Sunday, April 20, 2008

“LaP Opposes FV”

HaigLaw dropped us a note about this important post titled “LaP Opposes FV”; Dave’s a great guy.

Thank you.


Sean Gerety said...

Yeah, what a bunch of Gospel heroes. They adopt a report denouncing the FV as being contrary to the WCF only AFTER they faced charges for their own delinquency as elders for twice exonerating Wilkins and AFTER they let him walk.

Onward Christian soldiers . . . not.

Mark T. said...

Hi Sean,

A few things struck me as I watched this thing develop:

1. When Wilkins left he took at least one vote with him and possibly more, so I’m not surprised to see some shift in the scales.

2. When I listened to the tapes, Mark Duncan was clearly a problem by demonstrating a defensive and belligerent demeanor. I don’t know what he looks like in person, but his rhetoric was very forceful and at times it appeared that he tried to be intimidating. I honestly concluded that Mark Duncan is a HUGE problem in LAP and I’m not surprised to see him manipulatively pouting that he might leave the presbytery. They should press charges on him ASAP with a special “Thank You” for all the trouble he helped create by covering for that skank Wilkins. He really came off cantankerous and divisive.

3. At times Howard Davis seemed like a babe in Christ and at other times he seemed slightly mature, but not much. It seemed clear to me at any rate that his personal affection for Wilkins blinded his judgment. He seemed willing to let obvious errors slide without challenging them or asking the appropriate follow-up questions (and he asked quite a few questions).

4. LAP’s star witness, Steve Wright, is a friend of mine and I am not surprised that the SJC let LAP off with an admonishment. Steve is very soft-spoken, convincing, and a TR (he’s new to the presbytery; been there less than a year I think); and I’d bet his very genuine manner helped persuade the SJC to go easy on LAP and I’d bet his capital in LAP soared instantly, which would give him a platform to sell the Report. Steve really is a wonderful man and I respect him a great deal.

5. In the end, getting rid of the tumor represented the first step in getting rid of the cancer — they got rid of Wilkins and they’re well on their way to recovery.

6. Finally, I believe it was a HUGE mistake to cut Wilkins loose and that that move will come back to haunt them. I believe they had a moral obligation to hold him to his vows and to make him account for disrupting the communion. He was in sin, and his sin will fester and grow, and I’m sure he’ll use it to sow division down the road in LAP. People do reap what they sow.

Just a few thoughts.

Sean Gerety said...

Hi Mark, good points. Also, I agree it was a big mistake to let Wilkins go, but I guess the question is, why did they?

As I think you know, any member of the LAP could have -- at any time -- filed charges against Wilkins. The charges most assuredly would have been denied, then the charges could have (assuming everything was in order) moved to the GA and SJC.

During the intervening years since Wilkins' first checkup when he was given a lollipop and sent on his way, anyone outside of LAP could have filed charges and would have had grounds for doing so according to the BCO.

I also agree that there are good men on the LAP, but men in every Pres seem paralyzed. They don't know how to handle men who so easily spew heresy and orthodoxy out of the same orifice. Most already believe the Scriptures themselves are inherently deficient and insolubly paradoxical. This view is dominant and is, in most P&R circles, even a mark of true Christian piety and humility. Of course, this underlying philosophy couldn't possibly have anything to with it. The men on Keister's blog say it doesn't so it must be true.

Maybe I could have done more or something different. If nothing else, I've continually tried to demonstrate there is good reason P&R churches are in need of some spiritual Viagra. But as you may have noticed Keister was about to give me the boot for pointing out both the cause and the cure on his blog. Why Kesiter won't even put you on his blog roll, but he says he agrees with most of what you post. He just doesn't like your anonymity and your tone. Yet, Wilson's blog made his list. Go figure.

Mark T. said...


We have two different issues here that we must treat separately. I HaigLaw commenting something to the effect that LAP did not have the will to try Wilkins, which was why they voted to hand him to the SJC. They saw the situation as something where they could say, “Go in peace,” which is just plain nuts. It’s real clear that they were oblivious to the disruption he caused, which is equally nuts. I don’t know BCO procedure well enough at this point, but if the SJC or the GA had any ability to override LAP’s decision to cut him loose, then they should have exercised that prerogative.

Re the thread on GB between the whole Clark v. Van Till, I admit that it’s over my head. I couldn’t even fake it. In that field I’m a real Gomer Pyle. But I will vindicate Lane because, as I’ve held, I believe (without any inside knowledge) that I’m witnessing a turtle vs. the hare race. Lane’s style is slow, deliberate, and conceding; whereas the Fearless Leader, like the Big Bad Wolf, blows at the speed of sound, not thinking from one moment to the next what he blew.

HaigLaw said...

I think what Sean has overlooked is that LaP or any corporate body has shifting makeup each meeting. As the FVers ran for cover, the anti-FVers had a bigger majority.

