Saturday, December 30, 2006

12/30/06, A Vindication of the Charge of Ministerial Unfaithfulness [rev.]

In that the undersigned is a "disaffected brethren," i.e. excommunicated, we were not included on the mailing list for “A Vindication of a Faithful Minister” that went out Dec. 25, 2006 at 4:25 PM. We were however included in some of the pious congratulatory gush and empty fluff, that however sincere, was mailed out in response to it. Our comments are twofold. One, those who do not appreciate the following comments are respectfully then requested to stop emailing us with them in the first place and provoking our response. Two, it still would be helpful to note the following items that have been totally ignored in the one way discussion.
B. Suden

1. Private vs. Public
As has happened previously in the discussion of lawful courts, oaths and discipline in the former RPNA, there continues to be an ongoing confusion about and lack of distinction between the power of order/office and the power of jurisdiction/court, as well as a private and personal ministry as opposed to a public and judicial ministry. (See the Second Book of Discipline 1:3 or Gillespie’s Assertion of the Church Government of Scotland, Part I:II for more on the power of order and jurisdiction).

Yet faithful is as faithful does, in that it is not the personal actions or character per se, but particularly the public preaching and teaching ministry and even more the public judicial actions that have compelled brethren at this time to question whether or not a particular pastor and his ministry, or that of other officers, is faithful.

2. Accountability and Standards
And that judgement is in the light of the Word of God. None of us stand before and ultimately answer to the court of public opinion. We all shall stand before the court of heaven and answer the Lord for what we have done in the flesh and how we have improved our time, talent and opportunities. Ministers even more so, because they minister and rule in the name of Christ and consequently their shortcomings, sins, competency and character reflect more directly on the Lord as per the quote of 1Cor.4:1-5 in the VFM. But that said and notwithstanding, the Scripture is an infallible and perspicuous word from that same court of heaven by the light of which and with a good conscience we are to not only frame our lives, but also private Christians may make a right judgement, non-judicially though it may be, about the character and competency of a minister or officers, as well as a court to which they will submit the care of their soul.

In other words, we are to judge not according to what 1 Cor.4:1-5 might appear to say [as quoted in the VFM, Dec. 25, '06] or in the sense it could be taken, if not wrested out of context, but make a right judgement (John 7:24). While we may not be able to judge the heart which God will judge on that day, we are to judge all things in light of Scripture and no one is above reproach. God is no respecter of persons or members even of presbytery, great or small. Rather presbyters are on that account, even more accountable and woe be unto those who on the basis of this passage think a man or a minister has no one to answer to simply because they are a member of the court or that God gives the keys of the kingdom in doctrine and discipline to elders, instead of the congregation, as in independency. There is no such thing as a professional immunity. When someone comes to those who are called to preach and teach in the church of Christ with a question from the word of God or the subordinate standards and historical testimony - which those same officers have taken a solemn oath to uphold - such as why the contradiction between for instance, the Position Paper on Sessional Authority (PPSA) and those sworn standards, they cannot wave the magic wand of 1Cor.4:1-5 and beg off answering or giving account.

3. The Absence of Approved Examples of Apostolic Teaching
Neither is it enough to chant the usual mantras, of “lawfully excommunications,” “lawful Church Court of the RPNA(GM),” etc. etc and cry down all that has recently revolved around the PPSA as categorically submitted in a “disorderly and sinful manner”and setting “a sinful precedent for further acts of public defiance.” That and taking “steps that have promoted further division within the Church and further public defiance for the lawful Court of this Church” as some have done. Even if those protests are out of order and the argument of necessity and extraordinary times does not apply, previous to all the complaints and questions, as noted before, the PPSA itself appeals to the apostolic example in Act 15 to support its international session. There is also much ado in the excommunication notices about the “decrees for to keep” of Act 16:4 as to the binding nature of lawful sentences from lawfully constituted presbyterian courts, which all parties are agreed to, the question being rather, the lawfulness of the particular court issuing the ecclesiastical fatwas against certain members.

Yet at the same time there has been no corresponding diligence to follow the example in Act 15:22,30-35 to publicly and in person preach, teach and expound by word of mouth the distinctive doctrines and issues contained in the PPSA. Public question and answer sessions should have been and should be taking place even now in Albany and Edmonton at the very least. This is so that if it were possible, not only the court would be established and defended publicly, but also the saints would be established in this conscience binding dogma. (That Act 15 applies to a situtation where there is a plurality of ministers or the existence of a genuine greater presbytery, would seem to be also a prima facie reason that it cannot apply to the situation in the former RPNA or justify the extraordinary session as the PPSA asserts.) Yet we are implicitly told that the absence of all this is the ministry and actions of a faithful minister, if not a faithful court? We respectfully suggest that those who think so, do not know what a faithful public ministry ought to consist of, above and entirely apart from again, the private character of the parties concerned.

We further respectfully suggest that this ignorance is also likely to continue, once again because of that self same public ministry. It has not taught the whole counsel of God on the matter, at least publicly, (regardless if it has been taught house to house privately) and is therefore guilty of blood. To those that think that simply scandalous to say so, we ask just how do they gloss Act 20:20 - 27 to read?
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, . . . Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
The church of Jesus Christ does not exist in order that we may play an orderly game of musical chairs. Neither is it a social club or an ecclesiastical sandbox. There are serious matters at stake and studiously avoiding them is not an option by a faithful ministry. On the contrary a free and full discussion and exposition of the issue is called for.

If complaint is made that Acts 20 only refers to the gospel narrowly considered, what of 2 Tim. 3:16 & 17 wherein we are told Scripture equips a minister unto all good works? Even the good work of an elder or bishop in Titus 1:9,11 of holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he might be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers - and stop the mouths of the church government naysayers? That we have not seen, though excommunications have flourished and multiplied with perhaps no end in sight (all will have to take the oath in the end or should, if the elders are consistent, no?) Meanwhile a four month cutoff for asking questions about the PPSA is rather a weak alibi as we approach a four year wait for a statement on birth control as promised in June ‘03 upon dissolution of presbytery by the officers in question. To whom much is given, much is required and woe be unto them if they require more from the sheep than they are willing themselves to do.

