Peter Leithart Waxes Pornographic

It is hard to make up the kind anti-Christian nonsense that emanates from Moscow, Idaho.  Doug Wilson launched the first major assault against the Christian faith in 2002 with his horrendous, Reformed is Not Enough.   Peter Leithart may have done his boss and benefactor one better with The Baptized Body where the miracle of baptism unites even unregenerate strumpets to Jesus Christ.   In Wes White’s continuing examination of Leithart he uncovered (no pun intended) this little gem:

I’ve argued that the New Testament . . . attributes virtually unbelievable powers to baptism. These wonders of baptism all arise from the fundamental fact that baptism initiates the baptized into the visible or historical church, which I have argued is the body of the Son of God, the Bride of Christ, and (one might add), the temple of the Spirit. Baptism is the water-crossing between membership in Adam and membership in Christ. Baptism grants the baptized a share in the great circumcision that occurred on the Cross, stripping away fleshly loyalties and habits and making us members of a new community. Membership in the corporate body never occurs without a personal connection with the Lord of that body. You can’t be part of the Bride without being married to the divine Husband. Coming into the body through baptism means entering into a personal relationship with the Triune God, a relationship in which we are favored, accepted, given access to the Father and the table of His Son . . . Everyone who is baptized — every one — is brought into the body of Christ, ordained to be a priest before God, married to Jesus, and brought into the family of the Father, into the circle of God’s personal favor (The Baptized Body, 83-84).

Sadly, many if not most of those stripped of their  fleshly loyalties and habits and who are personally and intimately united to the Lord and His body, are cast aside like some twenty dollar Time Square hooker before they even reach the West Side Highway.  As Leithart explains, the cosmic nuptials initiated by the magic waters of baptism and the powerful mumblings of some FV priest don’t exactly live up to even Rudy Giuliani’s  impressive refashioning of Great White Way into an upscale outlet mall:

But that favor does not last, or it does not produce fruit, without faith. Only those who respond in faith fulfill their priestly role rightly, persevere in the marriage covenant with Christ, stay in the family, remain in the circle of God’s favor. Faith is the proper response to the favor of being baptized, the proper response from first to last. It is only by faith that we remain in the body of Christ, and only by faith that the water of baptism poured out on the earth of our bodies will bear fruit. (Ibid., 84)

As Leithart explains, being united to Christ in baptism is a fickle thing:

God changes His view of and attitude toward the convert and the apostate, moving in one case from wrath to favor and in the other favor to wrath. (Ibid., 99)

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, Peter Leithart

46 Comments on “Peter Leithart Waxes Pornographic”

  1. Daniel F Says:

    Sean, the image you are using is under copyright by photographer Peter Roise, a friend of mine. It is not the “public” image used on Trinity Reformed Church’s website, but comes from a private copyrighted collection. Please contact Peter Roise for permission or remove the photo immediately.

    I have contacted Wes White as well.


  2. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thanks for being on top of this, Daniel. Though we hate to see such mockery of dog-collared reverunts, no doubt Mr Roise will allow its use for educational purposes and entertainment value.

    The quotes remind us of the BCP baptism formula recently referenced here @ God’s Hammer. See

    So, baptism unites to Christ IF one has faith. One thus moves from being under wrath to under favor.

    If one fails though, then one stays under wrath, or does he move from wrath to (in baptism) favor, then (falling away) wrath again?

    So just how does baptism signify union with Christ? Some “marriage”!

    “…baptism [possibly temporarily] initiates the baptized into the visible or historical church, which I have argued is the body of the Son of God, the Bride of Christ, and (one might add), the temple of the Spirit.”

    “Baptism is the [sometimes reversible] water-crossing between membership in Adam and [possibly temporary] membership in Christ.”

    “Baptism [possibly temporarily] grants the baptized a [possibly temporary] share in the great circumcision that occurred on the Cross…”

    “Making us [possibly temporary] members of a new community…”?!

    “baptism means [possibly temporarily] entering into a personal relationship with the Triune God, a [possibly temporary] relationship in which we are [possibly temporarily] favored, accepted, given access to the Father and the table of His Son…”


    Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

    Sean: You’re too nice to these scoundrels!

  3. Daniel F Says:

    Hugh, Peter Roise makes his living from photography, and that image is for sale on his site. Most people call that stealing.

  4. Bob Suden Says:

    You want the picture.
    Hey, take the picture. (Hey, you can even take as many as you want.)
    But what you really need to do is impound any and all copies of Peter’s book by hook or by crook or whatever. In it we have a far worse and far more damning picture of Mr. Leithart and his soul than any of us could come up with in our wildest imaginations. Yeah I know, Doug thinks he’s up to it, but whatever. So did Don Quixote. (This whole FV thing is beginning to resemble a theological gong show anyway, even if the Sancho Panzas haven’t figured it out yet.)
    But whether we paid for the book or the picture, the real question is, will Mr. Leithart keep his deal with the devil?
    I don’t think he has any say as long as he was willing to deal with him in the first place.

