alliance of confessing evangelicals

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 03:29:20 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: alliance of confessing evangelicals

I was just looking on the ACE website and noticed that the Alliance Council has be reconstituted. Gone are almost all the Anglicans and Lutherans and more liturgically-minded Reformed (e.g., Horton) and in their place a panoply of Reformed Baptists. Weird. Explains why they changed the “R” in PCRT back to “Reformed” from “Reformational.”

They say: “Our reconstituted Council, comprised of leading pastor-theologians who reflect major ecclesiastical and ministry networks in the Reformed community, is theologically, methodologically, and pastorally coherent.”,,PTID307086|CHID581338|CIID1920170,00.html

Lig Duncan’s the new president, if you hadn’t heard.


alternative scripture lesson for tomorrow’s lectionary?

Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 16:18:11 -0700
From: “Tim Gallant”
Subject: alternative scripture lesson for tomorrow’s lectionary?


I know this is rather late in the asking, but any ideas for an alternative in the OT lesson for tomorrow? The BCP is using Ecclesiasticus.


Tim Gallant
Pastor, Conrad Christian Reformed Church
tim | gallant site group

Paul’s Perspective — The Federal Vision: In Their Own Words

Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 13:19:15 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: Paul’s Perspective — The Federal Vision: In Their Own Words

Has anyone seen this page before? Know anything about it or the folks who put it together?


Interesting take on my essay at

Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 09:47:34 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Interesting take on my essay at

Our dear friend at Grace (wouldn’t this be an unpleasant website if the pastor wasn’t so full of grace?) links my essay on the necessity of new obedience:

Then, apparently afraid the heresy might escape notice, he quotes from my conclusion:
“Any attempt to make some apparent level of sanctification the condition for salvation is hostile to the Gospel. Indeed, **claiming that such a level is merely the “fruit of faith is no less legalistic and dangerous.** Matthew 18 gives us the process by which a professing believer may be considered an unbeliever, and that same chapter strongly warns against judging people or cutting them off from hope simply because of repeated sinning. The question is not how much someone obeys God but if they trust God. That trust, operating within a revealed structure of promise and warning, will be visible to oneself, to others, and to God.” (emphasis added — ed.)

If this is a smoking gun, then I don’t understand this man at all!

BTW, in the essay I state quite strongly that apostates never had true faith. . . .


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 10:49:52 -0700
From: “Tim Gallant”
Subject: Re: Interesting take on my essay at

Heh. Well, they linked my article on the two natures of Christ. Seems like a strange choice to me. Here’s the paragraph they quote:
“Because Christ’s divine nature is never divided nor separated from the human nature, the fact that the divine is infinite and everywhere does not threaten our accessibility to the human nature, which is finite and spatially limited. When Christ acts for us in self-giving in the Supper, He is not merely giving us His Spirit. He is giving us Himself — His Spirit, His body, His blood. Chalcedon demands that He be at once wholly present, and yet not physically present. That is the mystery of the Incarnation, not the object of mere rational deduction.”

I dunno. Is the offense the doctrine of true presence?

Very weird.


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 18:09:47 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: Re: Interesting take on my essay at

Mark Horne wrote:
Our dear friend at Grace (wouldn’t this be an unpleasant website if the pastor wasn’t so full of grace?) links my essay on the necessity of new obedience:

Of the excerpts he quoted from me, I thought all of them were pretty innocuous. The only things that might be red flags to someone are

[a] the quote from “Baptism: Reformed and Catholic,” which is probably way too ecumenical for some folks’ tastes (of course, nevermind that it was a presentation to a largely Roman Catholic audience, more or less summarizing Scotty Old’s book on the Reformed baptismal rite)

[b] the quote from “Ex Opere Operato,” which is taken out of a context where I go right on to say “the phrase is quite misleading to the typical Protestant ear and, in most contexts, probably should be avoided”


Martin Bucer pre-Leithartian?

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 19:42:42 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Martin Bucer pre-Leithartian?

Here’s a sample:

This explains a lot

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 18:13:57 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: This explains a lot
We’ll see in a few moments that in fact, our works flow from God’s grace, but God’s grace is not caused by something that we do. Salvation is by grace alone and it is not caused by something in us or something that we do. When we stress salvation by grace alone we are not just engaging in a quibbling theological discussion, as far as Paul is concerned. Paul says we are right at the heart of the truth of the Christian faith when we assert that works and grace can not be mixed in the matter of our right standing before God, in the matter of our justification, in the matter of our salvation.

