Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Great Logic Fraud

Over at Green Bagginses they’re throwing strikes faster than Roger Clemens on steroids; so I figure it’s best to put this here rather than risk a call on the inside corner.

The Great Protector has appealed to his self-published book on logic to suggest that he has actually applied logic in the Federal Vision controversy. Interestingly, Dr. Beisner also appealed to Wilson’s self-published book on logic in his Introduction to Auburn Ave. Theology, concluding that Wilson should practice what he teaches:

Anyone who embraces this historic commitment of the Reformed faith and its great theologians to logic must greet the Federal Visionists’ objections, in principle, to logical critique of their statements with skeptical concern. Wilson, who co-authored an introductory text on logic, (FN: Douglas Wilson and Jim Nance, Introductory Logic, 3d ed. (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1997).) ought to know better. Yet, in his overview paper for this volume, he seeks to shield the Federal Visionists’ inconsistent assertions about how covenant, election, salvation, baptism, and assurance are related from criticism . . . . Wilson’s attempt to justify such inconsistencies by appeal to “levels of discourse” does not suffice. What it really leads to is precisely the sort of upper-story/lower-story dualism against which the late Francis Schaeffer indefatigably warned. Does Wilson, after all, mean to tell us that at one “level of discourse” — whatever that means — all children of believers are saved, while at another “level of discourse” some are not saved? What parents crave regarding their children is not “Well, on this level of discourse, your child is saved, but on another level, he might not be.” What fretting church members crave regarding their own assurance is not “Well, on this level of discourse, your baptism assures you that you’re saved, but on another level it doesn’t.” Such equivocation is not the responsibility of the minister of the Word of God, who is called to sound a clear trumpet (1 Corinthians 14:8), whose “Yes” should be “Yes” and whose “No” should be “No” (Matthew 5:37), whose message is to be ‘not Yes and No, but . . . always Yes” because in Christ “all [not just some!] of the promises of God” are “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:19–20). No one will spend eternity blessed in heaven in one “level of discourse” and cursed in hell in another. (Cal Beisner, “Introduction,” Auburn Ave. Theology: Pros and Cons, pages xxxi, xxxii)

Thank you.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

They want a lukewarm atmostphere over there (GreenBaggins) for whatever reason. Gerety said it on his blog (or here, somewhere) Reformed pastors seem to want to be seen as intellectuals and scholars more than they want to defend the truth. And call a spade a spade.

Mark T. said...

You are wrong. Put yourself in Pastor Lane’s shoes. No minister has the authority to pass judgments beyond his denomination’s rulings — including Lane — and if he acted arbitrarily then he would be no different than the men causing this disruption. Therefore, he has adopted a policy of civil discourse on his blog, which is consistent with Scripture’s commands and with the calling of his office. The goal is to put the bad guys out of the church and not imitate them in the process.

Towne said...

Mark T:

A very mature and insightful answer.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

So where in the Bible does it say be lukewarm towards false teachers? Where does it say call them - and treat them as - brothers in Christ? You're wrong, I'm afraid. But to each his own. I tend to be hardcore for the faith.

Anonymous said...

No minister has the authority to pass judgments beyond his denomination’s rulings — including Lane

I find this to be a bizzare statement. So ministers aren't supposed to pass judgment on false teachings? And what about Doug Wilson? Ministers can't pass judgment on his false teaching unless...? Unless what?

None of this is biblical. This is all man made tradition. And remember: these false teachers aren't brothers in Christ to any who know the truth. If they are considered brothers in Christ to you and to Lane Keister then you speak of a different Christ than I know. I know Christ by His Word. And by His Word false teachers are not 'brothers in Christ.'

Mark T. said...

Anon,

Let’s take this one at a time.

Regarding your first comment, you have not established your charge of “lukewarmness”; furthermore, you can’t. Second, independent believers have much more latitude in these matters than ordained ministers. I can say without hesitation that Steve Wilkins is a false teacher and a wolf in Roman Catholic’s clothing because I do not answer to the PCA. Pastor Lane, however, does not have this luxury. He may share my convictions (I have no idea if this is the case), but his denomination has declared Wilkins a brother in Christ and until it overturns this decision, Pastor Lane does have the authority to unilaterally overturn this decision. However, this does not mean that he cannot identify false teaching as such; it just means that he cannot issues decrees contrary to his brethren and fathers in the faith from the pulpit. Welcome to Presbyterianism 101.

