During the reign of the wicked King Ahab of Israel, the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad, gathered his army to attack Israel. Ben-Hadad first demanded that Ahab give him all his gold and silver, as well as the most beautiful women and children of the land. When Ahab refused to do so, Ben-Hadad threatened that hordes of the people of Israel would follow him. Ahab responded, “Let not him who girds on his armor boast like him who takes it off” (1 Kings 20:11). Even wicked Ahab knew what James would later write about the evils of the tongue, “yet it boasts of great things” (James 3:5). There is time enough to give thanks to God for His great blessings after He has provided a great victory. To boast about victory while still putting on our armor is always wrong. To boast in the arm of flesh is always wrong—always.
There is euphoria and boasting in many parts of the PCA among the conservatives who are acting like the passing of Overtures 23 and 37 has turned around the denomination. Not hardly. I wish I did not need to write this email, but I have heard from several on this email list about all the great victories for the conservatives at the last General Assembly in St. Louis. Let me say from the outset that I did not spend a single moment watching any of the proceedings of that Assembly. The only things I know are what I have heard from people who emailed or texted me or what I have read on The Aquila Report or from conversations with people who are still in the PCA.
A recent article by Larry Ball that was carried by The Aquila Report pointed out that the chairman of the Overtures Committee when he was giving their report to the Assembly stated that Overture 23 does not disqualify a person from serving in office who struggleds with same-sex attraction as long as he is faithfully fighting against it. Excuse me, but I was under the impression that defeating what is called Side-B Christianity (those who claim to be same-sex attracted, but non-practicing) was the great fight that had to be won by the conservatives. Have they now opted for trying to reform the denomination by compromising with progressives for the purpose of presenting a consensus overture rather than a clearly Biblical overture? Denominations cannot be reformed by consensus motions between progressives (liberals) and conservatives.
Various progressives have expressed their support for the overtures as they have been modified. One wrote an article carried by The Aquila Report detailing his efforts to have a consensus document come out of the Overture Committee and his success in doing so. I have been told that James Kessler, titular head of the secretive National Partnership, has stated that they were successful in getting Overtures 23 and 37 changed to the point that they are no longer obstacles to the National Partnership’s agenda. That should give every conservative an uneasy feeling if they can reflect soberly on the situation at hand. Of course, that will require them to quit being euphoric.
Overture 37 has some very good language in it concerning the things that should be aske of candidates for office in the PCA, but there is one word in that overture which should cause reflecting people to be concerned. It allows the court to examine a man concerning the matter of “racism.” Progressives in the PCA will use that word as a club to beat conservatives over the head. If you want proof of that, just look at our society where even mathematical principles are now being called racist because they allow for only one right answer. Racism is the one great charge that is being brought against conservative and Scriptural principles. It will happen in the PCA also. Watch and see.
I fear that most PCA officers do not understand what has happened to cause even conservatives to essentially raise the white flag of surrender concerning Side-B Christianity. Look no further than the Ad-Interim Study Committee Report on Human Sexuality. It is not a conservative document because it does not have “Affirmations and Denials.” Instead it has “Affirmations and Neverthelesses.” Conservatives wrongly thought that the “Affirmation” statements would rule the day. They were wrong. Instead, it is the “Nevertheless” statements that rule the day. That is why the chairman of the Overtures Committee said that a man who claimed to be same-sex attracted but fighting against it was still qualified for office and Overture 23 did not change that. Those Nevertheless statements in the Ad-Interim Committee report recommend, suggest, and state that a person who refers to himself as a gay Christian should be understood and accepted, but not criticized. And there the PCA is. Both conservatives and progressives voted overwhelmingly in favor of that report at this past General Assembly of the PCA. One group got played. Which group do you think it was? I will give you a hint. It was not the progressives. Sadly, most conservatives in the PCA have still not figured out that the Study Committee Report was to the advantage of the progressives.
Conservatives in the PCA should not be boasting. Boasting, except boasting in the Lord, is wrong. There will be time enough to celebrate God’s great victories after the hierarchy of the PCA has been dismantled; after the progressives have been removed from their positions of leadership; after the committees of the PCA are filled with Constitutional conservatives; after discipline has been exercised to remove self-professed same-sex attracted pastors from office; and. after progressive pastors and churches have been excised from the denomination. Those things have never happened in the whole history of the church. Until then, conservatives are reduced to claiming victory because compromised and consensus motions were passed. I feel for my conservative brothers in the PCA the way that Paul felt for his kinsmen, the Jews. I wonder what it will take to wake up the conservatives to the reality of the situation.
Dewey Roberts, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church and Moderator of Vanguard Presbytery
www.vanguardpresbytery.com Please send any contributions to Vanguard Presbytery to: PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540.