Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mahaney/ SGM – Louisville, KY SBCers? Mohler/SBTS to the Rescue?

Deb at "The Wartburg Watch" is offering the following interpretation of Mahaney's convenient and hasty westward retreat from his home church--whence he fled--, Covenant Life, Gaithersburg, MD, towards Kentucky.  Mahaney had a temporary layover at Dever's community and then Solid Rock (SGM), MD.  We suspect that Mahaney got a preliminary whiff of possible fallout and debris from an impending report from the Ambassadors of Reconciliation (due end of Mar 2012).  The new school Baptyerian, Lig Duncan, once suprised RA, but his stock has dropped to about $0.25 from the old school standpoint.  As to the forthcoming T4G, 10-12 Apr 2012, we did a preliminary analysis last year:  one can expect a few cool $$ million in profits for the event.  Where the $$s go is anyone's guess.  On another note, for those advancing in years, we offer this.  Three benefits accrue in watching and researching Mahaney's history.  (1)  Ocular exercises, especially.  That is, "rolling the eyes."  (2) "Shaking the head."  It works the neck muscles to get those kinks out.  (3) "Laughter."  It works the cheek, face and throat muscles.  "Ya just gotta laugh a little." Nothing like watching a skilled enthusiast "enthuse." A modern mountebank of the first order.  However, there is one contra-indication:  do not watch or research Mahaney/SGM if one has blood pressure issues.  But back on point.  Deb says:  "For those of you who are sports enthusiasts, here is what Mohler and Dever have done on behalf of pastor-athlete Mahaney. They have RUN INTERFERENCE, meaning they have protected Mahaney from the criticism and correction he is rightly due from those whom he has hurt in Sovereign Grace Ministries. To put it another way, Mohler and Dever have done an end run around SGMers and prevented that from occurring. Now Mahaney is hiding out at Solid Rock Church until he makes the BIG MOVE" [emphasis in the original].

"I think preaching and pastoral ministry are where grace is most evident in my life and where my leadership is most effectively expressed. Others seem to agree."

We believe history is being made as high profile leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention MEDDLE in the affairs of another denomination, which self-identifies as a "family of churches".

Yes, I'm talking about Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). In case you haven't heard, C.J. Mahaney, who was recently reinstated as President of SGM, is assisting with the appointment of his successor and laying the foundation to PLANT a new church in another state.

As the saying goes, "bloom where you're planted", and the word on the street is that Mahaney is planning to relocate to Kentucky and set down roots there. There is also speculation that the offices of Sovereign Grace Ministries will be moved from Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland to Kentucky — most likely Louisville.

We have written extensively on C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, so if you are new to TWW, you might want to browse through our archives. Why is Mahaney leaving the state where he grew up and the church he pastored for 27 years? It appears the accusations of hyper-authoritarianism and spiritual abuse (among other things) by hundreds and hundreds of current and former SGMers (including many pastors) have reached a fevered pitch, and Mahaney believes his best option is to get out of Gaithersburg! The Ambassadors of Reconciliation have been called in to investigate the accusations, and they will be issuing their findings very soon. We will be sure to pass along any information that is made public.

What was the straw that broke the camel's back in SGM? From our vantage point, it appears the 600+ pages of documentation that Brent Detwiler compiled (which an anonymous individual posted on the internet) put all of this in motion. As soon as Mahaney suspected Detwiler was going public in some way with his incriminating information, Mahaney voluntarily stepped down. That was in early July 2011. Seven months later Mahaney was reinstated as president of SGM.

Perhaps the most damning information that was revealed in Detwiler's documentation was Mahaney's attempt to blackmail his mentor Larry Tomczak if he did not leave the organization quietly back in 1998. Tomczak had a big problem with the shift toward Calvinistic theology, and, Mahaney threatened to go public with the confidentially confessed sins of Tomczak's son if Larry did not go away quietly into the night… Fifteen years passed, and Mahaney finally made an attempt to patch things up with Tomczak, who had been urging a reconciliation for years.

Why would Mahaney relocate to another state — Kentucky — as some are speculating? If the Bluegrass State is the Mahaneys' destination, there is a very good reason… Dee and I first began investigating C.J. Mahaney and SGM in the fall of 2008 — seven months before we began blogging. Exactly two months after we launched The Wartburg Watch, we wrote about CJ's significant monetary contributions to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in a post called The Mahaney Money Machine. We were so new to blogging that not many people read the following "observation" included in that post:

"How did C.J. Mahaney become so popular among reformed Christians? As far as we can determine, C.J.’s secret to success is that he has friends in high places. We believe his recognition among the “Reformed Big Dogs” began when he befriended Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C. (a church not far from Gaithersburg where CLC is located)."

For more, see:

Also, Deb concludes with this bit of humour.  We leave you with a tune the Mahaneys may be singing.

