Andy Warhol once famously said that in the future everybody was going to get their fifteen minutes of fame. If you make the second and third rounds, as we here in Moscow have done a few times, a predictable thing then happens. What happens is that if the critics were puppies and kittens, all the puppies and kittens come out to play.
And it happened again, right after the Meet the Press segment.
All of a sudden, seemingly from nowhere, I am pronounced to be an infamous miscreant who is, when I am not defending pedophiles, denying justification by faith alone AND sola fide, while on my way to yet another Klan rally. On one end of the spectrum, these allegations are made, and with true moral earnestness, by firstname.lastname@example.org, he the fellow with three followers, presumably his mom and two sisters, and on the other end of the spectrum are the so-called discernment bloggers, who are deeply concerned about the aforementioned infamies, in addition to which they allege that I was not properly ordained. Apparently ordination is most necessary for proclamation of the Word and administration of the sacraments, while not at all needed for becoming a discernment blogger. This is kind of like having the person who issues security clearances not having a security clearance himself, but there it is. If you got your ordination by sending in the box tops from ten Cheerios boxes, you can obtain the right to examine (with a critical eye) the ordination of any others by means of three box tops.
The mud churned up from the bottom of the pond this time concern justification by faith alone, my presumed love for pedophilia, and that old industry standard, racism. We shall consider them in turn, shall we?
What do I actually believe about justification? Please allow me:
Justification is a forensic act of God’s free grace, in which He pardons the sins of the one justified, and imputes the obedient righteousness of Jesus Christ to that sinner, using the instrument of living faith, which God Himself gives to the sinner, lest any should boast. This faith is no dead faith because a living faith is the only kind of faith that God gives in justification. God accepts the justified person as righteous, not for anything accomplished in him or done by him, but solely on the basis of Christ’s obedience, both active and passive. Neither does God impute the value of the faith itself to him, or any act of evangelical believing or obedience by him, but rather He credits the all-sufficient obedience of Christ to him, which he receives at a punctiliar moment in time by faith alone, which faith is not of himself, but is rather the gift of God. This faith is the sole instrument of justification, but is never alone in the person justified, but is always accompanied with all other saving graces. The moment of justification is punctiliar, but because the faith that is the sole instrumental means of receiving this righteousness is not a dead faith, but rather works by love, the faith that is given is not punctiliar, but rather is the ongoing instrument of all true sanctification, and not just justification. Saving faith is no mayfly. The righteousness that is imputed to him fully discharges the debt that is owed by the one justified, and this is possible because the obedience and death of Christ makes a proper, real, and full satisfaction for his sins, and is accepted in his stead, so that the exact justice and rich grace of God might both be glorified in the justification of sinners. Although all this was settled in the decrees of God before all worlds, the justification itself does not actually occur until that moment in history when the Holy Spirit applies Christ and all His obedience to the one being justified. This justification, once given, cannot be reversed, annulled, cancelled, or abrogated, although a justified man may, on account of his sins, experience the disciplinary turmoil of God’s fatherly displeasure in the course of his sanctification, which will continue until the sins being disciplined for are honestly confessed, and faith and repentance are renewed. Every person ever justified in the history of the world has always been justified in this same way, whether in the Old Testament or New. Abraham was justified in exactly the same way that Abraham’s seed are justified.
Now while I sit for a moment to catch my breath, I would like to invite my severest doctrinal critic to place the preceding paragraph in his confessional pipe in order to smoke it. He will thereupon discover that this is the true Westminster leaf, harvested in the year 1648. It has been preserved in a remarkable way in my personal humidor, one that I had designed by engineers at NASA. It turns out to be nothing at all like the crack cocaine of Pelagianism, or the Cannabis Cannonball Red of openness theology, or even those dried maple leaves of Escondido R2K stuff—you know, the kind of thing smoked by Sunday School kids pretending to be naughty. “Psst! Billy! I have some historic confessionalism for you, brown and leafy and everything.”
