Archive for the ‘James Jordan’ category

Someone Gets It!

April 4, 2013

Federal Vision Figure Heads

Lane Keister, who was the lead witness in the most important and decisive case against the Federal Vision, has written a stinging rebuke of the Standing Judicial Commission’s failure to correctly adjudicate the most notorious Federal Visionists in the PCA, Peter Leithart. You can read his piece here, but I just want to highlight a couple of points.

First, Keister takes aim at what has become known as the Coffin rule (you can read about the Coffin rule here):

…the great deference normally shown to a lower court does not equally apply in matters concerning the interpretation of the Constitution of the Church. Does the Leithart case involve matters relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of the Church? It certainly does. The relationship of Leithart’s views with the Westminster Standards is most certainly a matter involving the interpretation, not only of Leithart’s views, but also of the Standards. So, in this case, the great deference normally shown to a lower court does not apply. There is clear error on the part of PNW Presbytery, and the case involves the interpretation of the Constitution, both very good reasons why the court should not defer to PNW Presbytery.

Next, Keister blasts the SJC for not holding Pacific Northwest Presbytery accountable for their failure to condemn the erroneous opinions of Peter Leithart:

One procedural error that is not mentioned in this decision, but which should have been addressed is the failure of PNW Presbytery to condemn erroneous opinion (BCO 13-9f). This is a procedural matter. Even though the wording is that it has power to condemn, in context all the actions noted are actions that Presbytery is responsible for doing. So it is not just that it has the authority to do so, but also that it has the responsibility to do so, especially when it involves views that endanger the peace and purity of the denomination, and there are few opinions more dangerous to the peace and purity of the denomination than the Federal Vision. I have never seen anything so divisive.

Finally, Keister reflects on his own study of Leithart’s errant and heretical theology and concludes:

But I do believe that my testimony alone is sufficient to prove the case. There were no holes in my research. Their conclusion is that there are no proofs anywhere that Leithart teaches anything contrary to the Standards, since my research, included in the ROC, brought together ALL the problematic quotations of Leithart. That constitutes no proof, according to this judgment.

Notice, you can study every nuance and doctrine of the Federal Vision from the writings of its chief proponents and if you find their doctrines wanting, even heretical, it can never be enough according to the SJC.  This is exactly what Federal Visonists have been saying all along and that their opponents, no matter how carefully they study their written words and no matter how many discussions and debates they have in order to clarify and understand the Federal Vision, they are forever unable to understand them correctly.  That’s because to understand the Federal Vision requires you accept the Federal Vision’s scheme of justification by faith plus works as an acceptable expression of the Reformed Christian faith.

Peter Leithart and the Federal Vision have won.

However, in the discussion following Keister’s excellent critique of the SJC’s complete failure to adjudicate this case correctly, Pastor Jim Cassidy made the following observation:

The judgment of charity here, I think, is that the SJC has been duped by Leithart’s distinctly dialectical methodology by which he can say the same thing in two contrary ways. Asking him to be more clear and precise, along with providing clarity and nuance, is to ask a leopard to lose his spots. Its nice of them to think Leithart can do better, and the only problem is that he was not as clear as he could be. But he’s a big boy who’s pretty smart – he knows what he’s doing. And this is precisely why the PCA remains wide open to the infiltration of Barthianism. It will succumb to the influence of modern theology, unless God intervenes in his grace. The SJC meant well – that is the charity. But, unfortunately, it was duped.

If we’re going to charitable at all to the men on the SJC, and I don’t know why anyone would be, Cassidy nailed it. Of course, this is something I have been saying to mostly deaf ears for nearly 20 years and is what John Robbins and Gordon Clark were both saying long before me.  Cassidy’s observation is why the answer to my little book Can The PCA Be Saved? has now been officially answered. The only difference I see is that the infiltration of Barthianism was not at all under the radar; it was wide open and being taught by one of the most revered and influential dialectical thinker in the history of modern Reformed thought; Cornelius Van Til.

