Siouxland Stooges

For those who have been following the laborious maneuverings of the Siouxlands Presbytery of the PCA as they make believe that they’re really interested in dealing with suspected Federal Visionists in their midst, there has been some new, albeit not surprising, developments over this past weekend.  To briefly recap and bring readers up to speed, here is a quick rundown of the chain of events provided by Siouxlands presbyter and pastor, Wes White:

After nearly two years of attempting to get the Presbytery to deal with a man who claimed to me that he is in basic agreement with Federal Vision theology, the Presbytery has still not dealt decisively with the matter. I asked for the original investigation nearly two years ago. The Presbytery refused. I complained. The Presbytery refused. I complained to the General Assembly. The General Assembly sustained my complaint. The Presbytery decided to investigate. The committee came back 4-2 saying that there was a strong presumption of guilt. The Presbytery rejected the committee report by a 24-13 margin. I, along with others, complained. The Presbytery repented of being too hasty in its rejection of the committee report, and erected a new committee.

That new committee was to report at this meeting. They did so. They unanimously recommended that the Presbytery find a strong presumption of guilt. The Presbytery then decided to postpone consideration of this second committee’s report until September.

The Teaching Elder who was investigated requested to be “instructed.” So, the Presbytery recommended that a committee be formed to instruct him. One hitch. They said that all of those who would “instruct him” would have to be approved by the very Teaching Elder who was being investigated. So, who was nominated? A lot of guys who have supported him from the beginning. When TE Lane Keister was nominated, the TE under investigation said that TE Keister lived too far away. When RE Keister, TE Keister’s father, was nominated, the same TE said no. So, now this TE still under investigation is being instructed primarily by men who’ve supported him, including one who said that he’s in basic agreement with him.

You can’t make these things up.

Here we have Greg Lawrence ( the pastor of Christ Church PCA in Mankato, MN) who was investigated by two separate committees appointed by the Presbytery and who both found a “strong presumption of guilt” that Lawrence is in fact a proponent of the neo-legalism of the Federal Vision.  Yet, instead of following PCA Book of Church Order 31-2 which requires that following the finding of “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,” Lawrence will instead be “instructed.”  Instructed in exactly what I have no idea, but according to White he’ll be instructed by one of his own supporters.

Now, I am not an authority on the PCA’s BCO, but I can find nowhere in the PCA’s constitution where “instruction” may replace “process” and where an “instructor” is a suitable replacement for “prosecutor”?  I confess, I am at a total loss to find anything within the PCA’s constitution where a pastor found to have “a strong presumption of guilt” pursuant to complaint lodged against him may request to be “instructed” instead of “prosecuted” and even control the appointment of those who will provide this so-called “instruction”?

But, maybe I’m just being a bit cynical. Perhaps the instruction will include how to use phrases like “forgiveness of sins” and “union with Christ” more ambiguously so as to avoid suspicion when speaking of the imagined covenant blessings the reprobate are supposed to receive through baptism.  Or, perhaps Lawrence will be instructed on new parliamentary techniques in order to buy even more time as the Presbytery finally frustrates the remaining anti-FV trouble makers and they leave the PCA in disgust.  Other instruction might include how to successfully thumb your nose at the PCA while having fun frustrating your opponents by exiting the PCA at the very last moment and by the backdoor as a “pastor in good standing” just like former FV PCA pastor and coward, Steve Wilkins.  Or, perhaps Lawrence will be instructed on the benefits of joining Doug Wilson’s apostate denomination, the Confederation of Phony Evangelical Federal Visionistas, where he can pretend that all the truly Reformed men throughout history have all been Federal Visionists.

Needless to say, there is some funny business going on in the Siouxlands.

But, the funny business doesn’t stop there.  Besides a good hammer to the head and twist of the nose, the suspected Federal Visionists and their enablers in the Siouxlands Presbytery have even provided the classic two-finger poke-in-the-eye by leveling a defamation complaint against one of the anti-FV men causing all this unwanted trouble and discord, Brian Carpenter.  According to White, “the Presbytery unanimously decided to investigate TE Brian Carpenter for breaking the ninth commandment in not taking care to preserve the good name” of Joshua Moon.

Step back and think about this for a moment.  Here we have a situation where it was determined by two separate committees appointed by the same Presbytery that there is a “strong presumption of guilt” in regard to the Federal Vision theology of Greg Lawrence.  Yet, instead of proceeding to trial the majority simply shirks the constitution and magically creates one of their own complete with a whole new set of rules more to their liking.  Then they proceed to investigate one of the anti-FV “trouble makers” for having the audacity to expose Federal Visionists within their Presbytery.  Let that be a warning to any other presbyter who would dare complain about suspected Federal Visionists in the  PCA.  You might be next.

So, on what ground is Carpenter going to be investigated for defamation by his Presbytery?  First, there are 3 separate Aquila Reports penned by Carpenter that you can find here, here and here.

Next, Moon’s supporters claim that Carpenter violated the Ninth Commandment because he provided a link to my blog, which, according to those complaining against Carpenter, “used intemperate language in describing our Presbytery.”  Evidently providing a link to my blog is grounds for discipline in the PCA, whereas teaching that baptized reprobates receive “union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness,” a belief that Moon admits he shares with Lawrence, will get you endless deferments from prosecution along with a solid six months of “instruction” as you and your supporters figure out your next move.

Besides, Carpenter was on my blog and over at Lane Keister’s Greenbaggins’ blog castigating me for my presumed “tone,” even if he agreed with the substance of my critique.  Frankly, given the sheer buffoonery of the Siouxlands Presbytery and their ineptness in dealing with Lawrence, a man who admits that his views are “substantially the same as Steve Wilkins,”  not to mention their coddling of Joshua Moon,  it’s hard for me to imagine what would actually constitute “intemperate language” when describing this particular Presbytery?  My guess is that in the minds of Siouxlands presbyters Isaiah was guilty of “intemperate language” when he said:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight!

Could anything more fitting be said about the Siouxlands Presbytery and their (mis)handling of men who believe that all baptized persons receive “union, adoption, new life, and forgiveness”?  And, let’s not forget the intemperance of the Apostle Paul when he said of the Judaizers of his day: “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”

So, let’s be clear, when those investigating Lawrence argue that he is guilty of creating “a parallel soteriological system” what they mean, or ought to mean, is that he is preaching and teaching another gospel.  That’s because there is no such thing as “a parallel soteriological system.”  There is only one soteriological system and every other scheme or system must of necessity be a false soteriological system.

