Minor Change to Green Bagginses

Posted by Dr. Jeff Hutchinson

[Folks might remember Lane’s post to this here blog of his a week or so ago, “Major Change to Green Baggins” (see here:  https://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/major-change-to-green-baggins/).  The same folks that were interested in that post might now be interested in this post, which brings with it something of a minor change to Green BagginsesI have pulled my comment to my friend Lane out from the comment section of his previous post, and post it here as its own separate thread (not that I expect follow-up comments), so that more folks would have a chance to see it.]

A fair point about tone and content, Lane, thank you.

It should go without saying (and I have been saying it all along), but please do whatever you think appropriate with the various posts I have written here on your blog, together with the comment threads they have engendered.

I would like to make several comments at this point, if I may.

1.  I certainly have been keeping your readership up!  (You can pay me later.)

2.  I do think you need to begin moderating all comments.  I know back when you clarified the rules for commenting here you said that you would “really hate” to have to do that, but there really have been way too many hateful comments that I have had to delete (not to mention some of the comments that have not been deleted; folks can read them for themselves).  I had no idea when I agreed to help you how much work that, alone, entailed.

3.  The hateful comments that I have had to delete have, without exception (well, not counting the pornographic spam from Brazil that I imagine every blog gets), been from folks who have self-identified as Doug Wilson supporters.  I have no interpretation of that fact, and suggest none; I simply state that as a matter of empirically verifiable fact (well, technically no longer verifiable, because I deleted them and have no record of them).

4.  Probably my most controversial post, “And So It Begins,” was done at no one’s suggestion but the little voices inside my head (did I just say that out loud?).  It was a simple attempt to come to the aid of a friend and brother in Christ and fellow elder in my particular communion of Christ’s Church, even though he did not ask me to.  I am not sure whether it has not done more harm than good.  I remain thoroughly unconvinced that there was anything sinful or wrong about that post (folks that think there was simply need to grow up in godliness and godly discernment), but I do think that Romans and Corinthians certainly obtain here, “All things are permissable, but not all things are beneficial.”

5.   As that thread has finally been refocused–thanks to the awesome help of Reed DePace–and is now winding down, I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer a small comment on prayers being prayed for me today.  On Doug Wilson’s blog he wrote, “It is Thanksgiving, so let us all give thanks. Jesus said that when men curse you, and revile you, and despitefully use you, the appropriate response is to rejoice and be glad. He also said that when we have been mudgobbed and deadcatted, the particular thing He wanted us to do was to bless those involved in it. And so my hope and prayer is that Jeff Hutchinson and his family would have the best Thanksgiving day feast they have ever had, that God would profoundly bless him, his wife, his children, and all his friends. I pray that the turkey would be the very best, and that the gravy would be better. I pray for all blessings on his head, spiritual, covenantal, and temporal. And, as God is my witness, I have really and sincerely asked for this on his behalf, and not just pretended to. And amen.”

I am always glad to be prayed for.  But I do hope (not that I deserve the prayers of anyone) that he keeps praying for me if and when he comes to realize that I really am not in that category of folks that need “special prayer” because they are his enemies.  And so, actually, in the sense in which he means them (“Lord, Jeff Hutchinson is against me”), I am really not so glad for his prayers.  In fact, they sort of creep me out.  Thanks but no thanks to the sorts of prayers that reflect, at the very least, unnecessary misunderstanding, if not something more sinister.

6.  I am not sure if you have kept up with all the comments since your stepping back from daily management of your blog, but please do keep in mind that Doug Wilson has been given two strikes, according to your rules.  Just about everything he continues to write on his own blog about the PCA would earn him a strike here, so please remember that.  Please also keep in mind that he made several other obviously strike-worthy comments here before my tenure, so by any fair measure he should have been banned from this blog some time ago.  Which brings me back to point#2, above.  If you can’t enforce the rules, you’re going to have to moderate every comment on the front end.  I see no other way.

