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Thread: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

  1. #101
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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by ray kikkert
    This FV babble is going to come to a head within reformed and presbyterian churches. The synodical meetings on the horizon will show that. The line is drawn, the trenches dug. One is in either trench or is out there trying to straddle the fence.

    But do not just take my word for it. That is why I post critiques of others as well as statements made by FV babblers.
    Here then, is another recent critique for folks to check out:

    [FONT="Arial,]Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul: A Review and Response, by Guy Prentiss Waters. Presbyterian & Reformed, 2004. Paperback, 274 pages, $16.99. Reviewed by Pastor Edwin C. Urban, OPC.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Many in the conservative Presbyterian denominations are waking up, rubbing their eyes, and beginning to see that their communions are embroiled in a controversy that they never dreamed could have arisen in their Reformed churches. The controversy is over the nature and definition of justification. This debate is shaking the foundations of these denominations and is having a distinctly polarizing effect within them and between them.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]It behooves every pastor and elder, the overseers of their flocks, to study and assess the now conflicting views that are being proposed regarding the nature of justification – a primary doctrinal concernof the Protestant Reformation. Much excellent material is being written and published regarding this debate.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]One of the best books is Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul by Guy Prentiss Waters, B.A. in Greek and Latin, University of Pennsylvania; M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; and Ph.D., Duke University (concentrations in New Testament, Old Testament, and Ancient Judaism).[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]At Duke, Dr. Waters studied under Richard B. Hays and E. P. Sanders, two leading expositors of the New Perspectives on Paul. Dr. Waters is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Institute for Biblical Research. He is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in America.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]D. A. Carson, well known New Testament scholar, has written of Waters' book: [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]In the last few years there have been several careful evaluations and critiques of the New Perspective. This one excels for its combination of simplicity, fair-dealing, historical awareness, and penetration. For the pastor who is vaguely aware of the debates, but who has little mastery of the confusing details, this book's careful presentation of each scholar's position is a model of accuracy and clarity. Even those who have been pondering the issues for years will see some things in a fresh light. The ability of Waters to combine exegetical, historical, biblical-theological, and systematic reflections, and all in relatively brief compass, enhances the credibility of the argument. Combine these virtues with pedagogically helpful chapter summaries and an annotated bibliography, and it is easy to see why this book deserves wide circulation. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]In reading this book, this reviewer was fascinated by the historical links the author establishes between the early exponents of the "historical-critical" school, F. C. Bauer and Wilhelm Bousset, through Albert Schweitzer, to Rudolph Bultmann and Ernst Kasemann, with the major authors of the New Perspective, E. P. Sanders, James D. G. Dunn and N. T. Wright. Waters has skillfully traced the affinities of the heterodox positions of this two hundred-year-old line of critical descent with the contemporary advocates of the New Perspectives on Paul, and beyond that, with Reformed circles close to home.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]In the Preface, projecting the course along which his arguments will run, Waters writes, "I will…attempt to explain why officers and congregants within Reformed and evangelical churches find the New Perspectives on Paul attractive, and why such interest often attends interest in the theology of Norman Shepherd and the theology represented in the September 2002 statement of the session of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church."[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Among the reasons for writing this book, Waters, in the Preface, writes, "I want to illustrate the ways in which the New Perspectives on Paul deviate from the doctrines set forth in the Westminster Standards. I also want to show how Reformed theology surpasses the New Perspectives on Paul in explaining Paul's statements regarding the law, the righteousness of God, justification, and a host of other topics and doctrines."[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Waters concludes his book with these remarks: [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]All expressions of Christianity are on the path to one of two destinations, Rome or Geneva. What the New Perspectives on Paul offer us is decidedly not “Genevan”…. It seems that there are elements active in the Reformed churches that wish to lead the church into a sacramental religion, all in the name of being “more Reformed.” If we examine their arguments carefully, we see that what they are really and increasingly saying is that Luther and Calvin were mistaken, and that Trent was right. May God give us grace that we may not squander the rich theological heritage bequeathed to us by the Reformers, historic British Calvinism, and American Presbyterianism. May we model, in spirit and teaching, that “pattern of teaching” preserved so faithfully by our forefathers. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]After reading this book, it has become clearer to this reviewer that those in Reformed circles who have fallen under the influence of Sanders, Dunn, and Wright – whether they are conscious of it or not – are rejecting the federal theology of the Westminster Standards and are promoting, not just a refinement of the doctrine of justification, but a completely new system of doctrine.[/FONT]
    January 2005




    [FONT="Arial,]* "Vision: 1a: something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy, specifically a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation; b: an object of imagination....2a: the act or power of imagination...." [/FONT]
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Thanks, Ray. I will have to order this book right away!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby
    Thanks, Ray. I will have to order this book right away!
    Looks good.


    I should also mention that Rev. Van Dyken has also responded to questions posed to him from the Burlington Othodox Christian Reformed speech entitled "A Short Trip Through Federal Vision Land" ..... you can view this speech at this shortcut below:

    http://www.sunnysideocrc.com/fdb/paf...ownload&id=132

    Here is his responses to those questions posed, and defense of the Federal Vision babble for you to view.

    It is as follows:

    Some questions and answers arising out of “A Short Trip Through Federal Vision Land.”

    (These are questions that came to me following a speech in Burlington, Washington. Feel free to email me with others. –Donald Van Dyken)
    1. Is there a difference between covenantal election and eternal election? Is the example of Saul that you spoke of referring to this or am I mixed up?
    2. Can a person lose his/her salvation?
    3. Have you changed your thinking over the years, or because of the Federal Vision?
    4. You quote me saying, “our obedience keeps us in the way of life,” and ask “How can this be?”
    5. How can you say, If we are faithful to him, he will be faithful to us?
    6. Can we thwart God’s salvation?



    1. Is there a difference between covenantal election and eternal election? Is the example of Saul that you spoke of referring to this or am I mixed up?

    Yes, there is a difference between covenantal election and eternal election. Yes, my example of Saul refers to this.
    I believe the Canadian Reformed Churches, for example, use the term “covenantal election” to distinguish it from “eternal election.” It certainly is a biblical use, for God clearly told his people Israel that he chose them above all peoples for his particular favor. Covenantal election, then means, that in the sovereign good pleasure of God, by his predestinating will, certain people are chosen to be included in his covenant of grace, in the people of Israel, in the church of Jesus Christ. Whether God makes them members of the church later in life, or as he usually does, through birth to believing parents, it is still the result of God’s choice, God’s electing love.
    You will find, I believe, that many of the New Testament uses of the term “election” must be understood in that sense, that God has chosen people to be members of the covenant, incorporated them into the body of Christ. We hear the apostle Paul, for example, saying to the Thessalonians, “knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.” (1 Thess. 1:4) Yet it would seem from his comments later in the letter, that he was not referring to their eternal election, for he expresses uncertainty about their perseverance in the faith, saying, “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.” ( Thess. 3:5)
    When Paul addressed the Ephesians and said, “just as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the word, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, …” (Eph. 1:4) was he referring to their eternal election or to their election to be members of the body of Christ, the church? Was Paul addressing the entire church at Ephesus, men, women, children, and babies, or was he addressing only those members who were eternally elect? The witness of Scripture seems to be that he was talking to everybody in the church. Do we have evidence from Scripture that Paul knew who were eternally elect and who were not?
    I believe the evidence is that Paul spoke of covenantal election, for he even spoke of the possibility that he should fail: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:27) If he did not have the special knowledge of his own eternal election, he certainly made no claim about the eternal election of others.
    But of one thing he was certain, that God had chosen him to be a minister of the gospel, and by the grace of God he was determined to finish his course with joy, to fulfill the apostleship the Lord had committed to his hand. And that brings us to realize that in the vast majority of the Bible’s references to God’s election, to his choosing, appointing, anointing, of people’s and persons, he does so for the fulfillment of his specific purposes, the advancement of his overall great program of redemption. God chose Israel to show forth his power and greatness to all the world, and that all people’s would see what great laws and statutes they had, and the great God who loved and saved them. Peter tells us today, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9)
    Therefore the Scriptures urge us to fulfill our calling, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…” (Eph. 4:1)
    So the Lord reveals what has been called “corporate election,” that is the Lord choosing a people, a nation, a church. That church, that people, we confess he has “chosen to everlasting life;…” (HC q 54) and outside of that church there is no salvation. (BC Art 28)
    The Lord’s choosing of particular people then comes within the context of his choosing a church. When this understanding of the normal way God speaks of election in the Bible, is reclaimed, we also can avoid the highly individualistic tendency associated with concentration solely on individual election. The church is elected, and we are elected, chosen, to be members of that church. As the Heidelberg says, “I am, and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.” (HC q 54)
    The Bible speaks of God’s selection, election, of particular persons for particular roles, offices, and functions to fill in his great plan. Surely his selection of those persons is according to the eternal counsel of his will, that is, according to predestination. So God chosen Abraham, and also chose his descendents after him, that through him, through Abraham’s seed, the blessing of the Lord would come to all nations. Abraham was chosen for a specific purpose. And so we could show for all the other personal choosing God did. God chose Moses, Aaron, Samuel, Eli, Saul, David, and a host of others. To each one God gave a particular role to fill. Some filled it well, others failed. But again, God’s emphasis in these cases is not their individual salvation (as our children sometimes ask, “Did they go to heaven?”) but rather, did they answer God’s call, did they do what he told them to do, were they used by him in his great work of redemption. This, by the way, is the focus of our catechism books, always asking the question, Will you be used by the Lord in his great work, or will you be used by Satan?
    Well, that’s a little in answer to your question. It’s probably not nearly adequate; so if it generates other questions, feel free to ask them. I know I don’t always get to them right away, but I’ll try.
    2. Can a person lose his/her salvation?