Regarding your second comment, “What about Doug Wilson?” The PCA’s ad interim report did not identify Wilson as a brother and it did not identify him as a wolf. Therefore, knowing that Wilson has pulled PCA levers to exact retribution against PCA ministers who publicly identified him as a false teacher, it behooves Lane to walk circumspectly while the Prince of Blog roams to and fro seeking whom he may devour. Regardless, to my knowledge Pastor Lane has never identified Wilson as a brother in the faith. I could be wrong, but if I’m not then this is worth consideration.

My read on Pastor Lane is that he is an extremely patient brother who has resolved to marinate on the Wilson question rather than act rashly, like Wilson. I have no inside information, this is just my hunch. But it’s very clear to me that Pastor Lane will not treat Wilson as Wilson has treated him and his brothers in the PCA, which is an example of his patience. I would have told Wilson to take his serrated edge and shove it up his baptismal font. But I’m not a high-profile minister in the middle of this controversy, and no legitimate minister gets to act of his own accord beyond his ordained authority. Again, welcome to Presbyterianism 101.

Anonymous said...

OK, you've stated your, or a, case. But I still see lukewarm behavior. The lack of conviction and action that allowed Shepherd to not just inhabit but to influence a prominent Reformed seminary for so many years after he declared his heterodox views is lukewarm behavior, for instance. It's a good example of this entire business. You can say, well they were going through the proper motions to...da da da, yet look at the result.

And Lane K. certainly could be less convivial with Wilson. Wilson is pure poison. Actually more poisonous than most moder day Roman Catholic clerics simply because he is more actively attempting to infiltrate and debase sound doctrine than the average RC cleric is these days. If you think he is a false teacher you let him know. You don't engage in the usual good-natured banter and back-slapping diplomacy. False teachers exploit such things to appear 'mainstream' and 'sound.'

Pass the buck to Presbyterian 101 in some cases, OK, but there is alot of lukewarm behavior that has been and is still going on here, and it's behavior neither the apostles nor the magisterial reformers ever engaged in.

Mark T. said...

Anon,

Please stop using the word “lukewarm” unless you can establish it as fact, which you have not done except by mere assertion. That said, I agree with you that the OPC dropped the ball with Shepherd. They let him slide and to this day he has loyal devotees in the OPC, which is why they fudged on the final language of the FV report a couple of years ago (I think they “recommended” it as opposed to “adopting” it). A friend of mine was in contact with OPC folks to plant a church here in Moscow, and when he called me to ask my opinion I pointed to Norm Shepherd. The Reformed Church now faces an unprecedented threat from Shepherd’s disciples, mostly because of the OPC’s failure in his case. The same friend asked me about the PCA (this was almost two years ago), and I pointed to the FV running rampant in the PCA — especially the Pac Northwest Presbytery where Wilson has their biggest hitter in a full nelson.

So you and I agree about the problem but we disagree about the remedy. I say wait until the Church expels the disease, which will take time, and you appear to want action now despite the Church’s inability to act overnight. Sure, the FVists are exploiting the opportunity furnished by this delay, burning all their energy to undermine the gospel as much as possible. But this is one more time that the just must live by faith. While the heathen rage and imagine a vain thing, God is not mocked. And I am certain that when He rises, He will destroy these men with all the vengeance of a Doug Wilson prayer.

So give Pastor Lane room to minister. He’s a wise man acting in strict accordance with the boundaries of his office, and we can’t ask for anything more.

Towne said...

Perhaps it would help to understand Mark T.'s point this way (correct me if I'm wrong):

Were any single PCA pastor to pronounce against an individual (Wilson or any other) that pastor would in effect be setting himself up as pope. The pastor can pronounce teaching to be in error, but heresy on the part of an individual can only properly be declared by the courts of the church. AKA Presbyterianism 101.

Mark T. said...

B I N G O !