Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In Defense of deWitt

At The Aquila Report, Rev. Ken Pierce (PCA) has written a reply to a certain blog (that I will not link to) that has sought to drag Dr. deWitt's name through the mud. You can read Pierce's piece here. Rev. Pierce correctly notes the differences in Dr. deWitt's current denomination (the ARP) and his former denomination (the RCA):

What Seventh Reformed [Dr. deWitt's previous congregation] did was take a stand for historic Christian and Reformed orthodoxy in the midst of a denomination that had drifted away from those things --precisely the opposite of the current situation.
It is interesting to note that Dr. deWitt, in all the actions that led to him leaving the RCA, never sued the RCA--an example current members of the ARP could learn from.

So, it sounds to me that we in the ARP are blessed by the presence of Dr. deWitt, a man who has stood for the truth of the Gospel before and is now doing the same, again.

8 comments:

  1. "What Seventh Reformed [Dr. deWitt's previous congregation] did was take a stand for historic Christian and Reformed orthodoxy in the midst of a denomination that had drifted away from those things --precisely the opposite of the current situation."

    This is an inaccurate representation of the situation.

    The stand Seventh took was simply to withhold a portion of the synodical assessment slated for denominational periodicals and seminaries.

    This is not what I would consider taking a stand for historic Christianity and Reformed orthodoxy.

    Full disclosure: Current member of Seventh Reformed Church

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  2. Well, that is one side of the story, but when dealing with questions from Erskine Alumni deWitt projects a dismissive and self-indulgent posture. Cavalier is not the best of traits to be demonstrated during a critical crisis. As Paul said to us all, :pride is the chief sin of man!" We can only hope that deWitt will humble himself in the likeness of Christ!

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  3. Dean, thank you for your comments. I'm curious to know what the circumstances were that led to Dr. deWitt and the consistory of Seventh Reformed Church withholding the funds. I'm sure there is more to the story.

    Of course, it really is all a moot point, since his Presbytery in the ARP accepted his transfer. If there were questions related to his past in the RCA, that was the proper time to ask them, not years later and not in a blog in an attempt to sling mud at him.

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  4. Seth

    "Of course, it really is all a moot point, since his Presbytery in the ARP accepted his transfer. If there were questions related to his past in the RCA, that was the proper time to ask them, not years later and not in a blog in an attempt to sling mud at him."

    I know of nothing that would lead me to believe there would have been an issue with DeWitt's transfer.

    Seventh was a conservative church in an increasingly liberal denomination, but they way and manner in which they chose to leave left much to be desired.

    The clearly written protests and appeals citing theological errors in the RCA do not exist, Seventh was expelled from the denomination for withholding synodical assessment. It was a silent protest or a monetary protest which is not the way to help fix theological errors in denominations.

    My comment was simply to point out that Seventh Reformed should not be held up as a poster child for the way it handled the situation.

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  5. Dean,

    I do not know if you were a member of Seventh when the dismissal occurred, or how long your association with that congregation goes.

    Second guessing what happened now almost twenty years later appears futile.

    The point of principle was that a congregation has the right to support causes it deems worthy, and to not support causes it does not. Seventh paid all its other assessments, save those for the Church Herald and the seminaries --directing the seminary funds in generous amounts to Westminster, RTS and other faithful institutions.

    Seventh had a long history of protesting what it perceived as the declension of the RCA. That was, in point of fact, a centerpiece of Gordon Girod's ministry, far more than it was of that of either Charles Krahe or Dr. de Witt.

    And, truth be told, it would be the elders, and not Krahe or de Witt, that would have wished to leave. I knew Charles Krahe well, and know Dr. de Witt well, and I know this to be the case.

    What is beyond doubt, however, is the place of Seventh Reformed, acknowledged by even disinterested observers (witness the fine piece on Seventh in the book Gathered at the River), as a beacon of hope for RCA Christians in what were perceived to be bleak times for evangelicals in the RCA --far bleaker than today, in some respects.

    Second guessing Seventh's strategy, or lack thereof, really doesn't relate to the current situation.

    My sole point was to vindicate Dr. de Witt from the charges that he is a divisive individual. Anyone who knows him well would take serious issue with that characterization.

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  6. Dean,

    I have further reflections on 7th's history and makeup not germane to the current debate I would be eager to discuss with you via email, if you wish.

    Just go to www.tpcjackson, and you will find my email there.

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  7. www.tpcjackson.org, that is.

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  8. As Paul said to us all, "pride is the chief sin of man!"

    Where exactly does Paul say this?

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