Lessons for the Lads

Martha McElwain

PDF   Download the PDF version of this review. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your system please click here on Adobe Acrobat Reader to download.
Download the E-Book version of this review.
Download the Kindle version of this review.

Editors Note: For more than 30 years, beginning with the faculty and teaching at Westminster Seminary in the early 1970s, Reformed and Presbyterian churches in the United States have been corrupted and subverted by false teaching on the doctrines of Scripture, election, justification, the covenant of grace, sacraments, and the Gospel. Today, those heresies are entrenched, widespread, and taught with enthusiasm and impunity in the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Office-holders in those denominations - Pastors, Elders, Deacons, seminary professors and administrators - have taken no effective action to stop the spread of the heresies or to discipline the heretics. In fact, they have done the opposite. There are good-ole-boys’ networks, developed during seminary daze, that protect false teachers from any effective discipline or opposition. Students protect their professors; professors protect their students; and students and professors protect each other. Because they control the church courts, the good-ole-boys’ networks have prevented church courts from taking any effective action against false teachers in Presbyterian churches. With the exception of John Kinnaird (an Elder charged with heresy by ordinary church members, not seminarians, and whose conviction was subsequently overturned by the highest court of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, controlled, of course, by seminarians), no teacher has been disciplined by those denominations. (In one obscure case involving Burke Shade, now a ìpastorî affiliated with Douglas Wilson’s sect, CREC, Illiana Presbytery [PCA] deposed him from office. Hardly anyone has heard of that case outside of that Presbytery, since the Presbytery did not understand that Shade, a follower of James Jordan, was part of a much larger problem in the PCA.)
Out of the scores of Pastors, Elders, and seminary professors teaching false doctrine in the OPC and the PCA in the past five years,

not one has been removed from office
not one has been convicted of doctrinal error
not one has been tried
not one has even been charged with error.

A few Presbyteries and congregations have adopted ìstatementsî on some errors, but such statements are both toothless and shallow. The lads in charge of the seminaries and churches have failed in their duty to Christ and the church, but they have succeeded, so far, at protecting their own backsides and the backsides of their friends. But when church officers fail to do their duty, they are judged by God, and he raises up Christians who know and do their duty.
History contains many accounts of brave, intelligent, and believing women who act in defense of the truth when men, who have the greater responsibility to do so, fail. Those familiar with Scots history remember the name of Jenny Geddes, who threw a stool at church officers trying to impose the King’s liturgy in a Presbyterian church.

Well, lads, a greater than Jenny is here.

In February 2005, Miss Martha McElwain, daughter of a deceased Elder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who had left the PCUSA in June 1936, wrote a letter to the Board of Directors of Westminster Theological Seminary informing them of her concern about the false teaching of the Seminary and of her intention to eliminate the Seminary from her Will. The Seminary arranged a meeting between the President, a Seminary Board member, and Miss McElwain to discuss the matter. Miss McElwain wrote a Report of that meeting, a Critique of the meeting, and followed up with a letter to President Peter Lillback (PCA).
We begin our account with Miss McElwain’s February 2005 letter to Westminster Seminary. Read and learn your doctrine and your duty, lads.

 

Letter Dated February 15, 2005

Board of Directors
Westminster Theological Seminary
Post Office Box 27009
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Gentlemen:

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I am writing to say that I have to remove Westminster Theological Seminary from my Will. ìWhy?î you may ask. It is due to the fact that I do not agree with the teachings of the Seminary that ìworks of obedienceî are a part of justification.

The Word of God is very clear that we can do no works whatsoever to gain justification. Justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous in His sight because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and it is received by faith alone. Praise God, our faith is His gift to us as well.

Our salvation from beginning to end is all of God to undeserving sinners. It is He who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We continue to mature and grow (sanctification) only because the blessed Holy Spirit indwells us, and the elect will persevere to the end, only by the grace of God.

It is only by the grace of God that I do not believe that ìworks of obedienceî are a part of salvation because the Scripture says, ìThere is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of deathî - Proverbs 14:12. Natural man sincerely believes in ìworks of obedience,î which actually are the teachings of Romanism.

I have shed tears over the departure of Westminster Seminary from the truth and, also, have shed tears that there are pastors in the OPC and the PCA who are not teaching the truth because of what they have wrongly learned at Westminster. May God bring a true Reformation to Westminster, is my prayer.

