Siouxlands Schizophrenia

schizophreniaIt appears that the Siouxlands Presbytery (SLP) of the PCA (the home Presbytery of Greenbaggins’ Lane Keister) is in the process of re-investigating one of their own TEs (teaching elder), Greg Lawrence, who is strongly suspected of advancing the Neolegalism of the Federal Vision. I say “strongly suspected” because an investigative committee appointed by the Presbytery already found “a strong presumption of guilt” in the teachings of Lawrence as it relates to the FV. It should be noted that the original request to investigate Lawrence’s Federal Vision was denied by the Presbytery claiming “insufficient evidence.” Only after a complaint was filed and later sustained by the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) did the Siouxlands Presbytery finally appoint the investigative committee that found Lawrence’s views out of accord with the church’s confessional standards by a 4 to 2 margin. For the record, I contacted Wayne Golly, Stated Clerk of the SLP, requesting a copy of the committee’s report since I was curious to see what the findings of the committee were and what these men were voting on. He told me the committee report “is not available for distribution beyond the members of SLP.” You can bet Siouxlands church members will similarly remain in the dark concerning the committee’s findings. However, not all is darkness. According to the Aquila Report:

Advocates of the committee recommendation were concerned about TE Lawrence’s statements that we are united to Christ and get new life in the water rite of baptism. They also argued that his teaching that in baptism even the non-elect in some sense receive new life, forgiveness of sins, adoption, and union with Christ was contrary to the Standards affirmation that such benefits only accrue to the elect. They believed that he was creating “a parallel soteriological system,” citing the General Assembly’s Federal Vision Report.

OK, so what’s next? At least according to the PCA’s Book of Church Order (BCO 31-2) following this investigation and the finding of a “strong presumption of guilt” in the case of Lawrence, “the court shall institute process, and shall appoint a prosecutor to prepare the indictment and to conduct the case.” Well, not so fast. This is the PCA after all.   Instead of proceeding to trial according to the established rules, the Siouxlands Presbytery completely rejected the committee’s findings and voted instead to exonerate Lawrence.

One of the two dissenting votes on the investigative committee, TE Joshua Moon, made the motion to dismiss the findings of the committee and his motion carried by a 24-13 margin.  That is a significant majority.  Oddly, the motion to exonerate Lawrence, also in response to another motion made by Moon, only carried by 20-17 with one abstention.  So at least 4 or 5 presbyters (depending how you want to count the abstention) are opposed to exonerating Lawrence, but are also opposed to the committee’s recommendation that Lawrence’s doctrines be tried based on their findings.

It appears that the Siouxlands Presbytery is more than a little schizophrenic in dealing with the Federal Vision and those suspected of advancing this particular false gospel

Well, it looks like the Siouxlands Presbytery may get another shot at figuring out where it stands or fails to stand concerning the advancement of the Federal Vision as it appears they’ve “repented” of their earlier decision to render the findings of investigative committee null and void and have appointed a new committee to investigate Lawrence.

But don’t think for a minute that the schizophrenia stops there.  According to the Aquila Report, this same Joshua Moon said on the floor of the Presbytery, and this time in his own defense,

that he believes that no reprobate person ever gets justification, and that he believes that the baptized reprobate do get forgiveness of sin in some real sense.

Now, read that again.  I certainly hope that those words attributed to Moon are accurate, because if they’re not then the folks at the Aquila Report have some explaining to do.  Of course, if they are correct, then not only is the Siouxlands Presbytery schizophrenic, but TE Moon is insane (I’m not exactly sure why Moon was mentioned by name in the earlier Aquila Report and not in the October, 26 Report when Moon’s defense of Lawrence was cited again with the above addition).

Of course, this same Joshua Moon is reported saying in defense of Lawrence:

In attributing to all the baptized some form of union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness, TE Lawrence is speaking the language of our tradition and of our Scriptures. By refusing to attribute absolute and final union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness, TE Lawrence is directly in line with our standards.

So, it would seem that Moon very much believes those baptized reprobates do have “union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness,” even if only “in some sense” which I can only assume is not in the “final” sense when you would think that union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness really mattered.   Although, who knows?   Why these men are never forced to define the precise sense in which they mean the things they say remains a mystery, because I can think of no sense in which the reprobate are justified,  united to Christ, adopted, or are the recipients of the new life.  The Scriptures and the Confession certainly don’t teach that, but it certainly is another example of a Federal Visionist trying to wiggle around the plain meaning of words like reprobation, election, justification, along with union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness.

And, if that weren’t enough, Moon adds:

The fact is, what TE Lawrence says on baptism is held in various ways and with various nuances by a lot of people in our PCA: from ministers and elders here in this Presbytery, myself included, to professors at our (emphasis in original) theological seminary, and even almost entire Presbyteries. Some are wanting to drive them all out and are asking you to begin that exile.