Second Century Pauline letters discovered

George Conger at Anglican Ink is reporting on 2nd century Pauline letters.  More information is needed.  Anglican Ink is proving informative and beneficial more widely.  See:
Papyrus fragments of the New Testament from the 1st & 2nd century found in Egypt
The treasure trove that produced a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Mark, also contained an early sermon on Hebrews and the earliest-known manuscripts of one of the letters of Paul the Apostle, New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace has claimed.

In a 24 February 2012 interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Professor Wallace of the Dallas Theological Seminary said the newly discovered papyrus fragments were of scholarly magnitude of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They also serve to confirm the veracity of the received version of the New Testament as they contain no significant differences from the modern texts.

The fragment from Mark was "a very small fragment, not too many verses, but it's definitely from Mark," Prof. Wallace said, adding that "to have a fragment from one of the Gospels that's written during the lifetime of some of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection is just astounding."

The Markan fragment will be published next year by EJ Brill and will include six other new finds, including a second-century sermon on Hebrews 11, a second century fragment from Luke, and second century fragments from Paul's epistles.

"What makes [the Hebrews find] so interesting is the ancient church understood by about A.D. 180 in what's called ... the Muratorian Canon, that the only books that could be read in churches must be those that are authoritative," the professor said.

"To have a homily or a sermon on Hebrews means that whoever wrote that sermon considered Hebrews to be authoritative, and therefore, it could be read in the churches."

While Dr. Wallace did not identify which of Paul's letters were found he stated that "up until now, our oldest manuscript for Paul's letters dates about AD 200."

"Now we have as many as four more manuscripts that predate that."

The scholarly community has been skeptical of Prof. Wallace's claims, and have urged him to state who the "world-famous" paleographer who has authenticated the discoveries might be. However, most scholars have said they will take a wait and see attitude until the papyri are produced for scholarly review.

The full text of the interview with Hugh Hewitt and Daniel Wallace can be found here.

Fallout over Koran burning continues in Afghanistan

Feb 29, 2012. Bret Baier talks to Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Gen. John Allen. 

First, Karzai is demanding U.S. military personnel be tried based on Afghan law.  That will not happen.  Second, why isn't Karzai prosecuting the murderers of four U.S. troops--a COL, MAJ and two enlisted men?  Karzai's "apology" does not cut it.  Third, the General does not say much.  "Morale is good..." he assures us.  As they generally say. 

Purpose Drivel: Detroit, MI and Prescott, AZ "Franchise" Harvest Churches/Franchises Leave MacDonald's Pastorpreneurial, Sectarian, Chicago-based Confederation

Two stories here, noted consecutively.  We're interesting in following what "Purpose Drivel" asserts.  We have two URLs from them below.  The first:  Harvest Bible Church (Detroit, MI).  The second:  Harvest Bible Fellowship (Prescott, AZ).  Both franchise-outlets have pulled out of James MacDonald's "Pastorpreneurial," Chicago-based confederation.

Defectors from the Harvest Bible Fellowship (praise the Lord!)
A Harvest Bible Church in Detroit has jumped off the Harvest Bible Fellowship. They don't seem willing to limit it only to the T D Jakes incident, indicated by the plural "men" in the following paragraph:

Quoting from "
Concerning Our Disassociation With Harvest Bible Fellowship" (bold emphasis added by me)
However, it is with great sadness that our elders have unanimously decided to part ways with Harvest Bible Fellowship. This is not due to any change in our church’s position, but due to what we believe is a change in the Fellowship’s direction. James MacDonald seems insistent in pushing boundaries in the area of associations with men whose ministry philosophy, practice, and even theology we can’t endorse. As a member of HBF, our desire was for good, consistent, conservative leadership from HBF. When we became a member of HBF five years ago this is what we received and this is what we could wholeheartedly endorse; however, in our estimation that has changed. We have been surprised by significant decisions made by James MacDonald (and supported by HBF), resulting in our trust being shaken regarding their guidance as well as future direction as a movement of churches. Despite several personal conversations with HBF leadership, our concerns have not been assuaged.
So how does this gel with James Macdonald's insistence (wrong headed though it is) that you have to go to him privately? (alternate source) It doesn't sound as though he listens then, either. Well, I guess maybe they didn't do it sweetly enough so that Macdonald would be able to recognize his unbiblical definition of love.

Thank you pastors, for taking a stand. I pray you will not back down in the face of the flak you are sure to get. May the Lord grant you continuing courage.

Another defector from the Harvest Bible Fellowship (Prescott AZ)
Another church has seen fit to leave Harvest Bible Fellowship! Praise the Lord!A New Season: An update from the Harvest Elders
From the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel of Prescott,
For the past six years we have counted it an immense privilege and blessing to be part of Harvest Bible Fellowship. As an independent local church we have enjoyed wonderful fellowship, gleaned many valuable resources and wisdom, and made many incredible long-lasting relationships.

Over the last 11 months or so, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago (HBC Chicago) has made statements and taken actions that we strongly believe reflect a change in the direction of critical parts of their ministry. We believe these actions and resulting changes can be categorized into three areas:

We believe that HBC Chicago has begun championing the idea that Christians can associate with those teaching heresy (such as those who engage in teaching the Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospels) without necessarily endorsing them or their ministries, implicitly or explicitly.

