Canon Press Literature

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Mac

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello Everyone. First time poster here. The subject of this post is the thrust causing me to even join The Puritan Board. I am a new elder (1 year) and have caught the scent of fairly accepted use of Canon Press materials among younger families in our church. Perhaps one of the underlying reasons for the acceptance of these materials is the associated ministry of a classical school (ACCS) with the church. I am well aware of Doug Wilson's role in the FV controversy and have studied it up and down for some time. How concerned should I be that many young mothers are reading books by Rachel Jankovic? Or the possibly some of our young fathers reading books by Michael Foster/Bnonn Tennant? These books smell of "another gospel" to me, but I also submit to the fact that I may be biased or over analyzing. It seems to me that what flows out of their writing is the fact that the covenant of works & covenant of grace and distinction between law & gospel are amalgamated together, creating conditions for the believer in justification other than faith alone. All I seem to read are the words "obey, obedience, covenant faithfulness, be faithful...etc." when it seems like the words "faith, rest, LOOK TO Jesus" should be there instead. I plan to discuss this at the session level soon...any ideas on how to proceed graciously, "clothed in humility?"
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
As with any publisher, there is good and bad. I haven’t read everything from Canon Press, but what I have read—even the stuff from Doug Wilson—I have read with great profit.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a Canon+ subscription and have listened to a fair bit of material from any number of authors on there. I could point to quite a few places where the true gospel is taught and could also point to places where obedience is emphasised. Could do the same thing in the gospels and show where the Lord Jesus emphasis' faith and others where works is also emphasised for different reasons. My personal opinion is that Doug got caught up in the wrong crowd with the FV stuff and some less careful critics have been quick to shoot him down. I say that having read a bunch of FV stuff and could clearly show where Wilson differs from Jordan, Leithart on regeneration, and where he differs from Jordan, Leithart and Meyers on election for example. His doctrine of baptismal “efficacy” is also different from the others. It’s my opinion that Wilson doesn’t seem to have helped himself when he used popular theological phrases without being crystal clear that he’s working with a different definition.

As for his and other Canon Press authors publications on family, he emphasises covenant promises to believers children and walks in it and teaches his readers to walk in it as they raise their children, without assuming regeneration, but certainly raising them to be Christian. I’ve enjoyed his teaching on the husbands covenant headship in the home and how he applies it. There’s my 2cents of experience with Canon Press.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Hello Everyone. First time poster here. The subject of this post is the thrust causing me to even join The Puritan Board. I am a new elder (1 year) and have caught the scent of fairly accepted use of Canon Press materials among younger families in our church. Perhaps one of the underlying reasons for the acceptance of these materials is the associated ministry of a classical school (ACCS) with the church. I am well aware of Doug Wilson's role in the FV controversy and have studied it up and down for some time. How concerned should I be that many young mothers are reading books by Rachel Jankovic? Or the possibly some of our young fathers reading books by Michael Foster/Bnonn Tennant? These books smell of "another gospel" to me, but I also submit to the fact that I may be biased or over analyzing. It seems to me that what flows out of their writing is the fact that the covenant of works & covenant of grace and distinction between law & gospel are amalgamated together, creating conditions for the believer in justification other than faith alone. All I seem to read are the words "obey, obedience, covenant faithfulness, be faithful...etc." when it seems like the words "faith, rest, LOOK TO Jesus" should be there instead. I plan to discuss this at the session level soon...any ideas on how to proceed graciously, "clothed in humility?"

You've hit the nail on the head. Canon Press has a history of being damaged goods. You've only touched the tip of the iceberg. It's good to present the case to one's session, but be aware that people who like Doug Wilson's empire won't be persuaded otherwise--at least not right away. I've had his disciples block me simply because I quoted where he said he still affirmed the Joint FV statement.
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
Whether you like or dislike Wilson and his associates, you have to hand it to them; they are rigorous with trying their best to apply Scripture to all of life in a meaningful way. I'm not a huge Wilson fan (I haven't read much of his work and I am still sorting through the competing claims about his track record) but I think one of the reasons they are so popular is because they give off an inspiring zeal to truly and practically live all of life to the Lord in a way that means something to ordinary believers. Unfortunately, often the only alternative offered by much of the church world, and even the reformed world seems to be complacency or a cooled intellectualism. That's why I think Wilson is so popular.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
There aren't competing claims to his track record. Here are some established facts:
1) Does he still affirm the Joint FV statement?
2) Has he been tied to at least three overt plagiarism scandals?
 

NM_Presby

Puritan Board Freshman
There aren't competing claims to his track record. Here are some established facts:
1) Does he still affirm the Joint FV statement?
2) Has he been tied to at least three overt plagiarism scandals?
Either way, my point isn't to endorse him. I'm just pointing out that his circle seems to provide something (namely a practical, zealous approach to the Christian life) which many reformed believers apparently feel they aren't getting elsewhere. Good or bad, that's something we should take note of.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Either way, my point isn't to endorse him. I'm just pointing out that his circle seems to provide something (namely a practical, zealous approach to the Christian life) which many reformed believers apparently feel they aren't getting elsewhere. Good or bad, that's something we should take note of.

