Reasoning with the Unreasonable

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.”

2. Election by baptism

Leithart affirms that all baptized persons are elect in Christ and that election has both a “general and special” sense.  Leithart believes “Baptism expresses God’s eternal sovereign choice of an individual to be a member of the people of God; and those who are members of the church stand righteous before God, are holy, and are sons,” but “there are some who are made sons by baptism who fall away.”  And, in case anyone could be blind enough to miss it, Leithart adds, “That does express my view of baptism.”

To this departure from the Confessional standards the PNW committee asserts that it “does not judge Dr. Leithart’s views to be out of accord with the WCF.”

3. Imputation of obedience

Leithart is at best agnostic on the question of imputation, claiming that he is “unsettled.”  Yet, how can any Christian teacher and minister be “unsettled” on the question of the imputation of Christ’s obedience?  This alone should be enough to disqualify him from any Christian pulpit, Reformed, Presbyterian or otherwise.  Leithart writes:

I affirm that Christ’s obedience was necessary for our salvation, and affirm too that Christ’s history of obedience becomes the life story of those who are in Christ. I’m not sure ‘imputation’ is the best way to express this. It’s not clear to me that the Westminster Standards require belief in the imputation of Christ’s active obedience.

Notice, Leihart affirms Christ’s obedience was necessary for our salvation, but in what sense?  After all, Romanists believe that Christ’s obedience was necessary for salvation.  Since Leithart believes the idea of Christ’s obedience being reckoned or imputed to believers “might not be the best way to express” the role Christ’s obedience plays in our salvation, what’s left?  Could it be that Christ’s obedience provides an example for us to emulate so that we might exercise our “covenant faithfulness” in order to receive final justification. something which Leithart tells us only the “doers of the law” can achieve?  It would seem so.  As cited in the minority report, Leithart again appeals to union:

… By union with Christ, that verdict [which Christ received at his resurrection] is also passed on us. In this construction, there is no ‘independent’ imputation of the active obedience of Christ, nor even of the passive obedience for that matter; we are regarded as righteous, and Christ’s righteousness is reckoned as ours, because of our union with Him in His resurrection. What is imputed is the verdict, not the actions of Jesus, and this is possible and just because Christ is our covenant head acting on our behalf.

You might have noticed that Mr. Leithart is not “unsettled” at all and completely rejects the biblical doctrine of imputation, even as it applies to the passive obedience of Christ.  What is imputed is not Christ’s alien righteousness at all, either passive or active, but rather a verdict – “and not the actions of Jesus.”

On the basis of this anti-Christian nonsense the incompetent and criminal shepherds currently occupying  the PNW concluded that

. . . Dr. Leithart’s admission that “imputation” may not be the best way to express the idea that we are made righteous before God on the ground of the righteousness of Christ evidence that he denies the doctrine of the WCF.

Well, if the above statements by Leithart are not an explicit denial of the doctrine of the WCF, it is hard to imagine what is?

4. Merit

Leithart denies the very idea of merit and states that he does not believe “that Adam or any human being could merit anything before God.”  Adam could not merit eternal bliss by his obedience to the demands God imposed on him in the Covenant of Works and Jesus Christ could not merit anything for those whom He died by his obedient sinless life and cross work.  Leithart adds,  “Yet, because the eternal Son is the equal of the Father, He and His work have an inherent worth that no creature has before God. If this is what “merit” expresses, I do not disagree.”  Well, that’s not what merit means according to the Confession.  WLC 155 states that it is “in the merit of [Christ’s] obedience and sacrifice on earth” [and for the blind members of the PNW that means on the basis of Christ’s active and passive obedience] that Christ makes intercession “continually” for us before the Father, even giving us “access with boldness to the throne of grace, and acceptance of their persons and services.”  WCF XVII:2 states that the very perseverance of the saints is based “upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them . . . .”  Not so says Mr. Leithart.

Yet, in spite of Leithart’s rejection of the role merit plays in the biblical scheme of salvation, the PNW committee “does not judge Dr. Leithart’s views to be out of accord with the WCF.”

5. Union with Christ

Leithart writes, “I do believe that all of Christ’s benefits are “subsumed” under the heading of union with Christ. This renders imputation ‘redundant’ . . . .”