4. Faithful Ministers According to Our Vindicated Officers
After all, we can still remember a conversation with Pastor Price and Elder Barrow when they were visiting Everson in the fall of ‘98. Pastor Price quoted from the The Fourth Head of the First Book of Discipline, “Concerning Ministers and Their Lawful Election” in regard to a faithful minister:
And last, let them understand that it is alike to have no minister at all, and to have an idol in the place of a true minister; yea and in some cases, it is worse. For those that are utterly destitute of ministers will be diligent to search for them; but those that have a vain shadow do commonly, without further care, content themselves with the same, and so they remain continually deceived, thinking that they have a minister, when in very deed they have none.
Not only are those who have been excommunicated now destitute of a minister, we all have been destitute for much longer than that, of a minister who will preach on and speak to the point now in question. Yet the same officer(s) and court are more than willing to excommunicate people on the matter and that promptly. This is faithfulness? Or a shadow thereof? Again, between June 14, ‘03 and June 4, ‘06, as well as after, there has been no real substantial public teaching or preaching on the subject, although the elders began signing their letters as the “Session of the RPNA(GM) on Oct. 31, ‘04. Neither did the Prince George Society or the Washington Society receive any substantial answer to their private questions on the matter at that time. As in one, ‘Why the name change from the RPNA to the RPNA(GM)? Is it only nominal or will there be an implementation of a general meeting in practice?’ Yet when brethren could not and would not sign an oath accepting the PPSA and the court justified therein - the “Session of the RPNA(GM),” - they were subsequently “self” excommunicated. This was done on the basis of “public contempt of the common order of the church,” without any opportunity, other than in the court of public opinion, to defend and clear their name and that before, the public order of the church had really been properly, explicitly and publicly established. (It was after all, extraordinarily, as in implicitly, constituted.) This is the fruit and ministry of a true pastor or elder? Or but an idol in its place? Yet if the RPNA(GM) is a nominal general meeting - and it clearly is - perhaps nominal officers are to go with.

That is to say, regardless of a someone's personal sincerity, we may make an estimation of their public ministry for good or ill and stand by it now and answer for it then. If anyone objects to that, then they at the least simply don’t understand the bare minimum regarding liberty of conscience and private judgment. In other words again, a faithful minister/ministry is not judged solely on the basis of personal sincerity, in that many Mormons or Muslims are also sincere. Rather we have an objective standard in the word, as well the subordinate standards that declare authoritatively and specifically just how the Scripture is to be understood (in marked contrast to the popular vague and general generic affirmation that somebody “believes the Bible” whatever that means), that along with sincerity, establish the bar by which to measure and answer the question. We are to consider a man (or men’s) doctrine publicly published and preached and/or the lack thereof in this instance, along with the judicial decisions, as well and besides one’s personal character, diligence and professed sincerity, however commendable or no that is.

5. Further Contradictions between June ‘03 and June ‘06
From the top again, the June 14, 2003 letter - which granted, does allude to the particular elderships of the Second Book of Discipline 7:10 (which are not extraordinary courts, much more Gillespie, the star witness of the PPSA, and Calderwood, can be shown to consider them greater presbyteries with a plurality of ministers) - even more plainly and explicitly says that Pastor Price can administer the sacraments because of his office as a pastor, not because he is a member of a court, extraordinary or not. It also explicitly mentions Renwick and Cargill who admitted people to the Lord’s Supper as pastors and upon the doctrinal basis of the six terms of communion even at a time when there were no formal sessions in existence.

Yet fast forward to the June 4, 2006 PPSA and we are told that receiving the sacraments means we have implicitly recognized the validity of the permanent international session/court of the RPNA(GM) (pp.13,21), instead of merely acknowledging the faithful office of the pastor administering them on the basis of the six terms of communion. These are two very different things. Still, as a consequence oaths have been served and brethren excommunicated because they cannot in good conscience swallow this contradiction and confusion between June ‘03 and June ‘06 and accept the PPSA and the court it justifies. We ask anyone with eyes, if oaths and excommunications are a faithful way to resolve this contradiction and problem, that discipline and denial are the way of moderation, equity and faithfulness in answering the genuine questions of the flock? Is excommunicating brethren from the visible church because they will not bow the knee and submit by oath to the PPSA and its extraordinary international session, which contradicts not only the June 14, ‘03 letter, but also the historical testimony (doctrine and practice) of Renwick and the Reformed Presbytery, of whom we profess to be the faithful continuing moral person, the work and action of a faithful court, minister and ministry? Pray tell, do tell. We think not.

Further more, we understand that faithful ministers in Reformed Presbyterian churches swear to uphold those same subordinate standards and historical testimony that Renwick and the Reformed Presbytery did, which same standards and historical testimony do not uphold the permanent extraordinary international sessions the PPSA attempts to justify. (If the essence of a session is that of a local congregational court, technology notwithstanding, an extraordinary session can not be constituted or be “in session” when the necessary number of officers needed for a quorum are out of town, long distance phone calls to the contrary.) As should be obvious then and as a consequence, there is no real historical testimony referenced in the PPSA, much more the PPSA is an unfaithful document when judged in the light of the RP historical testimony.

Likewise ministers and courts who publicly profess to uphold both the PPSA and the historical testimony are unfaithful ministers and courts, if not that they are seriously confused. Likewise those who buy into the PPSA, which only demonstrates a shallow discernment and an immature and mistaken judgement that more and more in light of the circumstances seems to be the endemic hallmark and fruit of the preaching and teaching ministry in this church. But that is the responsibility not only of the pulpit, but the ruling elders who are to oversee and supervise the pulpit, particularly if everybody is what they claim to be, a genuine presbyterian session and the RPNA(GM) is but one big congregation. Has that been done?

6. Conclusion
Respectfully, the answer to the question of what is a faithful minister and ministry in our circumstances is only too painfully clear and has been said before, until there is repentance and restitution made for these public decisions, we can only answer in the negative to the question before the house: Are the officers, whether ministers or ruling elders of the extraordinary permanent international session of the RPNA(GM) faithful? Answer: No, they are not faithful in their capacity as a court in their power of jurisdiction and if they will not promote the truth in all this in their capacity and power of order/office as ministers and ruling elders, then they must also be judged as unfaithful in that regard, whatever their respective merits as private individuals are to their family or the community. That is the sad and sorry state of affairs as things stand now about which so many seem to be confused and deceived.

Still faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Open rebuke is better than secret love ( Prov. 27:4,5). Paul asks the Galatians, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth (Gal. 4:16)?” After the second wave of excommunications last Saturday night, Dec. 23rd, the total disciplined so far came to twenty [four] out of an approximate total of eighty eight communicant members. The third wave of oaths went out the evening of Dec. 24th with a response due next Wed. Jan. 3rd. The question then, might seem to be will 2 Chronicles 18:16 be the epitaph for this church, where “all Israel [is] scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd?” That, if not Jeremiah 50:6:
My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace?
Or will it be Ezekiel 34:6?
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
We think the answer Scripturally self evident.

Monday, December 25, 2006

12/25/06, A Vindication of a Faithful Minister

To: [List]
Date: Dec 25, 2006 4:25 PM
Subject: A Vindication of a Faithful Minister

While this is a family's testimony of their husband and father, we would like to acknowledge the faithfulness and loving authority of the entire court. This court has tirelessly laid down its life for Christ's church. We love and thank you all for your years of faithful service and contending for the truth.

In light of the countless false accusations and misrepresentations, it is our honor to bear witness to the faithfulness of our beloved husband, father, and shepherd of our souls. This testimony is the result of our own personal convictions without the influence, suggestions, encouragement or review of Pastor Price.

