Timing of our decisions
Two responders react to the same quote in the Synod newspaper.
Mark (not Smith) writes,
"On June 28, less than a week after GA adjourned, the Kirk amended their articles of incorporation to eliminate all previous references to denominational affiliation and accountability."More of the same from Arthur,
It appears from this report that The Kirk (the Session?) planned, well before The Layman article about GA's "secret" property strategy and before the New Wineskins Convocation, to pull out of the PCUSA.
I can't believe I missed this.I repeat, we were responding to the affidavit filed by our presbytery. It had been discovered in May. We believe that we—legally and morally—own the property of the Kirk. The fact that someone in an organization of which we were a part declared (after we’d been a part of that group for 22 years) that they now owned our property does not make it so.
Is this true!
"On June 28, less than a week after GA adjourned, the Kirk amended their articles of incorporation to eliminate all previous references to denominational affiliation and accountability."
I’ve been trying very hard (with varying degrees of success) to be sympathetic to your plight. I'm absolutely appalled by this!!!
Oklahoma law allows any trust—even, or especially, one created by another entity—to be revoked. This is what we did. It did not involve leaving the denomination. We did not recommend leaving the denomination at that time. The decision to change our bylaws and charter was made by our session in May, before the General Assembly. The congregational meeting was also scheduled then. Our decision to disaffiliate came after the GA in June, in response to its approval of the PUP report.
A couple of responders question whether the affidavit was secret.
- First, no congregation was queried or contacted about the affidavit, so we were kept in the dark in that respect, regardless of whether or not it was announced at a later date.
- Second, one of our members, himself a trustee of EOP at that time, confirmed the irregularities of this action. When he inquired into this motion and meeting he was told that he had missed the meeting, and that minutes were not taken, but the chair had taken “some notes.”
On another subject, Jodie said,
Chill Tom,Here, as one other responder noted, Jodie fails to understand the nature of the old covenant, in the case of the Deuteronomy passage, and proper Greek exegesis, in the case of the Titus passage. The first is a law changed in Acts 15 (where the specific items retained from the old covenant are listed). The second is an indicative, illustrative statement which, correctly taken in context does not require us to believe that all Cretans are liars. Paul is ironically quoting someone else in this passage.
Are you saying that you do not ignore parts of scripture? Did you hand up your children for stoning or encourage other parents to do so when they answered back to you? (Deu 21:18-21) Do you really believe that Cretans are "always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons"? (Titus 1:12-13.)
Many who support the radical changes in the PCUSA revert to this argument that, if we do not literally act on every statement in the Bible, we have no right to insist on literally enforcing any standard of Scripture. In the cases Jodie cites, there are historical, Reformed interpretations that I have given above. In the case of sexual morality we have the specific retention of the Law as exhibited in Acts 15, as well as specific restatements of prohibitions elsewhere in the New Testament.
Essentials versus non-essentials
One person accuses me of attacking people who disagree with me. I really don’t think that I’ve done that. On the other hand, if you believe that taking a stand is an attack, I can’t help how you interpret that.
Mark (still not Smith) wrote,
Second case in point: women and ordination. In the past two months I have read at least two responders to your blog who asked you to clarify your understanding of women and ordination. The most recent request went unanswered. You answered the first request with the standard EPC view that the ordination of women is a nonessential issue, so it's left to local option. Frankly, I was stunned. Why would The Kirk, who spent so many decades in a denomination (the PCUSA) that stipulated adherence to the biblical and confessional doctrine of women in ordained leadership suddenly say that it is nonessential? You rail against those "godless" "faithless" "unbiblical" "unChristian" PCUSA denominational leaders, and yet you readily abandon a fundamental biblical principle that values the leadership of women in favor of local option? Your claims of biblical fidelity don't add up.I can make it clear: I believe in women’s ordination (which I’ve already written). I am fully in favor of women's leadership wherever they are gifted so to lead. My wife is a full professor in a university. My daughter is a physician. It is not essential that they be either, but for the fact that God has provided them with the gifts so to serve. I do not classify women’s ordination as an essential, as I would the infallibility of Scripture. Nor would I even classify ordination (as we practice it today for both men and women) as an essential. I’m sure I’ll get some response to that statement! I believe in music in worship, but don’t regard it as essential to Reformed faith. I believe that Sunday school is important, but it is not essential to Reformed faith. Is the pattern clear? Essentials are just that—without them, we are no longer Christian or Reformed. All else is non-essential.
Finally, from the ever-active Mark (not Smith),
Tom, I understand that YOU believe most, if not all, PCUSA leaders are in league with the devil, and that all they want is the money and property of dissenters. As one of your responders said, the great majority of the PCUSA doesn't agree with you. If YOU believe that puts us in league with the devil, too, so be it. You're entitled to your beliefs.Mark, I do not believe what you say I do. There are people in the PCUSA at all levels whom I not only respect, but admire. That doesn’t mean, though, that sinful agendas are not prevailing at this time in the PCUSA. Why is it that the PCUSA is abandoning its long-held respect for the essentials of Scripture? Why is it that the PCUSA system has only one outcome for congregations seeking dismissal? Where is there a sign of grace? There is clear evidence for my suspicion of some of our leaders. The clearest current instance is where the Louisville-leaked game plan plainly says that, if presbyteries are too generous toward departing congregations, the national denomination will step in, revoke the presbytery’s decision, and squeeze the turnip.
I have to resign myself to the fact that, whatever I say, people will believe otherwise. This is human nature. I await the responses.
Keep praying--keep the faith,