Leithart Trial Highlights

Lane Keister, one of the prosecution’s chief witnesses in the Leithart case, has provided a revealing and succinct summary of the trial for those like me who don’t own high enough waders to slog though all the trial documents.  You can read the entire Keister highlight panel here, but here are some of my favorites from his list that are worth repeating if only to further shame the Pacific Northwest Presbytery and the PCA in general for continuing to allow Federal Visionists like Leithart remain a “pastor in good standing.”  Just read through this short list and then explain to me how Leithart can be considered, even remotely, a minister of the gospel?

PROSECUTION [Stellman]: “Well, my – – my question is. I’m asking you is this your view namely that the – – the arrabon of the Holy Spirit, the down payment of future glory is given to all members of the visible church merely by being baptized and can be lost by those members of the visible church who later apostasize.
WITNESS [Leithart]: Yeah, I – – I would say yes.” –Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 190).

“What would Adam have to do in order to inherit the tree of knowledge, which is I think the sign of – – of the glory that he was going to be given. He would have to trust God. And he would have to obey him. How do we receive eternal life? We trust Jesus and out of that trust we obey him. That’s the point I’m making about the continuity.” –Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 194).

“Yes we do have the same obligations that Adam and Abraham and Moses and David and Jesus had namely the obedience of faith. And yes, covenant faithfulness is the way to salvation for the doers of the law will be justified at the final judgment. But this is all done in union with Christ so that our covenant faithfulness is dependent on the work of the spirit of Christ in us and our covenant faithfulness is about faith trusting the spirit to – – to will and to do of his good pleasure.” –Quoted by the Prosecution in Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 195)

Q [Stellman]: But, okay. Let me ask this then. Are we, do we receive the eschatological inheritance by virtue of our perfect, personal and perpetual obedience?
A [Leithart]: Obedience that’s coming out of faith? Yes.
Q: So what the Confession says of Adam that he was to receive life, that life was promised to him upon condition of per- – perfect – – let me finish – –
A: Yeah. I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m sorry. I – I need to change my answer. I didn’t – – I didn’t follow the whole question before. Perfect personal obedience? No. I didn’t – – I misstated. Are we, are we, do we receive the inheritance by a faith that produces obedience that’s what I would affirm.
Q: I fail to see then how I am the one importing this extra-confessional, meritorious, or I forget the exact word that you used, legal structure upon what the Confession says about the covenant of works versus the covenant of grace. Because I just asked you, if that’s the case then, must we walk in, do we receive the inheritance based upon our perfect, perpetual and personal obedience the way the Confession says that Adam would have. And now you’re saying, the answer is no.
A: Correct. The perfect, personal and perpetual obedience is not what is required of us because Christ has done that for us, we trust in him. But do we trust and obey? Again in that level, at that level of generality, Adam’s calling and our calling are the same.” –Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 198).

“COMMISSIONER: Dr. Leithart, [Acts] 2:38. Repent to be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In your judgment, does baptism confer the forgiveness of sins?
WITNESS [Leithart]: That’s what the text says. Yeah.
Q: What does that mean when, when you – – when you say that and by that you mean water baptism confers the forgiveness of sins. What do you mean by that?
A: Right. Again, as was pointed out yesterday, water baptism is one part of, it’s – – it’s the visible portion of an event that involves God’s action. It is God’s action. And I would also point out that I’m, I can – – I can find exceptions, where I would say, you know, did some of these sins actually get forgiven if you have a, somebody who’s a settled hypocrite. If the paradigm is the, an infant of believing parents and they are baptized. Can I say to that infant as he grows, Jesus loves you, you are righteous before him, your sins are forgiven? And he says. How do I know? Can I point him to his baptism as a sign that that’s happened? I think I can, yes. And I think baptism, again, I’m explaining all this, the – – the – – the power of all this, I think, is the – – the reality of baptism as a entry into the visible church, the body of Christ.
Q: Do you speak of, in your writings, temporary – – temporary forgiveness of sins?
A: Yes.
Q: What do you, what do you mean by that?
A: Right. There, there I have in mind, for example, the parable in Matthew 18 where the dead is forgiven and then the dead is reimposed on somebody who’s been forgiven. Jesus ends that parable by saying, so shall my Father do to you all of those of you who don’t forgive your brothers from the heart. So, there’s a statement in Matthew 18 of forgiveness that’s given and then withdrawn.
Q: Does baptism confer justification and, if so, what do you mean by that?
A: Yeah. In the same sense again that I’ve been talking all of these benefits of baptism, I’m arguing, are benefits of being in the body of Christ, being members of the visible church. The visible church is the, and – – and again I’m thinking in terms of our standard experience of baptism which is an infant who is in- -infant of believing parents and a faithful church. Are they right before God? Is baptism a sign of that? Is baptism, in fact, a declaration of that? That God is saying to that child when he is baptized. You are my child and I accept you as right in my sight. That’s – – that’s what I would, that’s what I mean by that.” –Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 223).

“If you looked at the whole story line of a reprobate person who has temporary faith and then makes shipwreck of faith as Paul talks about as opposed to an elect person who let’s say is converted later in life. Is the – – is the quality of faith different? Yes. It’s not just a matter, it is a matter of duration. That’s true. The temporary faith doesn’t endure to the end, it’s not persevering. But it’s not just that. Again, the analogy that I used yesterday is an analogy having to do with marriage (inaudible) the temporary faith is like a, the relationship of two spouses who are heading for divorce. And their marriage is, doesn’t just differ from a healthy marriage in duration, it differs in all kinds of ways.” –Leithart Trial Transcript (p. 231).

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies, Peter Leithart

4 Comments on “Leithart Trial Highlights”

  1. Hugh McCann Says:

    Would hate to see the “low-lights”!

  2. Hugh McCann Says:

    Young Luke Lightheart learned well from Douglas Obi Wan-son:

    Leithart: The temporary faith doesn’t endure to the end, it’s not persevering. But it’s not just that. Again, the analogy that I used yesterday is an analogy having to do with marriage (inaudible) the temporary faith is like a, the relationship of two spouses who are heading for divorce. And their marriage is, doesn’t just differ from a healthy marriage in duration, it differs in all kinds of ways.

    From Amazon review of RINE: A final note on Wilson’s fuzzy thinking: The analogy of the adulterous husband is a false one. Whether a person is a Christian depends on God, not the person. Whether a person is a husband depends on whether he takes marital vows, not what he does with them. That’s why John was so emphatic when he wrote in 1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us.” To make his point absolutely clear, he adds, “For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But their going SHOWED that none of them belonged to us.” Please note that these were not merely nominal Christians but prominent members of the early church, well-respected men. Based on the historical context, some scholars believe they were perhaps even church elders who became corrupted. They may have been as prominent as Douglas Wilson himself, their names lost to history only because they were not really of us.

  3. DaveQ Says:

    These are simply stunning quotes. It is so disturbing how a man would swap the glorious gospel of free grace for a synergistic brew of God’s efforts + one’s own willing / acting / persevering / pull-oneself-up-by-his-own-bootstraps obedience–and then still think he is in accord with the Westminster Standards. FV is not merely un-reformed. It is un-protestant and un-Pauline. It strikes at the heart of the Gospel of grace. As one who escaped, by God’s grace from the CREC, I thank the Lord for his deliverance from such soul-crushing nonsense.

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    I would love to hear your story sometime about how you got involved in the CREC and how by God’s grace you got out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: