Volume 14, Issue 3: Anvil
Son of Fort Sumpter
By now it is no secret that the RPCUS has declared Steve Schlissel, Steve Wilkins, John Barach, and me to be heretics. This
was done on the basis of conclusions drawn from the tapes of the pastor's conference sponsored by Auburn Avenue
Presbyterian Church, pastored by Steve Wilkins. No single issue in this collective charge is very complicated, but, taken all together, things
get significantly tangled. This is because this was a heresy trial on the cheapit was a veritable boardside of charges, with no
apparent need to contact us to get any clarification, no need to document the charges with quotations, no need to distinguish four
men with different emphases, and so forth. Simple issues collectively can still make a big mess.
The sessions of the four churches pastored by these men have formally responded and it is not my purpose to go over
that ground again. And with regard to the exegetical spade work on the doctrinal disagreements involved, we intend to address
the question thoroughly in different ways.
At the same time, an initial response here is necessary, a response which seeks to
name this imbroglio appropriately. Apart
from the specific charges, what exactly is going on here? What worldviews are colliding? This might seem like a nonsensical question
to some"what do you mean
worldviews?" Both sides of this dispute hold to some variation of postmillennial,
Calvinistic, presbyterian, VanTilian, theonomic, and reformed thought, with additional areas of agreement standing off to the side. I bet
none of us voted for Clinton. How could there possibly be enough
material left over for a fracas?
The answer is found in a contrast we have used many times in these pagesmedieval vs. modern. We believe ourselves to be
in the process of recovering what our fathers taught from the Reformation down to the Enlightenment, that is, a reformed
and medieval mindset. We believe our opponents to be sincere and honest Christians, but men who have erroneously made a bad
truce with modernity, and who have accomodated their theology to the dictates of the Enlightenment. This is why we have been laid
on the Procrustean bed of a particular understanding of systematic theology, and have had our heretical feet cut off. The irony is
that the standards used to judge us (in this case, Westminster) were written with the mindset we are returning to, and which are drastically misunderstood by the mindset we are rejecting. More on this later.
So the dispute is not imaginarythere are real and important differences between us. We do not believe the differences
to constitute heresyany of the men who have taken this action against us would be welcome to worship at any of our
churches and commune with us in the Lord's Supper there. Nevertheless, the differences are real and deep.
So names? If it were up to me, I would suggest this is a debate between the Enlightenment TRs (ETRs), and the