Archive for March 2008

Lane Keister Exonerates Doug Wilson . . . and so does the Puritan Board

March 18, 2008

One of the moderators over at the Puritan Board, Meg Thomas, writes concerning Lane Keister’s pastoral assurance that Douglas Wilson is A-OK, if only a little ambiguous, on the question of justification:

Why anyone should ever have to answer charges from Gerety is more than I can understand!

Of course no one has to answer to Gerety for anything. Giving aid and comfort to the enemies of Christ will require an answer however, even if not to me.

What this moderator at the Puritan Board fails to grasp is that if Keister is correct, and Wilson is in fact sound concerning the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls, not only are Gerety and Robbins and a host of other FV critics in serious need of repentance for writing that Wilson outright denies the biblical doctrine of justification, but Puritan Board owner and administrator, Dr. Matthew McMahon, is in need of some serious and public repentance as well.

Dr. McMahon offers the following assessment of Doug Wilson’s deadly and damnable position on some key Christian doctrines, not least of which is justification:

To summarize Wilson’s heretical position:

1. He redefines “Christian” to include anyone “in covenant” with God.

2. He redefines the church invisible and visible as historical and eschatological, overthrowing the ordo salutis and the historia salutis and confusing justification with glorification.

3. He believes in corporate justification which overthrows individual justification and redefines covenant inclusion by baptism instead of faith.

4. He believes in sacerdotalism, and believes the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches baptismal regeneration (which it does not) and overthrows justification by faith alone.

5. He denies that church discipline is of the esse of the church, but the bene esse of the church.

6. He believes baptism is efficacious for salvation (baptism saves, kept in his context) apart from faith.

7. He believes good works are the grounds by which one may have assurance of salvation specifically seen in accepting baptism without question. Baptism is then assurance (assurance by works).

8. He believes that faithfulness to the covenant is justifying (which is his corporate justification).

9. He affirms that the New Perspective’s “corporate justification” theology is true.

I’ve highlighted some of the key conclusive points for Meg’s benefit. How can someone “overthrow the doctrine of justification by faith alone” yet still affirm this same doctrine? Will moderator Meg be calling for the repentance of Dr. McMahon for offering the above conclusions to his review of Reformed is Not Enough? Or does moderator Meg not recognize that Keister’s and McMahon’s reviews of RINE are mutually exclusive? In words even a moderator of Puritan Board can understand; they both can’t be right.

Seems that the moderators over at the Puritan Board are once again on the wrong side of a key issue and have sided with an open enemy in a central battle over the Christian faith. At least their owner/administrator still understands the doctrine of justification is not a doctrine open for compromise and redefinition, even if his own moderators disagree.

Lane Keister Exonerates Doug Wilson

March 15, 2008

The biggest development in recent weeks in the battle to stop the spread of the Federal Vision is the clean bill of health Lane Keister gave Doug Wilson after spending months on his blog reviewing Wilson’s Federal Vision manifesto, Reformed Is Not Enough (RINE).

I was recently struck while skimming through another blog by Wilson titled, Vipers in Diapers, where Wilson asserts: “[Keister] has not found anything that would place me outside the pale of Reformed orthodoxy . . . .”

Needless to say I was dumfounded when I first read this. It is unfathomable to me that any Christian man can read RINE and arrive at a conclusion other than Wilson is a very skilled false teacher who has replaced the gospel of Christ with a clever fraud. So, thinking that John Robbins and I must have reviewed a different book, I asked Lane if he agreed with Wilson’s assessment. I asked: Do you consider Wilson within the pale of Reformed (Christian) orthodoxy?

Here is Lane’s response:

My problem with Wilson lies in this: although Wilson says many things that are Reformed in a positive sense, he is not willing to reject the errors of the other FV proponents. Personally, I am willing to believe that Wilson holds to justification by faith alone, although he is too ambiguous on the aliveness of faith and its place in justification. He does hold to imputation. But he will not distance himself from any error of the FV, no matter how egregious. That is why, if Wilson were to apply for admission into the Presbytery of which I am a part, I could not vote to approve his transfer of credentials. What I have sought to show is that it is not enough to affirm the truth. One must also reject the errors. This is equally important to affirming the truth. That is my answer, Sean.

That’s quite an answer. Remember RINE was written in response to the 2002 RPCUS “call to repentance” which accused Wilson and the rest of the Auburnites with, among other things, teaching . . .

“. . . that believers in Jesus can lose their justification and salvation . . . ”

“. . . [a] doctrine of election that teaches that the elect can apostatize . . . ”

“. . . that all who are baptized with water are by that baptism incorporated into Christ and are recipients of all the benefits of Christ’s . . . ”

” . . . [a]doctrine of justification that teaches that justification is a process beginning with baptism, which is contingent upon continual obedience to the Law of God, which can be lost by apostasy, and which is not completed until Judgment Day . . .”

“. . . [a] doctrine of justification by faith that defines faith as faithful obedience to God . . . .”

Evidently the RPCUS was wrong and it is they who need to be called to repentance. They clearly overreached when they charged “Douglas Wilson, Steve Schlissel, John Barach, and J. Steven Wilkins” with effectively “destroying the Reformed Faith.” At least in Wilson’s case, and according to Lane Keister, his only sin has been not distancing himself enough from the other FV men he associates with and supports. It’s not that he actually agrees with these more “egregious” teachers or that he is one himself, it’s just that he is willing to vote to approve their “transfer credentials.”

Remember Lane Keister was on the team assigned to prosecute the Louisiana Presbytery (LAP) for it’s failure to correctly deal with the teachings of Steve Wilkins. Had the LAP not pled guilty on one charge and the other was dismissed, perhaps Lane could have remained on the prosecutorial team had Wilkins stayed in the PCA to face trial and the case made it to the SJC.

Who says Wilkins couldn’t get a fair trial in the PCA? Since Wilkins and Wilson are in fundamental agreement on EVERY doctrine central to the Federal Vision, with Wilson being only a slightly better huckster in disguising the real nature of their poison, and, who would have no doubt testified on Wilkins behalf, it is quite possible that Wilkins could have found himself thrice exonerated in the PCA.

With the potential of men like Lane Keister prosecuting his case, it’s really a shame Steve Wilkins ran away.

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