Last Friday, June 12th, there was an article carried on Reformation Charlotte about the Woke Movement inroads into the Southern Baptist Church. Social Justice, Cultural Marxism. Critical Race Theory, Same-sex attraction, LGBTQ+, and Black Lives Matter movements are destroying both church and state throughout this great nation. Every major Protestant denomination in the US is experiencing the erosion of the gospel as a result of these movements. You can read that article and watch a video about it at this address:
Some people who attend my congregation talked to me about that article yesterday at church. They wanted to know what would happen to the SBC. I told them a split was inevitable. An SBC pastor who has visited my congregation on vacation for many years was also at our worship services yesterday. He is reformed in his views and he sees the split coming also. That is not surprising. It is happening everywhere before our very eyes. The military is being given sensitivity training to make them into social justice warriors instead of defenders of our nation. Little children are being indoctrinated in Critical Race Theory in our public schools. The Marxist goal is working well. I have a book in my library titled, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. It was published in 2005 when it seemed that the victorious superpower was the United States of America. Fast forward 16 years and it once again appears that the world is going the way of Marxism. Sadly, supposedly conservative pastors are willing to say such things as, “Social justice is the gospel.” Sorry, but social justice isMarxism. Marx called religion “the opiate of the people” because it promises them salvation after this life whereas Marxism promises them help in this life. When people take up the banner of social justice, they fail to realize that they have adopted the narrative of Marxism and have thrown away the gospel. But they have!
There was another article that intrigued me last week. It was carried on The Aquila Report and titled, “Looking Forward—Together, An Open Letter to our brothers and friends in the Presbyterian Church in America.” It was written by an anonymous person or by anonymous persons who simply identified themselves as “A Faithful PCA” and was dated June 2, 2021 (Though it was carried on The Aquila Report a week later). It begins in a somewhat irenic tone, but quickly becomes accusatory and misrepresents those it says are spreading “alarming reports.” At the end of this Open Letter there is a call for unity: “So, let’s join hands and lock arms. Let’s stop this petty feuding.” There it is. That is their absurd reduction and dismissal of the great issues of our day as nothing more than “petty feuding.” You can read that full article here:
You can also read the list of signatories to this letter which numbers 632 as of the writing of my article today. Whenever I have told people that the number of progressives in the PCA is in the hundreds and hundreds, they have usually scoffed at me or raised their eyebrows. I know of hundreds and hundreds of progressives who have not yet signed this letter. Maybe they will do so. Maybe they feel no need to do so at this point. Time will tell. Most of the signers are Teaching Elders. There can no longer be any doubt that there are hundreds and hundreds of progressive pastors in the PCA.
Here is some background to this Open Letter that you should know. On May 22, 2021, I received a call from a man in Connecticut who told me about an encounter he had with a PCA pastor the previous week. This man is working on his paperwork to become ordained in Vanguard Presbytery and was using some office space at a PCA church in the area. The pastor asked him if he was going to go into Vanguard Presbytery and he said that was his plan. He was then told to clear out his office because, the pastor said, “Vanguard is dangerous.” When asked what was dangerous about Vanguard, the PCA pastor responded, “They believe in six 24-hour days of creation and they require full subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith.” Then, the pastor responded, “We are going to be sending something to the PCA General Assembly to deal with Vanguard Presbytery. PCA churches are leaving to join them and we must put a stop to it.” Eleven days later this Open Letter was sent out with requests for signatures, but the authors of it have refused to take ownership of it. If those authors feel that they have written the truth with the purpose of helping the PCA be faithful why are they reluctant to come out in the open? I am reminded of what Jesus said in John 3:20, 21— “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
In that Open Letter to the PCA, the authors do not mention Vanguard Presbytery directly. The closest they come to doing so is through innuendo. They write: “Online blogs, Facebook posts, online news agencies, and emails have generally been the modes of much attack, innuendo, and ridicule.” Vanguard Presbytery, I believe, is referred to in the reference to Facebook posts and emails. The Aquila Report is referred to in the reference to online news agencies. A Firm Foundation Partnership also sends out emails that inform people of what is happening. The Gospel Reformation Network recently had a conference in Birmingham which also is probably referred to by innuendo. Having been in the PCUS when the PCA was being formed, I distinctly remember receiving news about the decline of the PCUS through newsletters and The Presbyterian Journal. Al Gore had not yet perfected the internet at that time, so news was not available through online sources or emails. The authors of this Open Letter, though, make it clear that they do not like the fact that people are getting their news through any channels other than official channels. I also remember that Barack Obama once voiced a concern about people getting their news from places other than ABC, NBC, or CBS. Hmmm.
There is much that I could say about the Open Letter. It makes outrageous claims that I have never heard anyone say. For instance, they write: “You may have heard that there are PCA pastors who desire to ordain practicing homosexuals.” I know of no one who has said that. The battle has been over those who openly claim to be same-sex attracted. TE Greg Johnson made that claim about himself at the 2019 PCA General Assembly. That is the problem with a letter putting words in other’s mouths. It is best just to quote people. Of course, in another place, the Open Letter dismisses the validity of quoting people: “When we pick apart words and statements, often out of context, we do damage to the fabric of our Witness.” So, it is okay for them to slander Vanguard Presbytery, The Aquila Report, The Firm Foundation Partnership, and the Gospel Reformation Network without even a single quote as proof, but it is wrong for us to quote them at all. Yes, that is pretty much the way progressives think and act. Personally, I would be delighted if they ever quoted anything I have written because I would then challenge them to disprove it by facts. That is also why they choose to slander through innuendo rather than direct quotes. They do not have facts to support their outrageous statements.
The greatest issue with which this Open Letter is the matter of the full subscription position of Vanguard Presbytery. Our position threatens them. People always scratch where they itch. This is where they itch. They want to say, “Yes, we hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith—except in these 53 places. Our brother over there has a whole different set of exceptions.” I have written before that I knew a minister who took an exception to the second part of the answer to the first Shorter Catechism Question. He said man was not made to ‘enjoy” God. Another minister in a presbytery out west took 53 exceptions to the WCF. When such is permitted, a denomination soon ends up with having no Confession at all.
Also, the Open Letter says nothing at all about the cultural Marxism that is tearing apart denominations left and right. It mentions cultural differences that many have in a very oblique fashion. Meanwhile, several of the champions of Critical Race Theory and social justice are signers of this anonymously authored document. The unthinking might read that letter and think it is good. I will give the anonymous authors their due. They have written a finely nuanced paper which will deceive some. What they have not done is write Plain Papers after the example of J. C. Ryle. This is an age when those who stand for the truth must do so with great plainness of speech.
I would encourage you to look over the 632 names that are listed as signers. You will see former Moderators, former Coordinators, pastors of large churches, etc. You might even see the name of your own pastor there. You will not see (at least, not yet) the names of Greg Johnson, Tim Keller, Sean Michael Lucas, and a host of others. There can no longer be any doubt that there are hundreds of progressives in the PCA. And the PCA is not alone. There are denominations falling like dominoes. I take no exceptions to the Westminster Confession of Faith, but I do take great exception to the statement that what divides us is simply “petty feuding.” No, my friends, these are life and death issues. Future believers are depending on us to stand strong on the faith now so they can worship rightly in generations to come
Dewey Roberts, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church and Moderator of Vanguard Presbytery. For more information, go to: www.vanguardpresbytery.com
Donations may be sent to: Vanguard Presbytery, PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540.