Soft Candidates in Geneva…

The Company of Pastors in Geneva during Calvin’s time had three requirements for men entering the pastorate: a sound knowledge of God’s Word, an ability to communicate, and a life that was above reproach. A man could be dismissed from pursuing the pastorate if any of those areas was deficient. Scott Manetsch in his book Calvin’s Company of Pastors, describes some of those rejections:

Candidates were routinely dismissed because they were poor preachers or unable to answer basic theological questions. Men of timid bearing or weak voice could also be disqualified. Occasionally, men were rejected because of concerns about their moral character, as seen in one candidate who was sent away when it was discovered that he had been party to a usurious business deal. Sometimes the Company of Pastors approved a candidate but with stated reservations. Though Leonard Constant was judged very knowledgeable in theology, he was “still not trained or fashioned in preaching” and was thus “not yet ready to step into the pulpit”; the ministers decided to give him a trial period of one month in the parish of Satigny before assigning him permanently to the church.

I’ve witnessed candidates being challenged or delayed for their theological knowledge, their Gospel-less preaching, but less so their moral character…and never for their “timid bearing or weak voice.” We could chalk up the necessity of strong voice to a lack of amplification, but what about that “timid bearing”? Continue reading

Sexual Confusion in the Presbyterian Church in America…

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-5-33-07-pmAn article written by PCA Chaplain Chuck Williams recently surfaced. Chaplain Williams brought charges against Christ Presbyterian Church‘s Senior Pastor Scott Sauls in the Nashville Presbytery based upon the toxic teaching at CPC’s Same-Sex Attraction Forum (April 2015). The results of Williams’ quixotic mission are chronicled in his article. Pastor Sauls responded here with some bad Christology, flowery emoting, and antinomian hand-wringing.

Chaplain Williams posted a link to his article on a Facebook group comprised of 1600 PCA teaching elders and ruling elders. As you might suspect, he was promptly dragged through the mud by men who think there is nothing sinful about men desiring men and women desiring women. Williams handled himself well. A few of the men who opposed Williams on his FB post were those who argued in a similar manner for the formation of the study committee on women’s ordination on the floor of this year’s General Assembly (transcripts here). As you look at the history and trajectory of other denominations, the ordination of women and acceptance of homosexuality, effeminacy, and sexual perversion quickly follows. It is now conceivable that the PCA is attempting to outdo those denominations by simultaneously opening the offices of Christ’s Church to women and promoting the acceptance of homosexual perversion.

Last year when CPC’s SSA Forum was still fresh, a few volunteers made transcripts of all of the videos. After studying those transcripts, I teamed up with a few others to write some articles. You can find them here:

How should the church approach homosexuality (I): Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville; a case study…

How should the church approach homosexuality (II): the removal of masks…

How should the church approach homosexuality (III): Homosexual desires are sin…

How should the church approach homosexuality (IV): what Scott Sauls gets right…

How should the church approach homosexuality (V): “Biblical friendship” as a Trojan horse?…

How should the church approach homosexuality (VI): Who is exempt from pursuing marriage?…

Here is one of my contributions to the series (part II of the previous links)… And please pray that God would use the division occurring in the PCA for the repentance of His people, the purity of the Church, and the revealing of those who are approved. Continue reading

Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 4 of 4)

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpegPart 1 here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here.

(picks up at 2:40:15 of “Thursday Afternoon Business” video)

Unknown
I’d like to call the question.

Moderator TE George Robertson
We’ll do this by voice vote. All in favor of calling the question, say aye. Opposed, nay. We will proceed to a vote. We are voting on the substitute. Should the substitute from the committee of commissioners, which is that recommendation #3 be answered in the negative. Microphone number 1…

Unknown
I believe that all recommendations come from the committee of commissioners and that’s not a substitute. The substitute is made by the original committee if they so desire to do so.

I am wrong.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Thank you very much. Yes… Microphone number 2. Continue reading

Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 3 of 4)

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpegPart 1 here. Part 2 here.