With a heavy heart and tears,
(Miss) Martha McElwain

P. S. My mother will no longer contribute to Westminster either.

 

Report on Meeting with Peter Lillback and Board Member from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Held on November 3, 2005, at Quarryville, Pennsylvania

Providentially it was a lovely fall day when Peter Lillback drove from the Philadelphia area to southern Lancaster County, which is Amish country in Pennsylvania. The temperature was very comfortable for this time of year, hovering around seventy degrees, making it possible for us to sit outside for our meeting so that we could enjoy the warmth of the late afternoon sunshine.

So that you will understand what prompted the meeting, I had written a letter on February 15, 2005, to the Board of Directors of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia because of my concern about the Seminary in regards to the doctrine of justification and ìworks of obedience.î You, my prayer partners, are aware of the ìJustification Controversy.î In a moment I shall include most of the letter that I sent to the Board at Westminster.

When Peter’s secretary first telephoned me on September 15, 2005, to inform me that Peter and a member of the Board of Directors wished to talk with me, the meeting was scheduled for Friday, October 7th. However, another commitment arose for Peter that could not be scheduled for any other time except in the afternoon of October 7th. This was the reason our meeting was rescheduled for Thursday, the 3rd of November.

 


It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I am writing to say that I have to remove Westminster Theological Seminary from my Will. ìWhy?î you may ask. It is due to the fact that I do not agree with the teachings of the Seminary that ìworks of obedienceî are a part of justification.


 

Peter was graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. Knowing that Dallas Seminary is a dispensational seminary, I asked Peter if he ìran intoî John Calvin at Dallas since he ended up at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and he said that he had. Peter has become the new president of Westminster Seminary and has been in this capacity for several months now.

In my letter to the Board of Directors at Westminster I said, ìThe Word of God is very clear that we can do no works whatsoever to gain justification. Justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous in His sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and it is received by faith alone. Praise God, our faith is His gift to us as well.

ìOur salvation from beginning to end is all of God to undeserving sinners. It is He who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We continue to mature and grow (sanctification) only because the blessed Holy Spirit indwells us, and the elect will persevere to the end, only by the grace of God.

ìIt is only by the grace of God that I do not believe that ìworks of obedienceî are a part of salvation because the Scripture says, ‘There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’ - Proverbs 14:12. Natural man sincerely believes in ‘works of obedience,’ which actually are the teachings of Romanism.

ìI have shed tears over the departure of Westminster Seminary from the truth and, also, have shed tears that there are pastors in the OPC and the PCA who are not teaching the truth because of what they have wrongly learned at Westminster. May God bring a true Reformation to Westminster, is my prayer.î

On November 3 after we were seated comfortably out of doors at Quarryville, Pennsylvania, Peter opened with prayer. He told me that the Board of Westminster had been praying over my letter. Then, it was his desire that I go into the concerns that I had. To do this, it was necessary for me to state exactly what I believed. I told Peter that the Word of God, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and what I have read in John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and what Martin Luther said as well, clearly say that we are justified by faith alone. Martin Luther was struck when he saw that Romans 1 states, ìThe just shall live by faith.î

I quoted the Shorter Catechism answer to the question, ìWhat is justification?î It says, ìJustification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and declareth us as righteous in His sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.î I said that when the elect of God have been justified in His sight through faith alone, the blessed Holy Spirit enables the elect to will and to do of God’s good pleasure in the process of sanctification. In a very concrete case some years back, I shared with Peter how God gave me love for my enemy. He gave me the grace to put my arm around a person who was extremely jealous and hateful toward me, and He enabled me to say, ìI love you....(I’ll not say her name). She responded, ìHow can that be!?î I could truly reply, ìGod the Holy Spirit makes it possible.î I told Peter it is not natural to say this, humanly speaking. But when God has regenerated a person, these things are possible. God puts it in our hearts to want to please Him, and we desire to walk in obedience because of His great love for us. We are saved ìunto good worksî but, ìeven then,î I said, ìI am an unprofitable servant.î However, I told Peter and the board member that if I think I can hold these ìgood worksî up to God in the Judgment Day as the means of gaining entrance into heaven, I am headed straight to hell. I mentioned that the thief on the cross didn’t even have any opportunity to do good works after he was saved, and Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise. I emphasized again that I couldn’t hold up any ìgood worksî before God in the Judgment Day and think that these works would gain me entrance into heaven. Peter said, ìThat’s right. That is Romanism.î I said that we shall be rewarded according to our works, but not saved by them. In First Corinthians 3, I said, the chapter begins with, ìBrothers.î Therefore, we know that Paul was writing to believers. In this chapter we see how some were building: their ìworksî amounted to ìwood, hay, and stubble.î But the ìwood, hay, and stubbleî was burned up, but they escaped as through the flames. They were saved by the ìskin of their teeth,î as it were. Peter agreed with me that we’d be rewarded for our ìworks,î but that our works would not be the means by which we’d gain entrance into heaven.

