Federal Vision Charm School

snake-charmer.jpg I thought I’d share a few thoughts concerning Mark T.’s exposé, Bag o’ Snakes, over at the Federal Schism blog. Needless to say Mark has come under some fire from Federal Vision fanatics for publishing an exchange from a private Yahoo email list for subscribers to James Jordan’s rag, “Biblical Horizons.” The FV attack Chihuahua’s are all in a self-righteous froth over this breach of privacy and the glimpse it’s provided into their little private party.

Now, first, let’s get that “private” nonsense out of the way. Jordan’s list is open to all those who subscribe to Jordan’s rag. You pay your money, you can join the list. Rough estimates are there are approximately 200 people on the list. Hardly a small group of friends. But did they really think that in a group that large no one would have the courage to defect? Doug Wilson trying to do some damage control complained on his blog :

Everyone on the list agrees to the rules in order to participate. In short, there is no way for someone to forward information from that list to others outside the list without breaking his word in a strikingly dishonorable way.

Well, I don’t know where folks are required to make this vow of silence, but I checked the Yahoo group listing, which is also published on Mark T.’s blog, and there is nothing whatsoever in the list rules that state list members must agree to never “forward information” to “outsiders.”

Here are the list rules if you haven’t already seen them posted at Federal Schism:


1. Biblical Horizons’s list is a restricted email forum that exists to foster informal discussions on matters of biblical and theological issues from a Reformed theological perspective. Many of us on the list are good friends and we will often speculate freely without fear of overbearing chastisement from each other. BH exists for intramural discussions among those who share certain biblical and theological convictions. BH welcomes discussions of these and any well-considered Biblical themes, but if you disagree with our common assumptions, then as our guest we hope you will respond to our hospitality with your respect for our ideas. (You may be asked to find another forum if you cannot refrain from argumentative disputation.)

2. You must be a subscriber to Biblical Horizon’s newsletter to join this list! We will cleanse the list of those whose subscription is not current. To subscribe send your name and address to Biblical Horizons, P.O. Box 1096 Niceville, Florida 32588 or call 850-897-5299. You may also email James B. Jordan (jbjordan4@cox.net) with your request. We will extend a free six-month trial subscription to anyone who asks to be on the mailing list. After that, you should make an appropriate donation to continue to receive the mailings. Only those who have made financial donations are eligible to join the email list.

Wilson must be using that funny FV logic again to be able to infer a vow of silence and secrecy from the above list restrictions. I admit it does appear that Jordon only wants his friends and sycophants on the list. Plus, there is no question he feels quite at home talking to like minded teachers, pastors and conspirators like Steve Wilkins, John Barach, Jeff Meyers, Jeffrey Steel, Mark Horne, Tim Gallant, Rich Lusk, Doug Wilson and others. Too bad for him but it looks like some unwanted Christian joined his list as well. Oh, well. Not only does he need to hold a good old fashion Chinese struggle session to ferret out non FV list members, but I think he should pre-screen anyone foolish enough to subscribe to his newsletter. Maybe he could come up with a multiple choice quiz for subscribers along with a loyalty oath for new members to sign.

The only thing I can tell from whoever leaked the list discussion is that some “don’t respect” the ideas expressed on the list. Big deal, what Christian would?

With that out of the way, Mark T. lists a couple of reasons why making what these dogs say in private public is a benefit to the Church:

For one thing, it establishes many points that they [the FV men] have adamantly denied. For example, they have denied that they are a movement with an agenda. These emails suggest otherwise. They have denied that they use talking points. Again, these emails contradict this. They have affirmed that they are teachable. These emails certainly prove the opposite. In short, these emails confirm that the FVists are a factious sect with bad intentions.

Great points. However, the benefit I see is that this discussion shows how positively agreeable these FV dogs are to Romanism with slight caveats of course, but not on the question of justification. Comments by James Jordan and Peter Leithart for example demonstrate these men are extremely comfortable with Rome’s doctrine of justification. The deafening silence from the other participants also indicated a similarly high degree of comfort as well. This too was revealing, because despite their public grumblings and disavowing of every convert to Romanism who cites the FV as the reason for their conversion, the hole on that door in Wittenberg is about to be filled and Doug Wilson and the rest of his cabal have the wood putty in hand.

