Mutiny in the church...

(Tim, w/thanks to Steve M.) Read this post by Carl Trueman. It's almost excellent.

Almost because, sadly, the salient point to make about it is that there are no specifics mentioned, no men and their errors exposed. Sadly, that neglect says more than the good words Trueman has written.

To warn against theological and ecclesiastical and confessional and Biblical rebellion without warning against any particular man is to gnaw with gums instead of chewing with teeth. Until you name names, it's only one more hypothetical construct.

It wouldn't surprise me if reformation 21 had a policy against questioning or warning against any particular man's faith or practice--particularly if that man sells lots of books and is cited more than anyone else by Reformed pastors, today.

Comments

I'd like to see more on this topic. In my part of the theological woods, it seems that there are nearly innumerable things a church must guard against, and to write the church constitution to guard against these....yikes!

That said, it seems that there are many in all denominations who seek to undermine doctrine this way....

Thank you for noting Dr. Trueman's posts on this important matter. I have followed these at Ref 21 and found them very helpful. So much so, in fact, that we will use them as material for discussion in our officer training classes. With regard to 'naming names', such silence may well be occasioned by the desire of an author or editor to allow the author's thought to be applied both broadly and to the heart of each reader. After all,if names are named, and especially if I agree that the named should be 'called out', I might well be deaf to the Holy Spirit's very pointed arrow piercing my own soul, or perhaps applying such aim to my own sphere of responsibility. Leaving some silent 'blanks' in place can at times make room for a more thunderous voice to be heard. I think in this case, whatever the editorial stance of Ref 21 may be, the silence is golden.

>>if names are named, and especially if I agree that the named should be 'called out', I might well be deaf to the Holy Spirit's very pointed arrow piercing my own soul,

"Called out" like the Apostle Paul called out the Apostle Peter?

Scripture names names, and rarely is the point dulled by it.

Love,

Tim,

There are no doubt times to name names - perhaps these even outnumber the times when one might avoid doing so. It is also possible that you know a lot more about the editorial process at Ref 21 than I do, and suspect foul play for good reason. Yet I would not be one to hurry to the conclusion that Dr Trueman of all people is a man-pleaser, even if there is an editor or two guilty of the charge (possible only if contributors to Ref 21 have their comments vetted and properly purged before posting). So then, I'm not suggesting there isn't a proper time to name names, but rather that one need not always do so in order to achieve the goal for which one writes or speaks: the writer knows that intelligent and informed readers can connect the dots.

A more pointed question might simply be, "Dr. Trueman, are you aware of specific contemporary examples in the Confessionally conservative Reformed Churches of the kind of infidelity about which you have so eloquently written? If so, could you tell us about these cases so that we might learn by these failures and grow as godly ministers?"

Perhaps he would answer such a question in a follow up post on this site.

Maybe he didn't have anyone specific in mind. Its a blog post, not a manifesto.

Roger,
Exactly. No doubt he has experienced these things and heard of such from others as well; it is, after all, a constant danger and temptation. The temptation to smile and say nothing can be just as great of course, as can the tendency to avoid making enemies by refusing to deal with specific sins specifically, as Tim correctly notes. That doesn't mean however that we can or should judge only on the basis of what isn't said.
DC

>>It is also possible that you know a lot more about the editorial process at Ref 21 than I do, and suspect foul play for good reason.

Not foul, but safe play.

>>Dr Trueman of all people is a man-pleaser...

I don't know the man, let alone think him a man-pleaser.

>>one need not always do so in order to achieve the goal for which one writes or speaks: the writer knows that intelligent and informed readers can connect the dots.

Agreed, but David and I have commented any number of times concerning the enthusiasm for Reformed courage and specificity when it comes to Federal Vision men, and complete and utter silence when it comes to missional, contextualized, nuanced feminist rebels. And no, I would not care to name names lest our good readers mistakenly assume I'm speaking of someone else, and not them. Smile.

But I like your suggested question.

Meanwhile, Roger writes: "Maybe he didn't have anyone specific in mind."

Undoubtedly. This is what it means to be Reformed. We preach and teach and write generically and let the Holy Spirit do the work of application.

(Only half joking.)

Love,

So, if Trueman had named Doug Wilson and his buddies in the Federal Vision you guys would be fine with that? I think I can hear David Gray locking and loading.

If Trueman had named Wilson, he would have been ignoring the fact that Wilson's church covenant allows what he's doing, whatever one thinks of FV and such.

That noted, I seem to remember that not only does Paul confront Peter to his face, but also John confronts Diotrophes, and Paul also confronts those who were, um, exceeding Biblical parameters in the love of one's mother (or stepmother?). (1 Cor. 6) There are places where the perpetrator is named, and places where there....are more perpetrators than can be named, I guess.

If Dr. Trueman named names, he'd have to name Dr. Peter Lilliback...which would make lunch at Westminster's dining commons awkward.

Dr. Lilliback served as senior pastor at Proclamation, PCA where it currently lists, as "Officers", 8 or 9 women (I'm not sure if "Jean" is a man or woman, hence 8 or 9). That's half (or nearly) the Diaconate being composed of women.

Scroll to the bottom to see: http://proclamation.org/about/staff/

I am curious as to why Tim doesn't name any names. Are you unwilling to do what you advocate?

Bob,

You are clearly new to the blog or only read sparsely. Click on the Two Kingdom, Feminism, or the Deacon/Deaconess category to the right to get the answer to your question.

