Archive for October 2007

Whine With Their Cheese

October 28, 2007

whinning.jpg

The men of the Federal Vision need Jesse Jackson. Of course, being mostly portly white men, the teachers and defenders of the Federal Vision may not have recourse to the “race card,” but playing the victim has become good businesses. Consider this from a recent blog from FV pitchman and guard dog Doug Wilson:

. . . I have proven over and over again that I have been misrepresented and misunderstood. I have done it in person, and I have done it in writing. I have a standing offer on the table to debate these issues in a public forum with any acknowledged representative of the FV critics. If such a debate were to occur (no longer am I holding my breath, incidentally), my principle line of argument would be that I do not hold what you claim that I hold, and here is a stack of published materials that proves that assertion. So don’t come around saying you haven’t seen proof . . . Then we could put the proof on YouTube, and it would be impossible to pretend any more that it wasn’t there.

First, as a man who has been debated at length and ad nauseum, most recently at De Regno Christi, where he was backed by his FV homeboys like PCA pastors Peter Leithart and Jeffery Meyers, not to mention the godfather of FV soul, James Jordon, and again almost daily on Lane Keister’s Green Baggins blog, he is one man who can’t complain that he is being ignored. So, and for the record, I think it’s time for Wilson to finally shove that debate offer under the table and back into his trousers where it belongs. Maybe he likes to see his face on Youtube, but I really don’t need to see Wilson mugging for the camera to understand the heretical particles floating around his mind. Note to Doug: we’ve read your books, we’ve read your blogs, we even suffer through copies of Credena Agenda on occasion. We know what you believe. Seeing your face on the Internet isn’t going to change anything. Trust me. Besides, it might scare the kids.

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The Apostasy Switch

October 27, 2007

The Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the PCA met in Georgia this past October 18-19 to decide, among other things, whether or not the exoneration by the Louisiana Presbytery of Federal Vision Pastor and Auburn Avenue master of ceremonies, Steve Wilkins, will be allowed to stand. Previously the SJC directed the Louisiana Presbytery to reexamine Pastor Wilkins and they again found “ no strong presumption of guilt in any of the charges” as it relates to the neolegalism of Pastor Wilkins’ “Federal Vision.”

What this means, at least according to Dr. Jeff Hutchinson, Pastor of Trinity PCA in Ashville, NC, is that “the case before the PCA’s SJC is not about Steve Wilkins’ views directly, but is most directly about the fitness of the Louisiana Presbytery in their exoneration of Steve Wilkins . . . For a Presbyterian, that is the more important issue. Particular teachers and teachings come and go, but the integrity of a whole presbytery affects a whole region and culture and generation.”

Hutchinson’s point is that the SJC’s decision in this case has much wider ramifications for the PCA than if it was just deciding on, say, heresy charges against Pastor Wilkins alone. It should be noted that the SJC has already pronounced an overture from the Suncoast Presbytery to “Declare Auburn Avenue Session Heterodox; Appoint Commission to Discipline Auburn Avenue Session; Appoint Commission to Discipline TE Steve Wilkins” out of accord with the BCO (Book of Church Order).

With the Suncoast overture swept aside, and as I understand it, the decision that many of us are waiting for now is essentially whether or not the entire Louisiana Pres is out of order for failing to recognize and discipline the dangerous and heretical teaching of one of their own pastors under their care.

So I asked Dr. Huthinson if the LA Pres’ exoneration of Wilkins and his teaching is allowed to stand, isn’t the message the same and that according to the highest court in the PCA the Federal Vision will be allowed to be taught along side of the true gospel, nice reports notwithstanding? Also, if the PCA, in Huthinson’s words, “has now officially rejected the theological concepts behind the Federal Vision” with their near unanimous approval of the PCA report on the FV/NPP, then without any decisive action in this case, isn’t this really rejection of the FV/NPP in word only? Pastor Hutchinson replied:

I would say so, yes. So please do not interpret anything I wrote above to mean that this present case isn’t an absolutely critical, watershed moment for the PCA. I, too, am waiting to hear their decision (these sorts of things take logisitical time to collate even after the substantive determinations have been made, so I am not interpreting the “delay” as anything other than that).

Consequently, as the PCA waits to see how her court has decided and whether or not the false gospel of the FV will be permitted to continue being taught along side of the true Gospel, it might be helpful to consider a lesson from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).

As some of you may already know, the OPC also has a nice report denouncing many of the FV/NPP doctrines (although they left the door wide open for the continued abuse of Romans 2:13 by Richard Gaffin and others and a few additional areas of wiggle room to allow the FV/NPP to continue to grow, see “The Orthodox Presbyterian Cover-Up” by Paul Elliott).