    Yes. And no. We’ve first got to define our terms. Much of the confusion surrounding the FV debate arose from the failure of the original speakers to clearly define their terms.
    What terms do we need to define? “Person,” and “salvation.”
    If by person you mean “elect person” and by “salvation” you mean our final salvation in the sense that Peter uses it, (“salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Pet. 1:5), then NO, emphatically never. God’s eternal purposes stand fast forever. However, as we all know, or rather do not know who are the eternally elect and who are not, we need to listen to Scripture and understand that since the Bible normally uses the term “election” in the senses I’ve described above, we can speak about falling away from “covenant election.” Obviously God predestined Ishmael and Esau, chose them to be born into the covenant, and they, by their unbelief chose to leave, they fell away, they lost what they had.
    So let’s choose the definition of person that the Bible usually uses, and that means persons such as you and I whom God has chosen, from all eternity too, mind you, to be members of his church.
    What then shall we mean by “salvation?”
    There are at least three senses in which this term is used:
    1. As something that has been accomplished, that we are saved.
    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV)
    who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, (2 Timothy 1:9 NKJV)
    2. As something that is going on right now, that we are being saved.
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)
    3. As something that will be completed in the future, that we will be saved.
    "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13 NKJV)
    Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Romans 5:9 NKJV)
    Old Testament salvation:
    We need to begin on this question from the Old Testament.
    Let’s first look at Adam. Was he made perfectly? Indeed so, upright, in the image of God, in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his creator, heartily love him, and live with him in eternal blessedness. Did Adam then live in a state of life, of perfect peace, of all that we comprehend in the term “eternal life?” Was it possible for Adam to fall from that state of grace? That’s not hard to figure out because he did.
    Did God save Israel out of Egypt? He did, and he called them his redeemed people, his chosen people, his special treasure, members of his covenant. What kind of salvation shall we call this? In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul calls it a salvation that included baptism, and partaking of Christ in water and manna. Did some of Israel fall from this salvation; did they reject what they had? Yes, and here is the New Testament point: Paul cautions the church at Corinth that they don’t fail in the same way. These were the people he had addressed as church, as sanctified in Christ Jesus.
    The warnings from Hebrews tell us the same thing, that having been saved by the grace of God, through faith, we are to continue in that grace and faith, and if we don’t, we fall away, we will fail to inherit.
    Paul addresses these people in the book of Hebrews as “holy brethren.” He warns those “holy brethren” not to “drift away;” (2:1), not to “neglect so great a salvation,” (2:3), to “beware, brethren, lest there be in you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God,” (3:12) that we should “fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it (his rest),” (4:1), he says that the same gospel was preached to Israel in the wilderness as to us, (4:2). He warns that we must “be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience,” (4:11)
    Jude warns us of the same thing: “But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude 1:5 NKJV) They didn’t believe, they didn’t continue in the faith, they did not “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” (Heb. 3:6) Exodus 4:31 says that they did indeed begin in faith, “So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that he had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” Again, following God’s great deliverance through the Red Sea, we read in 14:31, “Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses.”
    They began in faith, but didn’t continue in faith the entire journey to the promised land. Remember the words of Christ, “He who endures to the end will be saved.”
    Paul gives another picture in Romans 11, of the olive tree and the branches. The branches in the olive tree is Israel, the chosen people of God, and because of “the root,” the covenant mercies of God, “is holy, so are the branches.” Paul then goes on to say, “because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he may not spare you either.” (Rom. 11:20,21)
    Paul says in Romans 6:3,6, “that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death…our old man was crucified with him…” That brings us to another metaphor, Again, another metaphor, the vine and the branches. I don’t think Christ could have made covenant membership any plainer. John 15 says that Christ is the vine and we are the branches. Every branch that bears fruit the Father prunes. Every branch that does not bear fruit is cut off, withers, and is burned. These then were branches that partook of the root and fatness of the vine, had leaves, yet were cut off.
    The first part of Hebrews 6 gives a description of covenant membership that could not be plainer, it seems to me, and yet speaks of that member falling away, loosing what he had. Hebrews 6 goes on to compare God’s people to fields, same ground, same gracious rain from God, one brings good fruit and is blessed, the other thorns and thistles and is cursed.
    I could go on, but let this be sufficient. All the warnings to covenant people in the Old Testament and to covenant church members in the New Testament, in all the gospels, in the epistles, are addressed to people whom the Lord calls redeemed, saved, delivered, his people, his saints, his inheritance, and cautions them against departing from the living God.
    What shall we say? Where shall our security lie? Does God ask us to find assurance in some corner of our heart that is confident that we are eternally elect? God commands us to believe his promises, all of which are yes and amen in Jesus Christ. God calls us to have confidence in his word, for he has sworn with an oath that by two unchangeable things, we might have a strong consolation (Hebrews 6 last section). He calls us to cling to him, to believe him, to confess when we go astray for he is the God of all mercies, forgiving us in grace. He calls us to have complete confidence, that as we submit to him, as we come under his servants the prophets, as we obey the kingship of Christ through the elders, he is able to present us blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy. (Jude 1:24) We have confidence that if we remain members of the body of Christ, the Father will join us to the head, if we remain members of the bride of Christ, neither heaven or hell, angels or principalities, life or death, heresies, schisms, wars, communists, Muslims, famines or earthquakes, terrorists or cancer, will deflect the Almighty from his sovereign purpose to wed this bride to his dearly beloved Son.
    The great question, it seems to me is faith. I know there are tensions between the various statements that God presents in the Bible. But do we have faith to believe just what God says, or must we rearrange his plain speech into ways that fit our rational minds? Do we have faith to believe that although God says of you and me that if we think we stand, we should take care lest we fall, that in our own strength and merits we would undoubtedly perish, but our hope and confidence is in Christ our Lord. Those who continue to trust in him will never be put to shame.
    3. Have you changed your thinking over the years, or because of the Federal Vision?

    I’ve said on occasion that no one should place all their confidence in the faithfulness of any man, for there are so many examples of men who began faithfully enough, but then went on to fall into grievous doctrinal or moral errors later on. My one emphasis has been, I hope, is to say that if a man is faithful, those whom he teaches will never quote him, but always quote the Scriptures.
    But yes, I have changed and I suppose we all have changed. I suppose, that none of us are the same as we were. That still leaves the question, are our changes for the better or for the worse? That’s where our fellowship among churches comes in, and that fellowship is the Lord’s gracious means to keep us from becoming eccentric or out of balance. And above all, it is the application of the Bible that brings us back on track.
    I sincerely believe that I have grown in my understanding through these years, and during this controversy. I believe that my understanding is more balanced because it is, in my judgment, more covenantal. I say more covenantal in distinction from reading things solely from the election perspective. It is that covenantal emphasis, which I believe is Biblical, that I stressed in the speech, and that perhaps caused you to be surprised at what I did not say. And indeed you may be right, that I omitted things that should have been said. There is the emphasis, for example, that Wilkins placed in one of his speeches on being “in Christ” for all things. I think he refers to over 75 instances in the New Testament where everything in the believer’s life is to be found in Christ alone. At the same time, the Bible stresses, Hebrews being a vivid example, that God holds us responsible for staying in Christ..
    We must test all growth in each other by the Word. Growth can be legitimate or illegitimate. Sycamore trees in California occasionally have mistletoe growing on one of their branches. Mistletoe is nice, but it is a parasite, and a sycamore branch ten inches in diameter under the mistletoe shrinks to six inches after it. Mistletoe is not legitimate tree growth. When it’s cut out, the tree resumes proper growth. Every living thing must grow, for growth is evidence of life. And you and I not only grow in behavior, we grow in knowledge and understanding. So I believe, and am thankful that I have grown, believing that my growth is a legitimate extension of what my father taught me.
    4. You said, “our obedience keeps us in the way of life.” How can this be?

    You quote me correctly, for I said, God’s redemption gave them and us life, and our obedience keeps us in the way of life. “And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day.” (Deut. 6:24) If we leave this path of obedience he says we will die. “If you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God…all these curses will come upon you.” (Deut. 28:15) He set before our fathers, and he sets before us every Sabbath, the way of life and the way of death.
    I tried to make the distinction in this quote and else where that truly it is God’s work, in his deliverance of Israel, in his deliverance of us through Christ that brings us into covenant, that pays for our sins, that provides us the obedience, the righteousness to come into God’s favor, to make us God’s children. Truly, our obedience is out of thankfulness. Our obedience does not contribute to our status as children of God, saved, redeemed, delivered, it does not add to the fact that God saved us, does not contribute to the work of Christ to redeem us. God illustrates that very plainly in the exodus. And I think you will find that emphasis in my speech.
    First from the Old Testament:
    God addresses this to his saved people (Deut. 33:29, “a people saved by the Lord.”) This then is addressed to those whom the Lord has given life, and now tells them that life is in obedience to the Lord. "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NKJV)
    Again, the opposite is also true. You have life, and since to live is to walk in the ways of the Lord, death is to depart from those ways. "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: (Deuteronomy 28:15 NKJV)
    Two ways: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV)
    These are the two ways of Psalm 1.
    Does the New Testament teach us differently? I don’t think so. When you get to the end of the Sermon on the Mount where Christ applies the law of God more rigorously than Israel usually applied it, what did he say? He showed the way of blessing in covenant by the man who built his house on the rock. He showed the way of curse in covenant by the man who built his house on the sand. What did he say of the man whose house stood the test? He heard these sayings of Christ and did them. What did he say of the man whose house fell? He heard these sayings of Christ and did not do them.
    How does Paul address the Roman Christians?
    For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13 NKJV)
    In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul plainly tells the Corinthian church that the Israelites were their fathers, that they were all baptized, that they ate and drank of Christ. In other words, in essence God’s work of redemption was the same for Israel as it was for Corinth. Now, says Paul, be warned, for many of them fell in the wilderness because of disobedience. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12) Paul is warning against a real, not imaginary, possibility. God has given us the responsibility to continue faithful, and faithfulness, belief, is shown by obedience.
    The way of obedience that Christ walked is the way that gained us life. In that life Christ calls us to walk as he walked, to follow him. If, as the rich young ruler, we find that following after riches is preferable, we depart from the Lord. Again, to change the illustration, God gave Israel the promised land through grace alone, delivered them from Egypt, and told them to possess what was theirs. God promised to go before them, in other words, to work out the success of their obedience. They failed to believe him, and perished in the wilderness, because of disobedience, because of unbelief. (Heb. 3:18,19)
    God gave us the righteousness of Christ that we should walk in that way of righteousness. Failure to do so is unbelief. Now I realize that we have failings, but also that God has provided his mercy for those failings, evident in the Old Testament sacrificial system and in the intercession of our High Priest today. But I also know that God describes his people as righteous or wicked on the basis of their works. Job was a blameless man, says God. God says of Zacharias and Elizabeth, And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Luke 1:6 NKJV)
    Consider David, ever a lover of God’s commandments. Does he confess that he sins? Indeed yes, not only with Uriah and Bathsheba in Psalm 51, but in other Psalms, Psalm 32 for example as well.
    But does he also say that he is righteous? For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me; And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness in His eyes. (2 Samuel 22:22-25 NKJV)
    Or consider the NT qualifications for office: A bishop then must be blameless… (1 Tim. 3:2) Does this mean that he has no sin whatsoever? No. Does it mean that in Christ he is righteous? Yes, but this is not the focus, for then every member of the church should qualify. The focus is faithfulness in covenant, and that is the way we measure a man, is it not? He is one that clings to God, evidenced by faithfulness in worship. He has a godly family and he is without reproach in his dealings in the world.
    There is a sense in which our obedience keeps us in the way of life, for that is the way we function in family and church. You can say with gratitude that you have a godly wife and godly, righteous daughters. They are faithful to the Lord in covenant. Does this mean they are works-righteous? Of course not, only that they are faithful in covenant. They, as the baptism form says we must do, cling to this one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forsake the world, crucify their old nature, and walk in a godly life. Covenant faithfulness is, again as the form says, if we sometimes through weakness fall into sin, we must not despair of God’s mercy nor continue in sin. Faithfulness is returning to the Lord in our failures.
    Again, this stresses of course, the responsibility of man, but I really believe that it needs to be stressed to regain a biblical balance in covenant. Perhaps I am overworking this point, but again, if you review all the New Testament judgment day scenes, you will find judgment based on works. This does not deny the grace of God, nor does it deny that the elders, and all of us, will cast down our golden crowns before the Lamb, who alone is worthy of all honor, both for our adoption and for our obedience.
    But listen to the Lamb as he calls us to obedience: To the seven churches, seven times beginning each letter, I know your works. And then concluding each of the seven letters, with a promise of reward contingent upon our faithfulness, To him that overcomes.
    5. How can you say, “If we are faithful to him, he will be faithful to us?”

    Perhaps this is not the happiest phrase, but what it does say is that God gives us contingencies, conditional promises. Christ said, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
    Now in a sense there are simply no contingencies in God’s plan, in God’s predestination, in God’s election. That is simply the truth of Scripture. But it is equally true, that we don’t know who are God’s elect, and must simply accept his conditional statements although we may not, nor ever will, logically mesh them with unconditional election.
    Again, I must simply refer to the many passages you are familiar with to show you this. God promised to be faithful to his promise to Abraham, to give to Israel the land of Canaan for their possession. Most of those who came out of Egypt, truly saved, really redeemed, never received that possession. Why? Because of unbelief, unbelief in the faithfulness of God; and that unbelief showed itself by failure to obey. They were unfaithful to God, and he did not give them the land.
    We are familiar with the many times God says, If you repent, then I will do you good. Again, from Hebrews, For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, (Hebrews 3:14 NKJV) Another conditional statement, But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22 NKJV)
    In my speech I spent some time asserting the absolute sovereignty of God in predestination. At the same time I wanted to emphasize that we may not rearrange or amend the plain teaching of Scripture that God places conditions upon us for the fulfillment of his promises.
    God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises, in making us his children, in providing us with all things necessary for body and soul, indeed do not depend upon our faithfulness. He abides faithful, he cannot deny himself. At the same time, God emphasizes the necessity of our faithfulness in covenant, and makes his blessing contingent upon our obedience in covenant. He doesn’t oblige me to reconcile the two, but just to believe them.
    I do think, and I believe this is part of my growth, that our five points of Calvinism are correct, logically coherent, and tight. But I also believe that we cannot take this system and impose it on the Bible, making everything logically fit this system. And that leads to your next observation.
    6. Can we thwart God’s salvation?

