Should Federal Visionaries Model the Protestant Future?

Peter Leithart clarifies some of the points he made about Christian unity in the discussion of Protestantism’s future at Biola:

One key difference between us is this: Carl thinks that unity is a “desirable” goal. I think that’s far too weak a way to capture the New Testament’s teaching. Unity is an evangelical demand. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say it is the evangelical demand.

When Paul discovered that Peter refused table fellowship with Gentiles, he didn’t say, “Come, Peter. Unity is desirable. Let’s hope that someday we can share a table. I doubt it, but we can desire it.” Paul’s words, as reported by himself, were: “I saw that they [Peter and the rest] were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14).

I don’t mean to get personal, but if unity is imperative, why did Leithart leave Idaho for Alabama? Why not maintain the unity that had existed at New St. Andrews and the churches there? And what’s up with the Davenant Trust, the institutional affiliation of Peter Escalante, the moderator at the Biola event? I can’t figure out where Davenant Trust is (from the website), but apparently Escalante works in California.

I understand that Leithart doesn’t necessarily mean organizational unity. But in the United States can union mean anything but living in a place with fixed borders under one government? So why are Federal Visionaries all over the map?

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86 Comments

  1. Posted May 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    “bon vi·vant noun \ˌbän-vē-ˈvänt, ˌbōⁿ-vē-ˈväⁿ\
    “a person who likes going to parties and other social occasions and who enjoys good food, wine, etc.”

    They said the same thing about John Maynard Keynes.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=M4an04D09LgC&pg=PA329&lpg=PA329&dq=john+maynard+keynes+bon+vivant&source=bl&ots=qG_CYxVUt-&sig=j1iVuSjg0dk3zrx-z40kw-x1DCs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4eVuU9b1DcmNyASd_YLQAQ&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=john%20maynard%20keynes%20bon%20vivant&f=false

  2. Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Erik Charter
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
    Tom Van Dyke
    @DykeVanTom
    Businessman, musician, quiz show champ, contrarian, bon vivant
    LA LA LAND · americancreation.blogspot.com

    “bon vivant”?

    And good sport. Even Thrasymachus turns out to be a good sport, you know. It’s not all torches and pitchforks, Erik. Or doesn’t have to be.

  3. Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never doubted that Tom might not be cool to hang out with. Bryan, not so much. While we’re dropping French terms, I used to work with couple of waitels who I dubbed the joie de vivre brothers.

  4. Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    “wastrels”

  5. Posted May 11, 2014 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    “Berman Havinck”: I did not save it, and the authors of the site have marked it “private”.

  6. Posted May 11, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    victor delta, tango, butch up.

  7. Posted May 11, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    victor delta, tango, woe to you when you speak well of you.

  8. Posted May 11, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Darryl: John, I know about Escalante’s tongue lashings first hand. His online presence is about as winning as victor delta, tango.

    I’d have to say there is a huge difference between the two. Escalante is a former Roman Catholic, and he is firmly aware of the vacuous nature of that institution.

    If I may speak more broadly about this in the context of the “old life” agenda, I am certainly of a mind that Reformed Orthodoxy and the Reformed Confessions are exceptional medicine (maybe the best in the long history of Christianity) for what ails “the church” (broadly speaking of it as “the whole number of the elect”). What it will take for the medicine to be applied, first, will be the recognition that it is indeed medicine. And in that regard, that is the kind of exposure that Wedgeworth and Escalante are giving it. I find it hard to see that as a bad thing.

