Archive for September 2010

Excellent New Blog

September 30, 2010

From Musings of a Rinky Dink:

Complete and unquestioning submission to the authority of the visible church elders is the measuring rod for perseverance in the faith.  Any deviation from this measuring rod is an almost sure sign of apostasy.  Any slight  form of disagreement is breaking the ninth commandment and cause for discipline and even excommunication.

You see, for the Federal Vision version of the non-elect, God is like Lucy promising to hold the football in place so Charlie Brown can kick it.  For God gives the non-elect the “temporary” promise and benefits of salvation.  But just when the poor soul reaches what he thinks is his “final justification”, God pulls away all the “temporary saving benefits” and sends him crashing into the final judgment.

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Quick Update on the Siouxlands

September 29, 2010

Lots of activity in the Siouxlands Presbytery.  The first is that it looks like Federal Visionist Greg Lawrence will finally be tried for teaching doctrines that are contrary to the Standards (more specifically doctrines contrary to the Gospel).  To say that it’s about time is an understatement.  Wes White was exonerated by the committee appointed to examine him concerning the charge that he violated the Ninth Commandment on his blog and in references he has made to FV pastor Greg Lawrence.  According to White the committee  “stated that there was no Constitutional prohibition on the mere act of reporting public events and that they could find no misrepresentation in the material presented.” A different committee appointed to examine Brian Carpenter for the exact same charge did find a “strong presumption of guilt” that Carpenter violated the Ninth Commandment on his blog and in references he made to FV pastor Joshua Moon.   However, before proceeding to trial a committee was formed to attempt to convince Carpenter of his sin.

What is interesting in this last case is that a review of the charges leveled against Carpenter by Moon’s session at Good Shepherd church in Minnetonka, MN,  along with the respective evidence used to support each charge,  are virtually identical to the charges leveled against White.  Yet, in the one a committee exonerated White and the other came back with a strong presumption of guilt in the case of Carpenter.  Now, I have been following Carpenter’s blog postings at the Happy TR for some time and I assume the job of the committee now instructing Carpenter will be to convince him that there was willful and calculated misrepresentation in the material he presented.  Not an easy task since so far as I can tell there wasn’t any and what he posted in the past has been repeatedly corroborated by the public record (even if the Siouxlands Pres has tried to suppress much of it) and corresponding posts that have appeared on Wes White’s blog, Lane Kiester’s Greenbaggins blog, Scott Clark’s Heidelblog, and elsewhere.   So it  would seem that it is now a sin to tell the truth in the Siouxlands Presbytery, either that or just mentioning Joshua Moon’s name is a violation of the Ninth Commandment.

Interesting too my piece, Siouxlands Schizophrenia,  featured rather prominently in this case, as if  Carpenter was even remotely responsible for anything I wrote.  For example, in support of their complaint against Carpenter, Good Shepherd offered as evidence:

1. From Blog, “Puritanboard,” on 10-27-2009 05:14 PM:
TE Carpenter provides a reference to Sean Gerety’s post, “Siouxlands Schizophrenia God’s Hammer.” It’s an article laced with name calling and negative pathos. Gerety states, “TE Moon is insane,” and calls him a dog.[ii] Referring people to this article has negative results. This blog discussion lead to what the WLC describes as, “Backbiting, detracting, tale-bearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash…misconstructing [sic] intentions.” This correspondence has the overall effect of prejudicing the truth of TE Moon’s association with FV.

Carpenter’s sin is that he provided a link to my post.  What they don’t mention is that he also added this caveat when referring others to my post:

I don’t necessarily agree with every jot and tittle of S.G.’s post, and he does have a history of bomb throwing.

It is a fine line between grief and anger sometimes, and I’ve crossed it myself more than once.

Setting the issue of his invective aside, he does seem to have something of a handle on the issues.

Bomb throwing or not, nothing Brian Carpenter or Wes White or Lane Kiester have written played even the slightest role in my reference to Joshua Moon as “insane” or a “dog.”  Besides, anyone who is remotely aware of the Siouxlands Presbytery’s bumbling in their (mis)handling of the Lawrence case to date will certainly agree that it is hard to have any “positive pathos” concerning their ability to correctly adjudicate any case even against the most brazen false teacher.  Frankly, I think Joe Ratzinger could probably remain a pastor in good standing in that Presbytery.  What the men of Good Shepherd fail to grasp is that it is what Joshua Moon has said that gave rise to that very accurate observation and appellation.  First, concerning the charge of insanity, here is what I wrote:

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).

Notice that my calling Moon insane was contingent upon the assumption that Moon’s views as reported were correct.  At the time I was still open to the possibility that the report could in fact be inaccurate and that I was withholding final judgment in the matter of Moon’s grasp of reality.  However, it seems that Moon does hold to the above blatant contradiction concerning the imagined justification of the reprobate.  For example, Moon argued:

I do not believe that any but the elect are justified.  However one reads the parable of the unmerciful servant (which I do think is about forgiveness and its revocation), I think it is preposterous to assert that anyone but the elect are in fact justified by God in any effectual or saving sense at all.