Yet, and as the Minority report rightly notes, the fifth declaration of the Federal Vision Report states:

“The view that ‘union with Christ’ renders imputation redundant because it subsumes all of Christ’s benefits (including justification) under this doctrinal heading is contrary to the Westminster Standards.”

Clearly A is not A in the befuddled minds of those who wrote and voted in favor of the PNW majority report.  Could this be the Vantilian love of paradox once again rearing its ugly head again in the PCA?  It would seem so.   Interestingly, one man commenting on the proceedings of the PNW on the Puritan boards observed:

John Frame’s theology has had a very detrimental impact on the PCA, and his denigration of the confessions, false positing of ST against BT, and “multi-perspectival approach” were all specifically and repeatedly invoked (Frame’s name even being brought up several times) against sane, confessional theological debate. It was astounding how many times the “bible vs. the confessions” was bandied about, and how many times the threat of becoming a “dead and rigid confessional church” was seen as the end of the argument. I did not see any difference whatsoever between a broad-evangelical disregard of confessions, and what went on in the PacNW presbytery yesterday.

Not surprisingly, the men on the PNW concluded that the above view of union that renders imputation  “redundant” is not “out of accord with the WCF.”

On a side note, this provides another great example why anti-Federal Vision forces should have immediately called for a recorded vote after the voice vote carried on the floor of the GA (does anyone read Roberts Rules anymore?) approving the non-binding FV/NPP report.  My guess is that there are some PWN members who voted in favor of committee report on the FV/NPP who also voted for the majority report exonerating Leithart.  After all, is anything unbelievable when even the law of contradiction has been abandoned as it has been in the PNW?

6.  Baptism and covenantal union

Liethart’s understanding of baptism and covenantal union has been already well covered.  He holds that those who are baptized and who are thereby accounted members in the church “stand righteous before God, are holy, and are sons . . . .” This righteous and holy standing before God in the case of many baptized members is fleeting since according to Leithart “there are some who are made sons by baptism who fall away.”  This is what happens when you replace imputation (which Leithart calls “redundant”) with the anti-Christian FV doctrine of union (the doctrine Keister’s beloved former Westminster Seminary prof, Dick Gaffin, has championed for decades).

Liethart argued that he doesn’t see any of this as presenting “a ‘parallel’ soteriological system to the decretal system.”  Of course he doesn’t. Not surprising, the PNW committee agreed and stated that they again do “not find his views out of accord with the WCF.”

7. Union with Christ and benefits

As should be by now obvious, Leithart believes “that some are united to Christ yet do not persevere (John 15)” unequivocally rejecting perseverance as one of the benefits of being united to Christ.  Doing the typical FV jig around the parable of the vine and branches, Leithart appeals the same tired analogy of marriage and divorce, nicely following the lead of his employer, Doug Wilson:

During the time they are branches in the vine, they do receive benefits from Christ through the Spirit and may enjoy real, personal, and deep communion with Jesus for a time. Yet, their relationship with Christ is not identical to the relationship of the elect. Put it this way: Some are united to Christ as members of the bride but are headed for divorce; others are united and headed for consummation. Marriages that end in divorce are not the same as marriages that end happily.

Like Wilson, Leithart believes that some Christian, who we are told are made holy and righteous sons of God through the waters of baptism, go to hell.  Evidently missed in all this is that men like Leithart are leading the way. And, so are the men who make up the PNW who affirmed that “In the committee’s judgment there are no statements in evidence to indicate that Dr. Leithart denies the WCF‘s doctrine.”

8. Temporary benefits

Even Leithart imagines his readers now understand where he stands on this one and only refers to previous answers already given.

Not surprisingly and not to beat a dead horse, even one that deserves a beating, “The committee does not judge Dr. Leithart’s views to be out of accord with the WCF.”

9.  Justification by works

If questions of baptism, union, merit and the covenant seemed at all esoteric, justification by works should at least be more than enough rubber on the road for even the most spiritually blind presbyter.  Liethart writes:

We are righteous before God by faith because we are united to Christ the Righteous [no, we are accounted righteous because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, but we’ve already covered that – SG]. James says that we are “justified by works.” I don’t know precisely how to take James, but I believe we must, in faithfulness to Scripture, affirm that we are justified by works in whatever sense that James means it.