Interestingly, this same Presbytery dismissed a counter-complaint by Brian Carpenter against Joshua Moon for their failure to find “a strong presumption of guilt” in their very brief examination of Moon on the floor of the Presbytery (they evidently didn’t need an investigative committee to conclude that Moon’s theology is Siouxlands approved).  Readers of this blog might recall that Moon is the one who speaking on the floor of his Presbytery and in defense of Lawrence said:

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.

And,

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.

But there is more. Wes White has provided a copy of Moon’s entire floor speech given in defense of Lawrence (you can read an excellent critique of Moon’s speech here).  While there are many things that ought to raise red flags for any presbyter that has even a child’s grasp of the Gospel,  at one point Moon appeals to the Confession and states:

TE Lawrence is said to attribute to the reprobate what only belongs to the elect – namely, union with Christ, adoption, forgiveness of sins, and new life. Attributing any of those to the reprobate is, you are being told, contrary to the Standards. But not only is that untrue to the Reformed tradition, it also flies directly in the face of the plain language used in Scripture.

… We are told by the complainants that you cannot attribute forgiveness of sins to the potential reprobate. But that is clearly wrong.

I confess, I don’t know what Confession Moon and Lawrence might be following, but the one penned by those dead white men at Westminster states:

Answer (WLC 31)

With whom was the covenant of grace made?

The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Notice, there is no covenant made with Christ as the second Adam and baptized reprobates even those in the church.  Further, while Moon and others might feign adherence to the invisible/visible church distinction, consider the contrasting benefits assigned to each:

Answer (WLC 63)

What are the special privileges of the visible church?

The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, not withstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.

Now consider just some of the benefits of being a member of the invisible church:

Answer (WLC 65)

What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?

The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.

Answer (WLC 66)

What is that union which the elect have with Christ?

The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.

Answer (WLC 68)

Are the elect only effectually called?

All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.

Answer (WLC 69)

What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?

The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.

Note carefully, since this isn’t rocket science, reprobate members of the visible church do not receive “union with Christ, adoption, forgiveness of sins, and new life” in any sense; those are the special and exclusive benefits enjoyed only by members of Christ’s invisible body, the elect.  Further, “The invisible church is the whole number of the elect,  that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head” (WLC 64).  Reprobates, even baptized ones, are not part of the invisible church in any sense, therefore it follows that they do not receive “union with Christ, adoption, forgiveness of sins, and new life.”  Both Moon and Lawrence need to be instructed in the catechism of their church, the same one they feign to affirm and uphold.

Needless to say, when Moon says that the views of Lawrence are “directly in line with our standards” he must mean it in the same way that PCA BCO 31-2 provides for “instruction” in lieu of “prosecution” when a “strong presumption of guilt” is twice determined.  Yet, here you have a man, Joshua Moon, who says he shares Lawrence’s doctrine of baptism, the one which all the blessings of  the Covenant of Grace extends to all members of the visible church via the magic waters of baptism, yet he is exonerated whereas Lawrence is twice found to have “a strong presumption of guilt” for preaching and teaching the exact same thing.  As Wes White says above, “You can’t make these things up.”

To be fair, and since I don’t want to be accused of using “intemperate language” when describing the three-ring circus that is the Siouxlands Presbytery, I honestly can’t blame some of these presbyters for being confused.  After all, mixed signals have been repeatedly sent from the PCA’s highest court in how to deal with FV heretics.

First, the men writing the PCA’s FV/NPP report, which clearly had men like Lawrence and Moon in their sights, were exactly right when they concluded:

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….

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.

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.

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.

However, in spite of correctly identifying the teaching, along with some of the men who are advancing this parallel soteriological system,  the authors of the report, and by extension the PCA, also affirm “NPP and FV proponents in the PCA as brothers in Christ.”

More recently, a panel of commissioners from the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) investigated a complaint filed against the Pacific Northwest Presbytery (PNW) for theological delinquency in their similar exoneration of PCA pastor and well known Federal Visionist, Peter Leithart.   Admittedly, the finding of this panel is exactly right when they wrote that  “the only conclusion that a [PNW] court should reach [in their examination of Peter Leithart]…would be that there is a strong presumption of guilt that some of the views of Leithart are out of accord with some of the fundamentals of the system of doctrine taught in the Standards.”  The problem is that these men who are reporting to the entire SJC in March added the following caveat:

This does not mean Leithart is a heretic. He is not. This does not mean that Leithart is not or whether he is a Christian. He is. This does not necessarily mean that Leithart is outside of the broader reformed community.

Consequently, and according to this panel of SJC commissioners, Leithart, who openly affirms virtually all the central tenets of the Federal Vision, the same one the PCA’s FV/NPP report said was guilty of creating “a parallel soteriological system,” is not a heretic at all, and is, in every sense of the word, a Christian. This is simply amazing, but it should be clear that even the highest court of the PCA is more than willing to compromise on the exclusivity of Biblical and Confessional soteriological system.  It seems that the great truths of justification by belief alone and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness alone (both active and passive for you Federal Visionists) are negotiable after all.

So, when I refer to the men of the Siouxlands Presbytery as “stooges,” I really don’t have in mind Federal Visionists like Moon and Lawrence or even anti-Federal Visionists like White and Carpenter.  Those I have in mind are those mush-minded and spineless men in the middle, those who R. Scott Clark calls “latitudinarians,” and who “may (or may not) be orthodox themselves but they don’t think that everyone should have to agree with the confession on covenant theology and justification.” These men are stooges and not in the Moe, Larry and Curly sense either.  Unwittingly or not, these men act as accomplices as they assist the spread of the false gospel of the Federal Vision by providing safe haven and protection to these false teachers and proud heretics.  These are the men who vote not to consider the findings of their multiple investigative committees and instead allow strongly suspected heretics to be “instructed” instead.  These are men who ought to know better, but, in some nauseating non-confrontational pretense of peace, they are more than willing to sacrifice the centrality of Gospel in order to maintain their illusion.  These men are cowards and traitors and have forgotten or simply no longer believe Jesus’ words when he said in Matthew:

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

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51 Comments on “Siouxland Stooges”


  1. Dissimulators come with all sorts of denominational camouflage. We got em complete with horns and pitchfork in the Anglican Communion and no one pays any attention. haha

  2. lawyertheologian Says:

    Sean,

    Can you provide the quote from the PCA FV/NPP report where it says that they accept those teaching those heresies as brothers?

