Sunday, October 31, 2004

10/31/04, First Public Announcement of The "Session" of RPNA(GM) re. Suspension from the Lord's Supper/Lesser Excommunication

[All italics added]

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: Selected Recipients
CC: ____ _____
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 8:11 AM
Subject: Letter to Members of RPNA

October 31, 2004

Dear Members and Adherents of the RPNA (General Meeting),

On Sunday October 3, 2004, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) [emph. added] met by phone with ________ (____) _____ to speak with him regarding his recent involvement with a local rock band in the Albany area. It was the judgment of the Elders that ____'s involvement in this rock band brought him into familiar fellowship with those who were either of no religious persuasion or of a contrary religious persuasion. We also judged there was neither an evident desire on ____'s part to glorify God through the lyrics sung nor through leading the members of the band to a knowledge of Christ and oneness in the faith which is the duty of every Christian:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD: and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psalm 1:1,2).

During this conversation ____ was asked several questions regarding his commitment to serve Christ and his commitment to adhere to our stated terms of communion.

In response to our questions, ____ indicated that he knew that what he was doing was not in accord with the Word of God or with the will of God. Furthermore, he indicated that it was his intention to follow his own will instead of God's will, even though he knew that what he was doing was sinful.

In response to this and out of love for this young brother in Christ, on Thursday, October 7, 2004, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) initiated the first step of formal discipline, and sent ____ a formal letter of admonition in which he was earnestly urged to repent of his sin, to seek the forgiveness of God, and the forgiveness of all those he has offended during his time of defection from the truth. In this letter he was also solemnly warned that his failure to repent would lead to his formal suspension from the Lord's Table.

Finally, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) talked again with ____ by phone on Friday, October 29, 2004 in order to determine whether there was any change in ____'s decision to practice familiar fellowship in the rock band with which he has been associated. To our sorrow, ____ still insisted that he would not discontinue his involvement with this rock band. Sadly, ____ has chosen to love his own sinful desires rather than to love Jesus Christ and His truth. To date ____ has given us no indication that he intends to repent, and thus, it is our sad but necessary duty to inform those under our inspection that we are now proceeding to the second step of the discipline process.

Consequently, we formally declare as officers of the Church of Jesus Christ, that ____ _____ is now
formally barred from partaking of the Lord's Supper in the RPNA (General Meeting) and throughout the Visible Church of Jesus Christ (since this is a valid and just censure). In addition to being barred from the Lord's Supper, those statements in Scripture regarding our duty to avoid familiar fellowship should be applied at this time to ____:

"And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thessalonians 3:14,15).

All contact with ____ should have in view his restoration to Christ. We encourage each of you to faithfully pray that ____ will turn again to follow Christ, with the hope that he might repent and be reconciled to God and to us before we are constrained by our love for Christ's honor and by our love for ____ to declare the next and final step of discipline upon him.

May the Lord use this time of discipline to purge all our hearts of pride, finger-pointing, and self-righteousness and rather cause us to sorrow over our own sin and to love our brethren with a sincere love that issues forth in prayer and acts of kindness for all the world to see.

For Christ's Crown and Covenant

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Greg Barrow
Lyndon Dohms
Greg L. Price

Thursday, October 07, 2004

10/7/04, Questions From The "Session" to the Society of Prince George

[See also: 9/24/04, PG Society to Elders re. Draft to Societies at Large]

From: Greg Price
Sent: October 7, 2004 5:08 PM
To: rpna_pg@. . ; Greg Barrow; Greg Price; Lyndon Dohms
Cc: [Members of PGS]
Subject: Questions From The Session (October 7, 2004)

October 7, 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Prince George Society,

We have been blessed indeed to have known your love and faithfulness to the truth for the past ten years.
You have been willing to count the cost in following our good Shepherd where He has led you by His Word and Spirit. We express our love and appreciation for you in your continued support and encouragement of us as your Elders.

As we expressed in our email to you (dated September 30, 2004), We appreciate the general tone of the letter and the desire you have to be in communication with the Societies to the edification of the whole body and to the help and encouragement of your Session. However, we do have a few questions we would ask you before you send your proposed letter out to the Societies at large. If our questions are vague in your opinion, please feel free to ask us for further clarification.

1. On page 3 of your Draft Letter to the Societies (dated October 1, 2004), you state under #1:
In the matters before us, we are NOT [your emphasis] contemplating anything of a JUDICIAL [your emphasis--though written in italics in the original letter] character. Consistent with the Word of God and RPNA subordinate standards relevant to the subject of Society management, ends contemplated are strictly of a NON-JUDICIAL [your emphases--though written in italics in the original letter] quality. We abhor rebellions.

In your opinion, what are matters of a judicial and non-judicial character? When do matters move from being non-judicial to judicial in character?

2. On page 4 of your Draft Letter to the Societies (dated October 1, 2004), you state:
By way of example, to the person, we in Prince George, BC, confess it was only this last July we understood our Elders had extraordinarily constituted as a Session! Other than informal appraisals re: a possible Albany Session, our last communication on the matter was a broadcast email from our three Elders (June 14, 2003), noting they were NOT [your emphasis--though written in italics in the original letter] a Session.

In your opinion, did we say in our letter (dated June 14, 2003) that we were "NOT a Session"? What does it mean for us to say in our letter of June 14, 2003 that we are not a regularly organized Session"? Does the historical example cited from the Second Book of Discipline [7:10] in our letter of June 14, 2003 ( but we think three or four, more or fewer, particular kirks may have one eldership common to them all, to judge their ecclesiastical causes ) indicate that such Sessions were not regularly organized Sessions, but were extraordinary Sessions? How does the historical example cited from the Second Book of Discipline (where one Session was formed from Elders of several congregations) differ in substance from our own circumstance? In your opinion, is it a fair reading of our letter of June 14, 2003 to say that we were declaring we were NOT a Session (in any sense), or were we declaring we were not a regularly organized Session with all of the Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders coming from one Session?

Additionally, we would ask why you have represented us (the Session) as saying that we are "NOT a Session", when we verbally explained to you (when we were in Prince George) what we meant in that general letter to all of the Societies (June 14, 2003)--namely that we are, in fact, an "extraordinary Session". In short, after we have explained to you what we meant in our letter, why do you represent and interpret our words as meaning something completely different than our stated explanation and intention? We do not wish to presume your reasons for doing this, so we are simply asking for an explanation.

3. In your opinion, how should differences with the Session (as now constituted) concerning their rulings and decisions be handled by Societies and General Meetings?

4. In your opinion, is it optional or mandatory for a particular Society to meet at the General Meeting level?

5. In your opinion, how much should the demands of each one s family, work, etc. be taken into account in considering matters related to participation in a General Meeting?

6. In your opinion, how much work do you envision being required of those at the Society level in order to participate in a General Meeting?

7. In your opinion, what role will women play in the Societies and General Meetings as it relates to decisions and voting since no decision has yet been rendered by the Session on this issue?

8. In your opinion, who can participate in a General Meeting within the RPNA? Can members in good standing (within the RPNA) be prevented from participation in a General Meeting? If so, for what reasons?

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions that were raised in our minds. We may yet have some follow-up questions that we would like to ask after we receive your response to our questions.

The Lord be with you all,

Greg Barrow
Lyndon Dohms
Greg L. Price