Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of Pimps, Prostitutes and Primadonnas: The PCA and the Federal Vision

(updated 1/31/11)

A Report from the Friends of the First Amendment Society
As the Federal Vision more and more is starting to resemble a theological gong show, no doubt the Larger Catechism on the Ninth Commandment will be permanently drug (sic) out of cold storage and "hurt feelings" will be the de facto response to anything resembling plain and blunt speech, which in its turn will be labeled intemperate "hatespeech" and consequently dismissed via Geo. Orwell's memory hole. Even those who oppose the FV run the risk of being sucked in, as the following items might indicate.

Likewise, the title above has already transgressed the thin red line for the discerning reader, but we takes our chances in these days of declining literacy, theological or otherwise. That Scripture itself refers to heresy, idolatry or apostasy in terms of whoring around is, of course, completely beyond the pale of modern moderate calvinism and the finer sort of tea parties to which brazen faced women are seldom invited. But to continue.

The Green Hobbit Society
Over at the Green Baggins website, there was a discussion, entitled Misdirected Apology?, concerning what passes for an apology by Mr. J Meyers to the Missouri Presbytery (MOP) of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). This,  regarding his previous utterances, public and private as per  the Federal Vision theology currently perturbing the modern P&R churches - which incidentally, MOP absolved him of all connection  -   in that the PCA, along with the majority of other N. American P&R churches (NAPARC), has declared the FV to be off limits.

Nevertheless Mr. Meyers in 2007 signed the Joint Federal Vision Statement,   which makes for a prima facie case that Prov. 30:20 contains the substance of Mr. Meyers's apology, if it does not contain, at the very least, a wholesale, full scale repudiation of the JFVS - which it did not:
Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Likewise any discussion or critique of that same apology is misdirected/mistaken if it fails to aknowledge the obvious. To put it very mildly. Which is pretty much what happened at Bilbo's blog.

Partners in Crime/Band of Brethren
Of Meyers's  PCA brethren,  Messrs. Wilkins, Leithart and Horne, who also signed the JFVS, Wilkins of  Louisiana Presbytery and his congregation has since fled - surprise, surprise - PCA jurisdiction in Jan. 2008 for the safe haven of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) to escape - what else? -  censure for his FV theology. Peter Leithart, though a member of  Pacific NW Presbytery of the PCA, serves a CREC church in Moscow, Idaho and is currently facing charges in the same presbytery after the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission  directed the PacNW  to re-examine Mr. Leithart's views. (As below, we think a standing judicial commission more pragmatic than presbyterian.)

Only Mark Horne, also of Missouri Presbytery  and formerly an assistant pastor at  Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, MO.  where Jeff Meyers serves as senior pastor, is not under process.  To his credit Mr. Horne has pulled many of his provocative comments from his website defending J. Meyers and others, but that could also be from a heightened sense of self preservation kicking into gear. Of the high profile FV personalities of interest in the PCA, he is the last on the official  (JFVS)  list. (As Mr. Horne undoubtedly knows –  ominous drum roll here – "first they came for. . . .")

Other Correspondents
As mentioned below, RCJr. (the son of RC Sproul) is a defrocked minister of Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Assembly (RPCGA) which may or may not be a badge of honor, and at one time was a minister in the defacto FV denomination, the CREC, as well as member at one time of the secret conspiratorial Biblical Horizons  FV insurgency email group headed by James B. Jordan. He is neither for or against FV as far as we can gather or he asserts (which in our opinion is not a good thing cf. Rev. 3:16). Mr. Carpenter pastors a PCA congregation in Sturgis S.D.  and is currently engaged in process contra  the FV theology in his own  Siouxlands Presbytery of which Lane Keister, proprietor of Green Baggins, is also a member. Mr. Daniel Foucachon is a member of a CREC congregation and advocate of the theology and ministry of Douglas Wilson of Moscow, Idaho,  founding father of the CRECs, commending the FV often enough at anti FV websites, including Green Baggins.

Further FV Clarifications/Incriminations
Yet it must just as quickly be mentioned that if Doug Wilson is the Dr. Jekyll of FV theology, JBJ is the Mr. Hyde. After all, Mr. Jordan is the one, who as the owner/moderator  on the Biblical Horizons list at the Yahoo!®Groups,   repudiated any number of items integral to reformed theology, not the least the grammatical historical method or principle of bible interpretation. Vide the following remark:
Well, John, sounds good to me. I’ve said for years that paedocommunion and non-pc cannot live together any more than infant and adult baptism. And by returning to pc, we drive back 1000 years, and definitely back before the Reformation. We also don’t like the rationalism of the “grammatical historical method” (a good way of weeding out about 95% of what the text means). I — and since BH is me, we — don’t think metrical psalms are real psalms and think Calvin and the Reformed tradition made a huge mistake by substituting metrical psalms for real ones — a gnostic move, since the assumption is that the IDEAS of the text are all that matter, and not the shape thereof. I could go on. . . . .