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    Daniel F, you might want to look up the fair use exception to the copyright laws.

    “Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.”

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Daniel, instead of complaining here, you might want to tell your friend to remove the pictures of Leithart ASAP. I can’t imagine any Christian wanting their pictures taken by someone who advertises by using creepy images of one of the biggest spiritual perverts out there. Although, that might not be a problem in Moscow, ID.

  7. JWT Says:

    Can Daniel F please explain why this is any of his business?

  8. Sean Gerety Says:

    “It is not the “public” image used on Trinity Reformed Church’s website”

    False. Besides Leithart being a public person, see and check out the PHOTOS link on the sidebar which takes you to the TRC Photos Galleries from which the above photo of pastor Happy Jack was taken. You’ll even notice a “share” option button in the galleries in case anyone wants to display the pictures on public networking sites like FB or Twitter.

    Daniel, you Moscow Monkey Boys have really got to come up with a new strategy. Although, seeing you can’t defend what the man has written, I don’t know what other options you really have? Repentance is always an option, but that’s not a gift I can give you.

  9. Hugh McCann Says:


    Have you strained at a gnat and have swallowed camel? (It’s a theonomic plague!) Please note who does that in the Bible ~ Matt. 23:23f.

    To use another biblical metaphor, I hope you weren’t blinded by a Federal Visionary beam when you thought to have spotted copyright mote in Sean’s eye.

    The bad guys where white collars today.

  10. Hugh McCann Says:

    What a maroon: This obviously s/b, “The bad guys wear white collars today.”

    Missed the indefinite article, “a” in sentence one, also.

    (Where’s my proofreader, lawertheologian when I need him?!)

    I’ll be back after more coffee!

  11. Brad Says:

    It’s been argued that the FV arose from an attempt to maintain logical consistency within TULIP. You don’t find other church traditions arrivingt at an FV way.

  12. Brad Says:

    In fact, one could argue that FV is an attempt to deal with baptism and Hebrews 6 discussing ‘falling away.’ The federal vision is a very reformed phenomenon and can not to my knowledge be found within any other church tradition.

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    It’s certainly a P&R problem, but it is quickly making inroads into other demons too like Reformed Baptists. A big problem is that the message being sent is that since none of these FV false teachers has been disciplined, and instead have been positively exonerated by their presbyteries, then perhaps they can’t be that bad.

    As for TULIP it is logically consistent.

  14. Brad Says:

    FV will not make inroads to places where TULIP is not believed. It has entered the Reformed Baptist segment because they’ve believed TULIP. FV is nothing if it’s not a response to inconsistency regarding TULIP. If one didn’t believe TULIP, one would not need FV. Peopel flock to FV when they realize something’s not quite right with TULIP and they’re unwilling to go elsewhere to Luterhanism et al.

  15. Hugh McCann Says:

    >>You don’t find other church traditions arriving at an FV way.
    >>The federal vision is a very reformed phenomenon and can not to my knowledge be found within any other church tradition.

    RIGHT – Rome & Orthodox are naturally ‘Federal Visionary,’ already.

    You’re right on about baptism & Hebrews 6, Brad.

    Even many conservative Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, & Baptists also add works for final justification, all their sola fide assertions to the contrary notwithstanding.

    ‘Get into the covenant by grace – stay in by works.’ Deadly formula!

  16. Brad Says:

    FV is an effort to ‘save the appearances’ for TULIP proponents. If you simply allow the Bible to inform your understanding rather than TULIP, FV will die out. FV is dependent upon TULIP for its existence. TULIP is its life-support.

  17. Brad Says:

    I know of no natural FV view inherent in other traditions. It’s a response to TULIP’s inconsistencies. It’s an effort to ‘save the appearances.’ Other traditions never sought to reconcile using TULIP. Hence, they never needed FV to explain away the inconsistencies.

  18. Brad Says:

    FV is the flip side of TULIP.

  19. Hugh McCann Says:

    Not at all true: “FV is dependent upon TULIP for its existence.”

    Rome and Co. all are ingerently FV.

    That’s one big reason this blog and White’s and others are attacking FV men who claim to be Reformed, such as Wilson & Leithart – b/c FV shows these guys to be Romish.

    Brad, is Rome’s “gospel” the same as the one found in Scripture?

  20. Hugh McCann Says:

    Grrr! “Rome and Co. all are inherently FV.”

