RE: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: "the rpna(gm)" Scandal
MessageDear Sir,Are you a charismatic? Does God appear to you in visions. You dont think that what you assert is blasphemy? Really, do you know ANYTHING about the principles of Presbyterianism? I know this is rather strong medicine, but give me a moment of your mind. "Come let us reason together, saith the Lord"
(Mat 26:14)Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests.
(Mat 26:15)And he said to them, What will you give me, and I will betray Him to you? And they appointed to him thirty pieces of silver.
(Mat 26:16)And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.
Mat 26:22And grieving sorrowfully, they began to say, each one of them, Lord, not I am the one
Mat 26:23And He answered and said, He who dips his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.
Mat 26:24The Son of Man goes, as it has been written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.
Mat 26:25And answering, the one betraying Him, Judas, said, Master, Not am I the one? He said to him, You said it.
Luk 22:3And Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the Twelve.
Luk 22:4And going, he talked with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.
Luk 22:21 But, behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.
Luk 22:22 And truly the Son of Man goes, as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!
Luk 22:23 And they began to inquire among themselves which of them it was that should do this thing.
Joh 13:18-28I do not speak of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me." (19) From now I tell you before it comes, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. (20) Truly, truly, I say to you, He who receives whomever I send receives Me. And he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (21) When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Truly, truly, I say to you that one of you shall betray Me. (22) Then the disciples looked upon one another, wondering of whom He spoke. (23) But there was one of His disciples leaning upon Jesus' bosom, the one whom Jesus loved. (24) Simon Peter therefore signaled to him to ask whom it might be of whom He spoke. (25) And lying on Jesus' breast, he said to him, Lord, who is it? (26) Jesus answered, It is he to whom I shall give the morsel when I have dipped it. And dipping the morsel, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. (27) And after the morsel, then Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly. (28) But no one reclining knew for what reason He spoke this to him.
Joh 17:12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those that You have given Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Christ knew who his betrayer was. This He knew by virtue of his deity and/or limitless infilling of the Holy Spirit---ie. by virtue of his messianic office. Either way it was by divine revelation.
John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all (25) and did not need that anyone should testify of man. For He knew what was in man.
- When he knew is uncertain but THAT he knew, before his betrayal, IS certain.
- That HE did not act upon it, is also certain.
reason He did not act upon Judas' intention is also known.
Gal 4:4-5But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, coming into being out of a woman, having come under Law, (5) that He might redeem those under Law, so that we might receive the adoption of sons.
- He did not act because in His perfect passive obedience to the Law of God, IF he would have acted, he would have broken God's Law. It is useless to contend that He did not act to expose Judas and safeguard himself, because Judas was predestinated, or because prophecy must needs be fulfilled. Both of those objections have to do with the decretive will of God, not the prescriptive will. Because of the divine prescriptive will Christ would have been required to act if by so doing the law of God, would have been maintained. Does not the Law require us to defend ourselves?
Question99: What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?
: For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed: That the law is perfect, and binds everyone to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience forever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin. That it is spiritual, and so reaches the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures. That one and the same thing, in divers respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included. That: What God forbids, is at no time to be done;: What he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times. That under one sin or duty, all of the same kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto. That: What is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places. That in: What is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in: What is forbidden them.
Question134: Which is the sixth commandment?
: The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.
Question135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.
Question136: What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
: The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.
- The reason that His acting to defend himself would have been a violation of the law, is because the Law forbids action on the basis of sincerity or lack of it. Only God can see the heart, and we must never judge a man by that which is ONLY inward, but we must judge by the outward ONLY. Proof of this is as follows:
Php 1:15-18 Some indeed even preach Christ because of envy and strife, and some also of good will. (16) Those, indeed, preach Christ out of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds. (17) But these others preach in love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. (18) What then? Nevertheless, in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached. And I rejoice in this. Yet, also I will rejoice.Notice Paul's attitude concerning those who preach out of envy or jealousy. The INWARD attitude is indifferent to Paul, as long as Christ is preached. Their INTENTION does not matter to him, all that matters is that the truth be preached. Their sincerity is completely ignored, it is the accuracy of their preaching that matters to Paul. In verse 18, the "what then?" is rhetorical, and implies that Paul does not care as long as Christ is preached whether in pretense (hypocritally) or inb truth (sincerity).Because the law forbids taking motive into account, when acting for or against an individual whether privately or publically, notice the following Scriptures:
1Co 13:5does not behave indecently, does not seek her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil.
1Th 5:22Abstain from every appearance of evil.
1Ti 6:4he is proud, knowing nothing. He is sick concerning doubts and arguments, from which comes envy, strife, evil speakings, evil suspicions,Therefore to claim that insincerity has anything to do with official judicial action is characteristic of mystics, charismatics and Roman Catholics. All three claim a type of magisterial power, rather than ministerial power. Christ provided us an example, of what it means to walk according to the Law of God, so if our master would not have Judas excommunicated, by informing the other apostles of his disloyalty, but rather tolerated his hypocrisy, until it was confirmed by his actions, how can we act any different.Whether the excommunicated folks acts sincerely, or insincerely, they were excommunicated for WHAT they did. What did they do? They REFUSED to sign an oath. Therefore they were excommunicated for OBEYING THE LAW of GOD.
; Jer_4:2). Neither may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform (Gen_24:2, Gen_24:3, Gen_24:5, Gen_24:6, Gen_24:8, Gen_24:9). Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching anything that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority (Exo_22:7-11; Num_5:19, Num_5:21; Neh_5:12).