Dear Brothers,

If Dr. Trueman's words apply to anything in the Reformed church, it's the violation of PCA polity and Christian church history and Scripture practiced by those men who have woman deacons who are not subordinate to male deacons, are called "deacons" or "officers," and serve and are named together with male deacons without sexual distinction. Never in the history of the church has this been argued or done, and any church officer who, by hard work, has learned to discern the difference between good and evil knows this is evil.

These men are destroyers, and yet almost without exception, Reformed pastors treat them preferentially, giving them the high seats in the sanctuary. They are the ones read, quoted, asked to dialogue and speak, honored in every way.

So someone reports here that Pastor Lillback has woman deacons who, at least typographically, are not distinguished from the church's male deacons. Again, this is quite transparently contrary to PCA polity, church history, and Scripture. But show me one pastor in the country who has been disciplined for it--just one.

If Peter's led his church in the direction it appears they've gone (and that's a crucial "if"), it doesn't appear to bar you from the presidency of Machen's Westminster.

As I'd said on the floor of my presbytery and, personally, to the officers following this same practice, it's so very easy to make it clear woman deaconesses––not deacons––are not Trojan horses for feminism. Simply call them "deaconesses" rather than "deeks" or "deacons," announce and print in every publication where they're mentioned that they serve in a subordinate position––not office––to the male deacons and are governed by those deacons (in other words, that they don't sit on the board of deacons, but have a separate and subordinate board of deaconesses with almost entirely different responsibilities than the church officers called "deacons"), and regularly explain in print and publicly that the deaconesses never exercise authority over men.

See? It's so very easy to separate the historic practice of deaconesses from todays' practice by feminist trimmers who destroy the church's confession of God's order of creation.

But the trimmers never, ever do it. Somehow, they never, ever, ever find themselves able to confess God's order of creation concerning their woman officers. Instead, they engage in a brinkmanship that is obvious in its purpose and thrust while making a big show of allowing only male elders to excommunicate a man or hold the position of preaching pastor. As if...

Love,

Tim said: "If Peter's led his church in the direction it appears they've gone (and that's a crucial "if"), it doesn't appear to bar you from the presidency of Machen's Westminster."

That is a crucial "if". I hope I'm wrong, that this is all new stuff from that church...but Dr. Lilliback was pastor there from 1982-2009 (as listed under Dr. Lilliback's profile at WTS: http://www.wts.edu/faculty/profiles/lillback.html)

Lilliback = Lillback

Honest error on my part.

After googling the correct spelling of "Lillback", I came across a bulletin published by Proclamation while Dr. Lillback was senior pastor. Listed as deacons:

Miles Bowman

Susan Browne

Martha Calla

Dan Correnti

George Fleet

Babs Friel

Jerry Giosa, Treasurer

Joyce Grieb

Larry Griess

Paula Hayes

Charlie Hunsaker, Chairman

Jane Hunt

Cheryl Kiesel

Dominic Mattioni

Polly McGowen

Laurie Montgomery

Raleigh Peters, Recording Secretary

Tom Sminkey

Caro Smith

Brown Vincent

John Wisnewski

Jean Yost

Found here: http://www.proclamation.org/upload/08_07_27_bulletin.pdf

>Simply call them "deaconesses" rather than "deeks" or "deacons," announce and print in every publication where they're mentioned that they serve in a subordinate position––not office––to the male deacons and are governed by those deacons …

Tim,

That still sounds too much like a concession. Regarding BCO 9-7, how do you refer to a man who “serve[s] in a subordinate position” to the deacons? What special title do they get?

>>That still sounds too much like a concession. Regarding BCO 9-7, how do you refer to a man who “serve[s] in a subordinate position” to the deacons? What special title do they get?

Maybe Assistant Deacons? It's likely too much of a concession today, but I'm trying to force the evil out into the open. These men are feminists and the fact that they won't make clear God's order of creation in the way they implement deaconesses should be all we need to discipline them; and if they still don't listen, to defrock them--not allow them to leave our fellowship. The way you deal with a man who defies God's order of creation is to discipline him, not allow him to move across the aisle.

Presbyteries across the country and their Standing Judicial Commission refuse to enforce such clarity, hence the ongoing scandal of the PCA.

Love,

A few observations on this thread:
a) Carl Trueman is ordained in the OPC, which means he really doesn't have a reason for making comments about his PCA boss, Peter Lillback, one way or the other.
b) Carl was undoubtedly thinking not just of ministers in the OPC, but of Westminster Faculty who signed to the Westminster Standards and then violated their vow. Peter Enns avoided censure by joining a church that was geographically distant (NYC) from all the presbyteries represented by the faculty.
c) Carl likes naming names, and in fact, this was one of his complaints about Enns' accusations in his book "I&I" was that he accused but wouldn't name names.
d) The problem outlined in Carl's blog, is that no one takes vows very seriously anymore. And without a vow carrying any weight, then of course, "confessional" churches are no longer "confessional". In other words, unlike Tim, I don't think that making more rules, or even enforcing the rules in the books is the answer, any more than rules helped the Pharisees maintain their orthodoxy in the face of Christ's incarnation and ministry. Rules only make sense in a wider culture of "rule-abiding", and we are now in a post-modern, anti-rule culture.
Am I claiming we are all anti-nomians? Maybe, but what I am really claiming is that something else has taken the place of rules. Call it blogs. Call it shaming. Call it public square. But whatever it is, it means a Congress need not keep its own Constitution, a President need not keep his campaign promises, and one can fall afoul of the authorities just by thinking bad thoughts.
So why is it a surprise that rules and vows and confessions have not reigned in the Church?

I've responded to Rob's points on the main page in a new post titled, "Discipline, denominations, and blogs..."

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