(picks up at 2:21:46 of “Thursday Afternoon Business” video)

Moderator TE George Robertson
No, please, no demonstration. Ah, Number 7. Please.

TE Bill Schweitzer
Fathers and brethren, Teaching Elder Bill Schweitzer, Low Country Presbytery. I rise in favor, in support of the substitute motion. Let me say what this issue is not about. It is not about giving women an opportunity to serve in accordance with the gifting and the roles that God has given them. That door is open, has been open, and it shall remain open.

Neither is the issue some new and unprecedented crisis in our culture that we have not seen before. This year, another General Assembly is celebrating a dubious anniversary, the PCUSA is celebrating the 60th anniversary of ordination of women. Appropriately, by appointing not just one but two women to be joint-moderators at their assembly.

Nor is the issue a lack of information. Few issues have been studied so thoroughly in the Christian church over the last six decades than this particular issue.

What, then, is really the issue? Quite simply, it is whether we intend, whether we intend with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength to submit to the plain Word of God on this issue. The Bible says this, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak but they are to be submissive as the Law also says.” 1 Tim. 2:12 says this, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” It could not be any clearer. Continue reading

Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 2 of 4)

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpegPart 1 is  here.

(picks up at 2:02:43 of “Thursday Afternoon Business” video)

Moderator TE George Robertson
Is that a point of order at number 7? Number 7?

RE Wes Reynolds
Yes, yes, point of order. In reference to lines five and six, on (skip in video) …point of order referred to earlier. By the way, Wes Reynolds, ruling elder, Great Lakes Presbytery. BCO 14-1.9 states that the assembly’s committees are to include proportionate representation of all presbyteries wherever possible. I’m asking the Moderator to rule the committee’s original motion out of order, not properly before the assembly, because if we allow non-presbyters on that committee it violates 14-1.9…and 10.

TE Richwine
Point of order, Mr. Moderator, on the point of order.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Let me catch up with the first one first. 14-1.9 and 10. Is that correct? Ah, alright, second point of order. Continue reading

Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 1 of 4)

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpegI am more inclined to read than I am to watch videos. So, if you are like me and desire to know precisely what was said at last month’s PCA General Assembly regarding the formation of the study committee on women’s ordination, I’ve begun working on a transcription of the audio/video (found here). Written records lead to closer scrutiny, and this discussion on the floor of General Assembly certainly deserves that…

If you find errors (particularly names), would you please post the correction in the comments or send me an email…

(transcript begins at 1:29:10 of “Thursday Afternoon Business” video) 

Moderator George Robertson
Let me remind you of where we are. The permanent committee has recommended the formation of a study committee. The Committee of Commissioners on the Administration Committee is moving a substitute…for their suggestion, for their recommendation, which would be to vote it down. No study committee. In this case, the chairman of the permanent committee is permitted 10 minutes to speak and then the chairman of the committee of commissioners 15 minutes and then 5 minutes for a reply from you. Proceed, Mr. Schriver.
Continue reading

A Father’s Resolutions by Cotton Mather

Cotton_MatherCotton Mather, Puritan pastor in New England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, formed some resolutions regarding fatherhood. Here is the beginning of those challenging and faithful resolutions, followed by a link to a PDF of the whole…

PARENTS, Oh! how much ought you to be continually devising for the good of your children! Often device how to make them “wise children”; how to give them a desirable education, an education that may render them desirable; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable in their generation. Often devise how to enrich their minds with valuable knowledge; how to instill generous, gracious, and heavenly principles into their minds; how to restrain and rescue them from the paths of the destroyer, and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without the natural feelings of humanity if you are not in a continual agony to do for them all the good that ever you can. It was no mistake of an ancient writer to say, “Nature teaches us to love our children as ourselves.”

RESOLVED— 1. At the birth of my children, I will resolve to do all I can that they may be the Lord’s. I will now actually give them up by faith to God; entreating that each child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, a temple of God the Spirit—and be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord as an everlasting instrument of His glory.

