It has come to my attention that some within the RPCNA feel I have acted outside my membership vows by critiquing the RP Witness article by Professor Barry York, J.G. Vos’ Work of Renewal in the RPCNA. Of course, I am sorry for offending anyone. I wish there were no controversy at all over this issue of the status of women in the church. But there can only be unity within God’s truth as revealed in his Word.
I have the utmost respect for Professor York, Dr. Vos and Philip Martin, as well as the members of the 1938 synod committee who authored On the Ordination of Women Elders. I am thankful for the work they have all done in the RPCNA, both now and in the past. I believe them all to be true brother-believers, all of us seeking only to glorify our triune God in everything we do, while recognizing our fallible natures this side of Christ’s perfecting work at his second coming.
My aim has not been to accuse, but only to critique one small bit of publicly published work. Anything I have written or spoken is also open to critique by any who read. In fact, I welcome response and discussion and have often asked for it. (I have asked people to comment via Facebook or to my private email <firstname.lastname@example.org> only because I do not have the means to accept comments on this blog.)
My aim is only to comment on Scripture. Throughout my writing I have asked my readers repeatedly to “examine the scriptures to see if these things are true.” (Acts 17:11)
I do beg to differ. I ask to be allowed to speak. I request a hearing. I hope for dialogue.
I want very much to remain faithful to my Covenant of Church Membership and vow #4 specifically:
“Do you promise to submit in the Lord to the teaching and government of this church as being based upon the Scriptures and described in substance in the Constitution of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America? Do you recognize your responsibility to work with others in the church and do you promise to support and encourage them in their service to the Lord? In case you should need correction in doctrine or life, do you promise to respect the authority and discipline of the church?” I do.
At the heart of this vow is a reliance on Scripture as the primary & ultimate authority for all things we do in the church. So I have always felt that discussing Scripture is always not only OK, but invited, supported and encouraged within the RPCNA. (WCF 1.9 & 10; RPCNA Testimony 1.19) I have never set myself up as the final authority on anything. I have never claimed any special teaching prerogative. I have claimed Paul’s words as my own and try to follow his example, “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.” (1 Cor. 2:1-3)
If I am wrong in my studies of the Bible, I am eager to listen to alternate viewpoints, examine them in the same way I urge others (and in the same way the RPCNA has always urged me) to examine what I say – in the light of Scripture.
Covenant of Church Membership #1 – “Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old & New Testament to be the Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life?” I do.