Why? Well, for a couple of reasons, first of all, to mix works and grace is to misunderstand the necessity of God’s divine favor. If we include works as a source of our salvation, if we include works as a means of our salvation, if we include works, even as a part of our salvation, we are robbing God of His glory and shifting the emphasis from what God has done to what we have done, and we’re suggesting that God loves us because we first loved Him, that God has shown us grace because we first reached out to Him, and of course that is the exact opposite message of the Scriptures. God, while we were yet ungodly sent His son to die, to draw us in. We love Him, John says, because He first loved us. So, mixing works and grace in salvation undercuts this consistent Biblical emphasis on the grace of God. We are going to see it tonight when we look at Exodus chapter 14 and 15, how God emphasizes that He alone saves His people.

Found here:

I’ll grant that some of this is right in that he is talking about a justified status. But, even at best he so merges justification and salvation that he ends up condemning Turretin and many others. Works must not be called a “means of salvation.”

Lig is truly at war with the Reformed heritage, including the Westminster Assembly.

And he goes on to say how he used to struggle with assurance. . . . .



Peter Lillback

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 16:35:10 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Peter Lillback

Hey, I just saw the Trinity festival website. Has Peter discussed the current fracas with anyone?


Ashbel Green from the Princeton Review

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 10:58:49 -0800 (PST)
From: ChrisandNancy Crain
Subject: Ashbel Green from the Princeton Review


I think the folks from MVP might agree with Ashbel Green’s observations on understanding doctrinal growth and the bible. The quote below is long but here’s a snippet: “I cannot believe that any great practical truth of the Bible has been hidden in such deep darkness, as to have escaped the saints of God, and all the pious and learned interpreters of his holy word, ever since the days of the apostles escaped their vision, that the clear and satisfactory development of it might be ushered on the world at the present time.” This view is nothing new in American Presbyterianism.

I wonder what Green would say about the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It wasn’t taught until Martin Luther in the 16th c.

Here’s the full quote:

garver vs. phillips?

Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 05:32:26 -0000
From: “Jonathan Barlow”
Subject: garver vs. phillips?


What the heck is Greco talking about here???

Yes, the “irenic” discussion has already started, including a deacon at 10th Presbyterian in Philadelphia basically insulting Richard Phillip’s Christian maturity, all because he is cited favorably by the report.”

Still crazy after all these years. . .

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 10:52:51 -0600
From: “Paul Nanson”
Subject: Still crazy after all these years. . .

Hmmm. . . I wonder what “sooper sekrit handshake required lists” the Webbmeister has been reading:

Grace & peace,


JBJ on mp3???

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 20:41:55 -0600
Subject: JBJ on mp3???

Jim or Ralph???

A year or two ago someone brought up the notion of moving Jim’s taped material to mp3. Did that ever get off the ground? Seems like if there was an easy way to do it (beats me), it seems now would be the time — with so many folks buying up mp3 players. Anybody?


Tithing & Giving

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 16:50:50 -0700
From: “John Barach”
Subject: Tithing & Giving

BHers —

A couple of (repeat) questions:
  1. Where are you at on the issue of tithing? Jim, are you still happy with the line of argument you present in The Law of the Covenant?
  2. How would you recommend teaching a congregation about giving? How do you address situations where people just don’t seem to be giving much? How about situations where you think giving may be dropping because people are voting with their wallets, engaging in a form of “tithe protest” against the direction the session is heading?



Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 14:34:46 -0700
From: “John Barach”
Subject: Boanerges

BHers —

What do you guys make of the name “Boanerges” given to James (Jacob) and John? Some commentaries say that Jesus named these guys “Sons of Thunder” because they were loud and obnoxious guys. Just look at how they wanted to call down fire from heaven later on.

But it seems to me (and I’ve discovered that Van Bruggen agrees) that we have to treat the naming of James and John the same way we treat the naming of Simon. Simon’s new name “Peter” didn’t reflect something in his own character by nature, let alone something bad. Rather, that new name indicated who he was as Jesus’ disciple and who Jesus would make him. Something similar has to be said for the Sons of Thunder, too.

But what is the meaning of “Sons of Thunder”? I suspect that Van Bruggen is right when he says that the term indicates that their voice is going to echo the voice of God, whose voice is often linked with thunder (e.g., when He speaks to Jesus, the people think it’s thunder).