Oh, it’s true enough: We depart from the whole Reformation tradition at certain pretty basic points. It’s no good pretending otherwise. I think the PCA is perfectly within its rights to say no to all BH types. We are NOT traditional presbyterians. The PCA suffers us within itself, but we are poison to traditional presbyterianism. We are new wine, and the PCA is an old skin. So, for the sake of the people we are called to minister to, we do our best. But we don’t really “belong” there.
And all through the house, not a peep was heard, not even from a mouse.

A Nonexistent Followup
As for our valiant defender of the faith, one  Jeff Meyers or even former assistant Mark Horne, who both are sworn to uphold the Westminster Confession of Faith - with a clean and clear conscience according to the plain meaning of the words and the original intent of the authors as per the JFVS - they seemed to be AWOL , if not guilty of gross dereliction of duty in speaking up in opposition to Mr. Jordan's blunt assessment. Unless perhaps they agreed with it. Nah, that can't be.

When challenged about providing the context to this comment  over at Green Baggins discussing James Jordan Tells the Truth, if not  the veritable landslide of reproofs and rebuttals, not to mention disagreements,  Doug Wilson himself maintained a guilty silence after doing his best to spin launder this faux pas by the Great FV Leader hisself (sic).

The Revolutionary Enlightenment  of the FedVision
For ourselves, we think George Jacques Danton's phrase quite apt. While Carlyle in his French Revolution quotes the orator as saying: 
Il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace,
 To dare, and again to dare, and without end to dare!" (Moniteur (in Hist. Parl. xvii. 347.)
Others translate “Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace et la Patrie sera sauvĂ©e!” from Geo. J on 2 septembre 1792 as:
To defeat them, gentlemen, we need audacity, still more audacity, and audacity forever, and the Fatherland will be saved!
Obviously what he meant to say, if we run it through the FV© hermeneutic/grinder,  with a liberal dose of the collegial spirits  of one of John Frame's 'blur the boundary' applications splashed on for good measure, is more on the order of:
To defeat them, fellow presbyters,  we need lies, still more lies and lies forever, and then the FV will be saved!
All in all, we think that enough said. If Danton was the master of  the commanding phrase,  the FV theology appears to have a command over even the minds of certain seminary professors or PCA presbyters.

Covenant Seminary?
While the judgment of charity might presume CREC rather than PCA, when it comes to professors, Leithart has taught theology  at New St. Andrews College since 1998,  though NSAC is not a seminary. But let's not get too picky about the details. Or is it merely coincidental that while Peter actually signed the JFVStatement, the PCA's denominational seminary,  Covenant is located in St. Louis, MO? Are any of the CTS professors members of MOPresbytery? How did they vote on the question? Even further could Mr. Meyers backpedal enough to escape the obvious conclusion that he is  FV regardless  of the answer to the first two questions? Did his apology contain a repudiation of the JFVS? Hmmm. But to ask is to answer on  far too many of these kinds of questions.

Alternative Perspectives/Realities/Universes
It is of course, to open another can of worms, to posit the thesis that perspectivilism  necessarily, if not charitably dictates that there are at least a couple of views of the FV.
  1. The first would be the point of view that arises out of the fevered swamps of Florida's Biblical Horizons and JBJ: FV is contra the reformed mainstream, if not flat out "poison".
  2. The second would be that of St. Louis, Missouri Presbytery: Nothing to see here, folks, so move along. 
  3. The Pacific Northwest view would be that of the again, avuncular Uncle Doug and the saintly Peter Leithart: We are contra reformed as per JBJ, CREC member at large, ahem,  wait a minute, make that as soundly and safely reformed as the PCA  - or at least PacNW Presbytery.  
  4. The Badlands view is that the FV is a very bad dream, if not a nightmare and a digression from true pilgrim theology (theologia viatorum), never mind Bunyan's allegory
Needless to say, we are verry much inclined to the latter POV.

The Credenda Agenda of Censorship
Likewise if the comments below were deemed unacceptable - to put it  verry mildly - and pulled shortly after they were posted in the comment thread at Green Baggins on Meyers's Misdirected Apology?, assisted in part by a well intentioned  push from JM's former understudy and FV advocate, just as obviously, we think them quite germane, if not a bit pungent and a necessary astringent to the PCAUnitythink that seems to be  prevailing to the point the mental pores are clogged (maybe even over at GrBaggins). To be sure, we can not always say what we want to say anywhere at anytime, but again FWIW.

