP for failing to find probable cause that Rev. Wilkins’ views were out of accord with the standards.

    LaP pled guilty for failing to timely find such, and was admonished.

    So factual conclusions about the orthodoxy of someone else are part of the PCA’s assessment of one’s own orthodoxy.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    With regard to ordination and transfer, the issues are these: what does the candidate believe? What does the candidate reject? Both of these questions are bounded by Scripture and the confession. I would hope that Sean, for instance, would ask me whether I believed in imputation, say, and whether I rejected Rome’s position on it. Upon my answer (yes I do believe in imputation and reject Rome’s position) that should be good enough. In other words, the issues in CC committees are theological ideas, not persons.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    HaigLaw, yes, although I would argue that it is the theological ideas of Wilkins that were problematic, not his (presumably) Christian character.

  5. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Ref Lane in #3 – Absolutely. And I would defend that hypothetical response to the cows came home. However, in an earlier discussiong we had about Wilkins on this board, I seemed to understand you as saying that you wouldn’t grant me a vote of transfer into your presbytery not because of any disagreements we had about any confessional point of theology but because I wasn’t ready to agree with you about your negative assessments of Wilkins’ views. Do you see these situations as different?

  6. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Yes, they are different because it is the ideas of Wilkins that you are affirming as being within the bounds of the confessions.

  7. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    No, Lane, what I disagree with is your understanding of Wilkins ideas. They very things you think Wilkins teaches are things I would heartily condemn. To say it again, I’m not convinced Wilkins teaches what you think he does. How is this any different than your and Sean’s disagreement concerning Wilson?

  8. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    #7 cont. – Allow me to add that I don’t claim to have clear understanding of Wilkins either. I don’t really think any of of us do. It was my hope that a fair and detailed trial would’ve of at least brought all of this out. But alas…

  9. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Hey, if Sean wouldn’t vote to receive me because of this, that would be his decision. There is much more weight behind saying that Wilkins is out of bounds than in saying that Wilson is out of bounds. We have a judicial declaration that there is a strong presumption of guilt in Wilkins’s case. Such does not exist judicially for Wilson. Their situations are different, as you must admit, unless you think that the SJC carries no weight at all in this discussion. If you think that Wilkins doesn’t teach what I think he teaches, that would cause me to question your judgment and discernment. As I have said, I don’t believe that Wilkins and Wilson believe the same thing.

    So, when you say that you don’t think Wilkins is saying what I think he is saying, do you think I’m 1. lying; 2. deluded; or 3. vindictive?

  10. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Well, Ken, you just gave the ball game away in number 8. You can’t say that Wilkins doesn’t teach what I am saying he teaches if you don’t understand him. If no one understands him, then how can he be fit to be a minister, making God’s Word plain?

  11. March 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Lane, I agree completely that it is not enough to affirm orthodoxy — we must also reject heterodoxy. So if I affirm Calvinism, this means I must reject semi-Pelagianism, which I cheerfully do. And if you reject Smith for his semi-Pelagianism, and I say, “no, I don’t think he is guilty of that vile error,” our disagreement is not over semi-Pelagianism. It is over Smith.

    As for my signing the FV document, you have to understand that I was in an awkward place. I drafted the document, circulated it, and was the editor who included all the great suggestions I received. For me to have thrown down at the last minute, refusing to sign it, would have been outrageous behavior, even for me.

  12. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Doug, I know that you wrote the lion’s share of it, which is why I was disappointed with it. To my mind, it does not exclude the egregious errors of the FV, and has several positive problems with it in addition, as I noted in my critique of it here: (second set of indices) https://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/01/03/federal-vision-index/

  13. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    #9 – Lane, I’d say would I’ve always told you: I think you’re reading him in the worst possible light.

    As for a “clear understanding of Wilkins” when I said “i’m not sure any of us do”, I was referencing those of “us” involved in this particular discussion, not all and sundry sitting in his pews every Sunday. In these matters of fine theological distinctions, Wilkins had not yet been heard-out in a forum where everyone could ask him tough questions and get straight answers. That is one good thing I think a trial would’ve brought about.

    Finally, your thoughts about Wilson crack me up. Do you really believe Wilson would not have a “strong presumption of guilt” certificate just ready to handed to him if he joined the PCA? Do you think a presbytery could even him as a transfer without being met with numerous overtures demanding jurisdiction over such a transfer?

  14. magma2 said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Sorry, Lane, you’re wrong. You did give Wilson a clean bill of health on the central question — and frankly only question — of Christian orthodoxy and his teaching in RINE concerning JBFA. Saying he’s delinquent because he doesn’t “reject errors” in a way that would suit you is pathetic. The reason he doesn’t reject these errors is because he openly embraces them and contends for them earnestly and openly in pages of RINE, on his blog, and on his comments to you here even if you are unable to see it. RINE is an open, flagrant and extended attack on the Reformed faith from cover to cover and I’m flabbergasted that you – or any other Christian man, much less a teacher – would conclude otherwise.

    I understand fully now why you banned me from this blog for a period for calling Wilson a false teacher and a two-faced Janus who is expert at tickling the ears of the foolish and gullible. With one face he speaks as a Reformed man soothing the concerns of his opponents, with the other he is a Christ denying heretic and a man who is guilty of helping to pave the road to Rome by fashioning another gospel. But, per you, Wilson is a Christian minister who just can’t speak clearly on matters of life and death and would vote differently on questions of transfers.

    You wrote:

    “Wilson holds to justification by faith alone . . . [and] He does hold to imputation.”

    This is your UNBELIEVABLE conclusion from reading RINE. If Wilson does indeed hold to the biblical doctrine of JBFA as you insist and is “within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy” as Wilson insists, then Wilson is a Christian minister who is, at worst, flawed. His “sin” is he’s just too accommodating to other FV men who might or might not cross the boundary of Christian orthodoxy – or would that be he would just vote differently on questions of transfer?

    If you are correct, not only is Not Reformed At All in serious error and guilty of sin against a Christian minister, but so is the RPCUS which accused Wilson with “destroying the Reformed Faith.” Also, let’s not forget Mark T. If you are correct his whole blog attacking Wilson as a non-Christian heretic is errant and sinful as well. When will you be issuing your stern rebukes? I’ll be sure to tell Dr. Robbins to be on the lookout.

    According to you Wilson is just *unclear* and uses terms “ambiguously,” but he is still a Reformed Christian. If Wilson was charged with teaching a heretical scheme of salvation that undermines JBFA in the PCA and you were the deciding vote, he’d be vindicated. It would be the Kinnaird case all over.

  15. Roger Mann said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    10: Lane wrote,

    You can’t say that Wilkins doesn’t teach what I am saying he teaches if you don’t understand him. If no one understands him, then how can he be fit to be a minister, making God’s Word plain?

    Wouldn’t this same standard apply to Wilson? In your previous post you said that Wilson was “too ambiguous on the aliveness of faith and its place in justification.” But if that is the case, then how can you be so sure that he “holds to justification by faith alone” as you claim? Likewise, in this latest post you wrote:

    “However, I do not think that Wilson is consistent between his own teachings, on the one hand, and his signing the [FV] document, on the other.”

    Ok, but if that is the case, then you “can’t say that Wilson doesn’t teach what Sean is saying he teaches if you don’t understand him.” Right? And if Wilson is that “ambiguous” and “inconsistent” in his own teachings, “how can he be fit to be a minister, making God’s Word plain?”

  16. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    So, Sean, are you going to turn your flaming guns against Rick Phillips also? Here is what he wrote: “The key to this matter is that Wilson affirms that saving grace is received through faith alone. I find that he uses langauge that muddies the clarity of this affirmation (as I will seek to show), but a charitable reading finds comfort in his support of sola fide” (pp. 245-246 of AATPAC).

  17. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Roger and Sean, what part of “I wouldn’t admit him to my Presbytery” don’t you understand?

  18. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Clarifying number 17: Wilson is not clear in my judgment. He shares that problem with Wilkins, even though he has clarified some things. But clarity is a distinct issue from justification.

  19. Roger Mann said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    17: Lane, my question didn’t pertain to whether you’d “admit him to Presbytery” or not. I was simply questioning your conclusion that Wilson “holds to justification by faith alone” based upon some of your other comments. I’m either misunderstanding you, or you are not being consistent in what you have said. I’m not sure which is the case, and that’s why I was asking. I’m not trying to pick a fight with you, so please don’t take it that way.

  20. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Maybe a parable will help here:

    Sean and Roger: Is it night or day?

    Lane: It’s twilight.

    Sean and Roger: Is it night or day? It can only be one or the other!

    Lane: It’s twilight.

    Sean and Roger: IS IT NIGHT OR DAY?

    Lane: It’s twilight. It’s not day, or I would open my windows to let in the sunlight. It’s not night or I would turn my own lights on to see in the dark.

  21. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I agree with Rick Phillips. I think Wilson does hold to justification by faith alone, even if some of his language is ambiguous. The trouble we are having here is precisely that. Some of us wish to say that Doug’s ambiguity means that he doesn’t hold to JBFA at all. Others of us think that he does, even if it is not as clear as it should be.

