Aimee Byrd

Inside the word. Outside the box.

We the undersigned, as ministers, elders, and members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), present and publish this open letter in order to express our deep concern with regard to many comments and posts which were published on the “Genevan Commons” Facebook group and which were recently made public. 

Our concerns include these:

  1. We are greatly concerned that members of our church, including Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, along with others, have been subjected to disparaging comments which are “corrupt,” “foolish talking,” and “coarse jesting” (Eph 4:29; 5:5). Such words are never acceptable, and certainly not from officers of the church.
  2. We are greatly concerned that officers of the church, who have sworn to be accountable to “their brethren in the Lord” (4th ministerial ordination vow), would attempt to hide behind a group that pledges itself to secrecy, as if “locker room talk” could somehow be exempted from the accountability of the church on the basis of an alleged right to privacy. Indeed, our Lord warns us that “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luk 12:3).
  3. We are greatly concerned about the overtly misogynistic tone of the critiques leveled at women authors, whom many Geneva Commons members have not honored as fellow image bearers (Gen 1:27), as fellow heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7), and as members of Christ’s body who are endowed with many glorious and useful gifts for the building up of the church (Eph 4:7). Rather than thoughtful critique, we are dismayed to find officers of the church deriding and mocking others. Such behavior is completely unacceptable towards our sisters in Christ. It is the opposite of love.
  4. The ninth commandment forbids “undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others” (WLC 145); therefore, we cannot remain silent after the public revelation of such unedifying words.

Such sins are an outrage and are extremely grievous in the sight of God. They bring shame and reproach on the church of Jesus Christ, and they encourage a culture of disrespect and derision in the very body which is to be known for its love (John 13:35). Rather than honoring women the way that Christ has honored his precious bride, these men have encouraged each other (and indirectly, the rest of the church and the world now that these words are made public) to disparage women.

To be clear, we the undersigned do not believe all members of the Geneva Commons group to be engaged in these sins, nor are we endorsing the books which they have attacked.

Neither does this letter constitute formal charges against those who have committed these sins. Rather, we hope that this letter will encourage those who have committed these sins to repent publicly and to seek reconciliation promptly with those whom they have wronged. A fraternal appeal must precede any judicial charges, with honest hope and sincere prayer that it will be heeded. We therefore appeal to these brothers, by the mercies of Christ, by his blood shed both for them, for us, and for those whom they have maligned, to listen, heed, and repent.

While this letter was composed quickly and only distributed for review to a short list of pastors and elders, we imagine others might be interested in having their name added. Any interested Orthodox Presbyterian officers should leave their name and title in the comments section to be added.

Mark Jenkins

Pastor, Providence Church, Madison, WI

John S. Shaw

Pastor, Presbytery of Philadelphia, Elkins Park, PA

Jeremiah Montgomery

Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC), Vandalia, OH

Richard Ellis

Pastor, Faith OPC, Elmer, NJ

Calvin D. Keller

Pastor, Harvest Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC

John W. Mahaffy

Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, Newberg, OR

Robert Arendale

Teacher, Presbytery of the Southwest, Houston, TX

Todd Bordow

Pastor, Cornerstone OPC, Houston, TX

Matthew Patton

Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC), Vandalia, OH

Jonathan Shishko

Pastor, Grace OPC, Columbus, OH

Al Tricarico

Pastor, Presbytery of Philadelphia, Willow Grove, PA

Francis VanDelden

Pastor, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Dave Myers

Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Karl Koops

Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Jonathan Cruse

Pastor, Community Presbyterian Church, Kalamazoo, MI

Mike Shields

Elder, Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC), Mount Airy, NC

Danny Patterson
Pastor, Second Parish, OPC Portland, ME

Luke Fawcett
Deacon, Resurrection Presbyterian Church, Matthews, NC

David Welliver

Elder, Mission OPCSaint Paul, MN

Ken Golden

Pastor, Sovereign Grace OPCDavenport, IA

Steven R. Hake
Teaching Elder, New Hope Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland

John Livingston

Elder, Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Glenside, PA


Jonathan Holst

Pastor Westminster OPC, Hamden, CT

Matthew Barker

Pastor, Grace Reformed Church (OPC)

Zach Siggins 

Associate Pastor, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA

Tony Phelps

Pastor, Living Hope OPC, Allentown, PA

David King

Minister, presbytery of the Midwest

John M. Wise
Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

John D. Van Meerbeke

Senior Pastor, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA (OPC)

Gabriel Nave 

RE, Harvest OPC, San Marcos, CA

Logan Murray
Ruling elder, Living Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC), Brunswick, ME

Soo Bin Lee
Elder, New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, MI

Cole Brumley

Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Medford, OR

Darryl A. Bradford Jr.
Elder, New City Fellowship (OPC), Grand Rapids, MI

Bruce G. Buchanan
Pastor, ChainOLakes OPC, Central Lake, MI

Chris Malamisuro 

Pastor, Good Shepherd OPC (Cincinnati)

Robb Leatherwood
Ruling Elder, Calvin Presbyterian Church (OPC), Phoenix, AZ

Rev. Andrew Moody
San Antonio Reformed Church (OPC)

Bradney Lopez

Pastor, Iglesia Presbiteriana Sola Escritura OPC, Arroyo, Puerto Rico

Ryan Cavanaugh
Pastor Mission Church (OPC) Merrillville, Indiana

Joel D. Fick 

Pastor, Redemption OPC, Gainesville, FL

Josh Vander Meulen
Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC, Grand Rapids, MI

Andrew Myers
Associate Pastor, Trinity Church (OPC), Hatboro PA

Geoffrey L. Willour
Pastor, Lake Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Mentor, Ohio

Richard L. Guido 

Ruling Elder, Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Huntsville, Alabama

Arthur J Fox

Pastor, Presbytery of Northern California

Brian Belh 

Pastor, Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Rockford, IL (OPC)

Adam P. Vedra
Elder, Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI

James Lim
Pastor, Faith Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, CA

Josh McKamy
Pastor, Covenant OPC, Chambersburg PA
(mission work of Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA)

Gregory C. Miller

Elder, New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, MI.

David Evert
Ruling Elder, Covenant OPC, LaGrange, GA

Chad Van Dixhoorn
Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

Everett A. Henes
Pastor, Hillsdale OPC

Michael Borg 

Pastor, Providence Presbyterian, Bradenton, FL (OPC)

C. Steven McDaniel, Jr.
Pastor, Providence OPC, Mantua, NJ

Matthew Stubbs
Ruling Elder, Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Huntsville, Alabama

Joshua A. Downs 

Ruling Elder, Redemption OPC, Gainesville, FL

John Hartley 

Pastor, Apple Valley OPC, Neenah, WI

Greg Hoadley 

Pastor, Redeemer OPC, Airdrie, AB, Canada

Josh McKamy
Pastor, Covenant OPC, Chambersburg PA
(mission work of Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA)

Mark Sallade 

Senior Pastor, Calvary OPC, Glenside, PA

Sam Logan

OPC Teaching Elder (Retired), Presbytery of New York and New England

Chuck Noren
Elder, Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Marietta, GA

Sean Gregg
Ruling Elder, Trinity OPC, Hatboro, PA

William M. Hobbs

Retired minister, OPC

Ronald L. Beabout
Evangelist in the Presbytery of Central Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Pastor of Grace and Truth OPC, Mifflintown, PA.

Tim Herndon

Pastor, Providence Presbyterian (OPC), West Lebanon, NH

David J. Gregg

Ruling elder, Calvary OPC, Middletown, PA

Peter Lee
Professor of Old Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary
Presbytery of Mid-Atlantic

Michael Haan
Elder (inactive)
Harvest OPC
Wyoming, MI

Aijalon Church
Associate Pastor, Covenant OPC, Sinking Spring, PA

John Muether
Ruling Elder, Reformation OPC, Oviedo, FL

Mark Graham
Ruling Elder (Covenant OPC, Grove City, PA)
Fellow, Greystone Theological Institute

Russell Hamilton
Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Church, Bangor, Maine

Dave Sarafolean

Pastor, Christ Covenant Church, Midland, Michigan

Kim Dang
Senior Pastor, Houston, TX

Lynne Hunter

Ruling Elder Harvest OPC, currently serving as a Deacon at Harvest OPC, Wyoming Michigan

Dean Ter Haar

Ruling Elder, Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI

Brandon Wilkins
Pastor, Christ Covenant OPC, Crystal Lake, IL

Russell Hamilton
Presbytery of New York & New England
Pastor of Pilgrim OPC in Bangor, Maine

Mike Kearney

Pastor, Covenant OPC, Cedar Falls, IA

Shane Bennett
Pastor, Reformation OPC, Grand Rapids, MI

Dale Bekkering 

Ruling Elder Harvest OPC in Grand Rapids MI

Bryan Dage
Pastor, Emmanuel OPC, Meaford, Ontario

Nathan Strom
Pastor, Bethel OPC, Oostburg, WI

Steven Johnson
Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church – Medford, OR

Dave Werner
Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC – Grand Rapids, MI

Josiah Stockwell

Ruling elder Pilgrim OPC, Bangor, ME

Andrew Barshinger

Pastor, Faith OPC, Elmer NJ

Michael Chism

Ruling elder, Bonita OPC, Bonita, CA

Darren Thole

Pastor Providence OPC, Madison/Huntsville, AL

Matthew Cotta

Minister, Pasadena OPC

Jeffrey C. Waddington
Pastor, Faith OPC Fawn Grove, PA

126 thoughts on “An Open Letter from Concerned Ministers and Elders in the OPC

  1. Michael J Kearney says:

    Please add my name:

    Mike Kearney
    Pastor, Covenant OPC
    Cedar Falls, IA

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Graham Dugas says:

    Not since Mt. Carmel has there been such a clear divide between those who follow the baals of this age and those who follow Jehovah. Thank you for this letter.

    Like

  3. Bryan Dage says:

    Please add my name:
    Bryan Dage
    Pastor, Emmanuel OPC, Meaford, Ontario

    Like

  4. Dave Werner says:

    Please include my name as a signer to this letter.
    Thank you for taking the lead on a response to these discussions. When would such talk EVER be allowed or appropriate in our households, churches, or session meetings?

    Dave Werner
    Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC – Grand Rapids, MI

    Like

  5. longbeachmom says:

    First off, thanks to the OPC elders for speaking out. Second, do you know of any similar effort in the PCA? Ed Stetzer’s CT article mentioned only the OPC and the PCA (I see that Scott Clark mentions above that some URC men were also involved). I’m a woman in the PCA and have googled quite a bit without any luck.

    Like

  6. Josiah says:

    Hey Aimee, I hope it’s not too late to add myself to this:
    Josiah Stockwell, Ruling elder Pilgrim OPC, Bangor, ME

    Like

  7. Andrew Barshinger says:

    Well written. May we live this out in our churches. Andrew Barshinger, Pastor, Faith OPC, Elmer NJ

    Like

  8. joshua burdette says:

    I was hoping some PCA ministers might share an open letter as well, but I’ll add my name here until then. I really hate how you’ve been treated. It’s wrong and shameful. I know it grieves Christ. You’ve got more courage than I do to endure this kind of hateful speech. Joshua Burdette, Associate Pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church PCA, Santa Barbara, CA

    Like

  9. Michael Spangler says:

    Brothers who signed this, you have been hasty in judgment. The screenshot site is libelous and uncharitable. Please read my reply and consider removing your names. I welcome any of you to contact me directly. http://www.thedailygenevan.com/blog/2020/6/23/ReplyToOPCBrothers

    Like

    1. Everett Henes says:

      Mr. Spangler, speaking of libel and lack of charity, could you please comment on your recent sermon on Psalm 139 whre you call out signers of this letter and charge them with lying? You said they claim members of the Genevan Commons “hate women” but I’m not finding that anywhere in this open letter. Here is the sermon for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZawEvoQGqs

      Like

  10. Darren S Thole says:

    I would like to have my name added to the list as a signer of this open letter from concerned ministers and elders in the OPC: Darren Thole, pastor Providence OPC, Madison/Huntsville, AL

    Like

  11. Tim H. says:

    New to this as of today, so if this is well-known from the literature, forgive me.
    Quick question: is the original tale-bearer known publicly? i.e. the supplier of the screen-shots?

    Like

    1. Aimee Byrd says:

      No, but I wouldn’t call the creator of the screenshot website a tale-bearer.

      Like

  12. Jeffrey Waddington says:

    Please add me to the signers of this open letter.

    Jeffrey C. Waddington
    Pastor, Faith OPC Fawn Grove, PA

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wish there was a way to personally thank all the men who signed this letter. I just ran into this post months after it was published but the pain from my own experience still feels fresh. I can’t imagine what hell it must feel like for you. May the Lord pour out His presence and strength on you every day, He is a true Father, an unrelenting Defender, and a constant Comforter to the weary faithful.

    Like

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