As a side-note, it is interesting to see (as Farrer, Horne, and Wright point out) that out of the twelve, Jesus chooses “three mighty men,” distinguished by their new names, which is another Davidic echo.


Gaffin at WTS Dallas

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 13:43:18 -0600
From: Douglas Jordan
Subject: Gaffin at WTS Dallas

On Tue, 08 Feb 2005 13:32:17 -0600, “James B. Jordan” wrote:
On this matter of language and communication, try listening to Wright and Gaffin at the AAPC conference. Wright spoke in English. Gaffin spoke in WCF. Frankly, listening to Gaffin was bizarre.

If any DFW-dwellers are interested in hearing more from Gaffin:


Join us for a lecture by Dr. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, on the doctrine of Justification, followed by a Q & A session. Earlier this month at the Auburn Avenue Pastors Conference, Dr. Gaffin spoke on Pauline theology along with Dr. N.T. Wright whose writings have provoked much discussion within Reformed and Presbyterian circles. Dr. Gaffin’s upcoming lecture offers an opportunity for focused attention on one of the central doctrines under discussion. For information on Dr. Gaffin, please see Please reply to this email if you would like to attend.

“Reply to this email” means send mail to Steve Vanderhill to let him know you’re coming. It’s more of a request than a requirement, though — you’d be fine if you just showed up. It may be interesting to see what Gaffin does (or doesn’t) say now that he’s had time to ponder the AAPC conference. . . .


Dead or Alive

Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 8:06:38 -0600
From: pduggan
Subject: Dead or Alive

The will of the reprobate are always dead.

The will of the elect become alive.

Is there a common operation of the Spirit towards those in the church which makes them alive while still remaining dead?


I’m baaaaaaaak . . . . now don’t everybody leave.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 16:13:38 -0600
From: Dale Smith
Subject: I’m baaaaaaaak . . . . now don’t everybody leave.

Greetings All,

I begged and plead and sent money . . . and I was granted, I think, probationary status.

Blessings to all,

Dale Smith

Attack on Dale Smith and North TX pby

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 14:35:20 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Attack on Dale Smith and North TX pby

Follow the link to see Dale’s ex-ruling elder comment on the same part of the report that I noticed:
n one church, an AAT/FV sympathetic pastor has engineered the removal of an associate who was fully committed to the PCA doctrinal position but objected to the pastor’s extra- or anti-confessional views.

Sounds familiar!

~Wayne Wylie~
Attending, Mid Cities Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Bedford, TX


The Mississippi Valley report is stacked with unsubstantiated unreferenced gossip. In this case, and who knows where else, the report is actually presuming to ignore the official action of North Texas Presbytery in investigating Dale. They are also misinforming the public in not pointing out that this conflict erupted when the associate wanted to strip the Church of its Christmas and Easter observance.

May God deliver the PCA from the League of Presbyterian Sociopaths.


Blood transfusions

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 13:57:58 EST
Subject: Blood transfusions

Hey, you medical and ethical and medical-ethical types,

What do you think of blood transfusions? Are they covered by the prohibition of blood in Acts 15? Would blood transfusions have been prohibited under the law? Has anything changed to make it OK?


My Response

Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 05:33:39 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: my response

Ok, well, I didn’t get any further feedback, so I guess it’s ok.

I’m headed to bed now. Today felt like Lent arrived a day early.


Unusual Baptism Circumstance

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 19:18:26 GMT
From: “Joe Thacker”
Subject: Unusual Baptism Circumstance

Wise Counselors,

Last night our Session was posed with an interesting circumstance. One of our elder’s sons is a missionary in Brazil, and he and his wife will be making a return trip to the USA for a wedding this Spring. Since their move to Brazil, a child has been born to them. Due to the circumstances they are in, the baby is yet to be baptized. The son wondered about having the baby baptized in our chuch while they are back in the States. Though the family is from an ARP church, the Session is all for baptizing the baby — seeing this as an extraordinary circumstance. (Also, the family would be in no position to return to the ARP church they attended in Canada when they were residing in Maine.)

So, it seems pretty clear that the vows to the parents would be pretty standard, but what about vows to the congregation? We will certainly be praying for this family while they are in Brazil, but the standard vows don’t seem to apply since a) they will be thousands of miles away in Brazil; and, b) they do not have membership in our local congregation, or even our denomination (PCA). Any suggestions?

