Sunday, October 7, 2007

Schism in the Pacific Northwest

As the PCA’s Pacific Northwest Presbytery has made the blog headlines this morning, I want to point the Reformed world to one church where the PCA’s “Report of Ad Interim Study Committee on Federal Vision, New Perspective, and Auburn Avenue Theology” came about two years too late — Living Word Presbyterian Church, now a former member of the Pacific Northwest Presbytery.

Four years ago, its pastor, Rev. J. Michael Kohl, challenged Douglas Wilson’s bizarre revision of Southern slavery in a letter to the editor (Spokesman Review), writing,

Doug Wilson is not teaching the Bible accurately. Rev. Jack Davidson, Pastor, Cascade Presbyterian Church, has pointed out that

Exodus 21:16 forbids the foundation upon which American slavery rested. “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.” The laws given to Moses regarding servitude forbid kidnapping, the chief point of origin for slave trade in the ancient world and the singular source of American slavery. Notice the condemnation is two-fold: the one who kidnaps and sells the man is condemned but so is anyone found in possession of such a man. A man taken against his will could never be considered the rightful property of anyone. Someone found in possession of stolen property is never condemned outright to death in the Bible, but someone found in possession of a human soul is put to death. The sentence of death therefore indicates there are no circumstances under which a kidnapped man can ever rightfully become anyone’s property.

The foundation of American Slavery was outlawed in the Old Testament. Let’s be careful with the Bible.

Rev. J. Michael Kohl
Living Word Presbyterian Church.

Rev. Kohl was not alone in his sentiments. In October 2003 Wilson outraged most of the state with his absurd notions of history and the letters to the editor in all the major newspapers reflected this. But Wilson doesn’t take criticism well and he generally pursues means to retaliate against critics.

So he exacted revenge against Pastor Kohl by dispatching a squad of monkey boys to infiltrate the church and make a stink (LWPC is a little more than an hour away from Moscow). Accordingly, they insisted that Living Word Presbyterian Church adopt, or at least welcome, the Federal Vision; but the elders at LWPC called it heresy and would have none of it. Wilson — who instigated the whole affair behind the scenes — feigned concern by offering to mediate between the parties; LWPC declined. So the monkey boys pushed their demand all the way to Presbytery, who landed with FV — and the Pacific Northwest Presbytery ordered LWPC to allow Federal Vision within its sanctuary.

LWPC immediately withdrew its membership from the PCA and removed the troublemakers from their fellowship. They also removed one word from the name of their church, changing it to Living Word Church.