Breaking down Moderator Donahoe's appointments to the Revoice study committee

New Warhorn Media post by Andrew Dionne:

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I’ve been sharing these articles with men I know in the PCA and has really helped to spur the discussion forward. Thanks for you leg work and analysis.

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I read this with nausea groaning down in my guts. It’s all so very, very familiar. I watched it all - the study groups, the appeals to comity and compassion and similar such stuff - in the Episcopal Church from the early Nineties to Gene Robinson’s consecration as a bishop.

The ostensibly orthodox remaining in the PCA are being molly-coddled to go along to get along. The alternatives (from their perspective) appear to be intemperate - to pitch a screaming mimi fit, or to grab your toys and stomp off from the playground.

What they do not understand - and will refuse to believe if you tell them - is that they will eventually be ejected from the playground for failure to comply with the New Order that lovingly welcomes the sexually diverse (in all their actual and displayed diversity) into the ranks of the Church.

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Yes. Though I don’t have the personal experience you do, I found my feelings exactly the same reading this.

The very fact that we are reading about this is such a clear sign of where the denomination is headed. So sad.

What other alternatives are there and what would you suggest?

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I imagine the alternative is to be willing to be label as such through standing up and opposing this direction at every opportunity or also be willing to be berated for leaving. Evangel Presbytery…for those willing.

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6 posts were split to a new topic: Singleness, heterosexuality, and homosexuality

This is the path all the mainline churches trod. There’s no peaceful solution. It has to be a fight for power and control.

Call me an unrepentant non-winsome Presbyterian if you like, but I am glad this is finally coming to a head. Although the comment about it taking 3 years is troubling. The sooner the battle rages, the cowards leave the field, and blood is shed (figuratively speaking), the better. This is how God purges and purifies Christ’s Bride. So we, probably-soon-to-be-ex-PCA folks, are in the front lines of seeing the Lord Work in a big-picture way, a Cecil B. DeMille way. I would love to see some pastoral guidance and thought on a few sub-topics: 1) What is the true Biblical basis for denominations the way we now conceive of them; 2) Are there core ‘essential’ attributes that must be part of any meta-church structure, all else being optional?; 3) what are the reasons for past defections of men from an apostatizing denomination, and what can we learn to inform our potential defection? I know my Session thinks the time of parting is a long way off, and will not act until unGodly mandates come down. I doubt the enemy will use unGodly mandates this time, rather he will use shame and indirect peer-pressure. This will make it harder for men to say ''enough". So the sheep better get their armor out, sharpen their swords, and ready themselves for battle, because the shepherds are busy with other matters not pertaining to protecting the flock.

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Ken Lamb (@Krlamb1) has pretty well nailed the alternatives: “… standing up and opposing this direction at every opportunity or also be willing to be berated for leaving.”

The Really Big Problem is the first of these alternatives: to stand up and oppose a heterodox/heretical trend before it becomes pernicious. I do not know of any pastor-training program that gives serious attention to how this can be done. Most think that a review of the relevant verses in Matthew 18 is all you need.

With most right things to do, we sinners - and especially we sinners who are pastors - fall off the horse to one side or the other. Most fall by ignoring the need for correction. And, so, the error spreads and intensifies. All along, of course, the reasons not to address the problem become stronger as well! And all those reasons boil down to this: “What turmoil discipline will cause! We don’t want that, now do we?”

On the other hand, there are Christian communities which come down fast and hard on the slightest departure from whatever standards are in force. The micro-management, while technically and legally licit drives far more sheep out of the fold than it preserves from error. It ends up mostly preserving not the truth but the personal opinions of one or two elders.

It looks like a pastoral Scylla and Charybdis which no shepherd can safely navigate. And, truly most do not navigate it safely. The vast majority end up succumbing to Scylla - the six-headed rock monster who foments error, rather than the whirlpool Charybdis who simply sucks the life out of any ship of Christians who pass by too closely.

Can the PCA recover at this point? God knows, while we do not know for sure. History shows us that recovery at this point would require what amounts to a denomination-wide insurrection against the institutional muckety-mucks who (as the composition of the study committee shows) are in firm control of the denominational machinery.