  9. AB
    Posted May 11, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    John, your comment reminded me of something I read in our Church’s monthly newsletter that I found helpful:

    The second section of the Heidelberg Catechism continues with ecclesiology, including the sacraments (65–68), baptism (69–74), and the Lord’s Supper (75–82). Here we have the first catechetical expression of a rich Reformed ecclesiology. It affirms the real presence of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the sacraments, while avoiding all the errors of Roman Catholicism, which views the sacraments not as means of grace but, idolatrously, as ends. The Roman Church commits such an error because, historically, it neglected the doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit. Calvin is, as Warfield said, the “theologian of the Holy Spirit,” but Aquinas and the other medievalists were not, jumping over the Spirit in their theologies and proceeding directly from Christology to ecclesiology. When ecclesiology is not based on a proper doctrine of the Holy Spirit, it yields sacerdotalism—a theory of priestly intermediation in which, practically, the church replaces the Holy Spirit. The Heidelberg Catechism, on the other hand, has an ecclesiology that flows from its doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

  10. Posted May 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    BVVD

    Bon Vivant Van Dyke

  11. Posted May 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    John, I’m not sure that I regard Doug Wilson (or his knock off Federal Visionaries) as giving exposure to Reformed orthodoxy.

  12. Posted May 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Andrew: Thanks

    Darryl — well, Wilson wasn’t in the debate. And Leithart is typically the token Protestant for First Things. The Roman Catholic there seeLeithart, and they think they’re seeing a real Protestant. (That was why I stopped reading First Things many years ago). So it was good to give that audience exposure to Trueman.

    And while you may not consider Peter Escalante a Reformed Orthodox either, if

  13. Posted May 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    And while you may not consider Peter Escalante a Reformed Orthodox either, it doesn’t seem to me that he was going to permit a lot of BS either.

  14. Posted May 11, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    John, but your point about Wedgeworth and Escalanet making the Reformed faith attractive doesn’t take into account the much wider following and visibility of Leithart and Wilson. And W and E are in the Wilson/Leithart corner/shadow. Have W or E ever taken on Leithart of Wilson?

  15. Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I think there are natural allies, and then natural adversaries — there are those who are going to help people move in the right direction (i.e., by providing context), and people who are going to present a vision that’s fundamentally different.

    Escalante, whatever you think of his current views (I think he is a fan of Richard Hooker), he is as knowledgeable about Roman Catholicism, and as clear in his thinking about it, as is Sean Moore.

    And Steven Wedgeworth, while not having made a total break from his friendship with Wilson, has made a theological break from the FV:

    http://wedgewords.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/the-federal-vision-and-reformed-theology/

    Steven has gathered a group of folks around himself, “Calvinist International”, that’s discussing all the right issues, and largely in ways that I think we all should approve of.

  16. Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    John, since I am one of those Reformed confessionalists that Wedgeworth thinks dishonest, you may understand my reluctance to jump on board the approval bandwagon:

    So, where does that leave me? I suppose that I really am not Federal Vision in any unique or distinctive way. I do appreciate all of the FV men, and I really do believe that Doug Wilson is one of the most important Evangelical leaders alive and that James Jordan is one of the few authentic geniuses among all Evangelicals.

    But, when the critics of FV use the nomenclature, they mean something specific about systematic theology, and I do not know if I still fit that bill. I am more sacramental than many in the PCA, to be sure, but I affirm the necessity of faith in order to receive the grace offered by sacraments (as do all FVers, but I’m addressing the critics). I am more flexible when it comes to questions of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, but at the end of the day I affirm what the confessions all have to say on this topic. I am definitely not interested in making a point of compromise with Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, and I have spent the majority of my recent time in downright apologetics for the Reformed tradition. I like some of N T Wright, but find other parts sorely lacking, all the while maintaining the ability for the traditional “perspective on Paul” to withstand NPP scrutiny.

    In other words, I think that in a fair setting I could pass the theology test of most non-FV presbyteries.

    In the end, it seems to come down to sociology and outlook, and in that regard, I’m pretty happy to be Reformed, and really Reformed at that. I don’t need any extra labels at this point, and I’ll try to field concerns on a point by point basis.

    However, there’s more to the story at present. Opposite the Federal Vision, there is another distinctive theological subset which is very troubling. This is the supposed “traditionalist” or “confessionalist” camp of folks like R Scott Clark and other “TRs.” You’ll find Klineans, Clarkians, and Southern Presbyterians in this group, all claiming to defend the real deal Reformed theology, even while disagreeing sharply with each other. The biggest problem comes in their notion of authority and definition of “Reformed.”

