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

The preciousness of homosexual sin…

620x400_HomosexualityThe PCA is increasingly concerned about being a denomination that speaks the truth in love to those who love the sin of sodomy. ByFaith says that we must “stand firm on biblical teachings about homosexuality without alienating people who desperately need Jesus.” They ask, “How can the PCA uphold biblical teachings without excluding so many who need the good news of Jesus Christ?” In my mind, this kind of hand-wringing and question-asking is code-language for how do we hide what God has openly said about homosexuality in His Word from those who love sodomy. God has spoken clearly (does He speak any other way?) and without mincing words, calling sodomy an “abomination” (Lev. 18:22) and “impurity” (Rom. 1:24) and “unnatural” (Rom. 1:26) and “indecent” (Rom. 1:27). He warns that those who don’t repent of the sin of effeminacy and homosexuality will earn for themselves condemnation (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Now, please don’t try to convince me that the Holy Spirit somehow spoke truth without love in those passages of His inerrant Word…

Because of a prevailing view in our culture regarding homosexuality, we are repeatedly warned by confused church leaders that those committing this sin need to be handled with special care, at a slowed pace, with different love, with peculiar wisdom and tenderness. Of course we are to love sinners, that is a no-brainer. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To not love sinners is not to love. But why this hand-wringing over homosexuality? Could it be that the hand-wringing arises not because of the complicated nature of the sin of homosexuality but because of embarrassment over God’s handling of this sensitive matter?

To demonstrate the strange absurdity of this singling out of one sin, let me grab another sin which if not repented of will earn a man condemnation. This one’s listed right next to effeminacy and homosexuality in 1 Cor. 6: idolatry. Now, let me take that particular sin and put it in place of some words about homosexuality in a few paragraphs from the ByFaith article…

As idolatrous lifestyles and idolatry march relentlessly toward social acceptance, PCA leaders and congregations face a quandary: how to stand firm on biblical teachings about idolatry without alienating people who desperately need Jesus. Many in the PCA insist that the question can no longer be ignored.

Freeman has been attending the PCA General Assembly for more than 25 years. During that time, he says, scores of elders have come to him—heads hung low—hoping to talk privately about their own struggles, including attraction to idols. “Typically I’m the first person they’ve confided in,” he says. “They often confess…in tears.”

For Wheeler, the challenge is finding the balance between standing for what God says and at the same time treating idolaters like everyone else—human beings worthy of love and respect and created in God’s image. “They are sinners, just like all of us,” Wheeler says.

In his book, “The Briarpatch Gospel,” Wheeler offers poignant stories about his interactions with idolaters and those attracted to idols during his years at All Souls. During one conversation he told an idolatrous attendee at his church, “Your being an idolater doesn’t put you into some special category of sinner. It just mean you struggle to follow Jesus, just like I do. You and I are both called to conform our lives to the righteousness of Christ, and you and I are both going to fail miserably at times. But I am willing to walk that road with you for as long as it takes.”

“We start with the Gospel and explain God’s design for worship, and then we explain—compassionately and kindly—that every expression of worship outside of His plan misses the mark.” We want to let people know that God is pro-worship, Freeman says. Otherwise, we’ll become known as the ‘that’s bad, that’s sin, you shouldn’t do that’ denomination.

Now, I hope you see the strangeness, if not absurdity, of such a program. Would we approach a man who bowed down eight times a day to a 24-foot tall wooden statue he erected in his backyard with such nuance and ambiguity? I hope not. We would lovingly plead (that’s redundant) with an idolater that they give up their idolatry and turn to the living God. In fact, we’d go find an ax, some gasoline, and a lighter and roast hotdogs over the flames while reading the story of Gideon. That is where we would start the process…because we know what God has promised for idolaters. We know that we are not to crave evil things (1 Cor. 10:6-7). We would pray that God would work in that man just as he did in the Christians of Thessalonica, who “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God (1 Thess. 1:9). We would love him enough to risk being labeled a ‘that’s bad, that’s sin, you shouldn’t do that’ Christian. And should he prove his repentance and faith in Christ, he would be welcomed to the Table of the Lord—around which are seated the Fellows of the Such-Were-Some-Of-You, all those who gave up fornication, idolatry, adultery, stealing, coveting, drinking, swearing, and homosexuality for love to Jesus.

One of the claims of the ByFaith article is that sinners who sin homosexually are like any other type of sinner. I agree with that but the author of the article and many of those quoted in it betray their thoughts to the contrary. Effeminacy and homosexuality do indeed fall between adultery and thievery in Paul’s list in 1 Cor. 6. But the confusion of many today is demonstrated in that they desperately seeking a way to treat homosexuality as a different kind of sin, the kind of sin that requires support groups on Christian campuses, the kind of sin that particularly needs truth spoken in love.