Sadly, this is very true.  Many in the PCA do share Moon’s contradictory view of baptism and justification.   Moon is also right when he says that his views on baptism and that of Lawrence are “held in various ways and with various nuances by a lot of people in our PCA: from ministers and elders here in this Presbytery …to professors” at the official seminary of the PCA; Covenant Theological Seminary.  This is tragic and merely points to the near complete apostasy of the PCA.

For example, Federal Visionist and fellow PCA Pastor, Jeffrey Myers also believes in the temporary justification of the reprobate and even claims to derive this so-called biblical “truth” from Matthew18:21-35.   Of course, Meyers dishonesty and subterfuge is easy to spot when he writes:

Now, I’m not sure I can make what Jesus teaches here fit into our systematic theological system. I will say this: I’m rather uncomfortable talking about “temporary justification,” given the way “justification” is commonly used by us. And common usage is very important. The common understanding of justification does indeed summarize well what the Bible teaches about our judicial standing before God on the basis of Christ’s finished work received by faith. But we must not, however, allow this truth to eviscerate passages like Matthew 18 or others that are difficult to “fit” into our system. I believe we are much better off allowing for some fuzzy edges and imprecision in our system so that the whole counsel of God is not lost to us because of our rationalistic tendencies.

Notice, Meyers’ exegetical novelty won’t “fit into our systematic theological system,” but he assures us that “we are much better off allowing for some fuzzy edges and imprecision in our system” as we affirm the irrational and pretend it’s biblical.   After all, not to accept and embrace the unthinkable nonsense advanced by dogs like Moon and Meyers who claim the reprobate are justified through the magic waters of baptism would mean losing  “the whole counsel of God . . . because of our rationalist tendencies.”  Oh my, we can’t let that happen.  How can anyone even contemplate such a flagrant evil as believing Christianity is a rational faith in which all the doctrines of Scripture logically and necessarily cohere? Of course, if Meyers is correct and Jesus is teaching a scheme in which “the reprobate can attain a state of justification for a time,” then not only does this not “fit into our systematic theological system,” but rather our systematic theological system (read the Confession) is wrong.

Somewhat surprisingly, if only because of its brazenness, Moon has even flown his FV flag in the official magazine of the PCA, byFaith, where he is quoted saying:

I don’t attach a special value to eternal election over and above any other doctrine of the church. However, Paul emphasizes it to the Ephesians, but not the Corinthians, or the Galatians, or the Philippians. [The prophets of the Old Testament are] by and large silent on the issue of divine (eternal and effective) election: they are more interested in the reality of ‘covenantal’ election, and urging those elected into the people of God by birth and promise to become and live like true people of God. That I take as more central to my task in preaching.

Of course the prophets of the Old Testament are not “by and large silent on the issue of divine election” at all.  God’s sovereign, eternal, and completely effective election is taught throughout the Old Testament.   But, notice, in opposition to “eternal and effective” election, according to Moon there is another type of election that is clearly neither eternal or effective and that is “covenantal election” in which people supposedly enter into by birth and not by faith.    Notice too that maintaining this so-called “covenantal election” is premised on living like the “true people of God”  and this is the “central task” of Moon’s preaching.  Clearly the Gospel is not one of Moon’s central tasks. Besides sounding like the typical FV scheme of works righteousness,  Moon is just regurgitating the old Jewish and Pharisaic belief that they had some special entitlement or claim to the Kingdom by virtue of their birth, something Paul refutes in Romans 4.  As John Robbins observes in Not Reformed At All:

Physical circumcision, to which the Jews looked for assurance [or baptism to which Federal Visionists look for assurance-SG] of their favor with God, had no part to play in Abraham’s salvation — and it has no part to play in the salvation of his children either. “For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law [and no one does], but if you are a breaker of the law [and everyone is] your circumcision has become uncircumcision.”  Further, “this blessedness” (Romans 4:6, 9) that is, salvation apart from works, comes on all who believe, whether they are physically circumcised or not. Paul further explained the reasons:

“For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all [Romans 4:13-16].”

The first reason for justification by faith alone that Paul presents is that the promise was not made to Abraham or his seed through the law, that is through their law-keeping, as the Jews misunderstood the Covenant, but through the righteousness received by faith alone. Paul says that if those who are of the law — those who bear the marks of the covenant and keep their noses clean, those whom Calvin called “saintlings” — are heirs of the promise, then the promise is made of no effect, for they are not saved, but objects of wrath.  Notice Paul’s argument here: The Jewish misinterpretation of the Covenant makes the promise of the Covenant ineffective (“of no effect”), for the circumcised [or Moon’s baptized reprobates who all supposedly enter the Covenant by virtue of their birth and baptism- SG] are not saved, but are objects of wrath, just as he had proved in chapter 2. This is the same Jewish misinterpretation of the Covenant that infected medieval churches, Reformed churches in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and American Presbyterian and Reformed churches in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In the place of an effective, efficacious Covenant of Grace, in which God writes his laws in the minds of all the members of the Covenant, these churches substitute an ineffective, objective covenant in which reprobate (children of the flesh) and elect (children of the promise) alike receive the promises of God in baptism. In opposition to this counterfeit covenant, Paul teaches a Covenant of Grace in which “the promise might be sure to all the seed.”

