15539Re: Secret Society Paper Response
- Apr 1, 2007Dear Gus Gianello,
As I read your post a number of questions came to mind, things on
which I need further clarification before I can proceed to satisfy
the questions and objections you raise.
First, I am afraid I simply do not understand what you meant when
you said, "Cult is applied to your church because of its 'cultish'
approach to widows, and any who disagree with it. Whatever happened
to the right of private judgment?" With respect to this statement,
I desire to know these things:
First, "cult is applied to your church because of " By whom is it
applied to my church for this reason? Does everyone who calls my
church a "cult" call it so for this reason? Who are you talking
about? Are you talking about only yourself, or others as well?
Second, What exactly is our "cultish" approach to widows and those
who disagree with us?
Third, What do you mean by the term "widows"? I do not understand
if you mean actual widows, or some other sense of the term. When I
read in Scripture that we are to protect the widow and the orphan, I
understand these to be specific instances of a general rule, to
protect those who are especially vulnerable to oppression. For
instance, no one should rob the rich or the poor, but to rob from
the poor is far worse, since they are especially vulnerable to it.
What exactly do you mean by using this word, and what are you saying?
Fourth, After this you add, "And any who disagree with it." The
natural sense of this seems to me, anyone who maintains that we are
not a faithful church, as to our well-being, and, on those grounds,
anyone who will not unite with us. But I cannot be certain, so I
ask who exactly are you referring to?
Fifth, when you say, "What ever happened to the right of private
judgment?" What do you take that to be, "the right of private
judgment"? And furthermore, how does it relate to your previous
assertion concerning our "cultish" approach to widows and any who
disagree with us?
Sixth, I cannot tell in these words (taken as a whole) whether you
are referring to members of the RPNA (GM), former-members of the
RPNA (GM), people who are not members and never have been, or any
two or all three of these categories. Who exactly do you mean to
Second, in your next statement you say, "And I assert that, the
verse you quote, you only quote for your purposes and thereby mangle
the true intent of the verse. Correct me if I am wrong in any of my
assertions." Again, I must express my confusion in the following
First, you say that I only quote it for "[my] purposes," and I
desire to know what exactly my purposes are when I quote this
verse. As far as I am aware I cited it in the same way as Walt did
Romans 15:5-7, as it being a source of personal comfort and
encouragement to me.
Second, "and thereby mangle the true intent of the verse." Part of
my confusion arises in that I do not understand what goes before
it. For you say that because I use it for "[my] purposes,"
I, "thereby mangle the true intent of the verse." You say, then,
that because I used it for my own causes, I therefore mangled its
true intent. And if that is the cause of my error, then I ask not
only how I have used it for "[my] purposes," but how, by doing so, I
have mangled its true intent.
Third, but there arises another confusion in these words,
particularly in the phrase, "the true intent" (of the verse). The
word intent, I understand to mean a purpose or a goal, or the reason
by which a choice is made, but afterwards you offer a very clear
interpretation of its meaning, but not of its use or application
(which, I take it would be the reason that God has included it in
his word). So, I ask, do you mean to say, "The true meaning" of the
verse, or its "true intent"?
Fourth, after making all these assertions, you say, "Correct me if I
am wrong in any of my assertions." I am of course, most willing to
correct you in any of your wrong assertions, once I know what those
Fifth, but when you say this, I wonder why you have chosen to make
these "assertions," and then ask for my correction. Are you making
assertions, or are you asking questions? I humbly think that you
can not do both, for a question implies ignorance, and a statement
implies knowledge. And I take it that this imperative is no less a
question, as if it were in the form of a question, for it still
implies ignorance, as if you sensed that you needed or might need
correction. Unless you mean it rhetorically, as if to say, "This is
the way it is, and no other way is it, besides this. However, I am
willing to submit to your superior knowledge if it is not this way
(but it is)." In which case, I do not know if you actually expect
me to correct your assertions, or simply to consider for my own
sake, whether I can find anything wrong about them.
Sixth, do accuse me of sin in these words?
Third, I have some questions concerning the paragraph that
begins, "You seem to have mislaid any comments "
First, when you said, "You seem to have mislaid any comments " do
you mean that I have mislaid these comments in the sense that the
comments themselves are mislaid, or in other words, the statements
themselves are false, or, however true they are or may be, I have
used them in the wrong way, or applied them inaccurately, and
hence "mislaid" them.
Second, what exactly do you mean by the word "voluntary," both with
respect to my comments about the "voluntary" nature of the church,
and with respect to you calling the church a "voluntary" society?