I grant that they write stuff people perceive as practical and relevant. My criticism of them is that it is either wrong or dangerous. And hasn't Bnonn been excommunicated from his church?
 

A.Joseph

Puritan Board Senior
Hello Everyone. First time poster here. The subject of this post is the thrust causing me to even join The Puritan Board. I am a new elder (1 year) and have caught the scent of fairly accepted use of Canon Press materials among younger families in our church. Perhaps one of the underlying reasons for the acceptance of these materials is the associated ministry of a classical school (ACCS) with the church. I am well aware of Doug Wilson's role in the FV controversy and have studied it up and down for some time. How concerned should I be that many young mothers are reading books by Rachel Jankovic? Or the possibly some of our young fathers reading books by Michael Foster/Bnonn Tennant? These books smell of "another gospel" to me, but I also submit to the fact that I may be biased or over analyzing. It seems to me that what flows out of their writing is the fact that the covenant of works & covenant of grace and distinction between law & gospel are amalgamated together, creating conditions for the believer in justification other than faith alone. All I seem to read are the words "obey, obedience, covenant faithfulness, be faithful...etc." when it seems like the words "faith, rest, LOOK TO Jesus" should be there instead. I plan to discuss this at the session level soon...any ideas on how to proceed graciously, "clothed in humility?"
:book2::barfy: https://canonpress.com/products/ride-sally-ride-a-novel/

….not what I’d call counter-culture
 
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Mac

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for the replies. Helpful for sure. I know personally I’ve read some helpful, practical insights from Doug Wilson and Canon Press books. I can’t help but tie my thoughts to the FV issue though. The fact that he really hasn’t opposed any of the joint statement and then he and his family are writing books on practical Christian living has me concerned. I’m sure there will be helpful things on a practical level (ex. raising kids) but if it’s tainted with a wrong view of core reformed beliefs then it all smells funny to me. Don’t want any semi Pelagianism creeping in. I just don’t know for sure if that’s what it is or not. Seems to be such a divided thing
 

Mac

Puritan Board Freshman
I assume you mean Bnonn Tennant from here in New Zealand. If so it is a real issue.
Yeah Bnonn Tennant. He’s written some very concerning things mirroring the hard core federal visionists. Straight up justification by works…”final” justification etc
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
any ideas on how to proceed graciously, "clothed in humility?"
You are right to be concerned about any teaching which gives the impression that justification is by anything other than faith in Christ alone. Canon Press is indeed associated with some authors who make that error, whether those authors officially affirm this or not. This means that those in your church ought to be made aware—especially if this is not just a matter of reading a single book but is starting to become a fascination with anything from that publisher.

How do you do that? I suspect that most people who get hooked on Wilson and then dive deeper into the writings of others in his circle initially are attracted for good reasons, or at least for reasons not as bad as the justification errors. After all, there is also plenty of good material in many of those books. I would guess you should be careful not to talk to readers as if they were budding heretics, but as well-meaning people who might not be aware what they're getting into. Do these readers know that their denomination carefully studied this teaching and condemned it?

Wilson's style tends to be combative. Although people often like him for this, it is also his flaw. You have a chance to treat people much more lovingly as you gently point out error and show how Christ is actually better than what they have been led to believe in some of those books. Most people will appreciate that. So, adorn your words with brotherly love for those you address.
 

Mac

Puritan Board Freshman
You are right to be concerned about any teaching which gives the impression that justification is by anything other than faith in Christ alone. Canon Press is indeed associated with some authors who make that error, whether those authors officially affirm this or not. This means that those in your church ought to be made aware—especially if this is not just a matter of reading a single book but is starting to become a fascination with anything from that publisher.

How do you do that? I suspect that most people who get hooked on Wilson and then dive deeper into the writings of others in his circle initially are attracted for good reasons, or at least for reasons not as bad as the justification errors. After all, there is also plenty of good material in many of those books. I would guess you should be careful not to talk to readers as if they were budding heretics, but as well-meaning people who might not be aware what they're getting into. Do these readers know that their denomination carefully studied this teaching and condemned it?