Moon clearly maintains two classes or types of election; one effective and eternal and the other, well, not so much.  Moon’s doctrine of election by virtue of birth and his belief that the baptized reprobate are “in some sense” justified, even if only for a time,  stands in direct opposition to at least 5 of the 9 concluding declarations found in the PCA’s FV/NPP report:

2. The view that an individual is “elect” by virtue of his membership in the visible church; and that this “election” includes justification, adoption and sanctification; but that this individual could lose his “election” if he forsakes the visible church, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

6. The view that water baptism effects a “covenantal union” with Christ through which each baptized person receives the saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, including regeneration, justification, and sanctification, thus creating a parallel soteriological system to the decretal system of the Westminster Standards, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

7. The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

8. The view that some can receive saving benefits of Christ’s mediation, such as regeneration and justification, and yet not persevere in those benefits is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

9. The view that justification is in any way based on our works, or that the so-called “final verdict of justification” is based on anything other than the perfect obedience and satisfaction of Christ received through faith alone, is contrary to the Westminster Standards.

While Moon has certainly demonstrated that his views are openly hostile to at least some of the conclusions of the PCA’s FV/NPP report,  Moon is certainly correct when he says; “Some are wanting to drive them all out [i.e., all those who share his anti-Christian parallel soteriological system and contradictory notion of baptism and justification] and are asking you [i.e., any remaining Christians in the Siouxlands Presbytery] to begin that exile.”  Of course, if the Siouxland Presbytery is any example, and despite all of his self-righteous carping, men like Moon have nothing to fear.   At the rate things are going it will be those remaining Christians in the PCA, those who still believe and love the Gospel, and who still adhere to the plain meaning of Confession, that will be driven out and sent into exile.

Let’s face it, when Moon asserts that the reprobate both get and do not get justification he’s in good company in the PCA.  Admittedly, if A were A and not non-A then it would follow that if no reprobate “gets justification,” then no reprobate is ever justified.  Of course, and as readers of this blog already know, the laws of logic don’t apply to the Federal Vision and their fellow travelers.  Common theological words like “reprobation,” “election,” and “justification” are completely malleable and can take on entirely different and even contradictory meanings that are supposed to be read “charitably” by Federal Vision opponents as they are systematically tied up in knots.

In the Federal Vision one might be reprobate one day, justified the next, and reprobate on the day after.  The only seeming difference in Moon’s confused mind is that the “baptized reprobate do get forgiveness of sin in some real sense.” Therefore it would seem that the water of baptism and the mumblings of some PCA priestling has the power to confer the forgiveness of sins thereby justifying at least one class of reprobates.  This obvious sacerdotalism aside, if the “baptized reprobate do get forgiveness of sin in some real sense” then why call them reprobate at all?   If they are reprobate all they received in baptism is a damp head as they perhaps repeat some words they don’t believe emanating like so much wind from the mouth of some pastor.  Again, if this Aquila Report account is true, and I have no reason to think that it isn’t, then not only should TE Lawrence be tried, but they should find a nice padded cell for TE Moon.

Thankfully, the Session of Foothills Community Church in Sturgis, S.D. made an overture requesting that the Presbytery do just that.  The Foothills’ Session asked the Presbytery to conduct a similar judicial investigation of the views of Joshua Moon. Unfortunately, it appears that despite the efforts of the Foothills Session, debate that included direct questioning of Moon was evidently quickly cutoff and the motion was called finding “no strong presumption of guilt” in the case of Moon.   Not only has another seeming Federal Visionist been exonerated by the Siouxlands Presbytery, but they have also effectively sanctioned the insane contradictory teachings of a lunatic.

It would seem that the next question is why does anyone need the findings of an investigative committee to file charges against either Moon or Lawrence?  In the case of Lawrence, they already have one set of findings from one committee, why not simply file charges based on those?  So what if the majority rejects the committee’s findings?   I would think there still has to be some recourse for those in the minority against this FV controlled majority even in the PCA?   Besides, PCA BCO 31-2 states:

If such investigation, however originating, should result in raising a strong presumption of the guilt of the party involved, the court shall institute process, and shall appoint a prosecutor to prepare the indictment and to conduct the case.

Nowhere does it mentioned that the findings of the committee have to be approved by the majority before the court is required to institute process.    The only thing required is that if an investigation, “however originating, should result in a strong presumption of the guilt of the party involved, the court shall institute process….”  Well, at least one investigation was held and there was found a “strong presumption of guilt.”  In the case of Moon, the finding of no presumption of guilt based on whatever limited floor debate and questioning should be immediately challenged at the GA level.  I would imagine that if charges were filed in either case and the Presbytery ruled that there is insufficient grounds to bring charges or some other technicality, their decision could be appealed to the the General Assembly.  Frankly, if the GA isn’t forced to get more involved in rooting out Federal Visionists it won’t be long before the GA is run by Federal Visionists and their many enablers.

