Author: Bobby Griffith

Review of Heal Us, Emmanuel

Guest Post: Rev. Robbie Schmidtberger “Heal Us, Emmanuel: A Call for Racial Reconciliation, Representation and Unity in the Church” is a provocative collection of essays written by 30 ordained churchmen within the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). While I am not a contributing author to this collection, I am privileged to have a role in this volume’s production (see page 301) and strongly believe in it’s collective purpose. This is a critical year for the PCA as the denomination continues to wrestle with our racist past; some is overt while other moments are covert. 40+ overtures specific to racial reconciliation were sent by various presbyteries that our General Assembly will deal with this coming week. Heal Us, Emmanuel was written by PCA churchmen primarily intended for PCA churchmen and all others who love our denomination as we travel to Mobile, but this is not its sole purpose. Racial issues flooded the news for the past two years — Ferguson, Charlestown, Mizzou, and more. It would be cynical to believe that this work is a product of political correctness; that could not be further from the truth. Heal Us believes that the gospel breaks through the dividing wall and becomes a platform for racial reconciliation and solidarity, which is seen clearly in Galatians 3:28 (93). Contributor Dr. Otis Pickett claimed, “Only Christ can redeem something as dark as two centuries...

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PCA Pastors, Celebrity Christian Conferences, and Child Protection

[Update: Some have asked if any contact was made with the PCA speakers at T4G. Correspondence was sent, and, after communicating with Dr. Ligon Duncan, I can confirm he did not receive his until his return from Kentucky as he was already out of town when it arrived.] This week, Together for the Gospel (T4G) meets for its tenth anniversary. It’s a partnership that consists of PCA, Baptist, and non-denominational pastors who began a conference to show that, despite disagreements, they held a commitment to Dortist view of soteriology (TULIP).  Over the years, what began as something small now inhabits large conference space and a sold out crowd of over 8,000 who will gather to sing, hear their favorite celebrity pastors, get new books and all the SWAG we love. But there is a problem. CJ Mahaney. Mahaney is one of the original T4G members. He has a shroud of suspicion over him as the church he founded, Covenant Life, in Maryland is embroiled in sexual abuse scandals. Pastors have testified they did not go to the police. Josh Harris has even said such. Some people in lawsuits claim CJ knew about the abuse and did not report anything to the authorities and treated it as an internal matter, requiring the abused to forgive their abuser. In addition, investigative journalists seem to be uncovering abuse and cover-ups that rival...

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Doug Wilson’s Failure to Safeguard Children

by Mike Sloan and Beth Hart [Authors’ Note: Even before we wrote this article, ink has been spilled over the language “sexual stimulation” with regard to Sitler’s interaction with his baby. These words could be taken to imply molestation or rape, but not necessarily, and not in our opinion given the current evidence. It seems what was intended is that Sitler was himself sexually stimulated by thinking about his baby. And yet we stand by our labeling this “alleged sexual abuse”. It stands to reason that this was more than simply a fleeting temptation given the state’s response. It...

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Ministry Praxis: Infant Baptism in Oklahoma City

One of the “deal breakers” when planting a Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City is infant baptism. Though this is a scriptural practice, Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Southern Baptist churches in the world. Most Oklahomans have never seen an infant baptism. In fact, this is one thing that continually gets lumped with dry, liturgical tradition that is a carry over from the Roman Catholic Church and something the Reformers did not have enough Scriptural grounding to change both the mode and recipients of this sacrament. I remember the first time I witnessed this. It was at Heritage Presbyterian...

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What We Can Learn from Evangelicals

Yesterday’s post was the first one I’ve written that warranted a text message from a dear friend who loved and hated it. While my friends and fellow presbyters who know me well know I am not fond of US Evangelicalism, I do believe there are things that we, in the PCA, can learn from them. (Note bene: this list is not an attempt at fully objective provable assertions, just personal observations and experiences and tons of reading) Passion – I likened Presbyterians to the engineer uncle who drives that steady old Buick and Evangelicals are the ones who love to trade in just before the note is paid. I stand by that. Sometimes, the Buick needs a good tune-up, even an overhaul. When you have a car long enough, you get to understand it, love it, but it needs repairs. But you keep it long enough to work on it and, occasionally, you need a mechanic to help. Evangelicals mop the floor with us when it comes to passion. I believe it is possible to be confessional, reject consumeristic models that flow from revivalistic pietism and worship with visible expressions of emotion. I know it happens and many, many Reformed churches. It would be great to hear some of these stories. Calvin’s worship earned the reputation of “Genevan jigs.” The Psalms speak to a posture of worship. I think,...

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About Vintage 73

Vintage73 is a collaborative blog focusing on the culture and values of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The site was born out of a desire for honest and charitable discussion within and about the PCA.

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