Sunday, March 16, 2008

3/16/08, Landmarks To The Abuse of Scripture, History and Reason

Updated Remarks on the Recent "Moving the Landmarks" Sermon.

The chief contention in all that follows with the sermon of 12/23/07 in the subtitle, is that it does not go far enough and penetrate to the real state of affairs in that particular corner of Zion known as the RPNA(GM). Much ado is made about moving the doctrinal landmarks of the church, primarily the Terms of Communion of the historic Reformed Presbyterian Covenanted Church and not without merit. Yet nothing at all is said about the erection of additional conscience binding landmarks by the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) to stand alongside those historic Terms of Communion.

In other words, as before, we are speaking of the unofficial, but still very official papers from the "Session" of the RPNA(GM), Tattoos and the Word of God (TATWOG) (4/30/06) and the Position Paper on Sessional Authority (PPSA) (6/4/06). As in you may, you can and you really will get excommunicated for disagreeing with or having doubts about them, although inconsistently the "Confidential" Oath only includes the last. And just as in the sermon, you will also be hard pressed to find any mention of them at all publicly, even on the official RPNA(GM) website. As a consequence of this officially approved omission, these two items might be very inauspicious motes, but they are motes nonetheless in the eagle eye of our RPNA(GM) sermonizer, who all the while criticizes the scandals and shortcomings of others. To whom much is given, much after all, is required (Lk.12:48), whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not.  

Abuse of Ease And Convenience
If that were not enough, the PPSA has also airily informed us (as we shall remark further below), that:

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 (p.9, it. add.).
Mark that. "Easier and more convenient. . . This advantage in communication is very significant in our case. . . we would not continue to do what we are presently doing." We are very sure it is that, easier and more convenient - for the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) - but how about those whom they lord it over and whose consciences they tacitly bind with these documents on the pain of excommunication? What the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) is really continuing to and presently doing though, however easier or more convenient in all this, is to deceitfully hide its fatwas against those who oppose tattoos and extraordinary courts under the proverbial bushel basket. They wish to point at those who having departed from the RPNA(GM) by way of excommunication, have now also departed from the Terms of Communion, all the while they refuse to examine their own record. The "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) cannot in all fairness complain though, if they are held to the same standards.

Abuse of Parachurch Bookselling Brethren

And for some even stranger reason, the doctor of propaganda over at the unofficial printing press and publishing arm of the RPNA(GM) has fallen asleep on the job, reading and reviewing books beside the still waters of the river Edmonton and is in dire need of revival. (This is the same entity responsible for vanity press items like this, as reviewed here.) Will the Tattoo and Church Government papers possibly make a cameo appearance on the next hysterical set of fire sale Reformation CD's if they can't make the cut for the Church Writings page of the RPNA(GM) website? How else can anyone agree in good conscience and faith to what the RPNA(GM) really stands for, if the RPNA(GM) or its surrogates won't tell them in the first place?

But there is an advantage to deceiving and prejudicing people to the truth of what they are getting into, if
TATWOG and the PPSA are AWOL to begin with. It makes it easier for the sheep to go on in their simplicity not knowing anything, just as the two hundred went out with Absalom (2K. 15:11). Otherwise the day these two papers see the light of day and any reasonable public presbyterian examination, is the day of the beginning of their end. Likewise the whole house of cards and the hegemony of the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) built upon them.

Abuse Of Pulpit and Office
Consequently in light of this ongoing negligence and elementary lack of due diligence in broadcasting what really are the new, additional and compromised covenanting landmarks in the RPNA(GM), this sermon is a lame pretense and a superficial affair, rather than an approved example of the "lively preaching" of the word (HC98; see also LC155, SC89). Much more the "Session" of the RPNA(GM) which is supposed to be diligently supervising the preaching of the minister, just as they supposedly supervise everyone else in the congregation from afar, needs to at least get on the phone and do some serious long distance talking to the point with the brother. Otherwise they too will be found guilty of failing their calling to do what they can to ensure that the whole counsel of God is proclaimed in the RPNA(GM), instead of the lukewarm lipservice to that biblical landmark (Acts 20:27) found in this sermon, even before the specific faults of TATWOG and the PPSA are factored into the overall picture.

