Federal Vision Re-Run

One of the original Federal Vision schismatics, CREC false teacher and deposed PCA pastor, Burke Shade, is in the news again this week.  Shade evidently excommunicated a former member for non-attendance because they evidently had the good sense to freely leave his apostate church.  Concerning this  fortunate former member Shade wrote:

By this excommunication, we are declaring that you are no longer a Christian, and that you are no longer a part of the company of the saved. Please turn away from your self-destructive path and turn back to Christ as your Lord and Savior. Should you desire to repent of your refusal to worship Jesus Christ, please contact us, so that you may be restored to Jesus Christ and this body.

What a blessing to be cast out by a dictatorial, unimportant, and petty little antichrist like Shade.  Whoever this person is they should be praising God for being free from Shade and the CREC.  It’s almost as good as if the pope himself, who the Westminster Confession correctly once identified as “that antichrist,” were to pronounce you “anathema.”  What a blessing.

As some might recall, Shade was deposed from the ministry in the PCA’s Illiana Presbytery in 1999.  As reported in a PINS article written at the time:

[Shade] was accused of the following: erroneous views of baptism and of evangelization; spreading injurious reports against two of the church’s ruling elders; failure to be in subjection to lawful church authority; and “countenancing activity on the part of both some members and some officers of the congregation . . . that disrupted the peace of the church and divided it.” He pled “guilty” in November, 1998, to two of the specifications, believing that he had to do so because he had already privately confessed to these matters before formal charges were brought. The court on that basis voted to suspend him from office and the Lord’s Supper. The court later found him guilty of “apparently” holding to an erroneous view of baptism, and of countenancing an un-Biblical view of evangelism. He was censured by admonition, and by being instructed not to teach on those matters until a Presbytery committee could counsel with him. At the April 17th session, the Presbytery found him guilty of the fourth charge (“countenancing activity . . . that disrupted the peace of the church and divided it”), and voted to depose him from office.

It’s interesting to review some of this old history, because it appears Shade and his supporters were ahead of the curve when it comes to the FV modus operandi. Now, remember this was all before the Federal Vision heresy had an official name (a name advocates of this false gospel coined themselves).  Prior to that time the heresy was called a number of different names from Shepherdism to Neo-legalism, but all describing the same anti-Christian system.  In a final bit of irony, Doug Wilson’s false church, the CREC, justified their welcoming this defrocked FV false teacher as “a pastor in good standing” in their Romeward denomination because in their examination of the trial they could find nothing substantively wrong with Shade’s theology.   Instead they had problems with the trial as conducted by the Illiana presbytery. Big surprise.  Wilson’s protege, Doug Jones, said the Illiana presbytery’s conviction of Shade was “a scar upon [their] reputation.”  Gotta love it.

However, I did enjoy the Illiana’s reply to the CREC’s whitewash where they observed:

As far as we can tell, Mr. Shade has not repented but is in fact enjoying the fruits of the division by leading a group that is more to his liking. We would like nothing better than to restore Mr. Shade upon his genuine repentance and bring unity in the Church, all to the glory of God. We had hoped that other sister reformed churches would honor our discipline of Mr. Shade and help him come to repentance rather than offer him escape.

As John Robbins observed in a 2006 Trinity Review:

…Burke Shade, now a “pastor” affiliated with Douglas Wilson’s sect, CREC, Illiana Presbytery [PCA] deposed him from office. Hardly anyone has heard of that case outside of that Presbytery, since the Presbytery did not understand that Shade, a follower of James Jordan, was part of a much larger problem in the PCA.

The CREC has been thumbing their nose at the courts of the PCA for years.   To their credit the Illiana presbytery was ahead of the curve in dealing with the false gospel of the FV.  For a helpful time line of the Shade case see: Diary of a Pirated Church.

*The picture of Shade above was taken at the 2008 Auburn Avenue Pastor’s Conference where the speakers included Peter Leithart, Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins and Jeffrey Meyers.        

Explore posts in the same categories: Heresies

13 Comments on “Federal Vision Re-Run”

  1. Tim Says:

    Hypothetical question: what if this excommunicated man were living in open sin, would you still give praise to God?

  2. Sean Gerety Says:

    Good question Tim, but how can someone be excommunicated from a non-Christian church regardless of his sin?