Then there is their preemptive scramble to make sure everyone has their ducks in a row in order to deflect any future criticism of New Prespectives guru N.T. Wright as these men look to his eventual ascendancy in the Anglican church. I found it all a fascinating read. Doug Wilson said the published exchange “seemed like a generally reasonable, backroom theological discussion to me.” Well, I don’t know about reasonable, but consider this fair warning if Wilson ever invites you to one of his “backroom theological discussions.”

What a dishonest bunch of snakes indeed, but of course FV men and their sympathizers all whine that they’re being treated unfairly, Matthew 18 has been violated and nobody understands them (except fellow FV travelers of course). So, let’s take a look at a couple of examples that are openly favorable to Romanism laced throughout their now public conversation. And, we’ll start with the man Andrew Sandlin and others consider the godfather of FV soul and the host of the list, James Jordan:

From: James Jordan
Date: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:39 pm
Subject: Re: [bibhorizon] Re: Sproul Jr. on Auburn Avenue

RCJr. follows papa in making anti-romanism the sine qua non of true Christianity, IMO. We were talking a few years ago, and he said Romanists aren’t Xians and aren’t saved because they don’t believe in justification by faith alone. I said that we aren’t saved by believing in justification in faith alone, but by faith in God, whether we understand the ins and outs of it or not. This was clearly a new thought, as I could tell by his face. Evidently it was a new thought that he did not accept. IMO the idea that you can only be saved if you understand that justification is by faith alone is heresy. It’s weird for someone who believes in paedocommunion to hold to such [expletive deleted].

In case anyone is missing the players here, R.C. Jr. is R.C. Sproul Jr. and I’m sure everyone reading this blog knows who “papa” is and it’s not the pope. Notice the half-truths and deception in Jordan’s response to R.C. Jr.’s objection that Romanists aren’t Christians and aren’t saved “because they don’t believe in justification by faith alone.” First Jordan purposely twists Jr.’s meaning by noting “we aren’t saved by believing in justification in faith alone.” That is true. No Christian is saved by believing in justification by faith alone. Who said they were? We are saved for Christ sake alone and by the imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience alone, or as the Confession puts it, “by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them.” We are not counted as righteous because of the act of faith, or by faith in justification by faith, or even the actions that result from faith, but rather because of the actions of Christ. Faith “is the alone instrument of justification” as it rests and receives what Christ has done for us completely apart from us.

Even a child can understand that it’s not belief that saves, but rather what saves is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. That is the meaning of R. C. Jr.’s objection to the idea that Romanists aren’t saved “because they don’t believe in justification by faith alone.” Admittedly, it may not be weird for someone who believes in paedocommunion like R. C. Jr. to be caught like a dear in James Jordan’s headlights, but how could any Christian minister deserving of the title be so easily fooled?

Without imputation there is no justification.

Yet, for this motley and conspiratorial mutt and list host, Romanists are Christians and they are saved by faith in God even if they, like him, have no understanding of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Which brings us to the pedigreed poodle of the lot, Peter Liethart. Dale Courtney, who, ironically teaches 9th grade “Eurpoean History” [sic] at Wilson’s Logos School for Spiritual Impairment and who has also forgotten the Reformation (note to Courtney, it is part of history and it happened in Europe), points out that it was Leithart’s blog piece, “Strange Doings,” that evidently “set them off” (“them” being R. C. Sproul, Jr. and Robert Barnes who both seemingly have defected from FV orthodoxy which got Jordan’s fellow conspirators rushing to guard the fortress).

So, in case anyone missed the link on the Federal Schism website, here is Leithart’s blog in its entirety:

Strange Doings
[Theology – Soteriology | Link | Print]

There are strange doings in the Reformed world these days. One of the strangest I’ve come across recently are comments from one Reformed elder who complained that NT Wright’s views on justification were introducing a new Romanism. According to this writer, it is no defense of Wright to point out that he insists that justification is a forensic act, since today even Roman Catholic theologians admit that. This is bizarre in the extreme. Five hundred years ago,
Protestants would have been dancing in the streets to hear that Catholic theologians admitted that justification is a forensic act. They would have declared Luther’s protest a success and gone on building a unified Christendom. Today, maintaining the separation of Catholic and Protestant has
become so important that even theologians who teach forensic justification are suspect because Catholics teach that too.

