Is the FV Controversy Dead?

Doug Wilson has weighed in on the controversy here. He makes two basic points, one to the critics of the FV, and one to the FV’ers. His point to the critics is that they should dial down the rhetoric against the FV because a court of the church has spoken. His point to the FV’ers is that they should become more careful with their terms in order to avoid confusion. Alas for Doug, neither point will be followed. This critic will certainly not dial down the rhetoric (although I try to avoid rhetoric, actually, preferring straight logic). And the FV’ers can’t help their use of terms, much. They delight in ambiguity and multivalency.

On the first point, even though a church court has spoken, that doesn’t mean that I have to agree with it, nor does it mean that church court decisions are above criticism. Or will we start saying that Machen should just have stayed quiet and been a good boy? Not to mention Luther. There have been many already who have wished to use this decision of the SJC as a way of shutting up people like myself. This is ironic, when many of the people who voted for the decision in the SJC still think of the FV as being outside the boundaries of the confession.

This brings us to another important point to consider: the SJC would almost certainly not agree with Doug’s take on the decision (as vindicating Leithart’s theology so that it is within the boundaries). The SJC decision regards itself as ruling on a primarily procedural matter (that the complainant did not prove the case). The “damage control” clauses and paragraphs are certainly intended to go in this direction.

However, in another twist, I agree with Doug on the practical impact of the decision: that it pronounces Leithart’s theology as being within the boundaries. And the reason I say that is simple: why in the world would the SJC encourage PNWP and Leithart to work on clarity of expression and avoiding ambiguity, if the SJC were not pronouncing on the confessionality of Leithart’s theology? That paragraph in the decision gives the decided impression that the only real problem is ambiguity and misuse of terms, in other words, semantics. To put the matter in an even more pointed fashion, how can the SJC say that it is not pronouncing on Leithart’s theology, when that paragraph pronounces on Leithart’s theology? De jure, the SJC may be able to distance itself from Leithart’s theology. De facto, they have pronounced that Leithart is confessional, and yet careless with terms, and that he merely needs to clean up that little (!) problem.

161 Comments

  1. April 12, 2013 at 8:47 am

    […] Read more… […]

  2. Ron said,

    April 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

    The only approval of “Leithart’s theology” is that which interprets his ambiguities in terms consistent with the Confession. There is no “approval” of any interpretation of his writings that violates the Confession. Therefore, approval of Leithart’s writings may not truthfully be taken as approving anti-confessional thought.

    Having said that, since I do believe that many within the FV seem to glory in ambiguity, so much so that I must believe they oppose Reformed theology (even if unwittingly), I think we will find some who will turn the verdict on its head and interpret it as approving that which is contrary to the Confession (and the PCA’s intent).

  3. Ron said,

    April 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

    But you all are ministers in the PCA, and, if you accept my distinction between FV amber ales and FV oatmeal stouts, you now belong to a communion which has formally determined FV dark to be within the reformational pale.

    Well, I guess I was right. Doug has interpreted the PCA as approving the literal writings of Leithart as confessional as opposed to a Reformed interpretation of them. So, this statement of Doug’s is simply another falsehood in what it sugguests because it trades on ambiguity over what is FV-stout.

  4. Sean Gerety said,

    April 12, 2013 at 11:11 am

    However, in another twist, I agree with Doug on the practical impact of the decision: that it pronounces Leithart’s theology as being within the boundaries.

    I agree too. The only question now is why would any Gospel believing pastor remain in a denomination where Leithart’s FV theology is within the boundaries? I realize Machen was ultimately given the boot, but is remaining in the PCA now a tacit endorsement of FV theology?

  5. Sean Gerety said,

    April 12, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I just read Wilson’s piece and I think this was the most important line in the entire piece:

    But you all are ministers in the PCA, and, if you accept my distinction between FV amber ales and FV oatmeal stouts, you now belong to a communion which has formally determined FV dark to be within the reformational pale.

    This is spot on. It’s not only those mildly infatuated with some of the FV novel distinctives that are now within the PCA pale, but hardcore devotees, men like Norm Shepherd.

    Wilson is also right and if those who oppose the FV “double down on the rhetoric” or even double down in their opposition to the FV through logical and biblical argumentation the kind Lane is doing, “people will wonder why you remain within a church that has now decided…the ‘wrong way’ on the article of a standing or falling church…”

    I really think that is it in a nutshell and it is going to be a very hard nut for some to swallow. I realize that if the OPC’s decision in the Kinnaird case is any precedent, those who rightly oppose the FV in the PCA will simply learn to shut their mouths if they want to stay in the PCA and many will. My guess is many will simply look for language in the SJC’s decision in order to tell themselves that it really isn’t that bad.

    But if Wilson is right and “FV dark” is within Confessional boundaries, then there is simply no way to rationalize the SJC’s decision. The only alternative to leaving is to compromise on “the article of a standing or falling church.”

  6. CD-Host said,

    April 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    why would any Gospel believing pastor remain in a denomination where Leithart’s FV theology is within the boundaries

    If I had to guess the number one reason is they don’t care much. This isn’t a big issue for them. The number two reason is because they understand why the bible speaks negatively of schism. Heresy lasts for a period of time, while schism creates institutional support for a division long after the underlying issue is settled.

    FV whether you agree with it or disagree with it is an intellectual movement with Conservative Reformed Christianity. Pentecostals don’t have to struggle with how best to reconcile Calvin with modern Calvinism in terms of Pauline theology. The questions that Federal Vision is asking are questions the PCA will be confronted with whether they excommunicate Leithart or not.

    The Conservative Reformed seem to very much like their role of partial intellectual leadership leadership within American Evangelical Christianity. Today the PCA has influence over evangelicals, 25% of the population. That’s not to say they are always agreed with, but they are able to effectively communicate to the pastors of conservative protestants, raise issues and be heard. Break the PCA into 5 parts with a bunch of forks over issues like FV and that very likely ceases to be true. The fact that anyone cares what 1/90th of 1/4 of the population thinks is a tribute to the quality work conservative reformed have done. But they are fighting numbers.

    If FV walks out the door and becomes an entirely separate movement you have two equally credible movements speaking for Calvin and the Reformed tradition. Right now the battle is on the very unequal playing field of a PCA court. When dealing with Evangelicals, much less when dealing with the 75% of the population that are mainline Protestant, non-religious, Catholic, non-Christian, both sides cooperate with one another on 98% of the issues. Once they are out the door the playing field becomes broader Evangelical Christianity. And the divergences over minor shades of meaning on issues like justification can spread to dozens of different areas.

    In short Sean, the reason that pastors who think about it might want to remain in the PCA is that there is no particular reason to separate over FV and lots of reasons not to. What is your grand plan after a full fork when CREC picks up 100k new members and 500 churches? Then what?

  7. April 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    First, I haven’t read Wilson in years. I have no interest in his uninformed opinions or unaccountable, amateur theology.

    Second, the SJC specifically wrote that they were not endorsing or even ruling on Leithart’s theology. As much as I think that the SJC shirked their duty in doing so, I take them at their word in that regard.

    Third, if Reformed theology is likened to tasty, hopped beverages, then FV is more like Ripple or MD 20/20. It isn’t Reformed at all, it isn’t pure Roman, it’s just a horrible mash of nonsense that shouldn’t be consumed by anyone with any sense.

    Bottom line is that the PCA Ad Interim Report on FV remains the PCA position on FV. FVers like Leithart, Meyers, and others are still valid targets for their errant theology and teaching. If I were them, I’d tread very carefully. I’m sure there’s Ripple being hoisted in the secret cesspool of the BH list, but they best not spill any on the carpet.

  8. greenbaggins said,

    April 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I hear you, Bob. However, even the report didn’t have the judicial teeth that this decision has. We’re becoming like many places about the speed limit. The speed limit is the official position on speed. However, you can get out of most courts if you were only going 4 mph over. It’s not enforceable. That’s what I am taking away from this decision. As long as the Presbytery does the official wagon-encircling kangaroo trial exonerating their poster-boy, we can’t do much, if anything, about it.

  9. April 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    CD,

    What is your grand plan after a full fork when CREC picks up 100k new members and 500 churches? Then what?

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but there aren’t but a handful of FVers in the PCA – about 0.7% of TEs in the most alarmist of estimates. If they all left tomorrow, we’d barely notice – other than for the peaceful quiet that comes from the pure gospel remaining.

    You don’t identify yourself or your affiliation on your website, so I can only assume that you are not an officer in a Reformed denomination by your comments. FV receives NO support from Calvin or any other mainstream Reformed patriarch when these men are fairly read. FVers are masters at misusing selected quotes, but fold quickly when larger passages surrounding those quotes are offered up with the real background and meaning. I’ve done this with them routinely over the years.

    I’m not sure what your skin is in this game, but as a PCA officer who takes my vows seriously, I am bound to work to preserve the peace and purity of the church. Without purity of doctrine, there can be no peace.

  10. Dave Sarafolean said,

    April 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Lane, you said…

    “As long as the Presbytery does the official wagon-encircling kangaroo trial exonerating their poster-boy, we can’t do much, if anything, about it.”

    Couldn’t agree more.

    This is the triumph of “Generic Presbyterianism”.

  11. April 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Lane,

    As long as the Presbytery does the official wagon-encircling kangaroo trial exonerating their poster-boy, we can’t do much, if anything, about it.

    I feel your pain, brother. Back to my old post about being loyal to the wrong people. I experienced it firsthand in the Meyers trial. It seemed to me like most of the commissioners were adjunct defenders of the accused during their questioning.

    If things don’t improve, I can see a situation coming where few will be able to transfer out of certain presbyteries, and those who try will be subject to extensive examination to verify they are one of the few orthodox. The Lusk example comes to mind. I’ve also seen paedocommunionists experience this rejection for their aberrant view. If this situation comes to pass, the PCA will be fully Balkanized.

  12. michael said,

    April 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    The trajectory being a true one, on balance and straight, the line it follows will be true in 10, 100 and a 1,000 years!

    If I live longer than expected my guess is the further down the true trajectory of truth we go the wider the parallel gap.

    Just saying, hold to the Truth and take this advice all the way until you too pass and if you “OUGHT” to speak, do so humbly in the Fear of the Truth/LORD:

    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)

  13. CD-Host said,

    April 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    @Reformed

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but there aren’t but a handful of FVers in the PCA – about 0.7% of TEs in the most alarmist of estimates.

    I don’t know about that. I come into contact with a lot of people associated with Reformed and Reformed and Reformed leaning. PCA tends to tilt towards education and income and certainly on the web that’s even more true. But I gotta tell you, you run into FV theology among lots of people with high school or HS+2 education.

    I’d need better data and better definitions which would have to come from the FV side, but the evidence I’m seeing is that FV is a mainstream doctrine not an esoteric doctrine. I don’t see any evidence if I put up pairs of statements representing mainstream reformed positions vs. FV positions that you would see 99.3% support for mainstream reformed. .7% is generally far too small to be of interest. To put that in perspective that’s the percentage of Hindus in the USA. How much are you worried about the influence of Vishnu worship on the mainstream American culture? It I’d guess 80% mainstream reformed, and wouldn’t be totally shocked if the numbers were much lower.

    If you have data for .7% I’d love to see it. But I doubt those numbers heavily, I’ve run into this far too often in situations having nothing directly to do with this controversy. Where I first encountered it was associations with the Christian homeschooling movement. The arguments had moved well beyond simply justification.

    FV receives NO support from Calvin or any other mainstream Reformed patriarch when these men are fairly read. FVers are masters at misusing selected quotes, but fold quickly when larger passages surrounding those quotes are offered up with the real background and meaning. I’ve done this with them routinely over the years.

