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:

Rich’s Missional Question

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 09:40:28 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Rich’s missional question

Grist for the mill:

Goedel’s Incomplete Theology

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 8:26:52 -0600
From: pduggan
Subject: Goedel’s Incomplete Theology

Are we claiming that TULIP and the decree are true statements, but not actually derivable from the Bible as a covenantal document?

It strikes me as odd to say that we can know all about the fact that there is a decree and that TULIP is true, but that we’re kinda “not supposed to think about it too much”.

I think our critics think that knowledge of TULIP and the decree as it applies to the individual is saving beneficial knowledge. So synchronically we experience undifferentiated grace, but synchronically, we can theologize and know that somehow that grace IS differentiated, and that theologizing necessarily affects out subjective experience of that grace, serving to differentiate it.

And we’re saying “don’t do that”. Or are we?

Paul the Diagnostic Questioner

Tim Keller vs. Jim Jordan; Being Missional vs. Being Liturgical

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 02:09:53 -0600
From: “Rich Lusk”
Subject: tim keller vs. jim jordan; being missional vs. being liturgical

Maybe some of you pastors have wrestled with this issue. One thing I’ve wondered about for a long time now is how to balance the church’s call to be missional (to exist for the sake of the world as a servant-priesthood, not just in this or that that aspect of her life, but in *all* that she does) vs. upholding what I think is a biblical (and traditonal) form of liturgical worship in which the church’s *own* culture (her Spirit-wrought heritage) is most determinative and formative. I don’t buy John Farme’s “intelligbility” argument from 1 Cor. 14, nor do I want to confuse “worship” with “evangelism” as you have in the Willow Creek/seeker-friendly model. But if our worship is for the life of the world, it seems a case can be made for “missional” worship.

In Tim Keller’s fine paper on “The Missional Church”, he writes,

Responding to the MVP Report

Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:13:39 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: responding to the MVP Report

As far as I can tell, the final report never showed up today on the FPC Jackson website.

Nevertheless, this is what I’ve whipped up so far as some kind of (yet unfinished) response:

I figure I might as well respond publicly now that I’ve been named in the footnotes of the preliminary report.

Besides, I’ve got nothing to lose, since my livelihood is not dependent in any way upon affiliation with the PCA (though if anyone wants me out of the PCA they will have to pry my cold, dead fingers off of my Westminster Confession).

In any case, since whatever I respond will potentially reflect upon a number of you, for good or ill, I don’t plan on making something public without input from you guys.

So any feedback is much appreciated.


A Boat

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 20:54:20 -0700
From: “John Barach”
Subject: Mark 3:9: A Boat

BHers —

What’s the significance of the boat that Jesus has His disciples prepare for Him in Mark 3:9?

MVP Report

Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 08:11:27 -0600
From: Jeff Meyers
Subject: MVP Report

According to Lig, the final FV/AAPC study committee report “unanimously approved by MVP” will be posted on the FPCJ website today.


Channeling Mark Horne

Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 15:54:54 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Why the blog entry regarding MVP might have vanished

The Youth Pastor’s blog has a counter. I checked it and it registered a our yahoo list as a referring list.


Beeson Question

Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 07:52:11 -0600
From: Jonathan Barlow
Subject: Beeson question

Hi Guys,

What do you know about this guy:

J. Alan Carter
B.S., Mississippi State University; M.Div., M.C.E., Reformed Theological Seminary; M.A., Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., Notre Dame University. Pastor, Faith Presbyterian Church, Birmingham.

He’s on the staff at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham. Just curious if he would be someone I could talk to about the seminary there given that he’s PCA.



Who is under the law today?

Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 09:27:19 -0600
From: “Bill DeJong”
Subject: Who is under the law today?

Tim et al,

Consider this formulation: Christ’s coming changes the calendar for the entire world, not just for the Jews. The stoicheia tou kosmou, one of which was the Mosaic law, governed “this (present) age,” an age characterized by
immaturity and servitude and sin.

In Christ man comes of age. Those who are joined to Christ pass from minority to maturity and become members of “the age to come.”

Those who remain outside of Christ remain in “this age,” in immaturity and servitude, and under the stoicheia tou kosmou.



Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2005 22:09:12 +0000
From: “Frank D’Agostino”
Subject: MVP and CCP

Those of you directly affected by the uncharitable actions of these two Presbyteries will be in my prayers. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress you’re under. I only hope the call to war against FV/NPP stops here.