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, December 19, 2003 at 07:16 PM

While Leithart and Courtney do a jig over Luther’s grave, professors and ninth grade teachers are evidently stupider than the pupils they corrupt if they think admitting that justification is a forensic act makes Roman Catholics, or even ever popular Anglican writers, Christians. It’s not merely parroting certain words that makes a particular set of words biblical, sound, and orthodox, it is rather the meaning these words are intended to convey.

Consider this from Wright:

Is there then no ‘reckoning of righteousness’ in, for instance, Romans 5.14–21? Yes, there is; but my case is that this is not God’s own righteousness, or Christ’s own righteousness, that is reckoned to God’s redeemed people, but rather the fresh status of ‘covenant member’, and/or ‘justified sinner’, which is accredited to those who are in Christ, who have heard the gospel and responded with ‘the obedience of faith’. [emphasis added]

Justification as a forensic act that results from hearing the gospel and responding with the obedience of faith is not biblical justification, with or without the word “forensic” attached to it. Without imputation there is no justification.

Dr. Sidney Dyer in his piece, “Tom Wright’s View of Justification,” observes a similar deception in Wright’s use of the phrase “the righteousness of God”:

It should not be thought that every occurrence of the phrase “the righteousness of God” always has the same meaning. The context must be the deciding factor. What Wright denies is that the phrase ever expresses imputed righteousness . . . .

Wright’s view of justification is an attempt to reverse the Reformation. We must resist such attempts. The issue is one of life and death – eternal life and eternal death. When theological professors and pastors abandon the biblical and confessional doctrine of justification, they sacrifice the gospel and the souls of men.

While light foot Leithart dons his toe shoes and tutu and the boys in the backroom practice swaying to and fro while playing the pungi, only the foolish and gullible can fail to see that it’s not the snakes who are being hypnotized by these second rate charmers.

Woodward and Bernstein had their “Deep Throat” and Nixon was a crook. Mark T. has done a service exposing these men to the light.

. . . do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them . . . .

Explore posts in the same categories: Doug Wilson, Heresies, James Jordan, Jeff Meyers, Peter Leithart

23 Comments on “Federal Vision Charm School”

  1. dmcourtn Says:

    How odd to see my name pop-up on a Google search saying that I teach 9th grade European History at Logos School.

    Never have.

    If you cannot get something this elementary correct, I sincerely doubt you can get more important subtleties correct.

    Correct it, or stand in violation of the 9th commandment.

    Dale Courtney
    Moscow, Idaho

  2. magma2 Says:

    Pretty quick on raising the Law and the ever popular “violation of the 9th commandment” flag don’t you think? I realize this is par for the course when dealing with neolegalists, but I would be happy to issue a correction without all the foot stamping.

    Now, it’s always possible that there is another Dale Courtney from Moscow, Idaho closely associated with Wilson and the Krist Kirk Kult (KKK for short and given Doug’s views on slavery, quite appropriate I should say). 😉

    But, before issuing that correction, please confirm that the information on the Logos website is not a reference to you. The Logos School website lists “Dale Courtney: 9th Eurpoean History” under Logos Secondary School staff (http://www.logosschool.com/staff/Faculty_Sec.asp).

    That’s not you? So are you saying there are TWO Dale Courtneys in tiny Moscow, Idaho both connected to Doug Wilson’s false religion? While certainly possible, call me a skeptic.

  3. rgmann Says:

    You scoundrel Sean! How dare you post such an obviously false reference to this poor man! Now, go out and immediately repent in dust and ashes!

    Yet, alas! — forgive me for sounding like an empiricist — I see it there too: “Dale Courtney: 9th Eurpoean History” under Logos Secondary School staff” (http://www.logosschool.com/staff/Faculty_Sec.asp). You didn’t secretly plant that reference on the Logos School website did you?

  4. dmcourtn Says:

    You guys crack me up. A violation of the 9th commandment is now neo-legalism?

