Martyr Complex

Peter Leithart thinks he’s a martyr.  This past week the Pacific Northwest Presbytery (PNW) began judicial proceedings against Leithart for his unrepentant devotion to the spread of the Federal Vision’s false gospel.  While the date for his trial has yet to be set, Leithart’s chief prosecutor, pastor Jason Stellman, has his work cut out for him.  In 2008 the PNW exonerated Leithart stating that his teaching, specifically in the areas where he took issue with all nine declarations found in the PCA’s FV/NPP report, “is in complete conformity with the Westminster Confession of Faith.”  Consequently, the PNW is officially on recording stating that the “parallel soterilogical system” of the Federal Vision may be taught with impunity within the PCA, or, at the very least, within the balkanized confines of the PNW.   According to Stellman:

If the Pacific Northwest Presbytery’s past voting record is any indication of its future actions (and how can it not be?), then it is highly likely that for the first time ever, a Federal Vision case will go to trial in a NAPARC church, and the Federal Visionist will win.

Consequently, and apart from God’s direct intervention ripping the blinders from FV sympathizers like TE Rob Rayburn, I think it is a forgone conclusion that unless the GA’s Standing Judicial Commission is brought in to overturn the very likely “innocent” verdict, the PCA will officially be a pro-FV denomination and should pursue fraternal relations with Doug Wilson’s FV denomination, the CREC.  After all, the CREC is currently paying Leithart’s salary.

Interestingly, and again according to Stellman:

During the discussion one of our ministers asked Leithart pointedly, “Given that you’re already ministering in a CREC in Moscow, why do you insist upon remaining in the PCA?” Leithart’s response was … that his rationale for refusing to leave the PCA includes his hope that the verdict, if in his favor, will go a long way in aiding other Federal Visionists in the PCA who have come under attack for their views.

Stellman added on Wes White’s blog: “Leithart’s exact words were something like, ‘I am hoping this may help others with similar views as mine who are coming under attack.’”

Sounds like a man with a martyr complex to me.  However, this is basically as I predicted last December when I observed that Leithart “is a proud and arrogant man” and that he  “might even think he is clever  enough to outsmart the men on the SJC,” assuming it ends up there as it most assuredly will.

Make no mistake, with the PCA’s FV false teacher Steve Wilkins running from prosecution in the dead of night into the waiting arms of the CREC, Leithart is the PCA’s FV star poster child.  Besides being a signer of the Joint Federal Vision Profession,   you can see a summary of Leithart’s views here and Wes White’s excellent review of Leithart’s damnable The Baptized Body.

Either way, this case will be decisive.  If Leithart is exonerated again by the PNW and an innocent verdict upheld, as it is always possible that the SJC will be reluctant to overturn the decision of the lower court, then it will be beyond debate that the PCA is officially a pro-FV denomination.

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, Peter Leithart

43 Comments on “Martyr Complex”

  1. Cliffton Says:

    Paul says in 1cor 5:3 that though absent in body he was present in spirit, and therefore has already judged such a man. This must be our mindset as well.

  2. JWT Says:

    Sean: I don’t agree with your “martyr complex” conclusion. Given the extremely limited scope of context around the quote, I would argue that Leithart has tricks up his sleeve that he plans to use to make some kind of precedent — or at least try to make precedent — on behalf of the FVers in the PCA.

    If you assume that these guys coordinate every move, and if you assume that the Wilkins case did not go according to plan (I believe that Wilkins thought he had LAP in the bag until the SJC threatened the whole presbytery, which I believe was a contingency the FVers did contemplate), then I believe it’s safe to assume the FVers plan to use Leithart to test the SJC from another angle.

    And Leithart is the perfect guinea pig for the FVers because he has absolutely nothing to lose because no one in the PCA has any leverage on him. His bread gets buttered in the CREC.

    So by “hoping this may help others” I believe he’s serious. He intends to throw a curve ball with the hope of making the SJC miss, so that his pals can follow suit. And if he fails, then the next guinea pig will try yet another angle. That’s what I think he means and I think he has the perfect prosecutor in Jason Stellman, who appears no less enamored with the spotlight than he is with Leithart’s good and godly character. With Stellman at the helm, this could be the perfect storm for the FVers.