Third, what exactly are the things in which "like-believing people"
must be "like-believing" in order to organize as a church?
Fourth, what do you mean by the word "ostensibly"? How is the
church made of those who meet together "ostensibly"? And how do you
mean this word in the other places you use it in this paragraph?
Fifth, with general regard to your statements about the nature of
the church, do you hold to and believe The Form of Presbyterial
Sixth, when you say that a "cultish" church does this or that, do
you mean that it is essential to the cultishness of a church that it
does this or that, or that it is a common characteristic of cults,
but not a necessary one, that they do this or that?
Seventh, when you say that a "cultish" church tries to compel, what
do you mean by "compel"? Is it compelling in general, or is it a
form of compelling that is unjust in itself, or is it unjust insofar
as the compelling is done in certain circumstances, or in such a
manner, or does it altogether depend on what they are being
compelled to do or believe, or how they are being compelled to do or
Eighth, for when you mention "implicit faith," I do not know if you
intend this as a general example of cults trying to "compel," or as
the specific instance where they wrongfully "compel" others.
Ninth, what do you understand, "implicit faith," to mean? I am
unable from the context in which you use it to understand how you
Tenth, does it matter at all who they try to compel, members or non-
members, or former-members?
Eleventh, what do you mean by "compelling or coercing association by
threats or ostensibly judicial actions," a sentence so vague that I
cannot understand the meaning of it.
Fourthly, with regard to all that you have said concerning
excommunication, I ask the following questions:
First, what are the conditions that must be met in order for
excommunication to be lawful and just?
Second, when you say, "I see NOTHING in the NT that
says, `Excommunicate '" why do you say that you see nothing in the
New Testament? Do you deny that both the Old and New Testaments are
the Word of God, the only rule of faith and practice?
Third, you say that my "church" has rushed to excommunication. What
do you mean when you put our church in quotation brackets? Are you
implying that we are no church at all? And how do your previous
comments, such as when you said that the term "cult" is applied to
my church at the beginning of your post, how do these comments
square with what you say about my "so-called" church?
Fourth, again, you say, "Correct me if I am wrong," and the same
question still applies as before, are you uncertain of what you
say? And having heard this same thing twice, I ask generally, how
certain are you of the facts of the case?
As you acknowledge in your final paragraph, we are not to be rash in
matters of great weight, therefore before I respond to your
questions and objections, I would like to make sure that I fully
understand them, so that I do not reply like a babbling fool, and
you say, "No, that's not what I meant." As the Scripture says, "The
heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the
wicked poureth out evil things," and, "He that answereth a matter
before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him" (Proverbs
Your servant in the Lord,
Julian R. Gress
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Gus Gianello"
>to widows, and any who disagree with it. What ever happened to the
> Mr. Gress,
> Cult is applied to your church because of its "cultish" approach
right of private judgement?
>purposes and thereby mangle the true intent of the verse. Correct
> And I assert that, the verse you quote, you only quote for your
me if I am wrong in any of my assertions.
> The word used for "consent" is
> Keil & Delitzch have this to say concerning this passage---
>since the circumstance that we have ×"×¤× × in this passage does
> Consequently ×"×¤× ×× must be explained according to 1Sa_10:9,
not make any material difference in the meaning. The construction in
both passages is a pregnant one. God turns to the nations a pure
lip, by purifying their sinful lips, i.e., He converts them, that
they may be able to call upon Him with pure lips. Lip does not stand
for language, but is mentioned as the organ of speech, by which a
man expresses the thoughts of his heart, so that purity of the lips
involves or presupposes the purification of the heart. The lips are
defiled by the names of the idols whom they have invoked (cf.
Hos_2:19; Psa_16:4). The fruit of the purification is this, that
henceforth they call upon the name of Jehovah, and serve Him. ×§×¨×
×`×©×× ××, when used of men, always signifies to call solemnly
or heartily upon the name of Jehovah. To serve shekhem 'echaÌd,
with one shoulder, is to serve together or with unanimity. The
metaphor is taken from bearers who carry a burden with even
shoulders; cf. Jer_32:39.
>Me forever, for their good and for the good of their sons after
> Jeremiah 32: 39 says
> 39 And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear
>metaphoric use of the word.
> As an associated citation so that we may better understand the
>of the Church. The church is a voluntary society of like-believing
> You seem to have mislaid any comments about the voluntary nature
people, who organize together ostensibly to present Christ to the
world. A "cultish" church tries to compel. Roman catholicism is a
cult of implicit faith in the Pope as infallible (ex cathedra),
representative of the magisterium. MANY ostensibly Protestant
churches are cults of implicit faith in either the leaders, in
science, etc. Therefore they feel justified in compelling or
coercing association by threats and ostensibly judicial actions.
