As the news spreads of Steve Wilkins’ departure from the PCA and her jurisdiction, along with the session and congregation of the Auburn Avenue church, Wilkins has issued a statement explaining his sudden departure as he heads for the favorable FV climes of the CREC. You can read Wilkins’ “Dear John” letter left on the PCA’s kitchen table in the dead of night here.
Wilkins explains the reason for the break up is because his session and congregation begged him not to stay and fight for the doctrines he believes in. Wilkins explains
. . .the elders unanimously recommended that I not seek to continue my involvement in this dispute. This judgment was affirmed by the congregation which stood unanimously in opposition to me continuing to seek to defend myself against what we viewed as unwarranted charges.
You see, Wilkins wanted to stay and defend his Federal Vision and demonstrate in the courts of the PCA that he is a Reformed Christian man and pastor in conformity with the standards of the church, but his church wouldn’t let him. Who is Wilkins to stand against the “unanimous” position of his own church and elders? Wilkins is really just a humble man acting in submission to the will of his session and the concern of his congregants. Wilkins reports:
Some of the members of the Presbytery informed us that they had already decided to file a complaint against the decision of the Presbytery to the SJC if a trial by the Presbytery exonerated me — regardless of what the trial evidence showed. They also acknowledged that the SJC would reverse any decision which exonerated me.
Wilkins’ argument is that he can’t get a fair trial in the PCA in any place other than his own Presbytery, the same Presbytery that twice found Wilkins’ FV doctrines to be in accord with the Westminister Confession of Faith. Of course, some 95% of the PCA disagreed and voted in favor of a Committee report that found Wilkins’ FV doctrines to be out of accord with that same WCF. Clearly someone is wrong, just not Steve Wilkins.
On a side note, one procedural mistake the anti-FV men made at the General Assembly (i.e., the Christians who actually hold to the WCF) was that nobody thought to move for a roll call vote. A roll call vote only needs a simply majority and the motion could be made come before or after the vote on the final motion (Roberts Rules, Art. 8.46). That way we could know which percentage of which Presbytery voted for the report and which did not. Perhaps Wilkins’ support in the Louisiana Presbytery was weakening even prior to the charges being leveled against the LAP by the SJC for failure to correctly deal with Wilkins when it twice exonerated him? Perhaps the writing was on the wall and that even the LAP might have finally found him guilty of deadly heresy? Either way, Wilkins had a safe little haven in the LAP for many years which may well have disappeared and most assuredly is nonexistent had Wilkins tried to defend his views beyond the enclave of his former Presbytery. Not that I think Wilkins would have won his case, but I certainly would have liked to seem him try.
Notwithstanding, notice how Wilkins again thumbs his nose at the courts of the PCA. He says that regardless of what the evidence might demonstrate his innocence should he have faced trial in his own Presbytery, “the SJC would reverse any decision” which might have exonerated him. Lot of “mights” here, but I guess we’ll never know. Of course, that didn’t stop Doug Wilson from trying to make the same argument in Wilkins’ defense over in the Greenbaggins combox where he complained that the trial he had previously called for in Wilkins’ case, which he asserts would have again exonerated him only this time as a matter of church precedent, was not supposed to be “a field trip to Australia to watch some of those bouncy animals.”
Even more self-serving and nauseating, Wilkins continues to harden his heart against the collective judgment of the church. In addition to slandering the PCA as a kangaroo court, he gives one more Bronx cheer to the men on the PCA Study Committee, who he claims
. . .had judged me to be out of accord with our confessional standards without asking for any clarification or for a response on my part (and without any constitutional authority for effectively trying me in this manner) . . . .
Again, here is a man who has spoken at length and repeatedly at his annual FV pastor’s conferences that his church hosts, he has given sermons, testified twice concerning his views to his Presbytery, and has written both articles and other published pieces expressing, as clearly as anything can be expressed, his views and beliefs, yet all he can do is complain that no one called him.