It appears that the Siouxlands Presbytery (SLP) of the PCA (the home Presbytery of Greenbaggins’ Lane Keister) is in the process of re-investigating one of their own TEs (teaching elder), Greg Lawrence, who is strongly suspected of advancing the Neolegalism of the Federal Vision. I say “strongly suspected” because an investigative committee appointed by the Presbytery already found “a strong presumption of guilt” in the teachings of Lawrence as it relates to the FV. It should be noted that the original request to investigate Lawrence’s Federal Vision was denied by the Presbytery claiming “insufficient evidence.” Only after a complaint was filed and later sustained by the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) did the Siouxlands Presbytery finally appoint the investigative committee that found Lawrence’s views out of accord with the church’s confessional standards by a 4 to 2 margin. For the record, I contacted Wayne Golly, Stated Clerk of the SLP, requesting a copy of the committee’s report since I was curious to see what the findings of the committee were and what these men were voting on. He told me the committee report “is not available for distribution beyond the members of SLP.” You can bet Siouxlands church members will similarly remain in the dark concerning the committee’s findings. However, not all is darkness. According to the Aquila Report:
Advocates of the committee recommendation were concerned about TE Lawrence’s statements that we are united to Christ and get new life in the water rite of baptism. They also argued that his teaching that in baptism even the non-elect in some sense receive new life, forgiveness of sins, adoption, and union with Christ was contrary to the Standards affirmation that such benefits only accrue to the elect. They believed that he was creating “a parallel soteriological system,” citing the General Assembly’s Federal Vision Report.
OK, so what’s next? At least according to the PCA’s Book of Church Order (BCO 31-2) following this investigation and the finding of a “strong presumption of guilt” in the case of Lawrence, “the court shall institute process, and shall appoint a prosecutor to prepare the indictment and to conduct the case.” Well, not so fast. This is the PCA after all. Instead of proceeding to trial according to the established rules, the Siouxlands Presbytery completely rejected the committee’s findings and voted instead to exonerate Lawrence.
One of the two dissenting votes on the investigative committee, TE Joshua Moon, made the motion to dismiss the findings of the committee and his motion carried by a 24-13 margin. That is a significant majority. Oddly, the motion to exonerate Lawrence, also in response to another motion made by Moon, only carried by 20-17 with one abstention. So at least 4 or 5 presbyters (depending how you want to count the abstention) are opposed to exonerating Lawrence, but are also opposed to the committee’s recommendation that Lawrence’s doctrines be tried based on their findings.
It appears that the Siouxlands Presbytery is more than a little schizophrenic in dealing with the Federal Vision and those suspected of advancing this particular false gospel
Well, it looks like the Siouxlands Presbytery may get another shot at figuring out where it stands or fails to stand concerning the advancement of the Federal Vision as it appears they’ve “repented” of their earlier decision to render the findings of investigative committee null and void and have appointed a new committee to investigate Lawrence. (more…)