Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stellman Leaves the PCA - and a Storm in His Wake

Yesterday, Jason Stellman announced that his views of justification and the authority of Scripture are no longer in accord with the Westminster Standards, and as such he has resigned from the Presbyterian Church in America. The fallout has been troubling.  Responses have been all over the map. To me, this mostly resembles a bunch of jackals fighting over a carcass. Just reading the comments section over at Stellman's original post is enough to cause one to give up reading altogether.

Some have taken this opportunity to shake their heads and lament that this is what 2K theology consistently leads to.  Others have chocked this up, in part, to Westminster California, and are implying some sort of future mass exodus of Westminster Grads to Rome. Others are taking the opportunity to claim that Westminster's view of nature and grace are the real gateway drug to Rome. I can't help but be troubled by the repulsive responses I have seen to Stellman's announcement, but I am most troubled by the responses coming from the Federal Visionists. Whether one is reading Leithart's thoughts, the comments section, or Doug Wilson's response to the whole situation, it is clear that FVers see this as some sort of exoneration of Leithart.
If he has sought the forgiveness of Peter Leithart personally, then of course the forgiveness he seeks generally should be extended by others (Luke 17:3-4). But a shift like this does not happen overnight, and if he was afflicted with these doubts while he was engaged in prosecuting Leithart (as it seems he had to have been), he would have done far better to have sought Leithart's counsel instead of seeking his head.
I wouldn't say Leithart, in his own reflections on the matter, is gloating, but I also wouldn't say he's not gloating.  The point of the trial was to answer this question: Is Peter Leithart out of accord with the system of doctrine he claims to believe and vowed to uphold?  In principle, it does not matter who prosecuted the trial.  Even an atheist, well apprised of the Standards and of TE Leithart's teachings should have been able to show from Leithart's writings that his beliefs were out of accord with the Standards.

What is most repulsive in all of this is that Reformed folk would use this as an opportunity to trumpet their own small-time theological agenda.  This is about the Gospel, and this is about the authority of Scripture, plain and simple.  This is not about 2K or Nature/Grace or whatever else people think led him to Rome.

Wes White has had some helpful thoughts on this issue.  More recently, Lane Keister, who himself testified at the trial against Leithart has encouraged people to stop flaming and trolling the comments section, but to instead pray for Stellman. I agree. The mess that I am seeing at Creed Code Cult is hardly the sort of thing that would make someone who is out of accord with the Standards step back into line or want to come back to the Kingdom. I'm still praying for it, and I hope the rest of you will, as well. Like many of you, Josh and I want to be able to call Jason Stellman our brother in the Lord. If Stellman is, in fact, headed Romeward, then he is knowingly following "another Gospel," which Paul says is no gospel at all. In the fearsome anathema that Paul pronounces on those who endeavor to add works to God's grace in justification, Paul says such men fall under God's curse. We fear for our friend, because without the completed work of Christ alone, he will have nothing to commend himself before God on the day of judgment. No bones about it, by God's own authority, if anyone says that he stands in the work of Christ plus his own works, he has no hope. Please pray for Jason!

1 comment:

  1. What I haven't read through the numerous blogs was the impact it has on his wife and children. Has anyone read about his wife's thoughts on the matter?

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