An Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer / Prior to 42nd PCA GA

Image
I just want to draw attention to an event that is scheduled to be held prior to this year’s 42nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Taken from the facebook page…

https://www.facebook.com/42ndGAprayer

The 42nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America set to gather in a little over one month in Houston. It is difficult, amid all the duties we have as elders in Christ’s church, to have a clear, confessional understanding of all the issues and implications before us at GA. Hard as it may be, our responsibility to prepare remains. To help augment your personal preparation, we are putting together an Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer prior to the start of the 42nd General Assembly. We have chosen four of, what seem to be, the significant issues we will be addressing at this GA. We have also assembled a panel of three men: Dr. Sean Lucas, Dr. Rick Phillips, and Dr. Guy Waters. These men will discuss these issues for the sake of helping us consider their significance prior to being asked to vote. Each man will be the lead presenter of a topic, and the other men will be given the chance to respond and add their own thoughts.

Our objectives are simple. First, we want to gather PCA elders who are concerned about trends that may threaten our confessional unity as a denomination. Second, we want to highlight and provide information about matters of significant concern to this year’s assembly in the form of overtures and study committee reports. Third, we want to pray to our sovereign, gracious God for the faithfulness, unity, and well-being of our denomination. By expressing concern, providing information, and praying to our Lord, we seek to promote the unity, soundness, and vitality of the PCA. Of these three actions, prayer is undoubtedly the most important and valuable, since, as Psalm 124:8 tells us, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” With these aims in mind, we will be discussing four issues of importance that will come before the 42nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America:

1. The Standing Judicial Commision. The function and oversight of the SJC is obviously a “hot button” issue, based on the number of overtures submitted to the GA this year. Dr. Sean Lucas will be offering his thoughts on how to best address concerns of accountability in the SJC.
2. The Role of Women in Church Offices. With the study committee proposal from Philadelphia presbytery in overture 22 on the issue of male only eldership, we want to consider the implications of this overture with regard to the consensus in the PCA on the role of women in the church offices. Dr. Guy Waters will help us wade through the sticky questions in this area.
3. Erroneous Views of Creation. Overture 32 deals with erroneous view of creation. Obviously there is still a concern surrounding the influence of Biologos within the PCA. We want to work our way through this overture. Dr. Rick Phillips will be summarizing his understanding of the implications of this topic.
4. The Insider Movement. The contents of this report are of great significance as was seen in last year’s floor debate. We will consider if this report adequately addresses the objectives of the Assembly.

Our Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer will meet on Monday, June 16 in Grand Ballroom J at the Hilton Americas Conference Center starting promptly at 7:00 p.m. Following the presentations we will sing and pray together, asking God to bless our deliberations at the court.If you are interested in attending this meeting, please RSVP to cliffwoodpca@cliffwoodpca.com, or call (706) 798-2691. We hope to see you there as we desire to serve Christ’s church at the 42nd General Assembly. Anyone can attend this meeting, so feel free to pass the link to this page along to others you may think could be interested.

On behalf of my fellow organizers,

TE Geoff Gleason
Cliffwood Presbyterian Church
Augusta, GA

RE Melton Duncan, Sr.
Second Presbyterian Church
Greenville, SC

TE Richard D. Phillips
Second Presbyterian Church
Greenville, SC

TE Ken Pierce
Trinity Presbyterian Church
Jackson, MS

http://confessingourhope.com/blog/2014/06/07/confessional-concern-and-prayer/

 

Advertisements

The Modern Day Grace Movement / A Hermeneutical Problem

I was reading through one of the threads on the Puritanboard.com the other day and noticed something that I must have missed last year. I knew there was a Pre-Assembly Theological Conference before the PCA General Assembly last year on Grace but I didn’t realize that the sessions were posted for us to listen to. One of the sessions that peaked my interest was a critique of the Modern Grace Movement. So I downloaded it and listened to it a few times. I have to admit that I was quite taken back by the content and theological expose’ that was given. Now the session critiquing the Modern Grace Movement doesn’t mention any names nor does it openly go after anyone specifically. At the same time I found it quite unavoidable to see certain teachers and teachings being address. It is very relevant to the topics being discussed today. I would wholeheartedly encourage everyone who has any interest in the discussions going on in today’s climate concerning Sanctification to give this Session a solid listening to.

The Gospel Reformation Network

Original page to Conference videos. 2013 Sessions

Sermon Audio page with audio and video links
Critique of the Contemporary Grace Movement | SermonAudio.com

 



Video SermonAudio.com – Media Player

 

Is the PCA liberal or just going off the rails a bit?