Mark can be intimidating. But he's hugely outnumbered now.

I think you've misjudged Howard. He was a lone voice dissenting from the report that vindicated Wilkins, and went to the SJC last year to defend them, even when he was in a minority dissenting. He really has a pastor's heart. He's my pastor, btw.

Steve did do a good job, but i think the mere admonishment was a foregone conclusion, and not due to his advocacy. He got shot down at the SJC trial on some procedural points, and faced a tongue-lashing at our April 19 meeting for allegedly going beyond his mandate. That was a spurious charge, btw, and I defended him, and got a unanimous resolution passed praising and thanking all our 4 elders who attended the SJC trial.

I disagree with you about the advisability of letting Wilkins go. I made the motion to find him not under process at the January 2008 meeting. I think that one was unanimous too. I have lots of Arminians in my family; am I going to break fellowship with them or file charges against them for heresy? No; and some of them are gradually coming to Calvinism, whether my winsomeness has anything to do with it or not. :)

Mark T. said...

Hi HaigLaw,

As I wrote, I think you’re a great guy and I’ve really appreciated everything you’ve done, such as this comment. Everything I say is opinion only, usually based on perception. I perceived Duncan as a real pill, and it sounds as though this is the case. When I criticized Pastor Davis, I should have noted his tender heart, which is apparent; and his comments on GB reflect the heart of true evangelical who loves God. But on the tapes he really sounded conflicted — his voice was halting and hesitant, and he seldom if ever asked the obvious follow-up question that would have finished Wilkins. Perhaps this was intentional. I’ve seen attorneys lead the jury all the way to the end, without verbally connecting the final dot. (I’m sure you’ve seen this!) I definitely heard Wilkins exploiting their friendship with his tone and inflection; it really angered me.

Regarding his dissent, I recall James Jones appealed as well, but I don’t recall the either man’s cause of action. It struck me as curious, however, why there was not more solidarity among the dissenters. Was there a rift or some other dynamic at work in the anti-FV camp?

Dave, I respect you a great deal and hesitate to disagree with you in public, but holding Wilkins to account for his vows is not tantamount to breaking fellowship. I understand your sincerity here and I agree with the comments you made on GB where you stressed the paramount importance of evangelism in the Church as opposed to concentrating all our energies on the FV. I absolutely agree. However, FV does strike at the vitals of religion and the Church must address it. In this respect Wilkins is worse than an Arminian because of his aberrant doctrine, eg. baptismal regeneration, and his duplicitous character, eg. plagiarism, and I recall reading where Pastor Lane wrote that some of Wilkins’ tapes were far worse than his answers to presbytery (or something to that effect). In other words, he is morally corrupt and has no business pastoring God’s sheep in any denomination. At least that’s my two cents, or maybe two bits.

These thoughts aside, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your peacemaking spirit and your Christian heart. I’m glad to know you.

Sean Gerety said...

However, FV does strike at the vitals of religion and the Church must address it. In this respect Wilkins is worse than an Arminian because of his aberrant doctrine . . . .

I couldn't agree more with your assessment Mark. I personally don't care about someone's pastoral heart or even what a fine Christian gentleman he might be, either the FV is another gospel or it's not. In Wilson's case, Keister says it's not. Hence Dave's comparing the FV to a family squabble is fitting.

The shepherds in the PCA have continually failed to do their job to hold their so-called FV "brothers" to account. Instead of shame, they offer each other praise. My guess is, and as you say, because most cannot connect the dots and fail to see that a gospel based on faith and works cannot stand next to one based on faith alone.

You should read Dr. Robbins' account of his resignation from his Session and the PCA at the Trinity Foundation site. His observations shed considerable light on the impotency of the PCA to effectively deal with this matter. I don't see anything changing, except that the FV men in the PCA will become more circumspect as they continue to fly under the radar while increasing their numbers.

HaigLaw said...

I appreciate your friendship too, and we aren't going to break fellowship over disagreeing about Wilkins.

I have to harken back to what we had the votes to do. The possibility of trying Wilkins was not there in January. We barely had the votes to refer the matter to the SJC.

When the matter came up, as to whether he was under process, I thought it was a fair question and a clear answer, and my penchant for seeking resolution of things kicked in. Nobody had charges prepared in their briefcase for such a time as that.

Commissioners were talking about how it would have taken $5,000 to pay for the costs of a trial, and there weren't votes for that.

People even resented paying $1,900 for travel to Atlanta for the March trial.

As for Howard's gifts for cross-examination, he doesn't have any. His dissent from the former vindication of Wilkins, however, is another matter. Have you read that?

Hope this helps.


Mark T. said...

Sean, I’ll send you an email in the morning.

Dave, I read the SJC’s answer to TE Davis’ appeal, but I did not read the appeal. If you have it I would love to read it. I think the good news is that LAP is well on its way to purging the problem and in this I rejoice.