Caught Red-handed

Posted by Bob Mattes

I was working on a post to examine the errors in this post by Mark Horne:

One other thing: bringing to a complaint against one’s own presbytery, for failing to indict, when all one had to do is file charges oneself, makes no sense at all. SJC has painted themselves in the corner of presuming the guilt of a presbyter in good standing because they received complaints from Louisiana Presbytery rather than directing those presbyters to press charges themselves.


For whatever reason, SJC has moved into unprecedented and unimagined “space” in which they have no restraints.

Everything about this case shows that Steve Wilkins’ opponents know that Steve would be exonerated by anything but a political machine. This is simply the follow up to the shamelessly biased FV committee. The very process serves as evidence of Steve’s uprightness in this matter.

In my opinion, a TE in the PCA who should have a better grasp of the BCO as well as the public facts from the SJC cases being criticized. Before making any points, I must repeat that TE Steve Wilkins is not on trial, Louisiana Presbytery may be depending on how they plea to the charges coming against them. OK, got that out of the way.

One point that Horne misses when he says that a presbyter should have filed charges against Wilkins instead of the SJC charging LAP is that the reason LAP voted to exonerate Wilkins in July 2005 was because issues had been raised about Wilkins’s views. So he is factually wrong that the SJC is out of line. Also, the BCO has a firewall in BCO 40-4 and 5 that allows a higher court to review the actions of a lower court if it believes that the lower court erred in an important moral or doctrinal matter. This process is being followed explicitly.

But it gets better…

During the time I was researching some background on the 2005 Wilkins examination, Andy Webb posted his Case of the Missing Kamikaze Presbyters over on PuritanBoard. Andy’s post is much more detailed than the one that I was writing. I highly recommend it to all interested in the truths that lay waste to the unwarranted charges against the PCA and SJC.

Andy’s first point recounts how concerns were raised in October of 2002 about Steve Wilkins’ views. That far back, Louisiana Presbytery apparently failed to uphold its responsibly to take action to preserve the purity of the church as required by BCO 13-9f (in part):

To condemn erroneous opinions which injure the purity or peace of the Church; to visit churches for the purpose of inquiring into and redressing the evils that may have arisen in them;

Andy includes much more detail about the political situation in Louisiana Presbytery. The best analogy which I can use is trying to bring charges against Mayor Richard Daly in Chicago in the 196os and early 70s. The political machine would simply not allow it, just as LAP refused to entertain concerns against Wilkins.

In his second point, Andy clearly lays out the history of how Steve Wilkins and Louisiana Presbytery used the exact same BCO process against TE John Wood and Tennessee Valley Presbytery that they now decry as unjust in 2007. That’s something I haven’t seen the Federal Visionists posting about. You can read about this incident in the Presbyterian News Archives (bottom of the page). On January 15, 2000, Louisiana Presbytery passed the following motion:

Whereas due to the public nature of the letter from TE John Wood and his Session of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church dated October 25, 1999 to the Tennessee Valley Presbytery, it is our concern that this overture be handled in a timely and God-honoring manner; and

Whereas the Scriptures clearly teach that a woman is not to teach or exercise authority over a man, but is to remain silent (I Timothy 2:12); and

Whereas the PCA Book of Church Order should be interpreted consistently rather than a way that is contrary to the Scriptures; and

Whereas to permit a woman to preach or teach in the context of worship would be a gross violation of I Timothy 2:12 and BCO 53-6; and

Whereas the Session of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church has made it known that a woman has been invited to be the plenary speaker for the 2001 World missions conference,

Therefore Be It Resolved that the Louisiana Presbytery urge the Tennessee Valley Presbytery to consider it their duty to uphold BCO 40-4, and NOT “to neglect to perform their duty, by which neglect heretical opinions or corrupt practices may be allowed to gain ground;” we therefore encourage the TVP to act upon this with Biblical and Confessional integrity.

Any of that language sound familiar? It should, as the polity parts are very close to the language of the Central Carolina Presbytery Memorial that the Louisiana Presbytery and Federal Visionists now decry. Note the “Confessional integrity” language. Apparently the PCA Constitution was sufficient to condemn TE John Wood and Tennessee Valley Presbytery, but insufficient to evaluate the Federal Vision. After all, TE Wood was an officer in good standing that was never charged? Isn’t that what they say now about Steve Wilkins? You bet it is.

Could this be a hypocritical case of “do as I say, not as I do” down on the bayou? Standing by for the Federal Vision spin machine to wind up…and you know that it will. Though I have to say that their BCO acumen from 2000 seems to evade them today.

Again, please go read Case of the Missing Kamikaze Presbyters.

Update: Andy Webb has an excellent follow-up, again based on the P&R News archive.

Posted by Bob Mattes

I Am Doug Wilson’s Dead Rat Behind the Fridge

Posted by Jeff Hutchinson 

Doug Wilson’s recent post is something I felt should be answered for the record. I do not intend for the tone of this blog post to be inflammatory.  I do ask for your patience and forbearance.

