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.

A quick note just to let us know that you received our initial response and that you plan to respond would be greatly appreciated. We do desire to address the concerns raised in your email in a brotherly manner as soon as possible.

Thanks very much.

With brotherly affection,

Greg L. Price
On behalf of the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Note: forwarded message attached.

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_____________________________________________________________________________

From: Bob S.
To: Greg Price
Cc: Greg Price ; Lyndon Dohms ; Greg Barrow
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 9:24 PM
Subject: Re: A Brotherly Inquiry

Dear Pastor,
I am in the middle of replying to yours, hopefully shortly.
Thanks,
Bob S

_____________________________________________________________________________

[See also:
10/30/06, 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)]

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.
1. The Edmonton account can pay Elder Barrow up to July 31st.
2. The Session came to a “general consensus” that they would use money from the Albany Society’s account to pay Elder Barrow for the other 2 months.
a) Elder Barrow was able to give input into the decision, but was not part of the “consensus”.
b) Pastor Price, as Moderator, admitted that he technically should not have been included in a vote, but they don’t use Robert’s Rules for ordering their meetings. They also did not vote, but had a “general consensus”
c) Pastor Price pointed out that it would have been fine if Elder Dohms acted alone in this decision.
3. The decision included 2 months salary at $4,000 CAD per month.
4. The matter was brought before the Albany Congregation for consent in 2 meetings.
a) In the first meeting I, _____ _______, kept personal records, and Pastor Price did give additional comments, to clarify something that I confused in my notes.
b) Those notes are available to any who request them – not being of a private nature – as well as the comments Pastor Price offers.
c) I did not keep good notes of the second meeting, mainly because I was involved in the dialogue. The Session did answer the questions we had, and asked if anyone did not consent to the Session’s decision. ____ _______ and I did not consent, and all others did.
5. It was communicated to Albany that the accounts in Albany/Edmonton belong to the Session to distribute as they see fit. They told us that in the past they have extended the liberty to the Albany Society to make certain financial decisions (ie Pastor Price’s Salary), but it has always been the Sessions final decision.
6. It was answered that the nature of Elder Barrow’s 2 month income is to be understood as both a Diaconal Need, as well as an Employment Issue. It was made clear, however, that if Greg Barrow does find a job that is able to adequately support his family’s needs, before August 1st, he would not need to receive funds from Albany, per Pastor Price.
This is the closest thing I have to offer as notes to the second meeting conclusions regarding the public report of Elder Barrow’s Salary.
I’m sure the Elders are willing, as always, to answer any questions you have.
Thanks,
-SA
Treasurer of the Albany Congregation



From: SA
To: [List]
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 5:43 PM
Subject: Letter of retraction and clarification

Dear Brethren,
On Tuesday May 23rd, I sent out an email entitled, “Conclusion of Albany Financial Meeting 5-21-06”
I’d like to retract this letter in that I did not receive permission from Pastor Price to send this out as Treasurer. He only received the communication at the same time as you.
Also, I was not seeking to represent the Congregation in Albany, but meant to communicate that I, as an individual, was sending this conclusion from my notes and perspective. They too did not consent, but only received the communication at the same time as you.
To those who thought I was representing the Congregation, forgive me for being so vague.
Thank you,
-SA (an individual responsible for his knowledge and actions)



From: G Price
To:[List]
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 6:12 PM
Subject: Clarification

May 25, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing to clarify a matter that was made know in
a recent email that you received from SA
(entitled "Conclusion of Albany Financial Meeting
5-21-06" and which has now been retracted) wherein
there was mentioned the following: "It was answered
that the nature of Elder Barrow's 2 month income is to
be understood as both a Diaconal Need, as well as an
Employment Issue."

I want to make it clear (since I was the one who
answered the question that was mentioned above) that
the use of the term "diaconal need" in no way was
intended to imply that Elder Barrow was not working
for the Church through September 2006 ("For the
laborer is worthy of his hire" Luke 10:7). What funds
Albany is sending to Edmonton is for Elder Barrow's
salary and for the faithful work which he will perform
on behalf of the Church during that period of time.
The reason I used the term "diaconal need" (in
addition to "salary) was to indicate that there were
insufficient funds to cover his salary in the Edmonton
account and so there was a "need" which Elder Barrow
had as a result of this.

I am sorry for any offense I may have caused to anyone
due to the choice of words used by me in the Financial
Meeting. I ask any who were offended by the use of
these words to please forgive me.

The last thing I want is for there to be discussion
focused around something I said at a time in which a
faithful Elder has the tremendous hardship of finding
a job that will provide for his family in the next 3-4
months.

May the Lord bless our dear brother and makes his
paths straight in locating a job that will meet the
needs of his family.