    Yes, it seems that a lot of circus acts continue to go on as a lack of a desire to deal with these men on a personal level. I think the PCA in general, and most presybteries and churches view FV/NPP as aberant/heretical theology. But when one is a seminary professor or otherwise holds prominence in the church, people find it hard to deal straightforwardly with such. They are not dealing lovingly with them by not discipling such. But anyway, isn’t most of the actual teaching of FV/NPP gone out of the PCA as well as the OPC? Thus these heresies are not really being spread in the Church (it’s hard to tell whether the CREC is Christian).

    BTW, on a technical matter, you mention 2 separate charges of defamation and slander. But slander is simply one form of defamation (libel is the other).

  3. ray Says:

    Well stated Sean, again today… I read what is going on in the PCA and how TE Rayburn is being a ball baby in calling the SJC committee into question.

    It has not been that long since the Wilkins case where also the SJC was whined about … obviously because no FV heretics were on the committee.

    These FV doctrinal idiots really do not know when to shut up. I am really sick of the FV babble. Honestly … some of these freaks need a good swat in the snout and a boot to the butt and out the door you go.

    If their not whining about one’s tone … they are whining about breaking the 9th … if they are not whining about that … they are whining that the committee is stacked … if they are not whining about that … they are whining that they are being misunderstood … and if they are not whining about that… they respond to critique by either stating that they know of no FVer who holds to what is being critiqued at this particular time and they heartedly confess the Westminster Confessions take on the subject.

    On second thought … scrap the swat to the snout and boot to the butt … might as well just grab the shotgun and pepper them with buckshot … maybe then they will be too busy picking buckshot out of their butt to be babbling on as to how unreformed and doctrinally idiotic they are. Their bottom will also be too sore to sit at a computer and babble endlessly by keyboard as to how ill treated they are on babbleblog.com.

    Let’s review FV dialoque and counter measure’s again shall we? :

    1. You don’t appear to have published any new books revising historic Christianity this month or even have his own church-run printing press. All-important blog authors do.

    2. While occasionally sarcastic, your blog has a serious deficiency in snide and smug. The #2 and #3 qualities of all good blog posts.

    3. I don’t understand the theology of your posts. None of them appear to be founded on paradox or mystery, the source of all good theology.

    4. None of your posts appear to say A and Not A at the same time. How can I take you seriously when your positions are so easily nailed down? You also appear to believe that your opponents can understand what you are saying. A position we all know to be fatal to the blog conversation.

    5. You appear to be against the Federal Vision. This is the surest sign that you are not right and don’t deserve to be read or listened to.

    6. I am wittier than you

    7. Whatever I say must be considered Reformed no matter how unreformed it sounds. If I say it, it is reformed, because I am reformed and vice versa (that’s Latin, I’ll be using that a lot so you’ll need a stack of Veritas homeschool materials to hand).

    8. The sole purpose of the debate shall be to impress the people who already agree with me and provide them with material to link to on their blogs.

    9. I get to randomly use the word “covenant” as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and if I wish an angry expletive.

    10. I shall be allowed to define the words I use however I wish, without being confined to their historic meaning. Additionally, if something I say is proven to be false or heretical (not that this is possible, see #2), I shall be allowed to explain the meaning of the words in such a way that it is no longer heretical. So that for instance, “Some people who have been truly united to Christ may indeed fall away” shall never be interpreted as contradicting the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints.

    11. All theological arguments shall follow the ad hominem abusive style of reasoning. It shall be remembered that my ad hominem arguments are witty (see #1) while yours are unkind.

    12. We agree that I’ve won before the start.

    DaFedSez …rides again 🙂

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    Can you provide the quote from the PCA FV/NPP report where it says that they accept those teaching those heresies as brothers?

    I don’t have the report handy, but if you google it you should be able to find it.

    But slander is simply one form of defamation (libel is the other).

    You’re right. It’s fixed. Thanks.

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    I miss DaFedSez. Nice work Ray 🙂

  6. lawyertheologian Says:

    I just read the PCA FV/NPP report and I gotta say it is excellent, better than the OPC report on the same.

    It doesn’t seem to deal with whether any FV/NPP advocate is a Christian or not,but solely the issue as to whether FV/NPP is consistent with the PCA’s Westminster Standards (and by implication with the Scripture). Having decided that it is not consistent, no one in the PCA should be teaching such. But again, people don’t always act consistent to their claims. Yes, the PCA needs to clean up their house. But let’s move on already over this.

    BTW Sean, why have you been screening my posts here? I don’t believe I deserve such disparate treatment.

  7. Gus Gianello Says:

    Sean et al,

    1. As bishop Lenin said “useful idiots”

    2. As pope Marx said “capitalists [latitudinarians] will sell you the rope to hang them with.

    3. As Jesus said, “beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

    Thank you for not insulting Curly, Larry and Moe. They would never have sold each other out.

    Gus

  8. Wes White Says:

    Here’s all the links to what’s going on in the Siouxlands Presbytery here:

    http://johannesweslianus.blogspot.com/2010/01/summary-of-siouxlands-federal-vision.html

  9. qeqesha Says:

    These men may put on a whole circus show(puting someone under “instruction” when they should be facing discipline), but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. They will not escape God’s judgement! These shenanigans are a satanicaly ochestrated defiance against God’s ordained procedure for dealing with error and keaping his bride pure. These people do not have God’s honour as their priority. In fact God is not in their minds at all. It is their ol’ boys club they look after. They have their reward as Jesus said!

  10. qeqesha Says:

    While still on the issue of FV teaching, the arrogant R Scott Clark who once said GH Clark and Herman Hoeksema “lived up to a caricature of reformed theology”, echoing FV teaching, which he claims to eschew, and quoting confessions for authority, once said
    “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.”, over at the puritan board. http://www.puritanboard.com/f47/church-members-free-agents-pt-3-q-31387/ Scott Clark, being a good van Tillian, I suppose this is just one more paradox which we, with our poor straight line thinking onbviously misunderstand.

    Denson

  11. Eric Says:

    “,the arrogant R Scott Clark…”

    Right on the money!