Abuse of Choices
Further, as previously mentioned, Part II, Chapt. 23:7 of Reformation Principles Exhibited on "Christian Worship" says, "The ministers of religion have no warrant for reading their Sermons to the congregation". While there are generally some interjections/additions to the sermon when it is given/read from what we know of the practice in the RPNA(GM), we can guarantee that any further remarks by the minister as "Moving the Landmarks" was delivered, diligently avoided the substance of any remarks here. If that is not true, then a public retraction of the tattoo and government papers would have been speedily forthcoming. It didn't happen, but neither has there been a forthright acknowledgment of their existence and binding status in the RPNA(GM). Rather the Proverbs 30:20 stonewalling option prevails. Such is the way of the adulterous moral person of the RPNA(GM); it eats, wipes its mouth and says, 'Who, us? We have done no wickedness.'

But John 9:41 is still to the point. If the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) were blind, they should have no sin, but if they say, 'We see', their sin remains. In the sermon, "Moving the Landmarks", the "Session" of the RPNA(GM) continues to refuse to publicly acknowledge that it has done exactly that: Moved the landmarks, by adding its Tattoo and Church Government papers to the Terms of Communion. Neither has it acknowledged that formally owning "the Session of the RPNA (GM) as a lawful and faithful Court of Christ" is part of the new (secret) Terms of Membership. Rather all this on both counts is by way of the "Confidential" Oath, which for a change, is exactly that: "confidential". So much for John 18:20 again, where Christ said he spake openly before the world and in secret said nothing.

Abuse of At Least Gillespie
Some of course, will disagree and say all this is too acrimonious, one-sided and disrespectful. Yet we do not think the full import has quite sunk in. This is a day in which for one, we find that which calls itself the "lawful spiritual eldership" of a Reformed Presbyterian Church is busy issuing Testimonies approving the lawfulness of cutting and making marks upon oneself (cf. Lev. 19:28), which is a very popular madness in the world right now. At the same time, the same body is inconsistently trying to keep this illustrious addition to the Terms of Membership/Communion a secret. Not only that, the long promised paper on birth control, which was the controversy that provoked the dissolution of the Reformed Presbytery in the first place, is nowhere in sight. Priorities indeed. Of course, in one respect, we think that secrecy campaign a good thing. "Tattoos and the Word of God" is a lukewarm compromise and miserable excuse for sound doctrine. Pre-eminently it ignores/combines Gillespie's distinctions between lawful and unlawful mourning and concludes that all is lawful so long as nothing is now done as a pagan superstition or ritual for the dead. As for any biblical discernment or distinctions, there is no mention that they are also dead on arrival in TATWOG.

To be sure, everything is indifferent as we have been told repeatedly in the RPNA(GM), whether gambling/lots, drama etc, - even birth control, we might assume - but we would not be a question begging legalist. It all depends on one's intent and so on and so forth. But we did always think the Scripture said something about letting the blind lead the blind into the ditch, not into tattoo parlors and compromise with the world and vanity. Evidently our hermeneutic is too literal and naive, if not also occasional and uncovenanted according to the RPNA(GM) perspective. In that case the reader has our apology. With the threat of an excommunication hanging over one's head, it is easy to see the light. Ergo, while in Elijah's day, only the pagans cut and marked themselves (1K 18:28); today under the new covenanted dispensation the Christian, having judged, but not according to appearance (Jn. 7:24), can join in with a clear conscience. What a pathetically piercing distinction.

Plural Abuses of Scripture, History and Reason

After that historic compromise and happy day of 4/30/06, mediocrity further triumphed roughly a month later in the Position Paper on Sessional Authority of 6/4/06. It of course, at 29 pages and some 16,000 words, spends much more ink on the topic than the four pages of the paper on the lawfulness of "getting inked". Therein among the many tangled arguments of the PPSA to justify the RPNA(GM)'s extraordinary and "lawful spiritual eldership", we find repeated appeal to examples with a plurality of ministers, such as at the council in Acts 15 or the presbytery of Jerusalem as discussed in the Grand Debate (pp.7-11). But the congregational court of the RPNA(GM) albeit extraordinary, consists of only one minister and two ruling elders, in two different cities respectively, separated by an international border and 2,000 miles. Yet again, these examples given in the PPSA have a plurality of teaching elders, as well as ruling. Which is just it. The spiritual eldership of the RPNA(GM) has already told us on 6/8/03 that the RPNA proper has been dissolved precisely because of the loss of a plurality of ministers. Go figure.

