It was the common practice of pirate ships in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape detection by flying the same flag of the ship of a sovereign nation which sought their capture. When their motive was robbery, pirates would maneuver undetected by the same subtle means to approach their victims, board their ships, and plunder.
In recent days, preachers in the Presbyterian Church In America have used the "modus operandi" of piracy to subtly enter once orthodox Presbyterian pulpits for pillage. Bands of pirate elders who blaspheme the doctrine of justification by faith alone and who take numerous exceptions to their professed creed, the Westminster Confession of Faith, continue to find safe passage through the Southeast Louisiana Presbytery (SLAP) and beyond.
Ministers Flying False Flags
How has it happened that there are pirates among the PCA's members who at one time were steadfastly zealous for the faith? How can they occupy the pulpits and manses of a once orthodox Presbyterian church, and yet be allowed to blaspheme and oppose her ancient confession of faith? It is not only that some of these pirates have changed their views and have not made it clearly known, but that some have managed to make their opposing views even appear to be consistent with the confession. This witness is true. They have gone undetected by the sleeping victims who have placed all their trust in their liberal sessions. Moreover, through stealth, deceptive, and inconsistent practices the good-ole-boy network has broken the teeth of their Book of Church Order, and PCA victims remain enslaved without recourse to pay the livelihood of these false apostles.
The pirate preachers of the relatively new PCA are not much different from those which looted the 19th century Presbyterian churches of Scotland. Charles Spurgeon wrote of these "Ministers Sailing Under False Colours" in the February, 1870 issue of "The Sword And Trowel": 'In the same establishment may be found believers in nearly every dogma of the Popish creed, who nevertheless have declared their faith in articles which are distinctly Calvinistic; and now last, and to our minds most sorrowful of all, it comes out that there are men to be found among Caledonia's once sternly truthful sons who can occupy the pulpits and the manses of an orthodox Presbyterian church, and yet oppose her ancient confession of faith. Our complaint is in each case, not that the men changed their views, and threw up their former creeds, but that having done so they did not at once quit the office of minister to the community whose faith they could no longer uphold; their fault is not that they differed, but that differing, they sought an office of which the prime necessity is agreement. All the elements of the lowest kind of knavery meet in the evil which we now denounce. Treachery is never more trecherous than when it leads a man to stab at a doctrine which he has solemnly engaged to uphold, and for the maintenance of which he receives a livelihood. The office of minister would never unwittingly be entrusted by any community to a person who would use it for the overthrow of the principles upon which the community was founded. Such conduct would be suicidal. A sincere belief of the church creed was avowedly or by implication a part of the qualification which helped the preacher to his stipend, and when that qualification ceases the most vital point of the compact between him and his church is infringed, and he is bound in honor to relinquish an office which he can no longer honestly fulfill."
What Mr. Spurgeon assumed was that there may be hope for honor among thieves. However, there appears to be no such honor among the Pirates of the PCA.
The Flag of Charismania
Using pleas for spiritual liberty, pirate elders in January, 2003, at a stated meeting of the Southeast Louisiana Presbytery of the PCA, pretending to be defenders of the WCF, permitted the hoisting of the Flag of Charismania within their presbytery. The Westminster Confession clearly states in Chp. I. Sec. 6 "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men." Nevertheless, elders who vowed to maintain the purity and peace of their churches allowed one of their own "teaching elders" to take exception to the above section of the confession. The elder believes in the continuation of the revelatory gift of tongues when Sec. 1 of the same chapter states "those former ways of God revealing his will unto His people being now ceased." Of course, the elder denied that the form of tongues he believes in is "revelatory", and the other pirates accepted his fallacious reasoning.
Scripture reveals no other form of the gift of tongues but that which is revelatory. In 1 Cor. 14:7, the Apostle Paul asks, "Now brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by doctrine?" It makes no sense to argue that "knowledge", "prophesying", or "doctrine" are non-revelatory since these gifts are all revelation dependent. Furthermore, it matters little to argue for the existence of the gift, since Scripture has foretold of the cessation of tongues in 1 Cor. 13:8 and Scripture has declared its cessation with Revelation 22:18 declaring the end of revelation. With the completion of the perfect Word of God, the last living Apostle John wrote by the Wisdom and Spirit of God, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophesy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."
What is most dangerous is the precedent of unscriptural doctrines and practices in the church that must remain unchallenged because the authority of Scripture has been rendered alterable by the most recent revelation of the "spirit". The implications and repercussions of this exception within their presbytery have yet reached their full potential. Now that the compass of Scripture has been tossed overboard, these supposed new revelations of the spirit and traditions of men can only lead to a multitude of directions for ecclesiastical deception. If these pirates of the PCA could hear, they would not have hoisted the flag of charismania and subjective unverifiable existentialism. To my knowledge there has been no change in their position on this matter since that time.
The Flag of Heterodoxy
It has been well documented that Anglican empiricism and liturgical forms of Anglican worship have gained a strong foothold in not only the SLAP but also the Lousiana Presbytery of the PCA (see http://www.trinityfoundation.org/horror_show.php?id=4). Along with this infatuation with Anglican worship is the infiltration of the heresy of an Anglican Bishop from Durham England who has written what amounts to a bold attack on the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Popish false doctrine of justification by faith and works.
One Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana has replaced the Gospel of justification by faith alone with the Bishop's message in their nationally distributed church newsletter, and they hosted the Anglican bishop at their 2005 "Pastors" (or should we say "Pirates") conference. It is also sadly certain that the evil leaven of justification by obedience is spreading to other churches as well as the presbyteries, and the heresy of these leading proponents of this new perspective is now solidly entrenched in other formerly conservative Presbyterian and Reformed churches. For instance, one teaching elder of Westminster Presbyterian church in Baton Rouge , a church of the SLAP categorically taught: "Your obedience to His Word is the foundation upon which you must build your life." (Note that it is personal obedience and not Christ or His obedience that is the foundation of this elder's doctrine "for life".) The session of Westminster continues to this day to white wash his teachings. Furthermore, they even recommended him and gave him acceptable credentials to be received by another congregation thus permitting his heresy and influence to spread to other presbyteries and churches in the PCA.
The Need For A New PCA Confession
What should churches and ministers do when their views are opposed to their published standards? If the PCA is convinced that the Westminster Confession of Faith is in error and their "teaching elders" are right, they should devise a new confession based on the model consistent with the liberal and ecumenical standards they prefer. Whatever evil may result, at least their course would then be consistent with their confession. Then again, we are aware that it is ludicrous to expect from those who misuse the contents of revelation to be motivated to such action. Moreover, this activity would make the Pirates of the PCA more detectable and prevent these villains from pocketing the hard earned contributions of the more timid and vacillating members of this visible church. 2 Tim. 3:16-17
Dear Mr. Borill and edl, Interesting article. I find so many "religious" friends I have no appetite for the truth revealed in Holy Scripture, and though at times it can be overwhelming, I am reminded by Christ's own word, that we are not above our Teacher...He received reviling and hatred from men who refused the truth...I am praying for edl that God would grant him mercy and that his blind eyes would be opened for the glory of the RISEN KING! For I too was blind (by doctrines of men-Roman Cath) but now I see, through His Word, the Holy Spirit and the faithful preaching from a true undershepherd. Praise be to God for those who are bold with the faith, once delivered!!AMEN