Archive for November 2007

Flavors of Fascism

November 29, 2007

In May 2006 I delivered a lecture called “The Religious Wars of the 21st Century.” You can read it at The Trinity Foundation website. Since then someone has coined the term “Islamofascism” to refer to violent Muslims, but others have objected to this term, asserting that Islam is a religion of peace. Of course it is not.

It is important to recognize, however, that Judaism and Romanism are not religions of peace either. All three are violent, medieval religions that have re-emerged in the modern world and are at war with each other. Their long history of violence, aggression, and war is plain for those who are willing to read. If we refer to Islamofascism, we ought also to refer to Judeofascism, and Romanofascism. That would make it clear that Islam alone cannot be blamed for the coming world wars.

Christians are no part of this struggle, for neither Romanism, nor Judaism, nor Islam is Christianity. But the United States has become involved, because of the influence of not only the Neocons, who favor Israel and Judaism, but also the National Review conservatives, who favor the Vatican and Roman Catholicism. Both the Neocons and the Buckleyites — whose loyalty is not to the United States or the U. S. Constitution, but to a foreign nation: Israel or the Vatican — constantly beat the drums for war, in print and on radio and television, trying to get the United States to carry out the aggressive foreign policy plans of Israel and the Vatican. Apparently disappointed that they could not provoke a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, the Neocons and Buckleyites are determined to do so with Islam and the Islamic states.

John Robbins

November 28, 2007

FV Attack Dogs

November 24, 2007

rabid_dog_small.jpgBob Mattes over at Reformed Musings has been nipped at lately by one of Doug Wilson’s attack dogs (not sure of the breed, but I have provided a picture so maybe someone can identify it for me). Typical silly stuff from Wilson and his clan of Muscovite monkey boys.

Mattes wrote a piece providing some sage advice for the members of the Louisiana Presbytery that if any were going along just to get along, now was probably a good time to stop protecting the FV master of ceremonies, Steve Wilkins. Mattes gives his advice by providing a little morality play from his own life with the message, “one should be careful not to be loyal to the wrong people.” From this, Wilson’s personal assistant, Mike Lawyer (pictured above), publicly accused Mattes of coercion and “manipulating a young airman to change his testimony so that the leader can have his way.” Lawyer spits, “This post was just sick. It is immoral. It is an outrage against all that is decent and just and right and particularly holy.” Oh my. Now, for anyone who takes the time to actually read Mattes’ little story above, they will see that Lawyer’s charge is just stupid.

The point of all this is, like cornered animals suffering with advanced distemper, Wilson & Co. do see the writing on the wall and the advancement of their aberrant and deadly theology in the PCA through the likes of his friends Steve Wilkins, Peter Leithart and others is coming to the end. What else can they do but bite? Expect a lot more of this in the weeks to come. It’s going to get a lot uglier. Wilson is just getting started and for more of a taste of things to come, check out his blog.

The one real blessing is that more and more FV men are making themselves known simply because the pressure is starting to build. The ship is sinking and the rats need a place to go. Anyone interested should spend some time looking through the comments section over at Green Baggin(es). Hey, I even see local VA Beach Asst. Pastor Ken Christian still whining about the fact that no one seems to want to call poor pastor Wilkins. He even said “dude” in good Beach form. I guess all those transcripts and tapes from Wilkins’ FV pastor’s conferences, not to mention his published pieces and testimonies to the LA Pres weren’t enough. If we could only just sit down and rap about it, then maybe we’ll all see that the soul destroying heresies of men like Wilkins and Wilson are really just cool new ways of looking at justification. Got it, dude.

Weasel Words Revisted

November 22, 2007

In response to my last blog Denson observed that for those who want to avoid weasel words, and at least be perceived as being above the fray, will often take a slightly different approach and insist, “We must hold these two opposing views in proper tension without denying one or the other. We must be faithful to the Biblical data.”