    And I do this all the time with Christians of all different stripes on many different positions routinely through the years. I assume we both have roughly equal levels of success in others finding that convincing. It would be nice if people were easily persuaded by inconsistency in their thinking but it often takes a very long time to change minds and unfortunately people often don’t realize how it happened or that it did happen.

    My personal take, FWIW, is Calvin’s views of the church were entirely dependent upon the structures, Christendom, that the Reformation was destroying but had not yet destroyed. There is no Calvinistic ecclesiology in the absence of a state church. He never considered the structures that existed and Reformed Christianity experienced a rebirth in the early 19th century, the ecclesiology and justification the PCA holds to does not exist and could not have existed much before the events and resolution of the pressures of the early 19th century. Any system designed to operate in a country like America is reading back into Calvin questions he never considered. Not much different than trying to figure out whether Calvin would have liked the Giants or the Patriots more.

    This would be difficult enough, if Calvin were consistent. But Calvin changed his mind during his life. He often applied conflicting principles narrowly and in an adhoc manner regarding particular specific policies. The actual Calvin of the Registers of the Consistory and the mythic Calvin of 21st American Protestantism are two different people when we talk about Calvin the differences between them come immediately into focus.

    I do not believe there is no support for Doug Wilson’s views. But more importantly I don’t even think his views differ much from yours. On most areas where FV vs. anti-FV claim to differ the difference is mostly one of tone not of substance. I do this as you all picking a fight about minor issues. I don’t agree that is them being vague and inconsistent but rather that you all are both vague and inconsistent on these matters. And I don’t think I’m alone in that view. Which is why Doug Wilson is not considered an isolated crank but a fairly well respected theologian.

  14. Jared said,

    April 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    FV isn’t ale or stout, it’s Zima and needs to suffer the same fate.

  15. April 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I went back and forth on FV theology for about a year, “halting between two opinions” as it was debated and explained in a forum I used to moderate. This is hardly a trivial little thing that can just be ignored because only a small percentage of PCA churches are teaching it. It has everything to do with redefining terms that have historically been used in one sense to a completely different sense. That isn’t “just semantics,” it’s confusion at best and damnable heresy at worst.

    The clincher for me came from NT Wright’s own pen, in which he said he based much of his conclusion based on what “first century Judaism” believed and his assumption that the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles from that theological point of view. My thought was, “how can we assume that Paul agreed with first century Judaism when first century Judaism was so completely corrupted that Christ reserved His most critical judgments against it? A system so corrupt that it put the Son of God to death would certainly NOT be the basis for an Apostle of Christ to build the theology of his audience upon. Paul obviously did NOT build his theology from “first century Judaism.” Rather his writings REFUTE the corrupt teachings of first century Judaism. So with all due respect to N.T. Wright, we cannot build our own theology on what we imagine Paul’s theology might have been BEFORE he was converted to Christ.

  16. Ron said,

    April 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Adoptedsidekick,

    I appreciated much of what you said but we mustn’t collapse NPP into FV. There’s some overlap but there are stark differences.

  17. stuart said,

    April 12, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    It just so happens that the FV controversy is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. ;-)

    One thing we’ve seen from these trials . . . It is extremely difficult to convict a man of teaching outside the bounds of the Confession if he is already established in the Presbytery. So it seems Confessionalists could focus on those who are coming for ordination trials. If we make sure no more folks with FV tendencies come into our Presbyteries, the spread of FV will be much more limited.

    At this point I think what is most likely is that the PCA will have FV tolerrant Presbyteries and anti-FV Presbyteries. I don’t see FV blazing like wildfire through our denomination.

  18. Tim Harris said,

    April 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    What makes the Leithart case interesting is that he is ordained in a true church. That is why the case was important.

    The CREC is not a church. It does not have the ordination, thus it does not have the sacraments, thus it does not have the marks of a true church, hence it is not a church. When you see “CREC,” substitute “CROCK.” Or, more charitably, “Starbucks Bible Fellowship.”

    So, regardless of any lurking proclivities or sympathies with this or that tenant of FV, I’m pretty sure the vast vast majority of validly ordained men will have enough sense not to go over. Even Leithart, apparently.

  19. Ron said,

    April 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Stuart,

    Are you the OPC Stuart? Your point was one of polity as was a point on another thread from another Stuart who is OPC. The reason for my query is I want to understand the import of the last sentence regarding “our denomination.”

    I find the first two paragraphs intriguing, which again makes me think you’re OPC Stuart. You bring up an interesting thought, essential that one is innocent until proven guilty and those who are already innocent, having been ordained, will receive greater latitude (or judgment of charity) than those who are not yet innocent having not yet been ordained.

  20. Ron said,

    April 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Tim,

    When are you coming for “pipes”? Or a cigar? MB and I are waiting. :)

  21. Stuart said,

    April 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Ron, That [#17] was a Stuart with a Homer Simpson like icon. This is non iconic OPC lurking Stuart.
    Greetings.

  22. Richard said,

    April 13, 2013 at 5:50 am

    If I may be so bold; why not simply ignore FV? It strikes me that too often the response of those who dislike the teaching of FV, by drawing attention to them, actually increase their dissemination. Rather than decrying Wilson, Leithart, et al. So someone comes up to you and says ‘I’ve been reading some Doug Wilson and I found him helpful’ instead of replying ‘Why are you reading that evil heretical scumbag?’ simply say ‘Wilson, meh..try Bavinck, he’s much better’.

  23. Ron said,

    April 13, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Stuart (OPC),

    Yes, the Homer Simpson avatar through me a bit but the post and infrequency of the poster gave me ocassion for pause. Thanks.

  24. Ron said,

    April 13, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Tim,

    What do you mean that the CREC doesn’t have ordination? It’s not a church, which invalidates their ordination or they oppose the formal practice altogether?

  25. greenbaggins said,

    April 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Richard, there are a couple of problems with that approach. First there are the sheep who are getting poisoned. We cannot simply ignore such malpractice. Secondly, the FV is too well-established. I differ with Bob on this one, but I think the FV is far more widespread than is openly visible. They have gone underground, but are still spreading their views far and wide. They are gaining, not losing ground. In this case, ignoring them would be like ignoring cancer.

  26. stuart said,

    April 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Ron,

    By now you know I’m not non iconic OPC lurking Stuart. I’m Simpsonsesque avatar PCA stuart. I don’t comment often because of time pressures of ministry and family life.

    Thanks for describing my first two paragraphs as “intriguing.” I think the usual response to my comments are more along the lines of “ummmm . . . ok?”

  27. Ron said,

    April 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for describing my first two paragraphs as “intriguing.” I think the usual response to my comments are more along the lines of “ummmm . . . ok?”

    LOL

    As an old friend used to say to me, “You are talkin’ to a man who understands.”

  28. David Gilleran said,

    April 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Well this is interesting:

    At its April 13, 2013 meeting, Illiana Presbytery approved an overture from the Session of Providence Presbyterian Church in Edwardsville, Illinois. The overture to the 41st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America asks the GA “to direct the Standing Judicial Commission to rehear case 2012-05 (RE Gerald Hedman v. Pacific Northwest Presbytery) in accordance with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America.”

  29. Warren Hill said,

    April 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Will Palmetto Presbytery stands as one with Illiana Presbytery on the Overture to require the SJC to re-hear the Leithart case? Let’s hope so.

  30. Paul Weinhold said,

    April 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Honest question for Lane from a Catholic on the outside looking in: is there any court or assembly or governing body in the PCA that, if they ruled against your opinion, you would submit to their ruling and change your opinion?

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  31. Ron said,

    April 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I wouldn’t presume to speak for Lane or anyone else on this, but I suspect in principle we Protestants agree. How those principles might be worked out is another matter.

    Christians often times have to submit to edicts when they don’t agree with them. Ask any godly wife. Opinions are another matter since opinions (or beliefs) are not volitional in nature (though previous choices can result in will formation). So, one may in good conscience submit to something he thinks is wrong. It’s often the prudent thing to do and pleasing to the Lord. Notwithstanding (and maybe you’ve heard) we Protestants, especially of the Reformed stripe, believe there are times when it’s neither wise nor available to do so. But that’s because we are truly to have the greater glory of God in mind. :)

  32. onefear said,

    April 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    stuart 17: “So it seems Confessionalists could focus on those who are coming for ordination trials. If we make sure no more folks with FV tendencies come into our Presbyteries, the spread of FV will be much more limited.”

    Maybe it’s time to (re)consider the strengths and weaknesses of 2006 Report of the Missouri Presbytery ad hoc Committee on Federal Vision Theology, which seems to have been intended for the use of Candidates & Credentials Committees on these issues.

    The Report

    The Greenbaggins Assessment

  33. Sean Gerety said,

    April 14, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Oh brother. The MOP FV report again. Give me a break. It’s been a while since I’ve read that old thing, but when it was new I remember contacting Jeff Meyers before I knew who he was and only because I saw his name no the report, explaining why I thought the report would do nothing to stop the spread of the FV. Imagine how silly I feel now.

    Besides, we all saw how effective that document was in helping the MOP boys discipline Meyers. What a joke.

  34. stuart said,

    April 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    onefear,

    Maybe it’s time to (re)consider the strengths and weaknesses of 2006 Report of the Missouri Presbytery ad hoc Committee on Federal Vision Theology, which seems to have been intended for the use of Candidates & Credentials Committees on these issues.

    Maybe. Or maybe it’s time for us to stop reconsidering and reevaluating our past statements and simply do our job of examining men thoroughly in what they believe. Teasing out the implications of beliefs would go a long way, I think. When those implications don’t fit within our Standards, tell the man he’s not ready for ordained ministry in our denomination. It doesn’t hurt a man who believes he is called to be told, “you need to go back and think through your theology again.”

  35. CD-Host said,

    April 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    @Stuart #34

    First off a lot of the ordination questions in the FV report that are condemned an FVer could answer with the TR answer without any problem. The report was quite often inaccurate and attributed to FVers positions they don’t hold. So there is the practical issue of enforcement that genuine enforcement is going to be vague.

    But lets assume that’s just a technical matter and a large number of ministers decided they were going to root FV out of the church.

    It doesn’t hurt a man who believes he is called to be told, “you need to go back and think through your theology again.”

    Have you read Presbyterian history? Heck yeah it hurts them. And quite often since ministers are connected to churches and parachurch organizations who take that sort of action quite personally it strains relations. One of several things happen after a rejection like that:

    I’d assume most commonly they come into compliance. They convince themselves they were wrong and thus really do now agree with your position. Which I think is your most desired outcome.

    Or they are aware what’s happening and mouth what the committee wants to hear. Behavior changes belief so this often has the same effect. Though it can backfire with people who feel pressure, then consider themselves as having been coerced. People who “cowardly cave to pressure” often justify their having caved by mentally increasing the amount of pressure they were under. While they freely choose to study they didn’t freely choose beliefs of their ordination. They start to think about other areas of the WCF where they only 1/2 agreed…

    Or the candidate can walk away furious. They tell everyone about how thy got sandbagged. If no one agrees with their view then nothing much happens. Individuals leave the denomination and get ordained in another form of Presbyterian sub-denomination, an excommunication on the cheap.

    But since there are large numbers of people who agree with them what will happen is the people who share those beliefs now generally believe that candidate has been treated unfairly. They start to form a faction of support. Sometimes they retaliate sometimes they start becoming overtly political to make sure their people “get a fair hearing”. Candidates start getting different results from different factions. This is what happened inside the PCUS to create the PCA. The membership who are radicals on both sides begin to egg this battle on.

    _______

    If I’m wrong and the numbers are as tiny as mentioned then FV dies out on its own soon after Douglas Wilson and NT Wright die. It really doesn’t matter.

