Pooh’s Think

… with comments

COTK, CREC, & Tyranny: Part 7

Dear Michael,

Allow me to call to your attention an interesting discrepancy in COTK’s announcement of withdrawal from the CREC, as well as the most obvious explanation for it. You will note that in their statement, COTK identified three parties responsible for splitting their church: (1) the disgruntled group; (2) the moderator of Anselm Presbytery, Douglas Wilson; and (3) the CREC minister whom Wilson contacted to help facilitate the split.[1] However, after outlining these parties’ successful rupture of a CREC church in good standing, COTK advanced a retarded interpretation of biblical & constitutional procedure whereby they alleged the CREC has no process to address dishonest constitutional subscription:[2]

The CREC constitution provides for expulsion of a member church on the grounds of dishonest theological subscription, but there seems to be no constitutional recourse when the CREC leadership is guilty of dishonest subscription to its own constitution. (emphasis added)

Of course, this statement is not true and Andrew Sandlin knew it wasn’t true when he endorsed it. I write this with such certainty because when Sandlin vindicated Wilson in the RPCUS heresy case, he simultaneously condemned the RPCUS for not pursuing process within the Presbyterian court system before taking their case to the public:

One would have thought that Joe and his presbytery would have exercised greater care before issuing such incendiary documents. Were the defendants (all Reformed ministers in good standing) granted due process in the church courts, for instance? Were they allowed to answer their accusers’ questions before suffering such obloquy? I am not an expert in presbyterian polity, but (as I understand it) no ecclesiastical charges were filed in any courts anywhere before this decisive action was taken. . . The gravity of the accusations warranted a protracted consideration of the issues. (“Morecraft’s Warpath”)

Ironically, Sandlin’s little straw man rises from the dust here to point a fistful of hay at COTK. The RPCUS had no standing to try the Monroe Four and they had no obligation to file charges in anyone’s court; this responsibility fell to the their respective denominations (and COTK was a member of the CREC!); hence the resolution:

We call upon the courts of the churches that are responsible for these men to institute judicial process against them and to vindicate the honor of Christ and the truth of the Christian Gospel by bringing judgment upon them, suspending them from office, and removing them from the communion of the church should they not repent. (emphasis added)

“Morecraft’s Warpath” proves that Sandlin understands procedure. He may act naïve, but he knows that he and his fellow elders abdicated their responsibility to discipline the disgruntled group in COTK’s court.[3] He knows that they waived their obligation to seek justice from Wilson’s court (Christ Church). And he knows that they failed to pursue Wilson’s unidentified pastoral agent in his court. In all three cases the charge would have been “Sinful Disruption of the Peace & Purity of the Church,” and in the cases of Wilson and his fellow traitor, COTK should have charged them with violating their vows to the CREC Constitution.[4]

Presbyterian polity and biblical precept require this step. To be sure, CREC mother ship Christ Church already had two forms in place on their website for anyone to file ecclesiastical charges against them — one for the Kirk court and the other for an appeal to the CREC court. And if COTK had followed these steps — the very procedure outlined by Sandlin — and if the respective courts had dismissed the charges (as they no doubt would), then COTK would have had a legitimate complaint to bring before the CREC general confederation. It’s the next step in the process:

Before any appeal is made, a matter must be first addressed at the local church level. Appeal may be made (1) when the session of elders is accused by two or more of the church members of participating in or tolerating grievous dishonesty in subscription to the doctrinal or constitutional standards of the local church; or, (2) when the session of elders is accused by two or more of the church members of gross misbehaviour. (Article IV/M, CREC Constitution)

This clause provides grounds for “the church members” to appeal but its principle applies to members from other churches, and Wilson & Booth would look like fools if they denied process based upon a hair-splitting technicality in an immature document drafted by canon-authority wannabes. Further, Article IV/L assumes that CREC confederates may bring charges against another a member church:

After a fair and open judicial hearing at presbytery, a congregation may be removed from membership in the presbytery by a two-thirds vote of the presbytery. Upon such occasions, the removed congregation retains the full right of appeal to council.

The CREC tied no strings to this article; it’s a “come one, come all” clause (which means Wilson better seal it before someone actually uses it), and it certainly implies an internal procedure to clean up dirty laundry. Indeed, how else would “presbytery” conduct “a fair and open judicial hearing” for a congregation unless a “presbyter” brought charges?[5] So the CREC does have a constitutional mechanism for members to seek remedy, however unclear it may appear.

Now, this raises the questions, Why would COTK waive their pastoral charge to discipline the disgruntled members? and Why would COTK not follow procedure to seek a cure for the damage inflicted by Wilson upon their church? These are fair questions, after all, when you consider Sandlin’s blathering diatribe against Dr. Morecraft and the RPCUS. Surely he of all men would make certain to comply with due process before he announced to the world that the CREC acts in defiance of its constitution.

The answer is obvious. COTK blew off procedure because they knew exactly what the CREC would do if COTK jumped through all the lawful hoops. They knew the CREC would finesse their complaint to make the COTK elders look like bungling idiots while simultaneously making Pope Doug shine like a cherubim facing the throne. They knew this because they helped Pope Doug and the CREC do this a million times before. In other words, they knew that the CREC court is corrupt. They knew this because they helped corrupt it. It’s that simple.

Every year at the annual CREC general confederation, Andrew Sandlin and the COTK elders jumped with the CREC kangaroos and, as noted, they didn’t ignore Wilson’s sin — they encouraged it and they actively participated in it. Indeed, they leaped and hopped like wallabies through the Church’s sacred doors, tossing lamb chops to Wilson every time his stomach growled. COTK fed the monster when he demanded sheep; COTK watched the monster grow; and COTK could do nothing when the monster craved their flock, nothing, that is, except “connect the dots.”

Finally, the CREC still has a constitutional mechanism in place for COTK to bring an accusation against Pope Doug. It’s a unique article that guarantees silence from the plaintiff after the kangaroos demolish his case and his character:

If a complaint against a member session is brought by someone who is not a member of a CREC church, the CREC, in presbytery, Church council, or through its appropriate moderator, can agree to hear the case if all of the following conditions have been met. (1) The moderator has a letter from the accused session in question declining to hear the case, or a letter advising him that the case was heard and rejected. (2) The moderator has a letter from the government of the church where the complainant is a member saying that the church affirms the truth of the Apostles’ Creed, and agrees to hold the complainant accountable if the decision goes against him. If the complainant is an independent church, the moderator must have a letter of commitment from that church expressing their willingness to give due weight, respect and consideration to the decision of the CREC, and agreeing not to pursue the matter beyond the CREC decision. . . (IV/O, emphasis added)

In addition to being an indemnity clause protecting the CREC from the natural repercussions of their wicked judgments, this article has teeth. The first half of subsection (2) makes certain that Wilson will have his vengeance, and the second half grants him permanent leverage against his victim. In other words, it ensures that any accuser will regret forever and ever that he ever heard the name Douglas Wilson. And COTK was a CREC member church when they adopted this article.

The CREC Constitution definitely provides a court for members and non-members to appeal their case; however, the CREC has repeatedly demonstrated that they hold their court in the same contempt that Wilson holds the saints of God, and COTK helped lay the foundation of this court. As Eliphaz said, “They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8). COTK simply reaped what they sowed.


[1] It will be interesting to discover this thug’s identity; smart money says Tuuri.

[2] While the CREC does provide some conditional process, they should consider adopting a fair-warning clause to serve notice that Pope Doug has license to knife the brethren in their backs with impunity.

[3] If church officers led the disgruntled group, as appears to be the case, then COTK should only have transferred their membership, not released it.

[4] You can be sure that in Wilson’s case there would also have been multiple substantiated accusations surrounding violations of the Ninth Commandment.

[5] Once again, please note that the CREC refers to itself as a “presbytery,” which is hilarious when you remember that COTK wrote, “The CREC constitution provides doctrinal and ecclesial accountability without tipping into standard Presbyterianism.” “Tipping”? This pinball table has been on TILT from day one.


November 30, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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