    Scott Clark is an easy whipping boy on this point, since he’s so pugnacious and downright wrong, however the phenomena isn’t limited to him. The basic affirmation of this group is that the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Three Forms of Unity provide the dogmatic and even hermeneutical restrictions for Reformed theology. This does not merely work negatively, stating that anything which would contradict these documents is outside the bounds, but also positively, stating that extra-confessional points of doctrine are also off-limits and that alternative points of departure or different first principles would also place one outside the boundaries of “Reformed.” The basic result is that two Reformed confessional documents become the interpretative grid by which all Reformed ministers must read the Bible and conduct theology.

    There are a number of problems with this position. It actually contradicts the confessions themselves, is authoritarian and clericalist, and the proponents eventually contradict themselves, as they also take certain exceptions and approach theology from different first principles than those of the original Reformers and the confessions which they wrote. . . .

    3. fredwiseThe most irritating part of Clark’s program is the dishonesty of it all. We know that Clark does not actually believe that the confessions are binding by virtue of their historicity (“tradition” in the theological sense) for the very simple reason that he himself takes exception to major portions which he deems no longer important. Clark denies literal six-day creation. This might be a minor point, but we’d need some rule other than the confessions to tell us so! More central, however, is the doctrine of the civil magistrate, where Clark rejects what the entire magisterial Reformed tradition has to say. That this cannot be considered a minor point is due to the fact that all of the Reformed owed their very existence to the power of the civil magistrate and routinely argued that what ecclesial supremacy the Roman Catholics wished for the Pope or his bishops was actually the property of the king. This was one of the most basic foundations of Reformed polity. Without it there simply is no Reformation.

    But Clark does not hold to the original doctrine of the Two Kingdoms at all, nor is he much bothered by his discontinuity on this point. He believes that the Reformed view was misguided and outdated, and today the confessions, in his view, derive their authority from the contemporary body which receives them. This line of reasoning is reminiscent of John Henry Newman, but even beyond that, it effectively reduces the confessions to “club rules” documents. However, one should not be speaking of Christian orthodoxy on the basis of contemporary and somewhat arbitrary denominational moods. We are either talking about a holy tradition or we are not, and it is clear that Clark is not.

    So if the critics are right, the Federal Vision has a Romanizing tendancy when it comes to sanctification, thus jeopardizing the Reformational doctrine of justification by faith alone. But the “confessionalist” critics have a Romanizing doctrine when it comes to the definition of the Church, which also jeopardizes the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Both ditches are perilous.

    So where does that leave one? Where can you go if you just want to be “Reformed,” all the while maintaining an outward looking mission and a flexible posture for the future? In other words, what should the normal people do?

    You really think I’d be comfortable with that? You really think Wedgeworth’s appraisal of Wilson and Jordan is sound? And do you really think Wedgeworth is doing anything else but following Leithart in making it up as he goes along? Pssshaw.

  17. Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    An Anglican (first cleric on Twitter, he claims — dubious honor) says DGH and RSC need new calendars for their birthdays:

    ‏@wyclif
    @ChortlesWeakly Darryl Hart & Scott Clark apparently don’t know that it’s 2014, not 2007. Weak sauce. These guys need to do their homework.

  18. Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Wedgeworth is correct: Wilson is important, and Lane Keister’s endless debates with him show the proper way to deal with someone like that. And I haven’t read any James Jordan, although I understand that Scott Hahn has picked up a lot of his ideas, and that should tell us a thing or two.

    But time moves on, and people learn. Steven once told me about a lunch he had with Norman Shepard. He said “Shepard was confused”, or words to that effect. It’s hard to get away from the people you grow up with. But it is possible to think things through and come to different conclusions, which is what he has done.

    So no, I don’t think Steven is “following Leithart around”.

  19. Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “and I really do believe that Doug Wilson is one of the most important Evangelical leaders alive and that James Jordan is one of the few authentic geniuses among all Evangelicals.”