    No one can thwart God’s election, God’s predestination. No one can thwart God’s salvation. God’s grace for the elect is irresistible. That is a foregone conclusion, for the elect are those who will appear around the throne on the last day, those who endured to the end, faithful to death, the overcomers.
    My points, which followed I think, upon my brief exposition of predestination, was to show that Scripture presents seeming contradictions. But, and this is my point, we may not subject Scripture to our logic.
    Here are my statements:
    There is a tension for our minds between election and covenant. It is a mystery. We need to recognize this, and accept it. God’s Word presents us many mysteries. The most obvious one is the nature of God himself, our blessed Triune God, three in one. The incarnation of the Son into human flesh is a mystery. Paul speaks of the mystery of our incorporation into Christ. The Bible presents us with the great mystery and tension of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.
    God’s Word presents tensions. He says that he “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) Shall we say that he doesn’t really mean that because if he did he could have elected them? God forbid. God says of his church, “what more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not done in it?” (Is. 5:4) Shall we say, “Lord, you could have done one more thing, elected them.” God forbid. Christ says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34) Shall we say, “Christ, if you really wanted to, you could have elected them?” God forbid.
    What shall we say? Shall we hire sharp theologians to resolve these tensions and tell us they can be rationally explained? Shall we be those fools who walk in where angels fear to tread? Or shall we be like Calvin, content to be a humble disciple of Christ, not foolishly prying into those things that are hidden?
    I want to be Biblical, and believe all that God has revealed. Logically, proceeding from the given of election, we would say that God saves everyone he wants to save. This is true. God works out that salvation from start to finish. But God also speaks the way I quoted, and I fear greatly if I am inclined to change the plain meaning of his words to agree with my logic.
    What does God give as the reason someone perishes? “So we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.” “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” God rejected Saul because Saul rejected him. Esau lost the birthright because he sold it. I know that both good and evil, both faith and unbelief are all part of God’s predestination. But God, from the sin of Adam onward, gives as the reason for judgment, as the reason for not being saved, as the reason for disobedience, not his predestinating will, but man’s failure to respond in faith and obedience.
    I do want to maintain a biblical balance, and that brings me to your last comments. My presentation was not a sermon, but an attempt to find balance. Perhaps I failed. But then again, if one received the epistle from James in the early church, one would perhaps wonder where the grace in Christ was.
    These things must drive us to Christ, and that is being covenantally faithful. These things drive us to the Word. These things drive us to the church, the body of Christ, in which Christ ministers his Word to us. Our salvation is a continuing salvation, as you imply, and this God continues to be the God of our salvation at all times. I know that unbalanced emphasis on the covenant can lead to worldliness, as I have observed in another denomination. It can also lead to self-righteousness. But biblical emphasis on man’s responsibility should always lead us back to Christ, who then says, If you love me, keep my commandments.






    ............ also to follow will be information leading up to the OCRC spring meeting. Many overatures from the different congregations have been submitted.

    Those pertaining to the Federal Vision will be brought here in due course.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by ray kikkert

    ............ also to follow will be information leading up to the OCRC spring meeting. Many overatures from the different congregations have been submitted.

    Those pertaining to the Federal Vision will be brought here in due course.
    ..... as promised here are the overatures that deal with the Federal Vision. We are seeing first hand just what kind of ruckus and turmoil this babble is having within reformed and presbyterian churches.

    The overatures are in "PDF" format:

    http://www.sunnysideocrc.com/fdb/paf...ownload&id=209

    http://www.sunnysideocrc.com/fdb/paf...ownload&id=208

    http://www.sunnysideocrc.com/fdb/paf...ownload&id=207

    http://www.sunnysideocrc.com/fdb/paf...ownload&id=166
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Thanks Ray for keeping up with this important topic.
    This is my signature.

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Thanks Ray for keeping up with this important topic.
    Thank you for the opportunity.

    Here is another Federal Vision babbler you may be familiar with:

    Mark Horne [blog] [website] (Asst. Pastor, Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, MO - PCA)

    Mark Horne, The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel (Canon Press)

    Mark Horne, Justifying Faith: A Prima Facie Vindication of Norman Shepherd According to Reformed Orthodoxy


    "It is much easier to account for Shepherd from the Reformation heritage than it is to account for his opponents. The Reformed communion covers many centuries, confession [sic], theologians, and traditions. It may well be that Shepherd's opponents have some precedent for various points they bring up. But they have no precedent for attacking someone as a heretic for the crime of popularizing Turretin or the Westminster Confession." (p. 56)

    Mark Horne, Sacramental Assurance and Westminster

    "Common election--which is God’s eternal choice to predestine some to be brought into membership in his covenant people, the Church--is not effectual in all because they are not given the gift of persevering faith. But Calvin’s "special elect are chosen for immortal glory from eternity and brought to that glory through the gift of faith in God’s promises to the common elect. By being marked out as God’s people--both initially in baptism, and continually by preaching and the Lord’s Supper, as well as all the aspects of covenant life--they are assured that they are loved by God and are headed to resurrection."

    Mark Horne, The Grace of Judgment According to Works

    "It seems plausible to ask if Paul isn't in fact describing the life of faith ("the obedience of faith," Romans 1.6) that receives justification and life. His point might be that this faith has always vindicated both Jew and Gentile and that the Christ himself is the judge. God's judgment of "the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" may entail that Jews who reject Christ are no better than idolaters while Gentiles who obey the Gospel are acceptable to him. But whatever the structure and content of Paul's argument, the idea that this is a hypothetical means of gaining salvation through perfect obedience deserves to be questioned."

    Mark Horne, Law and Gospel in Presbyterianism

    "The difference between Law and Gospel then is that of promise and fulfillment, type and substance, and partial and completeness. This is not all that controversial nor unique to the Reformed heritage. However, the difference between Law and Gospel is also that between ethnic exclusiveness and cosmopolitan inclusiveness, or between sectionalism and catholicity."

    Mark Horne, Are Wright's Critics Misreading Him?

    "I hope this alerts readers of how much power a reviewer has when he picks quotations from an author. If our goal is to arrive at the truth of the matter, we cannot possibly allow ourselves to assume that conclusions founded on a writer's selection of quotations automatically guarantee that his conclusions are trustworthy.?"

    Mark Horne, Norman Shepherd's Call of Grace: A Pastor's Book Review

    "The Call of Grace is an excellent manual to put in the hands of laymen to teach them how to rest in God’s grace while taking seriously the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It is the only book written at a popular level that explains covenant theology. This is an odd situation, but before Shepherd wrote his book it was even stranger.

    "Here is the mystery: "Covenant is perhaps the most popular name for churches in the PCA. Its name adorns both our seminary and our college. All of this is a result of the importance of Covenant theology. Yet when one looks at Reformed propaganda used widely in the PCA one encounters a never-ending stream of books and booklets about TULIP and about infant baptism. The covenant only gets mentioned in passing as a rationale for infant baptism. Other than providing support for that rite, one would think from looking at our literature that the covenant is of no importance to us at all. It is certainly undeniable that our literature designed to introduce and convince others of PCA distinctives tells a vastly different story than a glance at the names in our church directory."


    Mark Horne, Getting Some Perspective on the "New Perspective": What's at stake (or not!) for Reformed Pastors regarding the contemporary discussion of Paul and "the works of the law"?

    "This brief essay will simply deal with the central idea of what has been called "covenantal nomism"--that in Jesus' day the Jews viewed God's covenant as a gift of pure grace and viewed the law as part of that gift to show them how to continue in that covenant. The Jews, according to the "new perspective," were not trying to earn or merit salvation from God, but viewed their standing before God as due to God's merciful provision. That provision included the law as the means by which God's people continued to walk with him (i.e. stayed in covenant). It was based, all along the line, on the expectation of God's continual forgiveness of their sins as God had graciously promised them."