Peter shared a lot of information about John Calvin and the covenant, and the Westminster Confession of Faith. In the few paragraphs that follow, I shall mention the main points that Peter made.

Peter referred to Chapter XI of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the second paragraph that says, ìFaith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.î (I chimed in and said that there were other paragraphs that followed in Chapter XI.) Peter proceeded to elaborate on ìother saving graces.î Peter brought out that we are saved through the sole instrument of faith, but that the Confession says that there are ìother saving graces.î He said, ìBy their fruits ye shall know them. Our faith is no dead faith, but a working faith.î I mentioned that I had understood some time ago, that Martin Luther had had problems with the book of James. I continued by emphasizing that in the second chapter of James it states, ìIf a man says he has faith, and his life doesn’t show it, then the faith he says he has is a dead faith. Abraham was declared righteous in God’s sight because he believed God, and he was declared righteous even before he was circumcised. But due to the fact that Abraham’s faith was real and not a dead faith, he was willing to do the ‘work’ of offering up Isaac when God asked him to do so.î

Peter said that justification and sanctification are two different things, and he further elaborated on the ìsaving graces.î He said that Calvin said justification and sanctification are (1) ìdistinguishable,î but he also said that Calvin said that justification and sanctification were (2) ìinseparable,î that they were (3) ìsimultaneous,î and (4) that there was a ìlogical order.î Peter told me that what he was saying was not original with him, that is, Peter. (Some of you may know that Peter had a great interest in John Calvin and that he studied him in great detail.)

Another thing Peter mentioned was that when something is in print and it has not been properly understood, there is no way it can be retracted. I agreed that it is much more difficult to put things into writing than to have a verbal conversation, and Peter said that when one is talking he can say, ìThat isn’t what I mean, and he can clarify it.î

I mentioned Norman Shepherd and said that Westminster was so long in getting rid of him. He said that Shepherd was ìunclear,î and that is the reason the Board dismissed him. Peter said that Norman Shepherd had sanctification on top of justification instead of justification on top of sanctification, and that Shepherd was wrong. In the course of our conversation about Shepherd, I said that there was a gentleman who was graduated from Westminster who told me that what Norman Shepherd taught in his morning class conflicted with what Dr. Godfrey taught in the afternoon. I mentioned that there were a lot of students who were under the teaching of Norman Shepherd since he was at Westminster for a long time. Also, I said, ìThere are churches in the OPC and the PCA who are promoting the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP), the ‘Federal Vision’ (FV), and ‘Shepherdism,’î and I continued, ìWhere did the ministers who are in these churches get this kind of teaching except in seminary?î Peter gave me no answer as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching these sorts of things.

Peter told me that he had questioned all the professors at Westminster about whether any of them were teaching the ìNPP,î the ìFV,î or ìShepherdism,î and that they all denied that they were. He said that there is some truth in all of these, but that they all have error. He mentioned that N. T. Wright is in error, too. Peter referred me to Matthew 13:52 in which Jesus said, ìTherefore, every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new (italics for emphasis) and old.î

The next thing Peter said that he is going to do is to have each professor at Westminster Seminary go over the Westminster Confession of Faith thoroughly. I told Peter that back in the old denomination (PCUSA), ministers said that they accepted the WCF but they really didn’t agree with it. I said that the issues that arose in the PCUSA were clear-cut. Ministers either believed in the Virgin Birth, or they denied it; they either believed in the inerrancy of Scripture, or they denied it; they either believed in the miracles, or they denied them; but what is going on now is very subtle.