>forth that I have seen nobody has asked the obvious question:
> ONLY in Scripture can we have implicit faith. In all the back-and-
>darkness and being declared an apostate is given as reason for
> What evidence of obduracy deserving being cast into the outer
excommunicating people? Were they fornicators? Were they
adulterers? It is very strange indeed that all this overblown
hyperbole and swelling words of dependence on "Presbyterian polity"
NEVER quotes the example of the apostle Paul who in letter after
letter after letter, shows that he deals with obstinancy in this
extreme manner ONLY after every other recourse has failed and only
when there is clear evidence and legitimate proceedure to compel
excommunication. Christian love DICTATES that we be compelled to
excommunicate by evidence unsullied, trial unmarred, appeals
unheeded, and when circumstance and incidentals deny the possibility
for remedy; and always for the salvation of the erring parties and
for their ultimate reconciliation. I see NOTHING in the NT that
says "excommunicate the moment somebody disagrees, refuses to take
an oath or has a problem with what you are doing." THAT is worthy
of a cult. And a cult YOU ARE, and a cultist you yourself are, if
you can justify these extremes.
>excommunication, without process? What they were doing was it equal
> Where is the proof of their heresy?
> Where is the proof of their blasphemy?
> Where is the proof of their scandalous sin, deserving of immediate
or surpassing in rebellion to God, that they need to be treated as
partners in incest? (1 Cor. 5)
>disagreed with Barnabas? Separate, go their separate ways, without
> Why did not your elders do what the wise apostle did when he
recrimination or censure? Are you now telling me that "Covenanter"
Reformed Presbyterian principles mean that if I become convinced the
pastor/elder/session is wrong then I must repent or be
excommunicated? Is that my ONLY choice. Can we not go our separate
ways? THAT is a cult.
>thought it a bad idea. Because he was not convinced of infant
> When an acquaintance of mine became a member of an OPC church I
baptism. (And it also indicated how orthodox the OPC church was that
they would allow such a person to become a member) When after
struggling with it over a year he decided that he COULD NOT be
convinced and wanted to leave the church, the pastor told him he
would be excommunicated. See, we dont succor wounded sheep---we
slaughter them. When an elder friend contacted me asking my opinion
of this course of action, I told him it was outrageous and worthy of
a cult. That ONLY cults excommunicate people who sincerely cannot
agree with them. Thank God that the elder listened, and allowed him
to leave in peace. I know ALL about cultic excommunication. When I
was a Charismatic and a member of a Faith Movement church, I WAS
>and any time a "church(?)" rushes to it, as it seems there is
> Excommunication as Jay E. Adams warns should be used reluctantly,
evidence that your "church" has done---correct me if I am wrong,
that church, those members and those elders are to be viewed with
suspicion. Any one who says "you fool" (Mat 5) quickly and not
reluctantly, being not dragged to the situation, and having not
constantly and repeatedly appealed, exhorted, admonished, cried over
the impenitent, deserves to be called a cultist. And that church
deserves to be called a CULT.
>[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of
> Gus Gianello
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 2:43 PMa
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Secret Society Paper
> Well said, brother.
> I have been finishing up the Old Testament recently, and found a
> great verse, Zephaniah 3:9, "For then will I turn to the people
> pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord,to
> serve him with one consent." This verse encourages me because init
> the Lord promises to make his church united in doctrine,worship,
> government, and discipline, such that we may all serve the oneLord
> as one body through one spirit.the
> I for one do not understand what some brethren mean they call
> RPNA (GM) a "cult." I once heard with reference to the "one truewith
> church syndrome," but this objection has been thoroughly dealt
> First, "true" as to the essence of the church, or as to the
> or structure of the church, true as being or as to well-being?The
> accusation is entirely out of order unless this detail isincluded.
> Second, every church under heaven proclaims that it is the one
> church, by maintaining separation from other churches.being, so
> Third, there is and can only be one true church as to well-
> that there is no absurdity in professing one's own church to bethat
> church (for imagine one professing his church not to be the onetrue
> church, faithful and well-established). Either a church isfaithful
> in doctrine, worship, government, discipline, or it is not. Ifthe
> first, then it is obliged to unite with other churches of thesame,
> and if it does not do this, it is no longer a faithful church.And
> if the second is true, then it is no true church as to well-being.