    If I am right about numbers and the depth you are dealing with a fully developed theology with support among ministers, among deacons and among the laity. Schism into ever smaller subgroups is always possible. But your problem is not a few ministers being ordained who believe in FV theology but say 100k+ members of your laity who think Doug Wilson is right about a lot of the stuff he says. Confront the actual problem not the symptom.

  36. April 14, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Would those who justify continuing in the PCA after this also stay within the denomination if it ordained open homosexuals? If the answer is “no”, then how can you justify staying in a denomination which tolerates gross heretics? Last time I checked, heinous breaches of the first table of the law are considered worse than heinous breaches of the second. According to the Westminster Standards, heresy is a gross breach of the first table of the law. Ergo, damnable heretics are morally worse than homosexuals. Yet those who would not remain within a denomination that tolerates homosexuals can justify remaining within a denomination which tolerates damnable heretics.

    As far as I am concerned, Sean Gerety has this one right (and has for years). If you value the gospel, then it is time to get out of a denomination which, judged by its failure to censure heretics, evidently does not.

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  37. Tim Harris said,

    April 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Ron @24,

    Douglas Wilson called himself to the “pastorate” of his “church” and was not properly ordained. Likewise, the CREC constitution does not require ministers to be ordained by already-ordained ministers. Thus, they do not have an ordained ministry, and according to our standards, they do not have the sacraments.

    My argument is not, (they do not have the gospel) therefore (they are not a church) and hence (their ordination should not be recognized), though that is also true. My argument is that even if they had the gospel, their constitution including ordination is incoherent and thus they should not be recognized as part of the holy catholic church.

  38. Dave said,

    April 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Tim,

    Are you arguing that ordination is so essential that without it a valid ministry and a true church can not under any possible circumstances exist?

  39. stuart said,

    April 14, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    CD-Host,

    Thanks for the comments. A few things by way of response . . .

    First, my suggestion that we ask good questions and tease out implications of beliefs did not entail rote asking of questions suggested by a report. Beliefs can be messier than prepackaged questions will allow. No, I was suggesting that we not be satisfied by pat answers but dig a little deeper . . . And not simply for folks we think have a faint aroma of FV about them, but for any man coming to be ordained.

    Second, I’ll retract my statement that it doesn’t hurt a man to say, “you need to go back and think through your theology again.” Of course it is hurtful. What I should have said is that kind of situation can be good for the man who will humble himself to learn from it.

    Third, yes, all of the possible scenarios you pointed out could happen. I can even think of a few more possibilities (like the man decides he wasn’t called by God into the ministry in the first place). But there are also various negative ramifications for allowing aberrant theological views into a Confessional church. So we can’t shy away from doing our duty as Presbyters.

    Fourth, my suggestion of one way to move forward was not meant to be seen as THE magic bullet or the basket in which we place all our eggs. It was one suggestion for a long term goal to help keep the purity of the church from going further down the FV road. Other plans should be implemented as well.

  40. April 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    […] For example, in response to Doug Wilson’s remarks on the PCA’s decision, my friend Lane Keister has recently written: […]

  41. RBerman said,

    April 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    CD-Host, I do not believe that the number of PCA laypeople who like what Doug Wilson says about FV is anywhere close to 100,000. I would guess it’s more like a fifth that number who even know he exists, let alone have a strong opinion, let alone a favorable one.

  42. April 15, 2013 at 12:06 am

    […] the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. This article first appeared on his blog, Green Baggins, and is used with […]

  43. CD-Host said,

    April 15, 2013 at 7:29 am

    (If this shows up twice please delete the first)

    @RBerman #39 —

    Let me first point out that 20k is a lot different than the 2k number this started with. Your definition for the 20k is a bit different. So let’s make sure we are disagreeing on numbers. Assume I were to conduct a survey of all active PCA members and ask:

    Jill attends a PCA church her entire life in her town where she serves faithfully. She believes the bible and her pastor, takes communion and in all ways tries to live a Christian life. She is good mother, wife and honest in business. She is uncalled by the Holy Spirit and thus has no relationship with God.

    Is Jill a Christian? _____ (yes / no)
    Should we consider Jill baptized? _____ (yes / no)

    I just don’t believe that only say 20k would answer those two questions “no”. They have a formally subjective view of salvation because that’s preached but it doesn’t run very deep. Ask the question in anyway that isn’t frequently discussed and you often find an objective view of salvation.

    You spend more time in PCA churches than I do. In real life most people’s theology is a mess. The internet is terribly biased I’ll agree there. But my experience of PCA members is that their theology is drawn pretty broadly from right wing Presbyterian and Reformed theologies. They end up 1/2 believing just about every current that’s in your circle. PCA pastors do a terrific job compared to most denominations or sub-denominatiosn in teaching theology. No question there is less drift in the PCA than in most churches.

    But remember that while pastors have often had to pick and stay with a sub-denomination in a very deliberate way members float much more freely between sub-denominations and between denominations. While pastors tend to get their theology formally members are exposed to a broader range in their theological training.

    My experience with PCA pastors is that they tend to often ignorant of the currents around Reformed theology unless they are directly involved. They really do seem to have in their head a belief system of:

    I believe X
    Y goes to my church regularly
    therefore Y believes X

    You don’t see this among the Reformed Baptists in the SBA who are well aware of theological drift. I don’t tend to talk much about justification with PCAers but I do tend to talk a lot about issues relating to translation and issues related to gender and sex.

    And yes I think they are pulling in outside influences from the broader Reformed Christianity. So for example in the context of CBMW, which I talk about a lot, complementarians do want some sort of a doctrine where there is a connection between the father and the spiritualism of his wife and children. That is I’ve met an lot of PCAers who when pushed to defend complementarianism believe in Federal Representation (i.e. fathers represent their families before God) (no meaningful tie to Federal Vision despite the name) as part of the whole CBMW thing. These ideas are leaking over from sects to the right of the PCA, they aren’t part of PCA theology, even PCA complementarianism, but a huge chunk of your membership believes this from reading complementarianism stuff.

    I’d love to see some real data on the Federal Vision controversy and to what extent it has influenced people’s thinking. Over the next year or two I’ll try and sneak questions in on objective vs. subjective Christianity when talking to PCAers about other things to see if my intuition / hypothesis is right about how many believe Christianity is objective.

  44. Tim Harris said,

    April 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Dave @38,

    “Essential” does not permit of qualifiers like “really” or “so.” Rather than say, A and B are essential, but A is really essential, it would be better to say, “B is important though not essential.”

    WCF 27.4 says, There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.

    I do not see how lawful ordination can be said to be other than essential, by this definition. It does not qualify by “in ordinary circumstances,” or “except when no minister is available” etc.

    The Covenanters in America in the 18th century had so few ministers during the course of the whole century, that you can count them on one hand. They continued to meet as societies to sing the psalms and perform whatever other elements that can be performed without a ministry, but enjoyed the ordinances only whenever a visiting minister from the homeland was able to come through. They were thus a church in the desert, that could only drink at an oasis infrequently.

    How different that spirit is from this group of Christians that simply meets at starbucks and appoints one of themselves to the ministry!

    So the Covenanters in the 18th century were a church without a ministry, because they continued to honor the principle; while bottom-up congregationalists like the CREC are pseudo-churches with a pseudo-ministry.

    Remember that the marks of the church were precisely meant to distinguish true from merely apparent churches.

  45. RBerman said,

    April 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    CD-Host, I was going to give a far smaller number for PCAers who know of Wilson. But I’m sure he’s well known in PNWP at least, being in their neck of the woods, and nationally he’s also “That guy who wrote the book about boys” and “The Classical Christian School guy.”

    Your point is well taken that laypeople are usually more theologically cosmopolitan than their pastors. I too would be interested in the results of your poll. The members of my own church are broadly evangelical, with few who grew up in the PCA, and only a plurality from Reformed backgrounds, and few of them who understood your questionnaire would call Jill a Christian if she “has no relationship with God.”

  46. Dave said,

    April 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Tim,

    I was framing the question in terms used by Thomas Smyth in his AN ECCLESIASTICAL CATECHISM OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH where he states: “Neither is this rite (ordination) to be considered so essential, as that, without it, a valid ministry, and a true church, could not, in any possible circumstances, exist.” (in response to Q. 116 from a revision of the 1843 edition edited by Rev Geoffrey Donnan, 1996).

  47. April 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Hi, Lane. I’m writing about comment #30, above. I’d genuinely like to know your answer to my question. If you are able, then please respond when you can. My question is: “is there any court or assembly or governing body in the PCA that, if they ruled against your opinion, you would submit to their ruling and change your opinion?”

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  48. greenbaggins said,

    April 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Paul, sorry I haven’t answered your question before. It is rather easy to overlook a comment buried among many others. I have threads that have over a thousand comments on them, and I simply cannot read them all.

    To answer your question, an awful lot rides on what you mean by “submit?” I suspect you mean by it “conform my opinion to the court which ruled.” My conscience is not bound by the ruling of a court of the church. My conscience is bound by the Word of God. So if, in a matter of gospel importance, a court of the church ruled against my position, I would not feel in the least obligated to change my opinion. If it were not a matter of gospel importance, I would be forced to reconsider my position, though I would not say that I was forced to change my opinion.

    A further distinction should be made here between doctrinal judgments and moral judgments. On the latter, the vast majority of moral decisions would be ones I could submit to, even if I disagreed with the decision (in other words, I would not try to change it).

    The bottom line here, Paul, is that Presbyterians believe that church courts can err, and that they can even err on doctrinal matters of central importance to the gospel. That is the more basic point here. Once that point is granted, then no church court can bind the conscience on a doctrinal matter.

  49. April 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, Lane. I appreciate your response.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  50. Tim Harris said,

    April 16, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Dave @46,

    I don’t know this Smyth guy, but if he makes such a basic conceptual mistake about “essence” as this, I wouldn’t trust him to give good, rigorous instruction. Essence is sine qua non. It makes no sense to say something is essential, “but not SO essential that…” (The somewhat parallel usage in 18.3 has a different force.)

    How does he deal with the “lawfully ordained” qualification re the sacraments? And the implication of this for the “second mark of the church”?

    Does he give an example of this “any possible circumstance”? They never do, in my experience. Perhaps he is thinking of the “desert island” scenario given by Luther in the Address to the German Nobility. If so, I would highlight a few problems with this:

    1. Succession by the laying on of hands of the presbytery is taught by Scripture, and Scripture does not seem to allow for an exception to this, devised by our imagination.

    2. I grant that the principle (only ministers can make ministers) is key, and the sign can be more or less pure, so that we can excuse the Scottish Kirk for neglecting the sign (though not the underlying principle) for a couple decades, as well as the Scots Confession’s mistake here.

    3. Luther’s suggestion did not seem to make it into polity; nowhere in history have I found even a single Lutheran minister that was ordained using the “desert island” exception.

    4. The Covenanters were arguably in a “desert island” situation in 18th century America, yet refused to appeal to such an alleged exception to relieve their difficult situation.

    5. In any case, Douglas Wilson would certainly not fit such an exceptional circumstance. When he became calvinistic in his understanding, he should have joined a Reformed church, and if he felt called to the ministry, should have sought ordination in such a church. Indeed, that is what he STILL should do, even today. There were, and are, ample choices for him to utilize. Maybe he feared he would have to take a pastorate and leave his beloved Moscow. Or maybe he just always wants to be the guy in charge. Who knows what the deepest motive was? But objectively, his was no “desert island” situation — even if such a concept is scriptural to begin with.

    Boys playing church in the backyard, is what it is.

  51. DM said,

    April 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    I asked Doug Wilson back in the early 1990s why he did not join a presbytery or classis, since there are many denoms to choose from. His answer: I would like to, but I have not yet found one that I would fit into. He rejected the broader church 20 years ago.