Several weeks ago I read some things that Dr. Van Til said and found him to be confusing and contradictory, and I told Peter that I thought that Dr. Van Til was confusing and contradictory. When I mentioned this, Peter made no comment about my statement concerning Dr. Van Til.

Our conversation led to a few things about Dallas Seminary that did not have any bearing upon the justification issue; therefore, I shall not mention these particulars to you.

Our meeting lasted a little more than an hour, and then the board member closed in prayer. I was thankful for having had the opportunity to talk with Peter about my concerns in regards to the justification issue. The day after our meeting, I wrote Peter a letter. Below I shall share a part of this letter with you.

ìDear Peter: Thank you, again, for coming yesterday to meet with me. I certainly appreciated your taking the time to do so! The Lord blessed us with a beautiful day for the meeting as well, so that we could sit outside and enjoy the pleasant weather.î

Then I told Peter in his letter that there were several of my friends who had been praying for our meeting, and that I planned to write a report of what was said at the meeting to give to them. I also said that I’d run the report by the board member for his approval of its accuracy because I was concerned to be correct in my reporting. I said in Peter’s letter, ìNeither do I ever want to take anything out of context, nor do I ever want to put my own ‘spin’ on anything. Truth and justice are very important in every situation for the honor of God because our God is a God of truth and justice.î In addition, I told Peter that after our meeting was over, I made notes of some of the things we talked about while they were still fresh on my mind.

Then my letter continued, ìIn our meeting when I mentioned the ‘New Perspective on Paul,’ the ‘Federal Vision,’ and ‘Shepherdism,’ you said that you had questioned the professors at Westminster and that they all said they are not teaching these things. You also mentioned that you would be having the professors relook at the Westminster Confession of Faith. I shall appreciate your letting me know how that goes. Thank you.

ìYou will recall at the meeting yesterday I mentioned that Norman Shepherd was at Westminster for a long time. (You no doubt know that it was from 1963 until 1982.) This being the case, I do not know how Mr. Shepherd’s being at Westminster all those years did not have a negative influence on students and other faculty members as well.

ìToo, I had said that I had read some of what Dr. Van Til said, and that I thought he was confusing and contradictory. Personally, I do not think that the subject of apologetics should be confusing and contradictory: profound, yes, but not confusing and contradictory. As you know, Dr. Van Til was at Westminster many years. Also, I am concerned of the influence he has had on many students and other faculty members as well.î

In the next paragraph in Peter’s letter I said that I had been ì trusting of what others in the OPC thought about Westminster Seminary and Dr. Van Til.î (This was in the 1970’s and 80’s). Then I said in the letter, ìThe only thing I was aware of was the Shepherd problem. I had read his Thirty-Four Theses. But, after that, I heard no more about him. In the verbal reports we were given of the General Assembly of the OPC, there was no mention made of Norman Shepherd, and he was in the OPC until he was dismissed from Westminster in 1982 and entered the Christian Reformed Church. Personally, now that I know what I do about Norman Shepherd, I think the OPC was very lax in not lovingly carrying out discipline for his sake and the sake of others.î

For you, my friends, who prayed for the meeting, I sincerely thank you!

This report is for the glory of God alone, and for the sake of God’s truth, which is precious and sweeter than honey!

ìThe grass withereth, and the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand foreverî - Isaiah 40:8.

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!

Martha A. McElwain
Quarryville, Pennsylvania
November 11, 2005

 

Critique of November 3, 2005, Meeting with Peter Lillback and a Board Member from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia

The purpose of this ìCritiqueî is to make comparisons with what was said at the November 3, 2005, meeting with Peter Lillback who became the president of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 2005, and other documented evidence.

SECTION ONE:

Peter Lillback supported Elder John O. Kinnaid (of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Oxford, Pennsylvania) in John’s trial for heresy at the Philadelphia Presbytery of the OPC in November of 2002. Please reread page 2 of my ìReport,î the third paragraph, and particularly note what I said about ìgood worksî after an individual is saved. I said that ìI couldn’t hold up any ‘good works’ before God in the Judgment Day and think that these works would gain me entrance into heaven,î and Peter said, ìThat’s right. That’s Romanism.î You will also see in that paragraph that Peter agreed with me that we’d be rewarded for our ìgood worksî and not be that by which we’d gain entrance into heaven.

