Friday, March 16, 2012


I'm going to comment on this

Before I get to the review of this book, let it be officially known at the outset that I am not a WSCal toadie, whatever that might mean.

I don’t assume Pastor Lane is a WSC toady either. On the other hand, I don’t see what this disclaimer is supposed to accomplish. After all, we wouldn’t expect a toady to call himself a toady. If anything, we’d expect a toady to vehemently deny that he’s a toady. “Take it from me–I’m not a toady!” Well, if you are a toady, then I don’t take your word for it–but if you’re not, then the disclaimer is superfluous.

But I deeply respect them, and was therefore disturbed when I read Frame’s book, which amounts, in my opinion, to little more than a hit piece written by what appears to me to be an embittered former colleague.

That’s how organizations typically attempt to discredit whistleblowers. I wonder if Pastor Lane feels the same way about Luther, or Peter Martyr. When Luther writes about his experience as a monk, should we dismiss his account as payback from a disgruntled former employee? Isn’t that a bit facile?

It is not gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already agree with his conclusions, as George Grant seems to do (I was very disappointed that Grant, for whom I hold a great respect, would put his name on this book). It is full of caricature and extension of arguments (I mean this in the logical fallacy sense). It is an embarrassment to the entire Reformed world.

Even if (arguendo) that’s true, I’m puzzled by Pastor’s Lane’s one-sidedness. Does he think Darryl Hart is gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial? This suggests to me that Pastor Lane is blind to his own partisanship.

Only with this volume has a professor of one of the main Reformed seminaries descended to the level of attacking another entire seminary in the Reformed community. The gentleman’s agreement among the main Reformed seminaries has now been breached.

It doesn’t seem to occur to Pastor Lane that a “gentleman’s agreement” as morally invidious connotations.

I intend to get into specifics with a series of posts exposing the myriad slanders that Frame has leveled against the WSC folks.

Why is Pastor Lane oblivious to the possibility that Frame has been slandered by Hart, Clark et al.?

Moreover, let’s take the case of Meredith Kline. Frame has known Kline for decades. Not just known his writings, but doubtless had conversations and correspondence with Kline. Is Pastor Lane in a better position to say what Kline really stands for?

The second general issue I would like to address about this book is the inclusion of Frame’s personal history at WSC.

Actually, insider accounts of a movement are often quite insightful and revealing.

He will lose a great deal of respect for doing this, even among people who have serious reservations about WSC’s distinctives.

Loss of respect is a two-way street. 

The book is full of sin, and I call on Frame to repent of his sin. I have condemned this book in strong terms. The fact is, I am both angry for WSC’s sake (hoping that this expose of Frame’s book will prevent any lasting damage to WSC in the future), and deeply saddened that Frame would do this.

If you’re going to be angry, aren’t there more important things to be angry about? Why not redirect his anger at tax dollars funding Planned Parenthood, or the NEA indoctrinating public school students in ungodliness? Pastor Lane’s anger is seriously misplaced.

Which brings me to the next point: I have to question whether writing a multipart attack on Frame’s book represents the best stewardship of Pastor Lane’s time. Surely there are more productive or constructive things he can do with his time. Seems to me that Pastor Lane needs to seriously recalibrate his priorities.

Why spend so much time and effort savaging Frame’s book rather than presenting his own alternative? For starters, how would Pastor Lane answer the following questions:

1. What are the duties of the civil magistrate?

2. What are the civic duties of American citizens?

3. Should pastors preach on social ethics when social issues have been politicized?

On a final point, Green Baggins seems to be 99 parts theory to 1 part practice. Why doesn’t Pastor Lane do some blogging on the sorts of ethical questions that parishioners raise? For instance:

1. Suppose a young man asks Pastor Lane about a career in the military. What does Pastor Lane tell him, and why?

2. Suppose a young woman asks Pastor Lane about a career in the military? What does Pastor Lane tell her?

3. Suppose an infertile couple come sto Pastor Lane, asking about reproductive technologies? What does Pastor Lane tell them?

4. Suppose a fertile couple comes to Pastor Lane, asking about sterilization–because one spouse is at high-risk of transmitting a congenital illness (e.g. Huntington’s disease) to their offspring. What does Pastor Lane tell them?

5. Suppose a church member asks Pastor Lane if it’s ever permissible to lie. What does Pastor Lane tell him, and why?

6. What advice does he give about mothers working outside the home? What advice does he give about sending your kids to public school? 


  1. As much as I like Lane I have to agree with you that his posts seem to be a waste of time and will probably only serve to make Lane look like a sectarian.

  2. "This suggests to me that Pastor Lane is blind to his own partisanship."

    Reed DePace seems blind to his own partisanship as well.

  3. "If you’re going to be angry, aren’t there more important things to be angry about? Why not redirect his anger at tax dollars funding Planned Parenthood, or the NEA indoctrinating public school students in ungodliness? Pastor Lane’s anger is seriously misplaced."

    That's a false dicotomy. One doesn't preclude the other. BTW, I have no dog in this hunt at all.

  4. ya, that false dichotomy speaks volumes. whew!

  5. Speaks volumes? It's just an invalid argument.

  6. Eklektos said:

    "That's a false dicotomy. One doesn't preclude the other. BTW, I have no dog in this hunt at all."

    1. I don't have a dog in this fight either. (I take it "hunt" must be the British version?)

    2. I could be mistaken, but I don't think Steve is setting up a dichotomy in the first place let alone a false dichotomy. I don't think Steve is saying Pastor Lane can't be angry at multiple issues (e.g. "aren’t there more important things [plural] to be angry about?"). Rather I think Steve is suggesting Pastor Lane's anger against Frame isn't as "important" as other issues like "tax dollars funding Planned Parenthood" or "the NEA indoctrinating public school students in ungodliness." On a scale of 1-10, for example, anger toward Planned Parenthood might deserve a 10, whereas anger toward Frame might deserve a 1 (assuming, for the sake of argument, it's even justifiable in the first place). As such, Pastor Lane's anger is a bit lopsided to say the least. As such, his anger would be better placed on somewhere near the bottom or even elsewhere. At least that's my take.

  7. I am unaware of any way of knowing how angry Pastor Lane is on PP or the NEA, nor do I think anyone else has such information. He can be angry about both, all, or none. It's just a bad argument. Having read the earlier post on Hart and VanDrunen I don't find myself in agreement with thier position in any way, but a bad argument is a bad argument.

  8. He's angry enough to launch a multipart attack on Frame's book. He's not angry enough to do the same thing in reference to Planned Parenthood or the NEA.

  9. I think we all know Pastor K. is California Dreamin'. Has been for a few years. In that sense, this is a really "good" use of his time.

  10. The highly unusual, not to say unprecedented, circumstance of a Reformed Theologian writing an entire book targetting a Seminary at which he used to work surely justifies that one or two Reformed bloggers scrutinise it closely. Imagine the damage that Frame's book could do to the reputation of WSC - even many people who never read it will likely be made suspicious of the school just because they have heard that there is a book that says it is a bad place. I wish there were 20 blogs giving Frame's opus the same level of scrutiny.

  11. Unless the seminary deserves to have its reputation damaged.

  12. Bearbrass,

    Given the weakness and dismissiveness of the responses from the individual targets of Frame's book, his book is only gaining credibility.