We cannot fully express the amount of love and patience he has chosen to display when ministering to many through their trying situations. He has sacrificially laid down his life for this church, guiding, counseling, and comforting his dear flock who has been given to him by God to lead, feed and protect. In these present trials, as well as former, he has spoken charitably of others who in return have chosen to malign him; he has chosen to deal justly and honestly in the love of Christ. He has anguished and labored fervently to preserve the peace, purity, and unity of Christ's church. He stands not before the court of public opinion, but before the Court of Heaven. It is that standard alone by which he will be judged, and by which he has chosen to act. Therefore, it is with immeasurable gratitude and love that we attest to the constant and faithful ministry of this humble servant of Jesus Christ.

From those who know him best,
[Extended Family of Teaching Elder G. Price.]

I Cor. 4:1-5
"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

~Love God, and there is no fear that can enslave you.
Trust God, and there is no worry that can overtake you.
Praise God , and there is no complaint that can consume you.~

A reply to the above is found here.

12/25/06, Another Reply to the Oath and Excommunication

Sent: Monday, December 25, 2006 8:42 AM
Subject: Regarding our "Excommunication"

Our response to our "Excommunications" is attached.
Humbly submitted,
Edgar & Juana I.

Reformed Presbyterian-----Para la Corona y el Pacto de Cristo

Our submission in regards to the Oath tendered by
Teaching Elder (te) G. Price, Ruling Elders (re) G. Barrow and L. Dohms that lead to our excommunication

Dear Elders,

As we acknowledged we received the Oath that you sent to us on Dec. 10th, 2006. You requested an answer by Dec. 20th, 2006. We apologize for our delayed response, but this has been due to several factors in our family and a heavy work schedule. We now ask that you will patiently read our response and know that it is written humbly and respectfully to you.

It is with a heavy heart, with sadness, and lament that we view the state of our church and community of Covenanters and we do not desire to add to the pain and separation that is now transpiring in our midst, but your actions compel us to write a response regarding your actions. We also feel compelled to answer you publicly as this is in the common interest of the church and our Covenanted brethren.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

12/24/06, Of the "Public Sin" of An Unqualified Condemnation of Paganism (Among Other Allegations)

From: Bob S.
To: Lyndon Dohms; Greg Price; Greg Barrow
Cc: [List]
Sent: Sunday, December 24,2006, :32 AM [w. corrections]
Subject: Re: Session Response to _______ Allegations

Dear Lyndon, Greg and Greg et al,
I read with interest your response at large of Wed. Dec. 20th, (though sadly yours of last night was only more of what one has come to expect). Since you took the liberty to include me in the broadcast of those comments, I have taken the same to reply, particularly among a few other things, to the notion of a "public sin" of an unqualified condemnation of paganism, (which if the link is broken, can be found at: http://reformedveritas.blogspot. com/2006/12/ . . . ) Coming as my remarks do, from a “disaffected brethren,” they of course, are sure to be beneath the notice of some, even many, never mind reply, but that is no real matter. . .

Saturday, December 23, 2006

12/23/06, Second Wave of Excommunications

From: "Lyndon Dohms"
To: [All who signed the Charitable Inquiry who were not yet x'ed and one other couple and an individual]
CC: "Greg Price"
"Greg Barrow"
Subject: Excommunications
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 20:06:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Attached are announcements of excommunications.

The Session of the RPNA (GM)

(w. 14 pdf notices of excommunication for 15 individuals attached)

Friday, December 15, 2006

12/15/06, G. Price's Reply to the UnExcommunicated Brethren

From: G.Price
Fri Dec 15 2006, 08:17 AM
[In reply to the unexcommunicated brethren]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Although I admitted in my letter to you that there were some concerns worth discussing, my letter to you, as dear brothers and sisters whom I love in the Lord, was intended to persuade you to separate yourselves from those who had been excommunicated by the lawful Church Court of the RPNA (GM) rather than joining hands with them in a public letter of common concerns.

I do understand that you began working on these common concerns with our excommunicated brethren before they were actually excommunicated. However, as I pointed out to you in my letter to you, once they were excommunicated, it was your duty to remove your names from any association with them and if you still desired to forward to the Session such concerns for discussion you may have done so (in accordance with the Session's invitation extended to you in the "Position Paper On Sessional Authority").

Friday, November 17, 2006

11/17/06, CovRefClub Post #15272 [Complete]: Welcome Wayward Covenanters/Read It Yourself If You Think I am Lying

#15272 Covenanted Reformation Club
Bob S.
Date: Fri Nov 17, 2006 :12 am
Subject: Re: Welcome Wayward Covenanters/Read it Yourself If You Think I am Lying
[Abridged version on CRC list, full post below.]

Dear Gerry and Tom,

Appreciate you speaking up on all the current unpleasantness in the RPNA(GM).

> Private actions warrant private discussions: these are public acts.

> This is a public act. Discussing this public act cannot
> be condemned as "airing dirty laundry" or discussing "in-house"
> matters. Public acts, public discussions about those acts.

> "But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned,
> being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us
> out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us
> out." -- Acts 16:37.

Excellent choice of Scripture with the last. If the Session of the RPNA(GM) excommunications are both public and just, they ought to be able to bear public examination, as well the oath and the Position Paper on Sessional Authority which led to them. Those in favor of them ought not to fear the light (Eph. 5:13). Let the whole story be told and justice vindicated.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

11/9/06, A Charitable Inquiry of the PPSA

From: Common Concerns
To: Pastor G Price, Elder G Barrow, Elder L Dohms
Cc: [List]
Sent: Thursday, November 09, :16 AM
Subject: A Charitable Inquiry Regarding Elders PPSA

November 8, 2006

Cover Letter

Dear Pastor Price, Elder Barrow, and Elder Dohms,
In the attached inquiry that is before you, many individuals are coming to you with common questions and concerns regarding your position paper on Sessional authority [1] and the events that have transpired since. Here we outline why we are asking these questions of you, along with our reasons for asking in the manner we have chosen.

In light of recent events, some may ask why certain individuals are represented here as signatories. The reason is twofold: first, because we realized in general discussions since June, that at least to some degree these certain individuals shared common concerns; second, because some of these have in recent days been asked numerous questions by peers and superiors, regarding issues with more and less relevance in this common paper. Upon reflection it seemed most fair to all concerned to follow through on this moderate path, recognizing our issues do not represent all issues of any one person, but seek to be generally representative on what we collectively know to be – common concerns on things common in their nature to the scattered remnant.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

11/8/06, A "Disaffected Brethren" responds to the Elders' Response of 11/4/06

From: Bob S.
To: Lyndon Dohms; Elder Greg Barrow ; Pastor G. Price
Cc: List
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 1:02 PM
Subject: Re: Session Response Nov. 4

A Disaffected Brother Responds to the
Response to Recent Objections of November 4, 2006
from Pastor Price and Elders Barrow and Dohms

Dear Brethren,

Thank you very much for your “Response to Recent Objections ” of Saturday Nov. 4. In it, you write in the conclusion to Q.5:

Thus, we wait to hear from our disaffected brethren where in God’s Law a temporary extraordinary Session is lawful, but an permanent extraordinary Session is unlawful. This we do not believe they could ever prove from the Word of God (p.12).

If the undersigned qualifies as a “disaffected brethren” and your response is to be taken for its word, allow me to respectfully respond by saying Matt. 18:20 is exactly “ where in God’s Law” an answer is found to the question.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

11/4/06, Standard RPNA(GM) Communication of Excommunication

[This is pretty much the standard Notice of Excommunication that went out from the Session of the RPNA(GM) following the Confidential Oath. The first three waves of excommunication notices numbered respectively ten, fourteen and five members on 11/4/06, 12/23/06 and 1/5/07. More excommunications followed on 2/5/07, 3/8/07, 4/9/07, 4/23/07 and 7/14/07 for a total of 35 out of 88 approximate communicant members or 39% for either refusing the Confidential Oath or disagreeing with previous excommunications. There has also been at the same time 3 excommunications based on requests for termination/resignation of membership and 1 excommunication over a moral issue. See also the Timeline.]

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: [Excommunicated parties]
Cc: GPrice, GBarrow and the rest of List
Sent: Saturday, November 04, :30 PM
Subject: Excommunication

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Attached are announcements of excommunications.
The Session of the RPNA (GM)

(w. 10 pdf excommunications attached as per the sample below)

Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

November 4, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is our sad but necessary ministerial duty to announce publicly to those under our oversight, that Mr. ___ ____, of _____, ________, has refused to swear a lawful Oath imposed upon him (October 4, 2006) by this lawful Church Court reaffirming his membership agreement (before being served with charges of sin filed in good order and received by the Court by a member of the RPNA—GM), and in so doing has sinfully excommunicated himself from membership and has shown public contempt for Christ and His Ordinance of a lawful Church Court.

11/4/06, Elders' Response to Recent Objections

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: [List]
Sent: Saturday, November 04, 2006 8:58 PM
Subject: Session Response Nov. 4

"Session of the RPNA (GM)"
Response to Recent Objections November 4, 2006
[Pastor G. Price, Elders G.Barrow and L. Dohms]

Since objections have been raised by some about matters related to excommunication by this Court, we thought it would be helpful to write regarding the manner and matter used by this Court and to respond to these objections/questions. This is not intended to be exhaustive in its content.

1. Why have some who have left the Church not been formally excommunicated?

There are some former Members who have been excommunicated merely by virtue of their own self-excommunication subsequent to their obstinately removing themselves from membership with us. These excommunications occurred during the time in which the Session of the PRCE governed, during the time in which the Presbytery of the RPNA governed, and during the time in which the extraordinary Session of the RPNA (GM) has governed. We believe that the recognition by the Church Court of such self- excommunications is warranted from God’s Word when the apostle John says in regard those who turned away from their association with faithful Churches: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us" (1John 2:19). In the Minutes of the faithful Presbytery called the Reformed Presbytery (in the United States), June 2, 1886, it is stated that that Church Court recognized the sinful actions of unrepentant members who voluntarily dismembered themselves from the Church to be a self-excommunication concerning which the Presbytery deemed no further judicial acts to be necessary:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

11/1/06, Public Reply to Elders' Response to SPG's "Public Protest and Complaint"

From: Bob S
To: Pastor Greg Price; Elder Greg Barrow ; Elder Lyndon Dohms
Cc: List
Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2006 12:30 AM

Subject: Re: Session Response to "Public Protest and Complaint"
November 1, 2006
To Pastor G. Price, Elder G. Barrow, Elder L. Dohms,

Dear Beloved Brethren,
Thank you for your recent untitled letter of Oct. 28 ‘06, which was in response to the Society of Prince George’s "Public Protest and Complaint" of Oct. 18, ‘06 regarding the Confidential Oath of Oct. 4, ‘06. Although I am a member of the Wash./Vancouver Society and not the SPG, I too was served the oath. Respectfully then, a few hopefully brief, but thorough, comments might in order, regarding three of the topics in your letter. They would be:

1. Excommunication.
2. The circumstances surrounding the call for questions on the PPSA.
3. A brief survey of the "arguments from Scripture, history and reason" in the PPSA.

1. Excommunication: Orderly or Out of Order?

To the best of my knowledge, your quote in your Saturday night response (p.14) of the Order of Excommunication and of Public Repentance (1569) was the first time ever for one of your documents in our circles. Is that correct? Two, in that many people as a consequence might not know too much about this document,or your quote from the section entitled: "Offences that deserve public repentance, and 0rder to proceed thereunto," does it not go on to say immediately after your quote that:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

10/31/06 An Implicit Extraordinary Session? and the June 14 '03 Letter re. Dissolution of Presbytery

From: Stan B.
To: G. Price, G. Barrow, L. Dohms, List
Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 8:49 PM
Subject: Concerns regarding the interpretation of the letter of June 14, 2003

October 31, 2006

Dear Mr. Price, Mr. Barrow, and Mr. Dohms,

I have hesitated to write publicly until now, choosing instead to engage with you privately, as I have done on a number of occasions (as you know). However, in your recent email (Oct. 28, 2006), there is one argument that I find particularly troubling. I ask for your patience to hear my point of view. You write, "Thus we maintain that the Letter of June 14, 2003 accurately describes the authority of the Session (albeit an extraordinary Session), and it also reveals that those who were previously members under the inspection of the Presbytery of the RPNA remained under the inspection of the Session of the RPNA (GM)." Although I have no way of judging your intentions when you wrote that letter (June 14, 2003), I do not believe that its contents support this assertion of yours. On the contrary, I believe that the letter clearly indicates that no such Session exists.

Looking at the letter itself (which is included at the bottom of this email for your convenience), the word "Session" appears seven times:

Monday, October 30, 2006

Extracts from Gillespie on Excommunication

Extracts of Gillespie on Excommunication
(from a work in slow progress)

Congregational Consent to Excommunication
Gillespie in Assertion of Church Government of Scotland of Scotland previous to the first quote on the page in the PPSA (p.16) says regarding the question of the congregation’s consent to an excommunication:

One scruple more may peradventure remain. They will say, it is well that we require the church's consent before any weighty matter which concerneth all be finished; but what if this consent be not had? Whether may the eldership cut off an offender renitente ecclesia? For their satisfaction in this also, we say with Zeperus [De Pol. Eccl., lib. 1. cap. 19.], Quod si ecclesia, &c.-'But if the church, (saith he) will not approve the sentence of excommunication, nor hold it valid, and they see many disagreeing among themselves, {42.b.} and schisms, and greater evils in the church, to follow this sentence of excommunication; the elders shall not proceed to excommunication, but shall patiently suffer what cannot with the good leave of the church be amended. In the meanwhile they shall publicly and privately admonish and exhort.' So saith Zanchius,16 that without the consent of the church no man ought to be excommunicated.

10/30/06, Integritas Ecclesia's Comparison of the PPSA and the Terms of Communion

[Missed this one in the first go around, but a pretty good (anonymous!) analysis of the PPSA according to the RP terms of communion.]

From: Integritas Ecclesia (aka Idgar Ebarra? though he won't admit it.)
To: List
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 1:37 PM
Subject: Elder's Response to S of PG's Complaint

Dear Elders and Brethren,

Just a brief comment and some observations.

I am allayed that the Elders have provided us their response to PGS' complaint and protest. It is revealing and helpful for all of us to know their response.

Many of our brothers and sisters have stated that the Elders have answered using Scripture, our faithful Subordinate Standards, and Historical Example(s). I would agree that any answer dealing with the advancement of doctrine must be answered with Scripture first and fore-most and with our Standards secondly. However, the question needs to be put forward; have our Elders done so as our brethren have asserted?

10/30/06, Carnal Graffiti and the Word of God: Disproved and Disapproved.

A Brief Follow up to The New Paganism which is a Response to Tattoos And The Word Of God [no longer available at Albany CPRChurch].
It has been said by some that:

If one of those practices [in Lev. 19] was absolutely forbidden for all time, then all of those practices were likewise forbidden for all time. If it was an absolute moral prohibition to mark oneself on the body because it was unlawful in itself, then it was likewise an absolute moral prohibition to cut one’s hair in a circle, trim one’s beard and shave the hair between the eyes or eyebrows because these practices were unlawful in themselves. Yet a faithful and consistent interpretation of God’s Word and faithful commentators and divines from the past unite their voices in declaring that these practices were not unlawful in themselves, but became unlawful due to the direct association they had with pagan worship and superstitions (Tattoos And The Word Of God [as above, no longer available on the original site] , p.3).

In contrast, we would assert that this is to misstate the question. We know fortune telling/enchantments/signs of the times is wrong. So too prostitution. Yet these two verses bookend the passage in Lev. 19 regarding cutting and/or making marks upon oneself. Arguably at least or only the first, fortune telling, is associated with doing something “for the dead,” but both ipso facto are unlawful are they not?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

10/28/06 Elders' Response to "Public Protest and Complaint" of SPG

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: List
Sent: Saturday, October 28, 2006 7:46 PM
Subject: Session Response to "Public Protest and Complaint"

October 28, 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We, as a Session, bring to you our response to the "Public Protest and Complaint" that was submitted to you by the Prince George Society (October 18, 2006). This is not a response that we approach lightly or casually. It is a response we offer (by God’s grace) in the fear of God and in sincere love for the brothers and sisters in Prince George as well as for you all. It is a faithful testimony that we bear in the presence of our Triune God and all of His creation.
"Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high" (Job 16:19).
"Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice" (Micah 6:1).

Background We find this to be especially difficult because we have shared such profitable and frequent times of fellowship and worship together with the brethren in Prince George over many years. Regular visits were made to Prince George during the years every six to seven weeks and were lengthened when the Session became busier with visits to other Societies to every ten to twelve weeks during the years . These visits to Prince George were also supplemented at different times by visits the families made to Edmonton which likewise were times of great joy and encouragement to us all. We believe our commitment to care for and shepherd the flock in Prince George was one which we took very seriously. Visits thereafter continued less frequently over the next few years as the membership increased, thus increasing visits and phone calls to others in the United States and Canada.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

10/21/06, "Schism" from Scripture-Warnings at

[Bcc: List]
Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 9:40 AM
Subject: Schism

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should
be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all
passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the
cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that
spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But
with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were
overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples,
to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also
lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is
written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and
fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt
Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of
serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and
were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened
unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that
thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Friday, October 20, 2006

10/20/06, Re: PGS "Public Protest and Complaint"

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: [Church List]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: PGS "Public Protest and Complaint"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In light of the recent "Public Protest and Complaint"
(October 18, 2006) issued by our brothers and sisters
in Prince George, the Session is preparing a response
which (God willing) will be ready for distribution late
next week.

The Session encourages the membership not to judge
hastily in this matter before hearing the response of
your Minister and Elders. For great issues are at
stake that will affect your lives and the lives of
your children for many years to come.

We reaffirm our love for the brethren in Prince George
and for all of you, and we plead with you to heed the
instruction of the inspired Scriptures:

"He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but
his neighbor cometh and searcheth him" Proverbs 18:17.

In the service of Christ our King,

The Session of the RPNA (GM)
Pastor Greg L. Price
Elder Greg Barrow
Elder Lyndon Dohms

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10/18/06, PGS Public Protest & Complaint

[Any links in the PP&C, have been added.
See also:
10/28/06 Elders' Response to "Public Protest and Complaint" of SPG]

From: Society of PG (RPNA)
To: List
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 4:00 PM
Subject: PGS Public Protest & Complaint
Attach: PGS_PublicProtest. pdf (54.9 KB)

Dear brethren,
Knowing our Lord's mercies are 'new every morning', we respectfully submit this to you by way of public protest and complaint.
We remain,
Yours in Christ,
Society of Prince George

October 18, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

10/17/06, Response to Compromising Oaths

1 Reply to Elders/Oath of Elders
2 Subsequent Public Cover Letter to 1


From: Bob S
To: Lyndon Dohms
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 11:09 PM

Dear Lyndon,

I am sorry, but this is the best I can or will do by way of receipt, in that among other things, I would respectfully note that I keep hearing from others in the church that cannot get a reply or receipt of their communications with you or the other elders. In which case, I am sorry, but I am not really setting the standard or the precedent in all this. Others are and respectfully they will have to answer for it if I read the Scriptures correctly. If I am wrong about that, you may of course say something, but respectfully I don't think I will be hearing from you any time soon, if at all.

Even further if I may say so, I have been in a number of P&R churches previously, but if this situation now doesn't beat all, I don't know what.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

10/4/06, Elders' Confidential Oath with Accompanying Letter

[Cover Letter]

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: _________
Cc: Greg Barrow ; Greg Price
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:28 PM

Dear ___,

Please confirm receipt of the attached document, by a reply email to all the Members of Session. (Pastor Greg Price, Elder Greg Barrow, and Elder Lyndon Dohms).

thank you,

Elder Lyndon Dohms

Clerk of Session


[Attached (PDF)]

October 4, 2006

Dear ___,

Please confirm receipt of this document immediately by email to the Members of Session: Pastor Greg Price, Elder Greg Barrow, and Elder Lyndon Dohms.

10/4/06, The New "Confidential Oath" of Membership in the RPNA(GM)

(Extracted from the accompanying Letter of 10/4/06 from the former RPNA elders to various parties)

I, ________, freely and voluntarily, according to my own conscience and not being induced or compelled by any unlawful external means, by the grace of God and in the name of Jesus Christ, sincerely, in the plain and common sense of these terms, without equivocation or mental reservation, formally testify that I, ________, in no way knowingly disagree with any of the five Terms of Membership of the RPNA (GM), or any of the six Terms of Communion of the RPNA (GM) inclusive of its published position papers (namely, “A Brief Defence Of Dissociation In The Present Circumstances”, “A Brief Testimony Against The Practice Of Occasional Hearing”, “The Common Cup: Evaluated From A Biblical, Historical, And Medical Perspective”, “The Practice Of Headcoverings In Public Worship”, “A Reformation Discussion Of Extraordinary Predictive Prophecy Subsequent To The Closing Of The Canon Of Scripture”, “Reformed Presbytery In North America Deed Of Constitution”, and “Position Paper And Response To Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority Within The RPNA (General Meeting)”), and I formally testify that I own the authority of the Session of the RPNA (GM) in both its extraordinary form and jurisdiction, which is presently comprised of Pastor Greg Price, Ruling Elder Greg Barrow, and Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms, as that Presbyterian Church Court, which is both lawful and faithful to the true Covenanted testimony of Jesus Christ and is agreeable to the Scripture and to all of the Subordinate Documents [i.e. Standards - RPV] of the RPNA (GM). I further testify, in the name of Christ, that I do and will willingly submit to the Session of the RPNA (GM) (in so far as they conform to the Word of God), and that I will endeavor to conduct myself in this upcoming Court proceeding truthfully, honestly and charitably.

This signed oath must be returned to the Clerk of the Court, Elder Lyndon Dohms in papercopy (_____ ____, _______ ____, AB _______), or by email (in a PDF file with signature),at the following email address, lwdohms@___________ by 12 AM, Wednesday, October 18, 2006.

Dear Member, the Court appeals to you not only from the authority of Christ, but also from the love of Christ to fulfill this duty incumbent upon you as a Member of the RPNA (GM).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

8/13/06, Announcement re. Settled Status of Position Paper on Sessional Authority

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: [List]
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 8:24 PM
Subject: Position Paper - Sessional Authority

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has come to our attention that there is some question among our
Societies as to whether our recent position paper entitled, "Position
Paper and Response To Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority
Within The RPNA (General Meeting)" is in fact our "settled" position
on these questions, or whether we were waiting for questions from the
various Societies and/or public discussion prior to publicly stating
this as our "settled" position.

This short announcement is to inform all those under our inspection
that our position paper entitled, "Position Paper and Response To
Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority Within The RPNA
(General Meeting)" was intended to, and does state our "settled"
position on these questions.

We, as time permits, intend to correct any spelling mistakes,
typographical errors, and spelling of names (in the appendix where
various judicial actions were listed), prior to publishing this
document on the RPNA website.

The Session of the RPNA (GM)

Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

Sunday, July 30, 2006

7/30/06, "Temporary" Euthanasia of PRCE/RPNA(GM) Forum


Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 4:09 AM
Subject: PRC List : Digest Number 1163

The Reformed Presbytery in North America

Messages In This Digest (11 Messages)

1a. Recap and orientation (was Re: The 'corrective lens') From: Ben H. . .
1b. Re: Recap and orientation (was Re: The 'corrective lens') From: personalwg@. .
2a. Re: Paper on Sessional Authority From: Ben H. . .
2b. Re: Paper on Sessional Authority From: personalwg@ . . . . .
3a. Re: Euthanasia analogized From: Ben H. . . .
3b. Re: Euthanasia analogized From: The McC. . . .
3c. Re: Euthanasia analogized From: Darren H. . .
4. Re: Coveting your prayers... From: rachel. . . .
5. A great prayer for this Lord's Day From: personalwg@. . . . . .
6. Re: Euthanasia analogized (the ups & downs of Yahoo Groups) From: The McC. . . .

7. Notice from the Session From: zanchy
Posted by: "zanchy" lwdohms@. . . . .
Sun Jul 30, 2006 8:04 pm (PST)

All posting on the PRCE group has been temporarily suspended pending
review by the Session.

Pastor Price
Elder Barrow
Elder Dohms

Back to top
Reply to sender | Reply to group | Reply via web post

Messages in this topic (39)

Monday, July 24, 2006

7/12/06, Asinine Analogies Assiduously Characterized and Cauterized or Hypothetical Analogies Euthanized

[Looking back on this, Albany probably wasn't the big deal for B&N. Rather euthanasia referred to the session and Society of Prince George's questions about it, which were largely unknown in the church. Some of us knew something was going on, but nothing specific.]

Posted by: Bob S
Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:06 am (PST)

Dear Nick (and Brian),

Long time, no hear from, a good thing.

Now lately, hear a lot, maybe not such a good thing.

That is, can we stop playing possum and put this pious pretense and miserable fraud to rest once and for all? First it was the phony affidavit. Now it is some phony analogies. You know exactly what you were getting at with "Euthanasia Analogized," so what's all the futzing around and pontificating long and hard about? After all, when Christ told the Pharisees his parables, they had no doubt what he was talking about. So if EA is anything like that as we have been told, we ought to be able to forego the tedious fine print we have had to put up with so far and jump right to the foregone conclusion.

That is, at least most people who know something about it, can connect the dots between EA and the questions of principle/opposition in Albany, to Albany giving funds to Edmonton, unbeknownst to the Edmonton Society, to continue paying a ruling elder a preaching elder's salary, which according to the EA scenario is taken to be an attack on the well being of the church as impersonated in the same officer because his salary is at stake.

Monday, June 26, 2006

6/26/06, PRCE List : Providence interpreted; Household management by magnalia_dei

[The entire hypothetical analogy series can be found here.]

From: magnalia_dei
Sent: Monday, June 26,2006, 11:27 PM
Subject: PRC List : Providence interpreted

Providence interpreted

For anyone to interpret providence so as to conclude (as a basis of their faith acting), and thereupon pronounce to the public, that a given calamity in providence is a specific judgment on a specific person for their actual sin supposed, is a presumption on interpreting providence that, apart from special revelation, is tantamount to a claim of a providential hermeneutic that is inerrant. Such kind of ignorant presumption, and the putrid and malicious application to the victims arising therefrom, is everywhere taught against in the scriptures (even explicitly by the Lord Christ); and, it exceeds, by orders of magnitude, the degrees of the sins of the merciless "friends" of Job. But those engaging in such behavior, of course, conveniently omit themselves from the same public self-condemnation that ought, by the same principle, to necessarily follow from the calamities of providence relative to their own persons or families, which they conveniently overlook or more charitably judge.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

6/4/06, Position Paper on Sessional Authority (PPSA)

From: Lyndon DohmsTo: Lyndon Dohms[Bcc: List]Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 6:24 PMSubject: Session Paper
June 4, 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Attached is a paper titled "Position Paper and Response To Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority Within The RPNA (General Meeting)" The first paragraph of the paper is quoted below:
"In the Response that is before you, the Session has decided to focus its attention upon questions that have been circulated both publicly and privately as it relates in various ways to the authority possessed by the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting). We thank you for your patience in awaiting a Response to the questions that have been raised. We propose first that you carefully consider what is found in our Response. Second, we recommend that you privately send questions of clarification to us which we will publicly post, and to which questions we will publicly respond (as quickly as we are able to do). Third, after your questions of clarification have been submitted and answered, we will consider (if we deem it necessary and profitable at that time) how we might formulate a plan to facilitate a forum that will lead to a profitable discussion for everyone who desires to do so. "
The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)Pastor Greg PriceRuling Elder Lyndon DohmsRuling Elder Greg Barrow