Now, and as I’ve said elsewhere, any Protestant pastor who does not already know “how to take James” when he said we are “justified by works” has no business in any Christian pulpit or teaching impressionable minds, even those poor souls subjected to such nonsense at Wilson’s FV New St. Andrews school.   But, in fairness, Liethart is just being coy as he knows full well how he “takes James.”   As cited in the PNW minority report, Leithart clearly and unambiguously affirms justification by faith and works:

“. . . . 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.”

Read that paragraph again. Salvation by faith and works could not be taught more clearly. This man should be defrocked and should have been years ago.  Then, should he fail to completely repent of his sinful and pernicious doctrines, he should be excommunicated and cut off like the dead branch he is.

Yet, and you probably guessed it, the majority report charged with examining this rank and proud heretic concludes; “The committee does not find Dr. Leithart’s views out of accord with the WCF.” Big surprise.

I suppose the only real surprise was Lane Keister’s reaction to the PNW majority report.  Keister wrote:

I have to admit that I am somewhat flabbergasted that the Pacific Northwest Presbytery (of course, there was a minority that disagreed, and will push matters further) would so soon forget the lessons learned from the Louisiana Presbytery case regarding Steve Wilkins . . .  what happened was that the majority report went through all the differences and ruled that all of them were exceptions, none of which struck at the system of doctrine. The report that was approved at GA says differently. Let the PNW beware. They will be brought up on charges of negligence and refusal to find a strong presumption of guilt. It will happen in much the same way that the Louisiana case turned out, Rob Rayburn notwithstanding.

Notice first that Keister is “somewhat flabbergasted” that the PNW would exonerate and protect Federal Visionist Leithart.  What is flabbergasting is that Keister would be even “somewhat flabbergasted” by their conclusion since the PNW reached the exact same conclusion about Leithart that Keister did concerning Leithart’s buddy, employer, and fellow Federal Vision heretic, Doug Wilson . . .  and this after having his ears publicly tickled by Wilson for over a year. Keister wrote at the conclusion of his year long review of Wilson’s diatribe against the Christian faith, Reformed is Not Enough, and after extensively interacting with Wilson on points raised in the book and then some,

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 . . . .

You can almost hear the gavel coming down along with the pronouncement: “The committee does not judge Doug Wilson’s views to be out of accord with the WCF.”  Rather than being the hero of the faith fighting against the corrupting influence of the Federal Vision within the PCA, Keister has become the Federal Vision’s most accomplished enabler.  As someone who witnessed the fallout over at Greenbaggins said to me privately, “The charity and patience and respect accorded these false teachers is staggering.”  One might be tempted to think that Keister would by now have some clue as to the affect his own clean bill of health of Wilson has had, but I’m convinced he doesn’t get it.

Then again, maybe he does?  Perhaps he thinks that no court in the PCA could ever convict someone like Leithart, a man who believes and teaches that “covenant faithfulness is the way to salvation,”and this for the same reasons that Keister came down on the wrong side in his own dealings with Wilson?  Perhaps he thinks that since he was bamboozled by Wilson, a second rate scholar and theologian, albeit a first rate con-man and snake-oil salesman, that no Presbytery could rightly judge Leithart who is without question a much more subtle and irenic defender of the FV than the completely boorish Wilson.  Admittedly, I doubt it.  However, that would at least explain why Pastor Keister believes that the way to deal with Leithart is to “put the squeeze” on another derelict PCA presbytery rather than charge any of these proud FV heretics directly.

Could it be that Keister has already forgotten what happened in the case of the Louisiana Presbytery regarding Steve Wilkins?  I doubt that too.  In that case when it was clear that the members of the Presbytery weren’t going to sacrifice themselves for Wilkins, they provided Wilkins with just enough time and cover to leave the PCA as a minster in good standing for the FV safe-haven of the CREC.  Then the members of the Louisiana Presbytery took their lickins and got a proverbial slap on the wrist all the while repenting of their dereliction of duty on one procedural count. Keister evidently thought this was a great victory for the cause of the Gospel.

So what is to prevent the same thing from happening in the Leithart case since Keister is advocating for the courts of the PCA to follow the same procedure?    After all, Leithart is already employed at Wilson’s FV school and last I checked he still preaches at an FV CREC church in Moscow (Idaho), so it’s not like he’d even have to pack a bag (I know, Wilkins didn’t have to pack a bag either, but I just like the imagery).