Scripture tells us...

2 John 1:9-11, "Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [10] If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, [11] for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."

We strongly believe that when church leaders associate with those teaching false and/or heretical doctrine, it confuses and misleads God's people into potentially dangerous areas of belief and acceptance. Scripture is clear, those who teach heresy are not to be received, much less embraced. We therefore must sharply disagree with HBC Chicago on this matter.
read more at Harvest Bible Chapel Prescott's site,



We generally don't pay significant attention to Baptacostals (except Mahaney) or Anabaptists.  As Confessionally Reformed Anglicans, Prayer Book people, an instant clash along several lines exists. However, we've followed some of the debates over James MacDonald and ER2, that is, "Elephant Room 2" recently hosted by MacDonald.  Ken Silva brings this word.


Apprising Ministries reminds you that the Elephant Room 2 detonated an explosion within evangelicalism and the aftermath continues spreading shockwaves.

No doubt in the coming days we’ll see even more cracks in The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29 Network, Harvest Bible Fellowship.

One shockwave we saw was in James MacDonald, Elephant Room 2, And The Race Card?

Beginning at 4:00 into the video you’ll see it yourself in James MacDonald’s post Post-Elephant Room Interview, Part 1.

In what appears to be an effort to sneak modalism in the back door, we’re essentially told that if we rejct T.D. Jakes as a Christian brother it’s because we’re racist.

Sad, but true. You may know that curator of ER2 was James MacDonald. If you didn’t know, MacDonald is Founding & Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel and his bio also tells us:
In 2002, a church planting ministry called Harvest Bible Fellowship was born and has given birth to 68 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is that God will use him to help plant 1,000 churches in the next 20 years. (Online source)
Well, today comes another casualty of ER2. In A New Season: An update from the Harvest Elders we find Harvest Bible Chapel of Prescott, Arizona is leaving HBF because of the errant direction of James MacDonald:
From the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel of Prescott,
For the past six years we have counted it an immense privilege and blessing to be part of Harvest Bible Fellowship. As an independent local church we have enjoyed wonderful fellowship, gleaned many valuable resources and wisdom, and made many incredible long-lasting relationships.

Over the last 11 months or so, Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago (HBC Chicago) has made statements and taken actions that we strongly believe reflect a change in the direction of critical parts of their ministry. We believe these actions and resulting changes can be categorized into three areas:


We believe that HBC Chicago has begun championing the idea that Christians can associate with those teaching heresy (such as those who engage in teaching the Word of Faith and Prosperity Gospels) without necessarily endorsing them or their ministries, implicitly or explicitly…


We believe HBC Chicago has begun communicating the idea that in these last days, unnecessary divisiveness exists and at its root is overly restrictive adherence to Biblical doctrines, that it is more important, for the sake of unity, to extend grace and loosen strict adherence to Biblical doctrines…


We believe that one of our roles as Elders in Christ’s church is to be diligent in helping bring clarity to God’s people in areas of truth and faith. Since the Elephant Room 1 Conference, we have experienced more and more confusion from Harvest-related events and we believe that the confusion has grown exponentially due to Elephant Room 2…


Over this time period, we have repeatedly and privately expressed our concern with the leaders of Harvest Bible Fellowship. After many months of prayer and consideration, we have reached a point in time that we believe to continue our association with HBC Chicago would appear to be endorsing their decisions, which would cause confusion for the flock that is under our care. So it is with a heavy heart, out of what we see is our obedience to our responsibility to our Lord to care and shepherd His flock, that we must end our association with HBC Chicago…

For the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and the good of His flock,

The Elder Team -
Pastor Skip BreyerPastor Jon Gaus
Brad Penner
Tom Perconti
Online source)

So this Church-Growther and this Liturgomaniac Walk into a Bar…; Micro Koinonia Project Coming to BJS, by Pr. Rossow

Steadfast Lutherans is offering this debate.  It sounds interesting.

Pastor Rossow says:

"So this Church –Growther and this Liturgomaniac walk into a bar… Well, it isn’t quite like that but it is close. It’s not a joke, it’s not a bar and it’s not really a church-growther and a liturgomaniac but it is about a pastor who espouses many church growth principles and a pastor who espouses the liturgy sitting down to talk to see how far apart they are and how close they can get, and doing it all for the world to see here on BJS.

"One of my friends and colleagues is Pastor Mark Schulz from Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois, the next suburb over from me and my church, Bethany Lutheran in Naperville, Illinois. He and I have been in the same circuit for over ten years, had coffee together through the years, given each other grief about how we “do” church and also shared some life experience together. I had the pleasure of teaching religion/confirmation to his son Christian for two years at our day school here at Bethany.

"We had lunch together today and agreed to have an online discussion about our similarities and differences and invite the BJS crowd to chime in via the comment section.