  22. Roger Mann said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Lane, if it’s “twilight” still, then perhaps you shouldn’t have said that Wilson “holds to justification by faith alone.” If he’s that difficult to understand, then maybe it have been better to simply say, “I’m not sure yet, I’ll have to get back with you on that?”

  23. Mark T. said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I feel like I just logged into the Twilight Zone. Calling Rod Serling, do you read me?

  24. Ken Christian said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Ref #21 – Please at least consider the irony of this, Lane: I could’ve written that exact paragraph (your paragraph in #21) about our disagreement over Steve Wilkins…of course we’ll have to find another name besides Rick Phillips to begin with…how about John Frame?

    With all of this in mind, is this level of disagreement really worth a denial of ministerial fellowship in our respective presbyteries? My brother, I really hope you reconsider.

    Blessings,
    Ken

  25. AJF said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Note what John Piper said in an interview on the Allsufficientgrace blog (sorry, not sure how to link other than to post the whole link at the bottom)-

    Dr. Piper in your defense of the gospel against N.T. Wright have you found Federal Vision theology of Doug Wilson to be another gospel?

    P: No. No, that’s easy. Doug Wilson doesn’t teach a false gospel. I don’t think N.T. Wright teaches a false gospel, just a confusing gospel. Doug Wilson is incredibly bright, but he has people around him who are dumb. I think Doug Wilson is more consistent than some of his followers are. But I am concerned about the trajectory.

    http://allsufficientgrace.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/text-and-context-conference-q-a-session-with-john-piper-matt-chandler-and-mark-driscoll/

  26. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t think it’s that unclear regarding Wilkins, Ken. Maybe I’m arrogant to think so, but I honestly feel that Wilkins is out of bounds in what he affirms and what he does not deny, whereas Wilson is out of bounds in what he does not deny, plus he has ambiguous language regarding what he affirms.

  27. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Roger, I think (and Wilson seems to think) that I understand Wilson on justification.

  28. David Gilleran said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    #2 and 3-It is more than just affirmations or denials when a a person comes to a presbytery for examination. The first thing a person is examined on is his Christian Experience and Call to the Ministry. It is more than just your conversion experience and call to the gospel ministry. It is what is going on in your life right now or in the past that would qualify or disqualify you from the ministry. It is right of presbytery to look at your life, how you rule your family, what your past relationships have been with your churches, do you fit this church that is calling you or is it a disaster waiting to happen, do you fit the presbytery in terms of shared ministry. All of these and probably more could be asked in the first part of the examination, either in committee or on the floor. Sadly they are not asked or asked enough. We want to get to the parts on theology, sacraments, church government and the other parts and oten neglect the most important one.

    I am not saying the other areas are unimportant. They are very important. However there is a reason why #1 is #1 in the BCO and often we forget it.

  29. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I don’t disagree with 28 at all, David. I do think the context for those earlier comments was specifically the theological questions.

  30. haiglaw said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Re: #13: Mr. Christian said, “Wilkins had not yet been heard-out in a forum where everyone could ask him tough questions and get straight answers.”

    Rev. Wilkins was examined several times and a record was created involving several hundreds of pages, sufficient for the SJC to conclude there was probable cause (substantial presumption of guilt) to believe his views were out of accord with the standards, sufficient for the SJC to indict the LaP and say that unless we agreed with this conclusion, or referred the matter to the SJC, we would be dis-fellowshipped from the PCA. (Count 2)

    The sufficiency of that record is one reason it was untenable for the SJC to continue to prosecute the LaP for procedural irregularities, because (as I explained in more detail at xanga.com/HaigLaw in comments under the piece “LaP Admonished”) one of the main reasons a higher court insists on procedural regularity in a lower court is so that the record will be sufficient to see who’s right on the substance issues.

    Even if you argue, as some do, that the PCA ad interim committee got some of the facts on the 9 points wrong, and even if only one of the 9 points were correct, it would be enough to find a FV’er out of accord with the standards.

    The only thing I can see that a “trial” might have shed more light on would have been questions like, “Why do you say X?” Or, “What did you mean when you said X?”, when X was already unambiguous.

    One other possibility I’ve heard has to do with the progression of his views to be more-clearly FV, where questions could have been asked like, “You once said X, and now you’re saying Y; how do you explain this change?” In this example, Y is clearly out of accord, and maybe X is not so clear.

  31. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I keep forgetting that I had access to this information, and that hardly anyone else does. I have a copy of the record of the case that includes the mammoth examination of Wilkins.

  32. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I think Robert K has a blog. What do you all think?

    http://electofgod.blogspot.com/

  33. David Gray said,

    March 15, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I think that someone who can write:

    “It is unfathomable to me that any Christian man can read RINE and arrive at a conclusion other than Wilson is a very skilled false teacher who has replaced the gospel of Christ with a clever fraud.”

    is really not especially gifted at fathoming.

  34. Ruben said,

    March 15, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Plain Path Puritan (the blog Lane linked to) is run by one Caroline Trace. She joined the PuritanBoard under false pretenses (using a fictitious name and masquerading as a man). I am aware that she has been called on this, and other errors, in private, and sadly there has been no manifestation of repentance. Although she was polite to us, I am afraid everything I have seen online would lead me to conclude that this was the exception, rather than the rule.

    After reading through the Authorized Version seven times we are to expect an awakening (a la Romans 13, if I understood her correctly, and this was related to esoteric vs. exoteric knowledge). On the whole, it would seem there is very little we can do for her except pray; but our God is sovereign, and so there is nothing better we could do.

  35. Dean said,

    March 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Are Mark Carpenter, Robert K, and Sean related?

  36. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Hmm. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this Caroline were Robert K, then. This level of invective and the vocabulary used on the particular issues addressed are precisely the same as the emails I got after permanently banning Robert K from this blog.

  37. Seth Foster said,

    March 15, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Lane, I think you miss Robert K. I do. I miss his spicy passion for Christ and the truth of the gospel. He gave your blog that much needed honest cutting edge.

    I agree with Sean. The abundance of deference and respect that you give to Doug Wilson on your blog demonstrates why the PCA is in the mess it is in. Robert K wrote the truth and he got banned from your blog. Doug Wilson, on the other hand, spews out lies and keeps getting the welcome mat on your blog.

  38. Seth Foster said,

    March 15, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    By the way, I don’t think that is Robert K’s blog. His language was spicy but never obscene.

  39. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Seth, I just don’t see Wilson in as unfavorable a light as you do. When I banned Robert K, he wrote me an email saying that he would rejoice to send my soul into the maw of hell for being a Papist. Does that sound like someone rejoicing in the truth of the Gospel? I agree with Wilson a whole whale of a lot more than I agree with any Papist.

  40. Seth Foster said,

    March 15, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    One last comment – you said that Wilson is closer to the truth (than Wilkins). Satan always uses people who are “close to the truth” because they are the ones who are most dangerously deceptive and can do the most harm. I get pretty concerned when being “close to the truth” is considered acceptable in some shape or form by anyone, especially a pastor.

  41. Seth Foster said,

    March 15, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I would absolutely agree that Robert’s email to you was more than spicy and definitely over the top. I am sorry that you had to receive such horrible words.

    I along with many other families have seen and experienced the devastation that the teaching of Doug Wilson has had on churches and Christian schools. His teaching has poisoned the minds and hearts of many young people. If our own children had not been grounded in the truth, they would have fallen prey like so many others who lost their assurance of salvation and turned either to a works religion or to despair and disgrace (one having recklessly taken his own life). We have witnessed right before our very eyes our former beloved church turn into a cult under his influence and teaching. So, Lane, I fail to comprehend your respect for this man.

  42. greenbaggins said,

    March 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Seth, I tried sending an email to the address listed, but it bounced. Would you send me an email from one that works? my email is pastorlane AT juno DOT com

    Thanks

  43. David Gray said,

    March 15, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    >Satan always uses people who are “close to the truth” because they are the ones who are most dangerously deceptive and can do the most harm.

    So the closer someone gets to being 100% right (as you in your fallen state understand it) the more you should attack him until he arrives at 100%?

    BTW, my state is fallen too obviously but I’m inclined to think that being closer to the truth is better than being further and that 100% agreement with me is not necessary to avoid being Satan’s favourite tool.

  44. Mark T. said,

    March 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    So the closer someone gets to being 100% right (as you in your fallen state understand it) the more you should attack him until he arrives at 100%?

    No, but nice try. He did not say that all people who are “close to the truth” are always Satan’s tools; he said that Satan always uses people who are “close to the truth.” For example, your statement was close to the truth, but it was an obvious misrepresentation. You twisted Seth’s words to put a meaning on them that he did not intend, but you were “close to the truth.” Now, were you Satan’s tool or were you merely “close to the truth”?

  45. HaigLaw said,

    March 15, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Every comment since #31 has been over my head.

  46. March 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Mark T,

    You have a keen insight into what Seth intends when he writes.

  47. David Gray said,

    March 16, 2008 at 2:24 am

    >For example, your statement was close to the truth, but it was an obvious misrepresentation.

    Not really but if you want to interact with me you’d best provide a name like you ought to anyway.

  48. its.reed said,

    March 16, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Ref. #44:

    Mark T:

    I agree with you that David’s interpretation of Seth’s comment was logicaly flawed. How, however, are you able to determine that David “twisted” (i.e., showed intentionality), rath then merely just demonstrating that he makes mistakes at times?

    No disrespect intended brother. As David can testify, I’ve challenged him similarly. Sharp debates such as we get into here require extra effort on our part to not assume things about others that are uncalled for.

    Thanks for considering my concern.

  49. Mark T. said,

    March 16, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Reed,

    Thanks for your observation, and the answer to your question is, no, I cannot determine David’s intent, but I can demonstrate his tendency to isolate single sentences out of context and put meanings on them not allowed by the larger context. He has done it to me on a couple of occasions and I’ve seen him do it to others on several occasions. Furthermore, I can demonstrate from a few of his comments that he’s a fairly bright individual who has the ability to interact intelligently, which leads me to believe that he knows better. However, on this point I could be mistaken. Regardless, I stand by my conclusion: I believe he twisted with intent because he has established a pattern of making identical misrepresentations that always frame identical straw men.

    But I defer to your judgment and sincerely ask you to delete my response to him as well as this comment. I have no interest in causing offense, especially on Lane’s blog.

  50. GLW Johnson said,

    March 16, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Lane
    Went over to Robert K’s blog. Good grief, and to think I though Robert actually made some worth while comments every now and then. But then, I remember he made some off-the-wall comment about Warfield and textual criticism via Theodore Letis and my radar picked up goofness. Gee whiz-the things he says about James White are beyond the pale of sanity.

  51. greenbaggins said,

    March 16, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Gary, see 34. I’m still not convinced that it isn’t Robert K, since Caroline has used male pseudonyms before (via the the PB).

  52. its.reed said,

    March 16, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Ref. 49:

    Mark T.:

    No, I don’t think deleting would be appropriate. These are admittedly gray areas which I am pushing to see if we can’t provide a little more clarity. Your response sounds reasonably balnaced to me. To ask more would be to ask of you to go against your conscience, at least it appears so to me.

    You and David both demonstrate a willingness to act with maturity in pursuing strongly helpd convictions. You both demonstrate a sensitivity to the Spirit that speaks for itself. In afew days this exchange wil be lost in the murk of blgodom. Should anyone ever actually “look it up”, I’m comfortanle with the conversation as a whole.

    Thanks for your humility.

  53. GLW Johnson said,

    March 16, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Just curious, who did Piper have in mind with the comment that Wilson is associated with some pretty ‘dumb’ people. Others in the FV or just people associated with C/A-or maybe both?

  54. greenbaggins said,

    March 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    It seemed like he was talking about other FV’ers, since that was the context. However, I don’t know that we could be sure about that.

  55. Tim Harris said,

    March 16, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Getting back to the thesis of this blog post, “no obstacle whatever to my voting for him if he were to come into my Presbytery” the discussion has focussed on Wilson’s doctrinal orthodoxy. I’m curious Lane if you are granting that Wilson has a ministerial credential that could be transfered, even apart from the doctrinal question.

  56. Mark T. said,

    March 16, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Tim just took away the final line to a post I wrote regarding this post. It went, Either way the question is moot because (fill in the blank) has no credentials to transfer — no one ever ordained him.

    Thank you.

  57. March 16, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Heh. A priest didn’t lay hands on me, I confess it. That a problem?

  58. Todd Bordow said,

    March 16, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    # 50 That would be sad indeed if that blog was Robert T’s. But then again, sometimes the emotionally and psychologically unstable, who find self-justification for their unpleasant personalities by separating from “evil” people and seeing black and white in everything, have been spot on historically in some of their critiques. Anne Hutchinson did rightly discern the legalism in the New England churches, though she was somewhat nutty herself.

    Todd B.

  59. March 16, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Mark T.,

    So you would never member yourself to a church who had a pastor you knew was never formally ‘ordained’?

  60. Tim Harris said,

    March 16, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    It’s rather ridiculous to speak of “transferring” into a presbytery a “pastor” who has never been ordained.

  61. markhorne said,

    March 16, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Lawful ordination is not of the essence of ministry. Calvin didn’t have it and it didn’t stop him from being a lawful pastor. Presbyteries are free to received pastors transferring from other denominations without demanding that the person’s ordination have been done according to the BCO.

  62. anneivy said,

    March 16, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Stupid history question: Was Calvin not ordained but other pastors around him were, or was he not ordained because at that time the RCC was still pretty much the only organized bunch with seminaries and what-all?

    I don’t know. I mean, it’s not a trick question or anything. I’ve no idea what the answer is.

  63. GLW Johnson said,

    March 17, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Mark
    What is your take on Piper’s remark (since you appear to be one of those ‘dumb’ people) ?

  64. GLW Johnson said,

    March 17, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Personally, I think Piper is a very perceptive and insightful fellow.

  65. Tim Harris said,

    March 17, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Mark (#61) — your comment is ambiguous, shifting between lawful ordination per se and every jot and tittle of the BCO. My question had to do with whether a pastor must be ordained, not whether he was ordained by the exact process of the PCA BCO.

  66. Tim Harris said,

    March 17, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Mark — also, could you give us a citation from a historian claiming that Calvin was not ordained?

  67. Al said,

    March 17, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Wow…

    Q: If you get 10 Presbyterians on a blog, what do you have?

    A: At least 12 denominations.

    (sorry for the old joke, but man… this is funny!)

    al sends

  68. Al said,

    March 17, 2008 at 8:59 am

    and by funny, I meant kinda sad.

    al sends

  69. jpc said,

    March 17, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Finally, the discussion that both FV and anti-FVers, both suffering from the same affliction, have missed/avoided: ecclesiastical schismatism rather than doctrinal schismatism.

    Is Wilson (and the CREC) in doctrinal disagreement with teachings of the church’s gospel, and thus to be denounced as a heritic who may teach as he wishes in his body? or is he (they) not part of the church at all, and hence his teachings are as illegitimate as his church body?

    What is the power of the church’s condemnation of Wilson?

  70. March 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    And, joking aside, I actually have been ordained. I tell the story of that in the back of Mother Kirk, for those who have a need to follow up on it. I was not ordained in accordance with any regular Reformed protocols, and I would describe my ordination as irregular, but there.

    The demand for regular ordination (in an all or nothing fashion) coming from Presbyterians is kind of funny. With Calvin, we simply have no record of his ordination one way or the other. But with John Knox, the father of all presbyterial-apostolic-successional ordinations, we know exactly how it happened. A rag-tag “congregation” with no formal identity as a church, holed up in St. Andrews Castle after the assassination of Beaton, called him to the ministry, and so then, Bob’s yer uncle. So in order to be legitimate, you have to be able to trace it back to that, as though the ministry were a line of pure-bred spaniels. I say it again. Heh.

  71. Mark T. said,

    March 17, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    EPILOGUE
    Having written this book, I must now apologize, at least in part, for how the book came to be written by someone like, as the Victorians used to say, the present writer. At the time of writing, I have been a minister of the Word for twenty-three years. But how thatcame about contains more than a few ecclesiastical irregularities.

    I came to the University of Idaho in the fall of 1975, fresh out of the Navy, and ready to study philosophy. My intention was to study various unbelieving philosophies and to then get involved in some kind of evangelistic literature ministry in a university town somewhere. Right around the same time, a church was being planted in our town by an Evangelical Free Church in a nearby community. The fellowship was successfully planted, but this new church never affiliated with the Free Church. This was not due to any doctrinal or personal differences; it was due mostly to the fact that it was the seventies. I was at the organizing meeting for this church and wound up as one of the guitar-playing songleaders. The best way to describe this would be to say that it was some kind of “Jesus people” operation.

    After about a year and a half of meeting, the man who had been doing the preaching (ordained by a Baptist denomination) announced that he had gotten a job elsewhere and that he was moving. We were on our own the following Sunday. As I said, it was the seventies. The idea of going into pastoral ministry had not occurred to me, but when it did, I didn’t like it very much. Nevertheless, as things turned out, I was up in front with the guitar. That was my call to the ministry; I knew all the chords. I began to preach.

    Our church had been planted by an established denomination, but we had no constitution, no doctrinal standards, no established leadership. I started what we called a “responsible brothers” meeting to fill the void of leadership — ad hoc elders. We knew from the Scriptures that we needed to be governed by elders, but we didn’t have any. We received some teaching on elder qualifications from the pastor of the Evangelical Free church that had established our church, and as a result different men among the responsible brothers removed themselves from consideration. In this situation, I presented myself to the congregation and asked them to bring forward any objections to my holding office of elder within the next few weeks. If no one did, then I would assume the office. As it turned out, no one did, and I have been working with this congregation of faithful and longsuffering saints ever since.

    All this, as I said earlier, was highly irregular, and I would rather be dead in a ditch than to go back to that way of doing ecclesiastical business. . . . (Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk [Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2001] 267–268)

    See “More on Accountability” for more.

    Thank you.

  72. Tim Harris said,

    March 17, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you Mark. I was trying to figure out how to get this information without having to fork money over for a book.

    If that’s a description of an ordination, then I’m the pope — unless a certain number of people object to that within the next 3 minutes.