    I’ll leave you to play in your own sandboxes.

  5. magma2 Says:

    Thank you Dale for that tacit admission that the real violator of the 9th commandment is you!


  6. Machaira Says:

    Hey, that was interesting. Let me see if I got this straight. So Mr. Courtney is going to run away without as much as a simple confirmation that the info found on the Logos website is incorrect . . . and in the process make himself appear to bear false witness? Or, was his initial post of righteous indignation a complete sham?

  7. timharris Says:

    I’m seeing the same claim on the Logos web site as well. Could it really be that there are two Dale Courtneys in Moscow connected with the Kult?

  8. timharris Says:

    Although Sean, switching to American History for a moment, the KKK had nothing to do with slavery, and the first KKK was arguably a necessary citizens’ militia. I’m not getting into here however.

  9. magma2 Says:

    I’ll have to give Senator Byrd a call. 😉

  10. Kyle Says:

    Hmm, it now appears that CARLA Courtney is the “9th Eurpoean History” teacher.

  11. Machaira Says:

    It doesn’t surprise me.

  12. Mark T. Says:

    This is a typical exchange with Dale “Mr. Personality” Courtney. He left the local listserv years ago after too many people caught him making too many misrepresentations. He lost all credibility. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad, because then he started his own blog where he could respond to the listserv with typical Kult vituperations and remain immune from fact checkers. People still regularly comment about his slimy, hateful disposition, which appears to give him great joy. In the end, however, these acts of blind loyalty to the Fearless Leader and his Kult won Courtney a position as elder. It’s disgusting.

  13. Mark T. Says:

    Quick Correction (maybe):
    P. Andrew Sandlin declared James Jordan the “godfather” of Federal Vision during the De Regno Christi discussion of the FV controversy and I don’t remember Wilson agreeing with this. He might have, but it’s more consistent with his NPD to see himself as the lead Visionist and no one else. Clearly he sees himself in some sort of “prophet” role in this, and he has regularly called the FV a new Reformation, which implies that he is a new Martin Luther. I have two witnesses who say they heard him compare himself to Luther on more than one occasion and they are rock-solid reliable (I know this sounds absurd, but the man is a flipping loon). Anyway, not having double-checked DRC’s archives, I don’t think Wilson would affirm JJ the GF.

  14. magma2 Says:

    That’s an Elder!? He did seem like a liar purposely misrepresenting himself. To think I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought he was just an ignorant ninth grade history teacher. Now I see his culpability is far greater. I owe an apology to all ninth grade teachers.

    I see from Kyle above that he’s even had the Logos school web page changed. Funny how that works.

    FWIW Mark, I’m starting to get a better sense of what you’re up against there in Moscow. These men are without conscience. Too bad, it’s such a beautiful place to be so polluted.

  15. magma2 Says:

    I think you’re correct. I’ll change that to Sandlin just to make everyone happy. Thanks for the correction.

  16. Mark T. Says:


    He is a pig, plain and simple. He takes delight in insulting unbelievers and critics of the Kult, with cruel, vicious, and unconscionable slurs, which he posts on his blog daily. I urge people not to read it because it is so unclean, but it’s natural for folks to want to know what others say about them, so they subject themselves to his site.

    As you wrote, however, these men really are without conscience; they are sociopaths, every one of them (Wilson is a psychopath); and you cannot overstate the magnitude of wickedness on the Palouse. I have disclosed information very slowly on purpose because if I offloaded the whole truck at once, no one would believe it. Perhaps this might help. On Christmas Eve I called a friend to double-check some CREC facts for an upcoming series on the history of the CREC. He is a former member of the Kult who moved out of state after Wilson and Jones went after him. When he heard my voice, he said without hesitation: “Douglas Wilson is a diabolical force of evil.” And Merry Christmas to you too!

    Here’s another example. A neighbor of mine left the Kult (and the state) two summers ago and he vowed to never tell anyone about it. He said, “No one would believe me; it all sounds too crazy.” And he’s right. This place is absolutely psycho and no one would believe the whole story if someone, such as me, simply put it all on the table. Therefore, I have been deliberate and methodical in my revelations. In the words of a close friend, “Moscow is hell.”