    “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.”

    Hmmm….As if the Word of God had lost its power. And, a not so subtle return to Rome.

  12. Sean Gerety Says:

    I was pursuing John Robbins’ review of Peter Leithart’s Against Christianity for another comment on a different post and came across the following that I thought relevant to what’s going on in the Siouxlands and elsewhere:

    The PCA heretics, far from being removed from office, are protected by a phalanx of pseudo‐Presbyterian grunts who stubbornly defend them and attack anyone who criticizes them.

    I do miss John.

  13. Eric Says:

    “pseudo‐Presbyterian grunts”

    LOL!

    I shall, indeed, borrow that expression.


  14. Eric said:

    January 27, 2010 at 12:04 pm
    “,the arrogant R Scott Clark…”

    Right on the money!

    “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.”

    Hmmm….As if the Word of God had lost its power. And, a not so subtle return to Rome.

    I think you should be more careful about bashing the church. The magisterial reformers did not throw out the church as a visible expression of the covenant. Rather they sought to reform it. We are washed of the guilt of original sin by baptism and we become members of the church by baptism. See Calvin on that:

    2. Hence it is that God never showed himself propitious to his ancient people, nor gave them any hope of grace without a Mediator. I say nothing of the sacrifices of the Law, by which believers were plainly and openly taught that salvation was not to be found anywhere but in the expiation which Christ alone completed. All I maintain is that the prosperous and happy state of the Church was always founded in the person of Christ. For although God embraced the whole posterity of Abraham in his covenant, yet Paul properly argues (Gal. 3:16), that Christ was truly the seed in which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, since we know that all who were born of Abraham, according to the flesh, were not accounted the seed. To omit Ishmael and others, how came it that of the two sons of Isaac, the twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, while yet in the womb, the one was chosen and the other rejected? Nay, how came it that the first-born was rejected, and the younger alone admitted? Moreover, how happens it that the majority are rejected? It is plain, therefore, that the seed of Abraham is considered chiefly in one head, and that the promised salvation is not attained without coming to Christ, whose office it is to gather together those which were scattered abroad.
    Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

  15. Eric Says:

    Ray said:

    “I think you should be more careful about bashing the church.”

    The question is not should I be careful about bashing the church, but who is the church.

    “We are washed of the guilt of original sin by baptism and we become members of the church by baptism.”

    No! We are washed of the guilt of original sin by faith alone, in Christ alone.


  16. Yes, and Yes. Read the post I made from the Institutes.


  17. I think the Anabaptists are as bad and the Roman Catholics. There is a reason it’s called the “radical reformation.” It’s because the Anabaptists go too far with the leading of the Holy Spirit, solo doctrinal positions, and denying the two sacraments.

    Charlie

  18. Eric Says:

    Charlie,

    “I think the Anabaptists are as bad and the Roman Catholics.”

    No Doubt!

    “It’s because the Anabaptists go too far with the leading of the Holy Spirit…”

    They went to far because they had revelation besides the Holy Spirit speaking in scripture, they had a direct pipeline to God (their belief), in other words.

    “…denying the two sacraments.”

    Yes, and the Roman Catholics added to them and went to the extreme opposite tying all of God’s grace to them.

    I would then contend that any man can pick up the scripture, in the absence of the direction, or oversight, of the local church, read them, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. So, I’m sure about this statement:

    “I think you should be more careful about bashing the church.”

  19. Eric Says:

    Sorry,

    So, I’m NOT sure about this statement:

    “I think you should be more careful about bashing the church.”


  20. Eric, you seem to have a chip on your shoulder. Simply because Scripture is sufficient to lead anyone who reads it to saving faith does not exclude the church as a secondary authority. Your view seems more in line with solo scriptura rather than sola scriptura. 1 Timothy 3:15 says the church (local congregation) is the pillar of the truth. Where two or three are gathered together in His name you have a church.

    Also, it is dangerous to throw out the Reformed confessions of faith, even though they are fallible. Confessions of faith are designed to prevent heresy. If you really think you’re a lone ranger, you should probably join the Mormons. They have ongoing revelation.


  21. That should have been “as bad as the Roman Catholics.”

  22. Eric Says:

    Charlie

    “you seem to have a chip on your shoulder.”

    Seem? If you mean, do I agree with Denson’s assessment? I do!

    “Simply because Scripture is sufficient to lead anyone who reads it to saving faith does not exclude the church as a secondary authority.”

    Is scripture sufficient. or not? This is the statement I was contending against: “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.” This is patently false as I pointed out and to which you agreed. It is pitiful that a ‘theologian’ would make such a statement as though it is ALWAYS true. I was simply trying to point out that scripture is sufficient. The Reformed have always admitted that the Church comes from scripture, not the other way around.

    “Your view seems more in line with solo scriptura rather than sola scriptura.”

    I’m sure I’ve ever heard of that, solo scriptura, that is.

    “1 Timothy 3:15 says the church (local congregation) is the pillar of the truth. Where two or three are gathered together in His name you have a church.”

    Actually it says the ‘pillar and ground’ and very basically means that the church is the instrument of holding and proclaiming the truth. This does not mean that God cannot use scripture alone.

    “Also, it is dangerous to throw out the Reformed confessions of faith,…”

    Well…I’m not the one who made the absurd statement, Mr. Clark did. How does his idiotic statement equate to me throwing out the confessions?

    “Confessions of faith are designed to prevent heresy.”

    Agreed, but they also provide a point of unity.

    “If you really think you’re a lone ranger,…”

    I’m not sure of you logic here.

    “…you should probably join the Mormons.”

    How could I? seeing that I don’t believe in white undergarments.

    “…They have ongoing revelation.”

    I’m not sure how you could say that, Charlie, as I’ve already admitted, at least obliquely, that ongoing revelation is NOT an option.

    It has been a blessing discussing this with you, Charlie!


  23. Eric said:

    Is scripture sufficient. or not? This is the statement I was contending against: “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.” This is patently false as I pointed out and to which you agreed. It is pitiful that a ‘theologian’ would make such a statement as though it is ALWAYS true. I was simply trying to point out that scripture is sufficient. The Reformed have always admitted that the Church comes from scripture, not the other way around.

