Monday, October 8, 2007

Promise Them Liberty

Yesterday I posted a question to Jeffrey Meyers on Mark Horne’s blog, Once More With Feeling. Horne deleted it, as is his right; it’s his blog he can cry if he wants. But I still want to engage every FV PCA officer before they jump ship to the CREC, because they clearly do not realize that the CREC will not grant them any of the principal liberties they currently enjoy in the PCA. Not at all; in fact, just the opposite.

I raise this point because of an essay that Jeffrey Meyers posted on De Regno Christi during the “Federal Vision Controversy” discussion, where he made an impassioned plea for Christian liberty to free him from subscribing the doctrine of Imputation of Christ’s Obedience. Here are some excerpts:

It is part of our Calvinian heritage to refuse to be bound by extrabiblical categories and terminology. The Bible has absolute priority over all traditional formulations, the Westminster standards included. . . . Beautiful. Freedom! . . . .

Calvin refused to subscribe to the ancient creeds . . . solely because he was determined to preserve for himself and his colleagues the liberties belonging to Christian men, subject in matters of faith to no other authority than that of God speaking in the Scriptures. (The Works of B.B. Warfield, vol. 5, pp. 207) . . . .

But one thing we are doing, in good Calvinian fashion, is exegeting the Bible with the freedom that the Reformers won for the liberated churches of Protestantism. . . . If we are not careful, we will out do Rome in our Romanizing traditionalism. In some circles the Westminster standards seem to have become the infallible voice of the Reformed magisterium. If you deviate from the exact words, definitions, and formulations therein, or if you suggest that they might be corrected by the Bible, you may be hauled before a Reformed inquisition.

As the traditionalists are ripping out various ministers’ ecclesiastical entrails, perhaps a loud cry of “freedom!” now and then might be appropriate. Calvin would be proud. (“Subscription & Freedom”)

This is certainly compelling rhetoric and other men, more qualified than me, have already addressed the issues that Meyers evades. The point I want to address is the one essential liberty — that one critical freedom — that allowed Pastor Meyers to make this post in the first place. I refer to freedom of speech.

Last week I wrote about a Christ Church member in good standing — their minister of music — whom Douglas Wilson obligated to sign a loyalty oath under pain of termination. Here is the oath:

Commitment to Loyalty
I pledge to conduct myself in such a way that no one could ever question my loyalty to the peace and purity of Christ Church. This includes refusing to speak to any unauthorized person about grievances I might have, and includes refusing to hear any such criticisms as well. If commitment to this standard in any way compromises my conscience, then I understand that my resignation will be accepted, without notice, and without prejudice.

ATTENTION Jeffrey Meyers, Mark Horne, Steve Wilkins, and the all the other PCA malcontents to whom Wilson has promised liberty in the CREC, please read these words carefully and apply them to your current situation. If you join the CREC, then you will voluntarily unite yourself to an organization that deprives its membership of the very freedom that allows you to weep and gnash your teeth daily, on the worldwide web.

Think this through. Did you notice the terms of the oath? — immediate termination, “without notice,” if anyone even questions your loyalty. Had you signed such an oath prior to joining the PCA, then by now you would be unemployed (as in no paycheck) because of the way you have recklessly abused your freedom of speech to denounce your denomination.

Sure, you may argue, “That’s Christ Church, not the CREC,” but that’s shortsighted. How would you have voted if the members in good standing pursued remedy through the Confederation? Would you have voted against Wilson? Would you have cried, “Freedom! Beautiful freedom!”? Would you have quoted Calvin who sought to “preserve for himself and his colleagues the liberties belonging to Christian men”? I doubt it. Somehow your monkey-boy behavior persuades me that you would put your hand with the Confederate Inquisition to rip out the brethren’s entrails as you shouted down anyone who disagreed with the Little Man Behind the Curtain, just as you have shouted down your current detractors.

Think it through even further. If you presently held your membership in the CREC and you believed that your fellow confederates railroaded you, how long do you think they would let you throw temper tantrums on the worldwide web before they cut you loose? — plus or minus two weeks? I say two weeks max.

They would call an emergency “council” of churches to rule that your conduct “disrupted the peace and purity of the church” (sound familiar?) and they would toss you out of their confederation with a well-worded press release rebuking you for deliberately bypassing the decency and order commanded by Scripture, very much unlike the way the PCA has treated you. And, quite frankly, they would be right. You would deserve it, which brings us back to your current dilemma.

The CREC may promise you liberty, but as Scripture says, they are slaves of corruption who will bring you into bondage (2 Peter 2:19), and you need to consider this fact carefully before you ditch true Christian freedom so that you may chain yourselves to Wilson’s tyrannical oppression.