> So if there are a number of true churches as to well-being, thenmaintain
> they will faithfully into one true church. And they will
> separation from ill or diseased churches (I mean unfaithfulones),
> which do not add to the number of healthy churches. Hence thereis
> and can be only one true church.profess
> So if the word "cult," is applied to us as meaning that we
> to be the only true church, then the objection has lost itsentire
> savor, and is no objection at all, for it points toward no sinin or
> among us.against us
> Perhaps someone on this forum means something different by it? I
> will gladly hear whatever arguments you have to put forth
> being a "cult" and sincerely endeavor to satisfy your questionsand
> objections, as I am able.the
> On a separate note, I am aware that several faithful members of
> RPNA (GM) have left this forum because of the condemnation ourpoint
> church has received. To avoid all confusion, I merely want to
> out that I do not see any obligation to leave this forum inorder to
> be faithful to the covenanted testimony we as a church hold, andobligation
> this is my reason: in this forum, there is no necessary
> to recognize one opinion or another, because it is granted bythe
> nature of this forum that there may be disagreements. Of course,I
> do not intend to have familiar fellowship with any who have beenGod-
> excommunicated from the RPNA (GM), or to violate any of my other
> given duties. But unless someone points out a reason otherwise,oath
> something that I have missed, or unless there is a change in
> constitution of this forum that necessitates me to violate my
> of membership in the RPNA (GM), I do not see any necessaryreason to
> Your brother and servant in the Lord,
> Julian R. Gress (RPNA-GM)
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Walt Bre
> <humbled.learner@> wrote:
> > Dear brethren,
> > I know that I promised not to post again on here, and
> > for going back on my promise I'm sorry. If you would
> > grant me liberty to post only one document, I wanted
> > to attach only part of the "Sins Committed By "The
> > Effort" and Steps to Repentance" Issued by the Session
> > of the RPNA (GM), March 22, 2007.
> > There is also a supporting document called "Effort
> > Emails (RPNA--GM)" that I am not including in this
> > message to protect the names of those involved. I'm
> > sure that people would like to read those supporting
> > emails that are the primary reason for the Session
> > Paper above, but I would ask you to contact Pastor
> > Greg Price at (covpastor@) if interested in
> > the document.
> > I saw Whit's comment this morning supporting the ideas
> > promoted by Chris and others in the Presbyterian
> > movement that not only are we an unfaithful church,
> > but that we would border on the edge of the Morman
> > Church, the Roman Catholic Ave Maria Worshippers,
> > In interesting definition I found will most definitely
> > scare away many people from EVER and NEVER consider
> > even reading our Terms of Communion, and subsequent
> > Session and Presbytery Decisions that our Church has
> > issued since around 1996. The definition says:
> > "Cults are groups that often exploit members
> > psychologically and/or financially, typically by
> > making members comply with leadership's demands
> > through certain types of psychological manipulation,
> > popularly called mind control, and through the
> > inculcation of deep-seated anxious dependency on the
> > group and its leaders.
> > "A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or
> > excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea
> > or thing and employing unethically manipulative
> > techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation
> > from former friends and family, debilitation, use of
> > special methods to heighten suggestibility and
> > subservience, powerful group pressures, information
> > management, suspension of individuality or critical
> > judgement, promotion of total dependency on the group
> > and fear of [consequences of] leaving it, etc)
> > designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders
> > to the actual or possible detriment of members, their
> > families, or the community."
> > Based upon the above definition, after our Elders have
> > learned about the Secret Society within our own
> > Church, I can see how not only those of us who are
> > left inside the RPNA (GM), but those especially who
> > were members inside the RPNA (GM) as part of this
> > Secret Society, will be viewed likewise.
> > After I read the documents of this Secret Society, I
> > can understand what these guys were trying to do and I
> > do not believe they intended to create the problems
> > that ultimately led many away from our church (this is
> > my own opinion). Surely, some have already admitted
> > that they have never felt better since leaving our
> > church, but others I'm sure may look back on The
> > Effort and the means they used with sorrow.
> > As I study these documents, and all the documents that
> > make up the basis for nearly 30 excommunications, I am
> > firmly convinced now that my brothers and sisters have
> > misunderstood the doctrine of true Presbyterian
> > jurisdiction and the duties of membership by oath.
> > These two primary fundamental roots of the problem
> > grew into a massive protest. The protest was:
> > 1) In the form of a Secret Society led by a few within
> > our church who wanted to make a positive impact.
> > 2) In the form of a Public positive attack (admitted
> > by some that a good offence is always better than a
> > good defense) against the Elders to damage their
> > reputations and destroy all their credibility.