I hope you don’t mind if I pray impreccatory prayers against them. I hope they either repent and begin to engage in charitable dialogue with you; or else that they are severely humbled and removed from power.

— Frank

Central Carolina Overture

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 15:31:04 -0600
From: “Steve Wilkins”
Subject: central carolina overture


Here’s the text of the Central Carolina action (our stated clerk just received it)


Mississippi Valley Presbytery’s denunciations?

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 14:51:48 -0600
From: “Steven Wright”
Subject: Mississippi Valley Presbytery’s denunciations?
Does anyone know if the *presbytery* made those pronouncements?

As a candidate in the MS Valley Presbytery, I attended the Presbytery meeting on Tuesday. Ligon Duncan presented the “final report” of the Ad Hoc Committee on the NPP-NTW-NS-AAPC (“Federal Vision”) [I didn’t make that name up!]. This consisted of a 36-page document distributed at the meeting. Included are the previous précis reports, now with footnotes appended. Included as an “Exhibit” was the letter from the AAPC session responding to those précis reports. The major new item was a letter of over 4 pages designed to be sent out in the name of the MS Valley Presbytery. The plan is to send this to all PCA Presbyteries, maybe all PCA sessions, and perhaps to other denominations as guidance about these issues. At the heart of this letter is a list of 17 views deemed “to be outside the bounds of acceptable diversity within the PCA.” It was explained that no exceptions would be allowed in this Presbytery on these issues and the hope was that this would be the case throughout the PCA. Many of these statements are vague and cry out for clarification, but there were no questions or discussion from the floor of a substantive nature (just a few comments on typos, tone, and a concern about how negative language about John Frame would reflect on RTS). Another action was that this Presbytery would join with another (Central Florida, I think) in requesting the the LA Presbytery investigate the views of TE Steve Wilkins.

Brothers, after sitting through this I could not sleep Tuesday night. I have not personally made up my mind on many of these issues, but as a candidate I was struck with fear. There is clearly no room for discussion around here. Included also was a list of “suggested” questions for the Credentials Committee to use with candidates under the headings of New Perspectives, N.T. Wright, Norman Shepherd, and Federal Vision. You can be sure these suggested will be enacted in theological exams to sniff out anyone with an openness on this broad group of issues.

I was grieved by many things. Though the lengthy letter had not been distributed in advance, it was read and then voted upon at the meeting. There was no discussion of the issues. The letter itself makes references to recent events (such as Rich’s problems with Evangel Presbytery) in a way that strikes me as innuendo and scandal-mongering. In response to AAPC’s request for interaction at an exegetical level, the letter states that “the committee’s purview did not entail the provision of a definitive exegetical, historical and theological rebuttal.” All they attempted to do was evaluate in light of the Confession. Much of the language regarding out-of-bounds views is so vague that there will be a need for a new Magisterium to interpret and apply it. So, who is on the road to Rome here?

I did not post about this earlier because I am still emotionally ripped apart by it. After the document is cleaned up, it will be public and I suspect will be posted on the FPC/Jackson web-site. If people seriously think about it, they will see it for the axe-grinding that it is, but I fear many will accept it all as the gospel truth. It was voted that the committee would continue to work in order to advise those outside the Presbytery and continue publishing. It was announced that Guy Waters has another book coming out from P&R later this year addressing the Federal Vision. The title is, “Covenant Theology Improved?”

Please pray for this presbytery and for all to whom this will be sent. Please pray for candidates wrestling with these issues in the face of such power. Please pray for the unity rather than the fracturing of Christ’s church. And please remember the confidentiality policy of this list!

sw (the younger)

Central Carolina Presbytery & AAPC

Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2005 22:05:40 -0500
From: Chris Horton
Subject: Central Carolina Presbytery & AAPC

Okay news last week from Western Carolina, but I just returned from Central Carolina Presbytery meeting in Matthews NC, and one of the actions taken was to send correspondence to ask Louisiana Presbytery to investigate FV theology and AAPC and if necessary, take action against the senior pastor and session there. Andy Webb was in attendance and it seemed the instigator behind the thing, but the vote to do it was unanimous without discussion except a small change in wording.

Chris Horton
Peru Mission
864.335.9748 (h)
864.593.7967 (m)

Thoughts on AAPC

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 11:45:17 -0600
From: “James B. Jordan”
Subject: thoughts on AAPC


This came dated 1 January 1970, so I’m reposting it to BH. Just found it.