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m not totally in disagreement with you. OTOH, Leithart and the entire CREC, Doug Wilson in particular, have a lot to lose if Leithart gets what he deserves. Yes, he will still have a paycheck, but then Wilson’s denom will be clearly identified by even the most unthinking Christian as a anti-Christian denom akin to the RCC. At least no one will have an excuse for making the mistake that the CREC isn’t Rome’s little sister. Also, I don’t think you should underestimate Stellman…or Bordwine.

  4. JWT Says:

    I disagree with your conclusion about unthinking Christians because Wilson specifically panders to unthinking Christians, selling himself as mainstream, or even “edgy contemporary.” High church nonsense doesn’t make the pitch and he’s very good.

    Notwithstanding these facts, there’s the problem of the SJC who declared that “Leithart is a Christian” and “Leithart is not a heretic,” which were not questions before the court. They just deemed it in a purely gratuitous act apart from any fact-finding. So the SJC has given the FVers a PR bonanza by vindicating Leithart and his teaching, contrary to the 2007 report that determined the FV strikes at the vitals of religion.

    Bordwine understands the problem and he’s not courting the spotlight. Stellman, however, has made statements indicating that he sees this as mere confessional differences and not a matter of denying JBFA, and he has an obvious conflict of interest with whoring for attention. Between these two, I would watch for Leithart to play him, if he isn’t already. Hopefully Bordwine keeps Stellman focused.

  5. ray kikkert Says:

    …no doubt they will both have to deal with Leithart’s stupid analogies when cornered … and shut him down… I hope they will … instead of group hugging.

  6. Drake Says:

    I am begining to think that the primary error of the FV and the success of it against American Presbyterians is the love of the Bostonian view of the covenant of redemption as a covenant no different from that of grace. When you merge the internal approbation and the external administration of God’s intentions for the elect this is the result: A confusion between the sign and that thing it signifies. It seems Scotland has yet another reason to complain about how the American Reformed refused to school themselves in Presbyterianism’s fountain before it departed from it. Viva Rutherford! FV the egg that Thomas Boston laid.

  7. Rinky Dink Says:

    Isn’t it sad that Leithart’s primary purpose in defending himself is to protect the reputation of men and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

  8. Hugh McCann Says:

    Why, why, why?!

    Dear PCA PNW,
    Please read the article at the above link. It tells us why they win. You have been warned.

  9. Rinky Dink Says:

    Great article! Perhaps Jason Stellman and his congregation should leave the PCA like so many others. It appears that even if he wins his case, he still has a presbytery that does not seem committed to the truth of the Gospel. There comes a time when you sense that you are no longer welcome with the other leaders and will have to wipe the PCA dust off your sandals and move on. Jason’s job is to proclaim the Gospel, not waste his time fighting his presbytery.

  10. Drake Says:

    Dinky dink,

    NO! If Jason did that he would be excommunicating his congregation from the visible Church! He must stay and begin reforms from within! Beauracracy is more important than the truth Rinky diidn’t you read that in heb 13?

  11. Denson Dube Says:

    Hi Sean,
    “However, this is basically as I predicted last December when I observed that Leithart “is a proud and arrogant man” and that he “might even think he is clever enough to outsmart the men on the SJC,” assuming it ends up there as it most assuredly will.“
    Does a heretic have to outsmart anyone these days?
    As long as the same irrational epistemology controls the minds of men on either side, these trials will be a matter of an in-house squabble. Three times Norman Shepherd was exonerated and declared “within the bounds of orthodoxy“ though “using language that could be misunderstood“. These are the pathetic, effeminate and immoral minds that are at the helm of our denominations! This is the result of rejecting the rationality of the Word of God and positing paradoxes! Paul did not hesitate to call the neo-legalists of his day dogs![Phil. 3:2]


  12. Hugh McCann Says:

    From the Robbins piece referenced above:

    ‘There are several reasons that heretics win battles.