Abuse of Good and Necessary Inferences
Need we say, we find the following statement in the PPSA consequently to be a bit much, if not blithely to consist of too much hubris and hypocrisy, rather than reason and common sense?
We would ask those who would affirm that we do “not” have Scriptural warrant to proceed as an extraordinary international Session to produce “Scriptural warrant” for their prohibitions, and we would ask them to argue from good and necessary inferences from Scripture (as we have done). We would note that thus far, in the arguments we have seen and heard, Scriptural argument has been sadly lacking-- even to the point of being non-existent. Unless we see argumentation from Scripture that clearly and conclusively demonstrates that what we have proved above is in error, and it is proved that we do not have warrant and authority from Christ to proceed as a lawful Court, it is our intention to continue to proceed as a Court, as Christ gives us strength (pp.9,10, emph. added).
As Samuel Rutherford says, many eyes see more than one (Due Right, p.316). We ask just how did we miss this one? The RPNM(GM) has no presbytery - and no general meeting, which is another matter entirely - but nevertheless the PPSA can repeatedly appeal to presbyteries and synods in justification of the lawful RPNA(GM) eldership/court. This is an argument from good and necessary inference? Of Scripture? Whatever happened to good old covenanted common sense?

Abuse of History
Not only that, the unconstitutional Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, which on the one hand is quoted with approval in the PPSA on the Privy Kirk (pp.11,12), contradicts the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM)'s take on the Second Book of Discipline, 7:10, in their letter of 6/14/03. While that letter is quoted and explained on pp.12,13 in the PPSA, only six pages later the PPSA quotes the DSCH&T to the effect that the "common elderships" of the Second Book of Discipline, 7:10 were or became greater presbyteries, not lesser presbyteries.
"Instead, what did emerge by the later 1570s was the decision that not every congregation need have an eldership of its own, and that in rural areas, particularly where kirk sessions may not have been fully established, several adjacent churches might share a common eldership on a basis similar to the ’general sessions’ which had emerged in some larger towns. This solution of the communal eldership, or presbytery in its Latinized form, was adopted in the Second Book of Discipline of 1578. At that point too, the General Assembly used ‘presbytery’ as a synonym for ’eldership’ when it warned bishops ’to usurp not the power of presbyteries’. By 1579 the Assembly determined that the ’exercise’ for interpreting Scripture ’may be judged a presbytery’, and in 1581 the assembly, with help from the privy council, decided to set up thirteen model presbyteries in the main towns of the central lowlands ’as exemplars to the rest’ of the country. The earliest extant register--that of Stirling presbytery--records the creation of presbytery on 8 august 1581, with ministers and selected elders from the constituent kirk sessions (which continued to function) in attendance” (DSCH&T, 1993, “Origins of Presbytery”, p. 677, PPSA, p.19, all italics added)."
A common/general eldership or a common/general session is not a congregational session, even extraordinary. (If it was a session, the officers were from adjacent churches, not adjacent countries which is the situation that prevails in the RPNA(GM).) Again, the "common elderships" of the Second Book of Discipline, 7:10 as explicitly appealed to on 6/14/03 by the RPNA(GM) eldership for their common court/session - and in the PPSA three years later (Q.1 on pp.12,13), were actually greater presbyteries with ministers - in the plural - and selected elders in attendance, which the "lawful spiritual eldership" itself tells us above in the PPSA (Q.2, p.19) in quoting the DSCH&T.

Abuse of Our Credulity
So who are we supposed to believe? The "lawful spiritual eldership" or the "lawful spiritual eldership", for or against "common elderships" actually being genuine greater presbyteries? And are we to further infer that since 1 Tim. 3:8 only explicitly forbids deacons from being "double-tongued" and the RPNA(GM) clearly has no deacons, that all is well? "[E]asier. . . more convenient. . . This advantage in communication is very significant . . . Without this advantage . . . we would not continue to do what we are presently doing". We would certainly hope not for the future, but that doesn't really help regarding the PPSA and its past abuses, which were the unjust bases and justifications for the Oath and excommunications.

