The Comedy Stylings of the Federal Division


A little over a week ago, things were flying fast and furious over at the Greenbaggins blog comment box as the schismatics of the Federal Division were busy grandstanding and stamping their feet. Needless to say their fancy footwork was effective and the number of comments from both sides of the Federal Divide topped 700. That may be a new record for any FD related blog.

The interesting and predictable thing about the fallout from Steve Wilkins hightailing it out of the PCA, is that now all the Federal Divisionists are in full spin mode trying their best to blame Wilkins’ yellow tail on the PCA’s SJC — what the FD men call “the PCA’s Star Chamber.” It’s been almost comical at times with some of the biggest laughs coming from James “Shecky” Jordan, the man other FD men call the godfather of FD soul (which says more about the FD soul than its supporters and defenders even imagine).

Here is just a small sample of his stand-up routine:

FV teaching is totally orthodox and in keeping with the WCF and the Protestant Reformers. Nobody in the FV world has divided the Church over these issues. 100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people.

“Shecky” Jordan may not be ready for that gig in the Catskills, but his material is still “killer.” The joke here is that when virtually every P&R denomination along with a handful of P&R seminaries have issued formal papers exposing and denouncing the FD as being contrary to both the Confession and the Scriptures, that the FD men are really innocent victims who have done precisely nothing to disrupt the peace and purity of the church. Play laugh track here.

Of course, any good comedian has to be able to handle hecklers and “Shecky” Jordan is no slouch. So, when it was pointed out that it is now virtually the universal opinion of the P&R church that the FD is in fact preaching another gospel, Jordan snapped back:

Seven denominations wrote attacks on straw men and scarecrows, never once dealing with what FV people teach and say. Never once phoning or contacting them. Luther was treated far better.

This is what’s called in the FD trade the “you didn’t try to call me” comeback. The FD men have issued paper after paper, blog after blog, book after book, conference after conference providing detail information concerning the many facets, nuances and doublespeak of the FD system along with their Novel Perversions of Paul (NPP), and when it is pointed out that their doctrines do not match up with either the Confession or the Scriptures, their well-orchestrated retort is: you didn’t try to call us. Now that’s funny.

Of course, none of these men can seem to explain how talking to them over the phone, over a beer or privately will change or alter what they’ve said publicly, but it’s still good for a laugh. It’s a whole lot easier to complain that you haven’t been understood then to actually have to prove your point in writing. Regardless, evidently the FD men don’t like having to stand behind their public record.

Of course, every good comedian needs a big finale and “Shecky” Jordan doesn’t disappoint:

The FV is historic Calvinism. All FVers hold to the Bible, and therefore to Titus 3:5, and therefor to justification by faith alone. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either a liar or badly misinformed or some kind of easy-believist like Clark or Scofield or Ryrie or Kline. The FV position on the possibility of apostasy is the view of the Banner of Truth materials we all read a generation ago, of Al Martin and John Murray and of the Reformed tradition. The FV controversy was generated by envy, personal antagonism, and political ambition. At no time has the FV ever caused any trouble in any church. The trouble was started by, fueled by, sustained by, and continued by anti-FV people for the reasons given above, joined sadly by misinformed men who believed lies.

. . . FV is historic Calvinistic orthodoxy. This has been proved time and again.

The decisions of the microdenominations count for nothing, because at no time have they ever investigated the FV. They have only made pronoucements about what THEY say the WCF says in THEIR readings of it. They have never dealt with the Word of God.

Now, of course, the first joke is that the FD is historic Calvinism. Play laugh track here. Under the FD those who may be one day united to Christ and are obligated to keep the demands of the conditional FD covenant may find themselves roasting in hell. As FD man Joel Garver explains:

Sadly, many of those who are among the elect people will turn out to be reprobate through apostasy. Nonetheless, God’s purposes stand as he gathers his elect people in and through the covenant. Those who persevere in faith have no one to thank but God in his free and sovereign electing love poured out — salvation is by grace alone. Those who apostatize have no one to blame but themselves for having squandered God’s good gifts…. If someone is in Christ by baptism — united to the Head as a member of the Body — then that person is elect. If that person apostatizes and no longer abides in Christ (like the branches in John 15), he is no longer elect in Christ, but is reprobate, should he never repent and return. Whatever time we abide in Christ is a manifestation of God’s electing love for us and faithfulness to us.

This sounds more like historic Arminianism and Roman Catholicism. Frankly, it is historic Arminianism and Roman Catholicism. As FD leader Doug Wilson explains; “When you baptize an unrepentant pagan, what you actually get is a covenant-breaker. His baptism now obligates him to live a life of repentance, love and trust, which he is refusing to do.” Of course, historic Calvinism argues that it is not baptism that makes an “unrepentant pagan” a covenant breaker, but rather the imputation of Adam’s sin. Being sprinkled by or immersed in water even by a Christian minister (as opposed to a CREC minister) doesn’t make an unbeliever a covenant breaker, he already is one in Adam.

Besides attacking the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, all of the preceding petals in the historic Calvinistic flower of TULIP are redefined and reshaped in the FD meat grinder. What comes out the other end has nothing to do with historic Calvinism.

The next joke in “Shecky” Jordan’s finale is that he sandwiches two famous dispensationalists (Cyrus Scofield and Charles Ryrie) between two famous Calvinists (Gordon Clark and Meredith Kline). While we can dispense with the dispensationlists, the real targets of Jordan’s joke are Clark and Kline. Kline for defending the covenant of works and the idea of merit and Clark for clearly, biblically and unambiguously defining faith that leaves no room for works.

The final joke in “Shecky” J’s repertoire is that the criticism and controversy of the Federal Division was “generated by envy, personal antagonism, and political ambition” and that at “no time has the FV ever caused any trouble in any church.” Play laugh track here. Of course what makes this joke so funny is that Jordan at no time documents any of his charges. He is a man who believes because he says something it must be true for no other reason than he says it. Now that is really funny.

Next, and thanks to “Shecky” J’s contribution on Greenbaggins, I had the opportunity to revisit a piece John Robbins wrote about the “Sheckster” back in 1992. It’s amazing how clearly Dr. Robbins traced out the FD even before this particular heresy was given its name. God willing that will be my next blog.

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, James Jordan

2 Comments on “The Comedy Stylings of the Federal Division”

  1. Compare Jordan’s statements here with the stuff revealed by the Biblical Horizons Yahoos blog. The man is a straight-up liar, just like his father.

  2. Hugh McCann Says:

    “Anyone who thinks otherwise is either a liar or badly misinformed or some kind of easy-believist like Clark or Scofield or Ryrie or Kline. The FV position on the possibility of apostasy is the view of the Banner of Truth materials we all read a generation ago, of Al Martin and John Murray and of the Reformed tradition.”

    Shecky, you’re killin’ us (or at least those following you), but you forgot your punchline: the Antinomians’ antinomian, BoTT founder and heretical proponent of easy-believism, Martyn Lloyd-Jones!

    This WAS funny too: “Luther was treated far better.” But he was the original easy-believist!

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