    Yeah, and Bahnsen was, too.

  20. Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    John, where has Steven fit himself into a group of believers where he takes counsel and submits to the brothers? Strikes me that Leithart is a lone ranger who really won’t fit in with his communion. Do I agree with everyone in the OPC? Heck no. But I also know where the boundaries are. Wedgeworth, like Leithart, is playing outside the box.

  21. Mike K.
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Tangent, but I can’t wait to see what comes of this. http://www.mercersburgtheology.org/about-us/

  22. mark mcculley
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Lancaster County is one center of Nevin-mania

    The following is a list of scholars currently affiliated with these projects in some way:

    Dr. Lee C. Barrett
    Rev. Jonathan Bonomo
    Rev. Dr. Linden DeBie
    Dr. William B. Evans
    Dr. Gabriel Fackre
    Dr. Sam Hamstra, Jr.
    Dr. Darryl G. Hart
    Dr. E. Brooks Holifield
    Dr. Michael Horton
    Dr. George Hunsinger
    Dr. David Layman
    Dr. Peter J. Leithart
    W. Bradford Littlejohn
    Rev. Rich W. Lusk
    Dr. Keith Mathison
    Rev. John C. Miller

    the first and the last are here in Lancaster Pa

  23. mark mcculley
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Not all Nevin disciples accuse non-Nevinites of being antinomian gnostics, but most of them worry more about unaffiliated individuals a lot more than they do about membership in a liberal denomination like the UCC..Some of them hate the idea of justification apart from works because they hate the idea of justification apart from the water of “the church”.

    David Yeago, for example, equates being Protestant with being “liberal”. Being Reformed might be ok, you see, but being protestant about it, well for the Leitharts of the world, it’s sin. But there is no reason to take Leithart seriously until he shuts up his own shop and follows Jason Stillman

    http://lutheranspersisting.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/yeagognosticism.pdf

  24. Posted May 13, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Mark, move to Montgomery County, less religiously crowded locale…

  25. James Caldwell
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    Notice which side the Old Earthers fell on

    It makes it’s own point

  26. Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink
    John, since I am one of those Reformed confessionalists that Wedgeworth thinks dishonest

    Who are the others, Dr. Hart? Or are you kinda the only one he considers dishonest?

    This sort of thing is important to those of us studying Calvinism as a history.

    And it would be OK if you didn’t leave this to your surrogates such as Erik Charter or “sean” or “Robert” or whathaveyou. It’s a fair request to ask you to name names and not hide in the fog.

  27. Posted May 13, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Chortles weakly
    Posted May 10, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink
    I’ve never doubted that Tom might not be cool to hang out with. Bryan, not so much. While we’re dropping French terms, I used to work with couple of wastels whom I dubbed the joie de vivre brothers.

    Tres honored, sir. Should you ever find yrself in Los Angeles, dinner will be on you and all the drinks’ll be on me. And should I make you chortle strongly–which I think likely–the entire night shall be on you, and you’ll still have got the better of the deal.

  28. Posted May 13, 2014 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Wedgeworth is correct: Wilson is important, and Lane Keister’s endless debates with him show the proper way to deal with someone like that. And I haven’t read any James Jordan, although I understand that Scott Hahn has picked up a lot of his ideas, and that should tell us a thing or two.

    John, Wilson is a chameleon and the collegial front man for the FV zoo out on the back 40.
    You spent some time in Rome, you ought to know how the equivocation routine runs.
    (Jordan is a liar. Remember this one over at GB James Jordan Tells the Truth?)

    But my bad.
    I never got around to doing the legwork.

    Wilson wrote a little tome For Kirk and Covenant (FK&C) in 2000 praising “the stalwart courage – and theology – of John Knox” up one side and down the t’other. (We’ll leave off any mention of the John Frame Worship Children connection other than that Douglas duly acknowledges Knox’s commitment to the regulative principle of worship (pp.39,162,3) – IOW the G&N consequences of the Second Commandment – all the while Steve “What I Don’t Know About the RPW, I Have Yet to Learn ” Schlissel was and for all we know, still is kosher pulpit supply for DW’s congregation.)