At 12:29 PM 1/1/1970, you wrote:

Some initial thoughts about the AAPC Pastors Conference:
  1. 1. It was great to meet many of you on the list! (I know many of you were there that I didn’t get to meet — next time)! I wish we had more time to talk!
  2. Steve Wilkins and AAPC did a phenomenal job of hosting the conference! Many thanks to you, Steve, and all the workers!
  3. I think the conference was a landmark both in terms of the content and in terms of the way the discussion was conducted between Gaffin and Wright. It was a great example of how these discussions ought to take place, and hopefully will pave the way for future discussions of the same sort.
  4. A large part of the strain the Reformed churches are undergoing on so called FV and NPP issues is that we are trying to filter everything through and fit everything into a 17th century confession. Imagine the difficulty of doing that in other fields, such as science. This doesn’t make the WS bad, or lessen my love for them, it is just to acknowledge that they express 17th century British theology, not a once-for-all-completed statement of faith.
  5. I enjoyed a number of conversations with Norman Shepherd. He was very positive about Wright’s teaching, while also maintaining that Paul teaches the imputation of Christ’s righteousness for justification.
I hope Drs. Wright and Gaffin continue to interact via email, etc.


Dan Dillard

P.S. You all saw John Robbins, didn’t you?

James B. Jordan
Director, Biblical Horizons
Box 1096
Niceville, FL 32578

Was this review helpful to you?

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 08:36:31 -0600
From: Douglas Jordan
Subject: Was this review helpful to you?

A while ago a number of us voted regarding the helpfulness of the Amazon reviews of The Federal Vision.

If anyone's interested, there are a few new reviews posted. Looks like Oupensky-fan ingrid888 seems to have found at least 6 people to go across all the reviews and vote "helpful" for the 1-stars and "unhelpful" the 5-stars.


Another Forwarded BH Post

Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 04:41:13 -0800
From: “Dale Courtney”
Subject: Another Forwarded BH Post


I wanted to alert you to yet another BH post that has been forwarded elsewhere and posted publicly.

The original post was from 29 May 2003:

The post (by Wilson) was just posted publicly over at

I don’t know where the leak is, but we need to make it stop.


Mark’s Transfer

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 08:17:38 -0600
From: Jeff Meyers
Subject: Mo Presbytery

I’m leaving with Mark for presbytery in a few moments. I just wanted to remind you all to pray for us. He should be on the floor in the middle of the afternoon.



Pray for me (again)

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 23:10:32 -0700
From: “Tim Gallant”
Subject: Pray for me (again)


I just came home from a congregational meeting. Some of you may remember a note last fall requesting prayer for my situation in the local church. There is a dominant family that has a number of unhappy people (some more so than others). It centers around me, at least on the surface. There remains a complaint that my sermons are too difficult, but there are other matters too. Meanwhile, a goodly number of people are extremely happy with my work here (and some of them express puzzlement about the difficulty complaint, since they say their 10 year old children benefit from my sermons). For myself, I am willing to say that I am still learning to simplify and need to learn a whole lot more in communication, and insofar as that it is true, there is probably cause for some of the concerns. But there is much more involved than that, which I can scarcely begin to detail. Otherwise, the depth of emotion involved on the part of some would be inexplicable.

OVP and Warfield List

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 21:33:53
From: William Smith
Subject: OVP and Warfield List

Just for clarification: both Steve and Rich were on my resume as references. They also knew that our session had adopted the position paper with AAPC on Covenant, Baptism and Election. The Church knows my sympathies. I don’t want anyone on this list to think that I distanced myself from Steve and Rich. In fact (and please remember not to pass this on to anyone), one of the members of the pulpit cmte left the church because of my positions. As I said, the man who posted is not very well informed about these issues.

Just as a humorous aside, one of the young ladies in the Church thinks its cool that I am friends with Steve Wilkins. I could have been Bozo the Clown and it wouldn’t have mattered to her. She’s a big fan of Steve. She wants me as her pastor just so she can talk to Steve!


FPC Jackson / Committee Report

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 14:40:01 -0600
From: “Jonathan Barlow”
Subject: fpc jackson / committee report

Anyone know why FPC Jackson took down the committee report from the MS Valley Presbytery committee on the Federal Vision?