Position Paper and Response To Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority Within The RPNA (General Meeting)
In the Response that is before you, the Session has decided to focus its attention upon questions that have been circulated both publicly and privately as it relates in various ways to the authority possessed by the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting). We thank you for your patience in awaiting a Response to the questions that have been raised. We propose first that you carefully consider what is found in our Response. Second, we recommend that you privately send questions of clarification to us which we will publicly post, and to which questions we will publicly respond (as quickly as we are able to do). Third, after your questions of clarification have been submitted and answered, we will consider (if we deem it necessary and profitable at that time) how we might formulate a plan to facilitate a forum that will lead to a profitable discussion for everyone who desires to do so.

Friday, May 26, 2006

5/26/06, Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry re. The New Paganism

Interim Emails

From: Greg Price
To: Bob S.
Cc: Greg Price ; Lyndon Dohms ; Greg Barrow
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 8:23 AM
Subject: Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry

Dear Bob,

Since it was a couple weeks ago that we sent our initial response to you, we wanted to follow-up in
order to confirm that our email (dated May 12, 2006)was received by you. We understand you may be very busy with work at the present time and unable to provide a full response.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

5/23/06 - 5/27/06, Albany Financial Meeting, Comments, Retractions and Clarifications

From: SA

To: [List]

Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 2:33 PM

Subject: Conclusion of Albany Financial Meeting 5-21-06

Dear Brethren,

I’m writing so that you may be informed of the public discussion/proceedings regarding Elder Barrow in relation to his salary. Many of you have contacted me requesting information. Pastor Price has publicly given his consent that any individual in Albany can communicate these things with other members.

The Elders sent out an announcement May 20, stating:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Session has decided that we lack enough income to support two full time elders in the oversight of our societies. Therefore, September 2006 will be the final pay period for Elder Greg Barrow. Please pray for Elder Barrow as he seeks employment to support his family.

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)
Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

Just to add to their record on a few points.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

5/20/06, Second Excommunication Notice with New Tacit Consent Paragraph

[This is the second Excommunication notice with the new tacit consent paragraph added (see also the notice of 5/14/06), as compared to previous notices in Oct. '05 without.]

From: Greg Barrow
To:[G.Price, L. Dohms, ______, _____]

Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2006 5:37 PM
Subject: RPNA (General Meeting) Session Announcement

Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

May 20, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is our sad but necessary ministerial duty to announce publicly to those under our oversight, that Mr. ____ ____, and Mrs. ___ _____ of _____, ______, ___, have, as of April 4th, 2006, formally written (by email) to the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) and to many members on a public email list, informing us that they no longer desire to submit themselves to the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting), nor do they agree with some of our Terms of Communion. Consequently, they have voluntarily withdrawn themselves from the membership of the Reformed Presbytery in North America (General Meeting).

In that email of April 4, 2006, they charged the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) with schism and said, “We will seek to be united with a larger body of the visible church which faithfully adheres to the Westminster Standards.” Additionally, in the same letter, they referred to our doctrine and practice against occasional hearing as a foundational error, and stated that we are binding the conscience of men by teaching that the Solemn League and Covenant continues to bind us in Canada and the United States. We would note that these charges, by implication, are not only made against the Session, but are also made against each and every member of the RPNA (General Meeting), who also hold our Terms of Communion to be agreeable to the Word of God.

5/20/06, Announcement re. Elder Barrow Future Change to Part Time

From: Lyndon Dohms
Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2006 9:30 PM
Subject: Session Announcement re: Greg Barrow

Announcement From the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

May 20, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Session has decided that we lack enough income to support two full time
elders in the oversight of our societies. Therefore, September 2006 will be
the final pay period for Elder Greg Barrow. Please pray for Elder Barrow as
he seeks employment to support his family.

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

Sunday, May 14, 2006

5/14/06, First Excommunication Notice with New Tacit Consent Paragraph

[The italicized final paragraphs on tacit/after the fact consent are included for the first time in this May '06 notice as compared to the previous in Oct. '05. See also the excommunication notice for 5/20/06.]

From: Greg Barrow
To: G.Price, L.Dohms, Nate P.
Bcc: Church List
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:13 AM
Subject: RPNA (General Meeting) Session Announcement

Announcement From the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

May 14, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is our sad but necessary ministerial duty to announce publicly to those under our oversight, that _______ _____ of the Society of ______, has formally written to the Session to inform us that he has voluntarily withdrawn himself from membership within the Reformed Presbytery in North America (General Meeting). In that letter (dated January 14, 2006), ____ states:

“I voluntarily withdraw my membership from the RPNA--effective immediately.”

____ has been under the censure of Suspension from the Lord’s Supper since October 31, 2004. On various occasions attempts have been made to reclaim our brother, but to no avail. He has indicated that his mind is settled on this issue. We remain willing to speak with ____ and to pray that God will soften his heart, and open a way to a godly reconciliation in the future.

Because we believe ____’s withdrawal of membership from this faithful Church of Jesus Christ is a sinful division that promotes schism within the Church (1 Corinthians 12:25) and because ____ is obstinate in this sinful action and refuses to repent of these sins (Matthew 18:17), we must, sadly, now inform the Societies under our inspection that the membership status of _____ ___ has formally changed. We publicly declare ___ ______ to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and declare to the congregation that ____ ________ is now in a position of being formally excommunicated from the Visible Church. We do so in hope praying that God may by this action deliver him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS (1 Corinthians 5:5). We take not this step because we hate ___, but because we love him and earnestly desire his repentance and reconciliation.

We remind the congregation that our duty toward ___ is to constantly and humbly pray for his reconciliation in the truth, and that each of us ought to be mindful and careful of our respective duties in regard to having familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated from the Church. We would call to the attention of all who are under our inspection that to practice familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated is likewise a sin that is censurable and contrary to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) and to our Terms of Communion (_The First Book of Discipline_, “The Seventh Head--Of Ecclesiastical Discipline”).

Finally, we would remind you that as members of the RPNA (General Meeting) each time you become informed of, or witness, a judicial action enacted by this court, you have a scriptural duty either to consent to that judicial action (either expressly or tacitly) as that done faithfully by a lawful court of Christ, or to dissent from it (expressly and formally in writing) should you deem this action to be unfaithfully done. Please note, that your consent need not be formally expressed, as we take silence in this matter to be your tacit consent and approval of both the lawfulness of our court and the faithfulness of judicial action being enacted. If you disagree with what we have done as a court, or for some reason believe that we are not lawfully constituted as a court of Christ, then it is your duty, according to God's Word and your membership agreement, to immediately, formally, and honestly express your dissent, reasons and/or questions in writing to the Session [italics added].