    Mark Horne, When does God adopt us as His children?

    "We enter the Church by baptism, whether infants or adult converts. No one gets into the Church by natural birth. That is why baptism is applied, not only to the infants born to at least one Christian, nor even only to children to Christians whether by natural birth or adoption, but also to the infants brought under the care of Christian orphanages (See "The General Assembly of 1843 in The Princeton Review, July 1843, vol. 15, #3). The issue is not whether one possesses a Christian bloodline, or has been privileged to become a member of a Christian nuclear family, but simply if one is under the guardianship of Christians and thus can be discipled in the Church."

    Mark Horne, Is Pelagianism and Acceptable Price?

    "The price of what?" you ask. In this case, the price is what one must pay to portray Norman Shepherd as a Gospel-denying heretic.

    Mark Horne, The Necessity of New Obedience: The Westminster Standards, Repentance, Pardon

    "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.)

    Mark Horne, Justification by Union with Christ Only Through Living Faith: A Brief Comparison of Calvin's Institutes with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms regarding the shape of imputation

    "This essay is a brief argument that the soteriology of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion regarding union with Christ and the imputation of his righteousness is the same as that of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms."

    Mark Horne, Correcting Two Mistakes of the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic

    "The typical interpretations of Luke 10.25-37 and 18.18-30 along the lines of a Law-Gospel hermeneutic are obviously flawed and end up undermining the very doctrine they are trying to protect. They allow Jesus to actually encourage people to be justified by good works and then try to save the Reformation slogan sola fide ("faith alone") by claiming Jesus really was using a clever ploy to get people to give up trying to be justified by good works."

    Mark Horne, CREDO Regarding Personal Justification before God

    Mark Horne, The Gospel is Jesus is Lord

    Mark Horne, Another Take on NT Wright and the New Perspective

    Mark Horne, "We Have One Father, Even God": Initial Observations: How the Gospel Challenged the Pharisees


    "Provisionally then, the Gospel as Luke understands it to begin with John's ministry, is a call to repentance in the face of an impending visitation by God-a repentance that is defined in terms of concrete behaviors. As this visitation takes place, we see the content of the Gospel message adjusted according to what has already happened and what is left to yet take place.

    "A call to repentance in the face of God's visitation, it should go without saying (!?), means a call to believe and trust in the God who is promising his visitation. One must first and foremost repent of unbelief and one never responds to a message from a person unless one believes the message and trusts the person. Perhaps the data above will help us feel more comfortable with the fact that the first sermon of the Church does not even bother to mention faith or believing, but simply exhorts those who want to be delivered from God's wrath to repent and be baptized."


    Mark Horne, You and Your Son and Daughter: Christ's Communion with Young Children

    "This paper was written to persuade people who were members of the Presbyterian Church in America. It should be accessible to anyone who believes in baptizing infants--especially to those who consider themselves a part of the Reformation Tradition."






    ............ more to come in due course
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: FEDERAL VISION BABBLE

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Thanks Ray for keeping up with this important topic.
    I received this information from the Trinity Foundation. Interesting how this review engulfs much of what has been discussed on this forum of late. It is good to see others who are willing to refute this Federal Vision babble and the list of false doctrine that goes with it.

    This particular review deals as a critique against the Federal Vision:

