No Speekee

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In the comments on this post over at his blog, Scott Clark threatened to cut off comments if people persisted in asking why he wouldn’t meet with me.

“Why is it curious that I should refuse to meet personally with the leading proponent of the corruption of the gospel?”

Well, it is curious because in the post just above these comments, Clark had made quite a point about how the Arminians would not meet with the men investigating their views. It is curious because all these Reformed bodies denounced “a thing” called Federal Vision, the characteristics of which thing I also denounce, and they did this without ever once meeting with me — despite my cheerful willingness to meet with any or all of them.

“This is not a personal matter. This is a matter of truth.”

That is correct. It is not a personal matter. It is a matter of truth. And Scott Clark persists in perpetuating palpable falsehoods, and will not allow the legitimacy of any venue where those falsehoods might be demonstrated to be such.

“His views are well known. I can read English.”

The blunt answer, which cannot really be softened, is “no, he cannot read English.” Let me take one example that Clark likes to use. He says that FV teaches that baptism puts everyone in a state of grace, which is then maintained by the believer through his own covenantal faithfulness. Is that not a fair summary of what Clark says I teach? Well, here is some English for Clark to read. I think that such a doctrine is bad juju. I believe that it would be what theologians of another era might call a lie from the pit of Hell. I hope that one day I might be privileged to soak this doctrine in lighter fluid and set a match to it. If I ever found this doctrine on a sheet of paper in my office somewhere, I would run it through the shredder. Prior to my weekly dump run, I search my house for any traces of this doctrine so that I might throw it in the back of my pick up truck in order to take it out to the landfill along with all the bottles, empty ice cream cartons, grapefruit rinds, and coffee grounds. So the next time you read Scott Clark saying that I teach some form of this, you should probably say to yourself, “Hmmm. No speekee.”

“Further, as I’ve explained many times, the churches (most particularly mine) have spoken. Did the Synod negotiate with Episcopius? No. They issued canons. So now, the churches have categorically rejected the FV. It’s a gross doctrinal error.”

These churches have not rejected the teachings of Douglas Wilson anywhere. They have denounced, as grievous error, a number of errors that I also denounce. Now what? It is as though Clark pointed out that all the NAPARC churches had solemnly denounced various baptistic errors which, Clark maintained, included me. This is why I want to arrange a meeting with him, with somebody bringing along a covenant child under the age of six months, so that I could baptize that baby with the cameras just a going.

If Scott Clark and I were to meet, in some place where there was genuine accountability, I have the highest confidence that I could demonstrate my faithfulness to the Westminster Confession to the satisfaction of virtually everyone in the room within the course of one meeting. And that is why I think Scott Clark doesn’t want to do it.

“I only want to hear these words: I repent of the federal vision errors (i.e., the entire program) and then I want to see evidence of repentance, dismantling of the empire, and submission to a real church and discipline for all the damage done (e.g., demission from the ministry) and reparation to all the victims.”

And he wants to see my house bullodzed so that the ground can be adequately salted. And all without a trial, or any opportunity to ask or answer any pesky questions! How utterly unlike the treatment of the Arminians by the stalwarts at Dort!

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Gregory C Dickison
Gregory C Dickison
7 years ago

One day my wife and I thought we’d read up on the FV stuff, just to see what everyone was so upset about. As we read, we kept wondering who the heck Scott Clark et al. were talking about, since what they said you said sure wasn’t what you ever said on any of the Sundays we were at church. We felt like Inigo Montoya – “you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I am disappointed, though, that now I can’t be one of your “victims.” Oh, well.

Brett
Brett
7 years ago

Post a comment

Mike Bull
7 years ago

This debate with scores out of ten for either logic or good exegesis: FV: “Wow, look what the Bible says baptism does!” (10/10) TR: “But that can’t be done to an infant who hasn’t heard the gospel.” (10/10) FV: “But you are baptizing infants, so logic says that is what is being done to the infant.” (10/10) TR: “But that perverts the Gospel of Christ.” (10/10) The real villain here is paedobaptism. Rip that out and the problem goes away. I guess that’s too obvious a solution. This debate reminds me of a story my pastor told me. He was… Read more »

David
David
7 years ago

Scott is a punk. He is too cowardly to put up or shut up, but he enjoys the connotation of chasing the rat into hiding. Either act like a shepherd and face the alleged wolf, or stop prattling about the alleged errors of your perceived opponents. Doug, you should shame this man, in a godly manner; he needs it. Can we start a website where people donate money to a charity of your choosing, and the money that is pledged will be donated once Scott agrees to debate (clarification: debate when you are in the room, with a moderator)? Doug,… Read more »

Rick Davis
7 years ago

“I only want to hear these words: I repent of the federal vision errors…” Whenever another biopic about Luther is made, I think Dr. Clark would do a great job playing Archbishop Eck of Trier. He already knows the part!

