On the Brouhaha at the OPC GA

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Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks for your thoughts. I wasn’t there, but was fed almost moment-by-moment updates from brothers who were there.

This is a disgrace for the OPC. The statement released, and how it came about, was neither Christian nor Presbyterian. That no investigation was even mentioned until after the fact is criminal. All biblical and ecclesiastical protocol for dealing with accusations against elders (e.g., 1 Tim. 5:19) was thrown out the window, and all because we fear the world. And now the OPC has a good bit of egg on its face, and—if I may take the liberty of being quite direct—deservedly so. The enemies of the church have already taken their moment for scoffing and moved on to whatever else the media has dragged them into. The later explanation by the OPC will be seen by few.

I’m frankly glad this attempt at virtue signaling backfired tremendously. I just hope the OPC has learned it’s lesson: go woke, go broke.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Sounds like you all need to quit inviting Fuzzy Zoeller and Earl Butz as entertainers.

You all need to bring in some of the Woke Folk from the PCA.

Edit - never mind. Sounds like you have enough Woke Folk in leadership as it is.
 

Gwallard

Puritan Board Freshman
Sad. I had no idea about this incident until now. Truly sad, but it may be a lesson for later actions: no knee jerk reactions to allegations, which are thrown around so flippantly these days, and must at all times be believed if from certain groups.

There is no atonement in the methods of wokeism, no repentance, only those out, and those eventually to be out. Apologies aren't even a fix for offenses anymore, they're just a bowing down to their wishes as a sign of submission.

A needed edit: The OPC statement was mostly well written, in that they were mostly trying to say that racism is wrong, but the wording of their statements - and that they answered unsubstantiated reports so strongly - indicates to me that they were attempting to appease the world, not to answer without prejudicing the case. For example, if I was one of those people accused, and I had said nothing more than "man, black beans again!"* in the cafeteria, I would be horrified at this reply. But I must admit that I am merely working on reports here, I don't know the whole situation, and I have the problem of being a bit reactionary at times; I, too, have the sin of knee jerk reactions. I hate how the church usually reacts to these types of things, and I am not willing to play ball with the world anymore. This often makes me jump the gun.
*this is an example, I don't know what happened at GA
 
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Rome2Geneva

Puritan Board Freshman
"For fear of the Jews" has been replaced by "for fear of being called a racist". It's sad to see those who know better immediately buckle and immolate themselves on the altar of Leftist political narratives.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
When I read the statement of apology I was surprised that I didn't see the caveat, qualifier "If these alleged events occurred as reported..."
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
I was at the GA and believe that this whole matter, due to God's gracious guidance, was handled quite well.

As Ben surmises, if you read our statements carefully (we issued more than one), the GA never confessed sin on the part of any of its members. It was, and is, right to repudiate what was reported to us as having happened. We continued to investigate the whole time, pressing for the fullest resolution of the matters, and came to discover what happened in the four reported incidents. One of the incidents involved misconstrual and the other two were pathetically poor attempts (by the same person) at humor. The most egregious, as we continued to press, was clearly not committed by a commissioner of the GA.

There was no "wokeness" on the part of the OPC GA. We were especially careful, as you might expect, to make sure that due process was not in any sense violated and that no accusation was allowed to stand that was unwarranted. There was a proper response to the report of offenses, including the especially heinous offense (which, again, someone not from the OPC committed, if it was as alleged). Read all the statements and see how careful we were in responding as we did, by God's grace, after EU came to us and made the allegations that it did.

Peace,
Alan
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Alan, appreciate your input on this. The sentence I am having the most difficulty with here is this one: "The 88th (2022) General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church hereby expresses to the faculty, staff, and students of Eastern University its grief, sorrow, and disgust regarding four recent incidents of racial disparagement reported being made by some present at our Assembly." Although it says "reported," which could be interpreted as roughly similar to "alleged," why would there be disgust unless the report wasn't in some sense already believed? The only alternative interpretation I can come up with is that the OPC GA was disgusted at EU for allowing these reports. That hardly seems a tenable interpretation. I am pretty sure I would have strenuously objected to this language being part of an entire denomination's apology for something which turned out to be a tempest in a tea-pot. Do you have another interpretation of the statement to offer? Why didn't the GA simply say something like this: "We will thoroughly investigate the matters you have alerted us to. If there are matters beyond possible misunderstandings that amount to culpable racism, there will be a thorough apology. We abhor the sin of racism, etc."
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The other problem is how the statement was “passed.” The current moderator (who is a good man) and (from what I understand) all living previous moderators got together and drafted the statement. Then, when it was put to the floor, as Lane said in his blog article, no vote was taken, and hardly any time was given for debate. And the way the process was framed—namely, by asking not “Is there any discussion?” but rather “Are there any objections?”—slanted the process in such a way that would make it appear as if any discussion about this matter is an “objection.”

With all due respect to Dr. Strange, I disagree that there was no wokeness involved here. Sure, it may not have been explicit, but it appears to many, many OPC members and officers to have been active in several ways. That no investigation was had (or at least not an open one), that no specifics were given (or at least were not made known to the assembly), and that a statement was prematurely written and published in which guilt is presumed are all bad signs.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Another perspective from a friend of mine and a commissioner at the Assembly:

The 88th OPC GA has happened.​
There were many things that occurred at that meeting, one of which has gotten the attention of the NAPARC social media sphere. I am talking of course about the accusations of racism made at the 88th GA. As one who has been burned by social media in the past and as a commissioner to the 88th GA, I think some perspective is in order. I offer this commentary to set the record straight and to point out to my brothers in the OPC, officers and congregants, that what we need now, more than ever, is to double down on our Presbyterian principles. These episodes will happen again. It is only by walking in God's ways that we will be able to see a path through.​
If we take Aaron Renn's negative world interpretation seriously, we need to take this lesson seriously as well. His negative world interpretation sees American culture as negatively disposed to Christianity. The previous generation was neutral towards the church. The generation prior to that was positive. Now, America sees being a member of the church as a negative thing and in some cases, a moral fault. Evil, one might say. I agree with Renn's interpretation. But more than that, his interpretation helps us understand the lay of the land and enables us to understand how things operate in the world. It helps us understand what happened on the campus of Eastern University.​
When the Assembly gathered for our first business session (Thursday afternoon) we were greeted with a sobering announcement. Eastern University reported to us four instances of racial disparagement committed by members of our group. They informed us that if this happened again, they would pull the contract and kick us off campus. This would have been the first time in the history of the OPC that a GA was suspended midway. Bewildering to say the least.​
The moderator held us in recess until after the dinner break for the purpose of prayer and conference. In this announcement we were told the substance of the four instances. As has been recounted elsewhere, one of the four was so beyond conception that no one at the Assembly gave it any credence. The other three were probable.​
Many of you have already read the Christianity Today article about this Assembly. In that article, the author characterized the first two incidents as joking about "slave labor." Here is the first lesson for all OPC members. While the CT article is not outright lying, it is presenting the incident in a deceptive frame. The instance we were told about was that a commissioner made two jokes about the 13th amendment. This is the amendment that outlawed slavery. The essence of the joke was that since slavery is no more, don't work too hard. This was a case of wrong place, wrong time. The term "slave labor" wasn't used, as far as I can tell. The CT article uses the term "slave labor" in its reporting for the emotional effect. That term evokes all kinds of visceral responses. Hence the author uses that term, which was never reported to us at the GA. Thus, we have a case of deceptive framing in the CT article.​
The lesson here is to recognize how words are used in the negative world. They are used, more often than not, to manipulate emotion rather than to convey reality. This is a principle of the post-modern world we live in where truth is nothing, power only is the object of speech. Hence, in the negative world "speech is violence." Most Christians do not think this way as a matter of course. We tend to think of words as communicating reality (either of our own hearts or of God and His Gospel). Thus it may come as a surprise when less than good faith actors use language in less than good faith. This is becoming more and more common within the church. The lesson here is to recognize that this is going on.​
I do not fault the moderator nor the other men who represented us in our interactions with Eastern University. They were between an eight ball and a bowling ball, trying to avoid a crushing. I do take issue with the posting of our statement on social media during the assembly.​
This statement was approved without dissent. Whatever breaches of order that occurred to accomplish that are not the point here. The larger point was the posting of that statement to social media. The Assembly approved that statement to be given to Eastern. The decision to post it to social media was never brought before the Assembly. I voiced these concerns to the parties responsible and am satisfied with their reasons, though I disagree with their decision. Here is the second lesson.​
If words are bullets in the negative world, social media is gunpowder in the casing. As far as the situation was concerned, there was no need to post the statement to social media. The party that complained was being dealt with. That was as far as it needed to go. This is due to the unsubstantiated nature of the accusations. Not being confirmed, there was no need to publicize.​
For my OPC brothers, consider an issue on your own session. Let's imagine a man is accused of beating his wife. Let's say that the woman's father is the one making the accusation to you. He is furious. All understandable. Let's further imagine that in order to placate the father, you make an announcement to the congregation, post it on your church's website and socials denouncing wife beating. What would the effect be? People will draw the conclusion that your church is a hot bed for wife beating.​
All of that could be avoided if you deal with the father in private, assuring him that you take this as seriously as he does and that you will investigate. After an investigation, you are then able to proceed wisely and properly. Before an investigation any admission of guilt or hint thereof will damage the reputations of the parties involved.​
The major lesson from this assembly on this matter is that we need to double down on our Presbyterian principles. Witnesses and evidence with biblical process for those who are guilty and vindication for those who have been falsely charged. This has always been the Presbyterian way and is doubly necessary in the negative world. Take it from one who has been on the receiving end of false accusations, no amount of apology for mere accusations will satisfy the mob.​
All those who are calling the OPC racist are slandering her. All those who are accepting those slanders at face value are parties to gossip. As the testimony of Eastern University shows, the only real instance of a GA commissioner giving offense was the instance of a bad joke made at the wrong time. He intended no offense. Rather he intended encouragement and rapport with the student helpers. To call this racist is to succumb to the verbal weapons of the post modern negative world.​
Recognizing that we live in the negative world is imperative for all shepherds today. Daniel was able to persevere in Babylon because, at one level, he recognized that the culture of Babylon was opposed to the culture of Judah. And the culture of Judah was based on the religion of Jehovah. Many, many OPC members and officers have grown up in and known nothing but the culture of Judah, as it were. I praise the Lord for this. And it is to these that would simply say, "Look around. You are not looking at Mount Zion when you look at America in 2022. You are looking at the Hanging Gardens. You are not in Judah anymore. Don't eat the kings meat (don't adopt the cultural concerns of post modern America as Christian concerns)."​
The OPC is better than this. We need to be better than this. For the warfare has just begun and the weapons of our warfare are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. We need only to use them and to behold the salvation of Jehovah.​
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Well, it worked its way out with a positive result. I love slow quiet decisions. Good job on this. Who knows what to do about Amiee Byrd? There is too much chatter about it on the internet for us to see all of what is going on with good wisdom. I will hold my breath and say nothing there.
 

Gwallard

Puritan Board Freshman
I was at the GA and believe that this whole matter, due to God's gracious guidance, was handled quite well.

As Ben surmises, if you read our statements carefully (we issued more than one), the GA never confessed sin on the part of any of its members. It was, and is, right to repudiate what was reported to us as having happened. We continued to investigate the whole time, pressing for the fullest resolution of the matters, and came to discover what happened in the four reported incidents. One of the incidents involved misconstrual and the other two were pathetically poor attempts (by the same person) at humor. The most egregious, as we continued to press, was clearly not committed by a commissioner of the GA.

There was no "wokeness" on the part of the OPC GA. We were especially careful, as you might expect, to make sure that due process was not in any sense violated and that no accusation was allowed to stand that was unwarranted. There was a proper response to the report of offenses, including the especially heinous offense (which, again, someone not from the OPC committed, if it was as alleged). Read all the statements and see how careful we were in responding as we did, by God's grace, after EU came to us and made the allegations that it did.

Peace,
Alan
Dr. Strange, if I have offended you with my strong language, then please forgive me. I tend to be strong in language and hurt other people in the process, my apologies! Thanks for all you guys do for the church, especially at GA. However, just to clarify why some of us are sad is not that we think the OPC is instilled with wokeness, I don't think this is the case. What I am lamenting is what looks like an attempt to appease a woke crowd. I love the OPC, and consider it one of the last bastions of true orthodoxy in America, and a real bright spot. I am a member of the OPC, so don't take this as coming from anywhere but love; each of us are sensitive to these topics from hundreds of well-meaning apologies which have only fed the monster - so to speak.
 
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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
As an outsider with a background in public affairs I was impressed with the immediacy and candor of the response. When an organization publically acknowledges a possible problem it has the opportunity to fend off those who would cast the situation in the worst possible light. I felt like I was receiving information close to real time. The message indicated that my denomination would not permit someone created in God's image to be denigrated. The time-out indicated a prayer-first response to a possible problem, which is refreshing in a world that depends on man's strength.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I was at the GA and believe that this whole matter, due to God's gracious guidance, was handled quite well.

As Ben surmises, if you read our statements carefully (we issued more than one), the GA never confessed sin on the part of any of its members. It was, and is, right to repudiate what was reported to us as having happened. We continued to investigate the whole time, pressing for the fullest resolution of the matters, and came to discover what happened in the four reported incidents. One of the incidents involved misconstrual and the other two were pathetically poor attempts (by the same person) at humor. The most egregious, as we continued to press, was clearly not committed by a commissioner of the GA.

There was no "wokeness" on the part of the OPC GA. We were especially careful, as you might expect, to make sure that due process was not in any sense violated and that no accusation was allowed to stand that was unwarranted. There was a proper response to the report of offenses, including the especially heinous offense (which, again, someone not from the OPC committed, if it was as alleged). Read all the statements and see how careful we were in responding as we did, by God's grace, after EU came to us and made the allegations that it did.

Peace,
Alan
I have already updated the post twice today to reflect valuable feedback I have been getting. I expect to update it some more. I still have a problem with the first sentence of the statement, the way it was handled on the floor, and the ultimatum EU offered (why offer an ultimatum at such an early stage that seems to imply that they believe the reports without conducting an investigation first?). Having read Mr. Castle's excellent thoughts, I too agree that much of the difficulty could have been avoided had the issue not been shared on social media.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
@greenbaggins

Lane,

The disgust expressed was at the sin reported. The most serious allegation involved a heinous expression of racial contempt and disgust. We wished to express disgust at the mere mention of such a sin. We never said that we committed it and we never intended to stop investigating it, whatever the university did (I will not publicly criticize them in this matter). We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves and I believe that's what we endeavored to do.

The moderator did put the matter before the Assembly for approval. It is the case, as you well know, that the chair can say, if consent is assumed, "are there any objections?" It is also the case that he didn't wait long for any objections, likely due to the difficulty of the situation. About twenty-five people had worked on the statement (including me) and it was carefully considered and worded. I think that most were quite happy with the statement.

The decision was made to say something on social media because we knew that this matter would get out and we preferred to put it out first, showing that we had nothing to hide, were dealing with the situation, and joined in a united voice against sin. Meanwhile, we remained committed to due process and following through on the investigation of the matter. I think that in the multitude of counselors the matter was handled in a measured and gracious way.

We are all big boys and can take criticism from all sides. There are arguably a few different ways that the GA could have conducted itself here consonant with Scripture. I think that the GA as a whole took a wise and defensible biblical path. We must always remember in such matters who the ultimate judge is (Romans 14: 10-12).

Peace,
Alan
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
@greenbaggins

Lane,

The disgust expressed was at the sin reported. The most serious allegation involved a heinous expression of racial contempt and disgust. We wished to express disgust at the mere mention of such a sin. We never said that we committed it and we never intended to stop investigating it, whatever the university did (I will not publicly criticize them in this matter). We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves and I believe that's what we endeavored to do.

The moderator did put the matter before the Assembly for approval. It is the case, as you well know, that the chair can say, if consent is assumed, "are there any objections?" It is also the case that he didn't wait long for any objections, likely due to the difficulty of the situation. About twenty-five people had worked on the statement (including me) and it was carefully considered and worded. I think that most were quite happy with the statement.

The decision was made to say something on social media because we knew that this matter would get out and we preferred to put it out first, showing that we had nothing to hide, were dealing with the situation, and joined in a united voice against sin. Meanwhile, we remained committed to due process and following through on the investigation of the matter. I think that in the multitude of counselors the matter was handled in a measured and gracious way.

We are all big boys and can take criticism from all sides. There are arguably a few different ways that the GA could have conducted itself here consonant with Scripture. I think that the GA as a whole took a wise and defensible biblical path. We must always remember in such matters who the ultimate judge is (Romans 14: 10-12).

Peace,
Alan
That's helpful. I am glad in the ultimate result after the investigations were over. I would certainly never doubt that the GA would have done its due diligence in investigating the matter. In fact, I would be astounded if such a level of investigation would not have happened even if EU had not issued its ultimatum. Back to tweaking the article a third time!
 

AnotherDaniel

Puritan Board Freshman
On one hand I understand they didn’t want to get kicked out of the event. I guess it isn’t a good idea to host events at woke places that shoot first and ask questions later.

On the other hand the statement reads to many like someone stumbling over themselves to appease the woke mob, but in a very general way. Hence the feeding frenzy on the woke side calling the OPC racist and then, once it came out it was all false, the whipsaw into people accusing the OPC of being Woke. Both sides pointing to the statement as evidence. How this played out is no surprise, it has been happening everywhere for years now.

The CT article is wild. It makes it seem like the men at GA were about to tear their robes and break out the ashes due to mere alligations of racism:

“There was a hush over the whole body,” said Darryl G. Hart, a religious historian and OPC elder at the General Assembly. “People were sort of frozen in place and people were praying quietly. The overwhelming response was horror, shame, and contriteness.”

The rest of the afternoon sessions were suspended, according to the General Assembly minutes posted online. The moderator “requested that the commissioners commit themselves to a season of prayer.”

The next morning, after singing the hymn “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” and listening to several speakers talk about missions, the General Assembly was presented with a two-paragraph statement apologizing for the “racial disparagement reported being made by some present at our Assembly” and condemning racism more generally.

Commissioners were told that if Eastern did not accept the statement, the school was within its rights to force the General Assembly off the campus for violation of its contract. If that happened, the OPC would have to suspend the meeting three days before it was finished. The commissioners approved the statement apologizing for “egregiously offensive behavior” “without dissent,” and it was released on Facebook and Twitter.”
 
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Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
Well stated. We live in a society now that has ppl having to prove their innocence, not courts proving their guilt. The court of public opinion hangs them high and then looks for evidence after they are dead and gone. :(
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
@Alan D. Strange

So, to sort through what has happened. I would appreciate it if someone could point out any errors below (since I'm not a Woke educrat).

1) Allegations were made against the OPC and some elders of the OPC.
2) Some of the allegations were exaggerated, some were patently false.
3) Without fully investigating the allegations, the statement in question was pushed through and adopted without debate.
4) The statement was adopted to avoid inconvenence and cost.
5) Neither the University nor its agent have been called to account for the slanderous statements made against the OPC
6) The university has not published any apology or retraction.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
@Edward

I am unaware of any exaggeration with respect to incidents 1-2 and 4: these incidents did involve commissioners and statements made by them. The statements in 1-2 were clearly inappropriate and insensitive, though it ultimately appears that they were not meant to be such. The statement in incident 4 was ultimately determined by our investigation to be misconstrued. Neither of these involved exaggerations or false reporting, as far as I am aware.

The statement in incident 3, which was especially heinous, was ultimately determined not to be by a commissioner but allegedly by another party on campus. That such was said has never been determined to be "patently false."

I am unaware of all that may have taken place between GA officials (especially the Committee on Arrangements) and the University and the specifics of any potential ongoing discussions. I cannot properly answer 5 and I am unaware of 6.

The statement, as I've clearly stated before, was put before the GA and adopted in proper order. There was an opportunity for debate, albeit put rather quickly by the moderator. Had someone, however, thought that the moderator acted too quickly in ruling the statement adopted (after hearing no objections), they could have raised a point of order and, if unsatisfied, appealed the ruling of the chair. Such is commonly done without reticence at OPC Assemblies.

I believe 3 and 4 are not the case. We adopted the statement that we did because we were genuinely grieved by the accusations of racism (as noted, inappropriate comments were made in incidents 1-2); we found incident 3 especially horrific and wanted to make clear that we repudiated such. Again, what we did is always open to criticism of "you should have done something wiser/better." I don't believe though that we did anything clearly wrong in our handling of the matter.

Peace,
Alan
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
@Edward

I am unaware of any exaggeration with respect to incidents 1-2 and 4: these incidents did involve commissioners and statements made by them. The statements in 1-2 were clearly inappropriate and insensitive, though it ultimately appears that they were not meant to be such. The statement in incident 4 was ultimately determined by our investigation to be misconstrued. Neither of these involved exaggerations or false reporting, as far as I am aware.

The statement in incident 3, which was especially heinous, was ultimately determined not to be by a commissioner but allegedly by another party on campus. That such was said has never been determined to be "patently false."

I am unaware of all that may have taken place between GA officials (especially the Committee on Arrangements) and the University and the specifics of any potential ongoing discussions. I cannot properly answer 5 and I am unaware of 6.

The statement, as I've clearly stated before, was put before the GA and adopted in proper order. There was an opportunity for debate, albeit put rather quickly by the moderator. Had someone, however, thought that the moderator acted too quickly in ruling the statement adopted (after hearing no objections), they could have raised a point of order and, if unsatisfied, appealed the ruling of the chair. Such is commonly done without reticence at OPC Assemblies.

I believe 3 and 4 are not the case. We adopted the statement that we did because we were genuinely grieved by the accusations of racism (as noted, inappropriate comments were made in incidents 1-2); we found incident 3 especially horrific and wanted to make clear that we repudiated such. Again, what we did is always open to criticism of "you should have done something wiser/better." I don't believe though that we did anything clearly wrong in our handling of the matter.

Peace,
Alan
Alan, I have written everything I have written with the full understanding that it is far easier to arm-chair quarterback after the fact than it is to go through it in the moment. Even while I have some criticisms of how the OPC handled it, it could definitely have been far worse. My issues ultimately come down to three things. 1. EU assumed guilt when it issued its ultimatum (an ultimatum I believe that was completely uncalled for at that stage in the process, as it put enormous pressure on the OPC). 2. The first sentence of the OPC statement, while not intended as an apology, was taken for one by EU and by many delegates in the OPC. It is ambiguous, in my opinion. It has an apologetic tone while not outright calling out the people involved. It seems to me that a simple "We will promptly and thoroughly investigate this" would have better served the moment. 3. The plea not to wordsmith the statement, while understandable, was not, in my judgment, the best way to handle it. One could argue that the gravitas of the moment would require the entire body's input, not merely the former moderators, as valuable as that input undoubtedly was. There were people who wanted to make amendments but felt like there wasn't time. While the handling of it was not against RONR according to its letter, it was against RONR according to the spirit, which is to determine the will of the body. My hope now is that we will live and learn. Hopefully the situation never arises again.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The statement in incident 3, which was especially heinous, was ultimately determined not to be by a commissioner but allegedly by another party on campus. That such was said has never been determined to be "patently false."
Brother, this seems to me to be playing with words. If I make an accusation against the wrong party, even though the substance of the accusation actually happened, then the accusation is, in fact, patently false.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
@Taylor

I agree that the horrific statement (incident 3) proved not to be uttered by one of our commissioners and that the allegation should not have been made against us without full due process. I took Edward's question to be whether the statement itself (that such was said) was false, i.e., made of whole cloth and uttered by no one at all. I am unable to answer that. I am only able to say that we were able to determine that no commissioner uttered such a heinous statement.

Peace,
Alan
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
arm-chair quarterback
Those are arguably reasonable observations from an arm-chair quarterback, Lane!

Your first point appears to be correct. This is not something that I will further address publicly at this point, however.

With regards to your second point, I would still maintain that, given the whole history of the country and the Presbyterian church in it, it was not only reasonable but wise for us to take the opportunity to condemn the sort of behavior cited when confronted with it while continuing to investigate. Remember, some genuinely odd things did happen that initiated this whole affair (incidents 1-2).

I am not certain that EU regarded the statement as an apology (and they knew of our intent to continue to get to the bottom of things) but as a "clearing of ourselves" as a body respecting the aberrational behavior of some member(s). I still do not wish to be associated with the comments of incidents 1-2 and am happy that we said what we did. I am quite certain that commissioners paying attention did not regard the statement as an admission of guilt on our part (I heard many openly talking about this and the ongoing looking into the matter).

I agree that the motion was presented and adopted with undue celerity, though I think it was unintentional and reflective of a bit of apprehensiveness. I have the most sympathy with your third point.

Peace,
Alan
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am unaware of any exaggeration with respect to incidents 1-2 and 4:
Thanks for the correction on that.

misconstrued.
A charitable characterization of a negligent or malicious act.

That such was said has never been determined to be "patently false."
It was patently false if it was alleged to have been made by a commissioner. If not, it wasn't really the business of the OPC.

But I'm going to parse your response a little more closely. I said an OPC elder. You responded with a narrower 'commissioner'. So I suppose there is some narrow room for it to have been an elder and not a commissioner. If that was the case, then the nature of the debate would be somewhat different.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Outsider looking in:

So, in a situation where some young believers were feeling hurt, the OPC may have been too hasty to apologize. Of all the faults a church might have, that one feels not so grievous. It's not that big a concern unless we have begun to see "resist wokeness" as a higher and more urgent calling than "put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
…we have begun to see "resist wokeness" as a higher and more urgent calling than "put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience."
This is a false dichotomy. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience demand that we resist lawlessness, of which wokeness is a particularly violent present day expression.

Of course, resisting wokeness can be and often is done without compassion, kindness, etc., but we must not pit them against each other as an either-or scenario.
 

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
But I'm going to parse your response a little more closely. I said an OPC elder. You responded with a narrower 'commissioner'. So I suppose there is some narrow room for it to have been an elder and not a commissioner. If that was the case, then the nature of the debate would be somewhat different.
Edward,

It was reported in terms of being "a member of the Assembly," which would, of course, be a commissioner, whether a minister or ruling elder. That's why I answered as I did. I am unaware that it was ever alleged to be a generic "elder."

Peace,
Alan
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Suppose the whole incident was an "engineered" grievance. Suppose someone, or a cabal, or a rival institution sought for a pretext on which to besmirch the reputation of the OPC, perhaps even take it down a notch or twelve...

What does it prove by stiffening the back, or adopting a coordinate aggressive posture and language, or most proudly standing on one's pedestal where he has every right to be, to talk down to his accusers the better to expose the calumny for what it is? This assumes it is above all man's job, in the persons of the commissioners to GA and its agents, by any and all means to defend the church's reputation, and that for the sake of third-party voyeurs.

Sometimes it is the church's task, primarily through its officers albeit not excluding individual members, to defend the church's reputation. This is best and most efficiently done privately, or if necessary through the process of church discipline. Who defends the church from its external enemies, the attacks that come against it from the outside?

WSC Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.​
WLC Q. 63. What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A. The visible church hath the privilege of being under God's special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.​

Israel was not to fear the nations around it, because the LORD was their defender. He drove out the occupiers of the land he gave the people, and he held their foes at bay. The LORD fought for them, and they never prevailed otherwise.

The grace and humility the OPC with its actions and formal replies--put on display before (we're assuming the worst here) malicious slanderers and hostile observers--does not affect whether or not the church was handed "a black eye." That shot was taken. The OPC played that providentially supplied hand, caring more for what their God and Savior thought about their response, than even how its own members or some disaffected officers might. The world will think what it will.

They made a soft answer that turned away wrath. They accepted the spoiling of their peace and possibly even their good name, looking for vindication from heaven (if God will, and if he is merciful to us sinners). In a kairos moment when the self-serving reputation managers of numerous ecclesiastical institutions are proving their folly while having their hidden activities publicized, the OPC chose to have their "sins" receive a wide witness, along with a non-self serving response. If the OPC maintains such a habit, there is less chance of a major scandal bringing its institution to ruin.
 

Redneck_still_Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
I believe I posted here earlier and I apologize for my tone as it was not befitting a follower of Christ. I apologize to all brothers and sisters I have offended.
 
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