    Lessons for the Lads
    Martha McElwain
    [FONT="Arial,]Editors Note: For more than 30 years, beginning with the faculty and teaching at Westminster Seminary in the early 1970s, Reformed and Presbyterian churches in the United States have been corrupted and subverted by false teaching on the doctrines of Scripture, election, justification, the covenant of grace, sacraments, and the Gospel. Today, those heresies are entrenched, widespread, and taught with enthusiasm and impunity in the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,] Office-holders in those denominations – Pastors, Elders, Deacons, seminary professors and administrators – have taken no effective action to stop the spread of the heresies or to discipline the heretics. In fact, they have done the opposite. There are good-ole-boys’ networks, developed during seminary daze, that protect false teachers from any effective discipline or opposition. Students protect their professors; professors protect their students; and students and professors protect each other. Because they control the church courts, the good-ole-boys’ networks have prevented church courts from taking any effective action against false teachers in Presbyterian churches. With the exception of John Kinnaird (an Elder charged with heresy by ordinary church members, not seminarians, and whose conviction was subsequently overturned by the highest court of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, controlled, of course, by seminarians), no teacher has been disciplined by those denominations. (In one obscure case involving Burke Shade, now a “pastor” affiliated with Douglas Wilson’s sect, CREC, Illiana Presbytery [PCA] deposed him from office. Hardly anyone has heard of that case outside of that Presbytery, since the Presbytery did not understand that Shade, a follower of James Jordan, was part of a much larger problem in the PCA.)
    Out of the scores of Pastors, Elders, and seminary professors teaching false doctrine in the OPC and the PCA in the past five years,
    [/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] not one has been removed from office[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] not one has been convicted of doctrinal error
    not one has been tried
    not one has even been charged with error.
    [/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] A few Presbyteries and congregations have adopted “statements” on some errors, but such statements are both toothless and shallow. The lads in charge of the seminaries and churches have failed in their duty to Christ and the church, but they have succeeded, so far, at protecting their own backsides and the backsides of their friends. But when church officers fail to do their duty, they are judged by God, and he raises up Christians who know and do their duty.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] History contains many accounts of brave, intelligent, and believing women who act in defense of the truth when men, who have the greater responsibility to do so, fail. Those familiar with Scots history remember the name of Jenny Geddes, who threw a stool at church officers trying to impose the King’s liturgy in a Presbyterian church.[/FONT][FONT="Arial,][/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Well, lads, a greater than Jenny is here. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] In February 2005, Miss Martha McElwain, daughter of a deceased Elder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who had left the PCUSA in June 1936, wrote a letter to the Board of Directors of Westminster Theological Seminary informing them of her concern about the false teaching of the Seminary and of her intention to eliminate the Seminary from her Will. The Seminary arranged a meeting between the President, a Seminary Board member, and Miss McElwain to discuss the matter. Miss McElwain wrote a Report of that meeting, a Critique of the meeting, and followed up with a letter to President Peter Lillback (PCA).
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,] We begin our account with Miss McElwain’s February 2005 letter to Westminster Seminary. Read and learn your doctrine and your duty, lads.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Letter Dated February 15, 2005[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Board of Directors
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,]Westminster Theological Seminary[/FONT][FONT="Arial,]
    Post Office Box 27009
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,]
    Philadelphia, PA 19118
    [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Gentlemen:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I am writing to say that I have to remove Westminster Theological Seminary from my Will. “Why?” you may ask. It is due to the fact that I do not agree with the teachings of the Seminary that “works of obedience” are a part of justification.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The Word of God is very clear that we can do no works whatsoever to gain justification. Justification is God's declaration that we are righteous in His sight because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and it is received by faith alone. Praise God, our faith is His gift to us as well.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Our salvation from beginning to end is all of God to undeserving sinners. It is He who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We continue to mature and grow (sanctification) only because the blessed Holy Spirit indwells us, and the elect will persevere to the end, only by the grace of God.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] It is only by the grace of God that I do not believe that “works of obedience” are a part of salvation because the Scripture says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” — Proverbs 14:12. Natural man sincerely believes in “works of obedience,” which actually are the teachings of Romanism.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] I have shed tears over the departure of Westminster Seminary from the truth and, also, have shed tears that there are pastors in the OPC and the PCA who are not teaching the truth because of what they have wrongly learned at Westminster. May God bring a true Reformation to Westminster, is my prayer.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]With a heavy heart and tears,
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,](Miss) Martha McElwain[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]P. S. My mother will no longer contribute to Westminster either.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Report on Meeting with Peter Lillback and Board Member from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Held on November 3, 2005, at Quarryville, Pennsylvania[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Providentially it was a lovely fall day when Peter Lillback drove from the Philadelphia area to southern Lancaster County, which is Amish country in Pennsylvania. The temperature was very comfortable for this time of year, hovering around seventy degrees, making it possible for us to sit outside for our meeting so that we could enjoy the warmth of the late afternoon sunshine. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] So that you will understand what prompted the meeting, I had written a letter on February 15, 2005, to the Board of Directors of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia because of my concern about the Seminary in regards to the doctrine of justification and “works of obedience.” You, my prayer partners, are aware of the “Justification Controversy.” In a moment I shall include most of the letter that I sent to the Board at Westminster.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] When Peter’s secretary first telephoned me on September 15, 2005, to inform me that Peter and a member of the Board of Directors wished to talk with me, the meeting was scheduled for Friday, October 7th. However, another commitment arose for Peter that could not be scheduled for any other time except in the afternoon of October 7th. This was the reason our meeting was rescheduled for Thursday, the 3rd of November.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I am writing to say that I have to remove Westminster Theological Seminary from my Will. “Why?” you may ask. It is due to the fact that I do not agree with the teachings of the Seminary that “works of obedience” are a part of justification.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,][/FONT][FONT="Arial,]Peter was graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. Knowing that Dallas Seminary is a dispensational seminary, I asked Peter if he “ran into” John Calvin at Dallas since he ended up at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and he said that he had. Peter has become the new president of Westminster Seminary and has been in this capacity for several months now. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] In my letter to the Board of Directors at Westminster I said, “The Word of God is very clear that we can do no works whatsoever to gain justification. Justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous in His sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and it is received by faith alone. Praise God, our faith is His gift to us as well.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “Our salvation from beginning to end is all of God to undeserving sinners. It is He who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We continue to mature and grow (sanctification) only because the blessed Holy Spirit indwells us, and the elect will persevere to the end, only by the grace of God.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “It is only by the grace of God that I do not believe that “works of obedience” are a part of salvation because the Scripture says, ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’ — Proverbs 14:12. Natural man sincerely believes in ‘works of obedience,’ which actually are the teachings of Romanism. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “I have shed tears over the departure of Westminster Seminary from the truth and, also, have shed tears that there are pastors in the OPC and the PCA who are not teaching the truth because of what they have wrongly learned at Westminster. May God bring a true Reformation to Westminster, is my prayer.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] On November 3 after we were seated comfortably out of doors at Quarryville, Pennsylvania, Peter opened with prayer. He told me that the Board of Westminster had been praying over my letter. Then, it was his desire that I go into the concerns that I had. To do this, it was necessary for me to state exactly what I believed. I told Peter that the Word of God, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and what I have read in John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and what Martin Luther said as well, clearly say that we are justified by faith alone. Martin Luther was struck when he saw that Romans 1 states, “The just shall live by faith.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] I quoted the Shorter Catechism answer to the question, “What is justification?” It says, “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and declareth us as righteous in His sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” I said that when the elect of God have been justified in His sight through faith alone, the blessed Holy Spirit enables the elect to will and to do of God’s good pleasure in the process of sanctification. In a very concrete case some years back, I shared with Peter how God gave me love for my enemy. He gave me the grace to put my arm around a person who was extremely jealous and hateful toward me, and He enabled me to say, “I love you…(I’ll not say her name). She responded, “How can that be!?” I could truly reply, “God the Holy Spirit makes it possible.” I told Peter it is not natural to say this, humanly speaking. But when God has regenerated a person, these things are possible. God puts it in our hearts to want to please Him, and we desire to walk in obedience because of His great love for us. We are saved “unto good works” but, “even then,” I said, “I am an unprofitable servant.” However, I told Peter and the board member that if I think I can hold these “good works” up to God in the Judgment Day as the means of gaining entrance into heaven, I am headed straight to hell. I mentioned that the thief on the cross didn’t even have any opportunity to do good works after he was saved, and Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise. I emphasized again that I couldn’t hold up any “good works” before God in the Judgment Day and think that these works would gain me entrance into heaven. Peter said, “That’s right. That is Romanism.” I said that we shall be rewarded according to our works, but not saved by them. In First Corinthians 3, I said, the chapter begins with, “Brothers.” Therefore, we know that Paul was writing to believers. In this chapter we see how some were building: their “works” amounted to “wood, hay, and stubble.” But the “wood, hay, and stubble” was burned up, but they escaped as through the flames. They were saved by the “skin of their teeth,” as it were. Peter agreed with me that we’d be rewarded for our “works,” but that our works would not be the means by which we’d gain entrance into heaven.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter shared a lot of information about John Calvin and the covenant, and the Westminster Confession of Faith. In the few paragraphs that follow, I shall mention the main points that Peter made.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter referred to Chapter XI of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the second paragraph that says, “Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.” (I chimed in and said that there were other paragraphs that followed in Chapter XI.) Peter proceeded to elaborate on “other saving graces.” Peter brought out that we are saved through the sole instrument of faith, but that the Confession says that there are “other saving graces.” He said, “By their fruits ye shall know them. Our faith is no dead faith, but a working faith.” I mentioned that I had understood some time ago, that Martin Luther had had problems with the book of James. I continued by emphasizing that in the second chapter of James it states, “If a man says he has faith, and his life doesn’t show it, then the faith he says he has is a dead faith. Abraham was declared righteous in God’s sight because he believed God, and he was declared righteous even before he was circumcised. But due to the fact that Abraham’s faith was real and not a dead faith, he was willing to do the ‘work’ of offering up Isaac when God asked him to do so.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter said that justification and sanctification are two different things, and he further elaborated on the “saving graces.” He said that Calvin said justification and sanctification are (1) “distinguishable,” but he also said that Calvin said that justification and sanctification were (2) “inseparable,” that they were (3) “simultaneous,” and (4) that there was a “logical order.” Peter told me that what he was saying was not original with him, that is, Peter. (Some of you may know that Peter had a great interest in John Calvin and that he studied him in great detail.)[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Another thing Peter mentioned was that when something is in print and it has not been properly understood, there is no way it can be retracted. I agreed that it is much more difficult to put things into writing than to have a verbal conversation, and Peter said that when one is talking he can say, “That isn’t what I mean, and he can clarify it.” [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] I mentioned Norman Shepherd and said that Westminster was so long in getting rid of him. He said that Shepherd was “unclear,” and that is the reason the Board dismissed him. Peter said that Norman Shepherd had sanctification on top of justification instead of justification on top of sanctification, and that Shepherd was wrong. In the course of our conversation about Shepherd, I said that there was a gentleman who was graduated from Westminster who told me that what Norman Shepherd taught in his morning class conflicted with what Dr. Godfrey taught in the afternoon. I mentioned that there were a lot of students who were under the teaching of Norman Shepherd since he was at Westminster for a long time. Also, I said, “There are churches in the OPC and the PCA who are promoting the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP), the ‘Federal Vision’ (FV), and ‘Shepherdism,’” and I continued, “Where did the ministers who are in these churches get this kind of teaching except in seminary?” Peter gave me no answer as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching these sorts of things.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter told me that he had questioned all the professors at Westminster about whether any of them were teaching the “NPP,” the “FV,” or “Shepherdism,” and that they all denied that they were. He said that there is some truth in all of these, but that they all have error. He mentioned that N. T. Wright is in error, too. Peter referred me to Matthew 13:52 in which Jesus said, “Therefore, every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new (italics for emphasis) and old.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The next thing Peter said that he is going to do is to have each professor at Westminster Seminary go over the Westminster Confession of Faith thoroughly. I told Peter that back in the old denomination (PCUSA), ministers said that they accepted the WCF but they really didn’t agree with it. I said that the issues that arose in the PCUSA were clear-cut. Ministers either believed in the Virgin Birth, or they denied it; they either believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, or they denied it; they either believed in the miracles, or they denied them; but what is going on now is very subtle.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Several weeks ago I read some things that Dr. Van Til said and found him to be confusing and contradictory, and I told Peter that I thought that Dr. Van Til was confusing and contradictory. When I mentioned this, Peter made no comment about my statement concerning Dr. Van Til.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Our conversation led to a few things about Dallas Seminary that did not have any bearing upon the justification issue; therefore, I shall not mention these particulars to you.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Our meeting lasted a little more than an hour, and then the board member closed in prayer. I was thankful for having had the opportunity to talk with Peter about my concerns in regards to the justification issue. The day after our meeting, I wrote Peter a letter. Below I shall share a part of this letter with you.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “Dear Peter: Thank you, again, for coming yesterday to meet with me. I certainly appreciated your taking the time to do so! The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day for the meeting as well, so that we could sit outside and enjoy the pleasant weather.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Then I told Peter in his letter that there were several of my friends who had been praying for our meeting, and that I planned to write a report of what was said at the meeting to give to them. I also said that I’d run the report by the board member for his approval of its accuracy because I was concerned to be correct in my reporting. I said in Peter’s letter, “Neither do I ever want to take anything out of context, nor do I ever want to put my own ‘spin’ on anything. Truth and justice are very important in every situation for the honor of God because our God is a God of truth and justice.” In addition, I told Peter that after our meeting was over, I made notes of some of the things we talked about while they were still fresh on my mind.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Then my letter continued, “In our meeting when I mentioned the ‘New Perspective on Paul,’ the ‘Federal Vision,’ and ‘Shepherdism,’ you said that you had questioned the professors at Westminster and that they all said they are not teaching these things. You also mentioned that you would be having the professors relook at the Westminster Confession of Faith. I shall appreciate your letting me know how that goes. Thank you.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “You will recall at the meeting yesterday I mentioned that Norman Shepherd was at Westminster for a long time. (You no doubt know that it was from 1963 until 1982.) This being the case, I do not know how Mr. Shepherd’s being at Westminster all those years did not have a negative influence on students and other faculty members as well.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “Too, I had said that I had read some of what Dr. Van Til said, and that I thought he was confusing and contradictory. Personally, I do not think that the subject of apologetics should be confusing and contradictory: profound, yes, but not confusing and contradictory. As you know, Dr. Van Til was at Westminster many years. Also, I am concerned of the influence he has had on many students and other faculty members as well.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] In the next paragraph in Peter’s letter I said that I had been “ trusting of what others in the OPC thought about Westminster Seminary and Dr. Van Til.” (This was in the 1970’s and 80’s). Then I said in the letter, “The only thing I was aware of was the Shepherd problem. I had read his Thirty-Four Theses. But, after that, I heard no more about him. In the verbal reports we were given of the General Assembly of the OPC, there was no mention made of Norman Shepherd, and he was in the OPC until he was dismissed from Westminster in 1982 and entered the Christian Reformed Church. Personally, now that I know what I do about Norman Shepherd, I think the OPC was very lax in not lovingly carrying out discipline for his sake and the sake of others.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] For you, my friends, who prayed for the meeting, I sincerely thank you![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] This report is for the glory of God alone, and for the sake of God’s truth, which is precious and sweeter than honey![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “The grass withereth, and the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever” — Isaiah 40:8. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Martha A. McElwain
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,] Quarryville, Pennsylvania
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,] November 11, 2005[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Critique of November 3, 2005, Meeting with Peter Lillback and a Board Member from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The purpose of this “Critique” is to make comparisons with what was said at the November 3, 2005, meeting with Peter Lillback who became the president of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 2005, and other documented evidence.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] SECTION ONE:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter Lillback supported Elder John O. Kinnaid (of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Oxford, Pennsylvania) in John’s trial for heresy at the Philadelphia Presbytery of the OPC in November of 2002. Please reread page 2 of my “Report,” the third paragraph, and particularly note what I said about “good works” after an individual is saved. I said that “I couldn’t hold up any ‘good works’ before God in the Judgment Day and think that these works would gain me entrance into heaven,” and Peter said, “That’s right. That’s Romanism.” You will also see in that paragraph that Peter agreed with me that we’d be rewarded for our “good works” and not be that by which we’d gain entrance into heaven.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] I shall now refer you to what John O. Kinnaird (who is a follower of Norman Shepherd and, keep in mind, Peter supported him) wrote in The Personal Declaration and Theological Statements of Elder John O. Kinnaird. In the section that John entitles “THE FINAL JUDGEMENT” [sic], John says the following:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “God has appointed a day when he will judge the world in righteousness. All persons who have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ to give account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or bad. On That Great Day, the Day of Judgement [sic], God’s righteous judgement [sic] will be revealed. God will then give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good (we Presbyterians call this perseverance) seek glory, honor, immortality, he will give eternal life. [/FONT]