Rick Davis
7 years ago

Likewise, the repeated refusals from the anti-FV side to even meet publicly and discuss the issue reminds me of an old Norse proverb: “An ignorant man | thinks that all he knows,
When he sits by himself in a corner;
But never what answer | to make he knows,
When others with questions come.” (Hovamol 26)

Luke Nieuwsma
7 years ago

I submitted this comment on Dr. Clark’s blog, but I doubt he’ll allow it to stand: Dr. Clark, I realize you said “for the last time, no.” But you should consider the fact that John Robinson, the pastor of the Reformed Puritans who founded Plymouth Plantation, boldly and publicly debated the Arminians in Holland. He had the courage to take them on, and he soundly defeated them to the relief and encouragement of many other believers. “And when the day came, the Lord so helped him to defend the truth and foil his adversary, that he put him to an… Read more »

Craig French
Craig French
7 years ago

And he wants to see my house bullodzed so that the ground can be adequately salted. And all without a trial, or any opportunity to ask or answer any pesky questions!

Precisely. Nothing personal, either…it’s just about the truth ;)

Andrew Lohr
7 years ago

Mike, if you have a baby, does that baby hear the gospel?  Do you sing “One day when Heaven was filled with His praises…” to the baby?  Faith cometh by hearing, and babies in Christian households (should) hear the gospel.  I wouldn’t give TR a 10 (and not hep enough to FV to be sure I’d 10 them either).  But I (for myself, not claiming anyone agrees) say infant baptism is believers’ baptism.   They can show faith by works later, just as you or I may hear something and not have occasion until years later to apply it.  As to… Read more »

David
David
7 years ago

Dear Doug, I will heed your warning, and I will refrain from using epithets directed to the good Dr. Clark. I would , however, like to point out the following. If you were to sit down with me and ask me for a term or a label to describe someone who publicly decries a fellow minister of Christ, categorizing him not only as “not Reformed”, but as an enemy of the gospel, a wolf in sheep’s clothing (implying he is not even a true believer and that in his current state he is heading to hell), to liken him to… Read more »

Nathan Brunaugh
Nathan Brunaugh
7 years ago

Is it a sin to be so entertained by all of this?  Also, Mike Bull has it right when he says that the problem is infant baptism.  But the solution isn’t to throw out infant baptism, but rather, open the Scriptures to those who practice infant baptism but deny the power thereof.  If I was really smart, I could say all of this while making a funny reference to the old saying “throw out the baby with the bath water”.  Can anyone help me?

David Nilsen
7 years ago

Mike Bull’s comment actually represents one reason why the URC/OPC folk are so riled up by the endorsement of Pastor Wilson by John Piper and TGC.  The consensus among Piper and other leading “Reformed” baptistic evangeliclas seems to be that FV theology and/or “baptismal regeneration” is just the proper logical endpoint of any theology of infant baptism.  This makes the anti-FV folk understandably grumpy. 

David Nilsen
7 years ago

Dr. Clark has just posted his own summary of FV teachings and a brief history of the debate:  http://heidelblog.net/2013/11/for-those-just-tuning-in-what-is-the-federal-vision/
Can anyone (especially Pastor Wilson) comment on this?  Would you consider the summary to be accuate? 

John Halverson
John Halverson
7 years ago

Somebody asked the old man if he believed in infant baptism: “Believe in it? Heck, I’ve seen it done.”
Adapted from Roy Blount’s Book of Southern Humor
 

Tom Brainerd
7 years ago

At the risk of getting moderated out of existence…
-We are, after all, referring to the Good Dr. Clark, who publicly noted that a particular ‘ecclesiastical lynching’ would be a good thing;
-We are, also, referring to the Good Dr. Clark who, after said comment, had the presence of mind (or lack thereof) to call Professor Frame ‘ungracious’ for his critique of Escondido Theology; and
-That selfsame Good Dr. Clark ought to give a re-read to Deuteronomy 19:18 & 19.
Delete me away, Pastor Wilson.
Christ’s blessings on you.

Nathan
Nathan
7 years ago

Pastor Wilson, 

I just read your post and Dr. Clark’s numerous blog posts attacking you as holding to a false gospel and I want you to know that I appreciate your blog and teaching ministry. I am a Bible teacher at a Christian high school and use much of your material for teaching my kids. You preach and teach a biblical gospel and you seek to apply it to the world of economics, politics, etc. and I and my high schoolers are grateful! Keep up the good work no matter how many blog posts Dr. Clark writes against you.

Ryan Birsinger
7 years ago

Pastor Wilson,
Lots of folks here in Texas support you as well.  Keep feeding the sheep!

Toby Wilson
Toby Wilson
7 years ago

Pastor,
Clark’s post came just 4 days after you gave R2K a swift kick in pants on your blog. Coincidence? I think not. Also, if Clark can’t read the first dozen chapters of Genesis, I have some serious doubts about his “I can read English” claim.
Keep up the good work!
-tob

Rob Steele
7 years ago

I don’t know Mr. Clarke but he seems bright enough to recognize a formidable opponent.  He also seems a bit unhinged, almost frothing at the mouth.  Somebody in his camp should calm him down and open talks with the outsiders.