Regardless of what happens next, the decision to completely exonerate Moon also brings into question the Presbytery’s sincerity in their seeming “repentance” for hastily dismissing the findings of the first investigative committee and exonerating Lawrence.  It would appear that Moon and Lawrence share many of the same views, Moon said they do, so how can they “repent” of their actions in the Lawrence case while simultaneously exonerating Moon?   Is this some sort of Federal Vision shell game?  I think so.  On the other hand, I may have spoken too soon when I said that the Presbytery repented of hastily dismissing the findings of the investigative committee and exonerating Lawrence.  Given their track record, perhaps they were repenting of not receiving a report that found a strong presumption of guilt for a man they’ve already cleared of any presumption of guilt.   Now that would be par for the course.

James said “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” It would seem the same is true for entire Presbyteries along with the denominations they belong to. But, then, maybe the Presbytery isn’t so “double minded” after all and was only repenting of appointing an investigative committee that found 4-2 against Lawrence? I mean, 24-13 to dismiss the findings of the first committee is pretty convincing and there are plenty to choose from in order to ensure that this new committee comes to the same conclusion as the majority in the case of Moon and Lawrence before him. I guess the question is which side of the column were the new committee members drawn?

Add to this the fact that many of even the best and most able FV opponents already accept the idea that logic must be curbed and that two sides of any seeming contradiction not only may be, but in many cases, must be true, and the deadly nonsensical doublespeak of the Federal Vision will again be affirmed as an act of Christian charity. And, if what I argue is true of many of the most able FV opponents, then what can anyone expect from those amiable marshmallows in the middle who would rather bury all of this silly and divisive FV stuff, let bygones be bygones, and continue on as one big happy PCA family? Instead of binding these slimy eels to the Word of God and the laws of reason, many of those rightly opposed to the FV help tie the noose by which another Presbytery is hung. And, while the Siouxlands Presbytery may seem to be a rather small and inconsequential presbytery, it is just one more battlefield that is about to fall as the FV continues its march toward complete control of the entire denomination.  Don’t think it can happen?  Then you don’t know your Presbyterian history.

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49 Comments on “Siouxlands Schizophrenia”


  1. […] Siouxlands Schizophrenia God’s Hammer […]


  2. This just proves that “natural religion” or “pelagianism” is taking over not only broad evangelicalism but Presbyterianism as well. Sad.


  3. Irrationalism and dissimulation are tools of the enemies of the Gospel.


  4. Your tone leaves a lot to be desired, Sean.

  5. justbybelief Says:

    Brian,

    I suppose the real question doesn’t concern tone but truth, i.e., is this true.

    Eric

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yeah, Brain, I’ve heard that before. But, hey, how about instead of worrying about my “tone” why don’t you, White, and whatever Christian men are left in that sad Presbytery of yours actually file charges against Moon and Lawrence directly and get it over with?

    It seems to me that you’re playing right into the hands of the FV men. I mean, the poor souls over at Puritan Boards and elsewhere seem to think that the SLP’s so-called “repentance” is a sign of progress. Give me a break. If the SLP were really interested in repentance they would have reversed their decision, accepted the committee’s original findings, and started the required process against Lawrence at that same meeting. Instead, they create a new committee arguably more to their liking and exonerate Moon!

    I hate to say it Brain, but, while my prayers are with you, my tone is the least of your problems.


  7. I appreciate you calling me “Brain.” And I appreciate your prayers. I’m sure they will avail much.

    I’m proceeding as I think best given the situation I’m in. At least I’m doing something besides pissing and moaning on a blog.

  8. Lauren Kuo Says:

    The experience of having to file a complaint to my former presbytery revealed the slime and corruption that resides in the hearts of many PCA leaders who are in the FV camp or are “charitable” towards them. Justice and truth are not factored into a proper application of the BCO. It’s all about what you can get away with and what deals are made behind closed doors. The Record of my case (the ROC) was full of lies and violations of the BCO. My written objections to it were completely ignored. The judicial commission report on my case was so flawed and so out of line that one commission member had such a guilty conscience he was compelled to call and apologize and admit that the report was grossly wrong.

    It would appear that the PCA has decided to join the postmodernists in giving up both true faith and reason.


  9. Hi Lauren,

    I knew Vincent back in Louisville. He was there when I was studying to enter the PCA in the Ohio Valley Presbytery. Chuck Hickey and I used to drive over from Cinci and prepare for exams under Keith and Dave Dively.

    I understand your anger. But I don’t think the PCA is a lost cause yet. I intend to keep fighting for her.

  10. qeqesha Says:

    Lauren Kuo,
    The slithery, slimy, twisting and turning and lack of Christian character in the PCA leadership is a sure sign of a severe dearth of the word of God in that denomination. Integrity and upright character are products of belief of the truth, the word of God. I guess filing motions and complaints, in that denomination is now the equivalent of appealing to a thief who is also the policeman and judge in a case of stolen property.

    Denson

  11. qeqesha Says:

    Brian Carpenter,
    “I’m proceeding as I think best given the situation I’m in. At least I’m doing something besides pissing and moaning on a blog.”
    Sean has written a book and co-authored another concerning the
    goings on in the Presby Denoms. Do you not think this is “doing something besides pissing and moaning on a blog”?