  73. Mark T. said,

    March 17, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t know how he harmonizes this narrative with his claim, “So no, not self-ordained and not self-installed,” which he put in a different narrative that he wrote in response to Reformed Musings and which I critiqued in “More on Accountability.”

  74. Mark T. said,

    March 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    And I’ll never kiss your ring.

  75. Tim Harris said,

    March 17, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    It’s right out of The Apostle. Only Duvall is a better actor.

  76. March 17, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Considering how John Piper is usually so measured in his speech and such a kind, charitable soul, one should understand his criticism of various FV peddlers (assuming that is the reference) as “dumb” to be about 50,000 times worse than such a label would normally be.

  77. Jesse P. said,

    March 17, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    David,

    What is the point of a comment like that? What exactly does the church gain?

  78. March 17, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Let’s get this straight. Since Knox’s ordination was irregular, it follows that any irregular “ordination” should be recognized by the church.

    And on Knox’s ordination, the account given in comment 70 is hardly the whole story.

  79. March 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Mark H., RE #60,

    Lawful ordination is not of the essence of ministry. Calvin didn’t have it and it didn’t stop him from being a lawful pastor. Presbyteries are free to received pastors transferring from other denominations without demanding that the person’s ordination have been done according to the BCO.

    Lawful ordination isn’t of the essence of ministry if you aren’t Reformed. If you’re Reformed, then you believe that only a properly ordained minister of the gospel may administer the ordinances of the church. Are you saying that you have an exception to the BCO on this point?

    As for transfers, et al, the BCO is pretty clear on how these folks are to be examined. And they’d better be ordained either before or after the transfer because BCO 17 says on the doctrine of ordination:

    17-1. Those who have been called to office in the Church are to be inducted by the ordination of a court.
    17-2. Ordination is the authoritative admission of one duly called to an
    office in the Church of God, accompanied with prayer and the laying on of
    hands, to which it is proper to add the giving of the right hand of fellowship.
    17-3. As every ecclesiastical office, according to the Scriptures, is a
    special charge, no man shall be ordained unless it be to the performance of a
    definite work.

    So, Mark, no one may hold an office in the PCA without being appropriately ordained. Presbyteries are not free to ignore the BCO.

  80. March 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Mark T., RE #71,

    Thank you for providing that information. I wasn’t going to buy the book either. It’s a shame that DW would not give a straight answer to so simple a question. Bottom line is like I’ve said all along–no ecclesiastical credentials.

  81. David Gilleran said,

    March 17, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I have been part of presbyteries who have received men whose original ordination have been Southern Baptist or Reformed Baptist and we have accepted them as valid ordinations to the gospel ministry. They were not re-examined for ordination. They were examined according to the BCO for transfer but they were simply installed at their calls and not ordained and installed.

  82. Tim Harris said,

    March 17, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Sherman Isbell once made an astute observation: Baptists are Presbyterian on ordination day. The regular ones in a sense have maintained a “virtual presbytery” with respect to pastoral ordination. This is quite different from standing in front of a bunch of guys that aren’t even properly constituted as a congregation and saying, “if no one has any objections, I guess I’ll step in as your pastor.”

  83. March 17, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say you guys are serious.

  84. Tim Harris said,

    March 18, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Douglas — then you don’t know better. We’re serious.

  85. markhorne said,

    March 18, 2008 at 1:33 am

    #79

    I’m following the BCO which gives guidelines for receiving a minister from another denomination and which say nothing about needing to investigate his ordination procedure.

  86. its.reed said,

    March 18, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Tim:

    Do you look good in a fish hat?

  87. Tim Harris said,

    March 18, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Reed — there must be a joke that went over my head.

    Mark — the CREC is not a denomination. It is a pseudo-denomination. That would be another way to make the same point.

    Would you say someone was baptized if some boys in the back yard had sprayed him with the water hose while shouting “we baptize you in the name….”?

    If these things are not spelled out in the BCO, it is because they are too obvious.

  88. markhorne said,

    March 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

    87 is just ungodly arrogance. It is repulsive in Romanists. It doesn’t get any prettier coming from the Reformed. And it has the additional smell of hypocrisy since we are pulling the same trick on others that was once tried on us.

  89. GLW Johnson said,

    March 18, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Mark- that last sentence, is that anything like “Who’s on first?”

  90. March 18, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I think we should avoid any kind of ‘successionism’ in our polity. In general, it is true what Bannerman says, that while there is nothing in the system that would preclude some Presbyterian form of it, except for some singular “outré” exceptions, the idea of apostolic succession has almost exclusively been held by the “Popish or Prelactic form of church government.” (see James Bannerman, Church of Christ 1.438ff). Presbyterianism historically has denied regular ordination as absolutely essential outside the normal. It does stand to reason though that where regular Presbyteries exist, they have a right to determine if an irregular ordination in a case of someone coming before them is actually in fact invalid. Such would be most cases of self ordination I would expect. Even in Knox’s case he had no formal ordination (and never did far as I’ve found), but claimed an extraordinary call and his inauguration into the ministry by John Rough was certainly something outside of ordinary. two cents.

  91. Tim Harris said,

    March 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Mark — spitting abusive ad hominem doesn’t aid your case. If there is such a thing as ordination, then there must be such a thing as not-ordination, and making arguments that identify it are not eo ipso arrogance.

    Also, I’m still waiting for a citation from an historian to back up your claim in 61 about Calvin. You aren’t one to assert things you do not know to be true are you?

  92. JPC said,

    March 18, 2008 at 10:09 am

    The N.T. church considered the laying on of hands foundational and elementary (Heb 6: 1-2). Yet we have people admitting that no “priest” [elder] had laid hands on them and asking, “Heh…is that a problem? ”

    When someone argues for this basic doctrine, in response we get another “heh”, an “are you serious?” and a few ad hominems.

    And we’re still waiting for the webmaster’s response to 55. What say you Lane?

  93. greenbaggins said,

    March 18, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I agree with Chris Coldwell’s post. There are extraordinary circumstances outside of a normal denomination’s jurisdiction. If the CREC calls him a reverend, I have no bone to pick with that. If mere process forbids Wilson from being an ordained minister, then so also would Knox and Calvin be unordained ministers. I am, of course, only referring to polity here, not to theology. I trust Wilson would not put himself on a par with Knox and Calvin theologically.

  94. David Gray said,

    March 18, 2008 at 10:22 am

    >the CREC is not a denomination

    Odd notion. Presumably then neither are a variety of Baptists, Methodists, etc. Neither is the PCUSA.

  95. David Gray said,

    March 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

    >the CREC is not a denomination

    In fact to my mind this illustrates the irrational hatred that exists for the FV. A rational disapproval or dislike might lead to statements that the CREC is an unsound denomination or a heretical denomination or some such thing. But to deny they are actually a denomination at all is quite irrational.

  96. greenbaggins said,

    March 18, 2008 at 10:51 am

    David, I quite agree. There are few people more opposed to FV teaching than I am (though Sean might disagree with that assessment). But we would call the Roman Catholic Church a denomination, and that denom has *far* more problems with it that the CREC does.

  97. Mark T. said,

    March 18, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Technically speaking, the CREC is a federation of independent congregations and not a denomination. Federations are generally broad-based organizations, or alliances, established to advance a particular cause, and according to the Preamble of the CREC Constitution, they established their federation of churches “in order to work together effectively for reformation.” Their broad base includes Christians of various stripes, including credo- and paedo-baptists.

    Regardless, Tim is correct — the CREC is not a denomination; it is a federation. Of course, they are free to call themselves a denomination, just as they call themselves presbyterian, but the misrepresentation should only stand among their membership.

  98. markhorne said,

    March 18, 2008 at 11:38 am

    “spitting abusive ad hominem doesn’t aid your case.”

    That was pretty much my point.

  99. JPC said,

    March 18, 2008 at 11:46 am

    95, 96: It’s irrational hatred to ask for the biblical “laying on of hands” credentials of an elder or denomination. Thanks for clarifying.

    Also, there is an equivocation on the word “denomination.” You are using the word to mean any group of guys who formulate Christian doctrine and appoint elders. We then measure their doctrine and if found wanting, they are then considered an unsound denomination [group], but a denomination nonetheless. I think others on this site are seeking after a de jure concept of denomination, not a de facto (see the reductio question in 87)

    A further confusion is seen in comment 95 where, the de jure concept granted, we are confusing Rome’s particular (Apostolic Succession) and faulty denouncement of Protestants with a biblical view of lawful, historical sucession. As if some of us are arguing that the CREC is psuedo because it is not R.C.

  100. March 18, 2008 at 11:48 am

    The United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA) is also a federation, with the important difference that our Church Order and basis of church government is based on the Church Order of Dordt (1619).

  101. JPC said,

    March 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Tim Harris (87),

    I believe fish hat is a reference to the Pope’s mitre. Another ad hom.

  102. March 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I agree with Chris in #90 and with Lane in #93. I also agree with Lane that I couldn’t begin to try to fill Calvin’s shoes, or Knox’s either. But on this issue, re: ordination, I certainly am in similar circumstances.

    Lane, I believe that our interaction has been valuable, and I really appreciate the pains you have taken in trying to understand what I am saying. At the same time, your comments thread frequently includes viewpoints that are, at least in my view, a greater embarrassment to you than to me, but nevertheless a general embarrassment to all.