I suppose another question is why would any PCA pastor be permitted to pastor in the CREC which is an openly FV denomination in the first place?  Regardless, Kesiter writes, “Let the PNW beware. They will be brought up on charges of negligence and refusal to find a strong presumption of guilt.”  Oh my, I’m sure those who voted in favor of the majority report are quivering in their knickers just waiting for the SJC boom to fall. My guess is these guys know those in the PCA are unlikely ever to take on Leithart directly, so the least they could do is provide some more cover for their friend and mentor in order to make his transition into the CREC a smooth one.

One would think that in spite of Keister’s ominous warning that the “PNW beware,” charging Leithart directly with teaching deadly heresy would be the way to handle the situation?  Isn’t that what Paul instructs us to do in Rom 16:17; “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Here we have a man who openly denies the doctrine of imputation, who thinks it a “redundant” addition to his anti-Christian notion of  “union,” and who teaches a scheme of salvation by faith and works that would make the pope — any pope — blush, and this man cannot be successfully prosecuted in the PCA?  It would seem so.  That’s why I ventured back on the Keister’s blog to write,

. . . . instead of charging this brazen and proud heretic for advancing a false gospel, he’ll be squeezed out only to leave the PCA as a minister in good standing as he continues to teach his false gospel from the comfort of the CREC. The courts of the PCA will again remain moot on what ByFaith called the “issue of a generation.”

Is this a mark of a healthy church where the preferred means of dealing with false teachers is to charge the Presbyteries that defends them?

Admittedly, it still seems a very reasonable question in light of Keister’s seemingly dire but sadly misdirected warning.  Here is Keister’s response:

Sean, you were banned, and I never lifted the ban. Now you come in here and blast the PCA without any thought as to the slowness of the process. Wilkins would have been defrocked had he stayed, so your argument is worthless. You are permanently banned from this blog.

What was that about trying to reason with the unreasonable?  Notice, I didn’t say anything about the “slowness of the process.”  Admittedly the PCA has been unconscionably slow in dealing with the FV and frankly they still haven’t dealt with it as the Leithart case makes painfully clear.  What I did argue against was the failed process Keister was advocating. You would think that men like Keister would welcome charges being filed against someone like Leithart so everyone could know, once and for all, whether the false gospel of the FV can be taught alongside the true gospel and with impunity in the PCA?  Evidently not.  Keister would rather repeat the failed scenario we saw played out in the case of Steve Wilkins.

Yet, in spite of such a glaring failure to adjudicate even one FV false teacher, Keister claims “Wilkins would have been defrocked had he stayed . . . .”  How could Keister possibly know this?  Did he receive some sort of charisma or word of knowledge?  Has he been on the 700 Club?  Is it impossible to imagine that had Wilkins been tried he might actually have gotten off?  Is it impossible to imagine that the SJC might have arrived at the same conclusion in a Wilkins trial that Keister arrived at after carefully examining Wilson or the PNW arrived at after examining Leithart?  Is it impossible to imagine that the PCA might have ended up exonerating Wilkins the same way the OPC exonerated unrepentant Sheperdite John Kinnaird?

What Keister fails to get is that without a trial we will never have a definitive statement on the FV from the high court of the PCA.   If Leithart were to be exonerated we could know that as a matter of court precedent the PCA permits the teaching of the false gospel of the FV alongside the true gospel, just like they do in the OPC.

In any case, I hardly think pointing out the PCA’s failure to biblically deal with the rank heretics in her midst is “blasting” the PCA.  I  very much love and pray for the PCA and have many close friends whom I love and pray for still in the PCA.  Rather than banishing their critics, even friendly ones,  men like Keister ought to be working even behind the scenes to help draw up charges against dogs like Leithart.  Instead he wants to remove Federal Visionists by strong-arming a virtually apostate presbytery while allowing the guilty party to sneak out the back door yet again.

Again, how is this a mark of a healthy church?

Which brings me to one final personal note. I noticed that immediately after getting the permanent left-foot of fellowship from Keister, Church of the Redeemer Pastor, Gary Johnson, who has also had some less than Christian words to say about Dr. Robbins and the work of the Trinity Foundation, referred to me as a “sewer rat.”  Admittedly, this is a step up from “Turd” which was Johnson’s previous name for me. Yet, Johnson and Keister are considered by some to be perfect Christian gentlemen.  If that’s the case, I prefer to be counted with the “sewer rats.”