    Douglas even acknowledges that John wrote a book on predestination (FK&C, p. 150), though he somehow (egregiously?) fails to mention that Johnnie considered that:

    “(S)uch as desire this Article [predestination] to be buried in silence and would that men teach and believe that the grace of God’s election is common unto all, but that one receaveth it, and another receaveth it not, proceedeth either from the obedience or disobedience of man: such disceave themselves and are unthankfull and injurious to God. For so long as they see not that true faith and salvation . . .springe from Election and are “the gifte of God and come not of ourselves,” so long are they disceaved and remayn in error. (Works V:29, rpt. 1856)

    Yet Wilson has the audacity in his “Reformed” Is Not Enough (2002) to tell us that, ” Election is one thing and covenant membership another. And this is no theological innovation.(p.175)

    Well, yeah. When it comes to Wilson’s external/carnal/objective/walking by sight definition of the covenant he’s correct.

    But if that’s all he can say about election, he ain’t on the same page as John Knox. He’s an innovator and has essentially perjured himself when it comes to the historical record of classical reformed theology.

    Of course you won’t hear that from John Frame or Peter Leithart or Stephen Wedgeworth or Peter Escalante when it comes to our man from Moscow and his friendly version of the FV.
    Which is why you have to come here.
    Good thing you did.

    cheers,

    [we'll see if we get worse treatment than victor delta tango and this doesn't go through like last time we tried to post about our fren and pseudo philosofur Bryan C.]

  29. Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    victor delta, tango, the wages of sin is death.

  30. Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Tom (I think) — but if I end up in LA there will probably have been an abduction involved.

  31. Posted May 13, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    “And should I make you chortle strongly–which I think likely–the entire night shall be on you, and you’ll still have got the better of the deal.”

    Whose Calvinism? The few, the proud, the victor delta, tango’s.

  32. mark mcculley
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    John Knox sounds like the Canons of Dordt

    The true doctrine concerning Election and Reprobation having been explained, the Synod rejects the errors of those:

    . Who teach: That the will of God to save those who would believe and would persevere in faith and in the obedience of faith, is the whole and entire decree of election unto salvation, and that nothing else concerning this decree has been revealed in God’s Word.

    . Who teach: That the good pleasure and purpose of God, of which Scripture makes mention in the doctrine of election, does not consist in this, that God chose certain persons rather than others, but in this that he chose out of all possible conditions (among which are also the works of the law), or out of the whole order of things, the act of faith which from its very nature is undeserving, as well as its incomplete obedience, as a condition of salvation, and that he would graciously consider this in itself as a complete obedience and count it worthy of the reward of eternal life. For by this injurious error the pleasure of God and the merits of Christ are made of none effect, and men are drawn away from the truth of gracious justification and from the simplicity of Scripture, and this declaration of the Apostle is charged as untrue: “Who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal.” 2 Timothy 1:9.

  33. Greg
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Going back to the Wedgeworth post to which John referred:

    ” I suppose that I really am not Federal Vision in any unique or distinctive way. I do appreciate all of the FV men, and I really do believe that Doug Wilson is one of the most important Evangelical leaders alive and that James Jordan is one of the few authentic geniuses among all Evangelicals.”

    Notice that Wedgeworth has not abandoned the FV by any means. Rather he states he is not FV “in any unique or distinctive way.” Sounds like Steven is just your normal run-of-the-mill FV proponent. So, is it any wonder then that he remains in the CREC? And also, if he’s not FV and has abandoned their unorthodox doctrines, why has he not publicly exhorted Leithart & Co. to repent of their teachings? Surely it is the same reason that Jeff Meyers does not, despite exhortations by the Missouri Presbytery in the findings set forth in their investigative report in 2010:

    “[W]e have urged TE Meyers to speak out against error in whatever camp he finds it, and to remember that the duty of love lays on all of us the responsibility—and the opportunity— to help others come to a sharper understanding of God’s truth by engaging them in conversation and debate, especially when we believe they may be in, or close to, doctrinal error. This exhortation is in keeping with the wisdom of Scripture: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV); and “Faithful are the wounds of a friend….” (Proverbs 27:6 ESV). We have exhorted TE Meyers to exercise care, since if he does not distance himself in some way from views he himself believes to be in error and contrary to our Standards, then he will only make it easy for others to believe he has sympathy for those views.”