7.  I think I’ve mentioned at various spots along the way that we all ought to listen to Anne Ivey, who has commented here every now and then.  I was saying that both playfully and in all seriousness.  Earlier today I read and have been considering her thoughtful comment on the Puritan Board, and have come to agree with her point.  In reflecting on it, then, I do think it is best for all concerned for me to no longer be one of the official “Green Bagginses.”  I’ll continue to be a faithful reader, and probably comment here or there, but I’m going to step back from the official status you have so benefinificently (yes, I added two extra syllables as a little going-away present) bestowed upon me.

Thanks for all you do for Christ and His Church, dear brother.  And thanks for the exciting few days!

Tone and Content

Posted by Lane Keister

I must say something now. I have brought other bloggers onto my blog who know many things about the FV. They have chosen to take a bit more acerbic tone than I have. I am allowing them to do that, while not agreeing with them on it. And I am grateful for their participation. But please let it be known that the other bloggers on this blog do not always speak for me on every particular. Please let no one commit the same problem that the critics of the FV are often accused of committing: that of painting everyone with the same brush.

Insight into the PCA SJC Process

Posted by Bob Mattes on behalf of Bill Lyle, a Presbyterian Church in America Standing Judicial Committee member.

A commenter suggested that this piece, originally posted as a comment, should be its own post. Mr. Lyle graciously agreed. I did not alter the content or meaning, but merely formatted it in the customary way for clarity. I also added links to the two SJC case reports.


This is about two cases together

First of all, fully understanding the vow(s) I took RAO 17-1 and SJCM 7-1 and 7-2 and also noting that I have not read the blog Mr. Mattes is referring to. I do want to comment on what is public and that which I am able to comment on in this form. From case 2006-02:

“Pursuant to BCO 40-5 the Standing Judicial Commission hereby cites Louisiana Presbytery to appear “to show what it has done or failed to do in the case in question.”

“. . . draw an indictment to be served upon Louisiana Presbytery, with the circumstances and specifications therein not being limited to those raised in 2006-02 and 2007-8”

“If Louisiana Presbytery enters a plea of “not guilty,” then Louisiana Presbytery is directed to appear, through its representatives, for trial in this matter before the Standing Judicial Commission on March 5, 2008 (BCO 40-5, 40-6, 31-2, 32-3).”

From case 2007-08:

“Therefore the complaint is sustained; Presbytery’s action of April 21, 2007, to deny the complaint of TE Jones is annulled (BCO 43-10); and the Memorial from Central Carolina Presbytery remains before the Standing Judicial Commission. [See the judgment in 2006-2 for additional amends.]”

TE Steve Wilkins is not on trial. LAP is on trial. The indictment has not been served on LAP, however when it is, TE Wilkins can (if LAP desires) be one of the representatives to defend the actions of LAP before the SJC. In fact any member in the PCA, at the request of LAP can be their representative, if LAP pleads not guilty [to the indictment that has not been served].Again from the case 2007-08

It is the opinion of the Standing Judicial Commission that Louisiana Presbytery (LAP) erred in two crucial and related ways. First, it failed to apply the proper Constitutional standard for dealing with TE Wilkins’ differences. Second, it apparently failed adequately to guard the Church from “erroneous opinions that injure the peace or purity of the Church.” (BCO 13-9(f))

This case, in the judgment of the SJC is about two items:
1. LAP failed to constitutionally deal with stated differences and
2. LAP failed to fulfill BCO 13-9(f).

So in my humble opinion, to state anything else [other than the case is PCA v. LAP] is just factually inaccurate, giving the two rulings 2006-02 and 2007-08.

It will be the role of the prosecutor to prove LAP is in error.

It will be the role of LAP to prove the indictment is in error and LAP can use anyone in good standing in the PCA (including TE Wilkins) to make their case before the SJC, all centered on the two statements above. The indictment has not be drawn up as of yet, nor has it been served on LAP, so what are we really talking about here?