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21 Comments on “Reasoning with the Unreasonable”

  1. justbybelief Says:

    Sean,

    My first and only post was removed from Keister’s greenbaggins blog while trying to refute a Roman Catholic posting there. It was obvious to me that those commenting there were falling all over themselves pandering to this Roman Catholic who was ‘selling’ RC dogma. Their comments toward this RC did not measure up to the Apostle Paul’s rebuke of the Galatians and his harsh words (actually the Holy Spirit’s words) to the Judaizers. I guess I was just unkind to this Judaizer and my comment was removed.

    Anyway, If you’re a “sewer rat” and the Apostle Paul referred to himself as offscouring, you’re in great company. And, remember the words of the writer of Hebrews speaking of the prophets: “(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” It’s to bad many in the Reformed churches have abandoned this category. Remember, it was the religious community who called for Christ’s crucifixion.

    In Christ,

    Fellow sewer rat,

    Eric Broch

  2. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Eric, what I’ve realized is that as the Federal Vision has continued to infiltrate the churches in the PCA is that the problem isn’t (as Paul Elliot argues in Christianity and Neo-Liberalism) with those in the squishy middle, but with the anti-FV leaders themselves. Even RE Bob Mattes, a regular contributor and author to Greenbaggins and a man for whom I have considerable respect, writes:

    Leithart could save a lot of effort and embarassment[sic] for his presbytery by simply transferring to the CREC now.

    Bob evidently has forgotten the value even a feigned martyr can have in promoting any cause and the PCA is about to create another FV martyr by again choosing to go after Leithart in the same failed, ineffective and indirect way it went after Wilkins. I appreciate that Bob, being a military man, sees the futility in the current PCA approach to men like Leithart when he writes:

    Wilkins bolted for the CREC as a prosecutor was being assigned to write up his indictment, but only after wasting several years of effort and precious church funds that could have gone to missions or evangelism. As Santayana once said, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. I wonder if may in the NWP have heard of Santayana.

    Now, it’s always possible that Leithart is an even more arrogant man than Wilkins and will stick around and submit himself to a trail if the PNW is ever forced to conduct one. Just don’t bet on it. Of course, Bob too wants to continue to tell himself and others that everything is alright and asserts:

    On the good side, brothers in the LAP repented of their Federal Vision theology after the SJC took action. The PCA judicial process worked as it was intended. Now, with the Northwest process started, one has to wonder if Missouri and Ohio Presbyteries are getting the hint yet.

    Uh, no, Bob, the LAP did not repent of their Federal Vision, they repented of a “failure to find a strong presumption of guilt’ that some of TE Wilkins’ theological views were out of conformity with the Constitution and in not pressing forward with a trial.” This is hardly a wholesale repudiation of the Federal Vision which these men have positively fostered and advanced as they are accessories in Wilkins’ crimes against the gospel. BTW I lifted that quote from the SJC decision reprinted on Bob’s blog.

    FWIW, evidently Lane’s brother, Arne (an RE at Redeemer PCA and member of the Ohio Pres), may find himself in a similar situation, that is being forced as a member of the Ohio Pres to repent of his “failure to find a strong presumption of guilt” in the case of FV Bill Smith, pastor of Redeemer’s sister church also in Louisville, KY. If you’re interested I wrote about Smith here.

  3. Steve Matthews Says:

    Sean,

    My name is Steve Matthews and I’m a long time reader of your blog but have never introduced myself. As a fellow scripturalist and admirer of Gordon Clark and John Robbins, I appreciate your strong defense of rational, Biblical Christianity. For what it’s worth, I think your comments on Green Baggins were right on the mark. Thanks for fighting the good fight..even with the unreasonable.

    In Christ,

    Steve

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Steve. Thanks for introducing yourself and for your encouraging words. It is odd that PCA pastor Keister would essentially break fellowship and silence another Christian on his blog, particularly one whom you would have thought was working for the same end and that is the removal of FV teachers from the PCA, for such petty and lame reasons. But, then again, the PCA states in their report that the FV/NPP men are their “brothers,” so I guess it’s to be expected.

    Cheers.

  5. rgmann Says:

    But, then again, the PCA states in their report that the FV/NPP men are their “brothers,” so I guess it’s to be expected.