    ‘First, Scripture tells us that they are more clever and cunning than believers: “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light” (Luke 16:8). They have a way of thinking that makes them more politically astute, more street smart, more imaginative in their machinations, and more willing to act in sinful ways in order to achieve their goals. Stealing, lying, and bribery are fine so long as they “advance the Kingdom.”

    ‘Second, heretics introduce false ideas stealthily: “But this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Galatians 2:4) and “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation…” (Jude 4). They appear to be sheep, but are not; and the ideas they teach, at least at first, appear to be true, but are not. By their smooth words, they deceive many into thinking that they are Christian brothers and the ideas they advance are Biblical.

    ‘Third, heretics frequently use force to persecute Christians. Force works; it silences the opposition. That is why heretics and tyrants use it. The blood of the martyrs is not the seed of the church; only the Gospel is.

    ‘Fourth, and most important, those who believe the truth tend to be slow to recognize error and even slower to take the actions necessary to defend the truth. They lack both discernment and courage. . .’

    Please disseminate his article:

    Yours for the gospel,
    Hugh McCann

  13. GLW Johnson Says:

    It is really difficult to take you serious when you lump Lane Keister and myself amongst those who are ‘soft’ on the likes of Doug Wilson. To quote Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”

  14. cliffton Says:

    One’s self-expressed intellectual deficiencies (or difficulties) has no logical place in identifying truth. It is only a statement relative to how you think about yourself.

  15. Sean Gerety Says:

    I suppose that’s your problem Gary.

    Thankfully, and as you know, Lane finally did come around and reversed himself on Wilson after previously and publicly exonerating him on the central truths of the Gospel. Yet, I noticed in all that time while myself and others were trying desperately to help Lane see the dangerous error he was making, you remained silent. That’s not entirely true, you did take the opportunity to spit at me a few times just as you are doing now.

    As Daffy Duck would say; “You’re dessss-picable.”

  16. Hugh McCann Says:

    Where is Pastor Gary Johnson’s “getting tough” with regard to Mr Wilson, online?

  17. GLW Johnson Says:

    You can google search my name and the books I have edited and contributed to -among them ‘By Faith Alone’ that I coedited with Guy Waters ( Crossway 2007) and one on Warfield that I edited for P&R also in 2007-both critique the FV and specifically Doug Wilson.

  18. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thank you, Pastor Johnson.

  19. olivianus Says:

    Do you ascribe to Boston’s view of the covenants of Redemption and Grace?


  20. Rusty Olps Says:

    I’m a deacon at Christ Church, and I can tell you that the Federal Vision takes about 0% of our time and energy. I hereby pronounce the FV “old, boring, confusing, and distracting.” Have a nice time kicking that dead horse.

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    Which Christ Church Rusty? Let me guess, the one in Moscow, Idaho, right? If that’s where you’re a deacon it makes perfect sense that the FV takes about 0% of your time. I would expect nothing less from an FV church headed by one of the FV’s chief apologists in an openly FV denomination. What would there be to talk about? You all believe the same errors.

    OTOH, the FV is a problem for Reformed denominations which have all universally condemned it as striking at the vitals of the faith; the Gospel. Reformed men everywhere recognize that the FV has attempted to create a parallel system of salvation (and, in case you’re wondering Rusty, there is only one system of salvation and the FV denies it).

    So, I’m glad this is all a non issue for you. Evidently, and sad to say, so is the Gospel.

  22. evergreen Says:

    No, no, no. Dr. Leithart has a different understanding of how things work. He does not disagre with the basic teachings of Christianity as it’s been expressed in Orthodox terms. There is a terribly false understanding around that says that if a person is not in sync wth the Westminster documents or a certain denomination’s formulations, well then they must be heretical. If that were the case then there would be very few Christians who are orthodox. In fact, the Westminster documents weren’t even put together until the seventeenth century. And beforehand, problems existed with Puritanism, its forerunner. Puritan preachers in Elizabethan England were hair-splitting, and going on and on in the pulpit. People were theologizing and growing fussy and there were divisions. The queen didn’t like it and discouraged it. We see that same dynamic unfolding now in the PCA. Too much defining and too little charity is happening.