  52. Dave said,

    April 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Tim,

    Sorry, thought you might recognize the name. Rev. Thomas Smyth, D.D., was former pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Charleston SC. His original publication was apparently endorsed by Samuel Miller, Addison Alexander, R. J. Breckinridge and Charles Hodge who seem to have uniformly regarded his expertise in Presbyterian polity highly.

    I understand the point you are making about his use of “essential” but I think he is merely reflecting in his usage something like the common terminology of what is necessary to the “being” versus the “well-being” of the church. His understanding of Westminster’s view seems similar to that of Louis Berkhof in his SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, where in discussing that distinction he states: ‘The effect of this is seen in the Westminster Confession, which mentions as the only thing that is indispensable to the being of the Church “the profession of true religion,” and speaks of other things, such as purity of doctrine or worship, and of discipline as excellent qualities of particular churches, by which the degree of their purity may be measured.’

    So, how ironclad is the necessity of this succession – at least in its principle as you express it that only ministers can make ministers? Must one be able to trace it all the way back to an original NT presbytery to be sure his ordination is valid?

  53. April 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Dave,

    I believe the point is accountability, not succession. Proper ordination requires successful examination for call, qualification (e.g., recognized and accredited seminary degree), theology, polity, etc., to the satisfaction of representatives of the broader church. That body would be the presbytery for us. A successful examination is then followed by a proper ordination involving vows before God and the church as well as the laying on of hands by other elders.

    This never happened with Wilson. Even now, the CREC constitution puts everything in the hands of individual congregations with very little substance and no accountability required. The danger of fostering and feeding cults of personality is very high, as should be very obvious in the current example.

    The only difference between Wilson and the hundreds of country corner churches scattered around North Carolina in single-wides and prefab buildings, for example, is a (largely wasted) gift for oratory and a publishing house. If being able to speak and debate well were credentials for ecclesiastical office, then Pelagius would have become pope.

    In deference to Lane, I’ll stop there.

  54. Dave said,

    April 16, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    One can agree with all those points without necessarily concluding that lack of orderly ordination requirements in the constitution of a group of churches necessarily excludes that group of churches from the holy catholic church, which appeared to be the argument Tim was making.

  55. Ron said,

    April 17, 2013 at 12:21 am

    Dave,

    What would you say of a group of neighborhood Bible studies forming a consitution and federation of churches?

  56. Dave said,

    April 17, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Based on that qualification alone, I couldn’t conclude anything other than that they were at best defective and not fully in accord with Scripture as to their form of government. But my point in the whole discussion is that I couldn’t ultimately exclude them from the holy catholic church based on that defect alone.

  57. Tim Harris said,

    April 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Well Dave keep stripping away features until it reaches the point that you would NOT say “they are a church.” Then that last feature is what counts as “the essence” in your ecclesiology. Start with Ron’s “they are a neighborhood bible study that adopts a constitution.” You say, “that’s enough.” What if they don’t adopt a constitution, but simply say, “we are a church”? Then again, what if they don’t even say, “we are a church”? Does it finally come down to, “anyone that says they are a church is a church”? Maybe you want the sacraments. So one day one of the women brings out a box of saltines and passes them around and says, “we’re even having communion!”

    I really think many people operationally think “meeting on Sunday” is about all it takes. That is, if a bunch of Christians got together every Wednesday to sing praise songs, pray, and have someone give a Bible lesson, we would say, “they’re a mid-week bible study.” But if they do the exact same thing on Sunday, we say, “they’re a church.” The holiness of the day seems to rub off I guess.

  58. Ron said,

    April 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I really think many people operationally think “meeting on Sunday” is about all it takes.

    Why meet? Why not virtual?

  59. April 17, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Hello again, Lane. I have another question for you, if you have the time to answer it: in your view, is your conscience also fallible?

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul Weinhold

  60. Joshua Butcher said,

    April 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Tim, if I may recapitulate your claim using a classical standard, would you chime in and correct where I’m mistaken?

    The marks of a true church have been between one and three things within the Reformed tradition: preaching of the Word of God, administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of church discipline.

    Doug Wilson and the CREC falter upon the second mark, that of administering the sacraments, not because they fail to administer the sacraments, but because they do so without Biblical authorization, that is, they administer the sacraments without having been properly ordained by the laying on of hands by a body of previously ordained men. Further, a group of lay believers could not ordain one from among their membership through the recognition of his abilities and calling; even in the case where the proper qualifications of an elder are met.

    Is that about right?

  61. greenbaggins said,

    April 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Paul, there is no way that any part of me is infallible. So no, in my view, no one’s conscience is infallible. This is proven from Scripture in Romans 1 where it says that people’s minds and hearts are darkened by sin. No person is infallible at any time. Not me, not you, and certainly not the pope.

  62. Dave said,

    April 17, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Tim,

    Sorry, but the question is not how I define the minimum requirements to be a church, but your assertion that an imperfection in order concerning the requirements for ordination is sufficient in itself to warrant moving an organization from being considered in the realm of the “imperfect”, “less pure”, “needing to be reformed” segment of the visible church to being considered no part of the holy catholic church at all.

  63. April 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks, Lane. Just to be sure I understand, does that include our intellect? In your view, is our ability to reason also fallible? Notice that I’m not asking whether sometimes an emotion or an appetite or a sinful motivation causes us to use our intellects improperly. I’m asking whether, in your view, our intellect is so darkened by sin that we cannot have intellectual certainty.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  64. Ron said,

    April 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Sorry, but the question is not how I define the minimum requirements to be a church, but your assertion that an imperfection in order concerning the requirements for ordination is sufficient in itself to warrant moving an organization from being considered in the realm of the “imperfect”, “less pure”, “needing to be reformed” segment of the visible church to being considered no part of the holy catholic church at all.

    Hi Dave,

    What you consider “minimum requirements to be a church” is obviously going to affect your opinion on whether an organization should be considered “part of the holy catholic church.” In fact, I would say it has. So, I would think Tim’s query regarding your minimum requirements in this regard seems somewhat relevant. For some reason though you seem to take great umbrage with Tim’s request of you, as if his views should be defended but not yours. Are you assuming this posture because, as you say, Tim is unjustly “moving an organization from being [a church] to being [a non-church]”? In other words, Tim’s views are the questionable ones but not yours because Tim has made a move against consensus?

    Why do I detect some question begging here? You seem to think that this organization is considered a church in the first place. Tim doesn’t consider it a church; he never has. Many others agree with Tim. Since we really don’t have a precedent on the matter, then we really can’t say that Tim is “moving” it from the status of church to that of non-church. In which case, Tim bears no burden of proof and his request is a reasonable one.

  65. Ron said,

    April 17, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Hey Josh,

    If the church is not willing to send out a person as a minister but the person hangs up a shingle anyway, what then? He either goes out in defiance or he goes out without respect and concern for the church. In either case, should such a rebel be considered a pastor and if not a pastor, may he administer the Sacraments?

  66. Dave said,

    April 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Ron,

    I’ve cited historical precedent from credible Reformed and Presbyterian sources for not concluding that an error in church order is by itself sufficient to exclude a body from the holy catholic church. If by begging the question you mean that I’m assuming the view I have espoused is more representative of the American Presbyterian and Reformed attitude and practice (including the PCA legacy) with regard to non-presbyterian bodies in the way I phrased the statement, I am guilty. PCA BCO for example states explicitly that a presbyterian form of govenment is only necessary to the perfection of the order of the church, not to its existence.

  67. Tim Harris said,

    April 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    Joshua @60,

    Yes, that’s about it, though more could be said, and differently. For example, if you hold the 3rd mark (I prefer only two), then discipline also requires an ordained order — otherwise you would have that just anyone could excommunicate someone. I take it that to excommunicate is the flip side of being able to communicate i.e. admit to the sacrament, so that discipline is just the flip side of the “2nd mark” and thus redundant. (Perhaps a 3-marker wants to insist that to be a true church, discipline must not only be possible but actual.)

    The logic inherent in the laying on of hands, is that only those who have had hands laid on them can lay hands on. Both the symbolism and this interpretation is taught by the NT. And the logic of that structure entails apostolic succession. A number of Reformed (even Anglicans) rejected this consequence, out of fear I think that this would give too much of an edge to popish polemics. The opposite is the case, in my view. It is a happy consequence of the correct position, not only that apostolic succession is necessary, but that we have it. It removes a tremendous attraction of popery. (Of course, they don’t grant that we have it, because of all the accretions to the notion of ordination that they have built up. But our attack should be on the accretions, not the principle.)

    Oddly enough, even where the Reformed believed that they didn’t believe it, willy-nilly they wrote books of church order that ratify the principle! Ours certainly do, as does the WCF. Plus, I have never seen a counter-assertion sustained by concrete examples of exceptions, i.e. pointing to a true denomination that was started by laymen ordaining ministers.

    Of course, as Reformed Musing @53 has correctly pointed out, the CREC fails even on his more relaxed view of ordination. If we call the view I have outlined the succession-ordination model, and his view the accountability-ordination model, Wilson and his gang come up short on either one.

  68. greenbaggins said,

    April 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Paul, regarding the things concerning religion, we can only have intellectual certainty by the power of the Holy Spirit, which counteracts, if you will, the noetic effects of the fall. This subject is also somewhat dependent on the subject matter of what is being known. Can we know that 2+2=4 with intellectual certainty even minus the Holy Spirit? Yes, we can. However, the implications of that fact , and the connection of that fact to everything else we know will be distorted by the Fall. We need to keep in mind a proper relationship between common grace and special grace. This is a very complicated subject, and would need more of a treatise than just a small blog post. .

  69. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Dave,

    An “error in church order” is one thing but not having any mechanism to determine what a man thinks unless you read books published by Canon Press or his Blog is another. Again. such men at least have no regard for the catholic church or worse than that they are rebels. Either way they don’t qualify for the office.

  70. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Tim wrote:

    It is a happy consequence of the correct position, not only that apostolic succession is necessary, but that we have it. It removes a tremendous attraction of popery…

    When that first occurred to me when i became Reformed it was a source of great comfort. It was, also, a point of discussion with my own mother around the time of her recent conversion and radical break with Romanism. She now worships every Sunday with my family.

  71. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Paul W. @59 & 63 – If I may?

    The Bible[1] teaches that Christ lights every man who comes into the world {John 1:9}. We all have ability to think logically.

    But of course man is at the same time dead in his trespasses and sins {Eph. 2:1} and unable to do much with his darkened understanding. He, as Lane referenced, suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, per Romans 1.

    To make matters worse, Scripture says that one must be born again in order to even SEE the kingdom of God (John 3:3) and that natural (un-born-again) types cannot even “get” God or his word.[2]

    This we would consider to be your state, Paul, only worse given that you’re a papist. Doctrines of demons and prayers to such just clutter an deceive the mind.

    Yet, being born-again,[3] one can discern things truly/ have true knowledge. It’s never infallible 24/7, but it is a fallible human’s supernatural ability to infallibly receive God’s infallible truths.

    The Spirit infallibly bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God, for instance. {Romans 8:16}

    As you say Dr Weinhold, of ourselves, “our intellect is so darkened by sin that we cannot have intellectual certainty” – we have NO knowledge of God/ reality at all!

    But WITH the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment (regeneration), we HAVE knowledge of God as Father, our adoption/ redemption, and other truths that your system denies. Intellectual certainty – call it occasional infallibility (receiving by His sovereign grace his truths).

    Sort of like your papal theory, only real.
    ————————————————-

    [1] Again, we are sola scriptura-ists, so our starting point differs from yours. So too we end with doctrines quite different (even antithetical at times!) than those of your religious organization. 3 fundamental issues are (1) whether God is *trying* to make himself known to all mankind via the latter’s (2) mythic ‘free will’ and (3) whether he loves all mankind – which theories are affirmed by Rome and which are disproven by the Bible.

