Giving the PCA the Bird

I do not plan to spend any considerable time combing through and analyzing the various Leithart trial documents.  What’s the point? One PCA presbytery after another have now stated in unambiguous terms that the Federal Vision, which maintains a scheme of salvation premised on faith and works as the direct result of their conditional view of the covenant, is perfectly within the bounds of the historic Reformed faith.  In the case of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery the commissioners charged with adjudicating the Leithart case ( Brad Chaney, Eric Costa, Ron Gonzales, Mike Kelly, Eddie Koh, Dirk Carlson, Mike Pfefferle, Brian Sunderland, and Steve O’Ban) unanimously concluded:

The Court is convinced that a covenantal perspective, such as the defendant’s, which does not contradict the Standards of this Church or their foundation in the Word of God is a legitimate and edifying way of looking at the life of faith, and a very helpful complement to the Westminster Assembly’s largely decretal perspective on our salvation.

Think about that, the Federal Vision, the same Federal Vision which the 2006 PCA FV/NPP report condemned as striking at the “vitals of the faith,” is here commended by these spiritually dead commissioners as “a very helpful complement to the Westminster Assembly’s largely decretal perspective on our salvation.”  What complete and utter hogwash.  These men are as shameful as they come along with every other PNWP presbyter that voted to uphold the commission’s “not guilty” verdict.

I know, calling a bunch of PCA TEs and REs “spiritually dead,” even mentioning these men by name, is over the top, right?  If I were ever stupid enough to return to the PCA fold I’d be brought up on charges, right?  Well, here are just two paragraphs penned by Leithart offered in his own defense before the court and in answer to the charges laid against him:

Adam and everyone since have been called to a faith that works, a faith that produces fruit in good works. Neither Adam nor anyone since has done meritorious works, earning God’s favor. There is “law” and “grace through faith” in every covenant. This is what I meant by my statement that pre- and post-fall, all human beings have been called to the “obedience of faith.”

Adam and everyone since have been called to “covenant faithfulness.” I use this term to describe saving faith because I believe it captures various dimensions of the biblical, and Confessional, portrait of faith. “Covenant faithfulness” as I use it means trust in God the Savior that expresses itself in obedience and loyalty to God and that perseveres until the end. I find the phrase a handy way to summarize the teaching of WCF 14, 16, 17, 33.1.

According to Leithart the “obedience of faith”  is not the simple act of believing the truth of the Gospel, it is the combination of doing the law by “grace through faith” and this, says Leithart,  is the operating principle in “every covenant” (emphasis Leithart’s).  This is the same principle Leithart’s employer, Doug Wilson, affirmed in his shrill polemic against the Christian faith; Reformed Is Not Enough: Recovering the Objectivity of the Covenant.   According to Wilson, “breaking covenant occurs because of unbelief, lack of faith, and because of lack of good works” (134), and fulfilling the conditions of the covenant occurs by faith and good works.  Leithart agrees.  Good works are required in order to be saved both before and after the fall.  Similarly, saving faith is not altogether passive “receiving and resting on him and his righteousness,” but consists in the combination of “trust in God the Savior” along with our ongoing “obedience and loyalty to God.”  Calling works non-meritorious is misleading.  Whether they’re meritorious or not, works are still works.   Further, this combination of works and faith can only save provided they “perseveres until the end,” or in what Federal Visionists call “final justification” according to works.

What saves us, according to Leithart, and how saving faith is defined, is not assenting to the finished work of Jesus Christ alone completely outside of us, but rather it is the combination of good works wrought in us by faith.  Covenant faithfulness, not faith alone, is the way of salvation according to Leithart and his fellow Federal Visionists along with those who found him not guilty.  What could be clearer?  Leithart has been consistent on this point and completely unambiguous in his testimony before the court, yet the commissioners of the PNWP, along with the men who voted in favor of their verdict to exonerate, think this is “a legitimate and edifying way of looking at the life of faith, and a very helpful complement to the Westminster Assembly’s largely decretal perspective on our salvation.”  I think calling these men spiritually dead is perhaps too charitable.

* Pictured above (click to enlarge) are the attendees of the 2008 Auburn Avenue Pastor’s Conference where speakers Peter Leithart, Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins and Jeffrey Meyers all gave the PCA’s highest court  the proverbial middle finger just like the men of the PNWP have done once again in their exoneration of Leithart.         

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11 Comments on “Giving the PCA the Bird”


  1. Hi Sean,

    Is it possible that a true Christian cannot weep and mourn before God? Is it at all possible?

    But God has spoken:

    “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.” – Jeremiah 12:10

    “For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.” Jeremiah 10:12

    “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:1-2

    “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11-12

    Somewhere in Isaiah, the Lord God says that HE has not done anything in a dark corner. In the Book of Acts, Paul told Festus, after Fetus has told him his great learning had driven him mad, that he had done nothing from a dark corner. I will find these Scriptures for you.

    These people have slunk into a dark corner and they have plotted and planned their treasonous filth against a holy God. But HE has said:

    “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 1:11-13

    All Scripture – King James Bible!

    Liz

    PS: That PCA Church in the picture – it looks EXACTLY like the church of which I am a member. – al least I think I am still a member there. I wonder if they have a master plan even with their church buildings?

  2. brandonadams Says:

    And to think I very briefly considered sending my parents to Brad Chaney’s church several years ago when they were trying to find somewhere to go…

  3. Monty L. Collier Says:

    Those quotes you gave from Peter Leithart have been repeated ad nauseum by John Piper, John MacArthur, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, Paul Washer, Wayne Grudem, and James White. Of course, the men I enumerated prefer to call their doctrine of justification by faith and works “Lordship Salvation,” rather than Federal Vision, but a rose by any other name…

    Last Sunday I visited an Old School Primitive Baptist Church here in Northeast Tennessee. After the terrible sermon and service, the “elder” told me that he did not have time to read Martin Luther and John Calvin, but that he did have time to read John MacArthur and A.W. Pink. I laughed, then asked him if he believed in Law / Gospel Distinction (a doctrine easily found in Gilbert Beebe’s writings), the man looked at me and said, “What?” I asked again, and he said, “oh, no, son, we only believe the Bible here.”

    Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    Monty, it is a great mistake to equate Leithart with any of those men, that is, unless you are now saying that Mac, Pink, Piper, Packer, and White are not Christians. If that’s your argument, please don’t try and make it here. Thanks in advance.

  5. Monty L. Collier Says:

    Sean,
    Yes, I’m saying what they teach (justification by faith and works) disqualifies them from being identified as Christians. If you don’t like it, then know I’m giving you and them the big Clarkian Bird.

    Go seek the approval of your Van Tilian friends at the Green Booger blog, you watered down chump.
    Monty L. Collier

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Goodbye to you too.


  7. As the saying goes, I’m shocked but not surprised. Actually, I’m not even shocked. I figured that the PNWP would exonerate Leithart. If nothing else, the closed door trial was the big tipoff.

  8. Sean Gerety Says:

    I think the big tipoff was their previous exoneration of Leithart before being forced to go to trial.

  9. Lauren Says:

    Just took a closer look at the picture. Reminds me of the Occupy Wall Street mob. Are the fake noses and glasses part of the wolf’s sheep clothing? Really now, what does the PCA stand for? She seems to have lost her identity to these poor pathetic clowns.

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    That picture was taken prior to the SJC overturning the LAP exoneration of Wilkins. This has all been a big joke to the FV men and so far it seems they may have the last laugh. Saying that the SJC hasn’t been very decisive in dealing with the FV is an understatement.

  11. Joe Says:

    I think it quite possible that Monty is the world’s last remaining Christian…


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