  23. olivianus Says:

    Roger and I are debating the Christology thing through email and I must say I have never debated such obnoxious perosn in my life, but anyway. Roger will usually come up with some kind of bs to address every one of my comments but this one he will not touch: Tpical traditional Calvinist Christology will posit a communication of attributes that is no communication between the natures but predicates both sets of properties to the person. The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia says,

    “For the essence of Monothelism is the refusal to apportion the actions (’enérgeiai) between the two natures, but to insist that they are all the actions of the one Personality.”

    [“Eutychianism” ]

    I am trying to show Roger that his christology is monothelite but he plays the finger in the ears rle at this point.

  24. Hugh McCann Says:


    Since this is the latest on Leithart @ G.H., let’s work here. You say that, “Dr. Leithart has a different understanding of how things work.” Here we agree!

    And, “He does not disagree with the basic teachings of Christianity as it’s been expressed in Orthodox terms.” Uh, that’s what’s up for debate.

    Gerety argues that P.L. is a “Christ denying heretic,” who “boldly denies the Gospel, considers the doctrine of imputation ‘redundant,’ and maintains that sinners are brought into union with Christ through the magic waters of baptism as their ‘brother.'” {From “PCA Pastor Peter Leithart to be Charged”}

    You add above that, “Too much defining and too little charity is happening.”

    We’re agreed on the latter, too! But for love to prevail, we need MORE definition, not less! Equivocation is hateful, and can be deadly!

    Again Yours,

  25. evergreen Says:


    The imputation debate has got to stoop. This business between Piper (whose seeming more and more like a Christian version of Woody Allen) and Wright must stop and all the spinoffs. MacArthur too. It’s all too much. They’re trying to define too much. Most Christians don’t even know the term imputation. Yet they know that Jesus is teh Christ, and that he came to save them–because they sinned and the world had to be restored. There are a million ways of explaining it. But you need an outsider’s perspective. People outside the Westminster tradition don’t know what the heck all this is about–and they could not follow it anyway. The Presbyterian church draws a certain more educated or intellectual type. The average Christian doesn'[t have the time,and many dont’ have the patience for this theologizing. I'[ve seen conversations that sounded like something coming out of the monastery at Mt. Athos–it’s just zaney. Some people (and I don’t say this to be amusing) simply don’t have the intellect for all this. And for those who do–it’s creating crises and divisions and it’s embarrasing. At this point I’d be embarrassed to tell someone I’m a Presbyterian. It no longer seems like a sensible denomination, at least not on this side of the Atlantic. It’s gotten too bizarre with all this infighting and striving for excessive preciseness. Throughout church history, Christians did not do all this–you just don’t udnerstand. This idea that someone has a library in their home and can sign up for these doctrines and be held to them and all–it’s novel–and it’s probably not taking place in third world countries either. We’re well-fed and so we spend our time discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. No one else has this kind of time or the resources for these debates. Now you guys came out of a church that came out of somewhere. Now, are you going to come out again? Or are you going to send the ones you disagree with out? Then where are they supposed to go? You saw what happened with Franky Schaeffer. He got sick of the whole thing–now he’ll have nothing to do with reformed Christianity. He’s over with the Greeks–and his family was Swiss!

  26. Sean Gerety Says:

    “The imputation debate has got to stoop.”

    Why, because you don’t like it or because most people calling themselves Christian are too biblically and historically ignorant to see its importance? I guess in your mind the entire Reformation was a bunch of pointless theorizing too.

    “The average Christian doesn’[t have the time,and many dont’ have the patience for this theologizing.”

    Which only means that the average Christian is easily tossed about by every wind of doctrine and by antichrists and Judiaziers who render the finished work of Christ to none effect. I agree with this.

    As for Franky Schaeffer, he should have paid closer attention to his father. I know I did. 🙂

  27. Hugh McCann Says:


    Thanks. I agree that we are well-fed and even ripe for slaughter here in the US church. And that Piper is like Woody Allen (VERY funny!). And that the Mt Athos gang (Ortho’x) is loony.