    [2] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. {2 Cor. 2:13-15}

    [3] Which has nothing to do necessarily with any priestly ex opere operato water baptism.

  72. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. {2 Cor. 2:12}

  73. April 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Dear Lane,

    I don’t (yet) understand how, in your view, the power of the Holy Spirit leads to intellectual certainty about the things concerning religion. The reason I don’t understand is that lots of people claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, but many of those same people hold contradictory views. When two people with contradictory views both claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, then how can both be certain that their views are correct? I’d like to know how you resolve this problem (if you see it as a problem) in your understanding.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  74. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Paul,

    If I thought I was you would that undermine your justification for your belief that you are you? So much for the relevance of conflicting views.

  75. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Paul,

    Would you mind answering a couple of questions? Do you need the church’s confirmation to know Jesus is Lord? Does a Mormon’s view of Jesus (i.e. a conflicting view to yours) cause you to need more than the Spirit’s testimony, which works in conjunction with the Word, in order to know Jesus is Lord and God?

    Thank you,

    Ron

  76. stuart said,

    April 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Ron,

    If I thought I was you would that undermine your justification for your belief that you are you? So much for the relevance of conflicting views.

    Nice question. But I guess it depends on what Paul is smoking in that pipe of his.

    After all, as a famous John once said . . .

    “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

    Just sayin’ . . .

  77. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Stuart,

    I can’t help but think that it’s possible Paul is trying to bait Lane but in cases like this, when so much is at stake that is, I’d rather be naive than suspiciously right so I’m hoping he’s sincere. Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

    Semolina pilchard, climbing up the eiffel tower.
    Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna.
    Man, you should have seen them kicking edgar allan poe.
    I am the eggman, They are the eggmen.
    I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob goo goo g’joob goo goo g’joob.
    Goo goo g’joob goo

  78. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    suspiciously right that is :)

    Now I’m gonna have that song in my head, Stuart…

  79. April 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Ron – Fixed it for you.

  80. Dave said,

    April 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Ron @69 – what makes you think that CREC has no method of determining what a minister or candidate believes? Have you reviewed their Book of Procedures which outlines the ordination examination requirements, the role of presbytery and congregation, etc.? It is clearly not fully presbyterian, but neither is it no mechanism whatsoever.

  81. April 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Dave,

    I’ve read the CREC Constitution and the Book of Procedures. The BoP can be modified by local bodies as they see fit (Chapter I). Even then, it only applies to the CREC Council and presbyteries. Ordination takes place in and is the responsibility of congregations, not presbyteries. From Chapter XI:

    As a presbytery, our purpose is to provide assistance to
    the local session in this examination, while recognizing the
    limitations of a presbytery to review a pastoral candidate.

    and:

    Ultimately, the session is charged with faithfully considering the wisdom of the broader church and is responsible before God for the ordination of a candidate.

    So, everything that follows is eyewash. What good are words when no one is obligated to follow them? Like the First Mate said of the pirate code in Pirates of the Caribbean – they’re more like guidelines.

    Contrast this with real Reformed denominations where presbyteries or their equivalent ordain teaching elders using required examination procedures. Ordination and the laying on of hands usually takes place during worship at the local church, but is conducted by a commission of presbytery appointed by the presbytery. Accountability from first to last.

  82. Dave said,

    April 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    As I said, not fully presbyterian, but not lacking a mechanism to determine a man’s views beyond reading his blog or his books published by Canon Press. And there is a provision requiring a session that ignores the recommendation of presbytery to explain their reasoning and allowing for judicial process in the event the presbytery determines that their reasons constitute a particularly egregious disregard of counsel, may remove the congregation from membership in CREC. Again, my point is not that it is all that it should be, only that it is not non-existent. The contents of any constitution may become more or less eyewash as you put it, since the obligation to follow is only as enforceable as the integrity of the courts doing the enforcing, though various constitutions offer more or less provision for enforcement.

  83. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Ron,

    This makes sense, but we’ll see how (if) Paul likes answering questions as much as he enjoys asking them.

    Do you need the church’s confirmation to know Jesus is Lord?

    Of course a Catholic does. How on earth could/ may he do otherwise?

    Does a Mormon’s view of Jesus (i.e. a conflicting view to yours) cause you to need more than the Spirit’s testimony, which works in conjunction with the Word, in order to know Jesus is Lord and God?

    All heresy is defined by the Roman Church-State, so yes!

  84. April 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    According again to the CREC constitution:

    The local session is not judicially bound by the
    recommendation of presbytery.

    As you say, presbytery can remove any congregation from the CREC by 2/3 vote of presbytery. Has that ever happened at all, much less from a dispute over ordination in a church? I don’t think so, especially since the CREC collects men defrocked in other denominations as well as their churches, and those under trial or about to be so. I wasn’t going to bring that up, but you seem to be headed inexorably in that direction.

  85. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Ron @69 – what makes you think that CREC has no method of determining what a minister or candidate believes?

    Dave,

    Actually, I’m trying to be careful to speak to your general thesis (or lack thereof) and not the CREC. My point pertains to Bible studies that become alleged churches (55); alleged virtual churches (58); what constitutes “burden of proof” in this discussion (64); blatant disregard for the church (65); and even outright defiance of the church (65) regardless of popularity or approval in the market place (69).

    As I said above, If the church is not willing to send out a person as a minister but the person hangs up a shingle anyway, what then? He either goes out in defiance or he goes out without respect and concern for the church. In either case, should such a rebel be considered a pastor and if not a pastor, may he administer the Sacraments?

  86. Ron said,

    April 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Hugh,

    Yes, for quite a while I’ve been struck by how Roman Catholics think they can know the official teachings of Rome but not the plain teachings of the Bible. Yet they reach for their Bibles to defend Rome, which would seem to undermine their need for Rome to teach them the Bible.

  87. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Bob – Why does the PCA do the laboring out of bounds thing? PL is in bed with FV baddies and LK is hooked up with not one but two lady-ordaining denoms. Don’t evil communications corrupt good manners? Doesn’t Belial-fellowship pose problems?

    Plus, your guys aren’t available for your own churches.

    Just sayin’… Anyone understand the rationale? Seems problematic. And compromising.

  88. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    If the FV contro is “dead” as far as the PCA is concerned,
    then is the PCA moribund?

  89. April 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Hugh,

    Working out of bounds covers all sorts of worthwhile ministries in addition to helping brother denominations in some areas. It must be approved by the cognizant presbytery, and the TE must submit annual reports on their work. Some presbyteries obviously take their shepherding responsibilities more seriously than others. No system that involves human beings can account for all manners of sin.

  90. Dave said,

    April 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Okay, so let’s drop CREC. So according to Tim’s original argument that ordination by the hands of previously ordained men is essential for a man to be a pastor, and possession of such a pastor (or at least requiring such of a pastor) for a congregation to be considered a part of the holy catholic church and its sacraments valid; then if a group of believers meeting together for bible study determined that they wanted to be a 1689 Baptist Confession church, organized themselves as such, and in keeping with Chapter 26, Paragraph 9 of that confession elected and set apart with fasting and prayer a man to be the pastor of that church (without the imposition of the hands of the existing elders in that church, there not being any previously in place) and proceeded to worship and serve in accordance with that confession, we should consider them to be no part of the holy catholic church. Is that correct?

  91. Hugh McCann said,

    April 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Thank you, Bob.

    The PCA’s one-foot-in-NAPARC/ one-foot-in-Reformed-Communion policy is not a problem?

    Guess not if the CRC & RCA are “brother denominations”?!

    Queer it is that City Church in SF left the PCA for the RCA to ordain some women elders, and yet you all are in cahoots with the latter in RefComm, and Lane serves @ an RCA church.

    One wonders where (if?) the PCA knows where to draw a biblical line. If Lane K. can play with antinomian churches, why can’t Peter L. play with legalistic churches?

    You reply is officious, Bob. The Bible says, “Just say no to ungodly associations” {II Cor. 6:14-7:1}, regardless of whether such are “approved by the cognizant presbytery”/ any “annual reports on their work,” notwithstanding.

    No wonder the PCA’s falling apart, brother. It stands for nothing. You can kiss the whore for only so long before the v.d. starts presenting.

  92. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 8:06 am

    In a case where the ceremonial laying on of hands was not observed I’d have to know more details. Had the pastor in question been formally ordained by the visible church and a result of a doctrinally informed conscience believed that such practice is reserved for first time ordination then I’d have no issue. If the pastor was never formally ordained by those same means because he rejected the practice then I would have to know more details. Currently, I can’t think of any reason why a pastor would avoid the practice so I’d be suspicious as I withheld judgment. So, my view is not inescapably tied to the repeating of the sign but to what the sign signifies (noting the qualifications just made).

    Moving on, the church sends pastors who are the shepherds of the sheep, the flock under Christ’s care. In the like manner, the church disciplines its members in the name of Christ. I think in both cases the task today falls upon elders. So, if elders within a bible study wanted to begin a new work and in the process did not undergo censure from their existing church I’d be OK with it. If discipline was exercised then I’d have to know more details. I’d be hard pressed to ignore the discipline of the church in a formal sense, though I there can be exceptions.

    Now to something a bit more real and close to home, a bible study wanting to call a pastor, even through the laying on of hands, yet without any imprimatur from the catholic church. I would reject the notion that such a body is a true church, not that it couldn’t one day become one. By way of analogy, I have neither the right nor responsibility to consider the un-churched “Christians”. In the like manner, I have neither the right nor responsibility to consider “churches” those bodies that are not approved by God’s ordained servants. (There are hypothetical exceptions but not likely to occur in this day and age.)

    So, again, my issue is with rebels (and the ignorant) who have nothing to do with the approval and sanctioning of the church.

  93. April 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Dear Hugh, Stuart, and Ron,

    I am only interested in having a conversation with Lane at the present time, gentlemen. Of course, if Lane does not wish to continue our conversation, then I will assign to him no dishonorable motives whatsoever. Likewise, I pray that all of you will assign to me no dishonorable motives for wishing to sustain a singular focus.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  94. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Hey, Paul: OK, so your answer to Ron (#75) is: “Yes, I DO mind answering a couple of questions.” So be it. As your father’s* agent, your tactic is annoying but interesting.

    Maybe the way for Lane to get rid of you is to follow your tactic, and not answer your questions (as he is under no more compulsion to answer honor your queries than you are to answer ours), but to merely ask you questions… :)

    * Not ultimately your parent, priest, or your pope; John 8:44.
    ———————–
    BINGO, Ron: I can’t help but think that it’s possible Paul is trying to bait Lane but in cases like this, when so much is at stake that is, I’d rather be naive than suspiciously right, so I’m hoping he’s sincere.

    This hope has been disappointed. He is baiting. A downright master of baiting.

  95. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Ron @92 – Per the “rebels (and the ignorant) who have nothing to do with the approval and sanctioning of the church.”

    Do legit ministers have to be ordained by legit ministers who were ordained by legit ministers who were ordained by legit ministers who were ordained by Roman Catholic priests/ bishops back in the day?

    In other words, do Presbyterians believe in apostolic succession, thought they may deny it? Can a Presbyterian be legit if not ordained by one who’s spiritual pedigree goes back to Rome?

    Seriously.

  96. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Hugh,

    I’m not the best one to ask that of but others here would know, like lurking Stuart.

    I’d say we believe in a succession of doctrine first and foremost. As Tim pointed out, there is a succession of ordination, keeping in mind that a congregation can be received into a true Presbyterian denomination wherein its pedigree might begin at that time.

  97. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Thanks, Ron. I await the others weighing in.

