Wednesday, April 20, 2011

With Friends Like These, Jeffrey Meyers Needs Help!

A committee of the Missouri Presbytery of the PCA attempted to exonerate Jeff Meyers of the charges of, in essence, being a Federal Visionist. They explained:
In addition to this the [committee] suspects another underlying assumption of the complainants in this first section (II.A), namely, that any man who identifies with FV in some way and has put his name to documents authored by other men who claim the same (i.e. the JFVP), must, de facto, be guilty of doctrinal infidelity and placed on trial for it on the grounds of the GA’s adoption of the declarations in the 2007 Ad-Interim Report on the Federal Vision.
(Report, page 12, lines 25-30)

They then argued that this blanket condemnation is not proper, because the Federal Vision is not a monolithic movement. They then apparently attempted to argue that Meyers is not like the others (i.e. those in error) in the Federal Vision movement with the following explanation:
Wholesale, blanket condemnations of movements are usually very inaccurate and therefore unjust. No church court of the PCA has condemned everything that every person associated the FV believes and teaches. That is why the measure of a man’s fidelity to the Westminster Standards cannot be the views of men identified with FV but rather the judgment of the appropriate church court as it is makes its own judgments and by doctrinal guidelines laid down by higher courts. And here we would simply mention that the MIC duly pressed TE Meyers on the point as to whether he could affirm all the declarations of the 2007 Ad-Interim Report on the Federal Vision and while he does disagree with much of the reasoning in that report, he answered that indeed, he is able to affirm its formal declarations, with a few qualifications he laid out for the MIC (see MICR, Appendix B, JJM Q and A, p. 3)
(Report, page 12, lines 37-47)

The committee thinks this is supposed to help Meyers, but the committee has conceded that Meyers holds neither to the reasoning nor, without qualifications, to the declarations of the 2007 Ad-Interim Report on the Federal Vision.

Consider this declaration:
The view that one can be “united to Christ” and not receive all the benefits of Christ’s mediation, including perseverance, in that effectual union is contrary to the Westminster Standards.
(Declaration 9 from the 2007 Ad-Interim Report on the Federal Vision)

Contrast this item from the Federal Vision Joint Statement:
We affirm that apostasy is a terrifying reality for many baptized Christians. All who are baptized into the triune Name are united with Christ in His covenantal life, and so those who fall from that position of grace are indeed falling from grace. The branches that are cut away from Christ are genuinely cut away from someone, cut out of a living covenant body. The connection that an apostate had to Christ was not merely external.
(Federal Vision Joint Statement, emphasis added)

Moreover, consider that Mr. Meyers has subsequently stated: "Yes, I continue to affirm this statement."

Moreover, in response to this specific declaration Meyers responded:
Again, this declaration uses the phrase “united to Christ” in quotation marks. In my responses to earlier questions in the last section on baptism and in questions 1–4 of this section, I believe I have answered this already. I believe this statement summarizes a view that is unreformed, unbiblical, and not consistent with the Westminster Standards. If we take “union with Christ” as Westminster defines it and not as a reference to the fact that baptized Christians are “united with him” in the sense that they are in covenant with him as members of his body, of which he is the Head, then this view is wrong.
It is curious that this was accepted. It is particularly curious in view of the fact that in response to the question of apostasy, Meyers wrote:
Apostates do not merely “fall away” from external benefits, but from God himself. “Take heed, brethren, lest there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12).
That seems, again, to affirm what the Federal Vision Joint Statement affirms and what the 2007 Ad Interim Report condemned. Mr. Meyers cannot, it seems, either hold to the reasoning of that report, nor (in an unqualified way) to its declarations. He continues to hold to the errors of the FVJS, but yet the committee suggests he should be given a pass. Remarkable!

Lane Keister has already expressed his amazement over the comment: “ . . . no one school of interpretation on these disputed issues should be adopted as the only orthodox position to the exclusion of the others.” (Report of the Complaint Review Committee, 62). I will simply echo that. I wonder whether the issue is that the Missouri Presbytery doesn't view the issue of union with Christ and apostasy as big issues, or whether the issue goes beyond that to a general lack of concern over theological issues. It is hard to stomach such a conclusion, but it is also hard to understand how these glaring issues could be overlooked.


N.B. I see that both Mr. Meyers and others have made the report of the committee public. While this is, therefore, a public matter - it is also one that has not yet completed its tour of the PCA court system. It has not come before the General Assembly. Those who may be involved in the final determination matter should take care to observe any PCA rules with respect to circularization.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

That quote at the end really sums it up for me. Here are my initial thoughts on that.
FTA: “ . . . no one school of interpretation on these disputed issues should be adopted as the only orthodox position to the exclusion of the others.”

1. Just because a debate is historical doesn’t mean all sides can be considered orthodox. See Arius.

2. Orthodox is by definition the established and accepted faith. An orthodox position defines all the opposing positions as heterodox.

3. MOP was not asked to determine if FV is outside the bounds of orthodoxy. That has already been done. See PCA report on FV/NPP. (Yes, I know that all of the FV/NPP guys disagree with the interpretation of their views in that report.)

4. MOP was charged with determining if TE Meyers views conformed to the established and accepted standards that we as a denomination have vowed to “receive and adopt.” See PCA BCO 21-5 : Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?