image

     I am one who wants to conserve Confessional Integrity because I believe the Westminster Standards are a wonderful summary of the Holy Scriptures. Anyone who doesn’t want to conserve Confessional Integrity wants freedom from them on some level. If that makes them liberal then so be it, I guess.
Conserve
1. to prevent injury, decay, waste, or loss of:
     The Confession is a whole document. It is historically tried and truthful in my estimation. I admit there are things that are unclear to me and my Church has a testimony that runs along with it. But it is my whole denomination’s testimony and we confess it. Maybe we are liberal in some ways compared to what others think.The term Liberalism is not monolitic in understanding. It definitely needs some attachment to a topic.
     There are topics that seem to be more pertinant than others maybe.  The first area that concerns most people has to do what they think about the nature of Scripture. The Confession speaks concerning that issue. Another area has to do with God and who he is. The Confession speaks to that issue. I guess we need to discern what issue we are discussing. When it comes to Soteriology the Confession is quite clear on that issue also. While a person may affirm the confessional standards concerning the nature of scripture and who God is they might not affirm the confessional standard concerning soteriology.
     In the Presbyterian Church the integrity of the Westminster Standards is what the measuring stick is. At what point do we start to label someone liberal? That is a hard question. J. G. Machen definitely set a standard and noted that Liberalism is not Christianity. I guess I need to reread him and find out where he drew the line maybe. Concerning his libertarianism I might consider him a Liberal. LOL. I do not believe the Westminster Standards are Libertarian.
     I have been catching up on some of the Greenbaggins blogs. I normally stay away from it because the commentators seem to speak past each other and it is so disheartening. The recent last few blogs have had to do with the past G.A.( General Assembly)  From appearance and reports even outside of the PCA the last G. A. looks more like American Politics where posturing and heathen tactics are being used.than the methods of assembled prayer and seeking God’s face. As I noted, it is starting to look more like heathen godless politics than a Church following Jesus Christ. How is it that this came to be? Whatever happened to the High Calling in Christ Jesus and the reverence we are to have for His Kingship?
     As sheep we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. Where does this leave the laymen now? According to Hebrews 13 we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. Liberal or not, this can’t be anything the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote that we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. I pray that repentance springs from somewhere. This is too confusing to be from the Hand of The Lord. I don’t want to see a situation likened unto the past where Moses said, “Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me.” Exodus 32:26 I am saddened in spirit and for our brothers.
 I have heard communication that other PCA Elders wouldn’t recognize the blog posts on Greenbaggins (concerning the General Assembly) as being accurately reported.
My reply to that is…

In all due respect, maybe that is part of the problem. I am not relying upon Greenbaggins. I have been hearing ripples even outside and they aren’t necessarily the bloggers who are of the mind to announce overly harsh criticism. Sure there are plenty of those. There are some solid facts being presented from others that are acknowledging the polity and the results as the things that should have happened per polity. But the discord and maneuvering appears more like political wrangling than looking like a Church that is to seek Christ and adhere to a Standard known as the Westminister Confession of Faith.

It is probably a sad thing that most PCA Elders don’t recognize it as being accurate. I remember when the Federal Vision started raising its head. I was in the PCA then. Most Pastors were clueless as to what it was or even if it was a problem and the Doug Wilson books were filling the pew sitter’s libraries as the teaching was. Most PCA Pastors are tending to real life issues and working out situations in their congregations. That is hard work. They didn’t have the time nor see the urgency of the situation. They were Pastoring (dealing with sinners) and preparing for worship. So they were clueless for a time being. It just seemed like a heresy hunt to some. And I understand that.

All I am trying to say is that I am praying and hope many others are for a recovery. We have a wonderful set of Standards and they are not silent on these issues. We have God’s word and I know it isn’t silent either. The situation represented by many resembled more of a picture of English Parliament and American Politics than it did the picture given to us in Acts 15.  Maybe I am wrong. Either way, where is our example?

I was encouraged to have an optimistic outlook (by a very sound Deacon with whom I have a lot of respect) and consider the fact that the PCA cannot allow false confessionalism to stand as in the recent cases brought up. Especially concerning baptism, justification, Union with Christ, the visible Church, invisible Church, covenant of works, etc. I was exhorted to see that some people do not believe that there is significant sentiment in the denomination for the contrary views that have been discussed recently.


There was also reason to have hope as we see a very committed man heading Covenant Seminary now. We should also recognize that in Revelation 1-3, most of the types of Churches then (and now) have attributes of both commendation and chastisement. Most have some struggle with maintaining right doctrine and even those that were apostatizing sometimes are commended for having a faithful remnant in there midst.


WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO PROTECT TRUTH AND THE GOOD NAME OF OUR NEIGHBOR, ESPECIALLY WHEN BROADLY ASSESSING THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, AND WHOLE COMMUNIONS.

My reply…

I appreciate the optimism some people have. I also appreciate the advice about protecting the good name of our neighbor.  At the same time I cringe because of the many issues I have been noticing in the past few years concerning Law / Gospel, Creationism, Communion, Soteriology, etc, have not been dealt with as they should have been. There are many issues that have been discussed and cautioned about. The leading authors in the PCA today are not leading others down the paths that Dr. Sproul and others from the past 30 years were solidly contending for. For instance, I steer my kids and disciples away from some prominent PCA authors. Do I need to name them? Some are very popular right now.

Also when we consider Revelation 1-3 we should note that Candlesticks were removed as The Lord promised. That isn’t something we should neglect. There was a reason for their removal. We surely don’t want to see that happen. But realistically there are major problems that seem to be swept under the carpet for the time being. As I noted above the recent situation should bring a lot of concern. Whose example are we to follow? Why is the leadership appearing to perform on a level of ineptness that renders confusion and looks more like political wrangling than a Church seeking the Lord’s will?

I appreciate the optimism but it seems to neglect a lot of the reality. Things are not being dealt with properly on a level it seems it should be. We have a PCA Church here in town that has an art museum exhibit as one of its main attractions. It is obviously a model Church from one in New York where many strange issues are spewing forth from. The New York Church is touted by many as a model to immulate. This ought not be in my estimation as I see a lot of confusion and strangeness being spewed forth from that place. There is much to be concerned about. Whose example are we to follow?

I hope this past G. A. is not one that will be touted as a fine example. Ineptness is what it seems to be marked by. Sure the praise and worship may have seemed to be edifying but I am wondering what The Lord thought of it. I am not going to pretend to know the mind of The Lord concerning how edifying the worship was. If the worship was all that great and uplifting I would have thought that it would have transferred over into the other areas of the General Assembly and it appears it didn’t.

I appreciate the optimism but I am very cautious about it also. There does seem to be something very amiss somewhere.