Unfortunately for those in the OPC and who think their denomination is sound on the question of justification, their courts have already decided that many of the FV doctrinal distinctives (or, better, novelties) are well within Confessional bounds per their decision in the John Kinnaird case. For those unfamiliar with the case, John Kinnaird is an OPC elder who was convicted on heresy changes at both the sessional and presbytery levels for teaching many of the doctrines made famous by that other false teacher previously in the OPC, Norman Shepherd. Unfortunately, Elder Kinnaird’s conviction was overturned by OPC GA with the help of Richard Gaffin (funny how that name always keeps popping up) and other big guns within the OPC.

For all practical and official purposes, the OPC report on justification served as a warning for FV/NPP men in the OPC to shut up and to keep a low profile. What the court basically said in the Kinnaird case is that if they behave themselves and don’t disrupt the peace of the church, the courts give them permission to continue to whittle away at its purity with impunity. The OPC report on justification created the illusion for the perpetually gullible that the OPC is sound on the biblical doctrine of justification which is by belief alone.

Make no mistake, the same thing could happen, and may have already happened, in the PCA if the SJC allows the “Presbytery’s Exoneration of Steve Wilkins” to stand.

Keep watching.

The FV Welcome Wagon

October 27, 2007

Mark T over at Federal Schismo (or whatever he’s calling his site now) has provide another insightful send up for those who still might be struggling to understand the inner workings of the Federal Vision. This time his alter ego and bad self, DaFezSez, makes a tantalizing and tempting offer for Mark to give up his opposition to the FV and join their new priesthood in “Agree That You Might Understand.”

For those who have perused some of the FV men’s websites I thought this enticing offer was particularly tempting:

Your own sacerdotal garment and minister’s uniform designer. No aspiring visialogue is complete without a dog collar and an extensive wardrobe of polyester robes, sashes, and what we affectionately call the pointy hat. These garments have the magical power to add gravitas and divert attention away from even the worst goatee or otherwise total lack of physique. They also instantly transform tedious self-contradictory revisionist goobledegook into liturgical masterpieces. Nothing says, “I’m #1 around here and you aren’t,” like FV couture.

And, for those doubters out there, here’s a picture of PCA FV master of ceremonies, Steve Wilkins, from his church website admittedly a bit underdressed. Must have been casual Fridays.

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Alien Fantasies of the Federal Vision

October 13, 2007

FV Invaders

There is very little doubt that Doug Wilson is a confused man. In a recent blog he pokes fun at a fellow Theonmomist, Daniel Ritchie, for using the above 1950’s style sci-fi movie poster spoofing the Federal Vision – a spoof created by another FV advocate and teacher, PCA Pastor Jeffery Meyers. Wilson chides Ritchie for swiping the poster, but he completely ignores the substance of Ritchie’s post. Not only does Ritchie have Wilson’s heretical doctrine of justification on target, but he clearly recognizes the implicit Arminianism entailed in the FV’s corrupt scheme of salvation.

Consider this quote Ritchie provides from E. Calvin Beisner:

Original Arminianism affirmed that Christ died as a substitute to pay for the sins of all people. The Federal Visionists will affirm that Christ died to pay the penalty for the sins of all in “the covenant”, including some who will end up in hell. One’s “election” ultimately depends on whether he is “faithful” to “the covenant”, and one can be “justified” and wind up in hell through apostasy. Foreword to G.P. Waters, The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology, Presbyterian and Reformed, p. viii

The Beisner quote, along with the Ritchie post, do a very succinct and accurate job of exposing the deadly heresy of Wilson’s false gospel. Yet, instead of interacting with the substance of the post and the charges made by Ritchie, Wilson uses his friend Meyer’s poster in another vain attempt to deflect attention. Wilson writes:

We have not objected (at least not too much) when you all swipe the original intent of the Westminster divines, and acted like it lined up with what you teach. Civility in theological debate means that you have to overlook certain things like that. But when one theological party swipes the alien horror movie posters of the other side . . .

Did you catch that? Wilson is claiming that he and the rest of the false teachers disrupting the peace of the church and corrupting its purity to the destruction of many, are really the ones defending “the original intent of the Westminster divines.” That means all of his critics, even fellow Van Tilian Theonomists like Ritchie, are simply posers who are the real false teachers twisting and distorting the Confession to their own errant ends.

One might be tempted to think that one of those aliens depicted in Meyer’s poster above sucked out Wilson’s brain and replaced it with the alien FV heretic now inhabiting his skull. However, even a quick scan of the Confession reveals how completely deluded and confused Wilson really is.

