June 3, 2001Session PRCE
Dear Esteemed Brethren,
Thank you for your reply of 4/4/01 to my previous on “Saul in the Cave . . .”.
My apologies also for the delay in replying. I have been very busy, as I am sure you have been also. While I trust I had a profitable conversation with Pastor Price when he visited, allow me in turn to clarify a few things on the matter as it still stands on the record, instead of speaking at large and in general as before.
Mr. Barrow opens the post which started everything off, by saying:
“I've recently written a book review of Kevin Reed's Canterbury Tales which dealt primarily with James Jordan and his heretical views concerning worship.” It is called "A Warning Against the False and Dangerous Views of James Jordan Concerning Worship." From the quotes that I have seen here and elsewhere, taken from Frame's new book, I would say that much of my warning against Jordan would apply equally well to Frame. This book review may be helpful and is posted on Still Waters Revival Books (SWRB) web page.”Please. If this is not plagiarism, it is nothing more than the gratuitous preening of the feathers on one’s ink quill pen. (It almost reminds one of “rare” bound photocopies of books that are already in print.) The above should read, after we factor in the ninth commandment a little more generously:
I've recently read Kevin Reed's 32 page pamphlet The Canterbury Tales, An Extended Review and Commentary Based upon the Geneva Papers of James Jordan. It is a warning against his false and dangerous views on worship. From the quotes that I have seen here and elsewhere, taken from Frame's new book, I would say that much of Reed’s warning against Jordan, would apply equally well to Frame. Reed’s essay, which I have introduced with and/or appended some comments, may be helpful and is posted on Still Waters Revival Books (SWRB) web page. . .”Yet Mr. Barrow continues:
“I have also asked an author that I know (who has already read Frame's entire book) to produce a review which will warn people of the subtle and dangerous views that Frame is publicly putting forth.“The reasonable conclusion from this plus the previous regarding the “quotes that I have seen here and elsewhere,” is that Mr. Barrow has not read “Frame’s entire book,” much less even seen it. Does the CA article accuse him of anything more in substance? In other words, respectfully, what’s the beef?
Mr. Barrow then goes on to categorically state that:
“I think that Eire's War Against the Idols proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Calvin would have excommunicated both Frame and Jordan without a second thought - given the idolatrous nature of their beliefs regarding public worship.”Mr. Barrow is free of course, to think whatever he wants, but the error of Jordan and Frame is not the error Eire dwells on. His thrust is to establish Calvin’s concern for the centrality and spirituality of worship contra the gross Romish idolatry of the day and the subsequent iconoclasm of the Reformation, which has not received the notice and attention it is due. While it might lay the foundation for it, there is really no further development of thesis in Eire to include Calvin’s condemnation of the more subtle additions to the worship of God ala Anglicanism and Lutheranism (and Jordan and Frame) - “what is not commanded” - as distinct from again, the gross idol and image worship of Rome or “what is explicitly forbidden.”
Eire’s mention of Calvin’s concern that we are to worship “according to God’s commandments,” and his opposition to ceremonies is always in general. It never proceeds to the particular, pointed and negative fashion of the RPW contained in the Heidelberg and the Westminster Standards on the the further requirements of Second Commandment: “Whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden in the worship of God.” Again, Mr. Barrow is entitled to think whatever he wants, but his assumption that his statement is correct is a presumption on the truth. The temptation for any reasonably knowledgeable reformed individual who has read Eire, Reed, Jordan and Frame is to dismiss Mr. Barrow’s statement out of hand and mind, much less that all the above now prejudices his competence and credibility to any other statements on the matter.
Consequently in light of this mistaken, vain and pretentious stretching of the truth, who is surprised when Mr. Wilson responds in kind in Credenda Agenda, much less that as a fan of Frame’s foolishness, Mr. Wilson is not about to extend the benefit of the doubt at all re. Mr. Barrow’s brash and hasty statements? Sauce for the goose, is sarcasm for the gander. No more, no less and Mr. Wilson is a past master of it.
Which is all to say - if we are going to nitpick and argue about it - the CA staff is not the first to have publicly violated the ninth commandment, if that is in fact what they have done. There is sin within the camp and Saul can not stand before his enemies. To whom much is given, much is required. The burden is upon Mr. Barrow to establish the tone and caliber of the discussion properly to begin with, much less refrain from scandalous overstatement and zealous misstatement, if he is going to really have Biblical grounds to get upset at the CA’s smart aleck reaction.
In short, gentlemen, my apologies, but I still see the genesis of “Saul” as pretty much a holier than thou humbug and a pompous stench in the Lord’s nostrils. It is puerile to begin with and even more embarrassing after Session’s approval of it in Appendix D. Nor do I see where Session’s previous spoke to the substance of my first remarks. Otherwise, I certainly would not have written and bothered you again at all.
Thank you very much.
See also:4/4/01, Elders re. Saul in the Cave with Asinine