The Trinity Foundation’s Seventh Annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest

Know any Christians between the ages of 17 and 23?

The Trinity Foundation has recently launched their 2011 Worldview Essay Contest.   While this is a great opportunity for budding Christian scholars to win upward of $3,000, the most valuable benefit is that through the efforts of the Trinity Foundation more young minds will be exposed to some of the most important Christian books ever written.  This year’s essay contest is no exception and focuses on Gordon Clark’s seminal masterpiece, An Introduction to Christian Philosophy (now found in the indispensable volume that should be on the shelf of every thinking Christian, Clark and His Critics under the heading of Christian Philosophy and “The Wheaton Lectures”) .

Clark’s Intro to Christian Phil is without question one of the most important books written in the last 100 years.  Probably longer. I only wish I had read this book when I was in college.  I remember as a freshman sitting in an Intro to Phil course and my professor, Dr. Schutts, stressing that the most important branch of philosophy is not metaphysics, not ethics, not politics, and certainly not esthetics.  The most important branch of philosophy is epistemology or the study of knowledge.   Schutts would say, “Unless you can explain how you know you can’t really say that you know anything at all.”  Since then I’ve realized that the vast majority of people, including most of my professors, really didn’t know anything at all.  Clark in his Wheaton Lectures sought to rectify this deplorable situation by offering Christians a biblically defensible epistemology.

The Apostle Peter said that Scripture is a “light that shineth in a dark place.” By applying the Reformed principle of sola scriptura to the problem of epistemology, Clark succeeded in providing an unshakeable foundation for knowledge that can be found nowhere else.

For those who might not know, the Trinity Foundation’s Worldview Contest was started in response to the annual Worldview Student Conference that was held by Calvary Reformed Church in Hampton, Va.   The Calvary Reformed student conference was notorious for having a rotating roster of Federal Visionists like Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins, Andrew Sandlin, Peter Leithart, Steve Schlissel and others.  You can read about just one of these Conference’s here.    As a small aside, I attended one of these conferences in 2004 where I heard Steve Wilkins tell a packed room of young minds that the forced baptisms of Anglo-Saxons was a good thing because “that’s how Christians are made.”  Then in between speakers I overheard him telling a group of students that he had come under attack by some who have accused him of denying justification by faith.  He assured them “I have never denied justification by faith, ever!”  I was tempted to stick my nose into the conversation and let these kids know that no one had ever accused Wilkins of denying justification by faith, just justification by faith alone.

Instead, a couple of friends and I stood outside the conference hall handing out fliers offering books Dr. Robbins and the Trinity Foundation were providing free of charge to conference attendees.  The books included Not Reformed At All, The Current Justification Controversy , A Companion to The Current Justification Controversy, What Is Saving Faith, and Christ and Civilization all in the hope of immunizing some of these poor young souls being  subjected to this FV swill.  I recall Calvary’s Associate Pastor, Byron Snapp, was furious when he saw what we were doing and accused us all of trespassing.  I reminded Pastor Snapp that their conference was being held on the public property of Christopher Newport University and that standing outside handing out fliers was hardly trespassing.  I then asked him if he’d be interested in a free book.  Needless to say he was not interested or amused, but, no bother, I had previously sent Pastor’s Snapp and Hurst a copy of Not Reformed At All, with this accompanying letter:

May 21, 2004

Pastors Hurst and Snapp
Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church
403 Whealton Road
Hampton, VA 23666

Dear Pastors Hurst and Snapp:

I am a member at Calvary PCA in Norfolk and I happened to notice at your website that Doug Wilson is one of the key speakers at your upcoming youth conference this July.  That is why I hope you will accept the enclosed copy of a book I co-authored with Dr. John Robbins; “Not Reformed At All,” which is a response to Wilson’s book, “Reformed Is Not Enough.”

Naturally, I am disturbed by the prospect of young Reformed men and women being taught:

•    That the idea of the church invisible is somehow “gnostic” in contradistinction to the clear teaching of WCF 25.1.
•    That a Christian is a person who is baptized by a “recognized representative of the church,” rather than one who simply believes the Gospel which alone is the power of God unto salvation.
•    That to think of Christianity in terms of a “system” is to artificially impose some presumed and imagined Hellenistic or rationalistic mindset on both the Confession and the Scriptures.
•    That the Covenant of Grace is conditioned on our own obedience, rather than premised on the perfect obedience of Christ alone on behalf of God’s elect alone and completely outside of ourselves and anything wrought in us.
•    That salvation is not the result of the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, which is by mere belief alone in Jesus Christ our sole mediator, but rather is the result of our own “faithful obedience” to the terms of “the covenant.”

Of course considerably more can be said, and has been said in the enclosed book, concerning Wilson’s rejection of the doctrine of perseverance, his substituting of ecclesiology for soteriology, his sacramentalism and sacerdotalism which punctuates his own sensate and Thomistic philosophy which he has, ironically, imposed upon the Confession and the Scriptures, his distaste and distrust of propositions which he claims, contrary to the explicit claims of Jesus Christ, are dead without our works, and the list goes on.

A number of years ago I attended a meeting of James River Presbytery as an observer and was impressed by Pastor Snapp’s clear and persuasive repudiation of those in the PCA who have attempted to obfuscate the biblical doctrine of Creation.  It is my firm belief that Calvary Reformed was on the right side in that battle, but I fear you are on the wrong side in this  controversy which cuts to the very core of the Gospel.

My hope in giving you this book is that you might reconsider your tacit, if not explicit,  endorsement of these men and their views, most prominently displayed at Pastor Wilkins’Auburn Avenue Pastors Conferences, and that you might one day stand against this aberrant and deadly teaching which is not only openly hostile to the Confession which these men pretend to uphold (and at least some of them have sworn to uphold), but is an affront to the very Lord we profess and serve.

In Christ,

Sean Gerety

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

For what its worth, I never did get a reply from either pastors Snapp or Hurst.  Not even a thank you for the free book.   In any event, out of this encounter with Calvary Reform’s Worldview Conference the Trinity Foundation’s Worldview Contest was born.  May God continue to bless the work of the Trinity Foundation.

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, Theology, Uncategorized

6 Comments on “The Trinity Foundation’s Seventh Annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest”

  1. Is Believing in Jesus REALLY Enough to Gain Eternal Life?…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Gus Gianello Says:

    I never had a chance to thank you for the happy birthday. I have often noticed when there is no reasonable rebuttal you are met with two things: either vituperation or dead silence–or both. It doesn’t surprise me that such men would accuse you of breaking the law. Might I suggest that from now on you try to instruct them as to the REAL church by forwarding Kevin Reed’s Imperious Presbyterians. A more indepth study is War Against the Idols. Maybe one day the “laity” will get righteously indignant enough to do what the people of the Swiss cantons. The days of respecting heretical “pastors” and “ordained reverends” must end–they are no more ordained and have no more authority and are no more valid that the Romanist priest who makes people wet with water while he performs and speaks blasphemies. God does not ordain men to teach or defend heresies.


  3. TimL Says:

    If the Bible Alone is the word of God…. did God have no “words” prior to the Bible?
    We can thank that Roman Catholic Tradition for providing us with that Bible.

  4. Hugh McCann Says:

    TimL –

    Read “Catholic churches taken over by Vatican II antipopes” (that’d be your Ben 16, JPs 1 & 2, Paul 6, and John 23)


  5. Steve M Says:

    Yes, may God continue to bless the work of the Trinity Foundation, indeed.

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