Author: Sam DeSocio

Your Preferences Aren’t the Point of Worship

Dr. Terry Johnson put up a piece over at The Aquila Report (TAR for short) with the innocuous title “Worship in the PCA in 2017.” He summarizes Reformed worship generally, referencing without interacting with any Biblical exegesis, and then moves into a volley of criticism aimed at this year’s General Assembly worship with the introductory remark that, “I am not now attempting to engage in biblical argumentation. I’m not saying that anything that was done was wrong or invalid per se.” He then goes on to argue about the “best” worship. I wish this were a joke. I wish...

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The Sins of Our Youth

In Psalm 25, David makes a request of the Lord which I find to be a supreme comfort: ” Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! “ Every time I read this line, my heart cannonballs into a pool of Gospel joys. How overwhelming that the God of all creation would show me love rather than scorn my immaturity. When we began Vintage 73 we were younger, and though we set our sights on talking about our denomination with, “faith, truth, and...

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In Celebration of the PCA

I could celebrate the fact that a south-born Church has repented of racial sin, and taken steps to walk in repentance. I could celebrate our pursuit of God’s truth in our study of Gender roles in the Church. Both of which cause me to rejoice. But I want to celebrate something less structural but just as significant: Thursday evening, when the Assembly recessed for dinner, a few friends and I found ourselves having dinner in a beautiful southern courtyard. This wasn’t in a “pub”, or a “gastro-libations house”, It was a plain speaking bar and restaurant a few blocks away from the convention center. The food was great, the services was great, but then it got exponentially better. By the end of dinner we found ourselves in the midst of a friendly, yet surprisingly intense game of trivia. Between rounds, as people stretched their legs and bummed cigarettes from rivals, a woman asked me a question: “Are you with the Presbyterians?” Skittishly I told her I was, and she began to share. She was a student who worked at multiples bars and restaurants in downtown Mobile. It turns out that the service industry around the convention center isn’t very big, and everyone knows each other. They knew we were in town and they were talking about us. She shared that the overwhelming chatter of the service industry was that the...

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The PCA And The Right Against Self-Incrimination

Guest Post: Rev. Scott Seaton May 2016 (revised from a similar article dated May 2015) The accused party may be allowed, but shall not be compelled, to testify. (BCO 35-1) This clause from the Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America is the denomination’s declaration of the right against self-incrimination. Verdicts in judicial cases are to be determined based on demonstrable evidence and testimony, rather than the forced testimony of the accused. In both religious and civil courts, this right against self-incrimination has served as an important safeguard against judicial overreach, for nearly 400 years. At the 2015 General Assembly in Chattanooga, the PCA voted to affirm this right and rejected an overture to require an accused officer to testify. Doctrinal charges must be able to be proved by public materials and sermons, rather than aggressive prosecution. This summer in Mobile, however, Providence Presbytery will raise this same issue through Overture 14, which seeks to change BCO 35-1 such that “church officers under accusation with regards to doctrinal views shall be required to testify.” If adopted, this overture would undo important judicial safeguards and put the PCA at odds with Reformed denominations that do not force the accused to testify. How did the right against self-incrimination become part of the BCO? As we will see, it was not because the PCA was influenced by civil protections,...

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Not Happy About Mars Hill

At one point, Mark Driscoll was the most influential pastor in my life. He preached in a refreshing way that cared more about a living audience than dead pastors. I admired his evaluation about the emergent church movement. As a guy coming out of a small, and very conservative denomination, his Spirit-filled boldness challenged my view that the church is always meant to get smaller and less important in the world. At one point, I even tried to talk my wife into moving to Seattle and joining Mars Hill. It was her discernment at the time of our deepest loneliness that kept us from making what I now know would have been a mistake. It would have been a mistake because my understanding of how God interacts with people is very different than what Mars Hill taught. It would have been a mistake because the more I listen to Mark’s teaching the more differences arose. Those differences and others, eventually put more distance between my ministry and my one-time pastoral idol. Slowly but surely I went from soaking up every sermon; to watching once in a while; to not watching. Finally, I began warning my church members about some of the things that I thought Mark and Mars Hill didn’t do well. Where at one point the idea of meeting Mark was a boyish dream, later I decided not...

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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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