Where’s the love we talked about?
Where’s my sunny sky?
Secret hearts and sorry tales
will never help love grow.
– Paradise/The Spell, Uriah Heap
TEs Andy Webb and Kenneth Pierce wrote excellent responses to the discovery of a new secret society in the PCA – the National Partnership. Innocuous sounding name, but the intent behind it? Not so much.
I find it interesting that those who claim to be the “broadly Reformed” keepers of the “original vision” of the PCA wish to start a secret (sorry, confidential) society. As TE Webb so eloquently explained, the conservatives (whatever that might mean in anyone’s mind) have not found it seemly to form a secret (sorry, confidential) society. As one who would probably be labelled a TR, conservative, or whatever, I’ve never been invited to a secret (sorry, confidential) meeting of any kind in the PCA. We don’t operate that way. We don’t see the love for our denomination or its peace and purity in that course.
As a TR by the labelling of some, I take the Scriptures seriously and avoid using wax nose techniques to obtain a reading favorable to our whims or the culture at large. TE Webb covered the latter alternative well. In Galatians 2:11-21 we learn that the apostle Paul had a beef with Peter and the circumcision party who would impose Mosaic regulations on Gentile converts. Rather than form a secret (sorry, confidential) society, Paul openly challenged Peter, and then the group. The model for the church would be in Acts 15 where all those who wished to be were heard equally as individuals and then decided under guidance of the Holy Spirit. All was decided openly and in good order.
Interesting coincidence that at about the same time as the secret (sorry, confidential) announcement of the National Partnership, an article appeared on the PCA’s denominational magazine site about how we should blog. While generally a worthwhile article, the author took a number of conservative blogs with which he obviously disagreed to task. Yet, not a single blog by PCA officers where PCA ad interim committees and their members were trashed, and where those of differing opinions were called demons and equated to Satan, warranted even a passing mention. No Ninth Commandment or Larger Catechism issues worth mentioning there. Really? Is that what it means to be “broadly Reformed?”
Don’t bother looking for those old posts, though – they were deleted when the (unrelated to the 9th Commandment) trials started. So, it seems that only those blogs advocating the preservation of the REAL original vision of the PCA – Loyal to Scripture, Faithful to the Reformed Faith, Obedient to the Great Commission – are worth condemning. And that one-sided post was accepted on our denominational magazine’s website. As Mr. Spock would say, fascinating. I’m not feeling the love.
The stated nature of the National Partnership is to “…to participate in the committee work where most helpful and to speak, even on the floor of the Assembly, when necessary. We expect you to share resources that you find helpful and to prepare for the work of the Assembly months in advance with us. ” With us? The last time I checked, that’s pretty much what political parties do. So, now some are starting (secret) political parties in the PCA? Really? Where’s that in Scripture or the BCO? Is that what it means to be “broadly Reformed?” I’m just not feeling the love.
Of course, there is precedence for secret hearts and sorry tales in theological circles. The Biblical Horizons secret (sorry, confidential) Yahoo group is still very active amongst Federal Vision adherents to the tune of about 1500 messages a month. It boasts a number of current PCA officers who correspond about the PCA and do theology without accountability to their denomination. We know all this because a series of messages was leaked and posted a few years ago – very interesting reading. Yet, nothing came of that information. I don’t see anyone at our denominational magazine website condemning the divisive disparaging of PCA officers and even parts of the Westminster Standards fomented in secret on the BH Yahoo group. Of course, the subsequent messages are all secret (sorry, confidential) and beyond the reach of denominational accountability, just like the National Partnership. I only read admonishment of brothers who love the PCA with their open discussions under full accountability. I guess that only the liberal or aberrant get a pass. I’m still not feeling the love.
Which brings me back to the opening quote from an old Uriah Heap song. I have the same questions as the song. Where is the love in dividing the PCA with secret (sorry, confidential) political parties? The condemner of conservative blogs with which he disagreed accused those conservatives of sowing division. At least those he condemned had the courage to work openly. But who actually sows divisiveness, those who openly discuss the issues or those who work in secret (sorry, confidentiality)?
Where’s the love? I’m just not feeling it in the National Partnership. Secret hearts and sorry tales will never help love grow. Not just a line in a song, but truth in a broken world where the Reformers taught that all truth is God’s truth. TE Pierce called secret hearts sin, and so they are. But will we see repentance, or simply more care in the next National Partnership emailing? May I recommend Numbers 32:23 for consideration?
We’re all sinners saved by grace. Perhaps it is time for all of us to repent and rededicate ourselves to glorifying God in all that we think, do, and say. I don’t see how secret (sorry, confidential) denominational political parties fit into that glorifying part. Maybe I missed that part of the BCO.