2. As soon as my children are capable of minding my admonitions, I will often, often admonish them, saying, “Child, God has sent His son to die, to save sinners from death and hell. You must not sin against Him. You must every day cry to God that He would be your Father, and your Saviour, and your Leader. You must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world, you must lead a life of serious religion.

Read them all here (pdf).

 

Obama’s attack on the Gospel…

At the core of God’s Word is this truth: man is sinful. From Adam—the first man—sin spread to all mankind: “…through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). We are born sinners who sin. Therefore, when the Son of God took on flesh and lived among men there came an announcement appropriate to the context of the sinfulness of mankind: “He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). When Jesus began preaching he contextualized perfectly: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

That the One who came to save His people from their sins was a preacher of repentance should not be lost on us. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4). That Jesus came preaching repentance was God’s tolerance toward you and me. He said what you are is not good, therefore, repent. To the sexual immoral, Jesus says repent. To the thief, Jesus says repent. To the covetous, Jesus says repent. To the drunkard, Jesus says repent. To the fornicator, Jesus says repent. To the idolater, Jesus says repent. To the blasphemer, Jesus says repent. To the self-righteous, Jesus says repent. To me, Jesus says repent. To you, Jesus says repent.

At every point where the unchanging Law of God reveals a knowledge of sin, you and I are called to repent.

Why? Because “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb 9:27). There is a judgment to come where the repentant will meet their Savior and the unrepentant will meet their uncovenanted Judge.

This is the Christian faith. God’s Word teaches these truths for the good of our own sinful souls, and we announce them for the good of every sinful soul in the world. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Praise God there is that one way…open only to those who repent and believe.

To not announce such glories would be the worst kind of cruelty. To allow someone to persist in his sin until he dies is unkind and merciless. To not call for all men everywhere to repent is to denounce the tolerance of God.

Someone once told me I was a blasphemer and a foul-mouthed jerk…using the words of James 3. I repented by the grace of God. And Scripture has continued the same annihilation of my sinful nature, inherited from Adam. Everywhere proud, everywhere lusting, everywhere envious, everywhere unkind. And I, by the grace of God, hope to continue in repentance until the day I die…and then inherit my reward.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

In hellish contrast, watch this video released by the Obama administration:

Contrast the worldview of this video with what I laid out above from the Scriptures. Repentance—the kindness of God, remember—is the enemy. The gospel of “such were some of you” is intolerable. In its place—all dressed up in the language of affirmation and love—is bondage to sin and the damnable weight of an ever-changing law.

So devastatingly sad. But Christians will continue to preach the gospel of such were some of you until our governing officials make us shut-up. This video makes clear such silence is the desire of our President. In the meantime, we will preach repentance because we love our Savior, the friend of sinners, and because we love sinners.

It is those who reject repentance that hate souls.

Man's duty to protect woman…

I stumbled onto our government’s Selective Service website this morning. When I was 18 years old I was required to register for selective service (the draft). Registration is still required for all young men in the US, but it is only a matter of time before women are included in the same requirement. Why is this? Read this page of the Selective Services website and the trajectory and sentiment of the armed forces should be obvious to you.

When these issues were debated in the 1990s, the stated reason women were not required to register for the draft was that they were restricted from serving in positions in the military that involved “direct ground combat.” In 2013, a unanimous recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff called upon all military branches to “eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” This work is intended to be completed by January 1, 2016 and will result in the removal of any barrier to women being conscripted into combat positions in the military.

This direction is a shameful abdication of man’s calling to cultivate and to keep (Gen. 2:15) those weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7) entrusted to his care… Continue reading

Oh, the irony…

I have sometimes made use of a very notable place in Peter, concerning Sarah: Sarah had a speech to her husband in Genesis 18:12, she called her husband lord. There was only that one good word in a bad, unbelieving speech; but yet when the Apostle mentions that speech in 1 Peter 3:6, the Holy Ghost leaves all the bad, and commends her for calling her husband ‘lord’, for putting a reverent title upon her husband. Thus how graciously God deals with us! If there is but one good word among a great many ill, what an interpretation God makes!

-Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment