Archive for October 2008

Reasoning with the Unreasonable

October 9, 2008

As someone who has just been “permanently banned” from posting on Lane Keister’s Greenbaggins blog, it has become painfully evident that Pastor Kesiter just doesn’t get it.  It’s not that I haven’t tried to reason with him.  But, as Dr. Robbins said after the first time Keister gave me the left-foot of fellowship for calling Vantilian John Muether an “untrustworthy” historian in light of his unsupportable revisionism of the Clark controversy, I “shouldn’t waste any more time trying to reason with the unreasonable.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t take Dr. Robbins’ advice and made another feeble and evidently foolish attempt to again reason with Pastor Keister.

But, before getting into Keister and how I arrived at my state of permanent banishment, I want to look at the problem that lead up to Keister’s boot ending up once again in my, well, keister.

On Friday, October 3, 2008 the Pacific Northwest Presbytery [PNW] exonerated Federal Visionist and PCA pastor, Peter Leithart, stating that his teaching, specifically in the areas where he took issue with all nine declarations found in the PCA’s committee report on the Federal Vision and so-called “New Perspectives,”is in complete conformity with the Westminister Confession of Faith.  Once again a major court in the PCA has affirmed that the Federal Vision is not just some novel teaching that is to be tolerated (which would have been bad enough), but is an acceptable scheme of salvation that can be taught with impunity within the PCA.

The PNW issued both a majority and minority report in light of their examination of Leithart.  Thankfully, the minority report offered some hope that there are still at least couple of Christians left in the PNW, even if they’re not the majority.

Prior to this bankrupt presbytery giving Leithart a clean bill of health, some might recall that immediately after the adoption of the PCA’s non-binding report on the FV/NPP, Leithart fired off an open letter to his Presbytery informing them of his disagreements with all nine of the declarations. Here is a brief rundown of Leithart’s rejection of the nine declarations and the PNW’s majority ruling in each case:

1. Regarding bi-covenantal structure

Liethart rejects the idea of a Covenant of Works in contrast with the Covenant of Grace and contends that “the differences between Adamic and post-lapsarian covenants are not at a ‘soteriological’ level . . .  but at the level of covenant administration.”

According the WCF VII the Covenant of Works promised life “ to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.” The Covenant of Grace offers to sinners “life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.” You’ll notice that In both cases, and in opposition to Leithart, both the “Adamic and post-lapsarian covenants” differ greatly and precisely at the “soteriological level.”  One promises life to Adam and his posterity on the basis of Adam’s perfect and personal obedience, whereas the other promises life as the result of belief alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone.

Elsewhere the Minority Report makes clear Leithart’s opposition to the Confessional bi-covenantal structure where he writes:

Yes, we do have the same obligation that Adam (and Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Jesus) had, namely, the obedience of faith. And, yes, covenant faithfulness is the way to salvation, for the ‘doers of the law will be justified’ at the final judgment. But this is all done in union with Christ, so that ‘our’ covenant faithfulness is dependent on the work of the Spirit of Christ in us, and our covenant faithfulness is about faith, trusting the Spirit to will and to do according to His good pleasure.

In spite of Leithart’s clear rejection of the  bi-covenantal structure taught in the Confession, the PNW committee ruled that it “does not find his views out of accord with the WCF.”


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