  21. Sean Gerety Says:

    Given that you’re the energizer bunny of combox posting (which means that I’m not going to follow you if you decide to go down some rabbit trails like the ones I see you’re involved on another thread and will cut you off if you try that here), I am curious what you think the inconsistencies with TULIP are and how the FV relates to this perceived “inconsistency”?

    FWIW I think you’re the first person to make this connection, or at least I hadn’t heard it before. Normally the argument is that the FV came about as a reaction against “easy believism” or as an attempt to answer the question of how we’re supposed to view our baptized children. OTOH, I do think the FV is related to the irrationality of the so-called “free” or “well meant” offer of the gospel and the imagined belief that God desires the salvation of all men. Of course, this is hardly a problem with TULIP but rather with the denial or curbing of “L.”

  22. Brad Says:

    No. What I’m saying is that TULIP attempts to reduce the complexity of scripture to a simplistic assessemnt. There are some things that can’t be squeezed in and they are ignored. Agreeably, some things must be dealt with accurately and believed upon even if they don’t make perfectly logical sense. For example, infant members are baptized and yet we know that some go away later on. Parts of the Bible seem to say that Christ died for everyone. Parts seem to suggest that people can fall away. We don’t know exactly what it all means. But TULIP has been one way people have chosen to make sense of Scriptrue. It has led us to leave some things out that don’t fit. TULIP can’t account for everything said in Scripture. This causes people to look elsewhere for resolution. FV has been a refuge for those who can no longer assert TULIP based on the old model. They got frustrated and are experimenting with FV to solve the inconsistenceis. So now they posit doubles. There is an inner and outer elect, a core this and peripheral that, and so on.

  23. Brad Says:

    If TULIP had not been maintained, people would not have sensed the tension in it. We wouldln’t have FV wthin the Reformed tradition. Instead, people would have settled for Lutheranism or some other model that accounts for all that the BIble has to say. Or theology itself would have grown insignificant perhaps reaching an end point.

  24. Hugh McCann Says:

    Ah! Back to the atonement!

    This is where we left off on the other thread.

    Curiouser & curiouser…

  25. Brad Says:

    When Calvin penned his Institutes, he was trying to do something similar to what the scholastics like Aquinas did. He wanted to construct a rational system where things got reconciled. He did that in a climate where it was still acceptable. The 1500’s were very much an age of faith. But we find that by Pascal’s day it became necessary to speak of a leap, because the times were more skeptical. So by his day people were becoming more honest about the need for faith and belief regarding the Bible. Rational consistency and logic were part of the Roman Catholic project of the Middle Ages. Of course they’ve continued in that through neo-Thomism. And Calvinism represents the continuation of this strand within Protestantism, into the present.

  26. Sean Gerety Says:

    OK, got you now. However, if the five points of TULIP are derived from valid inferences from Scripture, and they are, then the problem is not with TULIP but with competing and demonstrably inaccurate understandings of Scripture. For example, there are no passages in Scripture which teach that Christ died for everyone, even if some may at first “seem” otherwise.

    So, what I hear you really saying is the FV has sprung from the belief that the Scriptures do not logically cohere, a problem not just limited to the five points of Calvinism, and that I would agree with. The FV is the fruit of a corrupt epistemological framework that believes and embraces the idea of biblical paradox (which are nothing more than contradictions to the human existent) at the expense of the Puritan ideal of the “analogy of faith.”

  27. Hugh McCann Says:

    ‘Bye, Brad.

  28. Brad Says:

    But all this means that we must return to experiential religion (the early church) where with the Baptist we exclaim “Just give me Jesus!” This, I believe, was the cry of Pascal too, as he looked out into the very dark and mysterious universe, the one in which he would have felt very insignificant and alienated apart from God. Pascal was a modern.

  29. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yeah, I agree with Hugh, bye Brad . . . (which is a hint that if you try to further derail this thread you will be removed from this blog entirely).

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    Good for Pascal. Thank God these experiential religionists weren’t leading the Reformation or we’d all still be under the bondage of Rome.

  31. Brad Says:

    Any expression of the faiht, any theological formulation, must account for two things.

    1. It must account for the individual’s experience – the I that very much needs God. One must come to a saving knowledge of the Lord.

    2. It must adequately address the philosophic dilemna of the one and the many (This is one place I actually agree with the FV). The trinity alone does that. So the church represents that we though many are one in Christ. (I do not follow the FV people in their ecclesiastical approach or sacramental setup).

    Also, faiht expressions must take into consideraation all scriptural passages. Not just the ones that can be easily reconiciled. TULIP, to me, seems to filter out some things that don’t jibe with it.

  32. Sean Gerety Says:

    You really don’t take a hint, do you Brad? Looks like I’ll have to filter out your posts since you clearly won’t jibe with my request.