Wilson's style tends to be combative. Although people often like him for this, it is also his flaw. You have a chance to treat people much more lovingly as you gently point out error and show how Christ is actually better than what they have been led to believe in some of those books. Most people will appreciate that. So, adorn your words with brotherly love for those you address.
Thank you so much. Such wisdom here.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The usual response when anyone recommends avoiding Doug Wilson is, "But he writes so much useful stuff on practical Christian living." No. You cannot write about practical Christianity with profit when you are wrong on the gospel. Why? Because if someone is wrong on the gospel they are not going to be right about Christian practice, because their writings on the latter subject will be influenced by their legalism.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
Does anyone on the Puritan board actually take the man’s presbytery examination seriously or is someone willing to confess what they seem to believe by how they treat the matter? That is, are you willing to confess that you think he was lying through his teeth? Or should we be charitable and see how his orthodox views of the gospel match with what he thinks have been genuine insights into Gods word?
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hello Everyone. First time poster here. The subject of this post is the thrust causing me to even join The Puritan Board. I am a new elder (1 year) and have caught the scent of fairly accepted use of Canon Press materials among younger families in our church. Perhaps one of the underlying reasons for the acceptance of these materials is the associated ministry of a classical school (ACCS) with the church. I am well aware of Doug Wilson's role in the FV controversy and have studied it up and down for some time. How concerned should I be that many young mothers are reading books by Rachel Jankovic? Or the possibly some of our young fathers reading books by Michael Foster/Bnonn Tennant? These books smell of "another gospel" to me, but I also submit to the fact that I may be biased or over analyzing. It seems to me that what flows out of their writing is the fact that the covenant of works & covenant of grace and distinction between law & gospel are amalgamated together, creating conditions for the believer in justification other than faith alone. All I seem to read are the words "obey, obedience, covenant faithfulness, be faithful...etc." when it seems like the words "faith, rest, LOOK TO Jesus" should be there instead. I plan to discuss this at the session level soon...any ideas on how to proceed graciously, "clothed in humility?"
Canon Press aside, be careful not to set obedience and faith against one another. There is no more wrong with telling someone to obey than to believe. Both are necessary.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Does anyone on the Puritan board actually take the man’s presbytery examination seriously or is someone willing to confess what they seem to believe by how they treat the matter? That is, are you willing to confess that you think he was lying through his teeth? Or should we be charitable and see how his orthodox views of the gospel match with what he thinks have been genuine insights into Gods word?

His belief in Paradox Theology means that you can never take what he says at face value.
 

LilyG

Puritan Board Freshman
Canon Press aside, be careful not to set obedience and faith against one another. There is no more wrong with telling someone to obey than to believe. Both are necessary.
Confusing the two, "amalgamating" or lopsiding one over the other (usually law over gospel), however, is a problem. I see that this elder wishes to keep his people from that.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Can you define what you mean by "Paradox theology"?

It is the notion that the Bible contains irreconcilable paradoxes (as opposed to supra-rational mysteries). This view means that you can say we are justified by faith alone; and that we are justified on account of covenantal faithfulness. Does it matter that these things are contradictory? No, because it is just an irreconcilable paradox.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
Confusing the two, "amalgamating" or lopsiding one over the other (usually law over gospel), however, is a problem. I see that this elder wishes to keep his people from that.
Wilson has stated many times that faith is the sole instrument of justification. Where people get tripped up is how he defines faith that enables one to be faithful to the covenant and thereby stay in - forever. Covenant faithfulness for Wilson is ongoing faith in the gospel, and repentance, which is the faith that God gifts his elect. Demon faith of the non-elect is not faithful to the covenant, and thus they are cut off.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
It is the notion that the Bible contains irreconcilable paradoxes (as opposed to supra-rational mysteries). This view means that you can say we are justified by faith alone; and that we are justified on account of covenantal faithfulness. Does it matter that these things are contradictory? No, because it is just an irreconcilable paradox.
See above.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
It is the notion that the Bible contains irreconcilable paradoxes (as opposed to supra-rational mysteries). This view means that you can say we are justified by faith alone; and that we are justified on account of covenantal faithfulness. Does it matter that these things are contradictory? No, because it is just an irreconcilable paradox.
And don’t you believe this with regard to Gods providence and human responsibility? How can the preparations of a man’s heart and the answer of the tongue be from the Lord and man still be responsible? Proverbs 16:1.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
His belief in Paradox Theology means that you can never take what he says at face value.
Paradox theology is a Van Tilian doctrine is it not?
I'm hardly an expert on Wilson, but from the outside peering in it seems sometimes that Wilson is taken to task for things that others are given a pass for, or at least criticized more mildly. This is a good example. When Van Til comes up no one says "you can never take what he says at face value" or calls him a snake. At worst he is called confusing. Justification is too I think, since we're happy to read and learn from many church fathers with as bad or worse of formulas on it. I don't say this to diminish these issues, because they are certainly serious matters, but I do wonder if we're applying the same standard across the board.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
And don’t you believe this with regard to Gods providence and human responsibility? How can the preparations of a man’s heart and the answer of the tongue be from the Lord and man still be responsible? Proverbs 16:1.
That's not a paradox. How these are not in fact at odds is handled in every in-depth treatment of the matter by reformed systematicians. Most recently I read Polanus on the matter, but they all say similar things.
 

Jonty

Puritan Board Freshman
That's not a paradox. How these are not in fact at odds is handled in every in-depth treatment of the matter by reformed systematicians. Most recently I read Polanus on the matter, but they all say similar things.
Either way Wilsons definition of “covenant faithfulness” is not paradoxical
 
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