Response from Other NAPARC Delegations
[We were having a hard time coming up with the "some delegations" to which Henry Lewis Smith refers in his letter, who were allegedly putting pressure on Dr. Paul Gilchrist to delay action at NAPARC regarding the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). From an informed source, we have learned that the CRC was not one of the delegations in view. When we asked Dr. Gilchrist how many of the NAPARC delegations had put pressure on him, he responded, "I don't keep track of those things." When asked if he could name even one, he said, "I'd rather not, because that puts pressure on those delegations." We also wanted to hear NAPARC reaction to statements which Dr. Gilchrist had made to the Interchurch Relations Committee of Commissioners concerning NAPARC and the allegation that the PCA may be the next target for being expelled from that organization. Except as noted below, we spoke with every official delegate from the five member churches other than the CRC and PCA. Here are their responses:]
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP)
Jack Whytock, who has served as NAPARC Chairman this year, said: "I know that there was no pressure whatsoever. Absolutely no pressure [from me]." With regard to the possibility of the PCA being expelled from NAPARC, he said: "It's news to me. I haven't heard any synods or assemblies making such request. That has to be speculation and innuendo and rumour."
155 Charles Lute Road, Moncton, NB E1G 2R8; (506)853-7898
When asked if any pressure had been put on Dr. Gilchrist, TE Max Bolin, immediate past Moderator of the ARP Synod, said, "Speaking for myself, no, and I'm not aware of any pressure that my delegation put on him. Certainly there was none from the delegation as such."
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Fellow ARP delegate Dr. Milton Fisher, former President of Reformed Episcopal Seminary, responded to the same question this way: "Oh, really! Now that I know nothing about. I have no knowledge about that [alleged pressure] myself. I know nothing of any backroom talk or anything about that. But I still don't understand why he [Gilchrist] would come with a handwritten copy [of the motion to suspend the CRC from NAPARC]--that's strange . . . and without multiple copies. His excuse was he didn't have time to prepare it; but, this was the second day [of the meeting]." With regard to whether the PCA was going to be a target for being expelled from NAPARC, Dr. Fisher laughed and said, "Oh, I've heard nothing of that. No, certainly not anything that I have heard."
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When asked if any of his delegation had spoken with Dr. Gilchrist to try to effect a delay in the CRC matter, Dr. William Evans, Chairman of the ARP Interchurch Relations Committee, said, "Not to my knowledge."
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Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA)
Gordon Keddie, who is Vice Chairman of NAPARC this year and presumbly will assume the Chairmanship in November, said: "We don't bring pressure to bear on anybody." When asked which delegations might have, he replied: "Haven't a clue. We [RPCNA delegation] only discussed the subject itself in a very brief way. We did not discuss the way the PCA raised the issue." When asked about the statement that the PCA might next be the target of expulsion from NAPARC, the native Scotsman bellowed with laughter: "What hogwash! . . . That's so fanciful." Responding to the suggestion by Dr. Gilchrist that NAPARC now focuses on keeping churches out, he said: "To say that that's representative of a theory is not true." He believes that there is a broad sentiment in NAPARC for getting on and doing something useful, once the issue of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) membership is settled. He added: "I would remind him [Gilchrist] that the PCA fronted for the CRC in trying to keep the RCUS out and if it had not been for Messrs. Perrin and Gilchrist, we might have had no problem at all. It was the PCA delegation that spoke most against the RCUS."
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With regard to whether pressure was put on Dr. Gilchrist, Dr. Bruce Stewart said: "Not that I'm aware of. It would not have been us." He added, "We supported the motion [made by Gordon Keddie] to delay, merely on the basis of procedure." [This motion came about 11:15 AM, several hours after the time that Dr. Gilchrist is said to have represented to Henry Lewis Smith that pressure was brought to bear to delay action.--Ed.] With regard to the possibility of the PCA being a target of expulsion from NAPARC, the retired President of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary said, "I certainly would not be aware [of any such move]. It has not been expressed in our Committee, and I doubt any of our men would feel that way."
7959 Remington Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15237; (412)366-5028.
When asked about pressure being put upon Dr. Gilchrist, retired minister Bob Henning replied, "I'm not aware of it. We didn't put any pressure on Dr. Gilchrist. . . . Our delegation did not put any pressure at all on him." Regarding whether he had heard about the PCA being a possible target for expulsion from NAPARC, he replied, "No, I haven't at all. That statement [by Gilchrist] surprises me a lot. . . . I'm trying to think of what denominations he could be referring to. And I'm having a hard time coming up with them."
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TE Andy Schep, when asked if he or his delegation had put any pressure on Dr. Gilchrist, replied, "Not to my knowledge." When asked if he had knowledge of any move to expel the PCA from NAPARC, he said simply, "No."
