The Fraternal Relations Committee is not one that I expected to mention in these reports, but they brought a recommendation this morning that I think is worth writing about. The recommendation directed the Permanent Committee on Fraternal Relations “to continue to communicate with the PC (USA) according to biblical principles and to encourage ‘face-to-face’ talks.”
There has been a stream of ridiculous and baseless accusations coming from PCUSA leadership and presbyteries over the last couple of years, as well as a move by the PCUSA General Assembly last year to “investigate” these “charges.” Viola Larson has blogged about the questionable approach that the committee doing this has taken, and among other things that might be mentioned is the fact that they have not, to my knowledge, made any effort to speak to anyone in the EPC about the issue. (I will gladly put up a correction if I’m wrong about this.) By far the best way to clear the air on this matter is through face-to-face discussion, and I hope that the PCUSA will take us up on our willingness to do so.
UPDATE: My Consistory-mate Mac McCarty, who is a member of a congregation which is in the New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery, offers the following regarding the doings of the PCUSA “investigating” committee
[A]t the GA, I met several folks whose congregations went directly from the PC(USA) to a geographic EPC presbytery. Their congregations did meet with representatives of the “investigating” committee, although the committee members were surprised that ruling elders and members attended. (They had “invited” only the pastors.)
Their experience was telling. After the pastors, elders and members related how their congregations initiated the move, and initiated the contact with the EPC, the committee representatives interjected with declarative “questions” such as “Well, you knew that what you were doing was wrong, correct?” or “You never proved that the PC(USA) was apostate, so leaving was a violation of ordination vows, right?”
When the EPC members asked their inquisitors “Wait, we thought you wanted to know that we were not recruited. It sounds as if you have already made up your mind that we were recruited, although we were not, and are just looking for sound bites to support your position. Is that correct?”
Stunningly, the PC(USA)’s response was “That is correct.”
One can’t help but admire such honesty, even if it is in the service of ecclesiastical thuggery. Well, not really.