    That’s the crux of the problem, Sean. Men like Keister and Johnson view the FVist’s as “brothers” within the pale of Christian orthodoxy, while you (and I) view them as anti-Christian heretics who are peddling a false gospel. Viewed from that perspective, much of what you say is judged to be “harsh” and “unloving,” just as I’m sure the Judaizers judged the words of the Apostle Paul to be. Don’t let them deter you! Keep up the good work! Fight the good fight!

    In Christ,
    Roger

  6. justbybelief Says:

    Thanks Sean,

    I read the article about Smith. It is evident to me that the PCA not only needs a recovery of reformation theology, but that, it needs to be coupled with reformation vehemence, the spirit of Luther, if you will. There should be some shoes banging on tables everywhere within that denomination as well as the OPC.

    Eric

    “Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured.” Hebrews 13: 13

  7. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Roger

    Men like Keister and Johnson view the FVist’s as “brothers” within the pale of Christian orthodoxy, while you (and I) view them as anti-Christian heretics who are peddling a false gospel.

    Read those citations I provided above from the pen of Leithart. The man is an antichrist and that’s being nice. He is a brazen, arrogant, albeit passive-aggressive false teacher feigning humility, yet consider what Johnson wrote concerning his friend Peter Leithart:

    May I point out that at no time during this controversy have I singled out for criticism (here or elsewhere) Peter Leithart, who all would consider one of the more prominent names associated with the FV. Why, you ask? Peter and I graduated in 1987 from WTS (Phil.) with our ThM degrees. Peter went on to Cambridge and I entered the PhD program at WTS. I have over the years read with much appreciation Peter’s writings in Credenda/Agenda and even though I didn’t always agree with what he was saying I appreciate his tone and the matter in which he wrote. He didn’t make snide or inflammatory remarks about those with whom he disagreed (he was the only FVer who acknowledged that Waters had indeed correctly represented his views and interacted with Guy’s book in a fair and courteous fashion). He didn’t insult them and call them names and he most certainly did not suggest that his views were the only ones that really were true to the Reformed tradition. As such I respect Peter.

    Could it be any clearer why the PCA has failed to correctly and biblical deal with **even one** of these false teachers? Now Johnson isn’t PCA (FWIW I have no idea what Redeemer is), but here is a man who clearly has deep affection for Leithart, despite his gross and open attacks on the Christian faith. Johnson says, “I didn’t always agree with what he was saying I appreciate his tone . . . .” Talk about a man who loves to have his ears tickled. Of course, Johnson is a beloved and welcomed author and is one of Lane’s close friends and is even a moderator on Greenbaggins.

    I am more convinced than ever that the problem with the continued spread of the FV is a problem of leadership. It certainly explains why Keister wants to play games like trying to force the most egregious of the FV men out the back door without calling any of these men to account.

    It is shameful.

    Anyway, keep posting on Greenbaggins. It’s always good to read your posts.

    I haven’t seen Bob Suden post in a while? I know he was close to getting banned from Keister’s blog for not correctly fawning over John Frame.


  8. Hi Sean,

    Been busy lately and GB has kind of lost its cutting edge. Lane’s selling/pushing books now, having given as you said, Wilson a hall pass to the john so he can keep on smoking and pushing the Fed. Schism on the not so sly. I think he was kind of testy because yr. comment hit too close to home. Hey, if Rey can post, there ought to be room.
    The PCA/PNW presbytery is not a hotbed of orthodoxy. (My experience is with the last in the late ’80’s, but the big name/s haven’t seemed to change.)
    Reed banned a few of my posts, but I said what I wanted to re. Doktor Frame and his snake oil and moved on. Darryl Hart got involved and I don’t know what happened. Is your comment on being banned a surmise, opinion, second hand rumour . . . ?

    “Correctly fawning”. Hmm. I’ll have to work on that.

    cordially,
    Bob S.

  9. gusg Says:

    Dear Sean,
    I thank God that I am outside of the visible church. There is nowhere to go in the Toronto area. So we have church at home—since I am an ordained minister. This reminds me so much of my experiences in the RPCGA.