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Brainless Film Making

October 11, 2007

abortion

There is a new documentary out dealing with abortion called, Lake of Fire, that shows

. . . a doctor sifting through a surgical tray after performing a late-term abortion, where the grisly residue of an arm, a foot and part of a face can be clearly made out.

The film’s director, British filmmaker Tony Kaye, said, “It’s about as shocking as any motion picture can ever get. It’s illegal to film someone being killed.”

So why isn’t Kaye along with the abortionist he filmed in jail?

Unbelievably the dissected baby is not the only thing that’s dead. The director said of his film, “My position on the subject is that I don’t really know what’s right. I didn’t know much in the beginning… and at the end I was just as confused.”

Huh?

Maybe he can do a documentary on the hopelessly brain dead next.

Or, maybe he can just apply my friend Eric’s “moral ambiguity test”:

If the film arrives at any conclusion it is neatly summed up by Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz when he says: “Everybody is right when it comes to the issue of abortion exterminating the Jews.”

“In the end human beings have to decide. In the end each of us has to decide using whatever resources we have available to us: religion, our mind, our sense of what is right and wrong in society,” he adds.

Do you still agree? No? Then it’s immoral. There…that was easy.

Poster Boy of Apostasy – Part Two

October 9, 2007

pope wilson

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee – Romans 11:16-21.

Discussing the vine and the branches, or the vine and the vinedresser, or anything with the word vine in it, is a favorite pastime for FV types, not least of all Doug Wilson. Concerning the above, let me state it as plainly as it can be stated, Doug Wilson believes he sees in the above passage members of the Covenant of Grace, Christians, who face the very real prospect of being broken off, tossed into the fire and eternally damned. He does it not by inferring anything from the passage, for that would invoke the rule that any idea found in the conclusion must already be present in at least one of the premises. Instead, he accomplishes his eisegetical magic trick by playing a shell game using manufactured senses of the word “elect.” So, let me also state as plainly as I can; I reject the FV game of linguistic gymnastics that attempts to draw a distinction between the “covenantally” or “corporately” elect and the “decretally” or “individually” elect. The elect — individually, covenantally, corporately, and decretally — are those for whom Christ died, those chosen by God from eternity and the rest are not. Non-elect baptized members of the visible church are not and never were — even for a time — the spiritual seed of Abraham and are not the intended recipients of the covenant blessings won by Christ on the cross and for His people.

If FVers wanted to say that non-elect members of the visible church are covenant members in name only and are really just “nominal Christian,” i.e., Christians in name only, there would be no argument, and, arguably, no Federal Vision. Unfortunately, Wilson and many other Federal Visionists deny the very idea of “nominal Christians.” Here is but one example from Wilson’s FV manifesto, Reformed Is Not Enough:

[T]here is no such thing as a merely nominal Christian any more than we can find a man who is a nominal husband. There are many faithless husbands, but if a man is a husband at all, then he is as much a husband as a faithful one. He is a covenant breaker, but this is not the same as saying that he has no covenant to break. In the same way, there are multitudes of faithless Christians, who do not believe what God said at their baptism [96].

According to Wilson, “both the true and false son are brought into the same relation” with Christ by virtue of baptism. Hypocrites, liars and false teachers are united to Christ through baptism. In Wilson’s theology everyone from Judas Iscariot to the pope to the Apostle John is a “visible saint, a Christian.” However, as John Robbins points out, “baptism no more makes a person a Christian than dressing an ape makes it a man.” So what is the determining factor that separates the sheep from the goats? Wilson explains that “faith in the biblical sense is inseparable from faithfulness. . . But when we have faith that works its way out in love, which is the only thing that genuine faith can do, then the condition that God has set for the fulfillment of His promise has been met” (186-187). The ones who work “meet the condition that God has set for the fulfillment of His promise” and become sheep, those who don’t are lopped off as dead branches and are thrown into the fire.

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Poster Boy for Apostasy – Part One

October 8, 2007

pope wilson

Working his way slowing through Doug Wilson’s systematic attack on the Christian faith in Reformed is Not Enough, Lane Keister now tackles the question of apostasy.

Pastor Keister asserts — as one would think any Protestant would — that a “church that gets justification wrong is apostate, not merely corrupt.” When thinking of a church that gets the doctrine of justification wrong, there are few that more consistently meets that standard than the Roman church-state. Of course, the major teachings of Rome on justification come to us from Council of Trent, so just to make sure we’re all on the same page here are just a few typical statements from their official teachings concerning justification:

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXI.-If any one saith, that the justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal recompense; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

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