    Denson


  12. Well, let me tell you a little something about The Puritan Board. I was in college with its founder, Matthew McMahon. We were both pentecostals back then at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God, Lakeland, Florida, now called Southeastern University.

    McMahon became enamored with RC Sproul and decided to do his seminary at RTS Orlando. While there he became a Reformed guy and part of some very small fundamentalist Presbyterian denomination the name of which I cannot remember. McMahon went on to become “Dr.” Matthew McMahon. His degree is from Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, Florida. WTS is unaccredited and has only 2 or 3 professors, one of which is now McMahon himself.

    At any rate, McMahon was influenced by John Frame, Roger Nicole, and others at RTS. You get the picture. Let’s just say that RTS is not as conservative as you think!

    I was banned from The Puritan Board for daring to say that the PCA is headed for liberalism and that common grace is not biblical among other things. The Puritan Board is dominated by laymen who have little to no theological education.

    I was once on friendly terms with McMahon in college because of a couple of mutual friends. But that is no longer the case. He’s unapproachable and frankly wasn’t that good a student in college.

    In short, it is not surprising to me that The Puritan Board is lovey dovey with FV, SLP, NPP and other such nonsense because apparently its founder still has an affection for all things Arminian.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Charlie

  13. joel Says:

    Beams and specks. Beams and specks.

  14. Sean Gerety Says:

    In fairness, Charlie, the PB is not at all lovey dovey with the FV/NPP and have been very active in removing FV/NPP men from their group, along with Scripturalist. I guess in their mind, or at least in the little mind of moderator in-chief Lieno they’re one in the same. I mean, they even gave the left foot of fellowship to soft-spoken and self-effacing Anthony Coletti. Also, I don’t know how much involvement McMahon has with those boards any more.

    As for Nicole, you may not know this, but Clark regarded him very highly and considered him a superb theologian. FWIW I’ve appreciated the little I’ve read by him.

  15. Sean Gerety Says:

    Joel, is the FV a speck or a beam? If you’re still wondering what the FV is, see quotes by Joshua Moon above.

  16. justbybelief Says:

    I wonder if the PCA would find the tone of the Apostle Paul anymore friendly as he might say something like “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.” Meaning that they should ‘geld’ or ‘castrate’ themselves. I suppose even saying “I wish they would not stop with circumcision but keep cutting until they remove the testicles too” is another way of saying it, I suppose. If it is tone that offends in the PCA I suggest it is not a church because discipline (zeal for the gospel) is nowhere present, something I suggested in 1995 when I left this denomination.


  17. Roger Nicole is a mixed bag. For instance, he adopted Phillip Schaff’s view that all infants which die in infancy are elect. That would contradict the covenant of grace. My view is that only children in the covenant of grace are promised salvation if they die in infancy. The rest are not necessarily not elect but it is illogical to say “all” of them are simply because Christ died on the cross. This undermines the doctrine of limited atonement and the absolute sovereignty of God.

    Roger Nicole also believes in “common grace” which is only one step away from the Amyraldian view of general atonement since common grace has Christ dying to obtain a general favor toward all men even though it isn’t saving grace.

    Charlie

  18. Sean Gerety Says:

    Granted, but IMO we’re all mixed bags. Besides, I’m somewhat sympathetic to those who think all infants that die in infancy are elect. Of course, we have no biblical reason to believe that they are, but I can see why someone would want to believe that.

    The common grace issue is more serious, but he did a good job on Amyraldians like R. T. Kendall.

  19. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks Brian. Scott Clark has a nice haircut too. Uh oh, wait a minute, he’s bald. =8-o

  20. Lauren Kuo Says:

    Hi Brian,
    The point I was poorly trying to make above is that the PCA BCO and judicial process serves only to expose the corruption that resides in the hearts of leaders who have chosen the praise of men over the praise of God. It will not and cannot change men’s hearts and deliver the denomination from false doctrine. The Siouxlands Presbytery is a perfect case in point. Christans cannot trust the leadership of the PCA, for they are not convinced or persuaded that the present leadership has a heart that is committed to the truth of the Gospel and to defending it. Keith S. was one of those leaders. When he died suddenly, our presbytery and the PCA lost one of their few defenders of the Gospel. We truly miss him.

    Instead of trying to fight for the PCA, may I suggest that you put your efforts into defending the Truth of the Gospel?


  21. Lauren,

    I am committed to fight for the biblical faith once delivered to the saints. And I am determined to do all in my power to see that the PCA doesn’t go the way of the PCUSA.

    I guess I don’t see those as mutually inconsistent goals.

