Monday, December 24, 2007

Feliz Navidad

Heres’s another excellent comment from Dr. Johnson, which is worthy of front-page exposure:

GLW Johnson said,
December 24, 2007 at 9:11 am


I find your reply completely and totally unconvincing and your take on Calvin is just spin and nothing more. Furthermore your defense of the FV and the “outrage” they feel when dealing with critics like yours truly is highly ironic, and I’ll tell you why. We have heard ad nauseam the refrain from the FV that we “constantly” misinterpret, misrepresent, misread and so end up distorting them. Here the rich irony — I, and a great many others, see the FV doing this very thing when they appeal to Calvin and others in the Reformed tradition to substantiate their views!

Equally egregious is the way that many in the FV have throw distain on anyone and everyone who dares to raise questions over their claims that they are recovering the REAL Reformed tradition. I sat on the sidelines when this controversy first erupted. I made no public comments and, as stated here before, I attempted to resolve the concerns that I had with the FV in general and with Doug Wilson in particular, by direct correspondence — which, as I have also rehearsed here, proved fruitless. However, after watching the assault on my friend Guy Waters (for his book on the Federal Vision) and the abuse he was subjected to — including having the wrath of God invoked against him for daring to write such a book — I entered the fray.

May I point out that at no time during this controversy have I singled out for criticism (here or elsewhere) Peter Leithart, who all would consider one of the more prominent names associated with the FV. Why, you ask? Peter and I graduated in 1987 from WTS (Phil.) with our ThM degrees. Peter went on to Cambridge and I entered the PhD program at WTS. I have over the years read with much appreciation Peter’s writings in Credenda/Agenda and even though I didn’t always agree with what he was saying I appreciate his tone and the matter in which he wrote. He didn’t make snide or inflammatory remarks about those with whom he disagreed (he was the only FVer who acknowledged that Waters had indeed correctly represented his views and interacted with Guy’s book in a fair and courteous fashion). He didn’t insult them and call them names and he most certainly did not suggest that his views were the only ones that really were true to the Reformed tradition. As such I respect Peter. In this way, and in so many others he stands in sharp contrast to his colleague Doug Wilson, who revels in ridiculing his opponents and delights in heaping derision on any who would dare disagree with him (don’t take my word for it — just pick up practically any past issue of C/A and see for yourself or read his recent response to Andy Webb on his blog where he, the preeminent presbyterian, relishes calling the FV critics “Baptyrians”). Regrettably, Wilson has had far more influence of the FV peanut gallery than has Leithart.

Witness the way Stellman, Kline, and Piper were recently vilified as hopeless nominalists by a greenbehind-the-ears seminary student (when Wilson declared that this was “a battle for the hearts and minds of second-year seminary students” then he has at least one recruit he can claim). In particular the late Meredith Kline, one of my most cherished professors at WTS, has been subjected personal abuse — being called, among other things, “hateful” on this blog by one of the more scurrilous defenders of the FV. Kline was one of the most significant OT scholars of the 20th century and for him to be treated this way is positively contemptible — but he isn’t the only one to be on the receiving end of the FV scorn. Go back and read the nasty assessments the FV threw at the study committees of both the OPC and the PCA, as well as the faculties of MARS and Westminster Seminary, Calif. But I have come to expect this from the FV — since they take their cue from their fearless leader who had the hubris to denigrate one of the most significant Reformed theologians of all time — BB Warfield — as falling into “refried Gnosticism” because BBW clearly saw the difference between sacramentalism and sacredotalism — something that DW lacks the ability to see, which should not come as any big surprise since DW’s formal theological training could be listed on the back of a postage stamp.

I share Pastor Reed’s perspective — I am weary of dealing with this and I see no use in constantly having to restate the obvious over and over again. The FV and their sympathizers are convinced, despite being overwhelmingly rejected by multiple Reformed denominations, that they will prevail and that their enemies (which is the language Wilson uses to describe his critics) will be routed in due time (they are after all rabid postmils). It does not matter to them one bit that among their critics are men of great theological stature and deserving respect. They will disregard them simply because they are not sympathetic to the FV and only people who are sympathetic to the claims of the FV are true scholars. This is the mindset of sects. Adios.

Merry Christmas!