I was going to ignore this when it first floated in the swirling blogosphere. But then, of course, The Aquila Report reprinted it.
The only rationale given for Meyers’ innocence is that he believes that the first and second covenants aren’t the same. In what is the only rationale given for the vindication of Meyers, the report states:
“TE Meyers unequivocally states, ‘I do not believe that the prelapsarian covenant is the same as the postlapsarian covenants.’”
Well, even the most thoroughgoing Arminian or Socinian would argue this point given the absence and presence of sin before and after the fall. Also important is that this concern wasn’t ever raised in the LOC. No one accused Meyers of believing that the first and second covenants are the same.
“The only rationale…”
Here is the report: there is more than one rationale listed.
“Also important is that this concern wasn’t ever raised in the LOC. No one accused Meyers of believing that the first and second covenants are the same.”
The letter of complaint said in part:
1. TE Meyers rejects the bi-covenantal structure of Scripture as represented in the
Westminster Standards (i.e., his views do not merely take issue with the terminology, but
the essence of the first/second covenant framework) contrary to those Standards….
d. TE Meyers states that we are saved into the same covenant into which Adam was created at
the beginning of the world (Ibid.). Consequently, TE Meyers’ view is radically
The writer doesn’t seem to realize that “monocovenantal” means “one covenant” (mono = one). Thus, the statement, “TE Meyers unequivocally states, ‘I do not believe that the prelapsarian covenant is the same as the postlapsarian covenants.’” directly deals with a concern raised in the letter of concern.
“Well, even the most thoroughgoing Arminian or Socinian…”
So when you have the temerity to not agree with me when I accuse you of heresy I just feel free to move the goal posts and raise new heretical associations with your name. An atheist can affirm the historical birth and death of Jesus. So someone accuses me of denying the existence of Jesus, and I affirm it, then someone can say, “Well, even the most thoroughgoing atheist…” Well, so what?
The issue in the “letter of concern” was not that Meyers was an Arminian or a Socinian, but that he was monocovenantal. And he’s not. Stop piling on evil associations to smear his name.
And then there is other stuff like:
“I’d suggest you find a way of reading the first chapter of Guy Waters’ excellent book Federal Vision and Covenant Theology, which..”
Guy Waters book is stupid and misleading. It was born of hallucinatory lectures that were given to a highly prejudiced group in Mississippi, made horrible accusations against PCA ministers (including me), were circulated far and wide throughout the denomination, without ever notifying the targets or their presbyteries.
Note that this was probably eight years ago. Only after this stuff was circulated privately were these railing accusations finally brought up through the Church.
When I heard Guy Waters was writing a book I feared that it would contain the same misinformation. I contacted him and asked him to let me know what he was going to write about me so that I could interact with him and make his published work stronger. But he would have none of it. He refused to talk to any one of his targets as far as I know.
So a book written by a PCA minister, making charges of theological heterodoxy (I’m betting Waters tried as much to avoid making that direct statement as he tried to make sure readers left his book with that impression) against other PCA ministers, without in any way consenting to speak or correspond with the PCA ministers being so targeted… is supposed to refute a Presbytery that actually bothered to let the accused speak in his own defense.
The fact is that presbytery after presbytery is looking at the men that Waters found so easy to accuse, and is clearing their names (in the mere Church, of course, not the holy blogosphere). If I were Guy Waters, I’d be worried. I mean, it might become clear that his theological abilities, Duke Grad school notwithstanding, are quit substandard. Good thing The Aquila Report is trying to stave off a day of reckoning.
Then there is this:
The issue of merit is brought up as something that Meyers has had trouble with in the past. What’s not clear is whether Meyers is equivocating between condign merit before the fall and the works principle before the fall.
While the former issue is more within the realm of legitimate debate, the latter is not, given the absolute insistence upon the works principle in the Westminster Standards:
The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience (WCF 7:2)
So a good question is whether or not Meyers believes works, as it is defined here as “perfect” and “personal”, to be operative before the fall as a means of securing blessing, and if so, how he defines the works principle.
But neither Meyers or anyone else at all in the PCA (or anyone else in the FV controversy) has ever denied that Adam had to be perfectly and personally obedient. He explicitly told the committee he agreed that Adam was in a conditional covenant. And he was accused of signing the Joint FV Statement (along with yours truly) which stated:
We affirm that Adam was in a covenant of life with the triune God in the Garden of Eden, in which arrangement Adam was required to obey God completely, from the heart.
Raising the possibility that Jeff would deny such a thing is libel several times over. He has affirmed agreement with Westminster. He signed a document that reiterated the same. I’ve heard him teach it as have many others. But why should that matter when Guy Waters brilliant book is out there with such clear arguments? Ha!
The rest of the article strives mightily to make obvious and quite patristic Trinitarian Theology into a heresy. For instance:
The same goes for the argument from history. The doctrine of the Trinity was, for the early church, the most systematically, thoroughly, and precisely defined doctrines within the corpus of Christian thought and literature. To argue from the church’s silence is only a nail in Meyers’ coffin.
We can prove from the development of Trinitarian dogma that an eternal covenantal relationship was foreign to the church’s thinking. If the early church with all of the councils, decrees, creeds, formulations, debates, condemnations, and so on, deemed it best to describe the Trinitarian relationship in non-covenantal categories, why should we, who stand on the shoulders of the early church, attempt to re-define this central doctrine in categories foreign to this early creedal orthodoxy?
I’ll allow Lig Duncan to speak in Jeff Meyer’s defense:
Covenant theology flows from the trinitarian life and work of God. God’s covenant communion with us is modeled on and a reflection of the intra-trinitarian relationships. The shared life, the fellowship of the persons of the Holy Trinity, what theologians call perichoresis or circumincessio, is the archetype of the relationship the gracious covenant God shares with His elect and redeemed people. God’s commitments in the eternal covenant of redemptive find space-time realization in the covenant of grace.
A laymen writing stupid and false things on a blog is no real discredit to the PCA. But to be picked up and reprinted by a website associated with someone who was once a moderator of General Assembly?
Of course, no one is ever held accountable for spreading falsehoods, so if the Bible is true we should not be surprised this is happening.