    Blessings,
    Brian


  22. P.S. Please convey my greetings and kindest regards to Vincent.

  23. Lauren Kuo Says:

    On another point, I would like to know what is the motive or intent of a teaching elder who believes that a reprobrate receives “in a sense” a “temporary salvation” at baptism. How does the nature of God as revealed in Scripture match up to this idea of temporary justification? What kind of God would give a gift in this life only to take it back for eternity? How can a holy God have any covenant or alliance with a spiritually dead reprobate? Have you ever known anyone who keeps a dead corpse in his house, talks to it, and sits down to eat with it on a daily basis? That rotting corpse would soon spread disease and the Health Dept would eventually condemn the home, no matter how beautifully decorated or well built it is.

    Yet, we are being taught by some PCA elders that by virtue of water baptism, we expect God to commune “in some sense” with an unbeliever who rejects Him, is dead in his sin, and defiles God’s house?!

    What is the motive of an elder who teaches this horrible doctrine? My only guess is pride and lust for power. A minister can be easily deceived into thinking that he plays an instrumental role in a person’s salvation. There’s a destructive but attractive power in this deceptive view of baptism. If a teaching elder is committed only to an outward form of religion, he will easily fall into this form of pride and deception. This, sadly, is the case with those who have embraced the Federal Vision.

    Jesus introduced a new covenant that differed from the old covenant. One entered the old covenant through physical birth; one enters the new covenant through a spiritual rebirth. The old covenant gave entrance into a physical kingdom – the nation of Israel; the new covenant gives entrance into a spiritual kingdom – Christ’s church. The old covenant is a shadow of a spiritual reality pointing to the new covenant; the new covenant is the fulfillment of that spiritual reality. The Federal Vision is the old covenant disguised in new covenant clothes. It’s a form of legalism that cowerw in the shadows instead of the spiritual light of Christ. It is a religion of fear and not love.

  24. Lauren Kuo Says:

    Brian,
    I am encouraged by your commitment to defending the faith. Our personal struggle with the PCA was a very sad dark moment for our entire family. But God used those dark times to lead us into a more vibrant stonger faith in Him. It is very sad, however, that the false teaching of the Federal Vision has established such a stronghold in our former presbytery and is still misleading so many sheep.

  25. Gus Gianello Says:

    Dear Charlie Ray,
    Could you email me privately?

    dr.gus.gianello AT rogers DOT com

    Gus Gianello

  26. Gus Gianello Says:

    Hi all,

    Just a comment on the back-and-forth in the previous emails. I guess whether you fight or not, depends on you ecclesiology. In Canada there are NO visible churches within commuting distance to go to. I am therefore much more cognizant of the invisible church, than the visible church. I am ordained, so we have a services, as a family, though I will not administer the sacraments.

    So, Brian I dont condemn you for wanting to fight, but I do encourage you to count the cost. The last time I fought apostasy in a PCA church I was told I was a fanatic. I didnt like the pastor giving the Lord’s Supper to a serial homosexual. A serial homosexual is one which repents and falls every three months for years. In that same PCA church a supporter of the current pastor told everyone to “go to hell” for questioning his leadership. (Not my doing). Anyways, after numerous problems in many churches, bankruptcy, nervous breakdowns, gossip, innuedo, criminal abuse, I finally got it–they dont want to be helped. There is nothing more vicious and murderous than a “professing Christian” who feels dissed. In my case it almost involved the provincial police. Remember what Solomon says, “better a live dog than a dead lion.”

    Personally, when dozens or hundreds of reports involve abusive and corrupt leadership thats apostasy. Time to run. Ecclesiastical abuse of congregants AND elders is rampant in North America. Make sure that your family also, can pay the price. I think that we all have to rethink EXACTLY what our relationship to the local church and denominations should be, in the light of the fact that this is an age of apostasy. Remember, it took God revealing it, for Elijah to know there were 7000 left.

    All the best.
    Gus

  27. Gus Gianello Says:

    Sean,
    I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that Roger NIcole is a little more than a “mixed bag”. I consider him a neo-liberal, more like a “bag of barf”. I have a tough time respecting any man who argues for the ordination of women. I have the same attitude towards him as I do towards founder of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, James Montgomery Boice. I will never forget the time he told me personally, and my first wife, that it was OK to be reformed and speak in tongues. His advice encouraged my first wife to continue to be charismatic, and ultimately she through off the influence of reformed theology, and divorced me for not speaking in tongues.

    Sean, its not that I dont read liberal men, my favorites are Eichtrodt and Von Rad, I respect their scholarship–I just dont respect them. I dont think they are one of us. Besides, a SCHOLAR who doesnt get the Pauline doctrine of authority? That’s a oxymoron, like a born-again homosexual.

    Gus

  28. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Gus. I modified your email a bit. I’ve always been told, don’t know if it’s true, that you are never to post your email address on a public blog or list serve without disguising it a bit from trolling spammers.

  29. Lauren Kuo Says:

    “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” 2 John 9-11

    The PCA in their report made it clear in their declarations that the Federal Vision teaching is not the doctrine of Christ. Yet, at the same time, they proclaim that we are to receive these perpetrators of false doctrine as brothers in Christ. What they demand of PCA congregants, therefore, is to violate Scripture by receiving and greeting these false teachers and sharing in their evil deeds.

