Monday, October 30, 2006

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?

Scripture proofs?

1. In the Position Paper on Sessional Authority, they appeal to two verses of Scripture. In their response to the PGS they used none to support their response, although they cite Scripture, it is not used to support their response. The two passages in the Position Paper are questionable as to how they apply those citations to justify their novel idea of a Session. In regards to the exposition of Acts 15, commentators such as Calvin, Henry, Poole, and the Annotations of the Dutch and Westminster theologians, etc do not even give the notion that the Synod in Jerusalem was international. What is implied is a National Synod. Besides, if it was international, who was the chief magistrate or king in Antioch? How about in Jerusalem (before you answer that it was Herod, re-read Acts)? For if it was international then the Elders in Antioch crossed bounds of political jurisdiction to arrive at Jerusalem. History of that time period is clear, both Antioch and Jerusalem were under the rule and jurisdiction of the Roman Empire. In thirty some pages, only two citations of Scripture to support their position is not a use of Scripture when the rest of the Paper is peppered with writings of theologians (more on that below).

Owning the Standards?

2. Our Subordinate Standards are scarcely employed in their defense and advancement of their position. In their response they use only one standard. One were to fully expect a thorough grounding in the Subordinate Standards that, in addition with the Word, binds us as Covenanters. However our Standards are scarcely employed to prove their position. Having so many faithful Standards, are they hard pressed to find one that supports and upholds what they are proposing as “faithful Presbyterian Church Government”?

Approbation of faithful Historical Contendings?

3. As for historical example, I am pressed hard to find any. Why are Rev. James Renwick and the Society Peoples ignored? Here we have a historical situation so close to our own, yet their example is ignored and brushed aside. Rev. Renwick was one minister over thousands of lay Covenanters, and almost each society group had at least one ruling elder, some had more. They never set up a permanent Session, much less a permanent Presbytery. It appears that our 5th Term of Communion is not followed by our Elders. However, what they do utilize are the unofficial or non-binding writings of faithful and erudite Presbyterian theologians. And regardless of the acclamation used to introduce such eminent men of God in their Position Paper, our Elders have stated in different occasions that at various points they would disagree with Gillespie or Rutherford in this or that point. I and others have heard this from the Elders throughout the years. Therefore their use of such men is pragmatic and self-serving at best. For if one were to produce some writings from Renwick, Henderson, John Craig, Gillespie, or the Sundry Ministers of London that contradicted their position, well our Elders would brush such men of God aside with words of disagreement.

I would ask my brethren, where are the Scripture proofs (TofC 1 & 6), the maintenance and owning of our Standards (TofC 2 & 3), and the exemplification and imitation of our faithful fore-fathers (TofC 5) to be found in what the Elders have produced thus far in their assertion of the present structure of church government? It appears that the footsteps and landmarks that were left to us have been abandoned and that they have set us upon a new highway. The assertions of some brethren that the Elders used Scripture, Standards, and Historical examples are found wanting and empty of reality and facts.

Oh Lord grant all of us humility and repentance! May our Elders return to exemplify the tried and true blood stained footsteps of our brethren in times past.

For Christ’s Crown & Covenant,

Sinceritas ob Christi Ecclesiae

P.S. If hushmail could be anonymous, why not I? It is the precedent set already by others.

October 29, 2006
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Three corrected dates and one sentence of clarification that were supposed to be in our final draft didn't make it in. This is the corrected version, with the changes shown in red below. My apologies.
Lyndon Dohms
Clerk of Session . . . . . .