"We will start out with each of us giving a summary view of what goes on in our churches and the principles that we use to guide those activities. Then in consequent postings we will critique each other’s practice and principles. We are not sure where it is headed or how long it will go on but we are both really enthused about having it out on line here and seeing where out little Micro-Koinonia Project ends up. We hope and pray it will be a blessing for our beloved Lutheran Church Missouri Synod."

Dangers of an Uneducated Ministry: "You May Have Been Raised Charismatic If…"

Tim Schraeder on 02/29/2012 posts the following.  He does so with joy and fondness, but we draw the opposite conclusions.  He proud of this stuff?  Takes joy in it?  There is flippancy, self-referential comedy, and irreverence in content and tone--who's surprised?  Tom states, "I wouldn’t trade it for the world."  We'd recommend trading all this stuff of manifold loondom.  More evidence for the dangers of an illiterate and uneducated ministry.

My Christian journey was profoundly shaped by the fact that I was raised in what some would call a charismatic church. I was raised in an Assemblies of God church and the first five years of my life in ministry were working on staff at an A/G church. I am grateful for how I was raised and after no longer attending an A/G church, I have come to value the impact growing up in a charismatic church made on my life. I will, however, note that there are some unique and quirky things that come along with it.
This list is by no means intended to belittle the charismatic upbringing I had, but more to celebrate some of the oddities that can be associated with the heritage we charismatic kids can share.

You may have been raised charismatic if…

  • you’ve recommitted your life to Christ more than 10 times per year.
  • you would say a quick prayer asking for the forgiveness of as many sins as you can remember when the traveling prophet would start walking around in the congregation.
  • a family road trip included stops in Toronto or Pensacola, Florida, in the mid-late 90s.
  • you know what the initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is.
  • you were a cast member in “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames.”
  • your church logo had a dove on fire.
  • you feel uncomfortable in churches where people don’t raise their hands.
  • you liked Hillsong before they were cool.
  • your church was worried about Y2K.
  • you’ve experienced and/or participated in a Jericho March.
  • you’ve question the salvation of your Catholic friends.
  • you’ve complained about worship services being too short.
  • someone in your service ‘caught’ the Holy Ghost, and subsequently gave it to others.
  • you know what JBQ stands for.
  • you’ve ‘laid’ things at the altar, but never physically left anything there.
  • your church showed the “Thief in the Night” movies followed by an emotional appeal for people to be sure of their salvation.
  • you’ve been grazed by a banner during a worship service.
  • you’ve worried you’ve missed the rapture on more than one occasion when you can’t get a hold of your Christian family members.
  • the only kind of dancing that’s allowed at your church is dancing in the Spirit.
  • it’s common for people to take their shoes off during worship.
  • your church’s altar ministry team included “catchers.”
  • your pastor would shout and sweat when he preached.
  • you friends’ parents were skeptical of letting them come with you to youth group.
  • your college options were Northwestern, Southwestern, Central, Southeastern, or North Central.
  • there was lots of talk about the End Times in sermons.
  • your church had real altars at the front.
  • your youth group did a “Hell House” during Halloween.
  • you were in Royal Rangers or Missionettes.
  • it was OK for women to be pastors, prophets, teachers, or evangelists.
  • one of your family vacations was to Heritage USA.
  • you get the shivers listening to the song “The Mercy Seat.”
  • you know what a “human video” is.
  • there were banners and tambourines with ribbons used in your worship services.
  • your worship leader would sing the same refrain or chorus from a song for more than 5 minutes.
  • your grandparents watch and give money to TBN.
  • the ushers in your church wore maroon or purple sport coats with gold name badges.
  • you’ve had to explain to your friends what being slain in the Spirit means.
  • your church had a ‘blanket’ ministry.
  • you know the names Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, and Jesse Duplantis.
  • your parents were members of the Maranatha/Integrity praise tape club.
  • your Easter services included live animals.
  • the movie Jesus Camp was eerily similar to your summer Bible camps.
  • your Christmas services were like a Broadway show.
  • you took a water bottle with you to church.
  • you would find your seat after the worship portion of your church service.
  • you have had a “word” spoken over your life.
  • Kleenex boxes lined the front altar of your church.
  • you know the significance of Azusa Street.
  • you’ve made Faith Promise or made of Vow of Faith.
  • your church was known as the “rock and roll” church.
  • your pastor went from being very conservative in the 90s to very trendy in more recent days.
  • there was no such thing as an “order of service” at your church.
  • your youth pastor used lots of hair gel.
  • your church took over Denny’s, Perkins or any 24-hour restaurant around 10 PM on Sunday nights.
  • you’re comfortable with spontaneous singing.
  • you know there are two IHOPs.
  • the shofar was used in your church’s worship services.
  • Pentecost Sunday was a big deal at your church.
  • some of your church services were all worship and no teaching [mainly on Sunday evenings or Wednesday nights].
  • your pastor was skeptical of the seeker-sensitive movement.
  • summer camp involved pressure for you to receive your prayer language.
  • it was common for people to start speaking loudly in the middle of your worship service and use phrases like “my children…” or “thus saith the Lord…”
  • your church celebrated the Year of Jubilee.
  • you faked being “blessed by the Spirit” to get out of taking tests at your Christian school. [I did that once.]
  • you know what Buddy Barrel is.
  • photos of your pastor and his wife were predominant in publications.
  • the phrase, “I’m feeling led by the Spirit right now to…” was used frequently in your church services.
  • you would have to ask people around you if they wanted you to walk down to the altar with them.
  • the phrase “IshouldaboughtaHondabutIboughtaNissan” makes you laugh and makes you feel guilty at the same time.
  • you would address people as “Brother” or “Sister.”
  • the altar call lasted as long as the actual church service.
  • when someone shouted “FIRE!” in your church it didn’t cause alarm.
  • you’ve been drunk…in the Spirit.
  • you would keep your eyes open during a response time to see if people were really raising their hands all across the room.
  • if this resembles one of your church services:

See Charlie Brown Praise Break :

Ok, ok I know. I need to stop. But really, the longer this list of charismania got the more I realized how crazy and special it was to share the joys of being raised charismatic. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Pastor Youcef: US House Resolution Debate 3/1/2012 at 7 pm EST on CSPAN

Pastor Youcef awaits execution in Iran after criminal proceedings against him for converting to Christianity including objecting to Islamic indoctrination of his children in public schools.  Besides this specific issue, we get a good glimpse of Sharia-law, Allocracy, and religious freedom more widely.  Pastor Youcef's resolution is expected to be debated on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives at 7 pm EST. Watch it live on

Lagos, Nigeria: Radical Islamists Murder (1st Degree Homocides) 67 Over Effort to Implement Sharia Law

At least 67 killed in overnight attacks across Yobe

imageNigeria has been plagued by series of violence in recent times.

LAGOS, - At least 67 people died in a wave of bombings and shootings carried out in northeast Nigeria overnight, officials said Saturday, as frightened mourners left their homes to begin burying their dead.

A radical Muslim sect known locally as Boko Haram claimed responsibility Saturday for the attacks, which represent the most coordinated and wide-ranging assault yet in their increasingly bloody sectarian fight with Nigeria's weak central government. The sect, which wants the strict implementation of Shariah law across the nation of more than 160 million people, promised to carry out more attacks.

The fighting centered around Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, Nigerian Red Cross official Ibrahim Bulama said. The attack started Friday with a car bomb exploding outside a three-story building used as a military office and barracks in the city, with many uniformed security agents dying in the blast, Bulama said.

Gunmen then went through the town, blowing up a First Bank PLC branch and attacking at least three police stations and some churches, leaving them in rubble, he said. Gunfire continued through the night and gunmen raided the village of Potiskum near the capital as well, witnesses said, leaving at least two people dead there.

On Saturday morning, people began hesitantly leaving their homes, seeing the destruction left behind, including military and police vehicles burned by the gunmen, with the burned corpses of the drivers who died in their seats.

Bulama spoke to The Associated Press by telephone Saturday morning from a common Muslim burial ground in the city as his family buried a relative and friend, a police officer who died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head in the fighting.

"There's that fear that something might possibly happen again," he said.

State government officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment Saturday.

The attacks around Damaturu came after four separate bombings struck Maiduguri, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east. One blast detonated around noon outside the El-Kanemi Theological College where parents had gathered. Police said others had entered the college grounds to attend Friday prayers at a mosque located on its campus.

Witnesses who spoke to the AP said they saw ambulances carry away at least six wounded people from the site. Another bombing alongside a road in Maiduguri killed four people, local police commissioner Simeon Midenda said.

A short time later, suicide bombers driving a black SUV attempted to enter a base for the military unit charged with protecting the city from Boko Haram fighters, military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed said. The SUV couldn't enter the gate and the explosives were detonated outside of the base, which damaged several buildings in the military's compound, Mohammed said.

Mohammed said blasts occurred at three other places in Maiduguri besides the base, with no one being killed. However, government officials routinely downplay such attacks in Nigeria over political considerations.

On Saturday, a Boko Haram spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks in an interview with The Daily Trust, the newspaper of record across Nigeria's Muslim north. A Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa promised that "more attacks are on the way."

"We will continue attacking federal government formations until security forces stop their excesses on our members and vulnerable civilians," the spokesman said.

His comments come as human rights activists say soldiers have beaten and killed civilians while trying to search for the sect in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram's attacks occurred ahead of Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice, when Muslims around the world slaughter sheep and cattle in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. Police elsewhere in the country had warned of violence ahead of the celebration in Nigeria, a country largely split between a Christian south and a Muslim north. On Wednesday, police in Maiduguri had said they broke up a plot to bomb the city over the holiday.

Boko Haram apparently has split into three factions, increasing the danger for Nigeria, the AP has learned. One faction remains moderate and welcomes an end to the violence, another wants a peace agreement with rewards similar to those offered to a different militant group in 2009.

The third faction, though, refuses to negotiate and remains the most radical. This faction is in contact with al-Qaida's North Africa branch and likely the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity according to embassy orders.

