“We don’t need to recover from the Bible.”
I heard these words spoken from behind the pulpit at a presbytery meeting on Saturday. The chair of the ad hoc committee was referring to the title of my book, giving his own commentary. He was supposed to be explaining the committee report’s recommendation regarding charges filed against most of my session of elders and my pastor before the presbyters voted on whether they were in order. There was also supposed to be a vote after that, hearing from another committee report regarding an appeal made by a disciplined elder in my church. Both are related. It is a long, painful story. One I have not shared publicly. But both the local church stuff that I’ve kept more private and the public stuff I’ve been writing about are very much related. And the local is becoming more public, as I am now talked about openly at this presbytery meeting.
I was at this meeting of our Presbytery of the Mid Atlantic to support my elders and pastor. And I also wanted my presence to make a statement that I am an actual real person whom they defended. It was a very small church hosting the meeting. There we were all together. The chair was standing behind the pulpit in a posture to speak authoritatively on behalf of the committee. But he added commentary like this one referring to the title of my book to his recommendations on proper order and such. Yes, a complete contradiction to the process and proper order. But that’s okay, I’ve learned, if you’re the right person.
You don’t have to like the title of my book. This comment was made in reference to breaking the ninth commandment, distinguishing something that my (then) elder had written in an unsolicited email to our entire congregation. He wrote, among many other things, that all the elders had the same concerns about my book as Genevan Commons (GC). But this is not what my pastor testified to saying in this elder’s trial. He testified that he did not have the same concerns as GC. Not at the same level at all. And when asked under oath what his concerns were, he said, for example, he didn’t like the title. I can live with that. It’s not for everyone. But what I can’t accept is this extra commentary given in a presbytery meeting where I have no voice to defend my work. I wasn’t the one they were supposed to be talking about. I had no agency to speak. And most importantly, I never assert that we need to recover from the Bible. Not even close. You don’t have to like the title, but it is there to say that this teaching is not biblical, but a contemporary evangelical movement. Biblicism is not necessarily biblical. How is it okay for this presbyter to add his authoritative voice to misrepresenting my work and poisoning the well to the whole presbytery and I cannot defend it? How is that in order?Continue reading