I shall now refer you to what John O. Kinnaird (who is a follower of Norman Shepherd and, keep in mind, Peter supported him) wrote in The Personal Declaration and Theological Statements of Elder John O. Kinnaird. In the section that John entitles ìTHE FINAL JUDGEMENTî [sic], John says the following:

ìGod has appointed a day when he will judge the world in righteousness. All persons who have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ to give account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or bad. On That Great Day, the Day of Judgement [sic], God’s righteous judgement [sic] will be revealed. God will then give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good (we Presbyterians call this perseverance) seek glory, honor, immortality, he will give eternal life.

 

 


Peter Lillback [President of Westminster Seminary] supported Elder John O. Kinnaid (of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Oxford, Pennsylvania) in John’s trial for heresy at the Philadelphia Presbytery of the OPC in November of 2002.


 

For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be eternal wrath and anger and destruction from before the face of the Lord. It is those who obey the law who will be declared Righteous on that Day of Judgement [sic]. WCF XXXIII.I and II; Romans 2:1-16.î

John Kinnaird’s Declaration about the Day of Judgment and ìworksî is the same as that of Norman Shepherd. Do you see an inconsistency with what I said about the works of true believers in the Judgment Day (and Peter Lillback agreed with me) and Peter’s standing up for John Kinnaird at John’s trial for heresy?

 


Peter Lillback said that Norman Shepherd put sanctification on top of justification, and that he (Shepherd) was wrong. And, yet, Peter supported John Kinnaird (a ìShepherditeî) in John’s trial for heresy.


 

SECTION TWO:

John Kinnaird says earlier in his Declaration that one is justified before God through the sole instrument of faith. Below I shall quote from the section of John’s Declaration which he has entitled ìGOD’S PURPOSE AND PLAN.î

ìGod had a purpose and a plan for all of creation and history, including the fall of Adam, before he brought any of it to pass. Insight into this purpose and plan is received from Scripture, one notable place being Romans 8:29-30, ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.’ It is to be noted from this text that God’s stated purpose here is to establish His Son as ‘the firstborn among many brethren’. To that end he had to create people who would ‘be conformed to the image of his Son’. It is not possible that any could be a brother to Jesus Christ and enjoy with Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the presence of God the Father except that one be fully conformed to the image of Christ in true and personal righteousness and holiness. Neither the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which all Christians receive at justification, nor the infusion of the righteousness of Christ (a false and non-existent concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church)-can suffice for that purpose. Christ does not have an imputed righteousness; His righteousness is real and personal. If we are to be conformed to his image, we too must have a real and personal righteousness.....î

At this point please refer to page 3 of my ìReport,î and reread the fourth paragraph. In this paragraph, please note that Peter Lillback told me ìthat Norman Shepherd had sanctification on top of justification....and that Shepherd was wrong.î

What conclusions do you draw from what John Kinnaird says in his Declaration that I quoted above? Do you think that John Kinnaird, also, puts sanctification on top of justification, just as Norman Shepherd does? [You will recall that I mentioned above that Peter Lillback said that Norman Shepherd put sanctification on top of justification, and that he (Shepherd) was wrong. And, yet, Peter supported John Kinnaird (a ìShepherditeî) in John’s trial for heresy.]

SECTION THREE:

Also on page 3 of the ìReport,î the fourth paragraph, I said, ìThere are churches in the OPC and the PCA who are promoting the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ (NPP), the ‘Federal Vision’ (FV), and ‘Shepherdism,’î and I continued, ìWhere did the ministers who are in these churches get this kind of teaching except in seminary?î (I asked Peter this.) (I knew that there were many Westminster graduates who entered the OPC and the PCA as pastors in these denominations. But I wanted to see what Peter would say as to where these ministers got their ideas.) Peter did not answer my question as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching the ìNPP,î the ìFV,î and ìShepherdism.î Sadly, there are OPC and PCA missionaries out on the field who are graduates of Westminster Seminary, and they, too, are teaching these heresies.

It would be my recommendation that you read John O. Kinnaird’s Declaration in its entirety and that you notice how much he sounds like Norman Shepherd.