    Actually, what R.S. Clark said on that point is not patently false. Your view is actually the Anabaptist position. The Reformed Confessions all agree with R.S. Scott and disagree with you:

    WCF 1.1 Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation: therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased. WCF 1.1

    It seems to me that the confession says that Scripture is primary and that the church is “established” and “comforted” through the Scriptures. Also, God “reveals His will to the Church.” Seems to me that if the church is irrelevant that the Westminter Standards would not even mention the church.

    In other words, the Reformed position is that the church is a secondary authority and Scripture is the primary authority. The Roman view is that the church is equal to Scripture and so is tradition. In effect then, the Roman view can make the Scripture their puppet and the RCC operates the Scriptures like a ventriloquist.

    The Reformed view, however, does not throw out the church but rather makes the church submit to Scripture. In fact, God reveals his will to the church through Scripture. Only as the church submits to Scripture are we obligated to follow the teaching of the church. The Anabaptists, on the other hand, reject all authority and simply follow their subjective impressions of what the Spirit is saying.

    That is not to say that we do not need a true experience of regeneration, however:

    WCF 1.5 We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture, and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole, (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our hearts.

    And regarding the “authority” of the church the 39 Articles is fairly succinct and to the point here:

    Article XIX
    Of the Church
    The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

    Article XX
    Of the Authority of the Church
    The Church hath power to decree rites or ceremonies and authority in controversies of faith; and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything contrary to God’s word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ: yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of salvation.

    Really, Eric, when you make lopsided statements without acknowledging the deeper nuances you simply distort the total picture. The short of it is that R.S. Clark might be wrong on many issues but he isn’t wrong when he says that the Scriptures are mediated through the church, which is a “secondary” authority. Any idea of salvation being solo or “lone ranger” is just silly. That does not mean, however, that God cannot work outside the church. He can and does but eventually if you are part of the invisible church there must come a point where you are united to a local congregation where the Word is preached and the sacraments are duly administered. Jesus said go into all the word and “make disciples.” I fail to see how anyone can be discipled if there is no connection to a local congregation where there is gospel preaching and true fellowship of born again believers who are part of the invisible church, the communion of saints in heaven.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Charlie

  24. GLW Johnson Says:

    The arrogant Scott Clark? You fellows shoot in all directions- does it matter to you that the ones doing all the heavy lifting here are in fact guys like Scott Clark and other ‘Van Tillians’ Guy Waters. John Fesko, Cornelis Venema, T.D. Gordon?


  25. The discussion at hand is the discipline of ministers who are not in accord with the Westminster Standards. Seems to me that the authority of the church isn’t even in question. Of course, this “assembly” is more on a district level than the local level, which is on par for the presbyterian form of church polity.

    I guess Peter Leithart is free to follow the Spirit and interpret the Scriptures any way he likes, Eric?

  26. ray Says:

    In that regard … men like Leithart and Wilkin’s and Sproul Jr. before him …have it both ways … if they are found guilty … they can proceed to bridge over to the CREC … and continue on. They may lose credibility before God and the saints …. but they still can pull in a paycheck and teach unhindered without suffering any reproach for the sake of Christ and Him crucified … simply because … they aren’t suffering.


  27. The Belgic Confession says:

    Article 27

    The Catholic Christian Church

    We believe and profess one catholic or universal Church,1 which is a holy congregation of true Christian believers, all expecting their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by His blood, sanctified and sealed by the Holy Ghost.

    This Church hath been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof;2 which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal king, which, without subjects He cannot be.3 And this holy Church is preserved or supported by God against the rage of the whole world;4 though she sometimes (for a while) appears very small, and, in the eyes of men, to be reduced to nothing;5 as during the perilous reign of Ahab, when nevertheless the Lord reserved unto Him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to Baal.6

    Furthermore, this holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will,7 by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit.8

    ——————————————————————————–

    1 Isa. 2:2; Ps. 46:5; 102:14; Jer. 31:36

    2 Matt. 28:20; 2 Sam. 7:16

    3 Luke 1:32-33; Ps. 89:37-38; 110:2-4

    4 Matt. 16:18; John 16:33; Gen. 22:17; 2 Tim. 2:19

    5 Luke 12:32; Isa. 1:9; Rev. 12:6,14; Luke 17:21; Matt. 16:18

    6 Rom. 12:4; 11:2,4; 1 Kings 19:18; Isa. 1:9; Rom. 9:29

    7 Acts 4:32

    8 Eph. 4:3-4

    and:

    Article 28

    Every One is Bound to Join Himself to the True Church

    We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and out of it there is no salvation,1 that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw himself to live in a separate state from it;2 but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it; maintaining the unity of the Church;3 submitting themselves to the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ;4 and as mutual members of the same body,5 serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them.
    And that this may be the more effectually observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the Church,6 and to join themselves to this congregation, wheresoever God hath established it,7 even though the magistrates and edicts of princes be against it; yea, though they should suffer death or any other corporal punishment.8 Therefore all those who separate themselves from the same, or do not join themselves to it, act contrary to the ordinance of God.

    ——————————————————————————–

    1 1 Pet. 3:20; Joel 2:32

    2 Acts 2:40; Isa. 52:11

    3 Ps. 22:23; Eph. 4:3,12; Heb. 2:12

    4 Ps. 2:10-12; Matt. 11:29

    5 Eph. 4:12,16; 1 Cor. 12:12, etc.

    6 Acts 2:40; Isa. 52:11; 2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4

    7 Matt. 12:30; 24:28; Isa. 49:22; Rev. 17:14

    8 Dan. 3:17-18; 6:8-10; Rev. 14:14; Acts 4:17,19; 17:7; 18:13

    and:

    Article 29

    The Marks of the True Church, and Wherein She Differs From the False Church

    We believe that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the Church. But we speak here not of hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church with the good, yet are not of the Church, though externally in it;1 but we say that the body and communion of the true Church must be distinguished from all sects who call themselves the Church.
    The marks by which the true Church is known are these: if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein;2 if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ;3 if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin;4 in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected,5 and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church.6 Hereby the true Church may certainly be known, from which no man has a right to separate himself.

    With respect to those who are members of the Church, they may be known by the marks of Christians, namely, by faith;7 and when they have received Jesus Christ the only Savior,8 they avoid sin, follow after righteousness,9 love the true God and their neighbor, neither turn aside to the right or left, and crucify the flesh with the works thereof.10 But this is not to be understood as if there did not remain in them great infirmities; but they fight against them through the Spirit all the days of their life,11 continually taking their refuge in the blood, death, passion, and obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom they have remission of sins through faith in Him.12

    As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God,13 and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ.14 Neither does she administer the sacraments, as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from them as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those who live holily according to the Word of God,15 and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry.16 These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other.