That sect likely is responsible for the increasingly violent and sophisticated attacks carried out in the sect's name. In August, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria's capital, which killed 24 people and left another 116 wounded.

D.C. archdiocese: Denying Communion to lesbian at funeral was against ‘policy’/Tosses Priest Under the Bus

Michelle Boorstein offers the following at:

Deep in grief, Barbara Johnson stood first in the line for Communion at her mother’s funeral Saturday morning. But the priest in front of her immediately made it clear that she would not receive the sacramental bread and wine.

Johnson, an art-studio owner from the District, had come to St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg with her lesbian partner. The Rev. Marcel Guarnizo had learned of their relationship just before the service. 
“He put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you Communion because you live with a woman, and in the eyes of the church, that is a sin,’ ” she recalled Tuesday.

She reacted with stunned silence. Her anger and outrage have now led her and members of her family to demand that Guarnizo be removed from his ministry.

Family members said the priest left the altar while Johnson, 51, was delivering a eulogy and did not attend the burial or find another priest to be there.

“You brought your politics, not your God into that Church yesterday, and you will pay dearly on the day of judgment for judging me,” she wrote in a letter to Guarnizo. “I will pray for your soul, but first I will do everything in my power to see that you are removed from parish life so that you will not be permitted to harm any more families.”

Late Tuesday, Johnson received a letter of apology from the Rev. Barry Knestout, one of the archdiocese’s highest-ranking administrators, who said the lack of “kindness” she and her family received “is a cause of great concern and personal regret to me.”

“I am sorry that what should have been a celebration of your mother’s life, in light of her faith in Jesus Christ, was overshadowed by a lack of pastoral sensitivity,” Knestout wrote. “I hope that healing and reconciliation with the Church might be possible for you and any others who were affected by this experience. In the meantime, I will offer Mass for the happy repose of your mother’s soul. May God bring you and your family comfort in your grief and hope in the Resurrection.”

Johnson called the letter “comforting” and said she greatly appreciates the apology. But, she added, “I will not be satisfied” until Guarnizo is removed.

The priest’s action has also triggered an uproar among gay rights activists and enlivened some religious conservatives. It came just days after the Maryland Senate approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the state; Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is expected to sign it this week.

“Fr. Marcel Guarnizo has been thrown under the bus for following Canon Law 915!” wrote one Catholic blogger in the archdiocese. “The issue here is not the priest but Barbara Johnson.”

Archdiocese officials at first issued a short statement saying that the priest’s actions were against “policy” and that they would look into it as a personnel issue.

“When questions arise about whether or not an individual should present themselves for communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person,” the statement said. “Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.”

For more, see:

Infanticide and "After Birth Abortion"

StandFirm offers this chilling account on infanticide and "after birth abortion."

The Blaze spotlights an article in the latest Journal of Medical Ethics by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva in which they argue that killing newborns should be acceptable practice when the impact of the baby’s life on its family is deemed… I’m not sure which word to use here… “unacceptable?” No, there’s no such definitive adjective offered here. “Inconvenient” is as accurate as I think it gets. Giubilini and Minerva are arguing for - and they make no pretense otherwise - for killing babies when their existence inconveniences the family, or when the cost of providing care for them would be “excessive”:
The two are quick to note that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion“ as opposed to ”infanticide.” Why? Because it “[emphasizes] that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus (on which ‘abortions’ in the traditional sense are performed) rather than to that of a child.” The authors also do not agree with the term euthanasia for this practice as the best interest of the person who would be killed is not necessarily the primary reason his or her life is being terminated. In other words, it may be in the parents’ best interest to terminate the life, not the newborns.

The circumstances, the authors state, where after-birth abortion should be considered acceptable include instances where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it had the potential for an “acceptable” life. The authors cite Downs Syndrome as an example, stating that while the quality of life of individuals with Downs is often reported as happy, “such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”

 For more, see:

Green Baggins Review: Frame's Escondido Theology

Green Baggins offers this review.  We recommend the blog to all.  This blog will need further review, notably, the comments section.  We are expecting other sites to follow Frame's blistering work about Westminster-CA's faculty and theology.  It's clear there is some bad blood between Rev. Frame and Westminster-CA. Green Baggins proposes that further analyses will be forthcoming.   Currently, RA is developing it's views.  While not as harsh as we see here, thus far, our views are not disposed in Mr. Frame's direction.  The chapter on Dr. R.Scott Clark is, prima facie, very problematic.  But more later.

Before I get to the review of this book, let it be officially known at the outset that I am not a WSCal toadie, whatever that might mean. I do not believe in the Framework Hypothesis. I have serious questions about the republication theory of the Mosaic covenant, though I firmly believe this to be an entirely intramural debate. My political views are what I might call “mild” two kingdoms. I would acknowledge the distinctions that the two kingdoms make without taking them as far as some WSC folks take them. In certain places I even agree with Frame’s critique of some aspects of WSC’s teaching (when he isn’t punch-drunk on revenge). However, I do agree with the Law-Gospel distinction, and reject utterly the notion that it is only a Lutheran position. That is historical nonsense. It is also Reformed, and commonly so. Ursinus taught it VERY clearly in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. The Marrow of Modern Divinity taught it VERY clearly. The work of John Colquhoun teaches it VERY clearly as well. But I graduated from WTS Philly, and that does mean I have some differences from my WSC brothers. But I deeply respect them, and was therefore incredibly angry when I read Frame’s book, which amounts, in my opinion, to little more than a hit piece written by what appears to me to be a very, very bitter man.