And concerning the parable of the unmerciful servant Moon explains:

We are told by the complainants that you cannot attribute forgiveness of sins to the potential reprobate. But that is clearly wrong. The unmerciful servant, Jesus says, was ‘forgiven his debt.’  He moved from a state of condemnation to true and real forgiveness.  This was no pretended forgiveness. Yet the servant was finally apostate, failed to live up to the grace shown to him, and so the privilege of that forgiveness was revoked.

So, and according to Joshua Moon’s own words,  it is perfectly accurate to say that he believes that  “no reprobate person ever gets justification, and … the baptized reprobate do get forgiveness of sin in some real sense.”  That’s just crazy and if pointing that out is a sin I fail to see it.  Maybe someone should form a committee.

Concerning the appellation “dog,” and in fairness, I didn’t single Moon out by any means but included his former employer and mentor, Jeff Meyers.  Now, while I do consider Moon and Meyers “dogs,” I confess that name is probably not the most accurate.  Wolves would certainly have been more accurate and biblical as both of these men are wolves pretending to be sheep and who continue to play this charade with the blessing of their respective Presbyteries.  As Jesus warned;  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  And, let’s face it, any self-styled minister of the Gospel who claims that the apostasy of an individual entails a failure “to live up to the grace shown to him” and that  forgiveness is a “privilege” that can be “revoked” is quite properly classified as a member of the canine family.  So, unless I’m missing something, it seems to me that in the case of Moon and Meyers the name fits.

The other interesting thing concerning the charges against Carpenter is that the committee investigating him concluded that his

actions and character has had this result: “prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbor,” and “endeavoring or desiring to impair it,” before the PCA courts have made a ruling regarding TE Moon’s view.

If things couldn’t get any stranger in the Siouxlands their entire argument that Carpenter violated the Ninth Commandment comes down to the bizarre notion that nobody is a Federal Visionist unless the Siouxlands Presbytery say they are and saying otherwise is a sin.  Therefore, to publicly identify someone as being a Federal Visionist the Siouxlands Presbytery must first rule that the person is a Federal Visionist, of course making it logically impossible to ever charge anyone with being a Federal Visionist.  As I’ve said before, when it comes to the false gospel of the Federal Vision the Judaizers in Paul’s day never had it so good.

Revealing New Blog

September 16, 2010

It is well known that James Jordon has a private Yahoo Group for Biblical Horizons subscribers.   A number of years ago it was infiltrated and some revealing conversations leaked onto the Internet via the mysterious “Mark T” at his Foedero Schism blog.   Now it looks like someone (Mark T?) started another blog fittingly titled Biblical Horizons Yahoos.   Admittedly, these posts are still rather old, but they’re still revealing.    Some of the contributors to the list are Doug Wilson, Rich Lusk, John Barach, Burke Shade, and the PCA’s usual suspects, William Smith, Jeffery Meyers, Mark Blow Horne and others.  Below is just a great post from James Jordan.  He really does a great job of putting to shame those in the PCA who think men, like the above mentioned, are Confessional Presbyterians if only a little confused.  Frankly, I don’t consider any of these men Christians, so the admission by Jordan that all of them lack Presbyterian credentials is the least of their worries, but it should be transparent to all that all of these men are liars. And if liars then we all know who their real father is.

Well, John, sounds good to me. I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation. We also don’t like the rationalism of the “grammatical historical method” (a good way of weeding out about 95% of what the text means). I — and since BH is me, we — don’t think metrical psalms are real psalms and think Calvin and the Reformed tradition made a huge mistake by substituting metrical psalms for real ones — a gnostic move, since the assumption is that the IDEAS of the text are all that matter, and not the shape thereof. I could go on. . . .

Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there.

I mean, think about it. Would any of you seek ordination in a Baptist denomination? No. Then why do you seek ordination in non-paedocommuning Presbyterian/Reformed denominations? Don’t tell me that these aren’t the same question, because at the practical level, American presbyterianism is just “Baptist light.” That’s what Banner of Truth Calvinism is, and why it’s been Reformed Baptists who most appreciate it. That what Duncan is. That’s what the So. Presbyterian tradition is. That’s what American individualist conversionist presbyterianism is: Baptists who sprinkle babies.

I can’t really put feet on this, but I “feel” sure that the Reformation tradition is rationalistic precisely because it is anti-pc. Or maybe better, these are part of one complex. Being anti-pc was the greatest mistake of all the Reformers (except Musculus, and who cares about him?). This mistake is part of the heart of the Reformation; they knew about pc and rejected it. This has affected, or else helps be a part of, all kinds of things, like piety, liturgy, and hermeneutics.

So, why are you trying to get ordained presbyterian? Why not seek to get ordained Baptist? There are a whole lot more baptists out there. A bigger pond. Larger sphere of influence.

