Archive for April 2nd, 2007

Beware of Micro-Denominations

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Just one more helpful quote from Gus Gianello:

1. Be suspicious of ANYONE who claims to have all the answers and can’t work with ANYONE who doesn’t agree with everything.
2. Be suspicious of ANY church/session/presbytery/synod/general assembly that is dominated by one or two men. No matter how competent or how strong our personalities the temptation is very great to just take over.
3. Be suspicious of ANY micro-denomination that can not practice even loosest form of Reformed ecumenism.
4. Be suspicious of ANY micro-denomination built around a unique “insight” on the Westminster Standards. Whether its “all presbyterian churches are unconstitutional but ours—so leave them”, or whether its “refusal to incorporate is the 4th mark of the church” avoid them like the plague.
5. Have NOTHING to do with a denomination that mouths the Standards but whose leaderships’ behaviour is BLATANTLY contrary to it. For instance: minister watching pornography during a GA; ministers standing up in the middle of an official meeting and rebuking everyone for some insignificant slight committed by a few; ministers who can not conduct GAs or Presbyteries with any semblance of decency or order, Sessions that are willing to conduct potentially embarrassing meetings while not in direct session, or secret session/presbytery meetings.

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This image is from The Spirit Watch: Myths About Cults, and seems applicable to the subject at hand.

Another Gem From Gus Gianello

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Gus posted the following on the Covenanted Reformation Club discussion group:

Dear Brother,
Of that I am certain—that is, that the structure of your sentence is unacceptable, and that it is an insult to other Covenanters to call the RPNA (GM) Covenanters. I therefore suggest a modification, that we call the RPNA (GM) the

Reformed Presbyterian North America We Are the Only Ones Right and Can Excommunicate Any One We Prefer to (General Assembly of a Few)

or the RPNAWAOORCEAOWP (GAF). This is how ridiculous it gets.

Gus Gianello

Concerning the Ongoing Excommunication Purges in the RPNA(GM)

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

In a bit I will quote what I consider to be amazingly astute and observant comments by Gus Gianello on the Covenanted Reformation Club discussion board. His comments are in response to a member-in-good-standing of the RPNA(GM) – Reformed Presbytery of North America (General Meeting) – who has no problem whatsoever with the on-going excommunication purges being conducted by three men who style themselves the only faithful elders in North America: Teaching Elder Greg Price, Ruling Elder Greg Barrow and Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms.

My husband and I were “excommunicated from the Visible Church” and “delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh” on May 21, 2006, for disagreeing with their doctrine of “No Occasional Hearing” and for maintaining that the Solemn League and Covenant could only be binding on those to whom it can apply in the plain and common sense of the words. This is what we think we were excommunicated for, since the elders would never tell us specifically what our heinous sin was. Also, we have heard nothing at all from these men since they “excommunicated” us, though we communicated to them our willingness to continue dialogging with them. So much for reclaiming the erring brother. Perhaps, though, their excommunication is so effectual that it will work in our lives without any further effort on their parts.

Since the time that we were “excommunicated” over 30 more communicant members were also “excommunicated” by these men, who claim to be a Greater Presbytery, with the same authority as a national General Assembly. Since these are extraordinary times, extraordinary things can be done, don’t you know.

Here, finally, is a portion of Gus Gianello’s post:

You seem to have mislaid any comments about the voluntary nature of the Church. The church is a voluntary society of like-believing people, who organize together ostensibly to present Christ to the world. A “cultish” church tries to compel. Roman catholicism is a cult of implicit faith in the Pope as infallible (ex cathedra), representative of the magisterium. MANY ostensibly Protestant churches are cults of implicit faith in either the leaders, in science, etc. Therefore they feel justified in compelling or coercing association by threats and ostensibly judicial actions.

ONLY in Scripture can we have implicit faith. In all the back-and-forth that I have seen nobody has asked the obvious question:

What evidence of obduracy deserving being cast into the outer darkness and being declared an apostate is given as reason for excommunicating people? Were they fornicators? Were they adulterers? It is very strange indeed that all this overblown hyperbole and swelling words of dependence on “Presbyterian polity” NEVER quotes the example of the apostle Paul who in letter after letter after letter, shows that he deals with obstinacy in this extreme manner ONLY after every other recourse has failed and only when there is clear evidence and legitimate procedure to compel excommunication. Christian love DICTATES that we be compelled to excommunicate by evidence unsullied, trial unmarred, appeals unheeded, and when circumstance and incidentals deny the possibility for remedy; and always for the salvation of the erring parties and for their ultimate reconciliation. I see NOTHING in the NT that says “excommunicate the moment somebody disagrees, refuses to take an oath or has a problem with what you are doing.” THAT is worthy of a cult. And a cult YOU ARE, and a cultist you yourself are, if you can justify these extremes.

Where is the proof of their heresy?

Where is the proof of their blasphemy?

Where is the proof of their scandalous sin, deserving of immediate excommunication, without process? What they were doing was it equal or surpassing in rebellion to God, that they need to be treated as partners in incest? (1 Cor. 5)

Why did not your elders do what the wise apostle did when he disagreed with Barnabas? Separate, go their separate ways, without recrimination or censure? Are you now telling me that “Covenanter” Reformed Presbyterian principles mean that if I become convinced the pastor/elder/session is wrong then I must repent or be excommunicated? Is that my ONLY choice. Can we not go our separate ways? THAT is a cult.