> > As I read the comments made by Whit and Chris, and
> > others will most likely follow, I can see that as more
> > and more people protest against us, for being strict
> > Covenanters, the hammer is going to fall on our heads
> > in the future. There is no doubt that as more and
> > more people see us as a threat to their own
> > backslidden Presbyterian churches, and their own
> > unfaithful testimony as faithful Covenanters, the
> > flame throwers will be forthcoming and likely with a
> > vengeance.
> > For those who would like to pray for us, please join
> > me in the following prayers before the feet of Christ:
> > 1) That the Lord will enlighten the hearts of those
> > who participated in The Effort and reveal to them the
> > sin of schism it caused within the RPNA (GM). For
> > those who the Session Paper only hardens and causes
> > more forthcoming words of vengeance against us and the
> > Elders, that the Lord would use those words to be the
> > seeds of another Reformation within His Church.
> > 2) That the Lord would raise up Ministers and Elders
> > to study intensely the testimony of the Scottish
> > Covenanters and especially the fundamentals of how
> > they preached biblical doctrine, discipline, form of
> > government and form of worship. That this research
> > and study will lead them to compare the Terms of
> > Communion preached and practiced by the RPCNA, CLC,
> > CRCNA, PCA and all the other Presbyterian
> > denominations.
> > 3) That the Lord will allow the RPNA (GM) to at the
> > very least find one more Pastor for Edmonton and one
> > more Ruling Elder for Albany so that we may have two
> > ordinary locally defined Session courts, and move us
> > away from being defined as a cult that has only an
> > extraordinary Session court with two Ruling Elders in
> > Edmonton and one Pastor in Albany.
> > 4) That the Lord would reveal to other Ministers and
> > Elders the lawfulness and faithfulness, in
> > extraordinary and unsettled times, of a phone
> > conference to discuss matters of church doctrine,
> > discipline, form of worship and form of government.
> > That the international phone conference, where two or
> > three ordained ministers are gathered, is indeed
> > lawful and faithful, and thereby does bring Christ
> > into their midst to rule, bind and loose as He has
> > promised in His word.
> > 4) Finally, that the Lord would soon return with His
> > vial judgments upon the earth, and that historical
> > post millennialism will be taught from the pulpits
> > again sending fear of the Lord into each of us
> > Covenanters and Presbyterians. The return of his vial
> > judgments will indeed bring whole nations to covenant
> > together, and cause a major change where those who
> > desire to be faithful to His Majesty and Power will be
> > loved, rather than labeled cults and openly despised.
> > Please forgive my spelling errors and mistakes above,
> > but I wanted to close out with my pleas as like anyone
> > the more I see the labels coming against those in our
> > church I admit it does give me fear. Not so much the
> > fear of man, as I know man cannot touch me without the
> > approval of God, but more that I will continue to
> > stand in the face of fear, and not let my Lord down
> > when the whole world begins to follow suit based upon
> > the "cult" seeds planted by Rev. C. Matthew McMahon,
> > Chris Coldwell and Whit Roberts (he did not say it,
> > but implied it). Indeed, these seeds are now firmly
> > planted in the minds of many, and likely in the future
> > the reporters and media, I suspect it will challenge
> > all our members to stay the course.
> > As I am now finishing my 36 time reading the bible
> > cover-to-cover, I was in the plane flying back from
> > Africa and something jumped out at me I've read many
> > times before. Nevertheless, it gave me a new meaning.
> > "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to
> > be likeminded one toward another according to Christ
> > Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify
> > God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
> > Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also
> > received us to the glory of God." (Rom.15:5-7)
> > "For as we have many members in one body, and all
> > members have not the same office: So we, being many,
> > are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of
> > another. Having then gifts differing according to the
> > grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us
> > prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or
> > ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that
> > teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on
> > exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with
> > simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that
> > showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without
> > dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to
> > that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to
> > another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one
> > another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit,
> > serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in
> > tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
> > Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to
> > hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless,
> > and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and
> > weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one
> > toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend
> > to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own
> > conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil.
> > Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it
> > be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably
> > with all men." (Rom.12:5-18).
> > These are some words, as revealed by our Lord to Paul,
> > and have given me a special blessing as I prepare for
> > the power of words, and the seeds planted in the
> > hearts and minds of those who want neither
> > reformation, nor want anything to do with God's
> > appointed Ministers and Elders in this life.
> > May the Lord be with you all,
> > Walt.
> > Need Mail bonding?
> > Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers
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