    ——————————————————————————–

    1 Matt. 13:22; 2 Tim. 2:18-20; Rom. 9:6

    2 John 10:27; Eph. 2:20; Acts 17:11-12; Col. 1:23; John 8:47

    3 Matt. 28:19; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23

    4 Matt. 18:15-18; 2 Thes. 3:14-15

    5 Matt. 28:2; Gal. 1:6-8

    6 Eph. 1:22-23; John 10:4-5,14

    7 Eph. 1:13; John 17:20

    8 1 John 4:2

    9 1 John 3:8-10

    10 Rom. 6:2; Gal. 5:24

    11 Rom. 7:6,17; Gal. 5:17

    12 Col. 1:14

    13 Col. 2:18-19

    14 Ps. 2:3

    15 Rev. 12:4; John 16:2

    16 Rev. 17:3,4,6


  28. Eric, notice that the Belgic Confession directly contradicts your view:

    We believe, since this holy congregation is an assembly of those who are saved, and out of it there is no salvation…. Article 28.

    The short of it is that what R. Scott Clark said is in fact in accord with the Belgic Confession and the 39 Articles of Religion. Apparently it is also in accord with the Westminster Confession.

    Chapter 25 Of the Church

    2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel [not confined to one nation, as before under the law], consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;1 and of their children:2 and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,3 the house and family of God,4 out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.5

    I sincerely hope this clarifies matters. There is “no ordinary possibility of salvation” outside uniting with a local congregation. If so, I would have given up local churches long ago since I cannot find one that is not flawed or off on some point of doctrine or another. But our obligation is to unite to the church and help to reform it according to Scripture. Ecclesia Semper Reformanda.

    Charlie

    See also: WLC 62

    ——————————————————————————–

    1 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 12:12,13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Rom. 15:9-12

    2 1 Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39; Ezek. 16:20,21; Rom. 11:16; Gen. 3:15; Gen. 17:7

    3 Matt 13:47; Isa. 9:7

    4 Eph. 2:19; Eph. 3:15

    5 Acts 2:47

  29. Sean Gerety Says:

    The arrogant Scott Clark? You fellows shoot in all directions- does it matter to you that the ones doing all the heavy lifting here are in fact guys like Scott Clark and other ‘Van Tillians’ Guy Waters. John Fesko, Cornelis Venema, T.D. Gordon?

    What brings you down here Gary? I thought you were above talking to “sewer rats”? Of course, all that “heavy lifting” was already done by men like John Robbins, Robert Reymond, Paul Elliot, and David Engelsma. Frankly, you can go back to Herman Hoeksema’s battle near the end of his life with Klaus Schilder to get a good handle on what’s going on today. But, of course, Robbins was a “vile” man you “wouldn’t give the time of day,” so I confess, I appreciate the irony of your complaint.

    Now, unlike you, I can’t speak for others, I can’t even channel the thoughts of dead men, but I greatly appreciate and have even benefited from much of Scott’s efforts, particularly in this battle and despite the profound and demonstrable bankruptcy of his Vantilianism. His recent refutation of Joshua Moon’s floor speech was brilliant. Frankly, I praise God that you and Scott are on the right side in this fight, because you certainly have no epistemological reason or justification for your opposition to the paradoxical nonsense of the Federal Vision. God’s grace is indeed amazing.

    That said, I can certainly understand the frustrations of others when Scott identifies Gordon Clark as a “hypercalvinist” on his blog and as a man who “lived up to a caricature of reformed theology” on the Puritan Boards. But since the PB has effectively banned all Scripturalists, and you have been busy trying to get me banned even from Scott’s blog, I’m happy to let people vent here. I even welcome your visit.

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    The short of it is that what R. Scott Clark said is in fact in accord with the Belgic Confession and the 39 Articles of Religion. Apparently it is also in accord with the Westminster Confession.

    I didn’t even think this was a debatable point, except perhaps with Harold Camping. =8-o

  31. ray Says:

    I agree with Charlie … Dr. S. Clark is on target with the Reformed Confessions regarding the church.

    I may have strong disagreements with Dr. Clark(he w’ont let me post on his blog anymore …our disagreements are very heated :),

    but when he is right … he will be defended … for he stands here on the basis of Scripture and the Reformed Confessions.

  32. Eric Says:

    Charlie,

    “It seems to me that the confession says that Scripture is primary and that the church is “established” and “comforted” through the Scriptures.”

    No Doubt! Haven’t I said this over and over and over and….over. The Church is formed by the Word of God.

    So, can a person pick up the scriptures without mediation of the church, read, understand, and be saved? You have acknowledged this to be true once, now you have back peddled.

    Mr. Clark, and you, are saying a person can’t. If this is what you are saying, and this is what the confessions are saying (I doubt the confessions are saying this though) then you, and Mr. Clark, are in error.

    I will ask you the question again. Can a person pick up the Bible, say in a hotel room–the Gideons Bible, read a section, say in Romans 3, believe in the Lord Jesus, which is alone necessary for salvation, and be saved? I might add, that how you answer will determine your view of scripture, whether the power is in it, or not.

    Yes, or No!

    If you answer in the affirmative here then it must be obvious that there is no mediation of the local church. Now, I have never been arguing that the Church is not God’s creation, nor have I argued that it is not necessary, nor that God hasn’t given the scriptures to the Church, or that it is not authoritative.

    Again this statement made by Mr. Clark is affirming that no one can be saved unless they attend a local church where Justification, and therefore grace, is administered.

    “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are only administered in visible, local congregations.”

    I reaffirm my statement, “This is patently FALSE.”

    From the WCF:

    “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means [READING THEM], may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”

    Can one be saved reading the scriptures???

    “I sincerely hope this clarifies matters. There is “no ordinary possibility of salvation” outside uniting with a local congregation.”

    Well I don’t think it clears anything up since you are arguing past me. Your quotes and passages from the confessions are not aimed at me but some imagined foe.

  33. Cliffton Says:

    “This does not mean Leithart is a heretic. He is not. This does not mean that Leithart is not or whether he is a Christian. He is. This does not necessarily mean that Leithart is outside of the broader reformed community.”