With Christian affection for you all,

Greg L. Price



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, ______, _____]
Bcc:[List]

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.

____ and ____ _____’s voluntary withdrawal is, in our judgment, a sinful division and schism within the body of Christ (Romans 16:17), and without scriptural warrant. Their doctrinal errors are clearly and explicitly a violation of our Terms of Communion.

Sadly, for the purpose of informing those under our oversight, we declare that ____ and ____ _____’s membership status has now formally changed, and we publicly declare them to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and judicially declare that they are 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 them 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 Rick and Joyce, but because we love them and earnestly desire their repentance and reconciliation.

We remind the congregation that our duty toward ____ and ____ is to constantly and humbly pray for their 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 the 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 Gods Word and your membership agreement, to immediately, formally, and honestly express your dissent, reasons and/or questions in writing to the Session [italics added].

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

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

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: prce@yahoogroups.com
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:
5/26/06
, Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry re. The New Paganism
10/30/06,
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.

Neither is it a question of expediency, as would be cosmetic surgery, to repair a deformity, birthmark or burn. Nor is it a question of necessity in that we must call the days of the weeks and months something, much more all people cut their hair and/or beards after some fashion. Those that refrained from cutting their hair and that only temporarily are singled out in OT Scripture and known as Nazarites. But cutting oneself or making or printing marks upon oneself is not necessary nor the same as the common actions of cutting one’s hair, beard or fingernails would be (or women arguably grooming for vanity’s sake their eyebrows, underarms or legs.) Gillespie, if not Calvin, implicitly recognizes the distinction between cutting/marking oneself and cutting one's hair/beard in his comments quoted from Dispute against English Popish Ceremonies, (p. 185). Again, one is not a common necessary human action, one is, even before superstitious idolatrous practices or beliefs are factored in. That is the critical and damning distinction that is entirely missing from the argument justifying tattoos scripturally so far.

As to the comparison between tattoos and pierced ears, the comparison is really between a pierced ear and one needle prick and corresponding dot of tattoo ink. Hardly worth the bother and not to the point of what a tattoo is all about in the first place, which is to be seen. Also there is no doubt men can also become vain about lawful items or actions, but that is no argument against that which is vanity or unlawful to begin with.

Still, in short, the rise of tattoos and body piercing/modification these days is nothing more than the rise of paganism (albeit postmodern) as it is a hatred of the body and how it normally looks as created by God. (So too something like abortion or the abominable operations to change one’s gender.) After all the Scripture says: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10). Yet regardless if he can’t get the Second Commandment straight, S. Schlissel still essentially nails the point in his at times rather graphic Tattoo You? (8/8/02). Self loathing as a sadomasochistic sacrament/atonement, whether tattooed or pierced. Schlissel says:
The sum of it, for him, is to be found in Eph. 5:29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. What remains to be said when a professing Christian equates piercing, cutting, burning and slashing the body with nourishing and cherishing it? Pity his wife!! (Eph. 5:28). And if we are to love neighbor as self, my advice to his neighbors: Move!
Shall we say the same to those who find themselves in a P&R church that tolerates, condones and excuses tattoos? Yes, it is a pity when Steve and his Idaho spud bud, Doug Wilson can't get justification by faith alone right, having bought into the New (CrossEyed) Perspective on Paul, but they are not mistaken on this point to our shame.

As far as comparing permanent with temporary adornment, tattoos with jewelry and earrings, P. McCarter’s essay On Jewelry and Attire (4/6/04), is more than appropriate. He surveys church history, focusing particularly on the Reformation with comments on the topic from the Geneva Bible notes, Calvin and Matthew Henry. What we consider moderate or lawful was not so at other times and if not the temporary, how much more the permanent is forbidden, if not at the very least, if we are to be moderate regarding the temporary, the permanent necessarily can't even enter the picture.

In conclusion, if the Scripture is written for our edification and encouragement, 1 Chronicles 12:32 is to the point. We ought to be like men of Issachar, which had understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. But to say that the word of God agrees with or allows the unbelieving disobedient pagan practice of tattooing is to fail our calling. It is to say that we fail to understand that word, which is to be written on our hearts - not with ink - but with the Spirit of the living God.

And that is not a good thing. Rather it is a cause for godly sorrow that tattoos have been given a good name according to the scripture, but one would hope that those who have been taught this by both printed and preached, yet specious, exposition are not the only ones with teachable hearts.

[
See also:
5/12/06, A Brotherly Inquiry about The New Paganism
5/26/06, Fwd: A Brotherly Inquiry re. The New Paganism
10/30/06, Carnal Graffiti and the Word of God: Disproved and Disapproved
2/24/06, Of the "Public Sin" of An Unqualified Condemnation of Paganism (Among Other Allegations)
]