    Our former presbytery the Ohio Valley Presbytery harrassed and attacked both me and my husband for three years because we refused to share in the evil deeds of the Federal Vision false teachers. We refused to receive or greet these elders who were not abiding in the doctrine of Christ. As a result, we could not fight for the denomination without giving up the doctrine of Christ. We had no choice but to leave the PCA as Scripture directs us.

  30. Gus Gianello Says:

    Lauren,
    It is clear from your experience that your presbytery can safely be called apostate. But that is not neccessarily true of every presbytery. BUT as the booklet (Imperious Presbyterians) published by Trinity points out you are NEVER required to fight for a church, presbytery, denomination. You are free to leave ANY congregation for any reason. Scripture teaches voluntarism. That is why I dont adhere to the original Standards, but only the Standards, American Revision. I have often seen situations where I or someone else saw something very wrong but no else did. If I had brought it to the attention of elders I would have disciplined. I learned after many years, that when your study, prayer and conscience tells you that the rot is too deep–run. You are only responsible for what happens to your family.

    Gus

    PS Sean, thanks for the DNS alteration.

  31. ray kikkert Says:

    Your welcome to come visit us over in Wingham, Ontario ….Gus if time permits,

    http://www.prca.org/current/Protestant_Reformed_Churches.htm

  32. Lauren Kuo Says:

    Gus,
    What you said is so true. What complicated our situation was the fact that my husband was an ordained PCA teaching elder in the Ohio Valley Presbytery. We left because the majority of the presbytery has embraced the Federal Vision and had become hostile towards those of us who disagreed with them. What’s left of the presbytery is a bunch of “grumpy old men” with cult-like powers and much fewer followers.

    After we left, God brought us to a new home church and a new mission. My husband now serves with a mission agency to churches and seminaries all over the world. We are so grateful for His blessing and protection.

  33. Gus Gianello Says:

    Lauren,
    I would be interested in hearing your whole story–by private email. See above for my email address.

    Gus


  34. Hi, Gus….

    You can e-mail me at cranmer1959(AT)hotmail.com

  35. Sean Gerety Says:

    Charlie, quick note about Roger Nicole. Tom over at TF sent me a link to a 1998 Trinity Review and evidently Nicole was more than a mixed bag. I stand corrected. He evidently was a signer of the Roman Catholic surrender, The Gift of Salvation. See:

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/162a-AnOpenLettertothePatrons.pdf


  36. Ah, yes, I remember seeing Roger Nicole’s signature on The Gift of Salvation. I forgot about that. But this just points out that Reformed Theological Seminary is not the conservative bastion of the Reforemd faith that some people think it is. I heard Kistemaker speak at Orange Wood PCA here in Orlando a few years ago and he remarked that “strictly speaking in the Bible predestination only refers to the elect.”

    This is clearly a step away from the biblical doctrine of predestination which includes both election and reprobation as “double decrees.”

    You might also be interested in D.B. Knox’s article on infant baptism from The Churchmen:

    Original Sin and Justification by Faith.

    “Let us turn our attention to the case of infants. If any infant enters heaven it must be because God has forgiven it its sinful nature, and moreover changed that nature by the new birth. For except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I suppose no one will stay to argue that God cannot regenerate an infant. But the question is, does He regenerate all infants who, e.g., die in infancy? Are all “born again” by virtue of their tender years?

    I believe that God normally forgives the sins and regenerates in baptism only those infants for whom prayer is made, that is to say, children of Christian parents who by virtue of birth are members of the covenant and are God’s already (1 Cor. 7. 14). The prayers and faith of the parents of such infants is not disregarded. There is no difference between infants and adults. All are justified by faith and by faith alone. And if infants are justified by faith, then it is entirely appropriate that they should receive baptism, the sacrament of faith, and that the faith which justifies them should be expressed in the service which Christ instituted for this purpose.” Pp. 5-6.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Charlie


  37. Of course, not everyone baptized is actually regenerated. Regeneration and baptism are not inseparably connected. Faith is the key here. Some infants may in fact turn out not to be regenerate even if they have been baptized.

    In Christ,

    Charlie

  38. lawyertheologian Says:

    “I heard Kistemaker speak at Orange Wood PCA here in Orlando a few years ago and he remarked that “strictly speaking in the Bible predestination only refers to the elect.”

    This is clearly a step away from the biblical doctrine of predestination which includes both election and reprobation as “double decrees.” ”

    I wouldn’t fault Kistemaker in this. With respect to the word predestination, or predestine, it is only used in the Bible with respect to the elect. But when speaking of the Doctrine of Predestination, reprobation is to be included; for if we are speaking of God’s predetermining the destiny of men, then clearly all men are involved, including the non elect/reprobate.

    “I believe that God normally forgives the sins and regenerates in baptism only those infants for whom prayer is made, that is to say, children of Christian parents who by virtue of birth are members of the covenant and are God’s already (1 Cor. 7. 14). The prayers and faith of the parents of such infants is not disregarded.”