  17. magma2 Says:

    Thanks Mark. One day I hope you can tell your own personal tale since you seem pretty well connected, and my guess is, you were once connected directly to Wilson. But, of course, I can only speculate.

    Is Courtney’s blog Right Mind? I confess, other than a couple of pieces favorable to Wilson and the FV, there doesn’t seem to be too much personal, combative or theological content. I didn’t dig too deep, but most posts seemed fairly tame right wing stuff. Hardly out of place in the great state of Idaho I should think. 😉

    Am I missing something?

  18. Mark T. Says:


    Affirmative, his blog is Right Mind. To find the stuff I referenced you’d have to match it against the 20/20 archives where various folks note his rampant dishonesty. Once you find those posts, you can cross check them against his blog. Or I could summarize it: take the tone he had with you, apply it to local unbelievers and throw in some cutting comments grounded in lies designed to offend pretty much anyone who doesn’t conform to the Kult’s mandates.

    On another note, can you leave me your contact information on my comments; I promise not to post it.


  19. helenslife Says:

    “No one would believe me; it all sounds too crazy.” And he’s right. This place is absolutely psycho and no one would believe the whole story if someone, such as me, simply put it all on the table. Therefore, I have been deliberate and methodical in my revelations. In the words of a close friend, “Moscow is hell.”

    I believe it Mark. I believe that “Moscow is hell” for you and your friends.

    Some of the nuttiest people in the world have somehow wound up in Moscow. Too many of them stay for way too long. Narcissists are especially attracted to Moscow for some crazy reason. A lot of them seem to be attracted to Doug Wilson, the big cheese of all Moscow narcissists. Narcissists attract narcissists. Go figure.

    Narcissists are best ignored. Problem is narcissists just can’t ignore all the other narcissists. In a place like Moscow that has so many narcissists, not to mention all the other crackpots, that can make for some major conflicts. They all need to compete with each other. Playing the “victim” is one of the biggest Moscow attention getters. The Moscow narcissists seem to have a driving need to compete to see who’s the biggest “victim.” One of their favorite “victimizers” is Doug Wilson.

    Strange how Doug Wilson inspires so many of them to start so many “victim” blogs. What they don’t seem to get is that Wilson loves the attention. He’s a narcissist too, the biggest one yet. Good publicity. Bad publicity. It makes no dif to a narcissist. It’s all good! The more victim blogs the better for Doug Wilson’s gygasmic ego.

    “On Christmas Eve I called a friend to double-check some CREC facts for an upcoming series on the history of the CREC. He is a former member of the Kult who moved out of state after Wilson and Jones went after him. When he heard my voice, he said without hesitation: “Douglas Wilson is a diabolical force of evil.” And Merry Christmas to you too!”

    Oh, Mark, you must be talking about Michael Metzler! Michael Metzler was one of the biggest narcissists Moscow ever had! Mowcow just won’t be the same without him. Luckily for you that leaves one less narcissist to have to compete with.

  20. lynn2 Says:

    Do you have any ideas about the new Christian Classical School movement that seems to be spear-headed by Doug Wilson. Our school is using the Omnibus textbook series and I was alarmed to see Doug Wilson and most of the authors are FV people. Do you happen to know if the Federal Vision theology is taught in these courses. Our school doesn’t have the textbooks they just study from notes so it is impossible for me to even view the textbook.

  21. magma2 Says:

    Hi Lynn. That is a very good question and unfortunately I don’t have the answer. I would have to think his theology would have to filter into these books even if indirectly. I’ve mentioned elsewhere for example that I heard Wilkins tell a packed room of college aged students that Christians “are made” through the means of forced baptism while lecturing on early Anglo-Saxon history. So, without having done a study of the textbooks I would be very suspicious. Frankly, I’m suspicious of anything with Doug’s fingerprints on it. Even if the books are FV clean, I wouldn’t want a dime of my own money going to the man or any of those associated with him.

  22. lynn2 Says:

    Thank you. That was my thinking as well. I find it very frightening that so many in the reformed faith who oppose his theology are still using his literature and formulating their schools after his model. I appreciate your input.

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