There is a considerable amount of arrogance in this well crafted backhanded slur draped in the pretense of being “faithful to the biblical data.” Implied is that those who seek to remove these points of tension are not being faithful to the biblical data. After all, John Murray along with Louis Berkhof both asserted the opposing ideas of God’s universal desire for the salvation of all while atoning for only some as being in tension without even the slightest doubt that their exegetical underpinnings might be wrong. I mean, would anyone have the gall to suggest that the revered and respected John Murray and Louis Berkhof might be the ones not being “faithful to the biblical data”? Besides, Van Til, who confessed that the extent of his exegesis of Scripture began and ended with Murray, finds considerable support for his analogous view of truth and contradictory doctrine of Scripture from these men. Not surprisingly, all these men were aligned in opposition to Gordon Clark.

This unquestioned deference to academics and professional theologians is a fatal blow to theology and is one reason, I believe, the Reformed faith has become so increasingly anemic. It is precisely when we hit these points of tension, these so-called “apparent contradictions” of Scripture, that theologians need to go back to the drawing board and recheck their premises. If they won’t, then it’s the duty of every Christian to see that they do. The Bereans were deemed more honorable because they refused to accept the words of even the Apostle and instead “searched the scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” Jesus said the Scriptures “cannot be broken” which means no contradiction is of the truth. Sadly, instead of challenging these academics when they chalk up their dialectical and contradictory theological pronouncements and formulations to the Creator-creature distinction or some “archetypal/ectypal” slight of hand, many just accept these assertions at face value.


The One-Two Punch Of Weasel Words

November 15, 2007

weasle.jpg While Calvinism is easily defined, hyper-Calvinism is one of those weasel words people use, even among those who think of themselves as Reformed, to label anyone who doesn’t agree with them on the question of limited or particular atonement. Another favorite slur is to call someone a “rationalist” for rejecting the abandonment of logic when coming to the Scripture. Now, a “rationalist” has a very definite and historic meaning, as does “hyper-Calvinist,” but the connotations both words carry is why they’re commonly used as slurs. The other value of these names is that if you get hit with the first the second is never far behind.

Generally, someone is called a hyper-Calvinist if they deny that God desires the salvation of all men, even though these same folks (generally) agree that Christ’s death only atoned for just some men, i.e., those chosen by the Father and given to the Son. Consequently, those who maintain that God desires the salvation of those God has chosen not to save are confronted with a bit of a logical disconnect, but for many this disconnect becomes the mark of Christian piety and anyone who thinks otherwise is, you guess it, a “rationalist.”

I believe this interesting form of the abusive ad hominem most commonly stems from a desire to soften or curb, not just logic, but the extent of the atonement. It’s no secret that limited atonement, the Big L in the Five Points of Calvinism, is what most people find problematic. First, limited atonement is just not fair and doesn’t the Scriptures teach that God wants everyone to be saved? Well, doesn’t it? Besides, if Christ has come to save just some and not all, what will happen to evangelism and missions? What is surprising is that limited atonement is problematic even for those calling themselves Calvinists.

For example, in his book, Desiring God, John Piper recognizes the logical dissonance created by asserting God’s desire for the salvation of all yet atoned for only some. Unfortunately, Piper’s “solution” is to simply assert that we should “not allow some alien logic to force us to choose between these two teachings of Scripture.” Did you catch that? The answer to the question of how God can desire the salvation of all, yet only provide atonement for some is not to actually show how these supposed truths of Scripture cohere, but rather the answer, in the form of a veiled command, is to just believe that they do, shut up, and don’t ask any more questions. After all, who wants to be guilty of imposing an “alien logic” on the Scriptures? And, since Piper nowhere explains what this “alien logic” is or how it can be identified, isn’t the abandonment of logic in general better than being guilty of impugning the teaching of Scripture? For men like Piper “Scripture leads precisely to [the] paradoxical position” that God chooses select individuals unconditionally on the basis of the good pleasure of His will alone and yet at the same time desires the salvation of all.


Prayers for John

November 12, 2007

I received a letter (below) from Trinity Foundation concerning John Robbins’ battle with cancer and his upcoming (fourth) surgery. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Robbins or the work of Trinity Foundation please go here. As for my two-cents, aside from keeping virtually all of Gordon Clark’s books in print (which alone is deserving of my lifelong admiration and indebtedness), John has been tireless in fighting the rise of the neolegalism of the Federal Vision and New Perspectives in P&R churches for more than a decade. I know he has put a number of important projects aside in order to focus his efforts on exposing these false teachers and was sounding the alarm — and sounding it loudly — when most folks now getting into the fight still had their heads deeply buried in the sand.

