Archive for the ‘Jeff Meyers’ category

Arrivederci PCA

June 25, 2016

tomb_3I was shocked to learn that there is a real pastor in the PCA who believes a compromised gospel is no gospel at all. After all the hand wringing and posturing from the so-called TRs, particularly after the PCA GA failed to right the wrongs made by the lower courts in the Jeff Meyers and Peter Leithart cases, I thought pastors like Phelps were a myth. I think when deciding whether or not to leave a denomination, particularly one like the PCA, there is always some denial mixed with the belief, no matter how misguided, that things still might get better.  There is also the belief that heresies like the Federal Vision are just a minority position and it really doesn’t matter to the big picture … or the big tent.  Look at all the great work people like Tim Keller are doing.  I mean, the PCA is now relevant and even trendy. So what if Kellerite churches are de facto ordaining women just as long as they don’t call it an “ordination.” Erosion is just as effective as revolution and progressives are expert at biding their time.

There is also the idea that the “purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error” and that Presbyterianism has a theoretical mechanism for righting theological wrongs that make reading the signs of apostasy difficult. Some things are just easier to see in hindsight.  I also think there is some TR pride involved too and the notion that things will just get worse if they leave.  No doubt they will, but the cost of staying in the PCA has become too high except, I suppose, for the hopelessly self-deluded or the seriously prideful.  As for me, I’m very much with Phelps. I was a PCA holdout a lot longer than, say, John Robbins. It took the GA’s decisions to allow the lower courts decisions to stand in the Meyers and Leithart cases that finally did it for me. But who am I?  I’m not an elder. I have no flock to protect. Yet , there were plenty of very public TR elders in the PCA who publicly threatened to leave if the Leithart case went south and none of them has.  In Phelps’ case it’s better late than never. Besides, now the PCA is in the middle of a denominational wide struggle session against the imagined sins that virtually no one in the denomination has committed.  TRs can use that to assuage their misplaced guilt for their very real failures to protect their flocks and preserve whatever purity the PCA had left.

The PCA isn’t just dead; its corpse is starting to stink.

You can read Tony Phelps’ farewell to the PCA here.

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PCA Voodoo

June 13, 2015

Here’s an interesting blog post:  PCA hotly debates delaying formal acknowledgement of racism and the end is EPIC.jay-hawkins I’m not sure about epic, but what do you expect from a denom where the Moderator holds up his tie and explains that it was “made from the  actual material of the elvin cloaks from The Lord of the Rings.” They spend hours in prayer and debate trying to repent for sins that probably not one of them ever committed, yet when formal overtures were made for the GA to direct the Standing Judicial Commission to retry the case exonerating Federal Visionist and false teacher Peter Leithart they are ruled out of order and not one TE or RE lined up to protest the trashing of Christ’s the Gospel. I don’t understand the PCA.

PCA GA 41 – Not Pretty (updated)

June 20, 2013

Long and short, and from the smattering I’ve been able to catch,  it’s a farce.

For those interested, and so far as I can tell, every challenge to the Standing Judicial Commission’s upholding the exoneration of Federal Visionist Peter Leithart by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery has been shot down . . . except one . . .  Overture 19.   Overture 19  is going to be decided on tomorrow.  While I pray I’m wrong, don’t be surprised if this too is ruled out of order.

You can watch a live stream from the GA here.   No doubt God’s will will be done, but don’t get your hopes up that the GA will require the SJC to rehear the Leithart case.  It’s fair to say the FV is a protected and affirmed scheme of salvation by faith plus works  in the PCA.

OOPs, spoke too soon.   I thought business was coming to a close as I typed the above.

The Moderator just ruled Overture 19 out of order.   The Moderator just ran roughshod over the remaining conservatives in the PCA.

It’s over.

_________________________

Looking at the above I think a little clarification is in order.  I said the Moderator ran roughshod over the remaining conservatives in the PCA, but that isn’t quite accurate.  I called them “conservatives” because those opposing the SJC decision in the Leithart case identify themselves as “conservatives.”   That may not be completely accurate because I suppose the FV men view themselves as “conservatives” and are probably viewed that way but the “big-tent-everything-to-everybody-broadly-evangelical-Kellerites” who really don’t care either way about adherence to the WCF or even Calvinism per se except in the most mild and palatable sense.  Basically, you’re not going to hear much or anything about election, reprobation, or predestination in most of these churches and they’re generally indistinguishable from your local praise-the-Lord Arminan church sans altar calls.  Besides, the FV sprang out of theonomy which, at one time, was considered the über right of the PCA.  Militantly post-mill and dedicated to applying Bahnsen’s dictum:  “the abiding validity of the law in exhaustive detail” (I guess they decided that part of that “exhaustive detail”  included justification).

No, these men who attempted to challenge the SJC’s inexcusable ruling in the Leithart case were men who simply think the Gospel matters and that the doctrines espoused by men like Leithart, Meyers, Moon, Lawrence and many others represent “another gospel” and those who teach these doctrines rightly come under Paul’s anathema in Galatians 1:8,9 — even if they don’t come under the anathema of the PCA.

What I suspect happened, and this is just my two-cents, was that the Big Tenters don’t care one whit about Leithart or the Federal Vision or the New Perspectives or any of those things.  They’re an annoyance and discussing these nuanced doctrinal matters doesn’t help to attract new members.  Plus, it’s just dirty laundry. From their perspective the FV is a fight among conservatives anyway and voting to let the Liethart decision stand was a good way to either 1) drive those annoying conservative-confessionalists-anti-woman-officer types from the denomination, or, 2) emasculate them to the point where they learn to behave while they’re being ignored, which is what happened anyway.  My guess is the answer is both.  The only question is will those who love the Gospel stay in the PCA and learn to shut up and stop disturbing the peace in the name of purity,  or, leave.    Either way, both the FV heretics and the milquetoast Big Tenters win.

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.

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.

Wall Writing

October 31, 2012

Federal Visionist Jeff Meyers remains a PCA pastor in good standing for now, but his days are numbered.  Admittedly, the PCA’s wheels of ecclesiastic justice are considerably rustier than their secular counterparts, but even without any oil they do continue to turn.  While admittedly a bit convoluted, the Standing Judicial Commission recently agreed with a complaint against the Missouri Presbytery’s (MOP) 2011 investigation of Meyers and that there was a “strong presumption of guilt” requiring Meyers be brought under process.   According to the SJC:

We find that MOP erred in failing to find a strong presumption of guilt that TE Meyers holds views contrary to the Westminster Standards (BCO 34-5) when MOP conducted its investigation.

However, since the time the complaint was made against the MOP investigative committee and when the SJC finally took up the complaint,  Meyers was brought under process and his views were again vindicated by the MOP, consequently this recent decision sustaining the complaint against the MOP is moot.

Fortunately (or unfortunately for Meyers), there is a complaint now before the SJC against the not guilty verdict in favor of Meyers.  Further, Meyers views haven’t changed in the slightest between the time of his investigation and his trial, therefore it would follow that the complaint against Meyer’s not guilty verdict will similarly be sustained and Meyers will be thrown out of the PCA and the MOP disciplined.  Of course, this all is premised on the assumption that the courts of the PCA are not completely schizophrenic and that they won’t end up both affirming and denying the same thing.  Which means that Jeff Meyers should begin looking for a new job outside of the ministry (the preferred option) maybe at his local gun shop (Meyers is evidently quite a shot) or local fast food joint, or start making preparation now for his exodus to Doug Wilson’s Federal Vision mock Christian denomination, the CREC.

Back With a Vengeance

August 9, 2012

I am a bit reluctant to write more about PCA TE Jeff Meyers as I would have thought that his words, many of which I have documented here on God’s Hammer,  would have been more than enough to have him defrocked in any Christian church in the country.  Sadly, that is not the case in the PCA where he was completely exonerated by the Missouri Presbytery (the same presbytery where the PCA’s Covenant Seminary is located).  That said, a few weeks ago Meyers’ trial transcripts were released and he has been making the rounds letting anyone who will listen that the Federal Vision has been vindicated as confessionally Reformed and perfectly within the bounds of theological orthodoxy according to the PCA.  And, if you don’t believe him, he has Federal Visionists like Mark Horne, Jon Barlow, and others, not to mention that bag of loose change James Jordan, helping him make his case (see the comments at Greenbaggins here).

Even without the aid of these unsavory FV characters coming out from under the floorboards to defend Meyers, I think he’s right.  Presbyteries in the PCA have exonerated one Federal Visionist after another and the Standing Judicial Commission, which is the final court of appeal in the PCA, has been moot.  Well, not totally moot.  The SJC has spoken on the FV controversy by upholding the findings of the Siouxlands Presbytery and their investigation of TE Joshua Moon clearing him of any presumption of guilt in his defense of the Federal Vision.

What I find interesting is the renewed virulence with which these FV men are now willing to defend their false doctrines, even their denial of justification by faith alone.  Their victories in the PCA courts have emboldened them and Meyers is particularly brash when he states:

I’ve never said that someone will not be saved if they believe in the truth of Christ and his finished work but “somehow lack personal loyalty.” The JFVS does not say, and I have never said that “believing the Gospel is not enough; to be saved one must be personally loyal too.” And I have never even remotely suggested that “personal loyalty is the sine qua non of saving faith.” I repudiate such formulations. I’ve never said these things and I don’t believe or teach them.

Yet, in that same thread where he seemingly disavows any notion of justification through personal loyalty he writes:

Sean: I don’t maintain that “personal loyalty” is the instrument of justification. I don’t believe in justification by personal loyalty. And the FB [should be FV] statement doesn’t say anything of the sort. Here’s the statement again:

“We deny that the faith which is the sole instrument of justification can be understood as anything other than the only kind of faith which God gives, which is to say, a living, active, and personally loyal faith. Justifying faith encompasses the elements of assent, knowledge, and living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer.”

The words “living” and “active” and “personally loyal” all describe the kind of faith that justifies. They are adjectival. I don’t believe in justification by “personal loyalty” any more than I believe in justification by “living” or justificatioin[sic] by being “active.”

It would be absurd for someone to say that the JFVP is advocating “justification by living.” Right? Or that it was teaching “justification by being active.” The words “living” and “active” modify “faith.” It is just as absurd for someone to charge the JFVP with teaching “justification by personal loyalty” when the phrase “personally loyal” only describes the kind of faith that is instrumental in justification.

You may not like the adjectival phrase “personally loyal,” but the signers of the FV statement are not advocating some back-door justification by works. We’re just trying to describe the kind of faith that justifies and distinquish[sic] it from false faith. And we use the words “living” and “active” because these are the words James uses to describe the kind of faith that saves (James 2:14-26).

The first thing to notice in Meyers’ defense of the FV statement is how they define saving faith: “Justifying faith encompasses the elements of assent, knowledge, and living trust in accordance with the age and maturity of the believer.”  The deception here is that the FV statement employs what at first appears to be the traditional definition of saving faith that is comprised of three elements; assent, knowledge (or, more properly, understanding), and trust.  While the order of the first two elements in the FV definition are switched (as one must first have some understanding before they can assent to something as true), the third element, what is often called the “fiducial” element of saving faith, is rendered “living trust.”    (more…)


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