The sanguinity of Scriptural theology...

This is a superb piece on the difference between the warrior theologians of Scripture and academic theologians of our day. I'm increasingly inclined to think that the bloodiness of OT history must be felt and understood in the bones if we are to honor God as He demands.

It's the work of a man I really disagree with most of the time, but then sometimes he's spot on as here.

Thanks, Tim Varner.



Except for the fact that this is one of the most hypocritical pieces I have ever read. Jordan is a man obsessed with invective, vitriol and hatred.

The other fact is that as a pastor I know war, and hate the collateral damage more than the casualties. Men such as Jordan have been destroying lives of the unprotected sheep for decades. Just ask the folks in Tyler, Texas.

>The other fact is that as a pastor I know war

You were a chaplain? Which branch of service?

Hey, Mr. Gray, you remember that little kids' ditty, "I may never march in the infantry..., but I'm in the Lord's Army"?

Yes, Fred, I know that you are a warrior. But warriors are sometimes unfairly accused. This is why I try to be generous in my judgments. There are those who would say that I destroyed souls by closing my former church as well....

Love in Christ,


"Dr. Fesko seeks to summarize Lusk’s and my view of the Adamic Covenant. Unhappily he does not set the context very well. One could get the impression that seeing the three Persons of God as living in an eternal covenant of love is some new idea that “Federal Vision” people have concocted. In fact, the notion of covenant as one aspect of the divine fellowship was taught by Abraham Kuyper, Herman Hoeksema, and Cornelius Van Til, and is in fact but an aspect of the doctrine of perichoresis, the traditional doctrine of the mutual indwelling of the three Persons."

"He has no ground for his charge on p. 19 that Smith or anyone else denies the primary authority of Scripture in theology! Dr. Fesko does not accuse Turretin, Hodge, etc. of denying the authority of Scripture because they reason theologically to arrive at the covenant of redemption doctrine. So why does he lodge this charge against Smith and me?"

"Fesko writes (p. 11), “In fact proponents of the federal vision go as far as to say that ‘the ‘economic’ Trinity is the ‘immanent’ Trinity and the ‘immanent’ Trinity is the ‘economic’ Trinity.’” Again, he writes, “Stated more succinctly, the federal vision believes there is no distinction between the economic Trinity and the ontological Trinity. To say the least, this theological construction is fraught with problems.” Let me say that I agree that the formulation he refers to is “fraught with problems.”

The problem is that Fesko is actually quoting my quotation of Karl Rahner’s famous formula. And immediately after quoting Rahner, I added, “Rahner formulates the principle in bold language that invites distortion, but the idea is not new. Herman Bavinck phrases this traditional notion more carefully when he writes, ‘The ontological trinity is reflected in the economic trinity.’”

What we see here is a remarkable process of distortion. Note the three stages.

First, Fesko quotes the formula from Rahner as mine in spite of the fact that in the context I specifically express my dissatisfaction with it.

Second, he not only ignores the fact of my disapproval of Rahner, but also the alternative statement by Bavinck that I specifically recommend.

Third, the formula that I disapprove of is imputed to the “proponents of the federal vision.”"

No invective here.

What?? Down the rabbit hole we just went....

I thought it was relevant for the following reasons

1. The responses the quotes were from were fairly free of vitriol, and a good example of "wooing" responses.

2. Fesko has never (to my knowledge) replied to these issues with his criticism of JBJ and Smith.

3. I think its rather unbecoming for Fesko to snidely say "ask the people in Tyler Texas"

>Hey, Mr. Gray, you remember that little kids' ditty, "I may never march in the infantry..., but I'm in the Lord's Army"?

Sure but even as a boy I knew it was a euphemism. And good thing too, the church is much better than the army.


Umm... I think you have Dr. Fesko confused with Fred Greco. But, maybe I'm the one missing something here.

The fact is that real warriors and soldiers hate war. They’ve seen it. They know about it.