Such insurrections have succeeded! The orthodox Missouri-synod Lutherans did this back in the mid-1970s. It took the PCA equivalent of two GAs to oust the governing board and president of the LCMS seminary which was teaching error to the next generation of Lutheran pastors.

The Southern Baptists succeeded as well, under the insurrectionist leadership of Paige Patterson and Texas Judge Paul Pressler, though it took longer. In the SBC, one needs about a decade or more of successive conservative convention presidents to effect reform, because the administration of the denomination is spread through a matrix of boards, commissions, and agencies. Any convention president can reappoint only a few boards (or portions thereof).

I don’t know enough about the PCA, how it “works,” and so forth, to recommend a course of action. The history of God and His people in the OT gives two ideas which PCA denizens can use to illumine their own situation:

  1. Leadership for Reformation comes from the institutional bottom of the barrel. This is the constant lesson from Scripture. Look at the Judges. Look at King David - so utterly irrelevant to his entire family that his own father gives him nary a thought. St. Paul - with his erudition and Jewish pedigree (cf. Philippians 3:4-6) - is not an exception, for to the Jews he is a traitor, and to the Christians he is a murderous persecutor.

  2. If the rot is deep enough, reformation is not possible. Retreat and reorganization is the only option, because the time has come when the inmates now rule the asylum.

Is the PCA at this point? That’s a call for orthodox insurrectionists inside the PCA. If retreat is the only option, there are destinations already available.

My prediction at this point is this: the next turning point is going to be when the study committee puts forth its majority report, and (possibly) a minority report, and then what the GA does with this. If the majority report is adopted, if (as Greg Johnson is convinced will happen) the “gay identity” finds a permanent seat at PCA tables, then the time has likely come to retreat.

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John, we left the PCA. Why? Because the conservatives were angry at me for fighting. The GRN, the largest coalition of conservatives, is unwilling to fight. So, we give ourselves to new works and pray for God to grow them and their influence for the sake of God’s sheep.

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Agreed - for good or ill, the sheep have a mind of their own!

How do you start a presbytery, without a denomination? I used to think that an impossibility, an improper institution.

Most people think leaving the PCA leaves only two options: joining another denomination or going it alone. Going it alone is not good, leaving one option in most people’s mind. Finding a good alternative to the PCA can be difficult, especially if a congregation wants to be geographically near its new sister churches. Plus, besides leaving one’s historical denomination, it can be particularly sad to leave one’s neighboring churches, the sister churches in your current presbytery, the seat of more brotherhood and loyalty (compared to the denomination). I suspect many churches fear leaving their presbytery as much as leaving their denomination. Some Bible-believing churches are losing their denomination, but they still have faithful sister churches.

There is a little-known third option.

So, can a presbytery leave? Certainly a group of like-minded congregations can leave with an agreement to form a new non-denominational presbytery? Or form a new denomination, but why?

I’m glad to see the birth of Evangel Presbytery. With commitment (and the internet), geography is less of a hurdle. This is a great option for Bible-believing churches.

What do others need to know to start more presbyteries?

Sounds like it’d also be great for some SBC churches to form their own presbyteries.

Can a presbytery do everything a denomination can?

I think of Ezekiel’s watchman on the wall.

Or to change the analogy, it is like the tsunami in Indonesia. All the water was being sucked back into the ocean. All was neat and pretty cool until the wave came. Then it was too late.

Those who think it isn’t serious ‘the parting is a long way off’ really don’t understand the signs of the time.

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This alone is reason enough to leave for two reasons. The first is that the battle to retake that which has been lost will divert a lot of energy, time, and emotion away from what Christ has called us to do, building up His church. In times past, the battle was worth it because there was no other place for a godly church to go if they they left their denomination (think during Luther’s day). But that is not the case today.

The other issue is to ask what we are fighting to save? The PCA was intended to be grass-roots denomination, so that this very thing that is happening would not happen. In the time since its inception, it has become the very entity it despised in the beginning through the slow process of becoming top-heavy. At this point, I would say it is no longer the church, but is a human institution made with human hands. It’s not worth fighting for.

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