    Franky Schaeffer apostatized from Christianity.

    And I must REALLY take issue with your likening the doctrine of imputation to the # of angels on a pin’s head. That is simply irresponsible, and you ought to know better.

    Imputation versus infusion needs to be taught where our people are ignorant. It not only is the basis for assurance of salvation, it is the difference between heaven and hell!

    Bonar attributes to Luther the following: “Our righteousness is nothing but the imputation of the righteousness of Christ; and the just have need of a continual justification and imputation of the righteousness of Christ.”*

    And this from John Robbins:

    “Four hundred years ago the religious world was involved in one of the greatest religious conflicts that this world has ever witnessed. A tremendous number of books have recorded a blow-by-blow account of the epic Romanist-Protestant struggle. Yet, after more than four centuries have gone by, the professed sons of the Reformation generally have very little idea of the real issues of the conflict. If you ask a Protestant what Roman Catholics teach concerning justification, you will most likely be told that Catholics believe that a sinner may be justified by his own works of merit. But listen to what an authoritative Catholic catechism teaches:

    Q. What is justification?
    A. It is a grace which makes us friends of God.

    Q. Can a sinner merit this justifying grace?
    A. No, he cannot; because all the good works which the sinner performs whilst he is in a state of mortal sin, are dead works, which have no merit sufficient to justify.

    Q. Is it an article of the Catholic faith, that the sinner cannot merit the grace of justification?
    A. Yes, it is decreed in the seventh chap. of the sixth sess. of the Council of Trent, that neither faith, nor good works, preceding justification, can merit the grace of justification.

    Q. How then is the sinner justified?
    A. He is justified gratuitously by the pure mercy of God, not on account of his own or any human merit, but purely through the merits of Jesus Christ; for Jesus Christ is our only mediator of redemption, who alone, by his passion and death, has reconciled us to his Father.

    Q. Why then do Protestants charge us with believing, that the sinner can merit the redemption of his sins?
    A. Their ignorance of the Catholic doctrine is the cause of this, as well as many other false charges
    (Rev. Stephen Keenan, _Doctrinal Catechism_, 138, 139).”


    * From


    Robbins wrote that the Reformers “rediscovered Paul’s doctrine of justification through belief alone. In the book of Romans the apostle sets forth the Gospel truth that the sinner is not justified by an infused righteousness but by an imputed righteousness-meaning a righteousness that is found wholly in Another. A believer is not justified by virtue of what God has done in him but by virtue of what Jesus Christ has done for him.”


  28. Hugh McCann Says:

    Dear Evergreen,

    If you didn’t get the point of JR’s quoting an RCC catechism, it may be that you are not trusting Christ alone. In which case, you should either repent and believe the gospel, or join the Roman State-Church. She likes C.S. Lewis and hates imputation, too!

    Please read “Justification by Faith: Romanism and Protestantism,” by the late John W. Robbins.

    He teases at the outset, ‘Many Protestants are awakening to the fact that the Roman Catholic Church does teach a doctrine of justification by faith. With surprise they are saying, “I always thought that Catholics taught that a sinner could be justified by his own works of merit. But they do not teach this. I have been subjected to some uncharitable Protestant propaganda about Catholic doctrine. Why, they believe in the saving grace of God the same as we do!” There is no question but that Catholic doctrine has always taught that a sinner is justified by a grace that comes from God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then what was the doctrinal bone of contention between the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformation?’

    Happy Reading!

    “now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…

    “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by his blood, through faith…

    “that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus…

    “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (from Romans 3:21-28)

    Romans 4:5 ~ “to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness”!!!