I have hesitated to reply to this thread due to the fact some might think that I am trying to "one up" others. I consider by myself a warrior. I seen war in Iraq where I served as a chaplain. I traveled all over the country armed with nothing but prayer and a firm belief in the sovereignty and providence of God. I was awarded the Combat Action Badge because the enemy tried to kill me, more than once. Let me tell you when the bullets, the mortars are flying and you have no visible means of defending yourself, then you find out if to use Jordan's terms your Calvinism is warrior or academic.

Just a few points

1. To Fred Greco-Brother I understand where you are coming from. I know what is like to be in the war which is in the church. However, are we doing battle with the world, flesh and the devil or with each other over trivial things? Let me say that I do not think the right understanding of what Scripture teaches is trivial and there are times where I have stood for somethings that I thought were important Scripturally that others didn't. But most of our wars in the church are self-inflicted which lead to what we call in the Army " mass casualties ". I wound encourage everyone to watch the movie " A Bridge to Far " especially the last scene and apply it to our church life together.

2. In reading some of the posts on this blog and others, there are those who seem to love to fight.I would never tell a man not stand for the truth but to do so in the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:24-26. I see little of this spirit in this debate.

3. Since I have come back from my deployment and looking on what is going on in my church I have felt a kinship with the Psalmist, "Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace but when I speak they are for war." Psalm 120:5-7


absolutely right.

Wow, is egg on my face.


Wow Fred, this is the second Bayly post where you've dragged out off topic and hotly disputed issues (this current one being deeply personal) to try to poison the well. Instead of going for the kill in regards to these men's reputations, it would be far better to engage with the substance of the issue at hand.

To the Bayly Bros, I greatly appreciate y'all's ability to note the good as well as the bad in men like Wilson and Jordan. Good job.

So, Steven, a man who falsely excommunicates Christians, but persists even after Church courts rule the excommunications false, every other party to the false excommunications repents and apologies, is a man who should be listened to on grace and civility?

A man who is directly responsible for destroying a church and the Reformed witness in a town for decades is a man to advise me on pastoral sensitivity?

You speak as a man who has read too much Jordan, and pastored too few people. I pray the Lord cuts short your internet time and gives you grace to minister more.

"So, Steven, a man who falsely excommunicates Christians, but persists even after Church courts rule the excommunications false, every other party to the false excommunications repents and apologies, is a man who should be listened to on grace and civility?"

Possibly. Maybe everyone else is lying or uninformed or covering something up.

In Resurrection and Moral Order, Oliver O'Donovan said makes an argument about ethics (and hermeneutics) that is relevant to your point (though perhaps more tangential to Jordan's) about feeling the bloodiness and honoring God. He argues that in order to read the Old Testament faithfully, one must suspend the demanding moral questions raised, for example, by the contradictions between the conquest narrative in Joshua and Christ in Gethsemane:

The demand which [the conquest narrative] makes upon our faith is not that we should struggle to reconcile in moral terms the form of creaturely order which is shown us by Christ in Gethsemane with these unbridled acts of war, but that we should accept what is, perhaps, the greater scandal: a reconciliation in the history of divine revelation which can embrace even such a contradiction to the moral order. In God’s self-disclosure something had to come before the vindication of the moral order: the transcendent fire of election and judgment had to be shown in all its nakedness, in all its possible hostility to the world, if we were to learn what it meant that in Christ the Word of God became flesh and took the cause of the world as his own cause.

Resurrection and Moral Order, 158.

Because you said "Thank you, Tim Varner" at the end of the post I assumed the article, when I went to it, was written by a guy named Tim Varner, and I never glanced at the byline. I began reading the article, and it started clear enough then meandered into quite a mush. I ended up skimming the rest wondering why you had linked to it. Now that I see that it was written by James Jordan it all becomes clear. Still, though, I'm not sure why you'd link to it. Other than the initial argument about the academy not being a good place to do Reformed theology (a point he mushes up quite a bit as the article carries on).

Fred, I'm not sure how suggesting that we interact with the substance of an article in question rather than personal issues that none of us have first-hand knowledge of is an example of my pastoral inexperience.

I just ask that you treat people the way you want to be treated and love your enemies. And I didn't read that advice online.

Add new comment