In addition to authoring a number of books, including an essential critique of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and hundreds of essays (many which can be found at the TF website), Dr. Robbins was Chief of Staff (1981-1985) for current presidential contender and the only person fit to hold that office, Congressman Ron Paul.

Not surprising, at least not surprising given his association with Paul, John is also a brilliant free-market economist and philosopher and his recent publication, Freedom and Capitalism: Essays on Christian Politics and Economics, is absolutely must reading for . . . well, everyone. His lectures on biblical economics, available free for download at the TF site, are equally essential. It has been my desire for a number of years that he would work those lectures into another volume and it is my prayer that the Lord will give him the time to complete this work and the many other projects he put aside in order to expose the heretics of the FV and now to battle this insidious disease. I’m sure his family are praying for these things too and so much more.

The church needs John around for a very long time, if for no other reason than just to irritate his critics.

Here’s the letter and some specific things to be praying for:

Dear Friend,

As you may know, Dr. Robbins, the President of The Trinity Foundation, was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer more than two years ago. Since then he has had three major surgeries and received three rounds of chemotherapy. He showed no evidence of disease for about a year before his cancer recurred in April 2007.

He is scheduled for his fourth liver surgery November 16 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. This is the most serious and complex operation he has had yet, and we ask that you pray for him, for his surgeon, Dr. Michael Choti, for his wife Linda, and for their daughters and their families.

God has brought Dr. Robbins through this trial in a most remarkable way, blessing him with a very supportive family and expert doctors. We pray that God will make this surgery successful and that once again there will be no evidence of disease in his body.

Thank you for your concern and your prayers.

Tom Juodaitis
The Trinity Foundation
The Bible alone is the Word of God.
November 7, 2007

Being Careful Of What You Wish For

November 12, 2007

For anyone interested in reading the judgments against the Louisiana Presbyter for their twice exoneration of Steve Wilkins, here are some downloadable PDF files of the judgments: SJC 2006-2 and SJC 2006-8.

You’ll note per Complaint of TE James Jones, Et.Al. Vs. Louisiana Presbytery SJC 2007-8 above:

In sum, it is the opinion of the Standing Judicial Commission that Louisiana Presbytery erred in its interpretation of the proper standards and procedures for dealing with TE Wilkins’ expressed differences from The Westminster documents, which, as BCO 29-1 and 39-3 both note are “accepted by the Presbyterian Church in America as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.” Moreover, there is at least a strong presumption that Presbytery erred in failing to condemn the views in question. Indeed, Presbytery’s citation, without any caveats whatsoever, of the written and oral examinations of TE Wilkins as part of its grounds for denying the complaint of TE Jones gives the appearance that Presbytery is supportive of views such as those noted above, and it reinforces the concern that Presbytery has failed to meet its Constitutional obligations as noted above. It is for these reasons that the complaint is sustained and the judgment noted above is entered.

According to the BCO (Book of Church Order) 13-9f a Presbytery is “To condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them . . . .” This the Louisiana Presbytery failed to do. Now, per the decisions above:

Pursuant to BCO 40-5 the Standing Judicial Commission hereby cites Louisiana Presbytery to appear “to show what it has done or failed to do in the case in question.” To implement this process, RE Samuel J. Duncan is hereby appointed to: a) serve as prosecutor in this matter and conduct the case, which is designated as Case 2007-14; b) select Assistant Prosecutors from members of the General Assembly to assist him with this matter; c) draw an indictment to be served upon Louisiana Presbytery, with the circumstances and specifications therein not being limited to those raised in 2006-02 and 2007-8; d) prepare a citation instructing Louisiana Presbytery to respond, in writing or at a called meeting of the Standing Judicial Commission, to the indictment and to enter its plea to the matters contained therein not later than February 1, 2008. (BCO 40-6, 31-2, 32-3) If Louisiana Presbytery enters a plea of “not guilty,” then Louisiana Presbytery is directed to appear, through its representatives, for trial in this matter before the Standing Judicial Commission on March 5, 2008 (BCO 40-5, 40-6, 31-2, 32-3).