    This seems strange. How does prayer affect whether one is elect or not? And how in regarding the faith of parents does God elect an infant? It seems that the faith of parents has nothing to do with God’s election. God’s election of every individual has solely to do with God’s sovereign will to choose whom He wishes, having nothing to do with anything about anyone or anything.

    “And if infants are justified by faith, then it is entirely appropriate that they should receive baptism,”

    It’s a huge presumption to think that any infant has already been justified by faith, and thus has been regenerated. The proper presumption/assumption is that almost all infants are unregenerated and needing to come into faith, John the Baptist possibly/likely being the only exception. Everyone is presumed to not be a Christian until they indicate otherwise.


  39. You would need to read the article in context. I only quoted a portion relevant to the covenant of grace. The children of believers are promised salvation by the covenant of grace until they prove otherwise.

    You yourself admit that universal election of all infants who die is not in the bible.


  40. I think the reference is to the faith of the parents.

  41. Lauren Kuo Says:

    John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    This Scripture seems to make it very clear that becoming a child of God is the sole work of God. Verse 13 clearly points out that the faith/prayers of Christian parents do not produce a child of God. Nor, does the outward act of baptism produce a child of God. Nor does an infant or anyone enter into the covenant by virtue of being physically born into a Christan home.

    Only those who come to faith in Jesus Christ become the children of God. And, the act of receiving is a work of grace wrought in the heart by God – not by the will of man. The Jews did not understand this. Nor do the Judiaizers of the Federal Vision.

  42. lawyertheologian Says:

    “You would need to read the article in context. I only quoted a portion relevant to the covenant of grace. The children of believers are promised salvation by the covenant of grace until they prove otherwise.

    You yourself admit that universal election of all infants who die is not in the bible.”

    I looked at the full article and it wasn’t necessary. The text speaks for itself. It’s not referring to infants who die in infancy in the quoted text, but simply that infants of believers are “normally” regenerated and given faith. This I understand to be the common belief of paedobaptists which I maintain is clearly a wrong presumption.

  43. Peter Herz Says:

    Many years ago, the Presbytery to which my home church belonged had a similar problem. I saw a church split and serious damage inflicted. My prayers are for Siouxlands.

    It seems that there’s a class of people who really, badly, and deeply want the water to “do something”, rather than take it as a token of Christ’s grace.


  44. At the risk of re-opening this debate, LawyerTheologian said:

    It’s a huge presumption to think that any infant has already been justified by faith, and thus has been regenerated. The proper presumption/assumption is that almost all infants are unregenerated and needing to come into faith, John the Baptist possibly/likely being the only exception. Everyone is presumed to not be a Christian until they indicate otherwise.

    Well, you might want to take up the argument with Luther and Calvin. While I don’t agree with Luther’s view, Calvin did say that members of the visible church are considered elect from our perspective until they prove otherwise. Baptized infants are members of the visible church.

    11. When it is said that God purifies his Church, so as to be “holy and without blemish,” (Eph. 5:26, 27), that he promises this cleansing by means of baptism, and performs it in his elect, I understand that reference is made to the guilt rather than to the matter of sin. In regenerating his people God indeed accomplishes this much for them; he destroys the dominion of sin,314 by supplying the agency of the Spirit, which enables them to come off victorious from the contest. Sin, however, though it ceases to reign, ceases not to dwell in them.
    Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    and:

    21. The charge of absurdity with which they attempt to stigmatise it, we thus dispose of. If those on whom the Lord has bestowed his election, after receiving the sign of regeneration, depart this life before they become adults, he, by the incomprehensible energy of his Spirit, renews them in the way which he alone sees to be expedient. Should they reach an age when they can be instructed in the meaning of baptism, they will thereby be animated to greater zeal for renovation, the badge of which they will learn that they received in earliest infancy, in order that they might aspire to it during their whole lives. To the same effect are the two passages in which Paul teaches, that we are buried with Christ by baptism (Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12). For by this he means not that he who is to be initiated by baptism must have previously been buried with Christ; he simply declares the doctrine which is taught by baptism, and that to those already baptised: so that the most senseless cannot maintain from this passage that it ought to precede baptism. In this way, Moses and the prophets reminded the people of the thing meant by circumcision, which however infants received. To the same effect, Paul says to the Galatians, “As many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Why so? That they might thereafter live to Christ, to whom previously they had not lived. And though, in adults, the receiving of the sign ought to follow the understanding of its meaning, yet, as will shortly be explained, a different rule must be followed with children.
    Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    You will note that the last quote is in response to the Anabaptists.

    Charlie


  45. Luther said the infant himself has faith. Calvin justified baptism of infants by the covenant of grace, covenant membership in the church, and the faith of the parents. If you will read further in Calvin, you’ll see that Calvin follows “a different rule” because children are an exception to understanding. Luther was a bit mystical on that that point.


  46. […] a.  His first and most controversial post was entitled, “Siouxlands Schizophrenia.” […]


  47. […] Siouxlands Schizophrenia « God’s HammerOct 27, 2009 … Lauren Kuo, The slithery, slimy, twisting and turning and lack of Christian character in the PCA leadership is a sure sign of a severe dearth of … […]


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