Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Day After

By now the whole world knows that after Louisiana Presbytery voted to hand Steve Wilkins to the SJC to face trial, Steve Wilkins fled his covenantal accountability to the PCA by resigning his membership while indictment was in process. Of course, the spinmeisters are quick to add that he resigned as a member in good standing, but that’s like saying RC Sproul Jr. resigned from the RPCGA as a member in good standing. Tax fraud notwithstanding. There’s nothing quite like a hypocrite who stands on the letter of the law in order to kill the spirit.

And no one was surprised that Wilkins found safe haven in the shark-infested waters of the CREC, a federation Congregationalists governed by all manner of thieves, thugs, felons, and outlaws. Wilkins should feel right at home. The big surprise, however, is that LAP voted to throw Wilkins overboard: “We will cover for you no longer, Bubba.” No one saw that one coming, but all the signs were there.

Kevin Johnson wrote a good piece called “Well, At Least They Didn’t Wait Until he had Been Defrocked”; I don’t agree with all of it but Kevin nails the blatant hypocrisy of these high-church buffoons:

The most astounding hypocrisy of this sort of sessional approach to church government is that while these men will endorse the flaunting of judicial action in the denominations of others such as the PCA, they will have no such flagrant violation of their own order in their own circles. Try disagreeing with an elder or session that’s made up its mind in a CREC church and see how far it gets you. Search their by-laws for the sort of protections that ought to afford a layman at the mercy of wicked elders. See if you can catch a CREC elder talking about how their own actions or opinions ought to be put under the scrutiny of the wider Church when a member dares to question their authority.

Yes, indeed. No one dare defy the holy decrees of the Fearless Leader or he shall visit you with fierce wrath and indignation.

I’m still analyzing this historic event; it should be ready soon enough. Until then, here are some excellent comments written by various brethren and posted on sundry websites. Please pay particular attention to the comments by David Gadbois and Andrew Sandlin.

GLW Johnson said,
The sin of sowing schism and division is going to haunt Doug Wilson and his fellow FVers in the CREC til their dying day.

David Gadbois said . . .
If the news (which no one can seem to confirm) is true, and AAPC is leaving the PCA, please do remember this little gem from some time back:

“Perhaps the goal has just been to “make things hot” for Steve, so that he voluntarily leaves the PCA. Then they could explain the heresy in detail to various bought-and-paid-for crowds, with no theological debate necessary, and no robust interchanges in the Q&A. The problem is that Steve is a churchman, and has no plans to make it easy for them by acting the part of a radical individualist. He is going to make them prove what they are saying, and this will prove awkward for them because they can’t. If they could, they would be the ones eager for debate, right?” (“More On Louisiana Presbytery”)

CIB said . . .
Oh my, well, that is just too rich. Tsar Wilson make this comment. One year later, Ol’ “Machen” Wilkins acts the part of a radical individualist & brings his church along with him, with full blessings from the Tsar himself. Not that is hasn’t been seen before. This is the M.O. the Federal Vision. They play the part of the high churchman condemning the baptistic masses, then retreat to the “me and my Bible” mentality when their claims about the Reformed tradition don’t bear out.

Anonymous8 said . . .
I guess then my first post above is a misreading of the Federal Vision character.

Their battle call seems to be: “Run away! Run away!!!”

Mark T. said . . .
Check this out:

“American Christians only know one method of fighting, which is to divide and run off to yet another splinter denomination, the presbytery of the True Flame. This, to use the military parlance, is called retreating. Moderates fraternize with evil covenant members and call it unity. A better term would be betrayal. Conservatives run from evil covenant members and call it purity. A better term would be rout.” (Douglas Wilson, “Judas Was A Bishop,” Credenda Agenda, Volume 13, Issue 2)

P. Andrew Sandlin said . . .
Kevin, kudos to you for a courageous, accurate post. The CREC will continue to become a theological leper colony to the extent that it becomes identified with the Federal Division, which has, rightly or wrongly, been anathematized by a large segment of the American Reformed world. There will be no disciplinary action for those who march in lockstep to the CREC’s theological eccentricities, only for those who wish to assert confessionally and constitutionally legitimate diversity but who object to certain quirky distinctives that increasingly make the denomination the butt of Reformed jokes.

Vern Crisler said,
Hmm, the FV types are always lecturing everyone about submission to the authority of the local visible church, and failure to do so results in damnation. This follows from their raging externalism.

But how do they reconcile this with their actions? Why are they always trumpeting church authority, and submission to the elders, and staying on the vine, etc., but do so from small, obscure denominations? And when they are subject to church discipline in large denominations, the first thing they do is bolt, and take up residence in the same small obscure denominations.

That’s pretty much what happened with the Tyler church back in the early ’80s. It bolted from its denomination when under discipline, then became more high-church and authoritarian under an early version of the Fascist-Vision.

Jordan accuses Presbyterian denominations of being sects, but who has ever heard of Jordan’s new denomination? If the PCA is micro-presbyterian, what are the FV denominations?

It’s sad to see history repeating itself, but when people start denigrating the Reformed faith — as the FV people do — pretty soon they’re on their way to prelacy and beyond.

GLW Johnson said,
Christopher #28

You think the pendulum is swinging and that momentum is on your side?

Actually, what you will discover is just the opposite. The CREC will pay a high price for it’s rogue behaviour. Wilkins’ actions in leading AAPC out of the PCA and into the CREC are not the first of its kind, and mark my words, this ‘raid’ has not gone unnoticed by other Reformed denominations. So smile while you have the opportunity, but you won’t be smiling for long — schismatics always end up out in the cold at the end of the day.

Andy Webb said . . .
What we are in fact seeing is the growth of the CREC as a specifically FV denomination via the division of existing Reformed denominations. Via conferences, books, blogs, and unfortunately in at least two of our seminaries, they mold future CREC pastors who then enter existing non-FV denominations and end up “crash-landing” the particular congregations they go on to Pastor in the CREC. Few, if any, denominations in history have had such a high percentage of pastors who have been deposed from such a wide variety of other orthodox denominations, or who left their original denomination under threat of trial. At this point, their church growth model seems to be almost entirely based on splitting or engulfing existing congregations via FV theology.

And it’s only going to get worse.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

You are right. It is going to get worse. One morning, Wilkins is going to wake up with a horse's head in his bed, discovering only to late that not only is the CREC not a confederation, it is not a presbytery either. It is episcopalian, and well, the job of bishop has already been taken. When he and the other renegades, who appear to be manly-men, fail to put their junk in the designated offering box, then all that love that DW is spreading to folks outside the FV will be turned on them.

anonymous8 said...

This is relevant and deserving of comment thread linkage.

Mark T. said...

Anon 8,

I had it open and was going to read it while eating lunch. But then I got bombarded with emails and couldn’t get to it; hopefully by the end of the day.