(From Outside the Camp Vol. 10, No. 2)
The Return of the Paper Tiger
In the last issue of Outside the Camp, we reviewed an article in The Trinity Review entitled "The Marks of Neo-Liberalism" by Paul Elliot, in which Elliot uses J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism as a basis for his evaluation of neo-liberalism.
John Robbins, the editor of The Trinity Review and founder of The Trinity Foundation, sent an e-mail out when this article became available online that included the following: "Officers of the OPC should not even begin to think, 'We are the children of Machen,' for if they were, they would do the deeds of Machen."
Really, Mr. Robbins? Do you really think that the current officers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) are not true to Machen, the founder of the OPC? Do you really think that the OPC was a true church that was founded on orthodoxy, especially the orthodoxy of Machen?
These are, of course, rhetorical questions. John Robbins knows very well what Machen believed. He has endorsed Machen, who was a friend of Gordon Clark, ever since the founding of The Trinity Foundation. He knew from the very beginning what Machen wrote in Christianity and Liberalism.
Last time, we exposed both Elliot and Machen (as well as Robbins, who published the article and who is distributing Elliot's book) as spineless, emasculated, fork-tongued hypocrites who are so bold against liberalism and neo-liberalism but who will not say that all liberals and neo-liberals are unregenerate. All their railing against these damnable heresies is nothing but vain wind, because they believe that there are some "wonderfully confused" yet regenerate liberals and neo-liberals.
Since that article, we have found another appalling quote from Machen's book:
"It must be admitted that there are many Christians who do not accept the doctrine of plenary inspiration. That doctrine is denied not only by liberal opponents of Christianity, but also by many true Christian men. There are many Christian men in the modern Church who find in the origin of Christianity no mere product of evolution but a real entrance of the creative power of God, who depend for their salvation, not at all upon their own efforts to lead the Christ life, but upon the atoning blood of Christ - there are many men in the modern Church who thus accept the central message of the Bible and yet believe that the message has come to us merely on the authority of trustworthy witnesses unaided in their literary work by any supernatural guidance of the Spirit of God. There are many who believe that the Bible is right at the central point, in its account of the redeeming work of Christ, and yet believe that it contains many errors. Such men are not really liberals, but Christians; because they have accepted as true the message upon which Christianity depends. A great gulf separates them from those who reject the supernatural act of God with which Christianity stands or falls" (p. 75).
This is stunning. Machen believed that there are some true Christians who reject the doctrine of plenary inspiration - who believe that the Bible contains many errors! Yet John Robbins, whose motto for The Trinity Foundation is "The Bible Alone Is the Word of God," and who rails against anyone who would deny plenary inspiration, knowingly endorses Machen and says that if the OPC officers were the children of Machen, they would do the deeds of Machen! The hypocrite John Robbins is obviously proudly doing the deeds of Machen.
Finally, there is a page on The Trinity Foundation's web site entitled Mississippi Valley Presbytery Rejects Neolegalism in which the Mississippi Valley Presbytery (MVP) wrote the following: "Second, we continue to esteem and love our brothers, whether they view the theologies of the NPP, NTW, NS and the AAT/FV as benign and useful, or have been influenced by their teachings. Our committee genuinely appreciated the demeanor and candor of PCA TE Steve Wilkins and RE Dale Peacock in particular as they dialogued with them. There are many in our midst with deep love for and fraternal bonds with ministers and elders associated with the FV and these other theological tendencies. Our greatest concerns lie not with the character and intentions of the proponents of these new views, but with their theological formulations and their serious pastoral and theological consequences. We agree with the insightful observations and questions that Jonathan Edwards once made and raised, at the end of his own great messages on justification: 'How far a wonderful and mysterious agency of God's Spirit may so influence some men's hearts, that their practice in this regard may be contrary to their own principles, so that they shall not trust in their own righteousness, though they profess that men are justified by their own righteousness -- or how far they may believe the doctrine of justification by men's own righteousness in general, and yet not believe it in a particular application of it to themselves -- or how far that error which they may have been led into by education, or cunning sophistry of others, may yet be indeed contrary to the prevailing disposition of their hearts, and contrary to their practice -- or how far some may seem to maintain a doctrine contrary to this gospel-doctrine of justification, that really do not, but only express themselves differently from others; or seem to oppose it through their misunderstanding of our expressions, or we of theirs, when indeed our real sentiments are the same in the main -- or may seem to differ more than they do, by using terms that are without a precisely fixed and determinate meaning -- or to be wide in their sentiments from this doctrine, for want of a distinct understanding of it; whose hearts, at the same time, entirely agree with it, and if once it was clearly explained to their understandings, would immediately close with it, and embrace it: -- how far these things may be, I will not determine; but am fully persuaded that great allowances are to be made on these and such like accounts, in innumerable instances; though it is manifest, from what has been said, that the teaching and propagating [of] contrary doctrines and schemes, is of a pernicious and fatal tendency.'"
Those in the MVP consider the neolegalist elders their brothers in Christ. How about you, John Robbins? What will you say about the neolegalist elders and those who speak peace to them?
But that is not all. The MVP quoted Jonathan Edwards ("Justification By Faith Alone," Works, Vol. 1, p. 654) to justify their speaking peace to neolegalists. Shockingly, Edwards did not believe that all who profess and believe that men are justified by their own righteousness are necessarily unregenerate! John Robbins, what will you say about Jonathan Edwards? Of course, you will not judge such a highly-esteemed "Reformed Father" to be unregenerate. Like Machen and Edwards, you sound so bold with words like "fatal," "deadly," and "pernicious," yet you will not judge those who believe deadly doctrines to be dead!
Contrary to what John Robbins says, the current officers in the OPC are doing the works of their father, J. Gresham Machen, who invited the Arminian heretic Billy Sunday to preach at Princeton. The OPC was founded by a heretic. It began as a synagogue of Satan and continues to be a synagogue of Satan. The OPC officers are being true to their satanic roots. Machen, Edwards, and all who do their works, including John Robbins and his allies, are doing the works of their father, the Devil.