    On the authority of a local congregation to set apart and ordain her own officers, I follow John Murray. But when we began this ministry here in Moscow, I didn’t know about Murray, and I didn’t know what the historic Reformed position on ministerial credentials actually was. But I do now, and it is more than a little funny watching pretender-defenders of the Reformed faith wad all that up and throw it away.

    Lane, I understand you are nervous about me because of some of the people I am not as nervous about as you. Sean has the same problem with you — you are not as nervous about me as you ought to be. This is a fun game, and I am sure that we can find someone nervous about Sean because he is not as nervous about you as he ought to be. Lack of purity spreads like an oil spill.

    I have been urged to walk away from this blog because of all the fun activity in the nickel seats. I have seriously considered it, but I do want to stay to finish my discussion with you, Lane. But at the same time, I do need to state clearly that my remaining is not because I think that it is important to interact with people who think that “denominations” are a central biblical concept. Again I say heh.

  103. Todd Bordow said,

    March 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    The notoriety of a Doug Wilson is an indictment against the entire Reformed community. Even before the FV hoopla, DW found a market in the Reformed community for his wares. He found a community more interested in separation than evangelism, (faithfulness to God requires pulling kids from public education), found men desiring priestly headship over servant-hood (Federal Husband), found a community more interested in political victory than reaching the lost (post-mil theonomy), found ministers desiring the priestly authority of the Old Covenant, as well as ministers willing to compromise Sola Fide (FV), and found a community open to family idolatry (paedo-communion, God guarantees faithful children if parents obey). All these represent a return to the Old Covenant, to its blessings and curses for obedience, its separation from unbelievers, its dominion theology, its male dominance, and its priestly regulations, all which have been fulfilled in the New Covenant.

    Why else would anyone take seriously a self-ordained man with no seminary education who writes books as an expert on ecclesiology, American history, slavery, marriage, Reformed theology, culture, education, etc…if there wasn’t already a market for his Old Covenant take on things?

    Why else would people who claim to love the Bible allow a man to so easily twist a few Scriptures (Deut 6 as a manifesto on who can teach math to your child, II Cor 10:5 wretched completely out of context to support his political worldview; Matt 28:19, which obviously commands the church to be an instrument of evangelism and sanctification to individuals from every nation – to a manifesto to teach political entities the laws they must obey to govern?

    In other words, if the reformed community was busy obeying the Lord’s command to love and reach the lost, and teach the Bible accurately, they would never have taken a man like DW seriously. But as long as there is a propensity among the Reformed to return to the typology of the Old Covenant Law, DWs will arise and find a hearing among us. I only admire DW for one thing- the same I admired Bill Clinton for – he is a great marketer – too bad we are the gullible market.

    Todd Bordow

  104. markhorne said,

    March 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    “In other words, if the reformed community was busy obeying the Lord’s command to love and reach the lost, and teach the Bible accurately, they would never have taken a man like DW seriously.”

    You’re just going to dive deeper into irony with every post, aren’t you?

    There are plenty of PCA churches who have done exactly the same thing as what you massively exaggerate and twist. Just as their are plenty of PCA churches that have set up Klinean Amil-only u/dys-topias. It goes on everywhere many NAPARC denominations (and with no connection with “FV pro or con). So what? Let a thousand flowers bloom. Massive blasts of allegations wouldn’t do any good even if they were true.

    Todd since you’ve basically declared your prejudices to be the unquestioned guide to all truth, your animus against Wilson sounds more like you resent the competition and the success. Basically, people find Doug persuasive in many ways and you not so much (I can’t understand why since you are such a reasonable guy in print). So you hate him.

    I suspect that this is obvious even to hardened opponents of Doug reading these comments. If Doug were the enemy you say he is (which he is not) then you would be guilty of making him look rationale and attractive simply by allowing your own lovely style to be compared to his.

    Keep it up.

  105. David Gray said,

    March 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    >The notoriety of a Doug Wilson is an indictment against the entire Reformed community.

    Amen. Do you understand what you just said?

  106. greenbaggins said,

    March 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    BOQ Lane, I believe that our interaction has been valuable, and I really appreciate the pains you have taken in trying to understand what I am saying. At the same time, your comments thread frequently includes viewpoints that are, at least in my view, a greater embarrassment to you than to me, but nevertheless a general embarrassment to all. EOQ

    Doug, you’re right. However, it is extremely difficult to keep all the wackos out. I could turn the comment around and direct it at your blog, however. There are blog trolls everywhere. It seems to me to be a necessary concomitant with having a blog that gets more than 100 hits per day. What would be your suggestion as to what to do about it? If they stay on topic, and are at least relatively respectful of people, then I am not going to ban them. Even the wackos serve a useful purpose sometimes of making the reasonable people look more reasonable.

  107. March 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Lane, you’re right about that. I know I have had the same problem on my blog.

  108. March 18, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Mark, RE #85,

    I’m following the BCO which gives guidelines for receiving a minister from another denomination and which say nothing about needing to investigate his ordination procedure.

    Really? Have you read BCO 21 lately? It only names two categories for installation: candidates and ordained ministers (21-9). That pretty much eliminates installing a non-ordained individual in a church, as BCO 17 indicates. BCO 21-1 says that a transferring minister must be examined and received by the Presbytery. I don’t know how you do it in Missouri, but one’s education and ordination are part of the written questionnaire here. Otherwise, we’d never properly get to 21-9. And if an intern must meet the requirements under BCO 21-4, then how much more so someone who claims for themselves the title of “minister?”

    In the military, such process are key to “accountability” and “due diligence.” They are required elements for good leadership. No one would let someone pilot an aircraft who wasn’t properly trained, tested, and qualified. Why would we under-shepherd Christ’s flock with any less care? The BCO says that we don’t under-shepherd with less care.

  109. Xon said,

    March 19, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I think Mark’s point is that the BCO does not require a person’s ordination to be gone over with a fine toothed comb according to some preconceived notion of what ordination “requires.” There is no set “BCO kosher” ordination procedure that a candidate must meet. Certainly if, on a case-by-case basis, a presbytery thinks the circumstances of a candidate’s ordination are fishy, then that should be considered. But the PCA does not have this universal ordination standard that all transferring ministers must meet. It is simply up to presbytery to examine the minister. But there is no specification that they must pour through his ordination procedure.

    As Lane put it, if the CREC says Doug Wilson is ordained, then they’re ordained. If a CMA church or a Nazarene church said a guy was ordained, that would be good enough. Now whether he should be transferred in on doctrinal grounds is another question. But nowhere does the BCO require some standard of “how ordination is supposed to work” to be applied to a tranferring minister’s prior denomination or affiliation.

  110. March 19, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Xon,

    You might read BCO 13-6. We don’t get to “just make it up as we go along.” Given the myriad of funky denominations and confederations in the US, we do not just rubber stamp someone who shows up without credentials. The BCO provides some nice guidance in that area. Maybe it’s different in your Presbytery or Missouri, I can’t speak to that.

  111. markhorne said,

    March 19, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    “The BCO provides some nice guidance in that area. ”

    Yes. Sufficient guidance too.

  112. David Gray said,

    March 19, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    >Given the myriad of funky denominations and confederations in the US, we do not just rubber stamp someone who shows up without credentials.

    So would the credentials of a minister from an apostate denomination like the PCUSA qualify?

  113. greenbaggins said,

    March 19, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Our Presbytery would examine him and it would be labelled a transfer of credentials, which would recognize that as a legitimate transfer.

  114. March 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    David, RE #112,

    Generally, yes. That’s why we have examinations. The examinations ultimately sort out the wheat from the chaff. But one needs some kind of credentials to even get to the point of an examination.

    As I have driven around the mid-South, I’ve found churches at virtually every crossroads as well as street corners in then towns. The vast majority of the folks who lead those churches have never darkened the door of a seminary of any kind. They probably couldn’t read a menu at a Greek restaurant. I’m in no way commenting on their salvation, but If they decide to come to the PCA, will you just let them in to preach and preside over the administration of the ordinances?

  115. March 19, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Mark, RE #111,

    Yes. Sufficient guidance too.

    We agree on that. We just seem to interpret that guidance somewhat differently. As one who tries to be “no respecter of persons” in these matters, I apply the same high standard to all officers and potential officers. I assume that you strive to do the same.

  116. David Gray said,

    March 19, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    >Our Presbytery would examine him and it would be labelled a transfer of credentials, which would recognize that as a legitimate transfer.

    And presumably someone transferring from the CREC would be treated the same way as someone from the PCUSA?

  117. March 19, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    David, RE #116,

    That depends. Unfortunately, the CREC has demonstrated that they have no standards for their TEs. They are a mix of people who have been defrocked by other denominations, some who have never been trained and/or ordained, and others who may be fine. I’d be looking closely at the record of anyone from the CREC to ensure they haven’t been defrocked, and that they have been legitimately examined and ordained at some point. THEN we can talk about an examination. Please see #114, second paragraph.

  118. David Gilleran said,

    March 19, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    There are two questions: 1) Do you accept this church to be a valid part of the body of Christ? As far as I know we have rejected every overture to General Assembly to call the PCUSA apostate.So we are saying that they are a valid part of the body of Christ along with others such as the ECUSA, Lutheran-Missouri Synod, UCC. So if a person came to a PCA presbytery with the proper credentials it appears that you would move on the floor of presbytery for the examination to began. (Assuming the examination committee brings him to the floor)

    The second question would be 2) how much education does a candidate need. For example, X was set apart for the ministry of his local SBC when he was 18 when he answered the question about conversion, call to the ministry and had led someone to a personal relationship to Christ. X goes to college but not seminary. He is a SBC pastor in good standing. On his own he comes to the Reformed Faith. PCA church Y wishes to call X as pastor. He has valid ordination from a church whose form of government is congregational. Would you recognize his ordination as valid and then proceed to examine him under the extra-ordinary clause in the BCO (PCA) ?

  119. David Gray said,

    March 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    >Unfortunately, the CREC has demonstrated that they have no standards for their TEs.

    But the standards for the PCUSA require them to be in rebellion against God. I’m struggling with the idea that the PCUSA has superior standards to the CREC. I’m not very keen on how the CREC is organized but I can’t say they are inferior to the PCUSA in terms of quality of their ministers.

  120. Tom Albrecht said,

    March 20, 2008 at 11:11 am

    RE: #117

    Lane,

    I served for a number of years on our presbytery C&C committee and, in the case of a minister coming into the PCA from some other non-NAPARC denomination (e.g., some from the PCUSA), I cannot recall an instance were we checked with the originating denomination to ensure they had not been defrocked somewhere else.

  121. Tom Albrecht said,

    March 20, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Sorry Lane, I meant Bob. I got my message headers mixed up.

  122. Xon said,

    March 20, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    That depends. Unfortunately, the CREC has demonstrated that they have no standards for their TEs. They are a mix of people who have been defrocked by other denominations, some who have never been trained and/or ordained, and others who may be fine. I’d be looking closely at the record of anyone from the CREC to ensure they haven’t been defrocked, and that they have been legitimately examined and ordained at some point. THEN we can talk about an examination. Please see #114, second paragraph.

    The CREC actually puts all of its candidates for ordination/transfer through a rigorous test of their knowledge both of theology and biblical languages and exegesis. I’d say, from perusing both, that the CREC test is more rigorous in terms of content than the PCA (though I realize the PCA doesn’t use one uniform test).

    Nobody is denying that a candidate should be examined for life and doctrine (and biblical competency, if that is something different than doctrine). What is being denied is that a man who passes on all that should be denied transfer because the presbytery is unhappy with how ordination works in that other denomination. If the guy has an external call to a church and as evidenced by his competence to pass the exam, then he appears qualified to the ministry. The fact that he used to be a member of “Horton’s Holiness Denominaton” where all ministers ordain themselves by putting peanut butter in their ear doesn’t matter nearly as much. If that was ALL the guy had going for him, that he was ordained under those odd circumstances and he just wanted you to rubber stamp him but he didn’t know anything about theology or biblical languages, etc., then obviously you should not transfer him in. But if he has that wacky biography in his past, yet somehow the Lord has seen fit to gift him with all the skills of ordained ministry that we’re looking for, then why not approve him? See, the particulars of HOW he was ordained aren’t what matters in the grand scheme.

    As I have driven around the mid-South, I’ve found churches at virtually every crossroads as well as street corners in then towns. The vast majority of the folks who lead those churches have never darkened the door of a seminary of any kind. They probably couldn’t read a menu at a Greek restaurant. I’m in no way commenting on their salvation, but If they decide to come to the PCA, will you just let them in to preach and preside over the administration of the ordinances?

    Again, this is not what I or Mark (or others) are advocating. If the guy can’t read Greek or is otherwise deficient in doctrine or life, then he shouldn’t be transferred in. But his problem is not that he didn’t “go to seminary” (the P”CA allows for auto-didactic training) or that he didn’t meet any other pre-conceived notion of how ordination is “supposed” to happen. His problem is that he simply is not properly trained, as is evident from his failure of the examination. But if he passed muster at the exam in his doctrine and life, but he had never been to seminary or whatever else you would prefer, then would you keep him out just because you don’t like his previous ordination procedure? I don’t think so (I hope not!).

  123. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Michael Horton does *what*?! :lol:

    JRC

  124. March 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Xon,

    Not liking a procedure is way different than someone not being ordained at all by a recognized body. Your entire argument misses the actual point. In the Reformed world, to the best of my knowledge and by a plain reading of the BCO, no one who is not duly ordained my administer the ordinances. Even to preach regularly requires a special examination, and still one must be an ordained elder. Check out Preliminary Principle 3 in the BCO. There’s no wiggle room there for tom-foolery.

  125. Mark T. said,

    March 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Xon writes,

    The CREC actually puts all of its candidates for ordination/transfer through a rigorous test of their knowledge both of theology and biblical languages and exegesis. I’d say, from perusing both, that the CREC test is more rigorous in terms of content than the PCA (though I realize the PCA doesn’t use one uniform test).

    Xon, you really are uninformed and quite ignorant of the facts. Furthermore, you’re out of line when you try to correct a father in the faith, such as Bob Mattes, who has served faithfully both church and country. The man knows whereof he speaks. After all, he didn’t just put himself forward for elder or aviator after he learned a few chords on the guitar. And he was absolutely correct when he wrote,

    Unfortunately, the CREC has demonstrated that they have no standards for their TEs. They are a mix of people who have been defrocked by other denominations, some who have never been trained and/or ordained, and others who may be fine. I’d be looking closely at the record of anyone from the CREC to ensure they haven’t been defrocked, and that they have been legitimately examined and ordained at some point.

    Please consider the following statement, issued by the CREC after it overrode the RPCGA’s defrocking of RC Sproul Jr, as one reason why you should exercise your right to be silent:

    Although Mr. Sproul was deposed from the ministry (primarily for violations of the RPCGA BCO which would not apply in the CREC), we have determined that since he had been previously examined for ordination (by three different presbyteries of three denominations ARPC, PCA, and RPCGA), he shall not be required to fulfill the process for ordination and shall be considered ordained within the CREC accordingly. (Report from the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches Pastoral Commission for Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, Bristol, TN, page 4)

    The RPCGA deposed RC Jr for wholesale violations of his ordination vows, for well-documented and comprehensive abuse of God’s flock, and for tax fraud — not “primarily for violations of the RPCGA BCO.” And yet, he “shall be considered ordained within the CREC accordingly.” Perhaps the CREC’s dismissal of the RPCGA’s declaratory judgment meets your standard of “rigorous,” but the word “scandalous” comes to my mind. Either way, you should zip the pie hole before endeavoring to correct a father in the faith.

    Thank you.

  126. David Gray said,

    March 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    >Perhaps the CREC’s dismissal of the RPCGA’s declaratory judgment meets your standard of “rigorous,” but the word “scandalous” comes to my mind.

    So how do you describe the PCUSA, which is a fully adequate source of credentials, apparently?

  127. Mark T. said,

    March 20, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    David,

    Clearly you have a beef with the PCUSA. I don’t know why this is the case and I don’t care why. But if their liberalism rubs your fur the wrong way, then I don’t understand why you find the CREC so attractive because it is as liberal an organization as you will get in practice, though their written policy is conservative to the hilt. In fact, the only difference between the two organizations is that the PCUSA has codified its liberalism whereas the CREC merely embodies theirs.

    Perhaps you prefer your sepulchers white, or maybe you don’t mind straining at gnats in order to swallow camels — one hump or two. As I said, I don’t know and I don’t care. But since I never affirmed the PCUSA’s credentials as adequate, “apparently” or otherwise, please do not bait me with disingenuous questions.

    Thank you.

  128. Xon said,

    March 20, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Bob, if any of Mark T’s comments strike you as accurate (i.e., that I was contentiously challenging you as a father in the faith), then please accept my apology as that was not my intention.

    Until you (or another elder) tell me otherwise, though, I continue to operate on the double assumption that non-elders are allowed to participate in this conversation (including polite challenges of claims made by elders) and that my own attempt to so participate is not being taken by most readers as contentiousness on my part.

    Thus, if I might respond…you (Bob/reformedmusings) wrote:

    Even to preach regularly requires a special examination, and still one must be an ordained elder.

    Sure, to preach, minister, or serve as an elder within a Reformed denomination you must be ordained by that denomination. But in order to get ordained by that denomination, it is not required that he already be oradined in such-and-such a way by a prior denomination. Right?

  129. Mark T. said,

    March 20, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Xon,

    I did not accuse you of “contention,” as you maintain; rather, I stated that you spoke out of line. You corrected an elder with a demonstrably false statement, which was my only point.

  130. David Gray said,

    March 20, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    >You corrected an elder with a demonstrably false statement, which was my only point.

    Then how did the air force come in to play?

  131. March 20, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Mark T., RE #125,

    I appreciate your support and your citation of original source data. However:

    a father in the faith, such as Bob Mattes

    I am incredibly honored that you would characterize me so, but I do not come close to earning that title. When we address fellow commissioners at Presbytery or General Assembly, we greet them as “fathers and brothers.” The fathers are honored and respected as those elders who helped form the PCA, people like Dr. Morton Smith and others of that generation. God has been gracious and preserved many of them to help guide us this day. I am not even close to their class of church officer.

