Secrecy in the Siouxlands

I have reported quite a bit on the strange behavior of the Siouxlands Presbytery (SP) in recent months.  One of the more disturbing bits of strange behavior is their attempt to bind bloggers and keep them from reporting on Presbytery’s actions.  Recently Wes White removed a number of documents from his blog after a member of the SP claimed that White was in violation of the following injunction: “[I]n response to the protest [of Good Shepherd PCA], Presbytery requires bloggers, who post the minutes, attachments, and appendices of a Presbytery meeting on the internet, to cease this activity and to remove their postings.”

White’s imagined “sin” is that he posted relevant documents pertaining to presbytery’s investigations of himself and Brian Carpenter (you can find a few of those banned documents here, here and here).  Maybe I’m missing something, but I fail to see how a person can be publicly investigated by a presbytery and not to be able to publicly discuss or display the relevant documents in public – even when they’re the one being investigated.  Also, by what right can a Presbytery gag bloggers?  Could White have posted those “offending” documents on a list serve or discussion group like Yahoo Groups or the Puritan Boards? If not, why not?  How about email?  Can a Presbytery bind a man’s conscious and forbid him from using that too?  I suppose next the SP will ban the use of the United States Postal Service and restrict its use to just Presbytery approved mailings.

What if the SP’s injunction was instead: “Presbytery requires pork eaters to cease this activity and remove all pork products from their home.”   Would anyone in their right mind be required to submit to such an injunction?  Of course not.  Consequently, I fail to see what biblical imperative is violated by posting public documents on a public forum like a blog?

Interesting, White says he doesn’t believe his posting of these various documents violates Presbytery’s injunction.  But, even if it did, he writes:

I do not believe that the Presbytery has the right to say that I cannot publish these items. I do not think that they have the right to say so even if they are part of the minutes, but, again, I do not want to make this a bigger issue than it needs to be.

White concludes his remarks by stressing; “we must be careful not to bind the conscience contrary to the Word of God.”  Yet, if White believes it’s within his rights to posts documents his Presbytery, for some odd reason, would rather not have posted, isn’t he permitting his conscience to be bound in a manner contrary to the Word of God?

Scott Clark has also chimed in on recent attempts to silence evil bloggers with some excellent practical advice including “develop a thicker skin.”  Admittedly, and somewhat hypocritically, Clark doesn’t exactly exemplify someone with a think skin as he has systematically banned Scripturalists from commenting on his blog, including yours truly, claiming followers of Gordon Clark are irritating and  “unreasonable.”   However, the big difference in all this is that Scott’s blog is his own and he’s free to ban anyone he wants.  So while I would drawn the line somewhat differently than Scott does, as irritating Vantilian irrationalists and assorted paradox mongers are always welcome to post their remarks and objections on my blog, I have banned Marc Carpenter and the one follower of his “Outside the Camp” along with one other person who just proved himself to be an incorrigible bore.  However, presbyteries and church officers acting in their official capacity as members of an ecclesiastic court have no such luxury.

James Thornwell wrote:

The scriptural view of the Church, as a visible institution, is that she is a mere instrumentality employed by Christ for the purpose of accomplishing His own ends. She has no will, wisdom nor power of herself. She is the instrument, and He the agent. She is not His confidential agent, to whom He communicates His will, and leaves it to be executed as she may see best. She is a positive institution, and therefore must show a definite warrant for everything that she does. It is not enough that her measures are not condemned. They must be sanctioned, positively sanctioned, by the power which ordains her, or they are null and void.

I see nothing in Scripture that could possibly warrant any Presbytery from restricting the discussion and dissemination of official church documents.  Is the PCA now a secret society like the Masons?  Evidently those in the Siouxlands Presbytery think they are.

However, in politics there is a saying that you can’t kick every barking dog, which simply means you need to pick your battles.  White was probably correct in pulling down the offending documents so that, in his words, “this does not become a distraction from the central issue, which is the teaching of Federal Vision theology.”  I think we can all agree to that.

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5 Comments on “Secrecy in the Siouxlands”

  1. Lauren Kuo Says:

    False teachers always live in fear of being exposed. Like the Pharisees, they desperately fight for their reputations and offices because if they lose those, they would lose their power and authority to spread their lies. The Federal Vision cannot survive on its own merit. It depends on a mainline denomination and its offices to keep it alive. Doug Wilson and the CREC would be a fringe kook cult if he didn’t have the classical school movement feeding into PCA churches. But now that their lies are being exposed on blogs and social media, their only recourse is to act out of fear and silence those who oppose them.

  2. Matthew Says:

    “Is the PCA now a secret society like the Masons?”

    http://bit.ly/9kU1IJ


  3. Sean,

    You should know that the Presbytery of the Siouxlands rescinded its prohibition at its last stated meeting.

    Wes

  4. Sean Gerety Says:

    That’s good to hear. Though my guess is that they might still prefer this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/28/AR2010092801521_pf.html


  5. […] Secrecy in the Siouxlands « God’s HammerAug 26, 2010 … Lauren Kuo Says: August 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm. False teachers always live in fear of being exposed. Like the Pharisees, they desperately fight … […]


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