It Is True

I have just received confirmation in an email message from Douglas Wilson (and I have his permission to post this), that Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church has voted simultaneously to leave the PCA and to join the CREC. I understand that Doug will have a post on this in just a few minutes. Update.

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21 Comments

  1. January 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    [...] Confirmed at GB. [...]

  2. January 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    [...] Wilkins Leaves the PCA Although rumored last night, confirmation has been received by greenbaggins that Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church (AAPC) voted yesterday to leave the Presbyterian Church in [...]

  3. January 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    [...] #2: So says the CREC. PCA Ruling Elder Bob Mattes [...]

  4. meg said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Thank God! Church discipline has proved successful. I’m sorry for Mr. Wilkins, though, that he hasn’t repented.

  5. magma2 said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    A heretical PCA pastor is allowed to leave in good standing to continue to spread his errant doctrines elsewhere unencumbered. Is this really a good thing?

  6. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    He is CREC now. He is no longer under the jurisdiction of the PCA, which would have brought charges against him had he stayed. So, I think the PCA’s hands are clean in this matter.

  7. anneivy said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Is there any expectation that other LAP churches will follow AAPC? From what I’ve understood, while AAPC was definitely the flagship church of the FV in the LAP, it was not the sole FV-teaching church in that presbytery. If this is correct, where does AAPC’s departure leave them?

    Come to that, there’s at least a couple of other PCA presbyteries who are generally recognized as being FV-friendly. Do the events in Louisiana have any bearing on their situations?

  8. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    It is probably too early to tell on any of those important issues at the moment.

  9. Scott said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Reverend Keister,

    I realize a lot has happened in a very short time in this Federal Vision case.

    Can you help me understand some things to put this in context, if you are at liberty to comment:

    1) Is there no consequense to a presbytery pleading guilty (e.g. the guilt followed by public admonition or some other sanction) to
    a) individual presbytery members
    b) the presbytery as a whole (entity)

    2) Is it possible there will not be a trial on the count the presbytery pleaded “not guilty” to?
    (If not, how can that be)

    3) Isn’t there some sort of “cooling off” period for a church leaving our denomination, either for reconciliation/reflection or to leave in good standing or something to that effect?

    4) Do I understand correctly that Reverend Wilkins cannot be subject to doctrinal investigation or discipline in absentia if he leaves the denomination?

    Thanks much for all your service and for keeping a level head amidst all this.

  10. greenbaggins said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    1. There are consequences. That is for the SJC to decide. Probably something in the nature of a reprimand, possibly something more. We will see. It would only apply to the presbytery as a whole at this time.

    2. It is possible that the SJC will decide that the first charge is water under the bridge, given the plea to the second charge. Again, that is for the SJC to decide. Currently, the first charge is still in the works to be tried on March 6.

    3. A church’s membership in the presbytery is entirely voluntary. When they vote to leave, they immediately are out of the PCA. They are CREC now. I suppose that some instances might occur where such a time would be advisable. However, this vote was unanimous.

    4. Correct. Only ministers in the PCA can be tried.

  11. magma2 said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I think the PCA’s hands are clean in this matter.

    OK, then can you please explain how a man who was the chief reason for a process that threatened to eliminate an entire Presbytery from rolls of the PCA, a man who has taught pernicious and errant doctrines that cut to the vitals of the faith and who taught these doctrines under the banner of the PCA for years and from her pulpits, is allowed to just simply leave the PCA in “good standing” and that this somehow equates to clean hands?

    What kind of soap do you use Lane?

    If this was the SJC’s intent and they were just trying to rid themselves of the man and think they’ve rid the church of the FV problem, then I think that hardly qualifies as discipline. Frankly I think it is pathetic. Am I missing something?

  12. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Am I missing something?

    Dear magma2,

    Yes.

    Your desire for “discipline” would break the laws of Presbyterian polity in order to get the “right result.” That is an undisciplined form of “discipline.”

    It’s very important that, while we might all strongly suspect that the outcome of the LAP trial would have been a trial of Wilkins, nevertheless, that outcome was not a foregone conclusion. And thus, Wilkins was strongly suspected of being out of accord, but not yet under process.

    End of story.

    To change the rules for the sake of not letting the fish get away would introduce into our polity a precedent of presuming guilt until innocence is proven. BCO 29-1 clearly places the burden of proof on the accusers. BCO 32-2 requires a real accuser to make a case.

    Now, in my judgment, this outcome was somewhat predictable. Intentionally or not, LAPs actions had the effect of providing cover for Wilkins with regard to charges, allowing him a window of time in which to escape process. This might be construed as contrary to BCO 27-3 and 31-2, but that’s for them to answer for.

