I have thought for quite some time that Westminster Seminary California (WSC) is not only theologically incorrect on many issues, but often historically mistaken as well. WSC is wrong on Natural Law; wrong on Two Kingdom theology; wrong on the Covenant of Works; wrong on Redemptive Historical preaching; wrong on Molinism; wrong on Law-Gospel; wrong on John Frame – yet had they got Frame right, they probably would not be so wrong on so many things. They would probably draw finer distinctions than they do. (NOTE: Natural Law, Two Kingdoms and Covenant of Works are all biblical ideas. WSC simply misunderstands them. Redemptive Historical is an excellent manner of preaching. WSC simply places undo emphasis upon it. Molinism implies heresy. WSC simply has little appreciation for what distinguishes it from Open Theism, let alone the metaphysics implied by libertarian freedom. Law should be distinguished from gospel regarding the way of salvation, but not dichotomized into mutually exclusive messages. In a word, WSC knows enough to be dangerous about many things.)
That WSC is wrong on so many issues wouldn’t be as bad if the seminary didn’t fancy itself as the keeper of the Reformed faith, another thing they’re wrong about.
In any case, in 2009 John Frame reviewed Michael Horton’s book: Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church. Although I have not read the book and, therefore, cannot comment on truthfulness of the review, I provide the link as information. My only hope is that those young, impressionables out there who have placed their trust (if not also their tuition dollars) in any institution, whether in Moscow, Idaho, Escondido, California or Glenside, Pennsylvania would consider all they are taught with a critical mind.
In summary, Frame contends that Horton’s criticisms of the American church presuppose more than ten major principles that although he says Horton does not maintain with utter consistency, they are necessary for Horton’s case. Not only does Frame observe that Horton does not maintain with consistency his own critical strictures, Frame also asserts that “Horton’s argument depends on ideas that cannot be justified by Scripture, or by the classic Protestant confessions.” In short, “Horton measures the American church with a defective theology” says Frame. Frame concludes that “Christless Christianity is essentially an evaluation of the American church, not from the standpoint of a generic Protestant theology, but from what I must regard as a narrow, factional, even sectarian perspective.”
Below are the unvarnished “ten points” that Frame argues are foundational to Horton’s thesis:
1. Attention to ourselves necessarily detracts from attention to Christ.
2. We should not give attention to the way we communicate the gospel, or to making it relevant to its hearers.
3. God’s sovereignty and human responsibility are a zero-sum game. The idea that man must do something compromises the absolute sovereignty of God.
4. God’s work of salvation is completely objective, external to us, and not at all subjective, internal to us. (Here he backtracks some.)
5. God promises us no earthly blessings, only heavenly ones, and to desire earthly blessings is a “theology of glory,” deserving condemnation.
6. Law and gospel should be utterly separate. There should be no good news in the bad news and no bad news in the good news.
7. Preaching of the gospel must never use biblical characters as moral or spiritual examples. Nor must it address practical ethical issues in the Christian life.
8. A focus on redemption excludes a focus on anything else.
9. In worship and in the general ministry of the church, God gives and does not receive; the congregation receives and does not give.
10. Analysts of the church must compare the Church’s focus on Christ with its focus on other things, rather than considering that many of these other things are in fact applications of Christ’s own person and work.