    Fact is, these men have a long history of tyranny against those foolish enough to come under their teaching. Like the time James Jordan delivered imprecatory prayers from the pulpit against a woman from the church’s school who applied for unemployment benefits. See: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/087a-TheReconstructionistRoadtoRome.pdf

    Besides, the imagined sin according to Shade’s letter is non-attendance, I hardly think that is living in open sin although perhaps it is an act of defiance against a false teacher and his false church.

  3. Tim Says:

    You yourself know that refusal to attend church and be contacted by the pastor or the elders is almost often a symptom of a larger rejection of the faith and a life of open sin. You are making the assumption that this man left the church because of some sort of imagined FV tyranny. I think you know that this is not the case and you are trying to drum up hatred against this pastor for your own selfish ends.

  4. Steve M Says:


    I agree with your position that Christians should be careful to confine themselves to a life of concealed sin. However your accusations against Sean seem to be not much more than the product of an imagination run wild.

  5. Tim Says:

    Steve, you don’t need to take up for Sean. He’s a big boy and is no stranger to accusations and venom. His favorite pastime is to lob them hither and yon to all who will give him an audience.

    Good day to you both.

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    Rejection of what faith? The FV faith? That’s hardly a sin, but evidently you think it is. Why is that Tim?

  7. These simpletons do not even understand excommunication with reference to how the church is to view the excommunicant. It is not with emphatic declaration that they are not a Christian rather it is how they are to be treated with respect to their relationship with the congregation (NIV):

    treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

    Excommunication has nothing to do with declarations regarding one’s salvation and/or their relationship with God, it has to do with their relationship with “the assembly”. The gentile/pagan and tax collector had no spiritual fellowship with “the assembly”.

    Now, let me guess. Those who wish to declare this person not to be a believer actually believe this person can still repent at some point and then be called a believer again, right? That is magical thinking that ignores the construct one just built to declare him or her to NOT be a believer. Which is precisely what excommunication has to do with membership, not salvation. You don’t declare anything about their salvation, you declare something about their membership to the assembly, that it is equal to a gentile/pagan or tax collector and treat them as such in that context. And the adverb ὥσπερ (as) makes this quite clear.

    I recently read over at “Pyromantics” from one of their temperamental administrators, in a guise to talk about Proverbs in order to sell his book on Proverbs, that Doug Wilson believes “that if a child goes to Hell, it’s the Christian parent’s fault for not having enough faith”. Hahahahahaha! Yet, now I wish to cry for the hellish damage he is doing to so many far beyond this ignorance and with his Federal Vision. I am inclined to believe these puffs of air at “Pyromatics” simply cannot sacrifice their two favorite sacred cows, Doug Wilson and John Piper, no matter how grievous they err.

  8. Steve M Says:


    You are quite correct that Sean does not need me to look out for him, but the purpose of my post was to point out the vacuous nature of your conjecture.

  9. Steve Matthews Says:

    After reading through the PINs document, I thought it was interesting that, among other things the CREC folks were whining about, they noted, “a trial [referring to Shade’s heresy trial] of this nature should be held in closed session.”

    That’s not surprising. Tyrant’s, both political and ecclesiastical, hate openness and honesty.

    But while CREC may not much have liked how Shade’s trial was handled, I’m sure they’re pleased as punch with Leithart’s.

  10. cephash Says:

    As a former Carbondale resident, I recall that prior to his deposition (and schism), a parishoner in the church that Shade split refused to sign a petition to remove an elder with whom Shade apparently was having trouble. Mr. Shade called the parishoner and admonished him that he was defying God-ordained authority by his refusal to sign. “Petty little antichrist” (Popello?) pretty much nails it.

  11. Burke Shade Says:

    Dear cephash,
    Why don’t you give us a real name, so we know who you are? And were you on that phone call with Mr. Shade? And were you a member of the church at the time, or just a “resident” of Carbondale?

    Just curious,
    Mr. Shade

  12. cephash Says:

    Dear Mr. Shade: I had some non-university work in Carbondale many years ago. My name is Gee-far Hur (the first name is how they say “Cephas” in the Chinese Bible, which my family reads), and I am from Washington. Since I have his permission, the story of the church and what went on was told me by my friend Peter Herz, who got his doctorate from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Herz told me that what I said is just what he said to the other ministers when he had to testify to them under oath when they removed you from the ministry. In any case, I had a young relative from Taiwan who was at Southern Illinois University for a year, and when he asked about churches, I had Mr. Herz tell him what he told me.

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