    To reiterate (& amend) – Can a Presbyterian elder be legit if he’s not ordained by one whose spiritual pedigree goes back to Rome?

  98. Tim Harris said,

    April 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Hugh — the point I believe is to go back to the apostles, whether historically via Rome or some other branch. There’s nothing magic about Rome.

  99. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Tim,

    Thanks; that is helpful.

    Why historically back to the Apostles whether or not via Rome?

    What is “magical” or authoritative or definitive about “go[ing] back to the apostles, whether historically via Rome or some other branch”?

  100. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Hugh,

    If I may, going back to the apostles is a byproduct of submitting to the church established by Christ and acknowledging that the church is an organism and institution comprised of one and many. Secondly, consider the alternative? There would be nothing catholic about it and what of the communion of saints? As I see it, going back to the apostles results from many things, not the least of which is a desire for peace and unity in the midst of doctrinal differences.

  101. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks, Ron.

    “Going back to the apostles” is all well intentioned, no doubt, but this begs questions about how we know who’s who.

    To wit: Are the Orthodox the right group? Romanists? They each claim title. Landmark Baptists? Maybe they’re the real deal and the others just had better P.R. and were more effective in silencing their opposition.

    There have never been much outward post-apostolic “peace & unity in the midst of doctrinal differences” unless these are imposed by force.

    “Catholicism” (as you mean it) and koinonia/ communion are ultimately spiritual, not physical, as is the true unity for which Jesus prayed in John 17, and which the Holy Spirit accomplishes in only the elect in regenerating us.

    Rome and others have carnally & grotesquely parodied this unity in their enforcement of dogma – only in an outward show.

    (Rome was off the rails long before Trent.)

  102. stuart said,

    April 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Paul,

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to engage you in a conversation. I was simply trying to have some fun. I mean, that pipe in your gravitar pic is pretty awesome. Add to that Ron’s question about the justification of your identity and my love of the Beatles and Voila! . . . Instant joke material! I couldn’t resist!

  103. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Hugh,

    That the EO and Anglicans (for instance) claim such succession, along with Rome, does not make a body a true church. The condition in view is not intended to be sufficient, just necessary by Protestants who would place value on it. Apostasy is always possible so having Abraham as our father is not the end all.

    Can’t spend too much more time on this.

    Best,

    Ron

  104. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Ron. Agreed, tho’ this is too cryptic for discyphering: “The condition in view is not intended to be sufficient, just necessary by Protestants who would place value on it.”

    And in the final sentence,* is ‘Abraham’ referring to apostolic succession?

    * “Apostasy is always possible so having Abraham as our father is not the end all.”

    Thanks for taknig the trouble.

    Can anyone else here help?

  105. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Succession is not sufficient to make a communion a church because those with succession can fall away, as did those who had direct line to Abraham.

  106. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Apostolic succession is insufficient but necessary “to make a communion a church”?

    Is this provable by “by good and necessary consequence,” “deduced from Scripture”?

    Should I read Bannerman?

  107. locirari said,

    April 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Of course you should read Bannerman– both Bannerman’s! ;-)

  108. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Loci – I was thinking Church of Christ (1/2 off!*); what’s the other?

    * http://www.solid-ground-books.com/search.asp?searchtext=bannerman

  109. locirari said,

    April 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    His son, D. Douglas Bannerman, The Scripture Doctrine of The Church: http://books.google.com/books?id=QdUrAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

  110. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks… Like father, like son, eh?

    Appreciate it, Locirari.

  111. Ron said,

    April 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Hugh,

    The OT presupposes that the church, not individuals, appoints its leaders. (e.g. Moses to Joshua). The NT respects the practice. (e.g. Jesus tells the healed man of Matthew 8 to present himself to the priests). Paul’s visit to Peter corroborates this catholicity of respect for existing elders (Galatians 1). Romans 10 teaches that preachers are “sent,” but sent by whom or what? If not the church then I would expect signs and wonders to accompany the call. Moreover, if not sent by the church then we are left with some very silly possibilities, like having self-appointed pastors, even children, but that would undermine the seriousness of the biblical precept that under-shepherds are to watch over the souls of the sheep and that sheep are to honor those who are to watch over their souls (Hebrews 13).

    As I said before, individuals simply don’t have the right or responsibility to render private judgment upon one’s salvation let alone upon those who are to feed the sheep. These task fall upon the church’s ordained servants. So, rather than working backwards from today, begin by asking how things began and what derailed the project.

    I have to shut this down for at least a week because of other commitments.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  112. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Merci, Ronald. Adieu for now.

  113. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Correction to my post #91 – I erroneously inferred & implied that the PCA was in the Reformed Communion. This is incorrect.

    An individual PCA elder may join if he wants to. So while the PCA is not in communion with the CRC, EPC, or RCA, a PCA minister may be. ~ Spiritual schizophrenia #1.

    He may even officially become one flesh with a harlot church (‘labor out of bounds’) as long as everyone is happy about the arrangement, and the proper reports are filed. With t’s crossed, and i’s dotted, everyone is resting happy in Zion. ~ Spiritual schizophrenia #2.

    Complicity with error will take from the best of men the power to enter any successful protest against it. {C.H. Spurgeon, 1888}

    The PCA’s mene, mene, tekel upharsin.

    As the PCA slides into full agreement with the RCA, CRC, & EPC, they can all merge together as an amorphous mess of the quasi-reformed.

    As one TE in the OPC asked me, “I guess the real question is do such PCA ministers need to be brought up on charges?”

    Will the NAPARC call the PCA to repent of its schizophrenic policies, or oust the sad lot of them?

  114. CD-Host said,

    April 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    @Ron

    The OT presupposes that the church, not individuals, appoints its leaders. (e.g. Moses to Joshua).

    I see you aren’t responding. So for lurkers…

    Joshua is from the tribe of Ephraim. He’s a political leader not a religious leader. He is not a priest at all, he is not a religious leader had no religious duties beyond those of any other Jew nor any religious authority.

  115. CD-Host said,

    April 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    @Hiugh #113

    Will the NAPARC call the PCA to repent of its schizophrenic policies, or oust the sad lot of them?

    The PCA is something like 5x the size of the rest of NAPARC put together. NAPARC is the PCA plus churches that for historical reasons aren’t part of the PCA but would like to be. Without the PCA NAPARC ceases to be meaningful. If the PCA decided tomorrow to ordain a dog as an elder NAPARC would oust them, and likely effectively disband in doing so.

    Moreover the PCA doesn’t want to be totally separate from the world. The PCA is evangelical not fundamentalist. The PCA understands you can’t influence people you don’t interact with. American Presbyterianism has always sought to be factional enough to be pure and unified enough to be relevant. This is the balancing act.

    The other congregations in NAPARC are often to the right of the PCA and exist in it This is the chain:: NAPARC member influences the PCA influences the Reformed Evangelicals influences the Evangelical mainstream influences America influences the world. Drop the PCA and what’s the point of NAPARC? They need to pick something else to the left. I’m thinking the CRCNA or the RCA.

    So I think the best way to picture what it would take is to ask what it would take for those conservative NAPARC churches to rather dealing with the CRCNA.

  116. Hugh McCann said,

    April 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    CD – The PCA is something like 5x the size of the rest of NAPARC put together. So what?!
    NAPARC is the PCA plus churches that for historical reasons aren’t part of the PCA but would like to be.
    Ha ha; pathetic.
    Without the PCA NAPARC ceases to be meaningful.
    Bull. Why?
    If the PCA decided tomorrow to ordain a dog as an elder NAPARC would oust them, and likely effectively disband in doing so.
    It’ll happen soon enough.
    Moreover the PCA doesn’t want to be totally separate from the world. The PCA is evangelical not fundamentalist.
    Ka-Ching.
    The PCA understands you can’t influence people you don’t interact with.
    BS pragmatism.
    American Presbyterianism has always sought to be factional enough to be pure and unified enough to be relevant. This is the balancing act.
    Fail.
    The other congregations in NAPARC are often to the right of the PCA and exist in it.
    They need to pratice separation from a rebellious house.
    This is the chain:: NAPARC member influences the PCA influences
    In someone’s dreams…
    the Reformed Evangelicals influences the Evangelical mainstream
    Ha!
    influences America influences the world.
    Stop it – yer killin’ me!
    Drop the PCA and what’s the point of NAPARC?
    Fidelity to the gospel; fellowship with faithful denoms, maybe?
    They need to pick something else to the left. I’m thinking the CRCNA or the RCA.
    PCA will merge with its friends in RefComm within 10-12 years.
    So I think the best way to picture what it would take is to ask what it would take for those conservative NAPARC churches to rather dealing with the CRCNA.
    ? CRC is not in NAPARC.

  117. CD-Host said,

    April 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    @Hugh

    If you support separation over influence… that’s the big line between Neo-Evangelical and Fundamentalist. Neo-Evangelicals reject secondary separation. There are fundamentalist inside PCA but not many it is an Evangelical organization though rather far to the right on that spectrum. NAPARC is a bit further.

    You might want to try going well to the right of the PCA. https://ncfic.org might get you to the kind of fellowship you are looking for.

  118. Hugh McCann said,

    April 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Thanks, CD. NCFIC is a little too recon for some of us, but we all (i’d hope) want godly families.

    My concern is also for godly ministers who stand against evil & compromise. The myths of influence & relevance & pragmatism prove deadly to Christ’s cause.

  119. Tim Harris said,

    April 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Hugh @99, 106, etc.

    Going back to the apostles is simply a logical deduction from (a) officers are ordained by the laying on of hands, and (b) only those that have had hands laid on can lay hands on.

    The succession is an outward sign and seal attesting to the structural form of the church, with the “preaching of the word” its content.

    The model accounts for continuity even during lapses. It was a disgrace when popery rejected the gospel explicitly. It thus ceased to be a true church, lacking the first mark.

    But the second mark gave continuity to the continuing (Protestant) church, when the gospel was recovered.

    Recognizing the CREC/CROCK would be exactly like recognizing the baptism of someone that was never baptized. It’s one thing to admit that someone can be saved without being baptized; quite something else to indulge someone that refuses to be baptized though he has every opportunity.

  120. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks, Tim.

    So, the succession with regard to the Roman Church was valid until 1563 or so? Some see it falling away quite a bit earlier.

    And, given this: “only those that have had hands laid on can lay hands on,” then, a Presbyterian minster by definition is in the line of the pre-Tridentine Romish priesthood, and this validates the ordination b/c one is ordained by one who was ordained by one who was ordained … by one who was ordained by the apostles?

  121. April 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Dear Lane,

    I hope that you had a good time at PCRT. I really don’t want to bug you, so please, if you don’t have the time to answer my question above (#73), or if you’d just rather not go down that road for any reason, then don’t worry about it. This will be the last time that I request a response. As I said before to some other gentlemen here, I won’t assign any dishonorable motives whatsoever. If you do have time, though, I’d be glad to know what you think.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  122. Hugh McCann said,

    April 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Could it really be true?

    This will be the last time that I request a response.

    Hope springs eternal.

    P.W. sounds like Hal in 2001:A Space Odyssey or the snake in Genesis 3…

  123. Tim Harris said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Hugh @120.

    Think of the analogue of baptism. You would insist I assume that when you were baptized, the person baptizing should himself have already been baptized?

    Was there ANY WAY Robert Duvall could have been right to baptize himself (in his movie Apostle)?

    Roger Williams tried to start a new chain of baptism by non-baptized persons, but he came to see the futility of it and dropped out. At least he was honest in that respect. Then, he waited for God to intervene supernaturally to begin a new succession. Unfortunately, he died before that happened.

    Perhaps it is less emotional to work through the logic using baptism rather than ordination.