It is almost as if those who make such arguments have never seen anyone turn away from the sin of homosexuality, transformed by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. Without such faith in the power of the Spirit, they endeavor to keep in dialogue for as long a possible those they know are engaged in the sin. At least that way we can talk to our pastor buddies about how we’ve been engaged in open, loving, respectful, and pleasant dialogue with some homosexual brothers who are open to the gospel. As long as they remain open to the gospel, they aren’t rejecting it…and that leaves more time to nuance God’s Word. As if repentance is due to our kindness, rather than the kindness of God…

Another day of witness and an invitation…

I have very little doubt that my brothers in the Presbyterian Church in America would state privately that abortion is a modern genocide. Yet when it comes to prophetic ministry to state that truth publicly, there is more silence than talk. Will our Lord judge us well for such inconsistency?

Along with a number of people from Trinity, I drive for over thirty minutes to stand at the gates of hell, telling the residents of Greenville that children are being murdered within her gates, that she has a death-camp in her midst. I do so one day of the six days a week the abortuary is open. I invite my brothers and pastors from the PCA to put some flesh on those theological bones by practicing true religion outside the Greenville Women’s Clinic.

A map showing PCA churches near the place in Greenville where babies are murdered.

A map showing PCA churches near the place in Greenville where babies are murdered.

Would you consider being there one of those six days? Will you join us?

Let the contemplations of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (as told by Eric Metaxas) inspire you…

The Scriptures said that faith without works is dead, that faith “is the evidence of things not seen.” Bonhoeffer knew that one could see some things only with the eyes of faith, but they were no less real and true than the things one saw with one’s physical eyes. But the eyes of faith had a moral component. To see that it was against God’s will to persecute Jews, one must choose to open one’s eyes. And then one would face another uncomfortable choice: whether to act as God required.

Bonhoeffer strove to see what God wanted to show and then to do what God asked in response. That was the obedient Christian life, the call of the disciple. And it came with a cost, which explained why so many were afraid to open their eyes in the first place. It was the antithesis of the “cheap grace” that required nothing more than an easy mental assent, which he wrote about in Discipleship (Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, 278-279).

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It's very difficult to say no to magazine editors…

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Each edition of the Christ-centered byFaith Magazine features some interview of or article by a PCA superstar. Accompanying the Christ-centered article are numerous pictures of the star, posed—furrowed brow; thoughtful stare, eyelids slightly narrowed; calming smile; head-tilted back, laughing. I know the editor merely desires to convince us of the interviewee’s trustworthiness and winsome personality. And all of that to convince us of the trustworthiness and winsome perspectives outlined in his Christ-centered book. And all of that to convince us of the trustworthiness and winsome, Christ-centered content of the book of Daniel. It’s breathtaking in it’s Christ-centeredness! Thanks, byFaith!

No need for a study committee…

Overture-22-Philadelphia-Study-Committee-on-BCO-21-5It’s said that progressives will revisit settled issues until they become unsettled. The Philadelphia Presbytery is using such tactics, hoping to revisit the settled Biblical polity regarding the sex (the Philadelphia Presbytery shows her slip by using the word “gender”) of elders. They desire to find some wiggle room for candidates for ordination who “may come forward who understand Scripture to allow women to be ordained to the office of elder.”

In no way do I mean the next sentence to be flippant. I’ve completed the work for the study committee…

1 Tim. 2:12-15.

This passage does not need study. It only requires faith.

Update (6/17/14):

Happy to see this, though I’m disappointed by that one abstention…

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More than football happens on Saturdays…

IMG_1305Babies are killed. More fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, girlfriends, and boyfriends put to death the next generation. Down at the Greenville Women’s Clinic, Buffkin and Campbell were hired to do the deed. They’ve put to death over 80,000 children since the clinic opened, averaging about 2,700 murders a year.

I urge any Reformed brothers, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary students, pastors who read this blog to come witness outside the clinic. If you are flirting with the R2K heresy, we’ll call your participation evangelism. You aren’t opposed to evangelism, are you?

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The last two weeks have been intense. Last week a blasphemous young man dropped off his girlfriend so she could kill her twins and then proceeded to do all he could to rile us up. He is proof that atheists don’t simply deny God, they hate Him. This week a young man listened to Parks as he preached and engaged in what we hope was a fruitful conversation. We pray that his return to the clinic was not to see that the abortion was completed but to rescue his baby. Please pray that that would be the case.