Kinnaird Trial

The Case of John O. Kinnaird

Ruling Elder at Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Oxford, Pennsylvania

Pre-Trial Documents

Wilkening Charge Against John O. Kinnaird

Basis for Specification Number 1

A Proposal to the Session

Kinnaird Declaration and Theological Statement

(The Complaint was made based on Kinnaird’s document,  Proposal to the Session.”  This document was later edited slightly and distributed by Mr. Kinnaird as “The Declaration and Theological Statement of John O. Kinniard.”  The sections quoted in the Specifications were unchanged.)

Basis for Specification Number 2

Revelation 22 Sermon

Basis for Specification Number 3

OPC List posting December 24, 2001

OPC List posting January 6, 2002


Kinnaird Case Chronology (With Links to Case Documents)


Trial Documents


First Day of the Trial - September 16, 2002

According to the OPC Book of Discipline, the only actions permitted to be taken on this day are:

1. Reading of the Charge

2. Submission of the Evidence

3. Citations supplied for summoning of Witnesses.


Second Day of the Trial - November 23, 2002

Opening of the Trial

Defense Objections to the Trial Proceeding

Ruling on the Defense Objections

Carl Hayes’ Opening Statement for the Prosecution

Arthur Kuschke’s Opening Statement for the Prosecution

Thomas Tyson’s Opening Statement for the Defense

Procedural Dialogue

Prosecution's Presentation of Evidence

A Specification-by-Specification Rationale for the Charge

Defense Refutation of the Charge:

Testimony of Dr. Peter Lillback

Defense moves to have the charge dismissed; the motion is denied.

Ruling on Dismissing the Charge


Third Day of the Trial - November 30, 2002

Defense Testimony – Dr. Richard B. Gaffin Jr.

Defense Testimony – Mr. John Kinnaird

The Defense again requests that the Charge be dismissed.  The request is denied a second time.

Mr. Wilkening is questioned as a hostile witness for the Defense.

Examination of Mr. Arlyn Wilkening

Fourth Day of the Trial - January 25, 2003

Procedural Discussion re: Kinnaird Brief

Mr. Kinnaird distributed a Brief to the Trial Judicatory and Prosecution in early January, presenting his defense in writing.

This paper was presented at the trial on January 25.  Written by Arlyn and Wanda Wilkening, members of Bethany OPC, it includes an appendix by Arthur Kuschke.

Pronouncement of the Verdict


Post-Trial Documents

Appeal to the Presbytery of PhiladelphiaFebruary 22, 2003

This paper was presented by the Trial Judicatory in response to Kinnaird's appeal of  his conviction to the Philadelphia Presbytery.

Reasons for the Verdict

Michael Obel's Opening Remarks before the Presbytery at the Appeal.

The Presbytery denies the appeal on a voice vote.

Adjourned Presbytery meetings – May 2003

John Kinnaird on What This Trial Is All About.

Paper Number 1

Thomas Tyson responds to the Interim Session's paper, "Reasons for the Verdict."

Paper Number 2

John Kinnaird responds to the Interim Session's paper, "Reasons for the Verdict."

Paper Number 3

Mr. Wilkening responds to Thomas Tyson's and John Kinnaird's misquotations of Carl Hayes and Arlyn Wilkening in Papers 1, 2, and 3.

A Letter from Arlyn Wilkening to the Presbytery of Philadelphia


The Appeal to General Assembly

On July 1, 2003, the General Assembly of the OPC voted to sustain the appeal on point A of the Advisory Committee Report.  The GA also voted to reverse the verdict of the Trial Judicatory.

Advisory Committee on Appeals and Complaints Report to General Assembly


OPC Kinnaird Decision Protest 2003

Protest of the action of the General Assembly in sustaining Specification A of the Appeal of John O. Kinnaird