As the Federal Vision pressure cooker builds and the likelihood that the entire Louisiana Presbytery will be wiped from the PCA for their twice failure to rightly deal with the gross heresies of FV magnet, Steve Wilkins, the blogosphere has started to get inundated by a new wave of amateur Federal Vision apologists fresh from Moscow (Idaho, of course). The great thing about these neophytes to the FV wars is that they’re not nearly as circumspect or as skilled at deception as their teachers. Consequently, they express and defend their neoliberalism and false gospel in terms that even the most determined fence sitter can’t ignore (assuming there can be any left at this late date).
As an example, recently over at Greenbaggins(es) blog comments Pastor Gary Johnson served up this revealing quote from CREC FV minister and teacher Richard Lusk (former assistant pastor of Wilkins’ Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church, PCA, in Monroe, Louisiana):
“Initial reception of the white garment is by faith alone; ongoing possion[sic] of the garment is MAINTAINED by faithful obedience…Their ‘whiteness’ before the Father’s throne is due solely to his death and resurrection. In this sense, the robes stand for initial justification. BUT this forensic justification cannot be seperated[sic] from the GOOD WORKS that MAKE THE SAINTS WORTHY OF THEIR NEW APPAREL. In others words, the poetic imagery points in the same direction as the theological prose of Paul (Rom.2:13) and James (2:14ff): those who will be vindicated in the end are those who have been faithfully obedient”
To the above I remarked that Lusk’s quote “is another in a long list of amazingly, openly heretical, anti-Christian statements coming from the FV men.” I then asked how can any man calling himself a Christian embrace such a man or even call him brother? Adding, “It constantly amazes me that any of these men are allowed to preach and teach in any Christian denomination. They belong to Rome heart and soul.”
In response to my only slightly veiled swipe at the otherwise excellent PCA FV Committee Report which for some reason assumes Federal Visionists like Rich Lusk above are our brothers in Christ, Wilsonista and Christ Church member Jeff Moss rushed to Lusk’s defense:
Now here’s the heart of the Lusk quote: “Initial reception of the white garment is by faith alone; ongoing possession of the garment is maintained by faithful obedience…Their ‘whiteness’ before the Father’s throne is due solely to his death and resurrection. In this sense, the robes stand for initial justification. but this forensic justification cannot be separated from the good works that make the saints worthy of their new apparel.”
In turn, what amazes me is how some of these Reformed apologists denounce paraphrases of Biblical passages as false teaching or heresy. Doug Wilson talked about apostates having been sanctified by the blood of the Covenant, and he was loudly criticized for this perversion of Reformed theology — but it turned out that he was quoting Hebrews 10:29. Now read the following statements and compare them to Lusk’s quote above:
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.“
“I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent…. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with [Christ] in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments.”
Both of these are taken directly from the words of Christ and of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. Now, Pastor Lusk says that “ongoing possession of the [white] garment is maintained by faithful obedience,” and that “the good works…make the saints worthy of their new apparel.” Compare these quotes with the words of God quoted above, and then tell me why you think Christians should be ashamed even to call Lusk a brother.
Of course, the heart of the Lusk quote is just as Pastor Johnson quoted him and with emphasis so no one could miss it:
“Initial reception of the white garment is by faith alone; ongoing possession of the garment is MAINTAINED by faithful obedience…”
Neither the writer of Hebrews or John in Revelation teach any such thing and that the ongoing possession of the “white garment” – the imputation and covering of Christ’s active and passive obedience – is maintained on the condition of our faithful obedience. The Scriptures nowhere teach the two-tier scheme of justification advanced by these shameful heretics and false teachers.