    I appreciate your concern for my honor, but I don’t think that Xon has ever been out of line in any of the many discussions in which we’ve participated. Though I often disagree with his point of view, I respect his ability to state his case clearly and without rancor.

    And again, I appreciate you linking to original documentation to back up my point, as well as your concern for my honor.

  132. March 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Xon,

    Bob, if any of Mark T’s comments strike you as accurate (i.e., that I was contentiously challenging you as a father in the faith), then please accept my apology as that was not my intention.

    No apology necessary. While I am grateful for Mark’s support, as I said in #131, I have never had an issue with you or your argumentation. No harm, no foul either way. I appreciate the discussion.

    I continue to operate on the double assumption that non-elders are allowed to participate in this conversation (including polite challenges of claims made by elders)

    Works for me.

    But in order to get ordained by that denomination, it is not required that he already be oradined in such-and-such a way by a prior denomination. Right?

    Right. The issue at hand, though, is accepting a lack of ordination attempting to transfer into a denomination with clear, non-trivial ordination doctrines and standards. That would require an ordination in the accepting denomination, which would necessarily require meeting the standards there for ordination. As I read the clear language of the BCO, an unordained individual may not be installed as an officer in the PCA.

  133. March 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    David G., RE #130,

    I believe that Mark was referring to my analogy in #108.

  134. Xon said,

    March 21, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Bob, my position and your position as articulated in 132 do not differ in any significant way that I can discern. The earlier point of disagreement between various parties here had to do with Doug Wilson is to be considered unordainable because of the prior circumstances of his allegedly problematic ordination. That’s what I was disagreeing with. Certainly Doug Wilson or anyone else, in order to minister in a denomination like the PCA, would have to be ordained within that denomination acc. to its own standards of who is ordainable and who is not.

  135. Xon said,

    March 21, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Mark T. I did no such thing. My statement was not “demonstrably false.” Bob originally said that the CREC ordains men who are not “trained” or “ordained”. But, of course, the CREC has a rigorous examination that is designed to test people’s training. (And, what’s more, the CREC ordains people, so they are ordained. The complaint can’t be that some people ordained in the CREC were not ordained anywhere prior to joining the CREC, for that is true of every person the first time they are ordained.)

    I should have made myself more clear, in that I was only responding to that particular element of Bob’s claim. As to whether the CREC allows rogue defrocked people in (with inadequate reason for doing so), which was another part of Bob’s claim, I simply choose not to respond to that at all one way or the other.

    As to my summing up your charge against me with the word “contentious,” I stand by that as a resonable gloss on what you said. I have always understood “contention” in the context of Reformed polity to involve a person speaking “out of line” (which is a phrase you have used) to divide the brethren. Presumably you think that one of the reasons my speaking “out of line” to Bob is bad is because it shows imporper submission to elders, and sows division within the Church? Well, that’s what “contentiousness” is about.

    But, alas. I’m breaking a pattern responding to you directly at all, Mark T. But that’s how I see things, in any case.

  136. March 21, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Xon,

    Bob originally said that the CREC ordains men who are not “trained” or “ordained”.

    To be clear, I did not say that they ordained those folks and didn’t mean to imply that they did. My point was that the CREC doesn’t even bother to ordain the unordained or defrocked. They just take ’em like they find ’em. That’s why transfers from the CREC to orthodox denominations are problematic at best. You never know what you might get unless you investigate backgrounds carefully.

    And for David Gray, that’s the big difference with the PCUSA. At least in the PCUSA, you know that you’re looking at an educated, examined, and ordained individual, liberal or not. No such guarantee from the CREC. Yes, the PCUSA is apostate as a body, but by God’s grace there still are some conservative officers and congregants languishing in its ranks.

  137. Tim Harris said,

    March 21, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Again, just to highlight a key difference between CREC and NAPARC churches. In CREC, it is the congregation that ordains pastors, not the presbytery. The “presybtery” examines and recommends, but their recommendation is not binding. See CREC constitution II D. So when someone says, “A. was ordained by CREC” what that means is, “A. was ordained by a congregation that was a member of CREC.”

    And of course, we know from the above disclosures that that might even just mean, “A. assumed office and no one objected.”

  138. David Gilleran said,

    March 21, 2008 at 8:31 am

    In regard to my post #118-Bob are you saying in your post #136 that you do not believe the PCUSA to be a valid part of the body of Christ but you are willing to accept into the PCA (after examination) men who have been ordained by that body simply because they have followed the steps outlined in their Book of Order? Having a seminary degree from an approved institution more than likely means you have been educated in unbelief.A question I would ask anyone who comes from the PCUSA and is seeking admission into the PCA is this: When did you change your mind about the ordination of women to church office? Did you truly believe that it was acceptable and now you do not or did you just say that you believed it to go along with the process?

    From my own experience serving on committees for examination you run into real problems with transfers from PCUSA or men seeking to be ordained in the PCA who have studied at seminaries that are more about unbelief than faithfulness to guard the deposit of truth.

  139. March 21, 2008 at 10:05 am

    David G., RE #138,

    A question I would ask anyone who comes from the PCUSA and is seeking admission into the PCA is this: When did you change your mind about the ordination of women to church office? Did you truly believe that it was acceptable and now you do not or did you just say that you believed it to go along with the process?

    Absolutely. Great questions that need to be answered honestly and appropriately.

    From my own experience serving on committees for examination you run into real problems with transfers from PCUSA or men seeking to be ordained in the PCA who have studied at seminaries that are more about unbelief than faithfulness to guard the deposit of truth.

    Similar here. However, some outstanding people like Dr. R.C. Sproul also attended liberal seminaries and yet are the epitome of Reformed orthodoxy. And many Federal Visionists attended Reformed seminaries, yet departed from sola fide. Which seminary you attend isn’t a perfect predictor of an individual’s orthodoxy, although it provides a valuable avenue for examination.

  140. markhorne said,

    March 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

    “And many Federal Visionists attended Reformed seminaries, yet departed from sola fide. ”

    Not true.

  141. Xon said,

    March 21, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    To be clear, I did not say that they ordained those folks and didn’t mean to imply that they did. My point was that the CREC doesn’t even bother to ordain the unordained or defrocked. They just take ‘em like they find ‘em. That’s why transfers from the CREC to orthodox denominations are problematic at best. You never know what you might get unless you investigate backgrounds carefully.

    Bob, I’m having trouble following here, and my honest suspicion is that we are two ships passing in the night, disagreeing not in substance but in language. But I may be wrong about that.

    First, the CREC does not simply “take ’em like they find ’em.” Even in the controversial cases in which they have “transferred in” defrocked ministers from other denominations (and, again, I am trying to walk a tight rope here of my own choosing: I sincerely have no desire to discuss any of those cases in any detail), they don’t just say “You’re fine, we don’t care.” They looked into the person’s past, the history of their ministry (and, presumably, their current testimony and understanding of both Christian faith and practice), and found that, in their judgment, the minister was not worthy of permanent disbarment from ministry anywhere. Just from their earlier denomination. Or, in one case, the CREC found that the person’s trial in the other denomination was not in proper order and was imporperly decided. Now, we can disagree with their findings in these matters, but they were not procedural rubber stamps. Someone may want to argue that, procedure aside, the intention of the CREC was to simply let these men in no matter what, but that sort of thing is notoriously hard to prove (as it goes to motives and requires the accuser to have knowledge of secret things). All any of us can use for “evidence” in these discussions is the procedural and “objective” facts of how the CREC does things. Just as we would have to judge any other denomination. And those facts are that, in the CREC, nobody is simply accepted without examination, especially not ministers who were defrocked elsewhere.

    I simply don’t see how there is any a prior problem here with CREC ordinations. If a non-FV minister in the CREC applied for transfer into the PCA, what would be required of him besides being examined for his manner of doctrine and life? In other words, sure, you would look into his “background,” as you would do with any person who applied for transfer (nobody just gets “rubber stamped” in, do they?). But that examination isn’t an examination to make sure that he was “ordained the right way” in his earlier denomination. The question is whether you are going to ordain him now in your denomination, and for that question you consider his call (internal and external), his theology, his skills for the ministry, etc. If he passes muster on those things, then he is presumably to be ordained, regardless of what his ordination history might be in other places. So I don’t see how the CREC is to be treated any differently than anyone else.

  142. Ron Henzel said,

    March 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Mark, quoting Bob, wrote in comment 140:

    “And many Federal Visionists attended Reformed seminaries, yet departed from sola fide.

    Not true.

    So, then, Mark, are you saying it is only those Federal Visionists who publish articles on your web site that deny sola fide? After all, your site proudly features the following denial of sola fide. by Rich Lusk:

    In James 2, “justification” cannot be referring to a demonstration of justification, e.g., justification does and cannot mean something like “show to be justified.” Rather, James has in view the same kind of justification as Paul — forensic, soteric justification. Good works justify persons in James 2, not faith or one’s status as a justified sinner. James is not telling his readers how to “justify their justification” or how to “give evidence of a true and lively faith” [2]. Instead he says their persons will not be justified by faith alone, but also by good works of obedience they have done. The use of the preposition “by” is important since it indicates a sort of dual instrumentality in justification. In other words, in some sense, James is speaking of a justification in which faith and works combine together to justify [3]. Future justification is according to one’s life pattern. No one dare claim these works to be meritorious, but they are necessary. There is congruence between the life we live and the destiny we will receive.