Abuse of Representation
Much more it should also be pointed out that the SBD 7:10 as quoted in the PPSA, tells us that elders were chosen out of all the congregations represented, another item that got lost in the mix and along with a plurality of ministers does not obtain in the RPNA(GM) today, much more never has.
Albeit this is meet, that some of the elders be chosen out of every particular congregation, to concur with the rest of their brethren in the common assembly, and to take up the delations of offences within their own kirks, and bring them to the assembly. This we gather from the practice of the primitive kirk, where elders, or colleges of seniors, were constituted in cities and famous places (PPSA, p.13, italics added).
As for the last line and the "practice of the primitive kirk, where elders, or colleges of seniors, were constituted in cities and famous places" we refer the diligent reader to the Grand Debate again, or its confessional synopsis in the Form of Presbyterial Church Government on "Classical Assemblies", where the Westminster Assembly clarifies to the Independents that the practice of the apostolic church was to constitute presbyteries - not independent congregational courts with or without presbyterial powers and inclinations. Are we starting to get a drift of what the real rule is in all this, over and above any exceptions? "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin" might seem to be writ large on that wall of the electronic "virtual" conference room in which the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) convenes its court.

Nominal Abuse
Further absurdities occur in the assertion that an ecclesiastical name only defines one's terms of communion all the while studiously ignoring any nominal and relevant geographic or governmental distinctives. Reductio ad absurdam, any who affirm the Reformed Presbyterian Terms of Communion may call themselves whatever, be that the Church of Scotland (Covenanted), the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Israel (Figurative) or even the "Session" of the Reformed Presbytery of N. America, (General Meeting or No). Or No. 1, No. 2, etc, because there are as many sessions in the RPNA(GM) as there are members according to the PPSA's position (Q.4, pp.23-29). As they say, you can't make this up. They wrote it. They mean it, but maybe not all it means, which really means it is not ready for prime time. It is unfit for public consumption and instruction in sound doctrine in Christ's church, reformed presbyterian and covenanted or not.

Abuse of the 9th Commandment
But perhaps the worst example of buffoonery and question begging is the egregious example given in the PPSA referring particularly to Appendix B (p.33). Therein because the spiritual eldership in question consider themselves a court and gave their opinion on a marital problem, presto the court in question has obviously been constituted properly and all things are lawful and in order.
We understand that there are some who did not consciously realize that we continued functioning as a Church Court upon the dissolution of our Presbytery, and yet within a very short time after Presbytery was dissolved, it bears mentioning, that we were “publicly” admitting members and exercising acts of Church power that only a Church Court may exercise. This was done publicly with the consent and participation of our membership. This consent (whether explicitly or tacitly) and actual participation by those in our membership indicated to us that those under our inspection agreed with us that we had the Scriptural right to exercise acts of Church power as a lawful Court of Christ. We refer you to Appendix A where you will find a list of the public Church acts which the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) have exercised since the dissolution of Presbytery June 8, 2003. In addition to that you will find in Appendix B an authoritative act of this lawful Church Court of the RPNA (General Meeting)-an act exercised just three weeks after the dissolution of Presbytery and an act that clearly refers to the jurisdiction of this lawful Church Court (PPSA, pp.13,14, emphasis added).
Besides and because nobody ever objected to a permanent standing court? Specifically to the "Session" of the RPNA(GM)? But come to find out 10/23/06 as per the offer in the PGS Public Protest and Complaint (p.5) of 10/18/06, somebody as early as 7/2/04 actually had questioned the constitution of the court, which the eldership not only acknowledged on 10/7/04, but also which evidently provoked the "lawful spiritual eldership's" first public, yet indirect mention of itself on 10/31/04. All of which, makes the quoted assertion disingenuous, if not blatantly dishonest. For that matter, the last decision or example in Appendix B of the PPSA of 6/4/06 was the first many, if not all those, over whom the "lawful spiritual eldership" claims oversight, had ever even heard of it. But the beauty of tacit ignorant consent is that it pre-empts objections and questions. What the loyal and faithful so easily and conveniently forget is that it is "easier. . . more convenient". Remember?