  124. Tim Harris said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Paul @121,

    I won’t presume to speak for Lane, but your question, “When two people with contradictory views both claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, then how can both be certain that their views are correct?” seems like a rather elementary, even juvenile one.

    When two philosophers with contradictory views both claim to be led by Reason, then how can both be certain that their views are correct?

    When two papists with contradictory views both claim to be led by the Magisterium, then how can both be certain that their views are correct?

    When two boys with contradictory views about what father said both claim to have heard him speak, then how can both be certain that their views are correct?

    Etc, etc. Take the disagreement, when it is an interesting one, as the starting point to find out what went wrong, rather than going catatonic over it.

  125. Hugh McCann said,

    April 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Tim @123 – Would an ordination (or baptism, for that matter) need to be done by one whose ecclesiastical forebear had been Catholic?

    @124 – Weiny’s probably not going to answer you – he’s made it clear he ONLY wants to talk to Lane. But obviously in ecclesiastical dipsutes, the one with the bigger army and most gold bullion is the winner.

    When two papists with contradictory views both claim to be led by the Magisterium, then how can both be certain that their views are correct? One is reminded of the councils. E.g. the [in]famous Joe Strossmayer –

    At the Vatican Council he was one of the most notable opponents of papal infallibility, and distinguished himself as a speaker. The pope praised Strossmayer’s “remarkably good Latin.” A speech in which he defended Protestantism made a great sensation…

    After the council Strossmayer maintained his opposition longer than all the other bishops…

    At a later date he repeatedly proclaimed his submission to the pope… expressing his devotion to the papal see at times in extravagant language.

    Found @ NewAdvent.org

  126. jon said,

    April 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I hope no one takes offense at this since I do not mean it to be as bad as it might sound. Can someone explain how trying to trace a chain of ordination is not “pursueing endless genealogies”? Tim if you found that the men that ordained you were all apostate would you feel that your ordination was thus invalid? If the man that baptized you told you that he was never ordained what would that do to your baptism? To play with your analogy above what would you say to someone that discovered that was not the case? (For whatever reason the person that baptized them was not baptized.) I’d like to delve into the practicalities of what I think you are saying.

  127. Tim Harris said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Jon,

    I don’t think it’s necessary to “trace a chain of ordination” if by that you mean produce a list of names going back to the apostles, such as, I am told, Anglicans claim to be able to do. Since all branches of the church, as far as I can tell, have held to the principle I have outlined — even Roger Williams, who therefore let his “branch” die out — I think we can “trust the system.” A system, after all, set up by our Lord.

    The point is not to set up a judaic system of legalism, but simply to be obedient to a very simple principle.

    I thought the apostasy, real or alleged, as it affects ordination was settled in the Donatist controversy. So no, I wouldn’t mark an ordination as invalid if it turned out a link in the chain were an apostate.

    The baptism case is admittedly a little more tricky, since I am open to a looser standard here, especially since the lineage terminates at each baptized person. Nevertheless, certainly as to intent, I assume you (if you were now determined to be baptized) would insist that only someone baptized (and more) would do the baptism. If, for example, I found out (horribile dictu) that a satanist had performed my baptism (say, my parents thought I was dying and wanted me to be baptized in a hurry, and found someone they thought was legitimate but now we find out, not), even using the formula in our standards, I would be “re” baptized as a matter of conscience. For me it would not be “re.” A Lutheran pastor advised me that if there is any uncertainty one should go ahead and be baptized, even though they don’t believe in rebaptism any more than we do. But since confidence is all bound up with the symbolism if not the efficacy of baptism, and confidence is bound up with faith, he advised going ahead and doing it to settle the matter and resolve the conscience. Sometimes pastoral wisdom is called for rather than strict logical deduction.

  128. Tim Harris said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Hugh @125,

    I’m obviously not scratching you where you itch, but I’m not sure where the disconnect is.

    If by “Catholic” you mean “Roman Catholic,” then no, unless the RC is the only branch of the church that maintained succession — which “we” don’t believe.

    On the other hand, most Protestants descend through the western church. I own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas as “my” church — I don’t cede it to the sect currently known as “Roman Catholic.” That church remained “ours” until approximately Trent. What happened thereafter is only of interest to me as a chapter in history. We are the continuing western church.

  129. Jon said,

    April 24, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Tim, if I read you correctly then you only have a problem with first generation CREC churches but wouldn’t have a problem with their ordination say 50 years from now when the current ministers lay their hands on and ordain the next generation of ministers? (Leaving the CREC’s theology out of the question for the time being.)

  130. Hugh McCann said,

    April 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you, Tim @128.

    Yes, in #125, I meant Roman Catholic here: Would an ordination (or baptism, for that matter) need to be done by one whose ecclesiastical forebear had been Catholic?

    I’m a bit confused by your next two paragraphs, as you 1st answer: no, unless the RC is the only branch of the church that maintained succession — which “we” don’t believe.

    But you then say:On the other hand, most Protestants descend through the western church. I own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas as “my” church — I don’t cede it to the sect currently known as “Roman Catholic.” That church remained “ours” until approximately Trent. What happened thereafter is only of interest to me as a chapter in history. We are the continuing western church.If Rome only “lost it” or “went off the rails” @ Trent, do you claim she was OK until then? Was the Latin church still valid after its actions that led up to the 1054 split?

    Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, along with Rome & the East each maintain that they have successful apostolic succession. And that such is necessary for valid clerical orders.

    Rome claims Terts, Augs, & AngelDoc as her own faithful sons of the church. She takes their doctrines as being compatible with hers. You take them as compatible with yours. Why “own” them?

    Email me if you wish: hughmc5 ….. hotmail.com

  131. Hugh McCann said,

    April 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Format correction:

    But you then say:

    On the other hand, most Protestants descend through the western church. I own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas as “my” church — I don’t cede it to the sect currently known as “Roman Catholic.” That church remained “ours” until approximately Trent. What happened thereafter is only of interest to me as a chapter in history. We are the continuing western church.

    If Rome only “lost it” or “went off the rails” @ Trent, do you claim she was OK until then?

    Was the Latin church still valid after its actions that led up to the 1054 split?

  132. Tim Harris said,

    April 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Jon @129,

    On the contrary, I would never recognize their faux-succession. I’m not sure sure how you got that from what I said.

    Let me be crystal clear: The CREC/CROCK is boys “playing church” in the backyard, spraying dogs with the hose while shouting “I baptize you,” slapping each other on the rear, whooping it up, etc. It is not and thus never will become a church.

  133. Jon said,

    April 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Ok Tim so how then is that not equivalent to “tracing a chain of ordination”? Perhaps the CREC is a bad example. Let us say a hypothetical group started meeting at a neighbor’s house. They decided to start a church. Their new “church” grew (assume it had proper theology for the most part). If I understand you correctly they cannot be an actual church because they did not have proper ordination (they had self appointed laity instead of properly ordained ministers). Now fast forward 100 years and this group has grown into a thriving denomination. Are they part of the church? Is their ordination (and Sacraments) now valid (assuming that they now do everything the same way as we do the only difference being where the chain started)? If not then why do we not have to go back and trace our own denoms to prove that we have a valid ordination and how is that not “pursuing endless genealogies”?

    That was the how I thought you would be ok with 2nd generation CREC. Since you say we don’t have to trace our ordination back I didn’t see a way to force them to do so. Again maybe the CREC is a bad example because there are more issues involved than just ordination with them.

    (And for transparency I’ll give a little info on myself. I do not belong to a CREC church nor have I ever attended one. I started as SBC, went to a PCA for years then swapped to ARP that was closer to home and now am back in the SBC after moving to another state.)

  134. RJS said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    What you need is branch theory! :)

  135. greenbaggins said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Paul, I will give a shot at explaining this thing with the Holy Spirit, as it is important. It is true that many people can be “certain” that they have the Holy Spirit and therefore the truth. They can have a great deal of sincerity. They can also be wrong. So how can we be actually certain? There is what we Protestants call a hermeneutical spiral leading from the text of Scripture to the Holy Spirit back to the text and so on. as we go from one to the other (and the Holy Spirit works IN the Word), there is increasing certainty that this is what God is telling us. We cannot be certain in the sense of an independent outside certainty. But the Holy Spirit does testify with our spirits that we are the children of God. And the Scriptures tell us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. If we deny that we can be certain that we are children of God, for instance, then the alternative is complete skepticism with regard to everything. The Roman Catholic church doesn’t help in this regard, because there is no outside provable standpoint for the church either.

  136. April 24, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Dear Lane,

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Here’s what I’m hearing you say over the course of our dialogue: 1) the church is fallible; 2) reason is fallible; 3) conscience is fallible; and 4) our personal interpretation of Scripture, even when guided by the Holy Spirit, is fallible.

    Am I understanding you correctly?

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  137. Tim Harris said,

    April 24, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Well Jon let’s not turn “pursuing endless genealogies” into a procrustean bed. There is a principle of succession taught in the NT, it is simple, we should follow it.

    All the branches of the church worthy of a claim followed this, even when here and there some made statements disparaging the very thing they assiduously did!

    This means the main east and west branches, and the national settlements of the magisterial reformation. Thus, the legitimate successors of a subset of {EO, RC, German Lutheran and Reformed, Dutch Reformed, Swiss Reformed, Scottish Presbyterian, and Anglican} churches. There might be a few I left out, but not many. It is not a tangle of 26,000 as papist polemicists allege.

    Since there was no settlement in America, it gets confusing. But the 26,000 nuts and bolts I count as so many warmed-over bible study groups with a shingle hanging out their doors. There is no reason to count them as validly constituted churches according to the NT. And they don’t become what they aren’t by hanging on for 50 years.

    We can pray for them, and hope they are saved in the end despite their autonomous self-will; but this does not mean recognizing them.

    As to the Baptists, the regular ones are “Presbyterians on ordination day” as Sheman Isbell once observed. So they are hanging on (though you could encourage the brothers to take the next step whilst you are among them). But the bottom-up self-creators are not.

    One of the beauties of the presbyterial form of succession, which is the ideal taught by Scripture, is that it is self-healing to an extent. That is, if an impostor here or there crept in, the body as a whole still has integrity, and succession continues. This is just one of the reasons that we can rest confidently in God’s providence, and not write out an elaborate family tree. A simple reading of history confirms the practice.

  138. Hugh McCann said,

    April 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Reed, Lane, David, et. al.,

    Praise be to the one true God that the church is occasionally true, our reason & conscience are occasionally true, and our personal interpretation of Scripture, when guided by the Holy Spirit, can be true!

    Praise too, that He gives us light to see the darkness of Romish implicit faith in an infallible vicar of the devil.

  139. Jon said,

    April 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Tim,

    Can you paint the picture for me from Scripture that shows the obvious path/need of succession such that those that are without it are apparently (or potentially) in danger of hellfire? If possible please explain Mark 9:39 where Jesus tells the disciples not to bother those that were casting out demons in the Name of Jesus but were not part of “them”. Also please help me understand Paul’s lack of concern for the status of the preachers (one would think that as he describes his opponents that they would not meet our ordination standards) so long as the Gospel is preached (Philippians 1:15-18).

    Also does not the fact that ordained ministers that were in good standing with their churches have joined these “fly by night” operations thus put them in line with your view of succession? (No I do not have Wilkins in mind but I think Randy Booth was one that joined the CREC in good standing but I don’t know much of him so I could be off base there.)

  140. Hugh McCann said,

    April 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    FV = Alive & well.

    FV controversy = DOA.

    PCA = Wheezin’ her last ‘death rattles’ @ godshammer.wordpress.com

  141. Tim Harris said,

    April 26, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Jon, the CROCK is not a juridical presbytery even in form, so even the “maybe in this way” thought of self-healing would not be operative. In other words, even if a handful of men who were properly ordained came over, they would not be joining a group whose juridical structure could be improved thereby. It would be like a real judge taking off his robe and joining the boys in the back yard that are “playing court.” He doesn’t get to drag his office around wherever he goes. The office is coupled to its context.