 

 


Peter [Lillback] did not answer my question as to how it is that there are ministers in the OPC and the PCA who are preaching and teaching the ìNPP,î the ìFV,î and ìShepherdism.î Sadly, there are OPC and PCA missionaries out on the field who are graduates of Westminster Seminary, and they, too, are teaching these heresies.


 

SECTION FOUR:

Due to my employment in addition to writing a ìReportî and ìCritiqueî of the meeting with Peter Lillback and the board member held on November 3, I have not been able to read Paul M. Elliott’s book entitled, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond. I acquired Paul’s book on Sunday, November 6, 2005, at ìThe Reformation Betrayedî conference. In looking at the index and leafing through Paul’s book, it is not hard to see that he has good documentation for what he has written. I sincerely believe that it is a book that every serious Christian should read so as to be informed about the truth of what is going on with ìNeo-Liberalismî in the OPC and the PCA and ìBeyond,î as Paul puts it in the title of his book.

One thing I looked up in the index of Paul’s book was Gaffin, Richard B., Jr. since he is a professor at Westminster Seminary. I personally knew ìJunior’sî parents, Richard B. Gaffin, Sr., and his wife Pauline who was called ìPolly.î Both Mr. and Mrs. Gaffin, Sr., were doctrinally sound. However, please note the following, which is a quote from Paul’s book regarding Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., on pages 16 and 17: ìSome neo-liberals who endorse the teachings of Norman Shepherd have also embraced the NPP. But other Shepherd supporters, such as Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.....î

On pages 42 and 43 of Paul’s book, Paul has this to say: ìLike the old liberalism, today’s neo-liberalism is also founded on a mystical conception of God. Herman Bavinck, a philosophical hero of neo-liberal theologians such as Norman Shepherd, Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., and John M. Frame, asserted the following in the second volume.....î

On Pages 56 and 57 of Paul’s book, Paul says: ìRichard B. Gaffin, Jr., ordained OPC minister and Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, glowingly endorses Shepherd’s presentation of a false gospel.....î Paul has approximately twenty-five more sections in his book in which he mentions Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.! In addition to Gaffin, Jr., Paul Elliott has documented material about Vern S. Poythress, Douglas Green (who is in agreement with N. T. Wright), and Peter Enns (who has written a new book denying the inerrancy of Scripture). All of these men are professors at Westminster Theological Seminary! The facts Paul gives are quite disturbing.

Now, has your appetite been whetted to the point that you want to read Paul M. Elliott’s book, Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond? I certainly hope so!

ìForever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations....î - Psalm 119:89, 90a.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my prayer partners,

It humbles me when I think about the apostasy that is taking place in the OPC and the PCA because, apart from God’s love and mercy and grace, I, too, would be deceived and would be following heretical teaching. Praise God, He has opened my eyes to see and believe the truth of His Word, and to recognize the heresies that are swirling about!

I thank the Lord for my brothers and sisters who already courageously have removed themselves from The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, some of them in the midst of many hardships to do so: the denomination in which I was reared and had come to love! My heart aches for those who were under sound teaching from infancy but who now are preaching and teaching heresies while at the same time claiming to believe the truth!

We must be forever vigilant and, with God’s strength, stand firm with all humility! It costs to be a Christian, but it is an honor to suffer for Jesus sake, and it is well worth it!

Brother Paul Elliott has been diligent and, also, very courageous to have written the book that he did, and I thank the Lord for him!

 

Martha A. McElwain
Quarryville, Pennsylvania

 

Follow-Up Letter to Peter Lillback

December 2, 2005

Dr. Peter A. Lillback
Westminster Theological Seminary
Post Office Box 27009
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Dear Peter:

Enclosed is the ìReportîof the meeting I had with you on November 3, 2005. The purpose of the ìReportî was to mention the main things about which we talked. I passed the ìReportî by Keith for his approval for accuracy. He told me that what I said is what he recalled. Also, this letter is a follow-up letter to you based upon that meeting.

 

 


Peter, out of Christian love, I can do no other than to say that when you can support, ìIt is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment,î this is a contradiction from what you told me at our meeting on November 3rd.