What this all means, at least according to Fred Greco (Senior Pastor at Christ Church PCA in Katy, TX) writing over on the Puritan Boards:

That Louisiana Presbytery will be summoned to appear before the SJC and will go on trial for failing to apply the Constitution to properly judge the case of Rev. Wilkins. If found guilty, the Presbytery – and all its ministers and churches – could be dismissed from the PCA.

The irony here is that back in 2000 the LA Presbytery considered leaving the PCA because of “serious doctrinal departures” of the PCA . Mark T. over at Federal Schism was digging around old archived issues of PINS (Presbyterian International News Service) and came across an interesting little historic nugget. At that time Rev. Wilkins and the Session at his Auburn Avenue Church was encouraging the LA Pres to consider “peaceably withdrawing from the PCA as a presbytery in order that we might continue to serve the Lord in fidelity to His Word.” According to Wilkins the PCA “has begun tolerating serious doctrinal departures from the truth of Scripture as contained in its constitutional Reformed standards; specifically on the issues of creation, the Apostolic gifts and the role of women in the church, which errors will inevitably lead to others.” All good points, but really let that sink in for a minute. Steve Wilkins, a man who has done more than anyone in the PCA to disrupt its peace and corrupt its purity, was complaining that the PCA was “tolerating serious doctrinal departures from the truth of Scripture as contained in its constitutional Reformed standards.”


Wilkins Update

November 8, 2007

. . . it is the opinion of the Standing Judicial Commission that Louisiana Presbytery erred in its interpretation of the proper standards and procedures for dealing with TE Wilkins’ expressed differences from The Westminster documents, which, as BCO 29-1 and 39-3 both note are “accepted by the Presbyterian Church in America as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both faith and practice.” Moreover, there is at least strong presumption that Presbytery erred in failing to condemn the views in question.

Bob Mattes over at Reformed Musings reports that the SJC of the PCA has found the Louisiana Presbytery was in error when it, twice, exonerated Federal Vision master of ceremonies, Steve Wilkins, pastor of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana.

This doesn’t look good for either LA Presbytery or pastor Wilkins.  It does however look good for the PCA.  Praise be to God.

There is still a lot more work to be done, but this is a very encouraging first step.

The Obedience of Faith

November 8, 2007

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,
5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake,
6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

There tends to be some confusion as to what Paul meant by the phrase, “the obedience of faith.” While preaching on the above passage, my pastor, who is not a Federal Visionist by any stretch, explained the idea of “the obedience of faith” in terms of living the sanctified life and our growing in Christ’s likeness and holiness. While at first plausible, it struck me a little odd to think that Paul was concerned with how we might progress in our sanctification, particularly in a letter which is so focused on the idea of justification by belief alone. So I suggested to my pastor that this isn’t the only way to understand this phrase. I suggested that it could have to do with the simple act of believing the gospel and that seems to be implied by both the immediate context and in light of Paul’s extended argument that follows. My pastor agreed and said that the commentaries he read in preparation for his sermon came down on either side.

Normally differences in interpretation might make for interesting discussions in the narthex after a Sunday morning sermon and at least it lets the pastor know some of us are actually paying attention.  However, the import of the phrase “the obedience of faith” has been brought into high relief thanks to the heresies of the Federal Vision and the so-called New Perspectives on Paul. For example, Don Garlington in a piece, The New Perspective on Paul: An appraisal Two Decades On, writes:

In simplest terms, this is the Already and the Not Yet of biblical redemption. From this eschatological perspective, it is by virtue of the twofold gift of Christ and the Spirit that individuals come to faith and then render to King Jesus “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 16:26). In Mosaic language, this is none other than the mandate of Lev 18:5 and Deut 4:1, 10, 40; 5:29-33; 6:1-2, 18, 24; 7:12-13 that Israel “do the law” and “live” as a consequence. As such, the obedience expected of the church is none other than that demanded of Israel. If “doing the law” was the precondition of the Israelite’s enjoyment of life in the land, then no less is expected of the Christian believer, whose obedience is directed toward the Christ of the gospel (John 14:15; 15:1-11; Jas 2:18-26; Rom 2:6-11).

Traditionally, Protestant theology has had grave reservations about connecting works of any sort with the ultimate justification/vindication of the believer.


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