COTK, CREC, & Tyranny: Part 14
As you know, COTK’s announcement of their official withdrawal from the CREC cited “dishonest subscription” by the Confederation’s leadership to the CREC Constitution as their primary cause of action. Furthermore, COTK carefully documented the facts surrounding their particular grievance so that everyone understood the exact source of the dishonesty, as well as the events that brought it to fruition.
In November 2004, Douglas Wilson began sowing discord among the COTK brethren, consciously intending to split the church, because he had a personal disagreement with one of its elders. Wilson committed this sin while acting in capacity of his office as moderator (bishop? pope?) of Anselm Presbytery, and by May 2006 he achieved his goal of dividing the congregation. In October 2006, CREC leaders had an opportunity to redress COTK’s injury during Anslem Presbyery’s annual meeting; however, they chose to sanction Wilson’s treachery, retroactively, contrary to their lawful authority and in violation of every principle of justice taught in Scripture. These are facts that no CREC official has denied.
Today let me call your attention to an excellent column in Credenda/Agenda that addresses the vexing subject of Christian unity from a pastoral perspective. In this essay, the Rev. Douglas Wilson gives us his thoughts on Ephesians 4, St. Paul’s great chapter on “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and he wrote it in 2003, which was one year before he initiated his two-year plan to put COTK asunder:
So Paul teaches first that we have a unity that must be preserved. . . That is the pastoral and eschatological goal of those faithful officers who labor in the Church. . . . Faithful pastors, therefore, advance the work of true unity. Unfaithful teachers disrupt that unity and so their lying ministries must themselves be disrupted. . . The work of true unity is not advanced by an irenicism that tolerates the “sleight of men.” A shepherd who tolerates wolves is a shepherd who hates his own sheep. A shepherd who loves his sheep is one who fights the wolves. . . . In dealing with this threat, faithful pastors do not declaim from the pulpit about “wolves abstractly considered.” They name names, like Hymenaeus and Alexander. (“Unity and the Covenant”)
These words exude Wilson’s trademark confidence and, to be fair, his words are true. In fact, not only are they true, they apply very neatly to the rather awkward situation at COTK.
For example, Wilson says, “Faithful pastors, therefore, advance the work of true unity,” and, accordingly, COTK sought to advance the work of true unity in their congregation as well as their confederation, though without success. Moreover, far from seeking unity “by an irenicism that tolerates the ‘sleight of men,’” COTK did not tolerate the sleight of men when they learned that a high-ranking officer in their confederation deployed cunning deceit against them. Unfortunately, they learned it too late. Nevertheless, by Wilson’s standard, the COTK elders loved their sheep. Finally, COTK deserves commendation for publishing their statement of withdrawal because it clearly specified by name the individual responsible for splitting their church, as well as his denominational affiliation, pursuant to Wilson’s instruction in C/A: “Faithful pastors do not declaim from the pulpit about ‘wolves abstractly considered.’ They name names, like Hymenaeus and Alexander.” COTK left nothing to the imagination; they filled in all the appropriate blanks.
Therefore, according to Wilson’s standards in C/A, we may conclude the COTK elders faithful in their charge regarding the unhappy division of their congregation. But what of Douglas Wilson and the CREC leadership? No doubt their actions contributed to the disagreeable circumstances at COTK resulting in the complete loss of Christian unity. If we hold Wilson and the CREC to Wilson’s written standards in C/A, we may safely conclude the following:
First, since Douglas Wilson advanced the work of schism at COTK for an extended period of two years, endeavoring to divide the saints because of his personal grudge, he is an unfaithful teacher who disrupts Christian unity and faithful pastors must stop his lying ministry. He wrote, “Unfaithful teachers disrupt that unity and so their lying ministries must themselves be disrupted.”
Second, since Douglas Wilson clearly equates disruptive ministers (who deploy sleight to undermine unity) with “wolves,” then we may safely say that Douglas Wilson is a wolf, and not in the abstract. He is a “savage wolf who spares not the flock” (Acts 20:29).
Third, since the CREC leadership sanctioned Douglas Wilson’s divisive activities, refusing to “fight” him, then according to Wilson’s words the CREC shepherds hate their sheep. Wilson wrote, “A shepherd who tolerates wolves is a shepherd who hates his own sheep. A shepherd who loves his sheep is one who fights the wolves.”
These conclusions may strike some people as harsh or extreme, but they are true. Douglas Wilson and his wolf pack will answer to God for the many sheep they devoured in addition to the churches they wrecked.
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