    Sincerely Yours,

  29. evergreen Says:

    I think some people have read and looked so far into some things that they take that for granted. I didn’t want to put it this way, but most people don’t have the intellect for that. The pResbyterian tradition has managed to pull in a number of people who are very literate and bookish. This is not the norm. It is an exception. The average Christian down through the ages knew their Lord personally–they knew him to be the Christ, the Son of God, who entered the world to bring salvation, hope, life, love,e tc. And these people would from time to time be martyred. However, if you sat them down and spoke to them about all these different details they would have looked at you like you had five heads. It’s beyond most people’s abilities. The Presbyterian churches have been a magnet for a certain middle-class that is more literate. The neo-Presbyteirna churches have been a magnet for people who enjoy theologizing as a hobby. But they are not all like that either. Many simply read popularized books by someone like Piper or MacArthur. The attention to detail is astonishing–most of it just makes my head spin in circles. And as I said, it leads to squabbles and in the end, agreement is lost. Split and multiply is a mechanism for reform–let’s not abuse it. And church courts are for serious matters. Not for issues pertaining to definitions and words which go on endlessly. I think you’re attaching a Roman sense to theology and doctrine and ecclesiastical censure that was relatively unknown to the early church. I don’t see the sense in it. It seems to have gone to far. During the sixteenth century Puritan preachers would go on and on in the pulpits of England, hammering out details and everyone busied their heads with it all. It finally got so rediculous with Cromwell that dictatorship was necessary to maintain control until the monarchy was restored. We need to return to being simply Christian. Faith, rightiousness, justification, imputation–it’s dizzying. How about grace? And yes, I know, Piper sounds like Woody Allen and looks like him too–because he’s gotten silly with it all.

  30. Hugh McCann Says:


    If you really knew who’s been “an average Christian down through the ages,” what they believed, and what they had the capacity to believe — that’d be astounding! I think you’re a wee bit hyperbolic, eh?

    You say, “We need to return to being simply Christian.” Without definition, that is simply meaningless.

    As for “Faith, righteousness, justification, and grace,” these are all necessary BIBLICAL doctrines, and need biblical definitions, not satanic spins from popish persons.

    I would argue that so is “imputation,” though like the term “Trinity” it’s not found in the Bible. See article referenced above.

    Thinking about poping?


  31. evergreen Says:

    Once again, I’ll reiterate: Most people don’t have the intellect to understand all of this. You’re not paying attention to what I said concerning denominational demographics and sociological makeup. These churches are magnets for bibliophiles. The average Christian doesn’t have the time or intellect to delve into and understand complicated reasoning that goes along with this. True, there were exceptions like the schools of Christ at Geneva or in Scotland–but those were peculiar exceptions where a climate was conducive to that sort of thing. And trust me, they weren’t discussing matters like we see on the web now. This is all late on the scene. It’s something new in the past few decades, and it’s not present in other denominations. Imputation is not even used. It never comes up. Yet other denominations have Christians and things go on. There is an exceptional situation in neo-Presbyterianism–most people would become stressed with that level of debate and differentiation of ideas. You’re taking for granted as normal something that is really exceptional. It was in the Scottish tradition. But then other factors played into that. And I think they handle these things a little better than we do on this side of the Atlantic. I’m constantly hearing Piper did this, MacArthur said that, Lewis is bad–he was really a pagan and it goes on and on. According to the Westminster tradition, only one thread of Christendom had it right, and only they really udnerstood the Bible. All else was sinful. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  32. Hugh McCann Says:

    Dear ‘green,

    “”Most people don’t have the intellect to understand all of this.” And, “The average Christian doesn’t have the time or intellect to delve into and understand complicated reasoning that goes along with this.”

    Hooey. People thrive on Christ, and he is true, pure doctrine. Nor are his apostles too complicated for the peolpe to understand. {You sure you’re not a Catholic?!}

    Eph. 4:11ff & Titus 1:9 and others show us that the church is to teach the truth to the people.

    I’m sorry that “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

    You should either start a Simply Christian cult, or go to Rome, where you can be ignorant and worship whatever & whomever you want.

    Or find a faithful reformed fellowship that DOES get Luther, et. al.!


  33. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hooey is right. “Evergreen” denies the perspicuity of Scripture and is content in shredding the Gospel in the process.

    Hugh, you’re wasting your time.

    Evergreen, just wondering, what church do you attend? Christ Church in Moscow, ID?