    I’m disappointed, not because I wanted Wilkins hung out to dry, but because I thought it important that the Federal Vision proponents be allowed their day in court.

    God in His providence knew better.

    Jeff Cagle

  13. Gabe Martini said,

    January 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Your desire for “discipline” would break the laws of Presbyterian polity in order to get the “right result.”

    Having a Standing committee breaks the laws of Presbyterian polity, but that’s besides the point now, I suppose. You won’t find things like this going on anywhere in Reformed/Presbyterian polity prior to the modern era. It is a novelty.

  14. james raisch said,

    January 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    On federal visionism churches in the PCA, the poisonbury shrubs (fv churches) must be ripped from the fetile soil (PCA) branch and root. Good riddance to the most active in pollution production (aapc) of all the fv churches in the PCA.

  15. Ron Henzel said,

    January 29, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Gabe,

    You raise and interesting issue, but how exactly do you define “the modern era,” and which particular “laws of Presbyterian polity” does having a standing committee break?

    On May 17, 1866, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. met in St. Louis, MO, and in the minutes from May 29 we read:

    The General Assembly, on the nomination of its Standing Judicial Committee, may appoint from the members of the Assembly a Judicial Commission, or Judicial Commissions, as may be required, to try during its sessions the judicial cases which may come before the Assembly—their proceedings and decisions to be subject to the approval of the Assembly.

    (Minutes of the Presbyterian Church in the United States with Appendix, Vol. XVIII [Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1866], 49.)

    If we date Presbyterian polity back to the Reformation Settlement of 1560, this means that Standing Judicial Committees have been in existence for more than 30 percent of its history. Where do we draw the line between novelty and established tradition, and who has been objecting to this supposed novelty for the past 140 years or more?

  16. Ron Henzel said,

    January 29, 2008 at 6:48 am

    The home page of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church now includes the following paragraph:

    From 1976-2008, Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church was a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. The congregation of AAPC voted without dissent to withdraw from the PCA on January 27, 2008. Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church is now a mission church of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches.

  17. magma2 said,

    January 29, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Intentionally or not, LAPs actions had the effect of providing cover for Wilkins with regard to charges, allowing him a window of time in which to escape process.

    I’m not saying that anything “illegal” transpired or that rules were broken or needed to be broken, may it never be, but I can’t help but think that the wide net cast was intentional.

    The other way to look at it is that it is the SJC that provided the cover and it was the intent of the court all along to apply indirect pressure to get Wilkins to simply leave without charges being brought. They got their desired result without having to confront any false teacher or establish any court precedent as it relates to teachers and teaching in the PCA of the NPP and FV. I mean, the PCA could not even successfully bring charges against a man with such a long and public track record of disrupting the peace and purity of the Church as Mr. Wilkins. I don’t see this as something to celebrate.

    Meanwhile, Wilkins will continue to be painted by the FV men as an innocent victim of the PCA’s “star chamber” who was forced out of the PCA without process or cause.

    IMO seeing that LAP failed to do its duty when it first investigated and exonerated Wilkins, BCO 34-1 provides the alternative. I confess, I’m just arm chair quarterbacking, but when I first learned of the charges against the LAP it never even occurred to me that it might be a political maneuver.

    Sean Gerety

  18. January 29, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Sean,

    but when I first learned of the charges against the LAP it never even occurred to me that it might be a political maneuver.

    Nor should it occur to you. CCP and the SJC followed the BCO to the letter in every detail. I’d hardly call following the BCO as required a political maneuver. There isn’t much maneuvering room in its discipline procedures, nor should there be.

  19. magma2 said,

    January 29, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I get it, the PCA is the one denomination that is above politics. Thanks Bob.

  20. magma2 said,

    January 29, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Bob, one more thing, maneuvering aside, are you saying that BCO 34-1 did not provide an alternative route given the facts in the case?

  21. January 29, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Sean,

    I get it, the PCA is the one denomination that is above politics.

    No human endeavor is free of the taint of our remaining sinful natures. I’m just saying that the process is sound and in this case was followed to the jot and tittle.

    are you saying that BCO 34-1 did not provide an alternative route given the facts in the case?

    Sure, BCO 34-1 applies, but no one filed charges against him directly. All process was filed against LAP for their handling of the situation. It’s not that LAP failed to act IAW 34-1, but that they did not act properly, which is what the CCP Memorial was all about. Again, up to and including the day Wilkins left, no one filed charges against him directly.


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