    If you go here
    http://butler-harris.org/archives/550
    you can find an mp3 of a SS lesson I gave on this topic, in which I lay out that biblical argument in brief form. However, if you don’t have time for that, there is also an excel spreadsheet link that might have the info you are seeking. After pondering that material, if you aren’t able to figure out the answer re the passages you mention, ask again. I’m under the gun to deliver a couple major essays, and this will buy me a few days I hope!

  142. Tim Harris said,

    April 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Jon, the CROCK is not a juridical presbytery even in form, so the “maybe in this way” thought of self-healing would not be operative. In other words, even if a handful of men who were properly ordained came over, they would not be joining a group whose juridical structure could be improved thereby. It would be like a real judge taking off his robe and joining the boys in the back yard that are “playing court.” He doesn’t get to drag his office around wherever he goes. The office is coupled to its context.

    If you go to archives/550 under butler-harris dot org, you can find an mp3 of a SS lesson I gave on this topic, in which I lay out that biblical argument in brief form. However, if you don’t have time for that, there is also an excel spreadsheet link that might have the info you are seeking. After pondering that material, if you aren’t able to figure out the answer re the passages you mention, ask again. I’m under the gun to deliver a couple major essays, and this will buy me a few days I hope!

  143. locirari said,

    April 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Jon, Tim, etc.,

    I’ve been thinking that one reason why Tim is right in questioning the validity of CREC ministry is that the CREC claims a place in the Reformed tradition and simultaneously provides a haven for revisionism. The FV gets no credit by gaining traction only in start-up denominations tailored for innovation and in historically rooted churches unwilling to enforce their standards.

  144. Tim Harris said,

    May 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Hugh @130 & 131,

    Most people think of the RC as the legitimate successors of the church whose succession goes back to the apostles, with the Protestants as an offshoot if not an entirely new start, i.e. they see the western church as:

    apostles
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |\ @1550
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    RC Protestant

    Whereas, I’m suggesting this is a mistake. We should see it this way:

    apostles
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |
    |\ @ 1550
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    | \
    Protestant RC

    That is, we should say that the vertical line prior to 1550 is “our” line. We don’t need to concede the RC claim that that was the “Roman Catholic church” which is the same as what they are.

    This doesn’t imply that there was not great defection here and there in the pre-1550 line. There was. But even when it reached rock-bottom, it still had the “form” and was waiting for reform and the preaching of the gospel to breathe new life into it. Think of a balloon that has been deflated, and needs to be blown up again. But it still has the “form” of a balloon. Now contrast that with trying to “blow up”…. nothing. It is just wind.

    A different question is whether individuals might be saved by “hearing the word” preached in a vacuum. That is another question, and doesn’t address the constitution of the church, except in some rarified “invisible” sense perhaps.

  145. Tim Harris said,

    May 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    The engine compressed the spaces. The slash marks should extend out as a diagonal line from each branch point.

  146. Jon said,

    May 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Tim, I hope your essays went over well. I listened to your lesson and went over the power point presentation. I just want to follow up with a few questions (I will be out for the next two days so sorry if I delay getting back.)

    You say that no matter how long my hypothetical Bible study (not the CREC since there are other issues at play with the CREC) turned play church exists they are outside the pail because they did not begin with proper ordination. Suppose someone challenges you that the PCA (or whatever denomination you want to use) falls under that category. How do you go about proving that their accusation is false? And then how does the only way I can think of doing that not fall under Paul’s forbidding of endless genealogies. It seems to me (which may indeed not be the case) that the thing you so strongly advocate for Paul forbids.

  147. Hugh McCann said,

    May 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Hey Tim @144,

    Or maybe we should see it this way:

    Apostles
    |…….\
    |……….\
    |………….\
    |…………….\
    |……………….\
    Protestant vs RC
    |…….1550…/……\
    |…………../………….\
    |………../………………\
    Prots…….Today……RC

  148. Thomas Martin said,

    May 15, 2013 at 8:04 am

    @ McCann 147

    My final tier of your diagram would demonstrate a branch of the Protestants attempting to engraft back into the RC branch.

    I would also add branches earlier for the oriental orthodox and the greek orthodox for the purpose of defining who is inclusive / exclusive in the repective communing bodies. Then I would demonstrate the “Hydra” emanating from the Protestant branch with its’ tenacles trying to engraft into all the other branches…:-)

  149. Tim Harris said,

    May 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Jon@146,

    The first thing would be to exegete what is meant by “genealogies” in Titus 3:9 and 1 Tim 1:4. The commentaries that I have scanned on line generally indicate it as the baseless speculations especially of jewish rabbis, leading often to gnosticism. The only way I could see a tie-in to ordination would be the OT Levitical priesthood — but (a) where that priesthood was still valid, then genealogy was of the essence, and commanded by God; but (b) since that priesthood was abolished in the church, it would be a moot point. So it can’t be that that is under the prohibition.

    I think it would be going too far to suggest that from this prohibition we could infer “do not check anyone’s credentials.”

    Since the PCA polity sustains the principle of succession, there is no reason to doubt that it carries forth. The burden of proof would be on the challenger.

    Indeed, in all the churches that we should recognize as such, it is really not so difficult. All of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican churches are only a handful of resettlements (in some cases, only one) since the apostolic church. And in each temporal segment, it is easily verified that the laying-on-of-hands principle was sustained. Some (the Anglican) can actually produce a list of the succession — for them it is not a difficult, speculative ordeal. But I think they go farther than one needs to. We can “trust the system” where the system is followed. The “system,” after all, was established by God.

  150. Thomas Martin said,

    May 16, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Is Sacerdotalism the “how” for the “Marks” of the true Church as in the OT or is the New Covenant based on the “priesthood of the believer”?

  151. Tim Harris said,

    May 19, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Hugh @147.

    I’m afraid I don’t grasp the significance of what you are adding to the diagram. As my uncle used to say, “one word is worth a thousand pictures.”

    Are you showing the gradual migrations of RC’s into the Protestant church over the years? If so, I would submit that that is a mere historical contingency, not relevant to the question of succession.

    But perhaps I don’t grasp your intent.

  152. Hugh McCann said,

    May 19, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Tim @151,

    Succession (and Christian success) is measured by fidelity to the apostolic teaching handed down to us from Sts Peter & Paul et. al., not antiquity, pomposity, or

    We reject the notion that the Roman State-Church was ever a part of Christ. The church of Christ, his body, his bride, are all of us united to him by faith alone, whether a part of an organized group or not. I use the word “Protestant” merely as a handy device to distance myself from the papists. Exchange for it “Bible Believers,” or “born-agains,” or the like.

    Robert Reymond shows Rome’s early departure from the faith in his “Why Does Rome Teach What It Does About Justification and Salvation?”:

    The Apostate Fathers

    The upshot of all this—and this is the first half of my response to the original question—is that Rome bases its soteriological teaching not primarily on Scripture but primarily on its own “infallible, unamendable” Tradition that virtually from the beginning began to exhibit great error…

    And, yes, Tim, I was trying to show conversion of some RCs to Christ. [See Bennett & Buckingham, Far From Rome, Near To God from the Banner of Truth Trust.] Again, “Protestant” in my diagram stands for “true believers.”

    What should be relevant to our discussion is the fact that Rome and the fathers are hopelessly unchristian. The “church” veered off course earlier than most Reformed folk are willing to concede. And, as I said above, apostolic successionism doesn’t end at Rome or EO. Too many Anglicans and Presbyterians hold to it as well.

    Lastly, an “Amen” to Mr Martin’s comment #148.

    * This quote is merely a teaser from Reymond’s thorough piece, here: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=133

    Also recommended is his “Roman Catholicism’s Recent Claim That It Is the True Church” also at trinityfoundation.org

  153. Hugh McCann said,

    May 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Tim, I note from above:

    You said @128: On the other hand, most Protestants descend through the western church. I own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, and Aquinas as “my” church — I don’t cede it to the sect currently known as “Roman Catholic.” That church remained “ours” until approximately Trent. What happened thereafter is only of interest to me as a chapter in history. We are the continuing western church.

    I said @130/1: If Rome only “lost it” or “went off the rails” @ Trent, do you claim she was OK until then?

    I for one, do NOT descend through the western (Latin, Romish) church. Or any of the Eastern Orthodox churches. I do not own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, or Aquinas as “may” church, nor could I in good conscience necessarily call them Christian.

    You do raise another interesting question, though, and that is what you do with the “original Protestants,” those splitting from Rome 500 years prior to Cranmer, Luther, and Calvin. Was that church “yours” as well?

    Thanks,
    Hugh

  154. Hugh McCann said,

    May 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Erratum: That should read:

    I do not own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, or Aquinas as “my” church, nor could I in good conscience necessarily call them Christian.

  155. CD-Host said,

    May 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    @Hugh 153+154

    I do not own the church of Tertullian, Augustine, or Aquinas as “my” church, nor could I in good conscience necessarily call them Christian.

    Its funny I just finished a long dialogue with people who claim to have never heard this view of rejecting decent from the Catholic Church even though it is not at all uncommon among Evangelicals. I know you are regularly on CtC mind if I use you as an example next time the issue arises?

  156. Hugh McCann said,

    May 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    CD @155 – not at all, use me! And give my regards to our papal pals @ Called to Confusion. [Many are called; many more are confused!]

    However it is descent that I reject, not decency or dissent. ;)

  157. Ron said,

    May 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Tim,

    It seems to me you might be interacting with one who finds his roots in the “tradition” of the Waldensians, the Paulicians, the Cathari and the Donatists. Just a wild guess maybe but you might be on the scent of “the trail of the blood.”

  158. Hugh McCann said,

    May 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Ron @157,

    Good guess, but no. Close, but no.

    I reject Landmark Baptist descent as much as the Romish variety.

    Trail of Blood looked/ smelled too much like the gang at Called to Confusion.

    I for one, do NOT descend through the Paulicians, the Cathari or the Donatists. I do not own the church of Waldo, etc. as “my” church, nor could I in good conscience necessarily call them Christian.

  159. Andrew Lohr said,

    July 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Tim, so if CREC tightened its rules and 3 TEs ordained by the PCA joined it and (re)ordained all its ministers, it would then have valid sacraments? (The Charismatic Episcopal Church, I have heard, got reverse apostolic succession of bishops in a similar manner. Charles Spurgeon, I have heard, refused all ordination.)
    “My house shall be called a house of word, sacraments, and church discipline.” Right?
    An Episcopal professor from Sewannee (Univ of the South) said, In a desert island situation Episcopal polity would require a group to ordain itself a priest, though this is otherwise forbidden.
    I read most of the PCA founding papers about ordination. They showed to my satisfaction that elders/pastors should exist and oversee things, but not that the sacraments need to be done by elders. In the Rice/Campbell debates (Presb vs “Church of Christ”; published by Still Waters Revival Books), I think Campbell ate Rice for lunch on the necessity of ordination. The most restricted sacrament of the Old Testament, the Day of Atonement, is wide open to all believers at all times now (veil torn; let us go boldly unto the throne of grace=mercy seat).

  160. November 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    […] errors rejected by the PCA. He was essentially daring the PCA to charge him. They did and, in what Lane Keister has called a “wagon-encircling kangaroo trial” his presbytery was unable to convict […]

  161. April 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    […] errors rejected by the PCA. He was essentially daring the PCA to charge him. They did and, in what Lane Keister has called a “wagon-encircling kangaroo trial” his presbytery was unable to convict him. On […]


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: