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.

Plain and Common Sense of Matt. 18:20

Of course, this is only if the “two or three gathered together” is interpreted in the “plain and common sense of the words.” Your letter (p.13) plainly recognizes this as the correct method. Unfortunately it explicitly and the Position Paper on Sessional Authority implicitly denies this though, by suppressing, if not glossing Matt. 18:20 to essentially read: ‘wherever two or three are gathered together - by way of modern technology - there Christ is in the middle of them.’ But that is what disaffected brethren most emphatically deny.

While we see this tacitly assumed in the Nov. 4th Response, it is developed most plainly in Question 1 of the PPSA (pp.4-6), so we shall deal with it there first. While the PPSA quotes Matt. 18:15-19 in full:

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matt. 18:20 is not mentioned at all, nor its implications. Although yours of Nov. 4th quotes the passage in full (pp. 11,12), you will have to look high and low in the PPSA (though you can find it also here ) to see it quoted other than by the London Ministers themselves and it is consequently conspicuous by its absence:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Why? One surmises, to get around dealing with, in the context and exposition of the “two or three gathered together,” the repeated mentions in the same quotes from the London Ministers and George Gillespie of “one church,” “particular Congregation,” “this Church” and “particular congregation.” Even more explicitly:

First, it might be said, the Apostles and other church governors may fall to be very few in this or that church where the offence riseth; shall we, in that case, execute any church discipline? Yes, saith Christ, if there were but two church officers in a church (where no more could be had) they are to exercise discipline and it shall not be in vain (emph. added, Aaron’s Rod, pp.194,195, PPSA p.6).

Gillespie is not referring to a group of like minded individuals with the same terms of communion as the PPSA seems to want to redefine “congregation”previously to mean while commenting on a quote by Rutherford (p.4). He is specifically talking about a minimum of two officers in one local congregation. Not two officers from two different congregations. That distinction is the watershed issue, it is all the world and night and day. One restricts a court to either local resident members as in a ordinary session, if not a extraordinary session temporarily instituted in one church. The other is the basis for the Session of the RPNA(GM). One is supported by the London Ministers and George Gillespie. (And Renwick and Steele and the Reformed Presbytery.) The other by the PPSA and the Nov. 4th Response.

Again, this aspect of the local characteristic of single particular congregations and churches is never referred to at all in the discussion in the PPSA of the comments by these 2nd Reformation divines that it quotes. Instead there is no real discussion at all. The PPSA simply assumes that supposedly these quotes: “speak so clearly to the point in question that little further commentary is deemed necessary.” Indeed they do. They speak not only of the minimum amount of officers needed to exercise discipline, they speak also of how they shall come together to do so: in “one church.” “In the congregation where the offence riseth.” This, the PPSA and the Response never acknowledge at all.

Nevertheless the PPSA continues:

“ By this Scripture proof (Matthew 18:15-19), we see that Christ has given warrant to even as few as two or three lawfully called Elders to “bind and loose” which means that even if the court of Christ is very small (where no more faithful Elders can be had) we have, in His Name, as His Officers, been given by Christ the Mediator, the authority to exercise all the acts of ecclesiastical power competent to our office and jurisdiction.”

Well, yes, the Lord does. As long as it is understood according to the London Ministers and George Gillespie that the context and the officers are members of one congregation (or at least in that context for an extraordinary temporary session). But note again, that Matt. 18:20 is not included in “this Scripture proof (Matthew 18:15-19).” Why not? Because the idea in 18:20 that two or three are gathered together in one church is again, the exact opposite of the fundamental presupposed notion that drives the PPSA.

The Electronic Constitutional Reconstitution of the PRCE Session

That notion pre-eminently is, that once presbytery was dissolved, it was possible, yea lawful, if not expedient, to essentially, extraordinarily and electronically reconstitute the PRCE session with the original three members under the new name of the Session of the RPNA(GM). The one supposedly indifferent distinction would be that instead of all the officers (and most of the members) being resident and attending a local congregation in Edmonton, now the officers of said court reside not only in two different congregations, but also in two different nations - not just across the border from each other - but a couple of thousand miles apart. That not to mention, this court, while nominally a session, really has the powers of an international (i.e. synodical) presbytery and common court.

The PPSA as much admits this last explicitly when it says, “according to the Word of God and Presbyterian polity,” when it is possible to join other churches in a greater Presbytery, the Session of the RPNA(GM) will “gladly limit our jurisdiction to those areas which do, in more ordinary circumstances, pertain to a Session (it. added, p.4),” In other words, not only is the composition of the court extraordinary, members being as they are, drawn from two completely different congregations, but the jurisdiction of the court extends beyond even the two congregations represented in the same. What we essentially have here under the name of a session, is an extraordinary international common court or presbytery, with synodical power and authority.

The reconstitution essentially of the PRCE session if you will, in a nutshell, is what the PPSA essentially affirms, as well this recent letter (p.13). The disaffected brethren just as adamantly deny this, much more that it is taught in Matt. 18:20, nor do the approved 2nd Reformation authors agree with this notion that the PPSA quotes with approval. They rather again, explicitly deny what is so glibly asserted, that the two quotes from the London Ministers and George Gillespie, “speak so clearly to the point in question that little further commentary is deemed necessary (p.6).” Instead we respectfully suggest, as can be seen from the fruit of confusion, misunderstanding and disagreement that stems from all this, that much more needs to be done to secure this fundamental presupposition - that supposedly modern technology can set aside the particular local requirements for particular local elderships or sessions over particular local congregations, even in extraordinary times.

That is why in circumstances similar to our own in the past, we never find the church advocating or instituting what the Session of the RPNA(GM) essentially does in the PPSA, i.e. an international presbytery or common court, without a plurality of ministers and only a few elders. Never before has even an extraordinary session been constituted by only one minister and two elders who are resident in an entirely different congregation, much more nation, thousands of miles away from the one in which the minister resides.

But until the officers actually gather together in one place, even temporarily, there is no lawful meeting of the court constituted, session or otherwise. That is our past. That is our subordinate standards. That is the approved historical precedent and historical testimony. And that is what the PPSA totally ignores, misunderstands, mischaracterizes and inserts into its take and read on Matt. 18. Hence the foregone conclusion: the lawfulness of the international extraordinary permanent standing Session of the RPNA(GM). All this because of the fundamental and largely unspoken assumption, that technology does not just supplement, it can also supplant and substitute entirely for a personal local face to face presence and ministry, much more a lawfully constituted church court; that two or more brethren may lawfully gather together over the phone and adjudicate and rule in Christ’s church. That is at one and the same time the prime assumption of the PPSA and also its Achilles heel. That is the heart of its argument and the throat of its error.

The Modern N. American Idol of Technology

In other words, the single paragraph below on the subject in the PPSA is the tip of the iceberg that underlies the entire PPSA and drives the conclusion of the paper. It is the significant presupposition in the PPSA, the sine qua non, that without which the PPSA is nothing. It cannot be what it is without this paragraph, much more the doctrine it contains. The real justification for an extraordinary session that straddles two countries - and even more importantly two congregations, that do not even neighbor each other - is because the PPSA tells us:

The fact is that now in this day of the Internet, and modern phone communications, it is easier and more convenient for Elders in different nations to ordinarily conduct Church business and constitute a Church Court than it ever was prior to these advantages - even for Elders of days gone by who were living in the same city. This advantage in communication is very significant in our case. Without this advantage, we would not be able to conduct business as a Church Court in any significant way, and thus, were we living under that circumstance, we would not continue to do what we are presently doing (emph. added, p.9).

Local residence of officers, proximate distance and local congregations and courts are all but circumstances. In times past it was a problem, but no more due to modern technology. Not now. Not in N. America.

But if this is not the question, this is that same old same old promise of days gone by in the garden, “ye shall be as gods.” Not in knowing good and evil, but more importantly in transcending time and space and the limitations of these mortal flesh and blood bodies, this created world and its elements that will melt with fervent heat and be burned when the Lord returns. That is exactly in essence the promise of the modern internet idol god of virtual computer communities, but regardless the gnostic contempt for the scandal of particularity, the constraints of local place, time and space in this life shall still remain until the Lord returns. In other words, this idol really does take too much upon itself (Num. 16:3).

Just as for instance, one does not get married or go on the honeymoon, without actually being there, so too a mother cannot nurse her baby or change the child’s diapers without actually being there. So too one does not get baptized or sit at the Lord’s Supper without actually being there. Neither does one attend public worship without actually being there. And so too, where ever “two or three are gathered together in my name (Matt.18:20),” it does not mean whatever the New Internet Bible Version or the 21st Century Microsoft Commentary might say it means.

The “gathered together” of Matt. 18 is to be taken in the Scriptural sense, not the Skype sense, actually being in one place versus being together on the same conference phone call, if not anything but, actually gathered together in one physical time and space location. Lawfully constituted courts do not exist over the airwaves and in the ether, but in a specific place and time. At least they have up until the PPSA and that is one reason why the disaffected brethren essentially consider electronically constituted courts an innovation. The scandal of specific physical particularity defines local congregations and local particular elderships or sessions. That, the Form of Presbyterial Church Government simply assumes when it lists the mutual offices and duties believers and officers have one to each other. There is no other way to faithfully and fully fulfill them. This is the unspoken assumption that underlies the classic interpretation of again, Matt. 18:20: “ For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

That is why when there is not a quorum in a congregation or society for a court, a permanent extraordinary electronic session court was not instituted as per the PPSA, but Renwick or Lusk or Steele would show up with or without ruling elders and constitute a session, install officers if possible, adjudicate cases of discipline, examine for and administer the sacraments. They knew, if not essentially acknowledged that they had to be there, face to face amongst themselves as a court and before the people over whom and for whom they ruled in the fear of God.

But this is also what the Nov. 4th Response denies in Q.5:

“Once we grant that temporary extraordinary Sessions have the Keys of the Kingdom, we cannot limit authority to only those who can meet face to face or to only those that meet temporarily and then dissolve (unless this can be proved from Scripture, which, to date, no one has made known to us) (emph. added).”
Why can’t this authority be limited to only those who meet together face to face? We are never told. And while it may be a true statement, all the Nov. 4th Response does, is go on to assume it. It does not prove it. It then proceeds to state:
“Furthermore, the fact that extraordinary Sessions met temporarily in such circumstances (as we find in the Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery of the U.S.) does not make unlawful (that is, sinful) extraordinary Sessions that are permanent (p.12).”
Again, the “Furthermore” above, means the previous was merely assumed to be true, no more. Not proved. Assumed. But that is to beg the question. That temporary extraordinary sessions are lawful does not necessarily mean permanent extraordinary sessions are lawful. To say so as the Response does, is a non sequitur. It does not follow logically. They could be, but that remains to be proved. It is not proven in the Nov. 4th Response. Particularly if a “session” is defined to be a local court, as per Matt. 18:20, as understood without the spectacles of the PPSA and the filter of modern phone technology, where officers actually meet together and are actually gathered together, in space and time. But of course, if you refuse to define a session as a local court or that officers need to meet face to face in person, as the Nov. 4th Response asserts above, then obviously an extraordinary “session” is no longer a local court. And it is no longer a session, an extraordinary “lawful” whatever it might be. It is no longer a session, even extraordinary according to 2nd Reformation divines.

Does not George Gillespie say as much previously in the PPSA regarding particular congregations “lying alone in an island, province or nation?” That so long as like minded congregations are:

“far distant one from another, so that their pastors and elders cannot ordinarily meet together, then may a particular congregation do many things by itself alone, which it ought not to do where there are adjacent neighbouring congregations, together with which it may and should have a common presbytery (Assert. II:II, PPSA, p.3).”
But the pastors and elders of the Session of the RPNA(GM)” cannot ordinarily meet together.” Not face to face, which is how Gillespie meant it in his day. Does this mean then that the Session of the RPNA(GM) can ‘do many things by itself alone, which it ought not to do where there are adjacent neighbouring congregations, with which it should have a presbytery?’ So essentially to the PPSA and the Nov. 4th Response. Yet they stand all alone in this modern N. American opinion. What prevents a court in Gillespie’s day, predicates one in the eyes, argument and understanding of the PPSA/No. 4th Response. But is it more than a nominally presbyterian court? That is the question, to ask, which is to answer. No.

The Conclusion of Disaffected Brethren and How It Effects Others

As a consequence of all this, disaffected brethren look askance at the PPSA and its conclusions and however inarticulately view them as innovations, and consequently the extraordinary court as hardly justified from Scripture, our subordinate standards, history or reason. On the other hand of course, those who accept the PPSA implicitly and/or wholeheartedly, look with horror, shock and amazement at those, who they think, are independent congregationalists assaulting the fundamentals of presbyterian divine right church government and authority. Consequently and logically after a fashion, they cannot excommunicate, amputate, extricate and ostracize said disaffected brethren fast enough from their midst with the usual customary and summary self excommunications.

Such we gather from statement like the following under Question 3 in the recent Response to Recent Objections:

There is no evidence (of which we are aware) that given the same circumstances in which we now find ourselves that Mr. Gillespie would have treated those who denied all jurisdiction to Christ’s Court as Members in good standing (and especially without any biblical testimony to support their claims) (p.9).
To be sure, the pro-oath/PPSA/Session brethren and officers have the courage of their convictions and are willing to go down with the ship, all the while the “self excommunications” continue apace, but again the disaffected brethren think this zeal a little misguided, if not suicidal, like that of the Jews at Masada, in which only a handful of survivors were left.

That is because the position of the disaffected brethren is mischaracterized. No one denies the authority of a lawfully called and constituted church court. But to assert that to question a single particular court is to question all, is again a non sequitur. It is to reason inductively from the minor to the major, rather than deductively from the major to the minor. Rather again, this court appears to be, to the same disaffected brethren, an electronic innovation that cannot demonstrate precedent in our history or subordinate standards and barring that, cannot state its fundamental presuppositions clearly enough so that all parties can have an edifying discussion of the material questions with out some preliminary work clearing away the underbrush and misconceptions. All of which has taken some time since the PPSA came out in June, ‘03 and which is conducted with the promise, if not reality of an oath and subsequent self excommunication hanging over one’s head.

Neither do any disaffected brethren that I know of, at all deny what the recent letter says, “(T)he full authority of God resides in one verse of Scripture (p.11).” Rather what we again resent and deny essentially is the continual/implicit interjection of the presupposition regarding “the Internet, and modern phone communications,”in the PPSA when it comes to reading, understanding and interpreting the “one verse of Scripture” detrimental to their argument, Matt.18:20. That same concept necessarily guarantees the approved outcome and conclusion: the Session of the RPNA(GM) is a lawfully constituted and lawfully named extraordinary electronic presbyterian church court.

The Missing PPSA Preliminaries

Of course, this might not be so obvious at first, because the PPSA at the outset assumes what it needs to prove and neglects to define its terms. There is:

1. No exposition at all of what ordinary presbyterian church government in ordinary time is supposed to look like to compare extraordinary church government against, even that of Gillespie in Assertion of Church Government that it materially consists of local representative and resident ruling elders and the authority of higher graded courts, presbytery and synod.

2. There is no explanation of the ordinary rule for extraordinary times and what it is to uphold in the breach, such as uniformity, orderliness, due process, accountability, representation and jurisdiction, all unto edification and expediency in that order, other than what might appear to be just expedient pragmaticism.

3. There is no appeal or attempt whatsoever, even more telling, from our subordinate standards or historical testimony to present past approved solutions to the extraordinary times we live in, such as having only one minister, two elders and being spread out all over the landscape. Instead the PPSA appeals to the unconstitutional Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology and its ambiguous example of the Privy Kirk which only existed before the First Reformation. There is also a brief mention of the Second Book of Discipline 7:10. In the last supposedly, the “common eldership” explicitly mentioned, refers to a common “session” over numerous local churches without any real discussion beyond quoting a secondary source like Mitchell’s Scottish Reformation. Yet Mitchell really goes on to question if not deny, what the PPSA asserts about it (cp. p.12, PPSA, pp.230-233, ScotRef.). All this regardless that whatever happened at the First Reformation or how we care to parse the SBD, temporary sessions, societies and general meetings were the solution from Renwick’s day on in the Second Reformation in circumstances like ours. Of that there is no mention and that is the real scandal of the PPSA.

Yet the PPSA concludes that:

“Here we note, in conclusion, that we not only have the support of Scripture, but also that of the historical practice of faithful Churches. We see in the two citations above (and many more citations are available) that it is not a novel idea or an unlawful practice to function with a Common Session having oversight over many Congregations (p.12).”
Well, the disaffected brethren need to hear a few more of those ‘many more citations available’ particularly from the constitutionally approved record of and historical practice, precedent and testimony of our church. That has yet to be done. And until it is done, the disaffected brethren are liable to remain just that. Disaffected. And justifiably so. As well as excommunicated. Unjustifiably.

Speaking of which, we note a number of items.

Lawful Excommunications

Lawful excommunications presuppose a lawful court, which is precisely the question at hand. The order of the church has to be established before we can talk about “common contempt of the order of the church” as a basis for excommunication. As in explicit order, not implicit. If it is implicit, someone is not doing their job. Neither does it do any good to go on and rail about the disaffected brethren only now objecting to the same construct in government. The DB threw in along with everyone else in good faith the whole time we have been in this state of limbo and extraordinary ecclesiastical ignorance since the dissolution of presbytery. The letter of June 14, 2003 explicitly appealed to Pastor Price’s office as a basis for administering the sacraments and the Terms of Communion as a constitution, not his membership in a permanent extraordinary session a.k.a. international presbytery, with a temporary local session being historically considered adequate to examine for the sacraments. To read back into it at this date ex post facto, is to change the rules after the fact. Neither does this letter of April 15, 2005 from Elder Barrow, which is an answer to a follow up to the questions of the Washington Society on the name change to the RPNA(GM), advocate what the PPSA asserts about June 14, 2003 (pp.13,21). The Psalmist says, blessed is the man that keeps his word to his own hurt (15:4). The PPSA says, that was then, June 14, 2003, this is now. Sign the oath or be self excommunicated. And disaffected.

Extenuating Circumstances Ignored

Neither was there any real mention in your response of the extenuating circumstances surrounding the time period allotted to questions on the PPSA which is an explanation for the extraordinary church government of our day, both of which the oath that was offered, affirmed and which refused, was the basis for the “self-excommunications.” In other words, the issue is a complex question in its circumstances and connections.

Even further, it is a little hypocritical to be prosecuting a private quarrel which supposedly provoked the necessity of the oath , when the two gross public scandals on the email lists, the last of which resulted in the summary closure of the PRCE Forum, remain entirely and publically unmentioned and uncensured. Again we have a private quarrel at the head of the queue and top of the court’s docket while the open violation of the 9th commandment is tolerated and very possibly a plaintiff in the suit that brought on the oath, is one of the elder approved protagonists in these offences. Evidently in this case, justice truly is blind.

As has been repeatedly stated on the same lists, these incidents were blatant violations of the Larger Catechism 145: “The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are . . . . misconstructing the intentions, words and actions” of brethren. Which is exactly what the phony affidavits assumed about those who had questions about the public sins to be confessed on the fast day in January. Likewise “speaking the truth . . . in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice, speaking untruth, lying” and “slandering,” in the “hypothetical” “euthanasia” analogy incident more recently in June and July of this year. That, if not the whole of LC145 is instructive. Neither have there been any explanations forthcoming for the tacit consent and approval from the “court” of this behavior which attempted to badger, berate and belittle any who had any questions about the status quo in our church, even possibly our church government. A studied, as well as shameful, silence is the response even today.

Self Excommunications Examined and Explained

As for the concept of “self-excommunications,” we were on the verge of replying to a brother on the concept last Saturday afternoon, but didn’t. About the same doctrine, we note three items:

1. The Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery for June 2, 1886 state, regarding Mr. Campbell, Rev. Peoples and Rev. Clyde that, “(T)hat party having excommunicated themselves, no further action in their case by this Court is at present deemed necessary.” This is very interesting. Between the letter of this last Saturday and the PPSA , the only appeal to the Minutes of our namesake, the Reformed Presbytery is for an exception regarding self excommunication. In the PPSA, however, there is no appeal at all to the Minutes, even for an exception to our approved historical practice in like extraordinary circumstances. Instead we have an appeal and an exception made for the unconstitutional Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology and the unapproved and ambiguous example of the Privy Kirk- while the rule and approved examples of our history, with Renwick and the Societies, in the Informatory Vindication and the Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery all go wandering. I might ask which came first, the chicken or the egg, but it is no matter, neither the precedent or the practice overall is encouraging.