Well, it’s because the baptists won’t have us, and so far the presbys will. But there’s no reason why the presbys should receive us, since sacramentally speaking we are NOT Reformed and NOT presbyterian.

I’m a little bit sympathetic with Duncan & Co. when they suspect some of you guys are not being honest when you try to show that you’re just good traditional Reformed guys. I guess it’s a good thing I did not make it to the Knox Seminary discussion, because I would have openly said, “I’m not on the same page as Calvin and the Reformation in these regards.” Showing that the Reformed tradition is wider and muddier than Duncan wants it to be is fine, but the fact is that if you believe in pc, you’re not in the Reformed tradition at all in a very significant and profound sense. No more than you’re Baptists.

JBJ >:-}

James B. Jordan
Director, Biblical Horizons
Box 1096
Niceville, FL 32578

Clark Quick Quote

September 1, 2010

This installment of Clark Quick Quote is a twofer.  I’m in the middle of rereading  Clark’s Predestination for the first time in many years.  It’s way overdue as this is the book that ripped me from my Arminian stupor and opened my eyes to the truth of God’s sovereignty over everything and especially my salvation.  This was my second Clark book.  My first encounter with Clark was almost twenty years ago when I picked Thales to Dewey as an alternate selection while a member of the Conservative Book Club.  Needless to say I was impressed.  A number of years later when I heard a couple of obnoxious Calvinists arguing with an equally obnoxious Arminian Baptist over the question of free will, I recalled the back pages of Thales and the Trinity Foundation’s list of “Intellectual Ammunition.”  I figured if this Clark guy could write such an impressive single volume on the history of philosophy, his treatment of predestination would have to be at least as good.  Well, after weeks of sleepless nights going through the Scriptures to see if Clark was right,  I rejected Arminianism and my own belief in my own imagined free will lock, stock and barrel.  I am convinced that this is still the best book on the topic and a far better handling of the topic than Boettner’s — and light years beyond Sproul (and Boettner and Sproul are both pretty good).

The first of these quotes has to do with the biblical Creator/creature distinction as opposed to the subtle perversion we find in Van Til and his many followers.  Notice that for Clark the distinction between Creator and creature properly rests in the area of being  or ontology, whereas the Vantilian extends this distinction to the area of knowledge or epistemology and with crippling affect.  It’s also a nice introduction to the idea that God is ex lex or without or above the law.

The second quote has to do with the objection that biblical predestination reduces men to mere puppets.  I think Clark’s handling of this objection is spot on.

Enjoy.

Since God is the creator he cannot be unjust. He creates whatever objects, things, or persons he pleases. If he had wanted elephants with two legs and robins with four legs, he would have created them so. Created as they are, they have no ground for complaint. To understand the Bible one must realize that God is the sovereign creator. There is no law superior to him that commands, though shalt not create elephants with two legs, or thou shalt not hate Esau. There are many details in the doctrine of predestination, and each should be given its due weight; but the basic, the final, the ultimate answer to all objections is the relative positions of Creator and creature. All objections presuppose that man is in some way or other independent of God and has obtained from somewhere or achieved by his own efforts some rights over against him. Obviously such a view is totally destructive or Christianity.

Predestination, 81-82

But many modern men continue to object that this destroys free will, degrades man, abolishes morality, and makes man a puppet.

Well, it may destroy free will. Paul in Romans 9 had just said, “It is not of him that willeth.” People who rely on free will must reject mercy. This is precisely the antithesis that Paul had just made. But this view does not degrade man or elephant below their proper stations, unless one thinks it is degrading to be a creature instead of the Creator. Nor does predestination abolish morality, if we pay attention to Romans 6 and 12. Nor does foreordination or predeterminism make man a puppet.

A puppet is a jointed doll worked by strings. It operates mechanically. But Christianity neither teaches nor implies a mechanistic view of life. In Puritan times the Reformed writers constantly attached the mechanism of ‘Thomas Hobbes. John Gill, a great Baptist Puritan, defended Calvinism against such an objection and declared that man is “free not only from a necessity of coaction or force, but also from a physical necessity of nature.” In modern language, this means that life is not a physico-chemical product, nor are human actions explicable by the laws of physics. The actions of puppets are.

But this is not to say that men are more independent of God than puppets are of their puppeteers. Quite the reverse. The puppeteer who wants to give a Punch and Judy show is limited in the number of things he can make his puppets do. They are jointed and controlled by strings. Therefore they cannot bend where they have not joints, nor in directions opposite to the joints’ construction. Some of the charm of a puppet lies in the fact that the puppeteer can do so much even under his rigid limitations. No, man is not a puppet in God’s hands. He is a lump of clay. As such the clay has no joints. Out of the same lump God can fashion a man for honor and another man for dishonor. In fact the illustration of the lump of clay does not do justice to God’s sovereign control, for the human potter does not create the clay, but God does. One is not a mature or consistent Christian until with the understanding he can sing,

Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way;
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.

Predestination, 82-83


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