As I already mentioned, the Session was unanimous in their decision to perform the baptism, but is there anything glaringly wrong with that decision?

And let me request permission to share any insights provided with the Session, unless stated otherwise (of course, I can keep advice anonymous).

Thanks in advance,

Joe Thacker
RP Church
Lookout Mt. GA

The Heatonic Observation

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 17:24:44 -0500
From: “John Heaton”
Subject: ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up


This is a hasty reply to the MVP report which I read. Hasty replies are ill-advised in Proverbs but this is BH after all. You’ll understand if I don’t make complete sense. Plus, I don’t have a dog in this hunt.

The MVP report to one *outside* like me who has more in common with rank and file pastors who are unaware of the whole bru-ha-ha, is neither acerbic or offensive. Yes, I KNOW you aren’t happy with it.

However, you who wish to advocate NPP/AAT/FV in the PCA in the name of X and in the interest of theological development must admit an important thing and conform your rhetoric and tactics to this reality: You DO NOT represent the status quo. You DO NOT represent the PCA as they conceive it, and YOU cannot pretend that you’re NOT *dangerous.*

We have the same problem in the REC. Our bishops want to re-Anglicanize the church, which is fine by me. But they can’t pretend that the REC is returning to its roots and its old paths. We all know what the REC is, has been, etc., and, though many believe it *should* be changed, the rhetorial burden of proof is on those who want to change it. In doing so, we can’t pretend that its really nothing more than changing the window dressing. Too many parishes know better.

Thus, avoid seeking the sympathy vote. No one will feel sorry that you’re persecuted (except those of us on BH who are sympathetic to you — but can’t vote). Above all you have to appear that you are being totally HONEST about the implications of what you advocate, rather than simply minimizing the issues under the cover of reformed diversity. It won’t work. I mean, the discussions on this list are animated prescisely BECAUSE the NPP is so provocative and interesting and worth pursuing. These ideas have great consequences and you have to be the first to say it. Clearly identify the tension and fight the battle there.

Those who disagree understand this and are negatively provoked. Thus, I think the MVP report is of great rhetorical value. It is very instructive not because it obscures or reveals the ulterior motives of those who are *out to get you.* They see something very clearly that you had better recognize — they are vanilla, and you are now chocolate. You’ll only win it by persuading the PCA that chocolate is better, not by insisting that chocolate nuggets have always been enjoyed, permitted, or otherwise mixed in the reformed recipe.

My $02.

John Heaton, Headmaster
New Covenant Schools
122 Fleetwood Drive
Lynchburg, VA 24501


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 15:30:10 -0600
From: burke
Subject: Unusual Baptism Circumstance
I didn’t mean that the Reformers used congregational vows (hey, not even the OPC uses them!).

Are you saying that in the OPC, the congregation does not vow to help train up the child in Christ, assisting the parents where needed?


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 16:50:51 -0500
From: “Brian D. Nolder”
Subject: OPC DPW (was Unusual Baptism Circumstance)


It is not in our DPW, though many congregations do make the vow (including ours), and it will likely be the revised DPW that we will (hopefully!) approve this summer.

Brothers, I would ask you to pray about this (but also, remember the confidentiality of this list): the major author of the proposed revision that will likely be coming before our GA is a fan of Jeff’s book, and his own orders of service are explicitly covenant renewal. The OPC may end up with an explicitly covenant renewal model of worship in its DPW.


ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 15:12:01 -0600
From: Jonathan Barlow
Subject: ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up

“Covenantal Grace”

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 14:11:56 -0600
From: “Rich Lusk”
Subject: “covenantal grace”; was responding to the MVP Report

Nobody followed up on my earlier post regarding “covenantal grace,” but I did want to ask a question or two to Joel and anyone else who’s really familiar with the tradition of Reformed scholasticism.

This is what I wrote last night:

Joel’s Response

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 11:04:28 -0600
From: “Jonathan Barlow”
Subject: joel’s response


I enjoyed your response to the MVP. Just a few things:
  1. You say that you’re “adverse” to controversy, but I think you mean “averse”.
  2. “Make my own viewpoints clears” should be “clear”
  3. Don’t forget to add the promised “concluding observations”
  4. I would take out the bit about seeing the points earlier than the public release of them. Just let ’em wonder how your kung fu is that good.

Now, more thoughts: