Monday, September 11, 2006

When in Doubt, Confess the Other Guy’s Sins, or Kicking the Habit

The Confederation of Evangelical Churches has memorialized today, September 11, as a day of prayer and fasting for member churches, that they “may unite in confessing the sins of [their] respective nations.” Accordingly, the CREC believes that the 9-11 terrorist attack against the USA was a judgment from God for our republic’s sins of “wholesale idolatry and polytheism,” “tolerating everything except the truth,” “telling damnable lies,” and “turning its face against the living God.”

Now, from a distance, this memorial appears devout, noble, grandiose, and even prophetic. Indeed, such a memorial might even tempt one to believe that the men who framed it held genuine religious convictions grounded in a sincere desire to see the Christian Church united in true biblical worship. Up close, however, when you examine the origin of the CREC and the backgrounds of its principal leaders, the nobility, as well as the sins needing confession, takes another form.

Consider, for example, the Rev. Randy Booth, CREC “Council Moderator,” who is pictured to the right wearing a snappy black habit. In 1994, while he was an ordained elder in a Reformed Baptist church, the Rev. Booth split his church over infant baptism. At the time, Booth tried to get the building and the money, however, he only succeeded in getting half the people, which compelled his elders to draft a letter declaring him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

In January 1998, the Rev. Booth applied for membership in the CRE during its first “Presbytery Meeting,” and they received him into full membership in November 1998. Unfortunately, the Rev. Booth had to reapply for membership into the CRE in 2000 because he left his previous church — the splinter group that gave him his first pastorate — for another church after a few issues at home called his qualification for the ministry into question. The Rev. Booth’s household problems didn’t produce any felony convictions or unplanned children, so in 2002 the CRE once again welcomed him into full membership, appointing him moderator in 2003.

It’s safe to say that while the Rev. Booth lived up to his former elders’ denunciation, his checkered past certainly didn’t hinder the CREC from elevating him through their hierarchy. This is probably because Booth’s approach to the ministry resembles Doug Wilson’s, whose coup is carefully documented on Dr. Terry Morin’s website.

Moving right along, in 1998, while only 1 year old, the CRE voted to receive Pastor Dennis Tuuri and his church into fraternal status even though the CRE minutes say that Tuuri needed to “seek reconciliation” with Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA), who charged him with “abuse of the flock.” The minutes also say that Westminster Presbyterian Church cautioned the CRE not to accept Tuuri into membership. But Doug Wilson argued “that reconciliation between RCC (Reformation Covenant Church) and WPC is unlikely apart from RCC becoming part of a larger body like the CRE,” which makes perfect sense to us. In 1999 the CRE voted unanimously to receive Tuuri into full membership.

Greg Strawbridge, moderator for the CREC “Augustine Presbytery,” once held the office of elder in a Reformed Baptist church, and though he did not split the church, he embraced infant baptism — contrary to the Statement of Faith — and somehow forgot to notify his fellow elders of this change in doctrine. Two years later, in 1998, those same elders accidentally discovered his secret when they caught him teaching paedobaptism. They terminated his employment immediately. In 2001 he joined the CRE where bad faith appears to be a prerequisite for membership in good standing.

In 1999, PCA minister Burke Shade split his church, making a move on its savings account and half of the furniture. His money grab failed as did his quest for the furnishings; but he did take half the congregation. Not long afterwards, the PCA defrocked him, which placed him on the fast track to join the CRE who welcomed him with open arms a year later. Michael Metzler has thoroughly documented this scandal on Pooh’s Think.

Of course, we must note R.C. Sproul Jr., whom the RPCGA defrocked earlier this year for a laundry list of crimes that uniquely qualify him for honorary membership in the CREC, though he is currently unaffiliated. And since Sproul is not a member of any denomination, the Rev. Booth commissioned a “non-judicial” tribunal from the CREC to vindicate Sproul from the RPCGA’s uncontested Declaratory Judgment. A few weeks later, without trial or testimony, the CREC deemed RCJR “ordained.” Michael Metzler has documented this travesty as well.

We could write more, but this short list of rogues, scoundrels, and miscreants represents the body of men who framed the CREC’s “Memorial on Terrorism,” which certainly puts their lofty words in another light. So if it’s not too late, the editorial staff at Cultists in Hats calls upon the CREC to confess its own sins this day, that the Christian Church may be safe from your schismatic hypocrisy.