  34. evergreen Says:

    No, Mr. Gerety. I got drawn into this discussion when I saw that someone was being mauled. I had read the man’s Solomon among the Postmoderns and was struck by his ability to translate the gospel to the postmodern world. The gospel clearly states the news that is good. But as for the level of perspicuity that’s evolved–I find it rather novel and fraught wiht difficulties. I think we humans have a tremendous propensity to engage in Babel-like constructions, be they buildings or systems. And yes, we thrive on reason and logic and have difficulty with ambiguity, paradox and mystery. And that in fact is what drove the otherwise Protestnat figure Chesterton to the Pope. That and the fact that Anglicanism was already experiencing some convulsions in his day. But I am a reformed Christian in the general sense. I can not be bothered by the details that pull people apart in all different directions. I have no connection to Leithart whatsoever. I’ve never even met the man. I just feel for him because I’ve seen this sort of thing before. And its messy and ugly and time-consuming. Sometimes when you get through with it all you have another denomination and another set of issues you never anticipated. We’ve got to learn to thrive on diversity. He’s obviously not Catholic. He’s not even close to that. What he’s teaching is probably not that different from what went on at Princeton in the nineteenth century. But again, this stuff is beyond the average layperson’s ability to decipher. And yes, it’s sooooo Presbyterian.
    I’m just feeling for someone whom I’m afraid may be getting caught up in something. I have a strong feeling that this must all be a terrible embarrassment for him and I sense that he would not be facing this in other circumstances. I think it’s happening, at least in part, due to an overall climate. Sometimes people get in trouble for things at a certain time when a climate is a certain way. Things would have gone differently in another time period absent the circumstances.

  35. Sean Gerety Says:

    He’s obviously not Catholic. He’s not even close to that.

    You’re either being coy, patently dishonest, or you’re grossly ignorant of the system of doctrine Leithart champions; the Federal Vision. In charity, I will assume it’s the last of these three options, in which case you should either get up to speed and educated yourself or keep your opinions to yourself.

  36. Hugh McCann Says:


    Just for the sake of argument, what WOULD it take for you to label a man a heretic?

    In other words, given your profession of a kind of “reformed Christian in the general sense,” which doctrines would one have to repudiate for you to see him as a false teacher. Jesus said we’d know such by their fruit (doctrine).

    Finally, just what IS that news that is good, to you?


  37. evergreen Says:

    May God’s love and peace abide with you all. And may his joy reign in your hearts this day and forevermore! We know in part and we prophecy in part. But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. And now abideth these three; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

  38. Hugh McCann Says:

    “…he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.”

    A blessed St Crispin’s Day, Evergreen!


  39. evergreen Says:

    Reformed Christianity is the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. We affirm that against humanism and all else.

  40. evergreen Says:

    And blessings upon you and all those who seek a jolly good time–and who are you, the archbishop of Canterbury? That’s not very Presbyteirna I’m afraid.

  41. Hugh McCann Says:

    Philippians 3:13ff ~ Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

    ~ An aging, recovering Presbyterian and Anglican

  42. evergreen Says:

    I sense a good Scot–one who knows–and what’s more, one who knows how to fight! Leave off with all this theologizing and seek the blessings of unity and peac!e in Christ’s church. And do leave that poor Dr. Leithart alone.

    The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord–she is his new creation by water and the word–froom heaven he came and sought her to be his only bride, with his own blood he bought her and for her life he died.

    Yet she on earth hath union with God the three in one! She waits the consummation with those whose rest is won! Oh happy ones andholy LOord give us grace that we, with them the meek and lowly on high may dwell with thee! AAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMEEEENNNNNNNN!

  43. evergreen Says:

    Well, since there are no more responses, I’m off for the night. It’s time for my chamomile tea. But I’ll leave you with one more saying:

    FAITH ends in sight.
    HOPE ends in fruition.
    But LOVE continues throughout the boundless realms of eternity.

    Let us then love the brethren as Christ has taught us. Perfect love drives out fear!

    And save us from all fear in this life and the next!

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