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

Friday, May 12, 2006

5/12/06, A Brotherly Inquiry about The New Paganism

[The highlighted text below affirms that Tattoos and the Word of God (TATWOG) is an approved paper and position of the Session of the RPNA(GM)]

From: Greg Price
To: Bob S.
Cc: Greg Barrow; Greg Price; Lyndon Dohms;
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 6:26 AM
Subject: A Brotherly Inquiry

May 12, 2006

Dear Bob,

We do appreciate you addressing your concerns and disagreements to us so that we might work through the issue of tattoos in a godly and brotherly manner. This we desire to do and pray you would be willing to do as well.

We cannot in good conscience comply with your statement to immediately retract the sermon (in which Pastor Price briefly addresses the subject of tattoos) or the paper (in which Pastor Price further elaborates on the subject of tattoos) until it is proven from Scripture (first and foremost) and from any relevant historical testimony as well that tattoos are unlawful in themselves.

At the present time, the paper written by Pastor Price represents the Session’s position on the matter of tattoos. We are willing to be persuaded otherwise if it can be demonstrated from the Bible. So we ask you to lay out for us your biblical case.

We did note the use of 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 in your letter. However, there is no controversy that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. The controversy swells around the question of whether or not the Holy Spirit allows under any circumstance this human tabernacle to be cut or pierced (for example, in the ears), to be marked in any way at all, to have jewelry placed upon it, to have beards trimmed, to have hair cut in a circle or the hair between the eyes shaven, etc. As you know, there are many who use 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 to forbid the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, soda, fast food and many other things. If the Holy Ghost says He does not want this temple of the body marked under any circumstance, we will gladly submit to His Word.

Dear brother, we would ask you a few questions by way of clarification at the outset in the hope that we might have a better idea where you draw the lines in your position. These questions are honest inquiries, and we ask them in order that we might determine if/where we have common ground, so that we might focus upon points wherein we might differ so as to ultimately minimize misunderstanding and thus promote unity and agreement.

1. Is it your position that a tattoo is not indifferent in itself, but as to its very nature (regardless of the circumstance) is wicked and evil?

2. Do you make any distinction between a tattoo that is permanent vs. a tattoo that is temporary?

3. Is it unlawful to get an ink stamp (which pictures a clown or an animal of some kind) on the back of the hand at a sporting event or an amusement park which would permit one to re-enter the building or the park?

4. Is it unlawful for children to make pictures or marks on their skin with an ink pen or a felt pen?

5. Is it unlawful to write phone numbers or directions on one’s arm or hand?

6. Is it unlawful to permanently tattoo one’s hand or arm with medical information (such as an emblem that indicates one is a diabetic)?

7. Is there any circumstance under which you would deem it lawful to mark one's flesh (whether permanently or temporarily)?

8. Do you believe that any tattoo or mark placed on the skin (whether permanent or temporary) should be censured by a lawful Church Court?

Dear brother, we pray that our God might grant us grace in speaking the truth in love.

With brotherly affection,

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)
Pastor Greg L. Price
Elder Greg Barrow
Elder Lyndon Dohms

See also:
, Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry re. The New Paganism
Carnal Graffiti and the Word of God: Disproved and Disapproved, A Brief Follow up to The New Paganism
12/24/06, Of the "Public Sin" of An Unqualified Condemnation of Paganism (Among Other Allegations)

Monday, May 08, 2006

5/8/06, The New Paganism

From: Bob S
To: Pastor Greg Price; Elder Lyndon Dohms; Elder Greg Barrow
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 9:47 PM
Subject: Re: The New Paganism

The Rise of the New Paganism

A Critical Reply to "Tattoos and the Word of God"
As regards the paper entitled Tattoos and the Word of God [April 30, ‘06 - no longer available on Albany CRPChurch site ], the problem is fundamental. There is no mention at all, never mind at the beginning of the article, of the locus classicus of the argument against tattoos, much more body piercing/modification. That is as 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 states:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

That is to say, a tattoo is by its very nature, an attempt, whether conscious or no, to defile and deface the temple of the Holy Ghost. It is as if one were to scribble in a book or a take a paint can to the side of a building. It is not art or artwork, but is an artificial marring of the looks the Lord has given someone.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

4/30/06, Tattoos and the Word of God (TATWOG)

and Various Responses

As mentioned below, this paper by TE G. Price of Albany Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church of Albany, New York. accompanied and was a larger exposition of the question in a sermon of the same date.

In response to it, see also:
5/8/06, The New Paganism (TNP), A Response to TATWOG 
5/12/06, A Brotherly Inquiry about The New Paganism which not only informs us that TATWOG is the approved position of the RPNA(GM) - "At the present time, the paper written by Pastor Price represents the Session’s position on the matter of tattoos." - but also engages in some Socratic question begging.
5/26/06, Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry re. The New Paganism
Carnal Graffiti and the Word of God: Disproved and Disapproved, A Brief and Delayed Follow up to The New Paganism
12/24/06, Of the "Public Sin" of An Unqualified Condemnation of Paganism (Among Other Allegations)


[ April 30, 2006]

Since I briefly addressed the subject of tattoos in a recent sermon (entitled, “A Happy Person Has A Good Reputation” Ecclesiastes 7:1-6 [p.4]), I would like to further elaborate on the subject at this time. Sometimes in a sermon there is not enough time to properly address an incidental topic (like that of tattoos) when most of the space is devoted to the main ideas of the text. When a subject does not receive a proper amount of space in a sermon (due to time constraints), it might appear to the hearers that there was very little support for the position presented. I hope to clarify and elaborate on the matter of tattoos in this brief paper.

Although I am personally no great fan of tattoos, as a Pastor I must seek to interpret God’s Word in a way that is faithful to the specific text and faithful to the whole counsel of God. I must set aside my personal feelings about the subject of tattoos, and rather seek to understand whether there is warrant in God’s Word to prohibit (in an absolute sense) the use of tattoos. I know that this is a subject that can generate a lot of emotion as it relates to our Christian testimony (on the one side) and to our Christian liberty (on the other side). It is always a delicate matter to seek to faithfully balance our Christian testimony and our Christian liberty. That, however, should be our goal as Christians who trust, love, and obey Christ.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

3/29/06, Update on Church Restructuring Report from Pastor G. Price

From: Greg Price
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:04 AM
Subject: Update On Our Progress

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We would like to provide you with a brief update. We
are working to complete our report on matters related
to the structure, administration, and government of
our Church which will be submitted to you all. Due to
the events that have occurred in our lives over the
past three months, we ask for your patience as we seek
to finish the report we have started. We hope to have
it completed over the next several weeks.

Once you have received a copy of the report, we will
set up a forum by which discussion of the report will
be facilitated.

Your continued prayer for us at this time is so much

In the bonds of Christ's love,

Greg L. Price
Greg Barrow
Lyndon Dohms

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