My friend John Muether joins the conversation. He writes:
I am with Doug and Peter on their anti-Gnostic and high church sentiments. I would shamelessly add that the Nicotine Theological Journal (founded 1997) was lobbying for those causes long before the infamous Auburn Ave conference of 2002.
Apart from some humorous comments/attacks concerning one of my favorite economists Gary North, which the NTJ refers to “Scary Gary,” it is a pretty good journal. However, I think John is “purposefully” missing the point in the discussion. (( I say purposefully because he does not want to embrace gnosticism. Who in their right mind would?)) Of course, Wilson and Leithart are not using the idea of anti-Gnosticism to combat fundamentalists in their “don’t drink, don’t smoke” campaigns. Rather, they are asserting that a two-kingdom view, explicit in Lutheran theology is wrong-headed. ((See my discussion with Professor Muether in my post entitled: In defense of Reggie Kidd)) What Wilson and others argue is for a victorious eschatology; one that is firmed and grounded on the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, not merely in His death.
Muether also mentions that he agrees with FV’ers High-Church sentiments and as a defense of this he cites Hart’s book on Presbyterian Liturgy. ((The book is entitled: Recovering Mother Kirk)) Anyone familiar with the book, (which was used at RTS/Orlando when John Fesko taught for a week) knows that the book is a defense of the Regulative Principle of worship as defined and defended by the Puritans. Professor John Frame also from RTS/Orlando responds to this approach to worship in his two books. ((I agree with some of Frame’s critiques, though I do not agree with how he would implement worship in the church))
What Leithart and Wilson argue is for a faithful model of worship that brings together the distinct elements of Old Testament worship into the New Covenant (something that many Presbyterians fear). How this takes place may vary substantially in each FV church. for instance, Leithart, following Jim Jordan, argues for a joyous communion service. They argue that when the sacraments are served it should be a moment of celebration as in a feast and not a funeral. Hence, much of the common hymnody of the Eucharist would have to be changed to accommodate to the Scriptural emphasis on the joy of feasting with Christ. These concerns are not just merely preferential, but essential in defining FV’ers interest and concern.