    Dont let yapping dogs bother you. THe PCA is DEAD as is the OPC, and from the sounds of it the Bible Presbyterians and the URCNA are not far behind. (The URCNA is the Christian REformed Church of the 1970s). Like the 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal, we are largely invisible, being 2 or 3 gathered here and there. Being faithful is what counts, not “reforming” denominations, which are doomed to playing “who can compromise fastest and most politely”. As to Christian “gentleman” I do not consider anyone “gentle, etc. blah blah blah…” who tolerates, befriends and comforts heretics. Clearly such a man is a bloody bastard…he is no child of God. He has blood on his hands…To use scriptural language he is a “son of Belial…” I am not afraid to say that. How will they answer for the souls they destroyed? I am enormously suspicious of anyone who is “offended” by my tone, and does not give a whit about my content. Are there not times that we need to call “shit” “shit” and not bio-organically derived nutrient rich fertilizer?

    I will leave you with an interesting anecdote. When here in Ontario, many years ago a professor and ordained minister stirred up controvery, by leaving his wife and moving in with his male lover, it created quite a buzz amongst the supporters of the Dooywerdian organization he was a member of. Well, they held a meeting and as they were discussing it with great tolerance, sympathy and compassion (for the now homosexual professor—not his wife), and old Dutch farmer stood up, to comment–for he had had quite enough. He said the following, “Brothers, Im an old pig farmer, and we pig farmers know, that when you stand in it long enough, you dont smell it no more. Brethren we’re in it up to our ears, and we dont smell it no more…”

    Thank God for pig farmers who have more sense than most elders.

    Sincerely,

    Gus Gianello

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    Is your comment on being banned a surmise, opinion, second hand rumour . . . ?

    Hi Bob.

    It’s been some time since I’ve played baseball, but since the mod’s spanked you with a strike or two I figured strike three wasn’t far behind.

    “Correctly fawning”. Hmm. I’ll have to work on that.

    All the best with that. FWIW I haven’t mastered it. Of course, before you start practicing you might want to start your own blog instead. If you decide to go that route, since you’ve already had a number of posts censored, let me know and I’ll make sure to link you here.

    As for Rey, good point and telling too. There was a time when I was willing to believe Lane when he said he was essentially providing the honey for the FV bees. That is until he blessed Wilson and made a fool out of me and a number of others. There was a time when I might have wondered if even his “dire warning” for the PNW was sincere or if he had something else up his sleeve? Needless to say I’ve been convinced there isn’t anything up his sleeve.

  11. brandon Says:

    nevermind, looks like that’s already linked from the puritanboad


  12. Thanks Sean,
    There are more cans of worms than time, Frame’s latest, Wilson & Knox, Needham on the WCF and psalmody. . . but we’ll see how it goes.
    Lane is supposed to be doing his phd? thesis on FV so what? he wants to stay on speaking terms? Don’t know. Interesting to hear his brother is also a PCA RE. Reminds me of when I was in the PRC’s, blood sometimes is thicker than sound doctrine. Just like the current financial debacle sometimes it takes a real event to wake the frogs up before they boil to death. The PCA has drawn the line on paper. Will they back it up with action? Only time will tell. Sadly in the PNW the PCA is not too presbyterian.
    Bob S.

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Interesting to hear his brother is also a PCA RE. Reminds me of when I was in the PRC’s, blood sometimes is thicker than sound doctrine.

    Let’s hope he doesn’t preach on Luke 14:26 any time soon. 😉

  14. Pat Says:

    Sean, what the heck is the matter with you?

    I just typed out a very relevant response to Denson and you close off comments. AGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think it also would have been very helpful to all.

  15. Sean Gerety Says:

    All I can tell you Pat is start your own blog.

  16. Pat Says:

    Sean, are you for real?

    I’ve had a blog up for over half a year. It’s listed as my website that is requested from me when I signed up for this blog.

  17. Pat Says:

    In case you don’t see it, or that for some reason others here don’t know about it, it’s lawyertheologian.wordpress.com. OF ONE MIND is the title.

  18. Sean Gerety Says:

    Good. You run your blog the way you want and I’ll run mine as I want. Don’t like it, then too bad.

  19. lawyertheologian Says:

    Yes it is, though I don’t mind much at all how you run your blog.

    And I know I should have posted my response to Denson first before posting my response to you. I should have known you would close comments after that response.

    I hope that both of our blogs can continue to be profitable in advancing Clarkian and Biblical thought.


  20. […] a signer of the Joint Federal Vision Profession,   you can see a summary of Leithart’s views here and Wes White’s excellent review of Leithart’s damnable The Baptized […]


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