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The Verdict Is In

April 3, 2013

The false gospel of the Federal Vision is now an acceptable and protected expression of faith in the PCA.

No longer does one have to be an Evangelical in order to be a preacher and a teacher in the PCA.   As Lane Keister put it on his blog:

To say that I am disappointed in the decision would be a gross understatement. Aghast is more appropriate here. We are not talking about narrow Reformed versus broad Reformed. We are talking about evangelicalism versus what amounts to Roman Catholic teaching. At this point, it will not matter if the SJC decides to try to distance itself from Leithart’s theology. They will have allowed his theology to exist.

I’m sure there will be plenty more to say on this matter, but for now I think Lane has said it all.

Fading Lines in the Sand

April 27, 2012

Dr. Paul Elliot of Teaching the Word Ministries, and author of Christianity and Neo-Liberalism, has some harsh but timely words for  those in the PCA who consider themselves among the “Truly Reformed.”

Will they listen?

Here’s a sample:

The Federal Vision controversy is but the latest in a series of issues on which PCA “conservatives” have, for more than a decade, kept drawing lines in the sand and saying, “If the liberalizers are permitted to cross this line, it will be the last straw.” But always, when the liberalizers cross the line or simply obliterate it, the “conservatives” quietly step back and draw a new one….

The SJC to the Rescue?

Many professed conservatives insist that the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission will come to their rescue and, in time, restore orthodoxy. But among its membership one finds men who are a long-standing part of the problem. Dr. Brian Chappell, president of the PCA’s heresy factory at Covenant Seminary, is a member of the SJC. Ruling Elder and SJC member Howard Donahoe has advocated permitting women to preach [10] and was a defense counsel for Peter Leithart at his heresy trial. Ruling Elder Terry L. Jones is a member of the Missouri Presbytery which virtually unanimously acquitted the heretic Jeffrey Meyers. Ruling Elder Bruce Terrell is a member of the session of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, where theistic evolutionist Timothy Keller is the pastor.

We could go on. Many other present and former members of the SJC have been men of the same ilk. They can hardly be called staunch guardians of orthodoxy. They would more appropriately be called foxes guarding the hen house. The bitter irony is that self-described conservatives, who claim to be guardians of Biblical truth, serve collegially with such men on the SJC.

You can read all of Dr. Elliot’s comments here, although I suspect many PCA conservatives will simply cover their ears (Acts 7:57).

Alien Fantasies of the Federal Vision

February 10, 2010

I thought I had the Federal Vision’s heretical nonsense pretty much under my belt. I understand their blasphemous belief in union that occurs via the waters of baptism and the mumbling of some self-styled priestling that magically engrafts both believers and unbelievers into Christ.  I understand that in the Federal Vision light has communion with darkness and righteousness fellowship with unrighteousness. I understand their reworking of the traditional definition of faith whereby the tautological fiducial element that is supposed to make faith saving is really just another name for our own personal obedience. I understand their phony agnosticism concerning the imputation of Christ’s active obedience as they scrape out a role for our own “good works” in justification — or what they fraudulently call “final justification.” I understand their flattening of the Covenant of Works as they eliminate Adam’s probation in the Garden and replace it with a gracious call to faithful obedience.  I understand that these men are all liars and antichrists that dishonestly wear the name “Christian” while they pretend to be “Reformed.” In short, I understand  the “parallel soteriological system” of the Federal Vision as they continue to lead countless men, women and children, baptized or otherwise, to hell.  However, there are certain aspects of the Federal Vision that are so alien to anything even remotely Reformed or Christian, that it rightly places their false religion into the realm of the cults.