2. Yet the same Minutes also tell us, previously that one of the self excommunicated party had made such a ruckus at the presbytery meeting that “the Moderator said: "I cannot, in the chair, enter into discussion with a member of Court; but I am prepared to discuss this whole complex question, under solemn protest, before any impartial audience to their full satisfaction."” The question then is, did the disaffected brethren get even that for a promise in their circumstances? To read the SPG record, is to answer in the negative, is it not? Or is this one of those circumstances to insist upon would be legalistic, in turning “the alterable expediencies of one age into an unalterable rule for all ages and circumstances,” as your letter has it (p.3)? I suppose then it would be neither expedient, edifying or equitable? But neither are the questions “captious,” as they were in Steele’s day, though they have been asked repeatedly in private venues as societies and individuals. Now they have been asked publically. Will they be answered is a question that still remains.

3. As for my comment that these self excommunications resemble “KGB assisted suicides,” the brother objected that this was disrespectful. I respectfully dissent. In context, the comment is entirely and unfortunately too understandable. The Scripture after all, says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath (Eph. 6:4).” Do not aggravate them. Do not refuse their questions, if not play twenty questions to them and so on and so forth. But we ask, did Prince George or even the Washington Society get their questions answered? What about the disgraceful tattoo paper ? For that matter, was it to its credit or was it censurable inconsistency, that the oath did not include that wretched item?

And now, how about the question of whether we are to be conformed to the image of Christ or to the worldly wardrobe and literally low, top and bottom, standards of Britney Spears for public worship? While the undersigned is not a member of the Edmonton Society, we do have eyes and have attended the summer get-togethers in the church. And if so much now may be uncovered with the new approved dress code, surely a tasteful tattoo or two is approved, is it not? The preface to the booklet Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America (2002) by J. Pollard further connects the dots by pointing out:

“Today, the line between the professing Christian and the savage tribesman has become increasingly blurred, as more and more “Christian” people resort not only to the pagan practices of scarification, tattoos and body mutilation, but have thrown off the “restraints” of modest dress in favor of the trendy and physically revealing (it. added, p.13).”
All legalism, as opposed to license, aside, this is to essentially ask, when fathers do provoke their children to wrath on the serious doctrinal and practical ethical issues before the church, aggravated by the absence of genuine recourse [of], appeal and due process, just what does my friend think the children are to do? Other than the public complaint and protest, which a society and a number of individuals have been reduced and/or provoked unto recently?

In other words, the ecclesiastically correct translation is that they excommunicate themselves, as if the Lord hasn’t given us over to such a smug and sanctimonious self righteousness that it blinds us to the obvious. Most of the time of course, the disenfranchised either just pick up and leave or barring that, they over react, get mad at everything and then leave. On either account, in either case, again guess what? “They went out from us, because they were not of us (1 Jn.2:19).” How convenient. How self righteous. How self justifying. Maybe, maybe not. Again the smug and sanctimonious stench of self righteousness cannot obscure the facts and if not now, the Lord will judge one day.

Conclusion

It is true, as we have been told so often recently in response to these public complaints and protests, “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him (Prov. 18:17).” But there has been no corresponding mention of the fact that those who prevented and obstructed a full and fair hearing in the first and last place will have to answer for it. To be fair to the whole counsel of God, that must be said.

Even further, Christ said, to the Pharisees no less, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth (Jn. 9:41).” Consequently those who are yet deaf, dumb and blind can take comfort in that fact, we suppose, as well that they can’t read what’s written before our very own eyes.

Thank you very much

cordially in Christ,
Bob S.
[Sole] Member at large,
RPNA Society of Disaffected Brethren