2310 Chestnut Street, Columbus, IN 47201; (812)378-3003
When asked if any pressure was brought to bear against Dr. Gilchrist, Dr. John White said, "Not that I'm aware of, no." He agreed with the evaluation of the Chairman of their Interchurch Relations Committee, Gordon Keddie, that the RPCNA delegation had discussed the matter in only a brief way and with no reference to the way the PCA had brought it to NAPARC. He did say that "it was our decided opinion that waiting to the year 2000 was a wise way to go"; and he indicated that, very informally, some of the delegation may have expressed that sentiment to the PCA delegation. But he denied that anything that was said could be construed as "pressure". With regard to the possibility of the PCA being the next to be expelled from NAPARC, the President of Geneva College said, "I haven't heard a thing like that."
Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA 15010; (412)846-5100
Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC)
TE Jack Peterson, responding to whether the OPC delegation put any pressure on Paul Gilchrist concerning the motion with regard to the CRC: "No." Responding to a question as to whether he was aware of the PCA being a target for expulsion from NAPARC, he said: "No"; adding, "I have heard nothing of the PCA being 'next'." With regard to the allegation that NAPARC is becoming narrow in its focus, with much time spent on who should be kept out, Mr. Peterson said: "The shoe fits both ways. When the RCUS was going to come in, the CRC and even the PCA expressed that this is too narrow a group. It was even expressed [by the PCA delegation] that one of our congregations is larger than the entire denomination. The sentiment [by the PCA delegation] is, Let's keep this as a small, exclusive club. The OP doesn't share this [sentiment]."
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Retired OPC minister John Galbraith said: "I didn't at all myself [put pressure on Gilchrist]. And I don't know of anybody who did. And certainly the OPC delegation did not." Regarding Gilchrist's comments about the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC), he said, "This takes us back to the forming of the World Fellowship of Reformed Churches [spearheaded by the PCA]. The statement that was the rationale for that, rather than going into the ICRC, was to the effect that they wanted more liberty than what the ICRC allowed. . . . That is a gratuitous statement [by Gilchrist]. Who in the ICRC has ever said that [about the PCA being a bunch of Arminians]? And I certainly could never support that. And the ICRC, as an organization, has never said it. Then there's the background of the PCA having never joined the Reformed Ecumenical Council [REC]. The [REC] was re-named 'Council' in order to avoid the opinion that some might be receiving from the word 'Synod' that it was a policy-making body. Then the term 'Conference' was chosen for the ICRC to make it even more clear that it wasn't a synod." He continued, "A lot of the things in that statement I have never heard before, and they may have originated with him. There is no thought to trying to put the PCA out of NAPARC. We have been puzzled at times at the way they have voted. For instance, they voted to receive the EPC and yet they voted to suspend the CRC."
HRC 32, Box 204, Owl's Head, ME 04854; (207)594-7772; e-mail: Galbraith.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Mark Bube, who coordinates OPC world missions, said that to have put pressure on Dr. Gilchrist "would have been 180 degrees contrary to the way our delegation was going."
Box P, Willow Grove, PA 19090; (215)830-0900
Rev. Tom Tyson, who edits the OPC denomination magazine, New Horizons, when asked if he had spoken with Dr. Gilchrist at NAPARC, said, "No, I didn't speak with him at all." He added, "I do know our delegation did not determine to do so" [i.e., to put any pressure on Gilchrist--Ed.]. Regarding Dr. Gilchrist's comments about the PCA being the next church to be targeted for expulsion from NAPARC, Tyson responded, "Very interesting remark. . . . I don't know of any such move."
Box P, Willow Grove, PA 19090; (215)830-0900
Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS)
Asked if he or his delegation had put any pressure on Dr. Gilchrist, TE Ron Potter, Chairman of the RCUS Interchurch Relations Committee, emphatically declared: "No, absolutely not. Not at all." (Mr. Potter indicated that the other two RCUS delegates were representing the home missions and world missions committees, and would not have gotten involved in this type of dispute.) Regarding whether he had heard anything about the possibility of the PCA being a target of expulsion from NAPARC, he said, "Not a word. Not a word."
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Korean American Presbyterian Church (KAPC)
The perennial KAPC delegate to NAPARC, with a laugh, denied that he or his delegation put any pressure on Dr. Gilchrist. (The KAPC General Assembly last year voted to break fraternal relations with the CRC; and this year voted to seek termination of the CRC's membership in NAPARC.--Ed.) Rev. Myung Doh Kim also laughed at the suggestion that the PCA might be the next target for expulsion from the organization. [The other two KAPC delegates were attending the NAPARC meeting for the first time.--Ed.]
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