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

Clark’s Heidelblog was off the air for a year+ following his questionable comments and antics.  Looks like he hasn’t learned much during that downtime.  I suspect many of his anti-FV followers have a hard time with the R2K nonsense.

Johnny
7 years ago

Ditto Ryan. I think the stock answer to Clark ought to be simply “The Lord judge between me and you” until he butches up and agrees to a debate or meeting. 

Alan D. Strange
Alan D. Strange
7 years ago

Mr. Edouard was never the chairman of the URCNA Committee that dealt with NPP and FV. He was an inactive member of that Committee and was immediately deposed by his consistory (with the full consent of the classis in a specially called meeting) when the aforementioned matters came to light. This statement should be accordingly redacted.

katecho
katecho
7 years ago

I apologize for the formatting below, but Doug Wilson’s blog currently makes simple line breaks impossible within guest comments.   I have no previous knowledge of the URCNA study committee, however, the following quotation comes from a document available at http://clark.wscal.edu/urcnajustificationrepfinaljune09.pdf which clearly lists Rev. Patrick Edouard as the only “chairman” of the committee.  From page 3:   A. Mandate and Composition of the Study Committee At it’s meeting in Palos Heights, Illinois, in July, 2007, Synod Schererville adopted the following recommendation: That Synod 2007 [of the United Reformed Churches in North America] appoint a study committee to examine by the… Read more »

Mike Bull
7 years ago

Dear Andrew All our babies heard the Gospel clearly, they all repented and believed, and all without being sprinkled. So yes, faith comes by hearing. If you want to call a raw egg an omelette, fine. Just don’t tell anyone you’re a chef. Dear Nathan The problems that the TRs have with FV come from “opening the Scripture” as much as the FV insistence that baptism is efficacious. That was my point. It seems to me the pastoral heart of the FV movement clouds its judgment, and a revival of good Christian parenting has mistakenly been equated with the New… Read more »

Alan D. Strange
Alan D. Strange
7 years ago

A correction from my post above: It is the case that when the URC Report was brought to the floor of Synod London (2010) that Mr. Edouard was still the chairman on paper. I stand corrected. It is also the case, however, that he was an inactive member of the Committee and was not present at the Synod. The Report was given by Rev. Vos and Dr. Venema. Mr. Edouard’s transgressions came to light after that time and he was, as noted above, immediately deposed. All this is to say that the integreity of the work of the URCNA Committee should not… Read more »

katecho
katecho
7 years ago

Abusive ad hominem?  Donatism?  This is the treatment we get for simply citing references that Rev Edouard was, in fact, the chairman of the committee, contrary to Alan D. Strange’s original assertion?  In any case, the lack of charity and lack of integrity of the URC report content is recognized, itemized, and detailed even by some within the URC (see http://urcnampa.org/resources/interaction.pdf).  Alan D. Strange may wish to ponder that the URC itself (and the PCA itself in the case of Leithart) is really the one on trial when they bring such hasty, prejudicial, and sloppy charges.

Alan D. Strange
Alan D. Strange
7 years ago

It’s abusive ad hominem to tar the report as did the first gentleman to mention Edouard. He wrote: “You mean that the men I grew up listening to, and looking up to would take the understanding of a rapist over that of a man that is above reproach?” To call the URC report the “understanding of a rapist” is outrageous. The report stands on its own and what was later brought to light about Mr. Edouard had no impact whatsoever on the report. Truth is not person-relative, and if the report testifies to the truth, then it is to be… Read more »

katecho
katecho
7 years ago

My concern is primarily with the content of the URC report.  It completely misses the central issues that the Federal Vision intended to address (namely the reality of apostasy and the nature and relationship of baptism, covenant election and the eternal decrees of God).  The URC committee could have spared themselves from disgrace by inviting the accused to interact with them, or at least they could have acknowledged the content of the Joint FV Statement, which was available to them but was apparently ignored.  The link I provided above provides details where the URC report repeatedly fails to interact with… Read more »

Alan D. Strange
Alan D. Strange
7 years ago

James you wrote: “The fact that it was chaired by a rapist should scare off anyone from using that report. But, for some reason it doesn’t in the URC. Also, it was only further evidence in my mind that it wasn’t a council at all, it was a lynching mob led by a rapist. This matter is important because Clark is a member of the URC and uses that counsel’s findings to attack my pastor instead of meet with him. The integrity of the report is in question because of the absence of the accused. However, the integrity of the… Read more »

Brian Lee
7 years ago

As a minister in the URCNA I would like to thank Rev. Strange for his rejoinder to this ad hominem and poisoning of the well with regard to the NPP/FV report adopted unanimously at URCNA Synod London 2010. Like Rev. Strange, I was not a delegate at that Synod but I was present when the report was presented and adopted, and his error (since retracted and clarified) about the chairmanship of the committee was understandable. Mr. Edouard was not present at Synod, and the report was presented by Committee Secretary Rev. Vos, a role often filled by the Chairman. Hence… Read more »