    Despite the PCA’s lack of a clear sound, or better yet, their ever increasing inability to keep hidden that which the Light of the Gospel is making manifest, the SJC is quite clear on a couple of issues.

  34. Sean Gerety Says:

    So, can a person pick up the scriptures without mediation of the church, read, understand, and be saved?…Can one be saved reading the scriptures???

    Two-cents. Yes and yes. The qualifier is “no ordinary possibility of salvation.” Ordinarily, even from my limited perspective, most people who come to saving faith and grown in faith do so in the church. That’s not so say that one cannot come to saving faith apart from the ministry of the church, but we’re commanded in Scripture not to separate ourselves from the gathering of the saints as it says in Hebrews:

    23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
    24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
    25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

    Anyway, I would like this discussion to get back to the Siouxlands circus. If some want to assert the irrelevance of the visible church, I would prefer they take it to Camping’s Family Radio forum or anywhere else but here. Thanks in advance for helping me keep the discussion on track. 🙂


  35. Eris, Sean has already said this is off topic. I’ve answered your question and so has Sean. The ordinary and normal means is through the church, but Scripture is sufficient to lead anyone to saving faith apart from the church. Also, the Belgic Confession clearly says that no one can separate himself from the church without being in rebellion against God’s Word.

    I’m done with this conversation.

    Regarding the trial of Peter Leithart, I think it is a sad day when there is even a need for a trial on this. There was a time when Leithart would have been out on his ear.

    And the 9th commandment smells like theonomy to me. It’s the theonomists who are willing to compromise the Gospel for the sake of kingdom here on earth.

    Charlie

  36. Sean Gerety Says:

    Correction, Scott Clark did not say that Clark “lived up to a caricature of reformed theology” on the PB (although he may have), he said it in his intro to Murray’s strained defense of the so-called “well meant offer.”

  37. qeqesha Says:

    Sorry to everybody and thanks Sean. I put everything in one very long sentence leading to this misunderstanding. No wonder the Apostle Peter said Paul was hard to understand — with those long unwieldy sentences in his epistles!!!

    Denson

  38. Eric Says:

    “If some want to assert the irrelevance of the visible church…”

    Who has asserted that, Sean? This is one of Charlie’s pipe dreams. Is it yours now too?

    Whether you like it or not, the point of coincidence between Mr. Clark’s comment, Charlie’s comment and the Siouxland Presbytery all have to do with a denial of the gospel’s power alone to save a man. The Siouxland’s folly is obvious and the other’s are a little more discrete. Here they are, again:

    Charlie’s comment:

    1) “We are washed of the guilt of original sin by baptism and we become members of the church by baptism.”

    This is nothing more than re-baked (Anglican) Roman Catholic Dogma something the FV’ers could be proud of, and no one here even batted an eye!

    When I challenge this with the following statement, “We are washed of the guilt of original sin by faith alone, in Christ alone.” Not one comes to the defense of the gospel.

    The reply is, “Yes and yes.”

    You can’t have it both ways. Either Christ takes away original sin when His once for all time sacrifice is believed, like Abraham, or baptism does. Which is it? Since we know that some have been baptized without being saved and some saved without baptism, it is obvious that it is not baptism that saves, but faith in Christ. I know, I know, now your going to accuse me of rejecting baptism much like you accused me of rejecting the church. You’ve also accused me of being a Mormon, something you haven’t supported, but I believe your closer to a Roman Catholic than I am a Mormon, but hey once your out of the faith, it doesn’t matter really which direction you go.

    And, Mr. Clark’s comment:

    2) “Justification and salvation are sola gratia et sola fide but those gifts are [ONLY] administered in visible, local congregations.”

    Again, no one blinks.

    This is the kind of statement someone makes when they are trying to secure their own position and title. This is only one of the reasons I laid the charge of arrogance at his doorstep.

    From the comments above you folks have changed the operative word from ‘only’ to ‘ordinary’ in order to defend this statement. Siouxlands Prebytery, anyone? This is dishonest. Now that you have been confronted you will dig in your heels.

    Again, whether subtle (Mr. Clark, or Charlie) or overt (FV, or Siouxlands Pres.), it is the same, a rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When the gospel is rejected, you have NO CHURCH AT ALL and whatever vestiges (sacraments, so called) remain, are merely forms.

    The power to save is in God’s Word alone. Even the Apostles recognized that if they preached a false gospel they should rightly be rejected by men and accursed by God. It’s too bad the ‘church’ and its representatives today won’t say that about themselves. Like the Roman Catholic State Church it continues to assert its authority in spite of its embrace of another gospel. Not surprising though, this is the M.O. of the heretic and tyrant, always bruising the consciences of Christ’s sheep with a gospel of works. Thank God for his Word by which we can judge the Church, whether it be in the faith, or out–at which time it is NO church, at all. This statement by Mr. Clark is the foundation removing any personal judgment based on God’s Word. Does anybody see this? This is the reason people stay in ‘churches’ long after they’ve apostatized. They think, “If I leave,” I am in rebellion against God. And the apostate keeps screaming, “We are the church!”

    “I’m done with this conversation.”

    I guess that’s one way to save face in your zeal to defend nothing, against no one.

  39. Sean Gerety Says:

    I see you have no interest in respecting my request to move on Eric.

    This will be my last remark to you regarding what Scott wrote. First, I have serious differences with Scott and I have no intention of minimizing them, but I have no interest in trying to just make things up to impugn what he says. Second, I’m more than happy to grant that Scott slipped up when he said “only” where he should have said “ordinarily.” People make mistakes and that’s no reason to beat them over the head over something so stupid. Besides, it would have been different if “only” was what he meant, but he clearly did not. Which brings us to my third point; if you actually went to the link and read what he wrote, he clarified and corrects his statement as follows:

    “Thus, I might have said, to be perfectly clear, “ordinarily no one is saved outside of the visible, institutional church.” Is God free to act differently? Yes, but we are obligated to act according to the revealed will of God…I don’t know that the Belgic means to say that the only place God the Spirit operates through the Word is in the local church. As you indicate God the Spirit is free to regenerate when and where he will (John 3). It means to say that Christians have a moral duty to join themselves to the visible church and to submit to the administration of the means of grace there. It means to say that, whatever extraordinary episodes happened in the history of redemption, no one has a right to be independent the true church (which is any congregation that has the marks) and that no one has a right to remain in the Roman communion under the pretense of sharing the Protestant faith secretly.”