In his post, “Dead Rat Behind the Fridge,” Doug Wilson charges certain men in the PCA with having done certain ugly things.  Who is Wilson talking about; who is he charging?  In his post he charges:

*  the “PCA men who have misrepresented my doctrinal views in their books, articles, reports, and blogs;”
*  the “bureaucratic insiders” and “gatekeepers” in the PCA;
*  the “leaders among the FV critics;
*  the “many established leaders with names among our critics;”
*  the “men in charge of the crusade against the FV.”

With what does he charge this collection of persons?  He charges them with:

*  “citing anonymous attack blogs as credible sources;”
*  “demonstrating that they believe (anonymous attack blogs) sufficiently
*  “demonstrat(ing) in public that they are prepared to accept, and have accepted,
anonymous testimony;”
*  “sneeveling around with slanderous accusations circulated by anonymous and lying
*  producing “crap.”

For the record, let me review what happened last week (see also last week’s post,
“P2: A Peacemaker Speaks, Part Two”).

1. Doug Wilson had been making (and continues to make) comments on the internet about the PCA, her officers, and her Standing Judicial Commission, that some of us believe to be injudicious.
2. Ruling Elder Bob Mattes spoke out publicly against those comments.
3. Bob Mattes and his Session then received a series of communications from an elder of Doug Wilson’s church, Mike Lawyer, which Bob believed represented an inappropriate attack, perhaps intended to silence his speaking out against Doug Wilson’s injudicious comments about the PCA.
4. I decided to write a post here at Greenbagginses exposing this inappropriate attack upon Bob (the post entitled, “And So It Begins,” which has since been removed from the website).  I did this without being asked by anyone, in fact, without getting even one other person’s advice ahead of time as to whether I should write my post.

In retrospect, it would have been wise for me to have run my proposed post by a few trusted folks first.  They would have most likely helped me with the “temperature” of my post.  I do apologize for having unnecessarily inflamed an already tense situation, having gone ahead with a post unedited by anyone else, and I do ask everyone’s forgiveness.  Please forgive me.

5. I wrote the “And So It Begins” post because I thought Mr. Lawyer’s communications with Bob to be vile lies and threats, and because I thought Mr. Lawyer’s action represented an example of a pattern of such attacks experienced by others who have voiced opposition to Rev. Wilson, a pattern that I believe to have been long established by the investigative reporting of journalists from WORLD Magazine, Presbyterian and Reformed News, and even the New York Times, among others, not to mention Doug Wilson’s own words on his own blog about those who have opposed him.
6. In addition, I indicated that other, more questionable, and less easily verifiable reports exist as well, that may also indicate the presence of a pattern.  I then allowed comments (some of which included links to articles and primary documents) to be posted on Greenbagginses, with appropriate warnings, for those who might choose to read the articles and documents, as to reading with godly discernment.

This is the series of events to which Doug Wilson was referring when he wrote his blog post, “Dead Rat Behind the Fridge.”  This and this alone.  This website and my post.

In other words, I am Doug Wilson’s #1 dead rat behind the fridge. 

Except for Bob Mattes, who perhaps was following my lead, no one else among the large group of men that Doug Wilson charges, allowed links to be posted to the internet articles and primary documents that various commenters forwarded to us, on this blog or anywhere else that I am aware of.  No one else.  I and Bob were the only ones who did that. Not Lane. Not Reed. Not David. No one else.  Certainly not anyone in the PCA who has written “books, articles, or reports” about the FV.  And certainly not anyone on the SJC!

There are not scores of dead rats behind the fridge.  There is one dead rat, two if you count Bob (Bob, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you don’t count!).

To conclude, three final things, for the record:

First, I do think it is helpful for Doug Wilson’s charges to be directed, less like a shotgun at scores of men, and more like a rifle at me.  And so, for the record, I think it is important to remind the honest reader that I did not do the sorts of things Doug charges me with.  To him, I am the dead rat behind the fridge, but the facts are not as he represents them.  I did not “cite anonymous attack blogs as credible sources;” I did not “demonstrate that I believe (anonymous attack blogs) sufficiently authoritative” (nor do I believe that, whether or not I “demonstrated” it); I did not “demonstrate in public that I am prepared to accept, and have accepted, anonymous testimony” (nor have I or would I, whether or not I “demonstrated” that); I have not been “sneeveling around with slanderous accusations circulated by anonymous and lying cowards;” nor was my post “crap.”

Second, what I did had nothing to do with some sort of “strategy” against the FV; it had to do with the much simpler matter of defending a friend against a malicious attack.

Third–and I would be glad to be corrected about this one–neither Mike Lawyer nor Doug Wilson have apologized to Bob for their attacks upon him [UPDATE; 12/7:  Bob Mattes’ recent post here reports the good news of Mike’s gracious and humble apology, and Mike’s and Bob’s reconciliation], though I believe they have removed the letter Mike Lawyer wrote from the internet, which is certainly a good first step.

Finally, I feel this provides an adequate conclusion to my dealings with Doug Wilson.  As such, I have turned comments off on this post.  Thank you for your patience and forbearance and prayers.