 

You will remember that we talked about ìgood works.î After one is genuinely saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone (justified, forensically speaking), God the Holy Spirit works in and through us ìto will and to do of His good pleasure.î Even so, we are unprofitable servants. When I said that if I thought these ìgood worksî (after I am saved, or justified) could be held up to God in the Judgment Day as entrance into heaven, then I would be headed straight to hell and you agreed that this was right. I said we’d be rewarded for our works after we are saved, but that these ìgood worksî would not be that by which we’d gain entrance into heaven and, again, you agreed.

Peter, out of Christian love, I can do no other than to say that when you can support, ìIt is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgment,î this is a contradiction from what you told me at our meeting on November 3rd. As you know, this is the teaching of Norman Shepherd and is what Mr. Kinnaird said in The Personal Declaration and Theological Statements of John O. Kinnaird. There are not two ways of salvation. Our salvation from the very beginning up to and including the Judgment Day is solely by grace alone, and not by works. If we think that any of our own works are involved in our righteous standing before God either before or after justification, then grace is no longer grace, but would be reckoned as debt (as Romans 4 tells us), and we will be headed to eternal damnation in hell.

 

 


Neither does the doctrine of salvation nor any other doctrine in the Word of God contradict. When there are ìcontradictions,î it is due to faulty hermeneutics, because God is a God of truth, and He cannot lie. To say that our works have any part of our salvation or justification before God at the Judgment Day is to make the Bible contradict.


 

The Word of God is very clear that our works have nothing to do with our righteous standing before God if we are God’s elect and have been justified by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone. Works will follow in the lives of true believers, but these works will never be that by which we shall gain entrance into heaven at the Judgment Day.

Neither does the doctrine of salvation nor any other doctrine in the Word of God contradict. When there are ìcontradictions,î it is due to faulty hermeneutics because God is a God of truth, and He cannot lie. To say that our works have any part of our salvation or justification before God at the Judgment Day is to make the Bible contradict.

As you can imagine, I am grieved over John Kinnaird and the other ìShepherditesî who are at Westminster Seminary and elsewhere, such as the OPC, the PCA, and out on the mission field. It saddens me that Westminster is giving forth an ìuncertain sound,î a sound that will lead people to eternal damnation.

May I lovingly say that Galatians 1:8 and 9 states a harsh warning, ìBut though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.î Peter, perhaps you are thinking, ìWe are not preaching another gospel.î But, out of Christian love, Peter, I have to say that it is another gospel - a gospel of works - not a gospel of grace.

May God out of His love, mercy, and grace, bring a Reformation to Westminster Seminary!

Sharing God’s truth in love, I am,
(Miss) Martha A. McElwain

Enclosure: ìReportî

P.S. Peter, I have written a ìCritiqueî based upon our meeting in light of documented evidence to the contrary. If you would like a copy of it, I shall be glad to mail it to you.

cc: Board of Directors

Editor’s note: We are not hopeful that the lads who run the seminaries, congregations, presbyteries, and denominations will learn anything from Miss McElwain’s confrontation with Westminster Seminary, but we are confident that many ordinary church members, both men and women, will.

The first lesson is: Know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. There are many Pastors and Elders in the PCA and OPC who do not understand the Gospel, and therefore do not and cannot believe it.

The second lesson is, Know the importance of the Gospel: Error on the doctrine of salvation is both fatal and damnable. It is not just another doctrine among many. In Galatians 1 the Holy Spirit damns those teachers in the churches who teach anything other than the pure Gospel.

The third lesson is, Speak up. Do not ignore false teaching; correct it. No one who fails to oppose false gospels can call himself a disciple of Christ. It is the duty of every Christian - not just church officers - to witness to and defend the truth of the Gospel.

The fourth lesson is, Put your money where your doctrine is. If any institution, whether it calls itself a church or a seminary, teaches false doctrine, cut off its funds. That lesson is taught in 2 John, and we discussed this in detail in The Trinity Review (March 2004) titled ìBiblical Principles of Giving.î

Finally, understand that every Christian who is faithful to Christ will suffer reviling and persecution by false teachers in the churches and their friends. The religious leaders persecuted Christ, and they have always reviled and persecuted his disciples.

February/March 2006

 
 
It’s almost a wrap! Remember, when you finish your holiday shopping at smile.amazon.com, AmazonSmile donates to Trinity Foundation at no cost to you!