Leithart among the Baptists: in understanding, be men...

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Over the past couple of months I've felt testy about the naive souls who blather on about the Rev. Dr. Peter Leithart's blatherings on "the future of Protestantism." Sure, I get why BIOLA paid him to come. Chesterton spoke about the Academy's penchant for the hip and chic. He pointed out that all scholars' talk about what is latest and best is "merely a giggling excitement over fashion." There's no denying that, among Baptists-gone-to-seed, Peter Leithart is the focus of a certain degree of giggling excitement.

So two years after the Torrey Honors Program's Mark Reynolds leaves, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (renamed "BIOLA") brings Peter in to tell them who they are and where they're heading. Not surprisingly, Peter is bubbly-hopeful about his abilities to heal the division between Protestant, Reformed, Presbyterian, and Presbyterian Church in America churches, and the Vatican.

Honestly, this is news? Has anyone been awake the past ten years? If news, I'd put it on the order of "dog bites man."

Leithart and his buds are just riding the shirttails of Richard John Neuhaus, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, and Pat Robertson...

before them. It's Evangelicals and Catholics Together all over again, but this time there's no one of any stature opposing them. Why not?

Because the leadership of the Reformed church today is in bondage to its vacillation and lassitude, leaving everyone vulnerable to whatever Delphine oracle seizes the microphone and yells the loudest.

A few years ago, I spent a Sunday afternoon talking with a young grad student just starting her Masters at Indiana University. The previous year she had completed her undergrad work at BIOLA and, following our worship that morning, she asked why I had fenced the Lord's Table including the requirement that those communing needed to be baptized members of an orthodox Christian church? Not long into our conversation, I found out she had never been baptized and never been received into any specific church, yet she had taken part in the Lord's Supper for many years.

She was very sweet and immediately understood my explanation of the authority of the Church over the sacraments as well as her own need of baptism and uniting with the Church of Jesus Christ, formally, including promising to submit to her officers.

This is the reason BIOLA pays the Rev. Dr. Peter Leithart to come pontificate on the inevitability of Rome.

BIOLA has no white blood cells to speak of. Only red ones.

And by the way, Rome isn't calling Peter, just as she didn't call Richard John, Chuck, Bill, or Pat before him. It's always Richard John, Chuck, Bill, Pat, and Peter calling Rome.

But since their Evangelical Synod of Trent, the line's been busy.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!