Abuse of Alternative Arguments and Explanations
Moreover somehow it never occurs to anyone that alternative solutions exist. When asked for the references to "clear historical testimony" of Renwick and Cargill celebrating "the Lord's Supper with the scattered remnant-- even in a state wherein there were no formal Sessions (it.add.)" the answer then of 4/15/05 did not particularly clarify what the "lawful spiritual eldership" have, ever since the PPSA of 6/4/06, insisted was clear at the time of 6/14/03: an extraordinary yet formal and standing "Session" of the RPNA(GM).

Historically in the Reformed Presbytery of America, of which the RPNA(GM) claims to be the continuing moral person, a temporary local session by out of town visiting officers was seen as sufficient to administer discipline and examine for the sacraments. See for instance the Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery for Oct. 5, 1842 and the action of the presbytery's committee regarding the Mercer congregation. In other words, however much ignored, there are and have been lawful historical alternatives to the RPNA(GM) solution as set forth in the PPSA by the "lawful spiritual eldership".

Further, there is no question that the Letter of 6/14/03 says many varied and confusing things. It at least affirms some kind of right without a "formal" Session to administer the sacraments, without clarifying what it is talking about, which is the most probable reason why it keeps coming up in the mix ever since. Again, many things may or may not be implied in the letter of 6/14/03, but what actually follows is another thing entirely as per the previous example of TATWOG's conclusions about Gillespie's comments. Unfortunately the PPSA is but a legitimate heir of TATWOG's bastard reasoning. That is because the third paragraph, before the end of the 6/14/03 letter says:
Where and when Elders were present they assisted in all ways appropriate to their office, and together, under these disorganized circumstances, the Pastors and Elders did all that they could to promote godliness, declare and defend the truth, maintain discipline, and promote the faithful worship of God (it. added).
But the largely implicit thesis of the PPSA (6/4/06) and all that came after it, was that "where and when" elders were not actually and physically "present", they could still convene an authoritative and essentially formal session/court over the phone, i.e. the "Session" of the RPNA(GM). Much more, the power of order necessarily implies the power of jurisdiction: That G. Price can and does administer communion, means that the extraordinary, but essentially permanent/formal "Session" of the RPNA(GM) necessarily exists. (See Gillespie's Assertion, I:II on the powers of order and jurisdiction.) Even further the mere existence of officers necessarily implies the presence of the "Session" of the RPNA(GM) as per the supposedly explicit terms of the membership and communicant interview (PPSA, p.21).

Abuse of Good and Necessary Consequence Again
Yet it is quite obvious, that: One, the existence of the power of order in an officer does not necessarily imply the existence of the power of jurisdiction in a court. Two, those interviews or terms do not explicitly affirm the "Session" of the RPNA(GM). Three, this regardless that the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM) certainly assumes and explicitly says so in the PPSA (Q.1, pp.13,14, Q.3, p.21). Again, contra the PPSA, the membership and communicant interview do not "explicitly" affirm the court - never mind TATWOG and the PPSA - although they do affirm the officers per se. But those same lawful officers do not have carte blanche to do as they please, in or out of any court. Rather and only the PPSA of 6/4/06 and the "Confidential" Oath of 10/4/06 "explicitly" say what the "lawful spiritual eldership" wants the letter of 6/14/03 to say - three years and counting after the fact.

In other words, once all the gobbledy gook in the RPNA(GM) about tacit consent is seen for what it is, in this instance a subterfuge, tactic and excuse to evade or ignore the clear and forthright declaration of exactly what the Terms of Membership and Communion are, fraudulent consent would be a more appropriate term. Much more now, both TATWOG and the PPSA are implicitly included in both the Terms of Membership and Communion, though neither mention the two papers explicitly. You will have to go to the Confidential" Oath to see that spelled out, with a Notice of Excommunication to follow. Don't worry. As the Russian proverb according to Solzhenitsyn goes, "When it happens to you, then you'll know it's true." Evidently whatever the "lawful spiritual eldership" saith is lawful after the fact, maketh it lawful - retroactively - so that all who complain or hesitate after the fact, the "lawful spiritual eldership" may and will "lawfully" excommunicate. Either that or the "lawful spiritual eldership" will graciously accept and announce one's "self" excommunication. That it is quite an efficient and self contained system, is small consolation.