Apostasy Passages

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 14:17:16 +0000
From: “Jamison Galt”
Subject: Apostasy Passages


I’m helping a Covenant seminary professor, Robert Peterson, with research for a forthcoming book of his on Perseverance and Apostasy. The first step in my assignment is to locate all the Biblical passages that seem to posit some sort of genuine apostasy. I’m especially looking for passages beyond the standard ones mentioned in a discussion of this sort. Thought you all would be a good place to start! Can you help? Thanks — Jamison Galt

Machen Myth

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 08:21:19 EST
Subject: Re: PCRT

In a message dated 1/17/2005 12:44:38 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
If you get a chance to talk to him, perhaps you can ask: Why is it better to have the imputed active obedience of Christ than to share in his resurrection verdict? What does the former give that the latter lacks? This is the question I’ve posed repeatedly to Horton, with no real answer beyond quotations from the confessions (which provide him dubious support at best). Maybe I should just email Rick myself . . . .


Perhaps the emotional attachment arises from the fabled story about Machen’s words near his death about active obedience. I admit to being touched by the story when I first heard it. However, my nine years in Charistmatic circles have jaded my views of experiential testimonies. I smile, appreciate the moment, and then think through the experience to see what really is happening. I had one RC Charismatic give a breathy testimony how the bread in communion had the texture of flesh and the wine tasted like blood to him, since he had received the Baptism of the HS. Presbyterians have their mythic stories too!

What made me remember this Machen connection was conversation I had with a CTS student in my congregation. He quoted this Machen story with wide eyed wonder as he talked about his passion for the concepts of Christ’s Passive and Active obedience. Myths live on. When you challenge them don’t expect a reasoned response.


Duncan Remarks

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 23:44:15 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Duncan remarks

I just blogged this and then immediately removed it. I *think* that this can only be read by the direct link below and is otherwise unavailable. (If you know differently, let me know).

I’d like comments on my tone. And in general, am I supposed to not share these thoughts? What should I do?

Report From Ohio Valley

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 21:08:05 -0600 (GMT-06:00)
From: William Smith
Subject: Report from Ohio Valley

I see that Rich told y’all the good news about my transfer to OVP. For those of you who knew that it was coming and prayed, thank you. I didn’t realize that Chris Harper was being pressured. (Glad I didn’t know it.) Chris did a superior job. I could tell he had heard a lot of stuff — stuff that only people in our presbytery would know. But he was quite judicious.

So Bizarre

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 20:29:24 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: so bizarre

I realize this is old news for some of you (all of you?) but I am working through Lig Duncan’s essay on “True Communion.” I had no idea that he would allow a few essays on the web to become his raison d’etre in what is supposed to be a scholarly collection of essays. Why not deal in detail with Wallace (rather than a couple of jabs), Gerrish, and Robert Letham/Nevin? Why not interact with Clowney and Ferguson (he mentions Ferguson but doesn’t tell us what he actually says)?

Instead he gets all up in arms about a bunch of web articles. Amazing. I think he keeps mentioning Joel’s on “baptismal regeneration” not because it is relevant to the Lord’s Supper but because it allows him to keep the words “baptismal regeneration” in front of his readers.

And he claims that his targets (me? Nevin?) believe Christ to be corporally present in the Lord’s Supper. What garbage!

I am a fool to be worried about him. He has lost already. Nothing else explains these tactics. The most he can hope for is a small remnant denomination in the Southeast.



Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 19:06:27 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: PCRT

I just got the brochure for the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology in the mail. It looks like Lig Duncan isn’t going to be speaking in Philadelphia — only in the Phoenix and Indianapolis locations. I’m vaguely disappointed. I would have liked to have heard and/or met this fellow.

Where he is speaking, his topics remain the same as previously advertised: [1] One People — Christianity’s prescription for unity and peace among men; and [2] One Way — Christianity’s demand for obedient disciplehip on the way to eternal life.

There’s some kind of sad irony in that.

I also see that Rick Phillips is doing a seminar entitled, “The Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness: Current Denials and Biblical Affirmations.” Hopefully he’ll just stick with Robert Gundry as his target, but I somehow doubt it.

Perhaps I can try to ferret out what he’ll be speaking on prior to the conference (the first one is April 1–3) and maybe even exert some positive influence. I dunno.


Greenville conferences

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2005 18:06:36 -0500
From: Chris Horton
Subject: Greenville conferences

Anybody want to visit sunny Greenville SC in March? :|


Chris Horton
Peru Mission
864.335.9748 (h)
864.593.7967 (m)

A Small Victory in One Presbytery

From: Todd and Lisa Harris
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 5:44 PM
Subject: a small victory in one presbytery

Hey, here’s some good news from Dale Smith, BH-oriented pastor of Colleyville PCA, North Texas Presbytery.

Todd HarrisFort Worth