If it looks, walks and squawks like a duck, it's not really a dead duck,  it's a merganser. So evidently, one modern ecclesiastical version of the Audubon Society. But let's not point out the obvious. It is not ecclesiastically correct. Neither is everyone a friend of the First Amendment Society in Middle Earth.
  1. BobS said,  
    January 18, 2011 at 11:54 pm 

    [28] rcjr, I’m sorry, but with a famous name like yours, do you really think that someone such as Mr. Meyers with his very public and very boorish record, wouldn’t know which side his bread was buttered on and “spontaneously” apologize? The man is, after all, a highly principled opportunist. Those of us out here in flyover country who don’t count for anything, don’t cotton kindly to all the FV high jinks, including both those who perpetrate them and those who as their superiors enable them and therefore bear the greater onus.
    Or if you prefer, Mr. Meyers and MOPresbytery.
    Thank God the recent word is that some stalwart TE’s have filed a complaint with MOP.
    It is long overdue.

    Thank you very much.

    cordially yours,
    Bob Suden

  2. BobS said,
    January 19, 2011 at 12:03 am 

    10 Mr. Carpenter
    I think for Meyers, anyone that asks for clarification is a dead porcine. As opposed to pearl jam.

    But not toe jam. Swine have hooves and the expedition for the Hunting of the Snark captained by Lewis Carroll and Clark will be leaving St. Louis for the NW Presbytery Territory shortly. All hands on deck and smartly now.

    But regardless of who Meyers starts with, you would think the MOP would start with his ACTIONS in the same 5 year period. Lemme see. Yep. The JFVS  was in 2007.

    And one J. Meyers – obviously no relation a’tall to the individual who makes this apology – signs the Joint FV Statement along with a bunch of other rabid FV advocates, apostles and parties of interest, such as James Jordan, Doug Wilson, Peter Leithart, Mark Horne and Steve Wilkins etc. with Meyers and the last three, all just happening to be ministerial members of various PCA presbyteries. Ahem. Maybe the JFVS really is a harmless statement, but then the whole idea of avoiding even the appearance of evil seems to have escaped all parties concerned. Dunno, but superiors are not supposed to be stumbling their inferiors.

    And don’t quote me on this, but I might have to pseudo-piously examine my heart and NOT my actions. After all I myself did NOT personally sign the JFVS during the 5 year examination window and would therefore have to repent publicly, but only halfheartedly, of my gross sin of omission.

    I don’t know about you, but the part that really, really like just seriously convicted me and probably, but I’m not sure, prevented me from signing the JFVS was the one on affirming creeds and confessions with a clean and clear conscience according to the plain meaning of the words and the original intent of the authors.

    Of course, if we are talking about the original authors of the JFVS, that might mean something like dragging a dead fish across the trail in order to throw off any bloodhounds for orthodoxy. Like MOP? But again, did they even bother to look at it?

    IOW sadly IMO MO Pres. doesn’t seem to understand the MO of the FV or of heretics and heresies.

    No, this is not a whitewash/Tom Sawyer call your agent moment. (Wrong author/book.)

    It is rather, all about straining gnats and swallowing camels Matt. 23:24, as well as suffering fools gladly 2 Cor. 11:19.

    I’ve resisted pulling the trigger in the comments for the [Resurrection of the] Machen Warrior Children thread. Originally two of three remarks concerned the PCA genesis and roots in fundamentalism and the harmonization of the Standing Judicial Commission with classic jus divinum presbyterianism with pragmatism. One supposes a third could now be added: Certain tendencies to rank negligence/judicial hardening and blindness.

    With all due apologies, genuflections to and reverent euphemisms in the direction of the Tone Police, if the PCA won’t discipline MO Presbytery for refusing to discipline Meyers, what else won’t they do? Does anybody really doubt that they won’t be pilloried in the laughingstock as beneath contempt in the square of public P&R scorn and disgust?

    tank you

    fare thee well

    bubsudden
    Prov. 14:13, Eccl. 7:3

  3. bsuden said,
    January 19, 2011 at 12:46 am


    13
    Dear Mr. Foucachon,
    While we can’t all dare to be a Daniel, FWIW and whether you or anybody else agrees, what we are watching in our day and before our very eyes is yet another campaign in the ongoing war on the faith, worship and govt. of the reformed church, albeit conducted by those from within the camp of the saints.

    As one of the select members of the happy-clappy Framen Warrior Children who aggressively champion the very compassionate standard of pacific latitudinarianism, J Meyers has assaulted the second mark of the church.