Abuse of Acts 15 and Matt. 18:20
Of course, while it is true that a tree that falls in a forest will make a noise, even without anyone there to hear it, that is not true when it comes to the sound of one hand clapping. Likewise an extraordinary out of town but standing session with only one minister that is indirectly announced after the "fact". Nevertheless it essentially considers itself a presbytery or at least usurps the extra-congregational jurisdiction, power and authority of a genuine presbytery, the PPSA having for all practical purposes the authority of the synodical decree of Acts 15 when it comes to the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM).

But has presbyterianism h
istorically allowed a congregational court to excommunicate its members? Yes, but not hastily and not before a genuine court had really been properly and publicly established and with more than a limited number of officers or consultation with other churches/the local presbytery. This, all the while the court in question does not even "gather together" and personally convene in one place as has been historically understood of Matt. 18:20. Much more it sees no need to announce its meetings publicly or publish minutes of the same, except as essentially coerced by the turmoil brought to a head with the Oath, in the Session Response of 10/28/06 (pp.8,9). But that after all again, is the beauty of a tacit, - as in ignorant as opposed to an informed - consent. After the fact is just as good as before the fact - if at all - when it comes to due prelatic process and conscience. Lawful spiritual eldership indeed. As in a law unto themselves or just plain lawless?

Abuse of Argument and Office
Again, the PPSA is a defense of an extraordinary congregational court in which the chief objection to and hinge of the argument for, is whether or not the personal presence of officers is needed in order to actually constitute/convene said congregational court, albeit extraordinary. In other words, is the personal presence of the officers of a court esse or ben esse; of the being or of the well being of a court? Is it that which is categorically necessary and indispensable or that which is beneficial, but not critical? As mentioned , the PPSA only spends all of one paragraph in passing on the essential proposition:

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 (p.9).
Rather there are two things the "lawful spiritual eldership" is presently doing, and has also been doing for some time. One is imposing on the consciences of its members with its position papers that have surreptitiously found their way into the Terms of Membership/Communion. The second is leaving it up to not so lawfully delegated brethren and surrogate elders to attempt to defend and exposit, depending on one's perspective - this innovation or mere circumstance - in the place of those who are the "lawful spiritual eldership". So something like Principium 1643 as a whole, as well as pp.36-39 particularly, which comes in the place of the real teachers in Israel. Dereliction or negligence of duty, anyone, particularly that of instruction, which should necessarily precede any genuine excommunication?

Abuse of Apostolic Example
But maybe we are talking about spiritual eldership as in 'ethereal'. Of course nobody today visits the societies on horseback like Renwick did, so evidently nobody visits the societies at all. Neither can modern communication technology trump the neglect of modern transportation technology. The Wash. Society couldn't even get the elders to commit to a once a year schedule for society visits, which would seem to be a reasonable minimum to shoot for. Never mind the example in the PPSA of Acts 15 and the synodical decree to which the PPSA is implicitly compared to, wherein the apostles humbled themselves enough to personally visit the congregations over which the Jerusalem council had oversight. Evidently it is even easier to ignore landmarks than to move them. Funny, the sermon doesn't mention that. Not only that, the PPSA came a full three years later after the dissolution of the Reformed Presbytery and Principium 1643 a year after the PPSA as compared to the timeliness of the oath to affirm the PPSA - and tacitly the Tattoo paper - in four months and the first wave of "self" excommunications a prompt and mere one month later. So much for equal paper weights and measures.

All in all we find the sermon, "Moving the Landmarks" to generally be a sanctimonious and self serving effort, when the rhetoric about the historic landmarks and terms of communion of the historic Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church is compared to the real record of the "lawful spiritual eldership" of the RPNA(GM). In other words, that "lawful spiritual eldership" is both negligent and illegitimate, in erecting new landmarks to questionable doctrinal discernment and overbearing pastoral judgement in the conscience binding Tattoo and Church Government papers, as well as with the "Confidential" Oath and the Excommunications that followed shortly thereafter.

Even further, the correction of these abuses is obvious, though perhaps not so easy or convenient. The papers need to be retracted from the terms of communion and membership and the oath and excommunications need to be rescinded promptly and publicly. Beyond that we know without a doubt, that the Lord will vindicate his own in his own time and we trust him to do so speedily, amen.

[See also: 12/28/07, . . . . And In Secret Have I Said Nothing]