28 January, 2008

A Sad Withdrawl: Further Division in the Body of Christ

Yesterday Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church voted to leave the PCA and to become a mission church in the CREC. This is problematic because the congregation has been in the middle of a court case in which the session has been charged with teaching things contrary to the Word of God.

  • To begin looking into Auburn Avenue theology, start here.
  • Here are two PCA overtures concerning AA: one, two.
  • For a critique of what Auburn Avenue teaches, see Brian Schwertley's Auburn Avenue Theology.
  • Here are 6 lectures from Brian Schwertley on the same issue.
  • Here is Lane Keister's many comments on this subject. He was one of the prosecutors in the case.
  • Here are some Banner of Truth articles related to the controversy.
Sadly there may never be justice (while on earth) in this case since the congregation left in the midst of this case. We should pray that the Lord would restore His Church and help those of us in the greater Reformed community to understand error and to pray for Zion's peace. I, by no means, claim to have any expertise in this area, but trust that the Lord will raise up men, like Lane, to defend the Church in this current controversy.


Esteban Vázquez said...

Ah, Zion, City of God--"by schisms rent assunder, by heresies distress'd"! May God grant grace and healing even in this midst of this new separation.

steveandjanna said...

I think there's a CREC church near my folks beach house in Ludington. Janna and I went there once, we won't be back. Nice enough people, terrifying service. The way they did communion was totally nuts, not to mention they were stuffing bread and wine into the mouths of 2 month olds.

greenbaggins said...

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Nate. Unfortunately, there are some inaccuracies in your statement. The congregation was not in a court case. Only the Presbytery was under indictment. The session has not been charged with teaching things contrary to the Word of God. They leave as a church in good standing, and Steve Wilkins leaves as a minister in good standing.

An Eshelman said...

Is this because the case had not been tried yet?

I stand corrected- due process is a good thing! :)

greenbaggins said...

The Presbytery pled guilty to the substance charge, which is the second charge (of not finding a strong presumption of guilt in Wilkins). Therefore, they would not have been tried on that charge. It remains to be seen what will happen with the first charge. But to the first charge (of not cataloguing the differences that Wilkins had with the Standards) the presbytery had pled not guilty. That would currently be the trial scheduled in March. The Presbytery also voted to refer the whole matter of Wilkins to the SJC. So what the SJC was going to do next was draw up a new prosecution team, and charge Wilkins with teaching heterodoxy. Even then, it probably would have been just Wilkins, not the session. Hope this clears things up a bit.

Steven Carr said...


All in all I think this was a good move. Yes, it saddens me that the Church left the PCA, but at the same time there could have been greater repercussions had Wilkins been put through trial. Trials sometimes make people out to be martyrs. It seems to me, and Lane can clear this up if I'm wrong, that things have settled down a bit and many FVists in the PCA realize that the denomination is serious about the FV being heterodoxy, and thus are a little more reticent about fighting a battle they know they can't win.

Robbie said...

Could it be that he is appealing his trial to another body of saints? While I strongly disagree with the Federal Vision, and many subsequent theological trajectories, they still are brothers. This past PCA GA came down very harshly on the FV, making it quite clear that the PCA is not their place. But the OPC is struggling with it more so. (odd)

The best critique of Auburn Theology is T. David Gordon's essay in Sola Fide published by Crossway.

Daniel Ritchie said...

I am not so confident that they are brethren in Christ, as some FVers deny Justification by Faith Alone.