22:3Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth (Exo_20:7
22:4An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reservation (Psa_24:4; Jer_4:2). It cannot oblige to sin: but in anything not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man’s own hurt (1Sa_25:22, 1Sa_25:32-34; Psa_15:4). Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics, or infidels (Jos_9:18, Jos_9:19, with 2Sa_21:1; Eze_17:16, Eze_17:18, Eze_17:19).
Your American presbyterian ancestors understood all of this, though you sir, do not---acting more like a Romanist. That is why in a court of law, a man may refuse to swear an oath, or swear the oath, "..so help me God", and yet not incriminate himself. Besides all this, consider the following:1. Can you prove that church courts which MUST not deal with crimes, may impose oaths? I am not convinced they can. Vows yes, for we take vows when we marry, but an oath?! The context of this passage is historically that Anabaptists did not admit the right of civil/criminal courts to impose oaths in order to guarantee truthfulness in trials. Section 22:4 attacks the Romanist evasion of oaths, whereby they were taught by the Jesuits to lie in court, because by mental reservation and evasion, they had an ultimate loyalty to the Papacy.IF as I suspect Chapter 22 is in reference ONLY to secular/civil/criminal courts (Rom. 13:1) then your elders first sinned, in acting on suspicious of sincerity, and then compounded that sin by taking upon themselves the right to adminster oaths they could not lawfully proceed to do.Gus Gianello-----Original Message-----
- It is a SIN to avouch an oath where the recipient is not fully persuaded that what he avouches is the truth. Therefore to bind people to an oath, of which they are not fully persuaded that it is scriptural, needful, and given by lawful authority, is serious blasphemy, because it is using the name of God in vain. Is is sinful to act where there is no faith.
- It is a sin to refuse an oath concerning anything good and just, being imposed by lawful authority. But one DOES NOT sin, if he is NOT convinced that it is good, just, and given by lawful authority. Would you swear an oath in an Iranian court by Allah and the Koran? IF you do, you utter the highest blasphemy.
- No oath may be taken with mental reservation, or with intentional evasion. In other words it MUST be taken in sincerity. How can someone take an oath to do something, that he is not convinced in his conscience is sincere?
- Though a legitimate oath binds to performance even to a man's own hurt, it is for this very reason that ALL oaths are to be challenged and only taken when there is firm persuasion thereof.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Ben Hart
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: "the rpna(gm)" Scandal
Right, that's a fair and fairly obvious question. After all,
everyone was excommunicated for not taking an oath imposed on them by
the Session for charges the accused had yet to hear. In that sense,
your suspicions are confirmed - my expose was irrelevant to the
excommunications. It seems that the only thing relevant in a strict
sense is that they refused to take an oath that was imposed on them.
However, there is an important sense in which it is related, since it
helps to make better sense of what happened prior and subsequent to
their excommunications. But this looser sense of being relevant is
quite important still.
Where I see the Effort's involvement relevant (in the broader sense)
to the excommunications is that the Charitible Inquiry--the document
they drafted as a group--was submitted as a sincere bunch of
questions from people sincerely seeking answers. My purpose (or
perhaps one of them) in exposing the Effort was to show the claim
of "We're just asking sincere questions" to be false. They were not
sincere questions - they were leading questions. They were not
sincere people - they had their minds made up that unless the RPNA
(GM) change its ways, the Session was in obstinant sin. The reason
they could not take the oath of membership (i.e. that for which
they'd been excommunicated) is because they'd come to the decision
that the Session was unlawful. So much for 'sincere questions.'
Thus, my expose served a dual purpose - first, it gave everyone
involved information that I thought was helpful for them to better
inform their consciences (see my previous email and the expose
itself). Second, it showed the duplicity of the claim that the CI
was an inquiry. It was not - it was an assertion in the form of an
inquiry, and this kind of behavior is what we all swore that we'd
refrain from doing when we joined the church. In fact, before every
Lord's Supper, as part of our examination, we are asked 'Have you
knowingly published anything contrary to the teachings of this
church?' Understanding the history of the Effort as it led up to the
drafting of the CI gives a context necessary to assess the sincerity
of the CI and the people who wrote it. It shows an explicit breach
of one of the terms of communion (term of communion in the sense of
what we agree to right before coming to the Lord's Table.)
Something else that bears emphasis is that members of the Effort were
publically making claims that I was once part of their group, and I
was uncomfortable with that association, especially as it came with
no elaboration or qualification. Therefore, making the nature of my
involvement public, along with my disagreement with their subversive
M.O. was what I felt was necessary to clear my name. I wanted to
distance myself from the claims that they made, and in so doing,
their sins became public.
Notwithstanding my position on the Effort's existence and their
excommunication, I do appreciate some of the questions they raise in
their paper (along with what Stan B. has written.) However, in
short, they infer way too much from the evidence. Much of the most
plausible things they say are of the general form:
Session is guilty of being inexpedient/ imperfect/ lacking judgment,
etc. Therefore they're either in sin, or are unlawful.
One could agree with the premise and still deny the conclusion. My
point in bringing this up is simply this: the fact that I disagree
with certain things the Effort has said/done doesn't entail that I've
found their entire project (i.e. line of inquiry) worthless and
without merit. I do hope to see administrative changes in the RPNA
(GM). But the irony of the situation is this: I'm not alone in
that. The elders want to see things normalized as soon as is humanly
possible, and as far as I can tell, they're doing what they can to
realize that goal. My hope is that the Effort people will moderate
their claims, reassess just how much can be drawn from their
evidence, and see that things aren't really as bad as they say they
I hope that helps to clarify what I did even if it does not satisfy
you as being reasonable.
Thanks for your question.
- Thank you Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Gianello.
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