    So what did Meyers do? Did he begin to correct his fellow FV proponents? Did he disassociate himself with them? No. If you go to Jeff’s bio on his church’s website you’ll find he is pleased to be (i.e., right now) the “President” of the board of Leithart’s Trinity House Institute.

    And what did Wedgeworth do? Helped set up a “respectable” platform for Leithart to proclaim FV teachings. Sounds like a parallel to Meyers.

    And also notice the date of Wedgeworth’s post: June 27, 2009. A lot has happened since then including a number of PCA trials that ended favorably to the FV cause (including Leithart’s and Meyers’); a failure of both presbytery and SJC to maintain the peace and purity of the church. Certainly that did much to embolden and encourage the FV proponents and apologists within the PCA.

    BTW, someone ought to ask Leithart what his plans are: to either (1) leave Birmingham for points west or (1) leave the PCA (for the CREC). In November the Evangel Presbytery (PCA) unanimously rejected a request to allow him to operate out of bounds there. So is his home presbytery, the Pacific Northwest Presbytery, doing anything about him (apparently) continuing to operate out of bounds (six months and counting) after Evangel’s rejection?

  34. Greg
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mean to imply that Carl Trueman in any way supports or is tolerant of FV theology in the following question, but can anyone point me to any meaningful writings by CT on the FV? (I’ve searched online and found none.) So is this a topic in which he is not EXPERT to debate due to a lack of knowledge as to what the FV folk teach?

    Also, if I recall correctly, toward the beginning of the Biola discussion when the speakers were announced (or shortly thereafter), CT stated (correcting his introduction) that he had never publicly criticized Leithart. Again, not try to imply anything about CT; just trying to make a point…

    My point? If someone who was truly expert in FV teachings were to have been included in that panel, Leithart might have been a quite a bit less comfortable. And just who picked the players in this discussion? As we’ve seen before, Leithart has a lot of friends.

  35. mark mcculley
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I am not happy that Carl Truman has taken sides with those who find assurance in their works, but I do like this non FV friendly quotation from Carl–

    The `end of Christendom’ should not fool us into thinking that a form of Christendom does not still exist. Anywhere where Christianity has become a formality, there is Christendom. Anywhere where the belief of the group substitutes for the belief of the individual, there is Christendom. Anywhere the rules of the outward game can be learned and substituted for the attitude of the heart, there is Christendom. And, lest we forget, the form of that formality can be orthodoxy, just as easily as it can be heterodoxy; it can be rooted in the Westminster Standards just as easily as in the tweets of the latest aspiring authentocrat; it can be found in traditional worship styles as much as in the spontaneity of the new.”

    At least Jason Stellman was honest enough to skip being one of the FV “catholic” sectarians before joining himself to the Romish whore

  36. mark mcculley
    Posted May 15, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    http://www.reformation21.org/articles/the-crowd-is-untruth.php

    Carl Truman—One does not have to be in a megachurch to see the temptation to sit back and just belong through the formalities of public worship and the vicarious belief of the church as body. But if you take a man and put him on a desert island, or in a place where nobody believes the same things, what will happen to his faith? Will it survive? Was it more than a mere public performance or a function of belonging to a particular community? Stripped of its context, it will stand naked, and appear as it really is.

    CT– To put it in a way of which Luther would have approved, only the one who has truly come to the point of despair in himself as an individual can then truly come to faith in the savior; for he cannot have another to believe on his behalf. The truth he sees is … necessarily involves his very being and identity. One must first believe as an individual before one can belong to the community.

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