Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. (Galatians 6:12, 13)
Sin is not what Reformed men do. Everyone knows that. It seems stupid to say it. Reformed men have enough money and class to keep their hands clean. We're scrupulous and the worst we can be accused of is not yet having attained the vocabluary necessary to be proficient at teaching doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, professors, architects and their husbands in our churches' adult discipleship programs. Maybe occasionally bad doctrine seeps in, but never bad practice and never ever bad motives which led to that bad practice. And don't you ever forget it!
It's not simply David-and-Bathsheba-pregnancy-and-murder public sins which have left the earth on UFOs. We don't even sin privately and we can't remember the last time we had to examine our hearts. All our motives are pure--that one you had better get. Don't ever make the mistake of questioning a Reformed man's motives or you'll pay for it; especially if he's an elder or pastor. "How dare you question my motives! What gives you the right? Who are you to talk? Judge not lest you be judged!"
Then his fellow presbyters chime in..."Do you know his heart? Did you talk to him personally, first? Huh? Did you? Did you? What gives you the right to call this man's public-before-the-whole-watching-world-sin "sin?" He doesn't sin. He's our hero! He's our trademark! His ministry is unspotted across seventy-five years of stellar godliness unequalled in the history of the world! You come along and say he has sin in his life? That he's building his kingdom?That he's a feminist? That he's rich off royalties and flies first class? How dare you. How DARE you! You--YOU--are the sinner!"
Across the years here on Baylyblog when we have called attention to pastors' refusal to name or discipline public sins, Reformed church officers have paraded the evidence of their own unfaithfulness in pastoral ministry across these pages and into our e-mail queues. Their comments indicate that being deaf, dumb, and blind may well be their most closely-held principle. And they always call it "grace."
This has left us very sobered about the state of Reformed preaching and pastoral care.
Let us remember that the Church of the Living God, the Household of Faith, is the pillar and foundation of the truth. God's truth is lost when pastors are principially opposed to preaching, teaching, and writing to man's conscience.
In other words, when Reformed pastors believe it's sin to call particular men to account for the whole-world-public and particular sins they've become caught in visible in what they have written and publicized across the world, imagine how opposed those same pastors are to any call to self-examination and repentance in their session meetings! Imagine how splendidly opaque they are to their elders' betrayals of holiness in their marriages and families, and in their care for their flock. If public sins of public leaders are to be left alone, how much more the relatively private sins of particular presbyters and pastors and elders and deacons and WIC leaders? If we are attack dogs against those faithful shepherds who call for the rebuke of the sins of eminent Reformed leaders spread across the minutes of presbytery and announced on blogs and reviewed on Amazon, we are useless in our own pulpits and pastoral counselling and session meetings.
When a pastor has things so very wrong in his understanding of how presbyteries, church councils, and public leadership among church officers who are famous should occur, it's terrible to think of how he leads in private with his own family and the congregation he serves. There are no lost sheep or straying lambs; no wolves to kill or alarms to blow; no nursing ewes to lead gently or bullying rams to cuff with the shepherd's rod.
This is the truth revealed by several discussions recently. If church officers are opposed to having their peers called out publicly for their public sins obvious and read by the whole world, these same officers are hirelings in their pastoral responsibilities at home and anything but helpful to their sheep.
Men are principially opposed to preaching or writing to the conscience--so opposed that they have the audacity to attack other men striving to be faithful with inanities like, "You don't know his heart! How can you say that? You're violating the Ninth Commandment! You slanderer! Temple of the Lord! Temple of the Lord! Troubler of Israel! Troubler of Israel!"
"Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!"
We've had too many responses like this to Rev. David Wegener's recent post pointing out the feminist rebellion of pastors, churches, and presbyteries across the church organization, Presbyterian Church in America, and the unfaithfulness of those pastors and elders who want to discuss the rebellion and refuse to discipline it.
The rebellion has been documented again and again. Formal disciplinary documents have been filed in the courts of the church. Session record review committees have publicized the rebellion year after year. The rebellion is by church officers and their churches and presbyteries against both Scripture and their church organization's constitution (the PCA's Book of Church Order); the whole world knows it; and when David Wegener points it out and calls men on the carpet for conniving at this rebellion, church officers have hissy-fits saying David is bearing false witness against his fellow church officers.
As I said, such men give proof that they don't know how to examine their own or others' hearts; that the only sin they're willing to oppose is the sin of the elder brother's self-righteousness; that they know nothing of grace because they know nothing of repentance; and that those sounding a clearnote against the Enemy's attack are the men they hate.
Years ago it came to me that discernment is the spiritual gift that is hated and condemned by the Evangelical church. It's spread to the Reformed church, now, and the hatred and condemnation appear to be growing.
May God reform his Reformed church.