    [FONT="Arial,]Peter Lillback [President of Westminster Seminary] supported Elder John O. Kinnaid (of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Oxford, Pennsylvania) in John’s trial for heresy at the Philadelphia Presbytery of the OPC in November of 2002.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be eternal wrath and anger and destruction from before the face of the Lord. It is those who obey the law who will be declared Righteous on that Day of Judgement [sic]. WCF XXXIII.I and II; Romans 2:1-16.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] John Kinnaird’s Declaration about the Day of Judgment and “works” is the same as that of Norman Shepherd. Do you see an inconsistency with what I said about the works of true believers in the Judgment Day (and Peter Lillback agreed with me) and Peter’s standing up for John Kinnaird at John’s trial for heresy?[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Peter Lillback said that Norman Shepherd put sanctification on top of justification, and that he (Shepherd) was wrong. And, yet, Peter supported John Kinnaird (a “Shepherdite”) in John’s trial for heresy.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]SECTION TWO:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] John Kinnaird says earlier in his Declaration that one is justified before God through the sole instrument of faith. Below I shall quote from the section of John’s Declaration which he has entitled “GOD’S PURPOSE AND PLAN.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “God had a purpose and a plan for all of creation and history, including the fall of Adam, before he brought any of it to pass. Insight into this purpose and plan is received from Scripture, one notable place being Romans 8:29-30, ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.’ It is to be noted from this text that God’s stated purpose here is to establish His Son as ‘the firstborn among many brethren’. To that end he had to create people who would ‘be conformed to the image of his Son’. It is not possible that any could be a brother to Jesus Christ and enjoy with Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the presence of God the Father except that one be fully conformed to the image of Christ in true and personal righteousness and holiness. Neither the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which all Christians receive at justification, nor the infusion of the righteousness of Christ (a false and non-existent concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church)-can suffice for that purpose. Christ does not have an imputed righteousness; His righteousness is real and personal. If we are to be conformed to his image, we too must have a real and personal righteousness….”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] At this point please refer to page 3 of my “Report,” and reread the fourth paragraph. In this paragraph, please note that Peter Lillback told me “that Norman Shepherd had sanctification on top of justification…and that Shepherd was wrong.”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] What conclusions do you draw from what John Kinnaird says in his Declaration that I quoted above? Do you think that John Kinnaird, also, puts sanctification on top of justification, just as Norman Shepherd does? [You will recall that I mentioned above that Peter Lillback said that Norman Shepherd put sanctification on top of justification, and that he (Shepherd) was wrong. And, yet, Peter supported John Kinnaird (a “Shepherdite”) in John’s trial for heresy.][/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]SECTION THREE:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Also on page 3 of the “Report,” the fourth paragraph, I said, “There are churches in the OPC and the PCA who are promoting the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP), the ‘Federal Vision’ (FV), and ‘Shepherdism,’” and I continued, “Where did the ministers who are in these churches get this kind of teaching except in seminary?” (I asked Peter this.) (I knew that there were many Westminster graduates who entered the OPC and the PCA as pastors in these denominations. But I wanted to see what Peter would say as to where these ministers got their ideas.) Peter did not answer my question as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching the “NPP,” the “FV,” and “Shepherdism.” Sadly, there are OPC and PCA missionaries out on the field who are graduates of Westminster Seminary, and they, too, are teaching these heresies.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] It would be my recommendation that you read John O. Kinnaird’s Declaration in its entirety and that you notice how much he sounds like Norman Shepherd.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Peter [Lillback] did not answer my question as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching the “NPP,” the “FV,” and “Shepherdism.” Sadly, there are OPC and PCA missionaries out on the field who are graduates of Westminster Seminary, and they, too, are teaching these heresies.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]SECTION FOUR:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Due to my employment in addition to writing a “Report” and “Critique” of the meeting with Peter Lillback and the board member held on November 3, I have not been able to read Paul M. Elliott’s book entitled, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond. I acquired Paul’s book on Sunday, November 6, 2005, at “The Reformation Betrayed” conference. In looking at the index and leafing through Paul’s book, it is not hard to see that he has good documentation for what he has written. I sincerely believe that it is a book that every serious Christian should read so as to be informed about the truth of what is going on with “Neo-Liberalism” in the OPC and the PCA and “Beyond,” as Paul puts it in the title of his book.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] One thing I looked up in the index of Paul’s book was Gaffin, Richard B., Jr. since he is a professor at Westminster Seminary. I personally knew “Junior’s” parents, Richard B. Gaffin, Sr., and his wife Pauline who was called “Polly.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Gaffin, Sr., were doctrinally sound. However, please note the following, which is a quote from Paul’s book regarding Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., on pages 16 and 17: “Some neo-liberals who endorse the teachings of Norman Shepherd have also embraced the NPP. But other Shepherd supporters, such as Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia….” [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] On pages 42 and 43 of Paul’s book, Paul has this to say: “Like the old liberalism, today’s neo-liberalism is also founded on a mystical conception of God. Herman Bavinck, a philosophical hero of neo-liberal theologians such as Norman Shepherd, Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., and John M. Frame, asserted the following in the second volume….”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] On Pages 56 and 57 of Paul’s book, Paul says: “Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., ordained OPC minister and Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, glowingly endorses Shepherd’s presentation of a false gospel….” Paul has approximately twenty-five more sections in his book in which he mentions Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.! In addition to Gaffin, Jr., Paul Elliott has documented material about Vern S. Poythress, Douglas Green (who is in agreement with N. T. Wright), and Peter Enns (who has written a new book denying the inerrancy of Scripture). All of these men are professors at Westminster Theological Seminary! The facts Paul gives are quite disturbing.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Now, has your appetite been whetted to the point that you want to read Paul M. Elliott’s book, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond? I certainly hope so![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations…” — Psalm 119:89, 90a.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my prayer partners,[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] It humbles me when I think about the apostasy that is taking place in the OPC and the PCA because, apart from God’s love and mercy and grace, I, too, would be deceived and would be following heretical teaching. Praise God, He has opened my eyes to see and believe the truth of His Word, and to recognize the heresies that are swirling about![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] I thank the Lord for my brothers and sisters who already courageously have removed themselves from The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, some of them in the midst of many hardships to do so: the denomination in which I was reared and had come to love! My heart aches for those who were under sound teaching from infancy but who now are preaching and teaching heresies while at the same time claiming to believe the truth![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] We must be forever vigilant and, with God’s strength, stand firm with all humility! It costs to be a Christian, but it is an honor to suffer for Jesus sake, and it is well worth it![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Brother Paul Elliott has been diligent and, also, very courageous to have written the book that he did, and I thank the Lord for him![/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] Martha A. McElwain[/FONT][FONT="Arial,]
    Quarryville, Pennsylvania
    [/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,]Follow-Up Letter to Peter Lillback[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]December 2, 2005[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]Dr. Peter A. Lillback
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,]Westminster Theological Seminary
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,]Post Office Box 27009
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,]Philadelphia, PA 19118[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Dear Peter:[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Enclosed is the “Report”of the meeting I had with you on November 3, 2005. The purpose of the “Report” was to mention the main things about which we talked. I passed the “Report” by Keith for his approval for accuracy. He told me that what I said is what he recalled. Also, this letter is a follow-up letter to you based upon that meeting.[/FONT]


