Friday, February 03, 2006

Defrocking and Tyranny

R.C. Sproul Jr., has apparently been defrocked by his denomination. The charges are numerous, and Rev. Sproul’s response is limited. I do not know which side is right, nor am I taking sides. I have a few friends who attend St. Peter’s Church and I know this must be a troubled time for them. I hope and pray that the discipline of the church results in repentance and restoration, no matter which side is the offending side.

But, church discipline is not tyrannical, as Rev. Sandlin has suggested. In fact, I think that this case is a perfect example of the Presbyterian court system working to avoid tyranny. There were those who felt wronged by St. Peter’s and they had a place to take their complaint. If St. Peter’s had been a congregational church, then the session would have continued in its tyranny, or the unsubmissive complainers would not have had another court reinforce the decision of the St. Peter’s session. Whichever way it works out, it works out for the better. Rev. Sandlin thinks the way to avoid church tyranny is to be autonomous local churches. I disagree. I think a connectionalism, specifically a system of courts, is a much better way to avoid tyranny.

9 Comments:

Stanley Howard said...

I couldn't agree with you more Lee. Sandlin seems to be inferring that independent churches are less prone to pastor tyranny? That just doesn't make sense. It's hard to imagine just how much more tyranny RC Sproul Jr. would have been able to perpetrate had he not been in a Presbyterian denomination who was able to put a stop to it.

I found some more information about all of this that might help people sort this out for themselves at RC Sproul Jr defrocked. Maybe Andrew Sandlin ought to do more reading up on this before posting lame comments like "I don't know who's right and who's wrong."

Andrew McIntyre said...

There are two major problems facing the modern Presbyterian/Reformed movement. The first is the Federal Vision and New Perspectives heresies. The second is the abuse of the office of elder by overzealous men infringing on the liberties we have in Christ. I am not part of Dr. Sproul's denomination, so I cannot speak to the legal matter. I can say, whether Sproul Jr. is guilty or not, we all ought to take the charges seriously.

Anonymous said...

Is linked gossip an appropriate thing to post?

Stanley Howard said...

Anonymous said: "Is linked gossip an appropriate thing to post?"

Is it "gossip" just because you don't like what the author is saying, even though it appears to just be reporting the facts?

If there's something specific on the linked page you think isn't factual, would you please enlighten us? But you'll really need to identify yourself by name, like Mr. Kershaw did when he wrote the page. Anonymous rebuttals don't carry much weight.

Anonymous said...

I'm not rebutting anything and have no opinion. Nor have I complained against anyone linking the actual official finding of the denomination. I'm questionaing the appropriateness of linking a bunch of stuff that goes beyond that.

Gossip it is.

Since you bring it up, Kershaw's name gives me no confidence in the accuracy of the report, but if I explained why I would be gossiping. My personal opinion, right or wrong, is not the issue. The issue is whether or not we should be passing off stories and hearing them. I am not refuting anything nor obligated to do so. My point stands apart from any of that.

Andrew McIntyre said...

Of course, it is not gossip. It is the official pronouncement of a fellow Reformed denomination, a pronouncement which affects a very public minister. You can contend the charges are false, but, nevertheless, the charges against a defrocked minister are supposed to be public. If a minister has done something worthy of ecclesiastical capital punishment, the people within his faith circle, at least, should know why.

A prime case in point is Paul's public rebuke of Peter. Peter was repentant, so no further action beyond this rebuke was warranted. Yet, Paul saw fit to publish the event in his epistle to the Galatians, an epistle which would be read by every Christian until the end of the age.

Sorry, anon, with all due respect, you have no grounds under your accusation that Lee, a respected Minister of the Gospel, is engaging in gossip.

Andrew

Andrew McIntyre said...

I would like to say, for the record, that although I contend that these things are properly made public, I do not delight in the situation. I hope the charges prove false. I hope, if they are true, Dr. Sproul repents and is restored. I am sure I speak for most of the Reformed brethren in this.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? I never accused Pastor Lee of any such thing (excpet perhaps to the extent that he decides to control his comments maybe). And I explicitly pointed out that it was fine to post links to official documents.

Did you simply not read what I said or are you trying to portray me as somethint I'm not?

Andrew McIntyre said...

Anon,

Let us not mud wrestle like the heathen. Obviously, you have a dog of some sort in this fight. Of course I'm not trying to portray you as something you are not. I rather take offense at the charge. I am relieved that you are not accusing Lee. Perhaps I did misunderstand you. Are you saying it is wrong for us to discuss the matter, which, of course, was the whole point of Lee's post, or were you referring specifically to the link provided in the first comment? If the former, I disagree and stand by my former comments. If the latter, then I have no comment, as it was not my posted comment.