    Indirectly he does this by denying the RPW, a tactic first initiated by J. Framen’s biblically enthusiastic Worship In Spite of the Truth which largely consists of the fallacy of many questions. But regardless of the barrage of question-begging questions by the FWC, the truth still stands: whatsoever sacrament that is not instituted by Christ is forbidden in the NT church.

    Moreover, the FV take on the sacraments is a direct attack in subverting their application to the elect and at least taking a halfway house position between the elect and all recipients, if not that reprobates truly partake of the substance of the sacraments. Mr. Meyers has also conveniently ignored the third mark, the government and discipline of the church, by not taking his scruples and disagreements with the WS to the proper court, his session and then MOP.

    All this, in order to then make an assault on the first mark of the church, the preaching of sound doctrine, much more JBFA: All those who are baptized are truly united with Christ and can truly fall away. The covenant is not with the elect, but with the visible church, which is the only real church and we will of course, be judged by our faith and works according to gospel of James, which is a far, far better thing than Luther’s gospel of Paul’s in Romans.

    A Further Necessary Disclaimer
    for Possibly Weaker/Skeptical Brethren.

    If Mr. Meyers – again no relation to anybody that anybody might know – has not himself personally taught these doctrines, he has aided, abetted and fraternized promiscuously, if not conspiratorially with various bilious yahoos that have. Many times in public and on the internet, no less.

    These include one JBJordan, as well as a certain avuncular Uncle Doug, who presides over the Presbyterian and Reformed Potempkin Village and WasteTreatment Plant of Little Moscow, in Idaho, hard by the banks of the mighty River Snake, who has told us as recently as Aug. 16, 2010 that this commotion over the FV has been his “big promotion”.

    Indeed it has. As a hip ecclesiastically correct descendant of the French philosophes of the Enlightenment, Mr. Wilson has finally come into his own, as well as never seen a covenant he couldn’t photograph and it is high time Annie Liebowitz put him down in black and white. Because being a theological Rolling Stone is not half the reformed millstone some presbyterians might think it is.

    Yes, I know. Mr. Wilson is very gifted – and very glib; he is quite fluent – and quite fraudulent. On the one hand if Doug can praise John Knox highly, on the other, he countenances, congratulates and collaborates effusively with Mr. Schlissel, another Framen Warrior Chillun in training bent on deconstructing the RPW, a fundamental doctrine for John Knox and the Scottish Reformation.

    If Knox in his work on predestination, cannot laud the doctrine of election highly enough, Mr. Wilson sets it at naught and puts the vague and amorphous “covenant” in its place in Reformed Is Not Enough [p.175].  But liars should have good memories and Mr. Wilson should also realize that not everybody was born yesterday.

    (And don’t bother with any of the usual pseudo- pious pap about respeck (sic). Mr. Wilson is a past master at and engages quite readily in raillery and tomfoolery, so neither he nor any of his have room to pretend to be offended by the obvious.)

    Yet the emperor has no clothes, Rome has no gospel, the Federales have no Vision and Mr. Meyers has no credibility – but not that Mr. Meyers, the invisible one. Like the church.

    Carthago delenda est.

    cordially

  1. Mark Horne said,  
     January 19, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Hey, Lane, it’s up to you but I volunteer the opinion that I’m reading some pretty harsh claims about another man’s moral character in some comments (especially #XX).
    I know you think I’ve crossed this line sometimes, and you may decide I’m wrong in this case, but I ask you to consider Bob’s value to your blog.
    Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I’m sorry to bother you.

PostScript/In Conclusion
Again, the FedVision is more and more beginning to resemble a theological gong show and it's high time to point it out regardless of who is offended when the obvious is stated. Even environmentally correct hobbits.

Though Mr. Meyers's record is very public and  boorish to boot, the PCA has declared the FV off limits. The question then becomes why doesn't Mr. Meyers do the honest and honorable thing and  depart quietly to the CREC, which is the designated safe haven for those with his theological peculiarities? Could it be, because he is an opportunist, never mind highly principled? It can't be because it's too far to walk from  St. Louis, MO to the denominational headwaters in Moscow, Id. Steve Wilkins of Louisiana Presbytery has already made the trip and returned home to safely talk about it.

But yet while we are at it, one more question for the FV: Can those who are truly grafted into the Federal Vision theology - as Mr. Meyers and all the other True Believers that signed the JFVS  so obviously are - ever fall away from the FV gospel and become reprobate? We don't know what Mr. Meyers's answer would be, but we might surmise it to be no. Yet we still think his salvation would become assured and his testimony more credible if his  ministerial credentials were grafted into the CREC, regardless if the PCA fails to demonstrate enough backbone to discipline him for his past egregious opining and brazen theological speculation.

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