    [FONT="Arial,]Peter, out of Christian love, I can do no other than to say that when you can support, “It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment,” this is a contradiction from what you told me at our meeting on November 3rd. [/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] You will remember that we talked about “good works.” After one is genuinely saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone (justified, forensically speaking), God the Holy Spirit works in and through us “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Even so, we are unprofitable servants. When I said that if I thought these “good works” (after I am saved, or justified) could be held up to God in the Judgment Day as entrance into heaven, then I would be headed straight to hell and you agreed that this was right. I said we’d be rewarded for our works after we are saved, but that these “good works” would not be that by which we’d gain entrance into heaven and, again, you agreed.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Peter, out of Christian love, I can do no other than to say that when you can support, “It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment,” this is a contradiction from what you told me at our meeting on November 3rd. As you know, this is the teaching of Norman Shepherd and is what Mr. Kinnaird said in The Personal Declaration and Theological Statements of John O. Kinnaird. There are not two ways of salvation. Our salvation from the very beginning up to and including the Judgment Day is solely by grace alone, and not by works. If we think that any of our own works are involved in our righteous standing before God either before or after justification, then grace is no longer grace, but would be reckoned as debt (as Romans 4 tells us), and we will be headed to eternal damnation in hell.[/FONT]


    [FONT="Arial,]Neither does the doctrine of salvation nor any other doctrine in the Word of God contradict. When there are “contradictions,” it is due to faulty hermeneutics, because God is a God of truth, and He cannot lie. To say that our works have any part of our salvation or justification before God at the Judgment Day is to make the Bible contradict.[/FONT]

    [FONT="Arial,] The Word of God is very clear that our works have nothing to do with our righteous standing before God if we are God’s elect and have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone. Works will follow in the lives of true believers, but these works will never be that by which we shall gain entrance into heaven at the Judgment Day.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Neither does the doctrine of salvation nor any other doctrine in the Word of God contradict. When there are “contradictions,” it is due to faulty hermeneutics because God is a God of truth, and He cannot lie. To say that our works have any part of our salvation or justification before God at the Judgment Day is to make the Bible contradict.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] As you can imagine, I am grieved over John Kinnaird and the other “Shepherdites” who are at Westminster Seminary and elsewhere, such as the OPC, the PCA, and out on the mission field. It saddens me that Westminster is giving forth an “uncertain sound,” a sound that will lead people to eternal damnation.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] May I lovingly say that Galatians 1:8 and 9 states a harsh warning, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Peter, perhaps you are thinking, “We are not preaching another gospel.” But, out of Christian love, Peter, I have to say that it is another gospel – a gospel of worksnot a gospel of grace.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] May God out of His love, mercy, and grace, bring a Reformation to Westminster Seminary![/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Sharing God’s truth in love, I am,
    [/FONT][FONT="Arial,] (Miss) Martha A. McElwain[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Enclosure: “Report”[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] P.S. Peter, I have written a “Critique” based upon our meeting in light of documented evidence to the contrary. If you would like a copy of it, I shall be glad to mail it to you.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] cc: Board of Directors[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Editor’s note: We are not hopeful that the lads who run the seminaries, congregations, presbyteries, and denominations will learn anything from Miss McElwain’s confrontation with Westminster Seminary, but we are confident that many ordinary church members, both men and women, will. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The first lesson is: Know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. There are many Pastors and Elders in the PCA and OPC who do not understand the Gospel, and therefore do not and cannot believe it. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The second lesson is, Know the importance of the Gospel: Error on the doctrine of salvation is both fatal and damnable. It is not just another doctrine among many. In Galatians 1 the Holy Spirit damns those teachers in the churches who teach anything other than the pure Gospel. [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The third lesson is, Speak up. Do not ignore false teaching; correct it. No one who fails to oppose false gospels can call himself a disciple of Christ. It is the duty of every Christian – not just church officers – to witness to and defend the truth of the Gospel.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] The fourth lesson is, Put your money where your doctrine is. If any institution, whether it calls itself a church or a seminary, teaches false doctrine, cut off its funds. That lesson is taught in 2 John, and we discussed this in detail in The Trinity Review (March 2004) titled “Biblical Principles of Giving.” [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,] Finally, understand that every Christian who is faithful to Christ will suffer reviling and persecution by false teachers in the churches and their friends. The religious leaders persecuted Christ, and they have always reviled and persecuted his disciples.[/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]February 2006
    [/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,][/FONT]
    [FONT="Arial,]

    [/FONT]
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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