Monday, June 14, 2010

General Synod of the ARP 2010, Part 3: The Ugly

[This is the third part of a three part series on the 2010 ARP General Synod, entitled: "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". Part 1, "The Good" can be found here. Part 2, "The Bad" can be found here.]

There were two ugly events that took place at this year's Synod: the way Synod began and the way it ended.

Synod began with the traditional opening worship service Tuesday evening; however, two things were done differently this year: first, outgoing Moderator Dr. DeWitt chose not to "preach a sermon" but to share some reflections of his on this past year and the current state of the ARP. Related to this, the Lord's Table was not celebrated at the conclusion of the worship service. Concerning the "talk" by Dr. DeWitt, I only want to say that I agree with what he said and found his talk to be relevant and challenging. Concerning not observing the Lord's Table: I must admit that at first I was not happy about this; however, after hearing Dr. DeWitt's reasons and after some time has passed, I have come to agree with his decision. Dr. DeWitt reasoned that in Matthew 5, our Lord tells us that if I have something against my brother, I am to reconcile to him first and then come to the altar. He stated it was his belief that there is division in the body, and until we can be reconciled to one another, it would not be proper for us to observe the Lord's Table together. Although I now agree with his decision, I still categorize it as an "ugly" part of Synod, not because of what Dr. DeWitt said or did (or didn't do), but because it is an ugly thing when brothers cannot dwell together in unity. Dr. DeWitt's decision was not the problem, it was the consequence of a much deeper problem that we all pray can be corrected soon.

The second ugly thing about Synod this year was the manner in which it ended. As I had to catch a flight back to California, I was not present for the end of Synod (and also remember, as I said in Part 1: The Good, I was not a voting delegate to Synod this year, only an observer), I had to read about the end of Synod on The Aquila Report. According to this report, on Thursday night a "Quorum Call" was made and lacking enough men to form a quorum, Synod immediately adjourned. This is an ugly way for a Synod to end its business, and although I sympathize with the men who had to leave early, I wish we could have ended on a better note.

That ends my three part analysis of this year's General Synod of the ARP. Others have offered their opinions and observations, and I'd like to point you toward some of their sites:

Tim Phillips always had good observations concerning Synod.
Chuck Wilson has some notes on the "compromise" which was reached between Synod and Erskine (I have left that out of my analysis as I don't yet know if it will turn out to be good, bad or ugly).
Brian Howard also has some thoughts on this year's Synod. I did not get an opportunity to meet Rev. Howard, which I regret. He and I disagree on somethings, based on some of his past posts, but I believe it is important to hear what he has to say, nonetheless.


  1. Seth, it was also Dr. de Witt who made the quorum call.

    Brian Howard was a seminary chum of mine and a great guy. If you come back next year (after the ugly!), I'll be sure to introduce the two of you.

  2. Interesting, Tim. I did not know it was Dr. DeWitt who called for the quorum.

    I'd really like to meet Brian. I read his blog, and was disappointed that I didn't get to meet him at Synod this year.