I have it from the horse's mouth (e.g. one of the theologians) that two overtures to declare the Federal Vision trials of Dr. Peter Leithart and TE Jeff Meyers as mistrials were clearly defeated. The moderator moved both motions as out of order, and the floor of the General Assembly voted and ultimately supported the moderator's decision.
This has made some people in the PCA very relieved but severely rankled the tempers of others, as can be seen from this article on the Green Baggins blog. Mattes feels strongly that the whole General Assembly was manipulated to avoid open, honest debate of the issues by a particular group of people. His complaint sounds very similar to complaints from the Federal Vision theologians when the 2007 General Assembly adopted the PCA's committee report on the Federal Vision: that any open, honest debate on the FV was deliberately being squashed.
Though Dr. Peter Leithart was effectively exonerated by the Standing Judicial Committee of the PCA in March, he may come under judicial scrutiny again after the General Assembly in June. Three PCA presbyteries have unanimously voted to overture the General Assembly to take original jurisdiction over the PNWP vs. Leithart case on the Federal Vision. They claim a mistrial because the prosecutor, former PCA TE Jason Stellman, converted to Roman Catholicism shortly after a negative verdict.
More details can be found here:
And, as this controversy picks up steam yet again, Dr. Leithart has decided to restate his views on baptism:
May the Lord bring peace and justice to His church.
It seems that Peter Leithart has been exonerated for the final time now!
Lane Keister reported this on his blog GreenBaggins:
In the case of the Leithart trial complaint, the case was heard by the full court. That means that the decision is usually the final verdict, unless a motion (which has to be in order) has been filed to reconsider the case. If that happens, then the verdict will be treated as if it were a panel’s decision. That is what has happened in the Leithart case. The verdict is in, and the verdict is to reject the complaint that Pacific Northwest Presbytery erred in exonerating Leithart. That may be a bit hard to follow. PNW Presbytery exonerated Leithart in the trial. That decision was complained against. The complaint always goes first to the Presbytery, which in this case rejected the complaint. That complaint was then taken to the SJC. The SJC has now concurred with the PNW Presbytery. This is the final decision, since there has been no request for a reconsideration.
Praise the Lord who saw fit to exonerate a righteous man from all accusations brought against him!
Dr. Timothy LeCroy adds his voice to the discussion. His doctorate in Historical Theology gives him a unique perspective into early medieval ecclesiology. LeCroy engages the Roman Catholic claim that a church is defined by "apostolic succession." Dr. LeCroy responds:
The only problem is that the bible doesn’t define the true church this way, and neither did the catholic church before the late middle ages. I don’t have a copy of Denzinger on me, but I would guess that, as with most things, the doctrine of apostolic succession as we know it today was not articulated until the Council of Trent. Nevertheless, even the article from the New Catholic Encyclopedia on “apostolic succession” admits that all the churches did not even have bishops until the 2nd or 3rd century, and that in many churches before that time rule was by a college of presbyters, what we today call a presbytery.
Biblicist, liturgical, sacramental, ecumenical Protestantism is the antidote to Roman fever, not the cause. --Peter Leithart
See also: "Too Catholic to be Catholic" by Peter Leithart
Stellman's Farewell to the Presbyterian Church letter of resignation (here) concludes with these striking words:
Due to the fact that these disagreements strike at the very core of the system of doctrine set forth in our Standards, I feel that I have no other choice than to tender my resignation from the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America.
I would like to express my gratitude to the godly and faithful men of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery for the eight years I have been a member of this body. My desire when I joined was to remain pastoring in Woodinville for my entire life and ministry, and it is with deep disappointment and regret that this will not be the case. My sincere hope is that the fathers, brothers, and friends I have gotten to know here will keep me in their prayers, and forgive me for any offense I may have caused during my involvement in the case against TE Leithart, as well as for any offense I may be presently causing by breaking my ordination vows.
Jason Stellman, longtime critic of the Federal Vision, and the man who brought charges against TE Peter Leithart, has announced that he is leaving the PCA. The reason for his leaving revolves around his changing theology, specifically in regard to Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura, both of which he no longer holds.
You can read his own words on his blog here: http://www.creedcodecult.com/2012/06/heartfelt-farewell-to-pca.html.
Ian Hewitson’s Trust and Obey, is a full treatment of the Norman Shepherd controversy at Westminster Theological Seminary. The point of the book is that WTS “did not have the necessary grounds on which to remove Professor Shepherd from his teaching post (19).” The book considers vast amount of reports and faculty minutes of those long years of trial.
John Frame writes that this is an “accurate and clear account of the matter (9).” Those who have long watched the Federal Vision controversy unfold over the years will realize that Shepherd’s name is one mentioned quite often in denominational reports. Perhaps this book and the research will add greater clarity to a discussion often misunderstood.