John Frame has written a number of books that are helpful. I particularly found his The Doctrine of God to be helpful, as well as much of his book The Doctrine of the Word of God. So, I have found much that is edifying in Frame’s work. The Escondido Theology is not one of these kinds of works. It is not gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already agree with his conclusions, as George Grant seems to do (I was very disappointed that Grant, for whom I hold a great respect, would put his name on this book). It is full of caricature and extension of arguments (I mean this in the logical fallacy sense). It is an embarrassment to the entire Reformed world. Only with this volume has a professor of one of the main Reformed seminaries descended to the level of attacking another entire seminary in the Reformed community. The gentleman’s agreement among the main Reformed seminaries has now been breached. I intend to get into specifics with a series of posts exposing the myriad slanders that Frame has leveled against the WSC folks.
For now, I would like to address two issues, and both in a general way. Firstly, is this book irenic, gracious, fair, and collegial, as George Grant claims (pp. vii, viii, xiv)? Consider the following quotation, given in context, though without Frame’s footnotes:

Horton has promoted the Escondido positions vigorously. His main contribution to the Escondido Theology is a great gift for communication. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine and of the radio program White Horse Inn. He has written a great many books, both popular and scholarly, and has lectured and taught all over the world. In his popular books he writes with an engaging style. He is known as a forceful, if not always accurate, critic of modern American evangelicalism. It almost seems to me that anything a prominent evangelical says, Horton feels compelled to say the opposite, however implausible his argument may be. So, like Clark, Horton is something of a Reformed chauvinist (page 13).

So, in addition to being unaware of the implausibility of some of his own arguments when reacting against “prominent evangelicals,” Horton (and Clark, Frame meaning R. Scott Clark) is a Reformed chauvinist. Dr. Frame, how exactly is this comment gracious, irenic, fair, and collegial? Are the comments about Horton’s “engaging style” and “gift for communication” supposed to mask the comment about being a Reformed chauvinist? To someone not prejudiced against WSC, this strikes me as an exceedingly sinful comment. Or was Frame unaware of how this comment would communicate (Frame being very concerned with how something communicates) both to WSC folks, and to those not biased against them?

Another example, this time on page 16 (Frame seems to have a particular aversion to Horton, as we will see, when Frame not only attacks Horton, but people Horton recommends, and people Horton has taught): “I would not be writing this book if it were not for another distinctive of the Escondido theology to which I have already alluded: the view that those who disagree with them are not orthodox, not to be considered Reformed. Here, see especially my review of Clark’s book. And on my analysis Horton’s Christless Christianity amounts to the claim that unless the evangelical church embraces (and ‘emphasizes’) the novelties and idiosyncrasies of the Escondido Theology, they are headed for Hell.” There are a number of problems with this quotation. Firstly, there are people on the faculty of WSC who don’t agree with the supposed distinctives of the seminary. Dr. Bob Godfrey is not a Two Kingdoms man, but is neo-Kuyperian. By the way, he’s the PRESIDENT of the seminary! Is Frame suggesting that the WSC folks are ready to throw Dr. Bob Godfrey out tarred and feathered?

Secondly, have any WSC folks even remotely hinted at the idea that non Two-Kingdoms, non-republication, non-Reformed confessional, non-Law-Gospel-distinction folks are all headed to Hell? My impression is that WSC folks argue for certain positions from the conviction that the clarity of the gospel is at stake. That is a distinct question from whether said unclear views that WSC folk are opposing relegate their proponents to Hell. Frame appears not to understand this distinction.

The second general issue I would like to address about this book is the inclusion of Frame’s personal history at WSC. If Frame wished to avoid the appearance of bitterness at how he was treated, if he wanted to paint himself as a person in a good position to describe the Escondido Theology, why did he include these completely irrelevant details about how he left the seminary (they are irrelevant if Frame is supposed to focus only on the theological issues, which I believe he would be required to do in a book of this sort)? To prove that he knew what was going on there? His book reviews should prove by themselves that he had read these books (though not very carefully, as we will see) and knew what these guys were saying. Frame refers to his own credentials as a Reformed theologian way too often for this to be believable to me. Folks, this book is about revenge for how he was treated at WSC, make no mistake about that. That is my read of it, anyway. If he wanted to avoid that impression, he picked that absolute worst way of going about it. Most people would not have to dig too far to know that Frame once taught at WSC. If this book were only about the theological issues, then he should NEVER have dragged in his own story of how he was treated at WSC. 

