Wednesday, June 1, 2011

1 June 2011

Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] Christian Observer Highlights for June 2011

[2] An Open Letter to the 2011 General Synod of the [Associate Reformed Presbyterian] ARP Church

[3] Presbyterian Lay Committee Challenges PCUSA Members to “Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve”

[4] Church of Scotland Experiences Fallout from Relaxation of Prohibition against Homosexual Ministers


[1] Christian Observer Highlights for June 2011

New articles for June 2011 in the Christian Observer include:

Dangerous Pseudoscience - by the Rev. Graeme Craig, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) (FCSC) – transcript of the Moderator’s Address presented on 23 May 2011 at the FCSC General Assembly. Mr. Craig is an honors graduate in geology from the University of Dundee, and describes how the modern-day historical sciences of historical biology, aka evolution, and historical geology each teach much that is mere pseudoscience – assertions that are not genuine science, and that these pseudosciences are a danger not only to the Church and individuals, but to science and society at large;

Educating from Freedom to Bondage – by
Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro – discusses how the Judeo-Christian tenets that were once basic in American public and private education are now ignored, and how this change has turned the educational system in the U.S. from teaching that true freedom is the responsible freedom explained by Jesus Christ in John 8:32, 36 instead to current teachings that portray freedom as a type of irresponsible behavior that enslaves students to sin and the wages of sin;

Plus, regular features including weekly Sabbath School Lessons and Westminster Shorter Catechism lessons by Christian Observer Assistant Editor Dr. Robert LaMay, and Daily Devotionals by T.M. Moore, dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe.

+ Christian Observer, Post Office Box 1371, Lexington, Virginia 20110,

[2] An Open Letter to the 2011 General Synod of the [Associate Reformed Presbyterian] ARP Church

“I think that the tragic character Gollum in J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings is specifically analogous to the relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine College and Seminary.

Gollum was bewitched by and addicted to the evil ring of power to the point of slavery and destruction. The ring that he called “My Precious! My Precious!” was so corrupting and deadly that his humanity was transmogrified into a hideous creature that was a caricature of grotesque beastliness. The ring’s seductive power was so great that he was not able to deal with it in the only way that was sane and safe – by burning in the fires of Mount Doom.

Like Gollum and the ring, the ARP Church for the past fifty years has been both spiritually seduced and gelded by the power of a deadly ring. Our ring is not so much Erskine College and Seminary as it is the addictive notion that the Lord Jesus Christ has called the little ARP Church to the business of a college and seminary that are LIKE the colleges and seminaries of the world and the other denominations (especially those who have forgotten God). Our dream of an evangelical and confessionally Reformed college and seminary that are second to none has gripped us in blind and stubborn devotion to the point that we have thrown ourselves and our resources into a fruitless and, I sincerely believe, sinful endeavor.

“We have somehow read the Great Commission and have come up with the idea that Jesus instructed us to build a college and a seminary. We have gone so far as to identify the mission of the ARP Church with the advancement and continuance of the man-made institution of Erskine College and Seminary. We have justified our disobedience and adoration of that which we have built as our obedience in advancing the Church. We have failed to listen when Jesus said that He died for His Church, and we have somehow re-interpreted His words as “DIED FOR HIS SCHOOL” and have gone forth and dissipated our resources to erect Erskine College and Seminary as an idol of our disobedience.

“Originally, our task was noble; however, as is often the case, we came to adore the thing we created rather than adoring the God who gave us the resources with which to build, and a good thing has been corrupted to the point of no return. We now fail to recognize that God has closed the door and that all our efforts are not going to reopen what God has closed. We have failed in our vigilance in watching over what God entrusted to us, and we have failed to use our courage to stand against disobedience and infidelity; therefore, God has taken from us the thing entrusted to us and given it to others. That He has handed our ring over to those who despise evangelical Christianity is ample evidence of the level of God’s judgment on the ARP Church!

“My brother ministers and elders, we are all being judged by God. We have all been seduced and deformed and gelded by the ring of Erskine College and Seminary. Of all the people who have drunk from this bitter cup, I have drunk much too deeply for the last 40 years. Shame on me!

“Our recent efforts are too little and too late. God cannot trust us with the task of Erskine College and Seminary. We now do not have the resources, the faith, or the courage. It is time we let go of this evil and corrupting ring before the lamp of the church is taken from the ARP Church. Indeed, as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are deformed and dying and disobedient, and still the refrain for the umpteenth time goes up for the ring: “Let’s try one more year!”

“No, let us flee the evil ring!

“Brothers, we have met the enemy and he is US! We have been defeated and put to flight and scattered by US!”

[Editor’s Note – this letter is from the June 1, 2011 ARPTalk(46), which continues with a “REPORT ON THE MEETING OF THE ERSKINE BOARD OF TRUSTEES” held 19-20 May 2011.]

+ ARPTalk Blog, the Rev Dr. Charles W. Wilson,

Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville
, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

Erskine College and Theological Seminary, 2 Washington Street, Due West, South Carolina 29639, 864-379-2131, 864-379-2167,

[3] Presbyterian Lay Committee Challenges PCUSA Members to “Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve”

In the wake of the majority of Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) presbyteries voting to discard the PCUSA Constitution’s Fidelity and Chastity Amendment regarding ordained leaders, the Presbyterian Lay Committee on 22 May 2011 began inviting PCUSA members to “Choose you this day whom you will serve” [Joshua 24:15] by signing the following statement and hand delivering the signed statement to each session member in their church:

‘I Choose This Day!’

“On this day of our Lord, I affirm my faith in Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is God’s gracious answer to human sin, and He is my personal Lord and Savior. I affirm Christ alone.

“Further, I affirm my belief that the Bible is God’s holy Word. It is through Scripture alone that I am assured of His salvation and am instructed regarding His will for my life. I affirm Scripture alone.

“Further, I affirm that the marriage of a man and a woman is instituted by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ. I testify with Scripture that “Whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder,” and that sexual relations outside this covenant of marriage are contrary to the will of God.

“I grieve over the apparent departure of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from these Scriptural truths, and I am estranged from its policies and programs that do not affirm Christ alone, Scripture alone and the holy institution of marriage alone as the divinely ordained context for human sexual activity.

“Therefore, I call on the Session of my church to initiate a prayerful study of PC(USA) policies and programs and the nature of our church’s relationship with the PC(USA). I ask that the Session report its findings and recommendations to our congregation on or before Reformation Sunday, October 30, 2011.”

Presbyterian Lay Committee, Post Office Box 2210, Lenoir, North Carolina 28645, 828-758-8716, Fax: 828-758-0920,

Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228
, Fax: 502-569-8005

[4] Church of Scotland Experiences Fallout from Relaxation of Prohibition against Homosexual Ministers

A 29 May 2011 The Herald article titled “The Gay Divide” reports that in the wake of the Church of Scotland (C0S)’s 2009 decision to set up a special commission to investigate homosexual relationships, there has been a significant drop-off in contributions by church members to the CoS central funds, with the monies instead being designated for the CoS evangelical and outreach ministries. These fund redirections are expected to increase now that the 2011 CoS General Assembly has voted to further lessen restrictions against the ordination of homosexual ministers. With an estimated twenty percent of CoS ministers considering leaving the CoS over these matters, the CoS faces even more financial problems including expensive legal battles over church properties.

A 30 May 2011
Stornoway Gazette article titled “Leurbost Minister Resigns over Gay Issue” reports that The Rev. Andrew Coghill, Minister of Crossbost Church of Scotland (CoS) in Lochs, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, for the past eighteen years announced to the church congregation on 29 May 2011 that he will to demit his charge and resign from the CoS following the 2011 CoS General Assembly decision to relax the restrictions on openly homosexual clergy.

A 31 May 2011 article by Craig Brown in
The Scotsman titled “Second Minister Reveals He Will Quit Kirk over Gay Clergy Controversy” reports that CoS minister to a church in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, the Rev. Andrew Coghill, announced that he will quit the CoS over the 2011 CoS General Assembly decision to relax the restrictions on openly homosexual clergy.

The Herald, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow, Scotland G2 3QB, 0141- 302-7000, Fax: 0141-302-7117,

+ Stornoway Gazette, 10 Francis Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS12XE, Scotland, 01851-702-687,

+ The Scotsman, Barclay House, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS, Scotland, 131-620-8620

Church of Scotland, 121 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 4YN, Scotland, 0131-225-5722