I recently stumbled on John Fesko’s 2004 study:  The Federal Vision and the Covenant of Works.  In this short piece Fesko takes aim at the warped and anti-Christian retelling of the Biblical account of the Fall championed by FV architects Richard Lusk and certifiable lunatic, James Jordan.  To be fair, I have read a few things by Lusk over the years that seemed downright crazy, but you don’t have to read very far into almost anything Jordan writes to realize he is a giant bag o’ allegorical nuts.  However, I confess reading their respective theories on the Fall was so bizarre I thought I was reading some Dianetics tract written by that dead science fiction writer and cult leader, L. Ron Hubbard. Here is just a sample from Jordan’s “Merit verses Maturity” as cited by Fesko:

What is set before Adam is a choice. He is free to eat of every tree, including the special Tree of Life. He is forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Approaching the garden’s center, he must choose which of the Trees to eat first. If he rejects the Tree of Knowledge and partakes of the Tree of Life, he will enter into a process of further life that will eventuate in eternal life. Having obeyed God in faith at the outset, he will set himself on a road of further faithful obedience. If, however, he chooses to eat of the Tree of Knowledge first, he will die and not move any farther down the road to eternal life. We notice that there is nothing of ‘merit’ or ‘work’ here.

Rather than a Covenant of Works “wherein life is promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience,” Jordan fantasizes that had Adam remained obedient one day God would grant him permission to eat of the Tree of Knowledge in order that Adam would continue in a process that would one day “eventuate in eternal life.” According to Jordan’s retelling, and had Adam chosen correctly, “The Tree of Knowledge, then, not the Tree of Life, was the eschatological tree, the tree of promise.  The Tree of Knowledge would end Adam’s first phase in life.”  Adam was given a choice: eat of the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge.  Had Adam ate of the Tree of Life first, Adam would have moved from childhood into a kind of cosmic puberty.  Then, I suppose around the time Adam was ready to get his cosmic driver’s license, or in Jordan’s case, his first drink at the Garden pub, Adam would be given the present of eating from the Tree of Knowledge, dying, and then moving on to a home in the celestial suburbs complete with a never ending mortgage payment.  However, choosing to eat from the Tree of Knowledge first, Adam still dies, doesn’t pass Go, never has to shave, and must remain in his soiled diapers for eternity. (more…)

Fiducial Jokesters

October 2, 2009

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It is gratifying when on occasion others have drawn the same conclusion that you have even when so many others seem perpetually oblivious to the painfully obvious.  For a number of years I have been saying, or rather yelling, that there is no such thing as justification by faith alone in the Federal Vision.  For that reason I have called men like Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins, Steve Schlissel, Peter Leithart, Mark Horne, Jeffery Meyers, Norman Shepherd, John Kinnaird, and a host of others heretics.  Feel free to include N.T. Wright and the followers of the so-called New Perspectives on Paul in that list, but for my purposes here I just want to pick on Federal Visionists and not the other dogs that travel in their pack.  Identifying such men as heretics  would seem to be a biblical imperative like the one found in Romans 16:17, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”  Some like R. S. Clark are uneasy about calling these notable false teachers heretics, and even refuses to do it, even though he admits, “The FV is a profound corruption of the gospel masquerading as the Reformed faith.” You’d think if Clark really believed that he’d be right there following the Apostle Paul’s lead sounding the alarm that these men are indeed accursed to hell (Galatians 1:8).  And, it’s for this reason men like Clark refuse to identify these FV teachers as heretics, because, he says, he’s “not anxious to see folk in hell.”  Well, neither am I, but I am quite confident that neither R. S. Clark or I  have that kind of juice.  I would rather that all of the above mentioned self-styled Christian teachers would repent of their identified and deadly doctrines.  Yet, even with all the official statements and studies condemning their doctrines, these men remain entrenched, solidly committed to their corrupt gospel “masquerading as the Reformed faith.”