That Mystery + Sign
On the charge that I provide cover for pedophiles, I discover that many avenues for reply open up before me. One is to invite every one of my critics who voted for Joe Biden to excuse themselves from the discussion, as well as to commit themselves to not speak on this particular topic for as long as Poe’s raven might suggest. If we here at Christ Church had a parishioner who had sniffed as many kids as Biden has, he would have been excommunicated a long time ago, along with all his enablers who wanted him elected to anything. Cover for pedophiles, forsooth!
Another avenue might be to bait everybody with a reductio ad absurdum. I would say, with a straight face, that most religious groups that have decided to go squishy on sexual ethics start at the left end of the alphabet LGBchain-thingy. We at Christ Church, on the other hand, decided to start our compromising on the right side, starting with that ominous + sign. Everybody knows that stands for pedophilia, right? No? So then I ask, smiling sweetly, what does it stand for then? Why do you think I am a bad man for doing what you allege, instead of thinking that I was just twenty years ahead of my time? A true pioneer. If you catch my drift, I would then ask another clutch of critics to bow out of the discussion—anybody rainbowy, or pronouny, drag queeny, or + signy. Go away.
But with all this said, I need to point out that there are in fact non-woke critics of mine on this point out there. There are some conservatives out there who are eggy at me because of our biblical handling of some of our sex abuse cases. For them, the previous two responses do not apply, although something else does. I am afraid that just being non-woke does not qualify someone to reason properly, or to examine evidence, or to read court documents properly. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen somebody online solemnly opine that they have “read the court documents.” I guess that settles it then. Care to have someone cross examine you to ascertain your reading comprehension? No? Well, thanks for coming. Goodbye.
Raaaacccisssm . . .
The accusation that I am a racist doesn’t have as much traction as it used to, speaking frankly. Back in the good old days, only some people were racist, and regular people were okay. But nowadays everybody and everything is racist, which means that now the accusation kind of falls flat, you know, like being accused of having ten toes. If you acknowledge you see color, that makes you a bigot now, and if you claim to be color blind, that makes you a self-deluded bigot.
Speaking of self-deluded bigots, when are we going to recognize that Martin Luther King, Jr. was the culprit who got a central tenet of white supremacy so firmly established in our midst—to wit, that a man should be judged by the content of his character and not his color? Since we are pulling down statues and renaming boulevards and such, and our moralistic frenzy is still at a high pitch, we should go for toppling MLK while the going is good. I mean, if we can’t take down a kingpin of white supremacy, then how can we claim to have progressed in this matter AT ALL?
Where was I? Right. The charge of racism is still leveled at me from time to time, largely on the strength of Newton’s first law of motion. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and since the charge was repeated so many times back before racism was ubiquitous, it still careens on merrily, and so some people still react like it is a bad thing—just like some Halloween decorations still scare adults.
Having cleared my name sufficiently above, I do need to do one more thing. Because the outside world is growing ever more demented by the day, I am in grave peril. In these troublous times of ours, it wouldn’t take much, if the lighting were good, to make me look like a respected evangelical spokesman. So let’s fix that in this next paragraph, shall we?
Though I no longer call myself FV, I could still sign the first half of the FV joint statement. Though I have significant differences with the FV oatmeal stout men, they are not heretics. I say this because I know what heretics are, and Augustine and Luther weren’t in that category. I still believe in the objectivity of the covenant, and the anemic covenantalism of North American Presbyterianism is more Bapterian than anything else—what we might call Baptists who practice wet dedications. Many hot take critics of FV remain perpilocutionists. I conducted the wedding ceremony for Steven Sitler, haven’t lost a moment’s sleep over it, and would do the same thing again if the situation were comparable. And I look forward to the time when those reviling me for enabling pedophiles come to change their tune entirely, and start reviling me for requiring pedophiles to repent of all that “love is love” crap before they can be admitted to the Lord’s Table. If the current pace keeps up, it shouldn’t be too long. Every day that our federal government continues to run amok reminds me that the South was right about all the basic constitutional issues that brought that War about, and that people who fought for the South for that reason were far-sighted and wise. I hope I would have been among them.
But I am still reputed a philosophaster among the deplorables, and just so you know, if ever I do become a public evangelical spokesman, that would be your indication that things are really, really bad out there. Time to run for the tall grass, in other words.