    [“Future Justification to the Doers of the Law” (2003), paragraph 16, on hornes.org/theologia. Emphasis Lusk’s.]

    So as long as we re-name “merit” as “congruence,” it’s okay to make works a basis of justification.

    Oops! My bad! Isn’t it true that Rich Lusk didn’t attend a Reformed seminary? Did he get any formal theological training after his undergrad degree in microbiology and his graduate work in philosophy?

    But then, there’s also Steve Schlissel, who wrote:

    …the Law is “obeyable,” [and] truly responding to the Law (the Word) in faith does justify…

    [“Justification and the Gentiles,” in Wilkins and Garner, eds., The Federal Vision, (Monroe, LA, USA: Athanasius Press, 2004), 260.]

    D’oh! According to the book’s “Contributors” page, he doesn’t seem to have had any post-secondary education at all. That must be a misprint.

    I understand Spurgeon didn’t attend college either; but then, neither did he undertake to dismantle the Reformation doctrine of sola fide. Perhaps today’s uneducated pastors are made of hardier stuff these days.

    Okay, Mark: I guess you win. I don’t know of any Federal Visionists who (a) deny sola fide, and (b) were trained in Reformed theology.

  143. March 21, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Xon,

    I agree that we’re talking past each other at this point. I believe that I see what you are saying, and will simply agree to disagree with your second paragraph in #141. Like you, I don’t want to get into specific cases. Some have been covered in great detail elsewhere.

    I agree with the bulk of your last paragraph in #141, parting mainly on the last sentence. Just as, like David Gray, I would be looking very closely at anyone wishing to transfer from the PCUSA, I would also closely scrutinize anyone from the CREC. If they were defrocked somewhere, that would bear careful evaluation before seriously entertaining any transfer. I they were defrocked by a NAPARC denomination, they are a non-starter. And if they weren’t ordained, the BCO makes it clear that they will have to be examined, ordained, and installed to serve as an officer in the church. It sounds like we both agree on that point.

  144. David Gilleran said,

    March 21, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Bob. a better example might be men who have studied and graduated from sound seminaries, have been ordained by the PCA for the gospel ministry, led college ministries, became church planters and thousands of dollars poured into their ministries and are now part of fellowships that 180 degrees opposite of what they said when they were examined for ordination.

  145. March 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Ron,

    How about Jimmy Jordan? Aren’t giving him a pass, are you? ;-)

  146. Ron Henzel said,

    March 21, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Bob,

    Re: comment 145—

    I don’t know of a “smoking gun” text from J.J. that explicitly denies sola fide. Do you have one handy?

  147. Xon said,

    March 21, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Lusk is talking about future justification, which is the same kind of justification as Paul talks about, in that it is soteric and forensic. James is talking about people being declared righteous by God in His courtroom. Only James is talking about it as it happens at the last day, and typically Paul is talking about it as it happens “at the moment I first believe.” This is the clear and umistakable context of Lusk’s quote cited above, as even in the selected portion he makes it clear that he is talking about “future” justification.

    Now, how does “future” justification, in which God says “well done, good and faithful servant”, and He doesn’t say it if there has been no sanctification (i.e., sanctification is not meritorious, but it is necessary), constitue a denial of “sola fide?” The only way to be justified by God is through faith. The moment you first believe, you are justified. And, if you are justified through faith, then that saving faith goes on to produce good works (faith works through love). And at the last day, standing before God’s throne, there will be works “on your record” which God will crown. Of course, God is only crowning His own works, ultimately, as Augustine and C.S. Lewis and a thousand other people have said. But still, at the end of our life, there are works there as part of our life story. And if those works are not there, then God doesn’t say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Sanctification is necessary, but not in any way meritorious. I don’t see the problem. Unless you are just objecting to calling the last judgement by the term “justification.” But I know, after all these years and all the complaints that FVers are wrong when they say that they are misunderstood, that nobody is here condemning FV simply for using a word in a way you don’t like.

    So, what then?

    Re: Schlissel, once we are saved, the law is an obeyable guide to our life. It is not “perfectly” obeyable, as though we become perfectly moral people. But it is obeyable in a way that God accepts, and HIs law is meant to be a joy for us and a happy guide on our path. This is the point of Schlissels’ great slogan from the 2002 AAPC that the fundamental question is not “how can I be saved?” but ‘What does God require?” He doesn’t mean by that that you get saved by doing what God requires. God forbid! He means that God doesn’t want us to obsess over whether we are “really” saved. He wants us to believe in Him and then rest in his forgiveness. And if we do that, then we are set free to live a new life of righteousness for Him, enabled by His Spirit. Our relationship to the law changes, and it becomes a blessing to us and not a curse.

    But, of course, Schlissel has dropped almost completely out of the public eye on ‘FV’ issues since 2002/3. I always like it when people bring him up, though. I think his take (fiery rhetoric and all) is really good.

  148. markhorne said,

    March 21, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    “Okay, Mark: I guess you win. I don’t know of any Federal Visionists who (a) deny sola fide, and (b) were trained in Reformed theology.”

    I was seminary-trained and I’m the one who publishes Lusk on my website because there is nothing remotely problematic with doing so.

  149. Ron Henzel said,

    March 21, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Mark,

    I stand corrected. You are seminary trained and you deny sola fide!

  150. David Gray said,

    March 21, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    >You are seminary trained and you deny sola fide!

    Funny, I’ve heard him defend sola fide.

  151. Ron Henzel said,

    March 21, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    David,

    Re: comment 150—

    Here’s what’s not-so-funny: he defends Rich Lusk’s denial of sola fide in the citation I posted in comment 142.

  152. Todd Bordow said,

    March 23, 2008 at 8:37 am

    # 106

    Lane,

    Sorry for the delay. I’m not sure if you are referring to me as a “wacko” – never been called that before! Look, the point is, we in the Reformed community are not immune to our superstitions, just like the Pentecostal or larger evangelical world, and that is what the attraction to DW, Jordan, Sproul Jr, etc. exposes.

    Provide an alternative to the often poor education offered in the public schools – wonderful. But scare me into pulling my kids out of the public schools or receive God’s curses, and follow DW’s way of education and receive God’s blessings, that is simply peddling the Word of God for personal gain – no different than what we see Rod Parsley do on television every day (give to the kingdom out of love for Christ – wonderful; give to his station to receive God’s blessings – peddling the Word of God.)

    DW is all about finding ways to work to secure God’s blessings. How to secure faithful children through “covenantal” nurture, how to secure more of God’s grace by weekly communion and liturgical reform, how to secure God’s blessings on America if the church only does A,B, and C, etc…

    We are not taken in by the Hinns, Olsteens,etc…, and we are proud of it. But the prominence of DW types in the Reformed community reveals a similar lack of assurance in the gospel that we find in the broader evangelical community. That is why no matter how many churches DW splits, how many disciplined and defrocked pastors he unleashes on people, no matter how many individuals and families formally under his ministry cry out of the pain he causes, much of the reformed world continues to treat him as a respected reformed minister – why – we are desperate for God’s blessings, weak in the all-sufficiency of the gospel to merit all of God’s blessings, and enticed by a system of blessings and curses based upon our own works.

    DW is an old-fashioned religious shyster laughing all the way to the bank as we take him seriously, as we buy his books, etc… If you ever wonder how educated people could sit and listen to these televangelists and their incredible claims of how to secure God’s blessings on your finances, marriage, children, etc…go no further than looking in our own back yard. We are no better; we are no less tempted.

    Happy Easter to all! – may you preach the all-sufficiency of Christ crucified and risen to merit all God’s eternal blessings (Eph 1:3)

    Todd Bordow

  153. magma2 said,

    March 24, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    But the prominence of DW types in the Reformed community reveals a similar lack of assurance in the gospel that we find in the broader evangelical community. That is why no matter how many churches DW splits, how many disciplined and defrocked pastors he unleashes on people, no matter how many individuals and families formally under his ministry cry out of the pain he causes, much of the reformed world continues to treat him as a respected reformed minister – why – we are desperate for God’s blessings, weak in the all-sufficiency of the gospel to merit all of God’s blessings, and enticed by a system of blessings and curses based upon our own works.

    You must be a wacko. I hope you’re not a TE or something like that? Didn’t you just read Lane’s conclusion that Wilson is sound on JBFA and imputation, even if just a little bit fuzzy? Why, Rick Phillips agrees with Lane. Are you going to take issue with Rick Phillips too? Besides, Lane informs us above that even Doug Wilson agrees with him so you know his conclusion must be right. Even Mr. “Future Grace” Piper gave Wilson a clean bill of health on the question of the gospel too. To think you have the nerve to call DW, this Christian minister and faithful preacher of the gospel, “an old-fashioned religious shyster” who is “laughing all the way to the bank.”

    You must be a real wacko Todd.

    Sean Gerety


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: