Pooh’s Think

… with comments

COTK, CREC, & Tyranny: Part 11

Dear Michael,

I found your friend Jeff Moss’ email both intriguing and ironic; intriguing because between it and Wilson’s post, they seem to perceive strife among the “enemy” outside their bunker, and ironic because the principles taught by Moss’ mysterious proof text apply directly to Wilson’s treachery with COTK, though Moss does not see this.

First, if there is any “enemy” that kirkers should fear, it is Douglas Wilson, and if there is any “cannibal” feeding on Christians (as Wilson alleged), it is Hannibal Lector Wilson. You have already noted that the Presbytery of the Dakotas (OPC) publicly marked him with the words “GRAVE DANGER,” and you pointed to COTK’s public announcement directly accusing the unconstituted Bishop of Anselm Presbytery, Douglas Wilson, of deliberately injuring their flock over the course of two years.

There are no “Sunni and Shia factions” here as Wilson imagines. There is only one faction in this terrible narrative — the faction Doug Wilson. He usurped the constituted authority of the CEF elders in 1993; he flouted the lawful discipline of the Presbytery of the Dakotas in 2002; and he defied the CREC Constitution for two years in order to split COTK for his own good pleasure. Douglas Wilson is the schismatic. He brings strife and leaves division wherever he treads. This is his fruit. This is his ministry.

Second, Mr. Moss referred you to an interesting text in Judges 9; however, in an ironic twist, he failed to consider the broader pericope, which probably explains why his sermonette lacked both interpretation & application. Here’s a quickie for the aspiring minister.

Gideon is a well-known judge of the Old Testament. At the peak of his ministry, Israel offered him and his sons a throne, contrary to God’s law, and Gideon declined the offer, stating, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you” (Judg. 8:23). Keil & Delitzsch tell us that Gideon’s answer contained “an evident allusion to the destination and constitution of the tribes of Israel as a nation which Jehovah had chosen to be His own possession.” Please note the word “constitution.” Gideon grounded his refusal of Israel’s offer to crown him upon their constitution.

Gideon sired 70 sons of his many wives as well as a son named Abimelech from a concubine in Shechem, and after Gideon died, Abimelech surrendered to his royal temptation by proposing an interesting form of government to Shechem: “Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon] reign over you, or that one reign over you? Remember that I am your own flesh and bone” (Judg. 9:2). Simply put, Abimelech pitched an episcopal (one-man) form of government to Israel as opposed to a presbyterian (representative), and he closed his pitch by describing himself as the “embodiment” of Shechem: “I am your own flesh and bone.” Shechem agreed to Abimelech’s offer, which required the rather unpleasant removal of his 70 brothers, i.e. he had to exterminate them. Subsequently, the Shechemites gave Abimelech a handful of shekels to hire “worthless and reckless men” whom he retained to help slaughter his brethren. In one day they massacred 70 save one — Jotham — who successfully hid from the bloodletting. Shechem then named Abimelech king. But these things did not please God, who sent the lone surviving brother, Jotham, to warn the Shechemites of their impending doom.

These are the historical facts that precipitated Jotham’s parabolic utterance to Shechem. The Shechemites put their hand with Abimelech to destroy Gideon’s lineage because they hoped to establish an unconstitutional throne. But God was not without witness; his name was Jotham and he declared the word of Lord to Shechem and he interpreted it as well, which was where Moss picked up the story. Jotham concluded his sermon with specific application to the unfaithful wretches who helped kill his brothers:

“Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal [Gideon] and his house, and have done to him as he deserves — for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother — if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal [Gideon] and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” And Jotham ran away and fled. (Judg. 9:16–21)

Notice that Jotham predicated his execration on the twice-stated condition “if you have acted in truth and sincerity,” which of course they had not. Accordingly, these verses mean, “You treacherous bunch of ingrates betrayed everything my father represented when you aligned yourselves with Abimelech, and God will visit all of you — including your new king — with a large dose of heavenly napalm for your sin.” The last two verses of the chapter indicate that God inspired Jotham’s sermon:

Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal [Gideon]. (Judg. 9:56, 57)

So whatever Moss meant by this text remains a mystery because he furnished no explanation. However, since Paul says, “Whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), we may safely extract the following biblical principles from it.

Wicked men such as Abimelech know no authority but their own. They apparently lack the moral capacity to understand the words “truth & sincerity,” and consequently they show no compunction. These men pose a constant threat to the peace & purity of the church because they will continually jockey for position to grab power. Indeed, men like Abimelech will lay down hard cash to purchase “worthless & reckless men,” who will go all the way with their new master, and when Abimelechs join with worthless men to seize unconstitutional authority, they leave unspeakable amounts of human carnage in their wake — including from among their own family. Nevertheless, God faithfully warns the Abimelechs of the world to repent, suffering long with their sin. And if they harden themselves and continue to defy His lawful authority, then all their conniving cannot undo His word, which states, “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy” (Prov. 6:15). And Holy Writ is the Church’s ultimate Constitution.

December 11, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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