2008January18, Friday

What I’ve Been Up To

Posted in My Life at 22:27 by Trey Austin

It’s been over a week since i’ve posted now. I’ve just been busy with other things.

Last week, we were down in Greer, SC, where my parents live. We visited there not just to see my parents; we were there to have Will checked up by the midwife as well. He’s getting big. He’s now 15 lbs and 26 inches long. He’s a hog for three months, if you ask me. I actually wasn’t up to going and staying down there for five days, but i did anyway. I only could do that because i spent most of my time there working on what i’d normally have done at home, including getting my sermon done for this past Sunday and getting my report ready for presbytery (i’m on the Court Records Committee), which met Saturday.

Presbytery was long. I still have problems with the way things go on in our presbytery. Westminster Presbytery still has a requirement that the presbytery reject from membership anyone who has any other view of creation than 24/6, which excludes any view of longer-than-normal days of creation, Framework, or any other view that is accepted in almost any other PCA presbytery (and my own “home” denomination, the ARP Church as well). There was some debate over that Saturday, because there is a former licentiate in our presbytery (who, i believe, is a Minister in another presbytery) who was to serve as stated supply at a congregation no without a pastor (they had intended on calling him as pastor, but that was a deal-breaker because of this issue as well). He had formerly held to a 24/6 view, but has since modified his view, only in that he doesn’t say categorically that the days in Genesis 1 were 24 hours long. As a result in this small modification in his view, WP will no longer allow him to minister within their bounds—though, a stop-gap measure was approved, that he would continue to act as supply pastor until the spring meeting, and that the session of the congregation he is preaching at would either find someone else as stated supply or call a qualified person, but even that measure didn’t pass without a couple of people making known their intention to file a protest against the decision, because they said it violated the BCO’s provision that only licensed men can preach regularly within the bounds of a presbytery. The discrepancy, though, was over whether it applied to licentiates as well as ministers, or whether it only applies to ministers. What a fiasco. It was obvious to me that the statement needed to be revised, but when i propsed a motion to assemble a committee to re-examine the position paper that adopted views on several issues and, if they deemed necessary, to revise it, a great majority of the men in WP acted as though i was trying to tear the presbytery apart, because, they claimed, that provision is the only thing holding our fragile presbytery together. I suppose in a presbytery where orthodoxy is viewed as so narrow that hardly any dissenting voice is allowed to be heard (every minister in WP with an exception to the Confession and other constitutional documents is forbidden by the presbytery from teaching or otherwise advocating their views; e.g., my views that the office of deacon should be open to women and that not all images of Christ are inherently idolatrous) is always just one step away from dissolution. How sad. One would have thought that the change in makeup of the presbytery over the years (some of the more extreme members of WP have moved on, most of them out of the PCA) would have done something to turn that fractious tenor around, but i suppose it hasn’t.

Otherwise, i’ve been continuing the same old same-old. Thinking, wishing, hoping, and praying.

I got the DVD of the Federal Vision conference at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (incidentally, the building they’re renovating is the old Taylors school that my grandmother went to when she was a child). I’m planning on watching Guy Waters and Joey Pipa critique the Federal Vision whatever-you-call-it. I’m actually planning on going to lunch to discuss it with a friend of mine in the presbytery, who also got a copy of it. We’re both pretty much on the fence, but he’s much more suspicious and worried about the FV than i am. I’m hoping we’ll have further respectful and helpful conversations like the ones we already have.

On a very positive note, potty-training of our daughter seems to be going quite well. She’s basically trained except for using pull-ups or diapers when she has to sit in the car for an extended period of time, or when she naps in the afternoon and sleeps at night. However, she has had a penchant, lately, for writing on everything—the floor, the table, the bedsheets, &c.—and smearing soap and lotion on every possible surface she can find. Spanking works, but it takes a while to modify behavior on a longterm basis.

More later. Working on sermon.

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4 Comments »

  1. Frank J. Smith said,

    Dear Trey:

    What is your email address, so that I can email you off-line? (My address is franksmith76@gmail.com.)

    Sincerely,
    Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D.
    Pastor, Reformation Presbyterian Church, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
    Stated Clerk, Reformation Presbytery of the Midwest
    Editor, Presbyterian International News Service
    (920)564-6207

  2. tempe said,

    What are you trying to say in this post? Presbyterian polity and potting training mentioned in the same breath? Are you trying to make a statement here? 😉

    As you know, I am strictly a 24/6 guy, but that view (the view of your presbytery) is even too narrow for me. It’s not like he jettisoned his view completely in favor of an allegorical reading of Genesis 1-11 (imho, the historicity of Genesis 1-11, especially the opening chapters, is the real issue). Some folks who believe in literal days opt for a older universe (no, I’m not talking about the old gap theory here). I might question their exegesis (and ask that they provide an explanation before presbytery, for instance), but I wouldn’t automatically brand them unfit for the pulpit in the process.

  3. Trey Austin said,

    Well, that’s exactly my position on the whole thing. I, too, am 24/6, and believe that it is the only view that really makes sense (of course, that’s what i believe about all of my positions now, even the ones i won’t have in ten years! :-D), but my point is precisely that—if you don’t like his view on *ANYTHING*, there’s a solution for that: don’t vote for him to be accepted into the presbytery! If you can get your fellow presbyters to agree with you, then he doesn’t make the cut. But i think it is the worst kind of sectarianism to demand that everyone have exactly the same view on something like that in order even to be *CONSIDERED* for membership in the presbytery.

  4. tempe said,

    As I’ve often quipped to others, even I’m not stupid enough to think that everyone thinks exactly like I do.

    Of course, then again, I have a Tuesday night M.Th. class with a bunch of dispensationalists…


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