It will be the role of the SJC (me included) to fulfill the following (From RAO 17-1):

I do solemnly vow, by the assistance of the grace of God, in my service as a judge in this branch of the church of our lord Jesus Christ, that
1. I will act as before God, my Judge and the Searcher of hearts;
2. I will judge without respect to persons, and if so tempted, will recuse myself from judgment;
3. I will judge not according to appearances, but judge righteous judgment;
4. I will judge according to the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, through my best efforts applied to nothing other than the record of the case and other documents properly before me; and
5. If in a given case I find my view on a particular issue to be in conflict with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, I will recuse myself from such case, if I cannot conscientiously apply the Constitution.”

Please note vow #4 and #5 for every member of the SJC, these vows were approved by the Church at large and the whole SJC takes these vows very seriously.

I hope this brings a little clarity.


Bill Lyle, SJC member

Posted by Bob Mattes on Mr. Lyle’s behalf

P2 (A Peacemaker Speaks, Part Two)

Posted by Dr. Jeff Hutchinson

(Once again, I am co-opting a comment from a thread below, made by Rev. Reed DePace, a Teaching Elder in the PCA, and am using it to begin a new thread, should anyone so interested care to read and consider.  Once again,  I have edited it a bit [for clarity, and a slight tweak to the content].  Once again, I have done so without asking Reed’s permission first.  And once again, I do so with threats to Reed that he had better let me do this, he had BETTER let me do this….:) )

Brothers and Sisters:

Maybe an attempt to focus the issue with a few questions (seeking to summarize all points fairly for all parties):

1. The “And So It Begins” thread began as a development from the matter of the PCA’s SJC finding that the LAP erred in their second examination of Rev. Wilkins.
2. Rev. Wilson believes the process is endemic of injustice in the PCA towards members who affirm the FV.
3. Rev. Wilson believes Bob Mattes has been injudicious in his comments about him.
4. Some (me among them) believe Rev. Wilson has been injudicious in his comments about the PCA.
5. Rev. Wilson made sufficient responses to document that he still believes points no. 2 & 3 stand, while denying point no. 4.
6. Ruling Elder Matters received a series of communications from an elder of Rev. Wilson’s church, Mike Lawyer, which Bob believed represents an inappropriate attack perhaps intended to silence his speaking out against Rev. Wilson.
7. Rev. Dr. Jeff Hutchison agrees with RE Mattes as to the nature of Mr. Lawyer’s communication, and further believes that Mr. Lawyer’s action represents an example of a pattern of such attacks experienced by others who have voiced opposition to Rev. Wilson.

8. Jeff believes the pattern has been established by the investigative reporting of journalists from WORLD Magazine, Presbyterian and Reformed News, and perhaps even the New York Times.
9. In addition, Jeff indicated that other, more questionable, and less easily verifiable reports exist as well, that may also indicate the presence of a pattern.  He then posted/allowed to be posted here a list of incidents, with appropriate warnings as to reading with godly discernment.

10. Some posters here believe this amounts to the same or even worse behavior, as that which Jeff believes Mr. Lawyer engaged in.
11. Some posters believe that the information documented in the links in question reflect relatively accurately the events in question (events accurate, while not necessarily agreeing with a given commentator’s explanation of motives and goals).

12.  Others do not.

Fair enough?

To be fair, we will need to leave the following questions unanswered:

1. Is Rev. Wilson right, re. point no. 3 above?
2. Are TE Hutchison and Re Mattes’ right, re. point nos. 6 & 7 above?
3. Are those who disagree with TE Hutchison’s posting of the links right?
4. Are those who believe there is a pattern of bullying opponents on the part of Wilson and supporters right?

Again, for the sake of peace and moving forward, can we be at peace and leave off personal attacks?

If not, it might be wiser to refrain from potential sin from our lips.

Rev. Reed DePace