Clericalism in the PCA

August 2005

Dear Friends,
On July 16 the Louisiana Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America unanimously declared Pastor Steve Wilkins of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church to be "publicly exonerated and declared to be faithful to the Confessional standards of the PCA."  None is so blind as he who will not see.

        To add insult to injury, the Louisiana Presbytery, in that same report, declared that "we believe that the proper place for theological development/inquiry of this nature is in the courts of the Church and not through the internet or in the pews."
        Yes, theology must be reserved to the experts, and the Louisiana Presbytery considers itself the experts. Those peons in the pews, who pay the bills and elect church officers -- perhaps the correct word for them is pew-ons -- have no business discussing the doctrines of justification, covenant, election, and baptism. They emphatically have no business identifying false teachers such as Wilkins.
        This elitist clerical attitude is another indication of the anti-Reformational mindset of these men. At the time of the Reformation, Tyndale wanted the ploughman and the mechanic to know the Bible as well as the theologian does.  It was Rome, not the Reformers, who thought it wrong for the common people to be discussing theology.
        We here at The Trinity Foundation are delighted that pew-ons are discussing doctrine and discussing it on the Internet and in the pews.  When Christ preached, he preached to the common people. He got them thinking about doctrine. He answered their questions. For them he had compassion and encouragement. But for the religious leaders, the experts in the Scriptures, he had sarcasm (see, for example, John 3), and contempt (see, for example, Matthew 23).
        If a new Reformation comes, it will come through controversy. It will start at the bottom, not the top. And it will start in the pews, not the pulpits. The pulpits, like the Louisiana Presbytery and the Pharisees, will do their best to stop it.

John Robbins
The Trinity Foundation
August 2, 2005