The Canadian presbytery's decision to censure and excommunicate me has raised a lot of questions. I won't attempt to answer all of them here. Instead, I would like to offer some clarification.
First, the Vanguard presbytery of which I am now part recognizes me as a minister in good standing. I had already been received by them when the Canadian presbytery (of the ARP) moved to censure and excommunicate me.
Second, when the June 28 meeting of Canadian presbytery began, I was in good standing. Though they hadn't recognized my transfer to Vanguard, they did regard me as a member in good standing of their court. By the end of the (approximately) 3 hour meeting I had been censured and excommunicated without trial.
Third, I was censured and excommunicated for (a) procedural errors, (b) allegedly breaking my vows and (c) the alleged sin of schism. When I asked the maker of the motion how I had broken my vows he had no answer. When I asked if the censuring and excommunication was purely about the procedural error I was told I was being "censured for the last year and a half." I understand those words to mean that I was being censured for practicing, preaching and teaching non-compliance, for calling compliance sin and for using my blog to encourage members of closed NAPARC churches to worship with open churches. As I explained in my follow up piece on schism (February 27) and as I have been saying for months since, God's people must "continue to gather for worship, prayer and fellowship in obedience the King and Head of the Church." As I explained, "pastors, elders, and laypeople should be meeting with or without the consent of the session/consistory." I then added the following: "It is this call that is seen as divisive and schismatic." The irony is that men who would gather in obedience to Jesus and call others to do the same are seen as schismatic!
Incidentally, I had seen all this coming months before, which is why I had taken steps before June 28 to join Vanguard and - partly - why I had attempted (with my elders) to lead the congregation out of the Canadian presbytery.
I am frequently asked why I resigned. As their pastor I - along with the elders - sought to lead Faith Presbyterian Church out of the Canadian presbytery of the ARP. When the congregation met to decide whether to begin the process of departure (laid out for us in the ARP Form of Government) a 2/3 majority of the membership of the church was needed. We did not get that 2/3 majority. In short, the decision of the congregation was to remain in the ARP. At that point I believed I was under a moral obligation to resign.
So why am I ministering to a group of people in a tent? Simply because there are sheep who want to be free to worship, pray, and fellowship in obedience to the Head and King of the Church (and that without interference from the State). This small group is not yet affiiated with any denomination. That will come. In the meantime, as a minister of the word I am accountable to Vanguard presbytery (and ultimately to Jesus Christ); and I plan to go forward in faith, looking to Jesus and trusting Him to guide us.
May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!
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