    So, for the last time, drop it and move on.


  40. My views are far from the FV or Arminianism. If Eric were more familiar with the Reformed Confessions he would know that my remarks are in line with the Reformed Confessions and with Scripture. Baptism is not tied to regeneration and baptism is inseparable from faith. So we are washed from the guilt of original sin by faith alone. Baptism is a visible word, an object lesson, a sign of the inward grace of regeneration and sanctification. Word and sacrament go together and the one cannot be divorced from the other.

    As much as I disagree with Luther, even Luther’s theology makes word and sacrament essential to one another. There is no ex opere operato in the sacraments.

    But this is precisely the problem with the FV I think. It seems to me that they are saying that baptism in and of itself regenerates. That is totally off. The Anglo-Catholic sympathizers in the Reformed Episcopal Church have denied their own Declaration of Principles and tried to get around it by saying that regeneration happens at baptism but can be lost. This is clearly not what the Anglican Formularies teach nor is it in any other Reformed confession.

    “IV.

    This Church condemns and rejects the following erroneous and strange doctrines as contrary to God’s Word:
    First, that the Church of Christ exists only in one order or form of ecclesiastical polity:
    Second, that Christian Ministers are “priests” in another sense than that in which all believers are a “royal priesthood:”
    Third, that the Lord’s Table is an altar on which the oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ is offered anew to the Father:
    Fourth, that the Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper is a presence in the elements of Bread and Wine:
    Fifth, that regeneration is inseparably connected with Baptism.

    Dissimulators always find a way to twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. They do the same with the Reformed standards.

    Charlie

  41. qeqesha Says:

    That’s right Eric, Amen!
    It is so easy to (mis)quote confessions and mean something else which was never meant by the authors. Wilson, NT Wright the FV’ers all (mis)quote church authorities, in Latin, in support of their abberations. The pope (mis)quotes Matthew 16:13-19(And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church)in support of his peversions.
    Authority lies in the Word of God only, because it is the truth, not the church. The church is composed of believers of that word, which shows that the church itself is dependent on the Word. The church does not administer salvation(an obvious reference to rituals — baptism, the sacraments etc!). That is Roman Catholic speak, sarcadotalism actually, charlie. Salvation is by belief of the Gospel. Belief comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God!
    Further, the Lord Himself says when two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst. This shows that Christ is interested in the genuine faith of individuals rather than an organisation. Scott Clark’s piece is subtle warmed over shepherding nonsense and roman catholic eclesiology. Christians should belong to a church to enjoy fellowship and to care and be cared for, not to have some sick psycho lord it over them!

    If ol’ charlie thinks I have a chip on my shoulder he is absolutely wrong!!! How do you know I do not have
    two, one on each shoulder, which should keep me balanced????!!!!:-)

    Denson

  42. Sean Gerety Says:

    Denson, what is it about move on that you don’t understand?


  43. Peter Leithart on the “efficacy” of baptism:

    Though I have relied here on two modern theologians, the argument is not a modern,much less a modernist, one. On the contrary, I mean to challenge the modern tendency to disrupt symbol and reality and to collapse the Trinity into unity. And I take encouragement from the fact that this argument is anticipated in a compressed form in one of what Calvin considered the more sober scholastics, Thomas Aquinas. Sacraments are necessary for salvation, Aquinas argues, because, given the nature of God and of man, it is fitting that God makes use of sacramental signs and rites in redemption. In developing his argument, Thomas first quotes Augustine’s statement (from Contra Faustum 19.11) that it is impossible to unite men in a religious
    association without the use of symbols or sacraments. Since it is necessary for salvation for men to be bound in one true religion, Thomas argues, sacraments are essential to the achievement of salvation. While the Reformers rightly rejected many aspects of the mechanistic medieval sacramental system, Thomas’s insight is compatible with a Reformed anthropology and soteriology, and points toward the best of Reformed sacramental theology. And it provides support for the “framing” of sacramental theology offered here.6

    Quoted in Peter J. Leithart on Trinity and Sacrament, by Ralph Allan Smith, page 4.

    I have not read much of Leithart firsthand. In fact, I haven’t read how this quote fits with the context of his article at: Peter J. Leithart, “‘Framing’ Sacramental Theology: Trinity and Symbol,” Westminster Theological Journal, vol. 62, no. 1, Spring, 2000, page 16. But just on the surface of it I have to wonder how Leithart can seriously even consider any connection between Aquinas’ view and the Reformed view??? “…Sacraments are
    essential to the achievement of salvation“????

    I’m sure Leithart will come up with a way to explain away the obvious here. But why is this sort of thing even published in the Westminster Theological Journal? Why give these heretics a platform?

    Charlie


  44. I am not going to argue the sacraments with Baptists, Denson. Sorry. Take that up with Sean:)

  45. qeqesha Says:

    Sean,
    ¨Denson, what is it about move on that you don’t understand?¨
    I guess I couldn´t just watch you boys have all the fun!!!

    Charlie,
    ¨I am not going to argue the sacraments with Baptists, Denson. Sorry. Take that up with Sean:)¨
    Wrong again, I´m an Anglican though I must admit I do not quite were it on my sleaves!!!

    Denson


  46. Denson, if you’re an Anglican, you should read Cranmer on the Lord’s Supper. You might want to check out what he has to say about baptism as well. In particular, in the homilies. Cranmer had no problem speaking about the sacraments as means of grace.

  47. brandon Says:

    Sean,

    Frankly, you can go back to Herman Hoeksema’s battle near the end of his life with Klaus Schilder to get a good handle on what’s going on today.

    I’ve tried to do a bit of research on this in the past and wasn’t too successful. Can you recommend any particular resource on this debate?

  48. Cliffton Says:

    Brandon: I’ve tried to do a bit of research on this in the past and wasn’t too successful. Can you recommend any particular resource on this debate?

    Cliffton: Brandon, Prof. Herman Hanko (former Prof and Minister in the PRC) wrote a book that dealt with the doctrinal history of the Protestant Reformed Churches. You may find this resourceful.

  49. Cliffton Says:

    Sorry Brandon, I forgot to give you the name of the book. It is called For Thy Truth’s Sake.

  50. brandon Says:

    Thanks Cliffton


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