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
Summary: "Though the Israelites were not able to look on the face of Moses, we saw the glory of the only-begotten. No one indeed could see His glory who was not healed by His humiliation; for there had flown into man's eyes, as it were, dust from the earth; the eye itself had become diseased, and earth was sent to heal it again, the flesh had blinded man, the flesh restores him; the soul, by consenting to carnal affection, had become carnal; hence the eye of the mind had been blinded: then the Physician made for us ointment; He came in such wise, as that by the flesh He destroyed the corruption of the flesh. Thus, "the Word was made flesh," that we might be able to say, "we saw his glory". - St. Augustine
"For my own part, I agree with the opinion of those who say that we are watered with the graces which were poured out on Christ; for what we receive from Christ he does not bestow upon us as being God, but the Father communicated to him what would flow to us through a channel. This is the anointing with which he was anointed, that he might anoint us all along with him. Hence, too, he is called Christ (the Anointed) and we are called Christians." - John Calvin, Commentaries, Vol. 17
A.Who were the Pharisees; their significance? B.What was the difference between John the Baptist and the Pharisees? C.What may we learn from this passage of scripture about the Righteousness of the Pharisees? D. Closing comment about the best servants being the most humble servants. The greatest ministers of Christ are not the most ready among men to be highly esteemed by men, but they will be the most ready not just to abase themselves but be the most ready to declare the excellency of Christ and defend his doctrine. It is John who is the greatest among them that are born among women, and is so highly esteemed among the Jews, yet as the forerunner of Christ he abases himself and says, "He is preferred before me whose shoes latchet I am not worthy to unloose." By his free grace Christ honors men with such high gifts as those of John The Baptist, yet like John these ministers see themselves as unworthy to receive such things. J. Mason said "As the Lark that sores the highest, builds her nest the lowest; the nightingale that sings the sweetest, sings in the evening when all things are resting; the branches that are most laden with ripe fruit bends the lowest; and the ship that is most laden with goods sinks the lowest in the water, so the holiest Christians are the humblest."
An Untrustworthy Faith John 2:23-25 Read Before Sermon John 2:18-25 Introduction As we return to John 2, the Jews Passover is in progress. Jesus had declared his authority over the temple by driving out the hucksters and with the scene given to us in this passage v18-25 we have 3 types of people shown: 1. The unbelievers exemplified by the sarcastic and disrespectful response of the unbelieving Jews. 2. Those disciples who "believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus said." 3. Now, in this text we see "many believed in his name . . . but Jesus did not commit himself unto them." Today we will focus on this third group of believers who believe in Jesus' name but He does not commit himself to them. First, why did Jesus not commit himself to them. Did they not believe in his name, and do not the scriptures say that "there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved"? Second, if Jesus did not commit himself unto them, what does this reveal about their faith that is not worthy of his trust. Third, what can we learn about miracles from this because the passage reads "they believed in his name when they saw the miracles which he did . . ." "It is unreasonable to ask for miracles, or find them - where there is no new Gospel." John Calvin
Memorable Words Introduction: As pieces of fabric are being woven together to make a complete garment, so is the author of Scripture here making another stitch in the thought begun in John 1:1 - "In the beginning was the Word." As Jesus manifests himself through every subsequent recorded event, he reveals how God is revealed through the Word. In this passage we are given words worthy to be remembered: I. The Word himself is worthy to remembered. A. What is the "this" that the disciples remembered? 1. They remembered that "it" was written - Scriptures and what Jesus had said: "Destroy this temple and in 3 days I shall raise it up". 2. See John 4:37: there the saying is the logos, the same as the logos of John 1:1. No separation between the person of Christ and his thought by which the word reveals. 3. The logos is propositional II. The Word remembered is the Gospel. A. Same as what is defined in 1 Cor. 15: 1-4 B. The Word remembered has past C. The Gospel is an event that has occurred D. The Gospel is perfect and it is not something to experience but a recorded event that must be believed has occurred. 1. What we "experience" are the affects of the gospel. III. No separation between the Scriptures and the Word. A. ". . .they believed the Scriptures and the Word which Jesus had said." B. Eternal life is in the knowledge of the Word.
The heart comprises all that we are - our intellect and our emotions. Thus when scripture commands us to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and souls it is not drawing a contrast between the heart and the mind. Instead it is merely taking one element of the heart (i.e. the mind) and giving it a place of prominence. If you believe something with all your heart, you believe it with all your mind. If you believe something with all your mind, you are also believing it with all your heart.
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