Is it a surprise that this book is not published by any mainstream publisher? I asked Horton about this on the phone. I asked him if he thought it likely that any WSC professor would EVER seek to get published by, say, P&R, if P&R had published this book. He said, “Absolutely not.” No mainstream publisher would have touched this book, you can count on that.

In short, folks, this book is an embarrassment to the Reformed world. I can’t imagine that Dr. Vern Poythress is pleased with this publication, either (Dr. Poythress and Dr. Frame share a website, on which they have published much of their work). The book is full of sin, and I call on Frame to repent of his sin. If you want a level-headed critique of some aspects of what is commonly taught at WSC, go to Dr. Cornelis Venema’s review of The Law Is Not Of Faith, published in the Mid-America Journal of Theology, year 2010. That is a truly irenic critique. He calls aspects of WSC’s teaching wrong. However, he does not caricature or extend what they say. He also doesn’t call them names like “chauvinist.” He deals with what they actually say.

I have condemned this book in strong terms. The fact is, I am both angry for WSC’s sake (hoping that this expose of Frame’s book will prevent any lasting damage to WSC in the future), and deeply saddened that Frame would do this. He will lose a great deal of respect for doing this, even among people who have serious reservations about WSC’s distinctives.


  1. jgrig2 said,

    February 29, 2012 at 7:42 am
    For those of us who don’t want to spend the money on the book, can you tell us what Frame says about his experiences at WSC?
  2. Richard said,

    February 29, 2012 at 9:43 am
    Thank you for writing this. Sadly, Frame’s comments and the respect people have for him for his other works will be fodder for people already disposed to disagree with the WSCAL profs. I see the theonomists at “American Vision” have already jumped all over Frame’s book with glee. He should apologize for his damage to the body of Christ.
  3. February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am
    Thanks for being honest enough to write this critique. The book made me sad when I read it in November. I have read and inadequately reviewed this book in November on Millennial Dreams where I have wrestled with theological topics. I know people involved in the publication and promotion of this book and have been so embarrassed about it. In fact, I just want to quit Reformed theology or any theology altogether and just concentrate on Scripture and prayer.
  4. Richard said,

    February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am
    We all remain sinners–justified sinners, but sinners. Don’t let a Christian’s bad acts deter you from seeking to know Him better–which is what theology is about.
  5. February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am
    Wow! Tell us how you really feel, Lane. That’s always the problem with you, you are always so hesitant to take a position. :) Seriously, I haven’t read the book, but I am sympathetic of your critique. I am a graduate of RTS (Washington) and had Frame as my prof for Ethics. I have a few of his books and a few of Horton’s books on my bookshelves (I hope they don’t start attacking each other) and I have benefitted from both. I would describe myself much the same as you described yourself, as a moderate two-kingdoms guy who is hesitant to accept all of the teaching from WSC but is appreciative of much of what they have written, as well as of much that Frame has written. Not having read the book, but having read a few reviews, I was already saddened by it. In-fighting of this nasty sort doesn’t please the Lord or advance the kingdom.
  6. February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am
    I just read this in an interview with Marco Gonzales (www.reformation from 2005 on the Frame-Poythress site. I thought it was helpful and shed some light on the matter –
  7. 3. You were very influential in the founding of Westminister Theological Seminary (CA Campus), Why did you see a need in founding a California Campus and how did you become involved in its development?
  8. Well, there was very little Reformed Christianity on the west cos at the time. There still isn’t much, compared with elsewhere. Those of us who went west had a real missionary vision. We wanted to see planted, not only a seminary, but churches as well. Graduates, students, and staff at the seminary did in fact plant and nurture a number of churches there.
    I was happy to be invited to participate. I was single, so I didn’t have to worry about moving a family. Things were going a little sour in Philadelphia as Westminster was dominated by the Shepherd controversy. My church had gotten taken over by a radical “truly Reformed” faction. So it seemed a good time for me to move. I also had the opportunity to teach smaller classes and therefore had time to write. It was in California that my writing projects finally reached publication.
    4. After 30 years of teaching and educating, why did you decide to leave Westminister and move to Reformed Theological Seminary?
    It would take a lot more hours than I have available to answer this question adequately. To give a bare summary: between me and WTS/C there were personal issues and theological ones. The personal issues were basically sins of my own, which I confessed on a number of occasions and in some cases received forgiveness. Still, some of these relationships were never put right.
    The theological issues as I see them: Over the 1990s, the seminary became more and more the tool of a faction, rather than representing the Reformed faith in its fullness. In the view of this faction, my theology was not “truly Reformed.” In my view, their narrowness prevented me from recommending the seminary to prospective students. I could not, of course, teach at a school that I could not honestly recommend, and I could not teach at a school where my Reformed commitment was not respected.
    So I sent out resumés and attracted interest from a number of schools. But RTS gave me the warmest welcome I had ever seen. There are seven former students of mine at RTS/Orlando and two more at the other campuses. There is no factionalism here, either on the faculty or in the student body. We are laboring together, supporting one another. Nobody is trying to undermine anyone else. For me, coming to RTS has been a little like dying and going to heaven.
    MORE –