What seems to leave more than a few TEs and REs (teaching and ruling elders) bewildered, and hesitant to mark these men as they should and instead call them “brothers,”  is that some of the FV’s leading advocates and defenders will from time to time claim to believe in justification by faith alone.  The question is, why does anyone believe them?  Even the current Antichrist in Rome recently told a general audience that “Luther’s phrase: ‘faith alone’ is true if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love.” Should we just assume that Razinger (aka Benedict XVI) has abandoned Romanism and is now a Protestant; a Christian?  Why is it “charitable” to believe the profession of ersatz-Reformed pastor with a Roman soteriology and not when the same is said by Roman bishop with a funny hat?  Shouldn’t we assume because the pope said “faith alone is true” that the divide that has separated Protestants and Catholics for centuries is nothing more than an ancient artifact from a time when everyone wore funny hates?   Of course, what may seem to be an issue of semantics to some is a matter of life and death to others.  For example, concerning the above mentioned papal affirmation of Luther’s phrase, “faith alone” R. S. Clark points out,  that the whole question comes down to that little conditional “if”: (more…)

Mapping the Federal Vision

February 24, 2008

There is no question that the Federal Division is in many respects a farce and while holding these false teachers up for ridicule and scorn is of some value, nothing diminishes the deadliness of their heretical system of doctrine or that its teachers and fellow travelers are determined schismatics. As one of Wilson’s followers said recently; “I am heartened to know that the Auburn Avenue church may soon be part of a growing, thriving and vibrant denomination like the CREC.” He’s right. The FV is a growth industry for Wilson’s FV denomination, the CREC. And, with pressure building against the FV men, especially since Steve Wilkins has jumped ship for the CREC rather than face trial in the PCA, now is the time for Wilson and his CREC to reap their illicit profits.

Of course, even at this late date, there are still many who are still unaware as to the exact nature of the soul destroying message these men are teaching, but the FV men have been developing their false doctrines for decades and one of the few men who saw the trajectory which has lead to our current situation is John Robbins.

While observing the warfare going lately and inspired by the pontifical self-righteous salvoes launched by James Jordan, I had the opportunity to revisit a piece Robbins wrote back in 1992, The Reconstructionist Road to Rome. In the piece Robbins reviews Jordan’s 1986 book, The Sociology of the Church: Essays in Reconstruction. Virtually all of the central elements of the FV/NPP are there in nascent form including the denial of the biblical doctrine of justification. Robbins observes:

Jordan apparently believes in salvation by works. He writes: “Paul goes on to speak [in Romans 2] of Gentiles who did not have the law, but who did the things contained in the law. The plain implication here is that such Gentiles were saved (by their faithful obedience)” (107).

(more…)

The Comedy Stylings of the Federal Division

February 23, 2008

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A little over a week ago, things were flying fast and furious over at the Greenbaggins blog comment box as the schismatics of the Federal Division were busy grandstanding and stamping their feet. Needless to say their fancy footwork was effective and the number of comments from both sides of the Federal Divide topped 700. That may be a new record for any FD related blog.

The interesting and predictable thing about the fallout from Steve Wilkins hightailing it out of the PCA, is that now all the Federal Divisionists are in full spin mode trying their best to blame Wilkins’ yellow tail on the PCA’s SJC — what the FD men call “the PCA’s Star Chamber.” It’s been almost comical at times with some of the biggest laughs coming from James “Shecky” Jordan, the man other FD men call the godfather of FD soul (which says more about the FD soul than its supporters and defenders even imagine).

Here is just a small sample of his stand-up routine:

FV teaching is totally orthodox and in keeping with the WCF and the Protestant Reformers. Nobody in the FV world has divided the Church over these issues. 100% of the conflict has come from the anti-FV people.

“Shecky” Jordan may not be ready for that gig in the Catskills, but his material is still “killer.” The joke here is that when virtually every P&R denomination along with a handful of P&R seminaries have issued formal papers exposing and denouncing the FD as being contrary to both the Confession and the Scriptures, that the FD men are really innocent victims who have done precisely nothing to disrupt the peace and purity of the church. Play laugh track here.

(more…)


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