  33. Brad Says:

    It seems you do not wish to dialogue wiht anyone who disagrees with you. What then is the purpose of dialogue? To simply reinforec the same thing continually? In that case you and Hugh can discuss the same thing.

  34. Hugh McCann Says:

    bye, Brad.

  35. Monty L. Collier Says:

    Peter Leithart’s Catholic-whore gospel:
    Jesus died to put all those baptized into the instituted church on probation.

  36. Brad Says:

    I think they’re trying to wrestle witht the fact that people baptized often go away later on. If baptized infants experience union with Christ, what kind of union is it? Or should it only be administered to those who have confessed belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    Becoming a Baptist is one option. Adhering to the Westminster Standards, something Leithart swore to uphold, would be another.

  38. lawyertheologian Says:

    I think it’s incredible that Leithart gets to continue to hold himself out as as PCA minister while ministering in the CREC.

  39. Brad Says:

    Good point.

  40. Brad Says:

    Is he renting the conference room at a hotel?

  41. Sean Gerety Says:

    Nope, he is busy leading men and women to hell at a CREC church in Moscow, ID.

  42. lawyertheologian Says:

    BTW, Did Leithart formally leave the PCA and did the PCA take him off their membership roll? If so, does Leithart think he was given a lifelong title?

  43. Hugh McCann Says:

    “…leading men and women to hell,” Sean? C’mon, what do you really think?

    BTW: I thought the post & thread were about porno pix, and am registering my complaint that Father Lightheart is pictured sitting, clothed, & out of his mind! False advertising!

  44. Lauren Says:

    I always thought the Federal Vision was a tulip missing a few petals …oh, sorry Sean, didn’t mean to get back on that thread. Just wanted to be a little cute to keep my sanity.

  45. Stuart Kirk Says:

    Funny thing about all this hubbub. All Leithart is espousing is Augustine’s view of baptism and salvation. Baptism is salvific. Salvation is losable (and restorable). So, basically, he’s putting just a little meat on the dry bones of the Reformed claim to its sourcing in Augustine (the Reformed claim being nonsense to any who have really read Aug’s works).

    But, as it turns out, Calvin was not very Augustine-like in his theology. Augustine was most thoroughly Catholic (sans the ‘development of doctrine’ which arose much later). Only those predestined to persevere to the end, shall. Others will fall away. [In other words, he was a monergist regarding (initial saving) faith, but a synergist about salvation thereafter. He believed the eucharist was transubstantiated when blessed, and was a salvific sacrifice (entirely distinct from Calvin’s concept of spiritually communing with Christ). He believed in purgatory, and appeals for intercession from saints in heaven. He held to the longer canon of scripture, total fealty to the Catholic Church, etc.

    Mainly, what Leithart has many done, is demand logical (and thereby sotereological) consistency in the PCA’s position on baptism (applying to infants, as well as adults). For in the new covenant, one cannot be covenanted to God and a member of the body of Christ, unless one has been born again of the Holy Spirit. And, frankly, the language of baptism in the New Testament is salvific in nature throughout the NT (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; 1 Pt. 3:21; Tit. 3:5), and baptism in the Holy Spirit thus attending. [Pre-baptismal filling with Holy Spirit is possible, as in Acts 10. But that also may be a one-off in which God was demonstrating to the Jews that Gentiles could also be saved.] What Baptists and other Evangelicals neglect is that confession of faith in Christ Jesus (as in Rom. 10:9-10) was always immediately accompanied with baptism (and probably the laying on of hands, though it is not mentioned in every baptism in the NT).

    I do not think Leithart is contending that those with unrepentant hearts who are baptized are saved. Rather, like the PCA has itself laid out, those who are baptized, and later believe that they never were actually saved, ought not be re-baptized. Why? Is it because they lost salvation? No. Is it because baptism is ineffectual? No. In context, it appears that the RCA is implying that the person may have fallen into unbelief regarding their own saved state; a fairly common situation for those who struggle with some secret sin (often an addiction).

    Overall, Leithart’s shift is completely understandable. After all, Biblically, how can anyone, let alone an infant, actually be in (the new) covenant with God, but not be actually saved? And if the saved cannot fall away (persevere as a saint), then regardless of their later appearance of unbelief, they remain saved, though in a situation more like that of the prodigal son. Thus, the PCA’s position on baptism appears…confused. Leithart’s appears internally consistent.

  46. Sean Gerety Says:

    The covenant is with God’s elect alone. Read the Confession … i.e., the same one that phony Leithart at one time vowed to uphold. Now that he’s back in the FV CREC I guess what this false teacher believes hardly matters. Thanks for commenting.

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