Last Post on Waters

Okay, one last comment, and I am done reviewing Waters’ book. In the bibliography, Waters says this about my lecture on heretics and the covenant at the 2002 Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference.

“Wilson calls for a ‘covenantal approach to heresy,’ one that recognizes the ‘objective . . . covenantal obligations’ of the heretic, who, if ‘lawfully baptized,’ must be ‘received[d] . . . as a fellow Christian.’ Such an individual must then be treated as a covenant breaker. This lecture well illustrates the overwhelmingly external cast of Wilson’s ecclesiology” (p. 361).

I won’t take long with this. Jesus teaches us that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. The good man brings forth good things, and the evil man brings forth evil things. We must deal with it when it gets to the outside because we are not competent to address it at the root. I cannot convict someone of incipient heart-heresy — that is the way to ecclesiastical tyrannies. Only God can deal with the heart directly. I am called to deal with the person in accordance with what I can deal with — and that means what Waters calls the “externals.” But there is a difference between my practice, which of necessity deals with externals, and my ecclesiology, which does not. My ecclesiology takes full account of the heart — the fact that covenant members have them, the fact that they must be transformed by the Holy Spirit, and the need for the Church to deal with external corruptions that follow when hearts are corrupt.

So it is false to say that my ecclesiology is external. If there is anyone who has gone out of his way to emphasis the absolute necessity of heart regeneration, true conversion to God, the needed for true closure with Christ, I would be that guy. In addition, I have emphasized that while the hidden things of the heart (as such) are out of our reach, the Bible teaches that the works of the flesh are manifest. You identify the tree by the fruit. And when you see the heretical manifestation of fruit that unregenerate hearts always bring forth — you deal with it.

Although Waters’ clear departures from Westminster sacramentalism are not (in my view) heresy, this whole thing does provide us with a good example of this principle. I do not have any idea of Guy Waters’ motivations. I have no way of ascertaining what his heart’s intent was in writing this book. All I have to go on is the external product — the slipshod book he actually wrote. This does not mean that I think that there is nothing more to Guy Waters than the book he wrote. This does not mean that I have an “externalist” view of Waters. I just have an externalist view of what I am competent to deal with. I can answer the book he wrote; I cannot answer for why he wrote it.

To summarize this series of posts, I would conclude by urging the anti-FV forces to reconsider their choice of a champion. Guy Waters is clearly more than capable of reading mountains of material. He can assemble evidence in print that he has read it by using the usual scholarly apparatus. As I have shown repeatedly in this series of posts, what he cannot do is represent that material fairly, or refute it with theological integrity.

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